The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Youth Writing Programs


In response to interest in an alternative version of our programming, we have decided to offer an online version of our Summer Youth Writing Program. This program will take place during the same timeframe, July 13-17; however, it will be conducted online. The program will cost $100 ($75 for the program and a $25 registration fee). I have attached descriptions of the workshops, which contain more detailed information about the program. You can register for the program here: https://forms.gle/zHrW55QySb9LZG157.

 

Workshops

Speaking in Symbols/Playwriting Workshop 
Grades: 6-9* (The grades have changed based on students interested in the program.)

Many of us have dreams in which random characters or objects appear that leave us scratching our heads thinking, “what was that?” or “what did that mean?” Today we’re going to try and give a voice to that symbol and ask it what it wants from us in our dreams. Students will be asked to think about their dreams, their lives, or their imaginations for a recurring image or object that keeps resurfacing. Students will use these symbols to create a dialogue that has a revelatory moment, a dramatic ending, or create a monologue through which the voice of the symbol reveals something transformational about itself. Students will complete a dramatic text that includes a moment of revelation/discovery that culminates in a catharsis using symbolic language and characters. By registering your child for a workshop, you authorize Western Massachusetts Writing Project to use your child’s writing and/or photo in future marketing and/or promotional materials, including electronic formats. This workshop will be held virtually through Zoom. The workshops will meet two hours each day from 9:30am-11:30am.


Instructor: Gian Di Donna is currently an English teacher at Frontier Regional High School who previously taught at the City University of New York and Saint John's University (Manhattan/Staten Island).  He is a published playwright whose work has appeared at the Joseph Papp Public Theater through the then resident Labyrinth Theater Company.  He is a classically trained actor educated at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and has appeared in motion pictures such as Alive and The Funeral. He currently resides in Western Massachusetts and is adapting a classic text in serial form.  

 

Interactive Fiction: The Many Paths of Stories (This workshop has filled. No new students are being accepted at this time.)
Grades: 5-8

Interactive Fiction is all about the paths of choice. If you choose one path, the story takes you there. If you choose another path, the story takes you elsewhere. Best known for ‘Choose Your Own Ending’ stories in book form but also the inspiration for many video games, Interactive Fiction requires the writer to acknowledge the presence of the reader, who ultimately makes the decisions of where a story goes. In this workshop, we will explore how to plan and compose these stories, and we will use different technology platforms to write and publish our own interactive adventures. Will you choose to join us?  By registering your child for a workshop, you authorize Western Massachusetts Writing Project to use your child’s writing and/or photo in future marketing and/or promotional materials, including electronic formats. This workshop will be held virtually through Zoom. The workshops will meet two hours each day from 9am-11am.

Instructor: Kevin Hodgson teaches sixth grade at the William E. Norris Elementary School in Southampton and is a published writer and poet. He has long been focused on digital literacies and how writing and technology come together to create new and different opportunities for composition for young writers.


For more information, please e-mail  wmwp@english.umass.edu.