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Skywriting & Conducting a writing group

Click here to go immediately to “Conducting a Writing Group.”

© 2002

by Stephen Smarjesse

Appropriate for: All ages

Time period for assignment: Four points during the year (or whatever time frame you choose)

Anticipatory set:

  • Show artwork where the sky depicts different moods. Some possible artists and works include: Magritte, Ansel Adams, Georgia O'Keefe, Starry Night by Van Gogh. Discuss the mood of the sky and how the artist created that mood.
  • Select a reading where the sky is described such as "Darius and the Clouds" from House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros or Wordsworth's I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

Describe the (morning, evening, night, daytime) sky on ____________

Write from one point of view: aviator, scientist, 10-year-old child, farmer, construction worker, athlete, weather forecaster, poet, bird, painter, storyteller.
Choose one format for your work: paragraphs, poem, song lyric, personal note, journal entry, report, etc.

Write at least 15 lines.

Examples of rough drafts from fellows at MWP Selective Institute, June 18 & 19, 2002:

poem drafts 1

poem draft 2


Examples of student work:

poem1poem 2











poem 3poem 4











Conducting a Writing Group

Stephen readingIn this four minute video clip, Stephen Smarjesse discusses one way a writing group can help him with his writing by responding to questions he has about his work. (Please excuse the opening.)


Poem draftIn the following two minute clip, Stephen continues his discussion and reads the draft of his poem: