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About the Young Writers Conference, 2011

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children writing about an exhibitA celebration of student writing inspired by the Bell  Museum of Natural History

Through an expanded partnership with the Saint Paul School District, the Minnesota Writing Project hosts a Young Writers Conference at either the Weisman Art Museum or the Bell Museum of Natural History. The Conference provides an opportunity for schools to inspire some of their best student writers by bringing them to the University of Minnesota campus, fostering interaction with other student writers and encouraging critical response to a variety of creative stimuli at the museums. This year, sixty students and their accompanying teachers were invited to participate in this cross-disciplinary writing experience.

To kick off this year’s event, students were immersed in the observation practices of nonfiction writing. Each student was given a notebook to fill with words, images, ideas, and reactions to the various dioramas and and models in the sustainable shelter exhibit, including the Icon Solar House. The students then worked in writing groups led by graduate students in education and other university staff volunteers.

child writingTo further inspire student engagement with nature-based writing, teacher/author Larry Gavin shared some of his own writing from his published collection, Least Resistance.

Included in this anthology are the collages and the writings composed by these talented students from four Saint Paul Schools: Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet preK-8, Humboldt Junior High, Murray Junior High, and Ramsey Junior High.

The Minnesota Writing Project (MWP), a site of the National Writing Project, aims to improve writing—and the teaching of writing—from pre-kindergarten through college. Believing that teachers can empower other teachers, and that learning is a lifelong pursuit, MWP provides Minnesota educators opportunities to learn from one another and then share that learning with their colleagues, schools, and, of course, their students.

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people looking at an exhibitThanks to:

Nicole Brinza
Donna Clark
Candance Doerr-Stevens
Megan DeJaeger
Jessica Edelheit
Theodore Fabel
Rebecca Hanten
Debra Hartley
Zach Huber
Leigh Kelner
Joyce Malwitz
Alex Rick
Micki St. Sauver
Muriel Thompson
Christine VeLure Roholt
Terri Wallace
Kevin Williams