2017 ISI – Week 1 Recap

June 12 – 16, 2017

After three days of introductory activities, KMWP’s 2017 Summer Institute got fully underway on Monday, June 12. Co-directors Tommy Jolly, Amanda Montgomery, and Rob Montgomery led the 16 fellows in several first-day activities designed to both build community and facilitate thinking about approaches to narrative writing. First, Rob had the fellows study Carl Sandburg’s poem “Jazz Fantasia,” and then participate in an activity where they listened to several pieces of music and wrote a poem inspired by one of them.  This was followed up with an activity wherein fellows gave themselves a Cree Indian name and wrote a poem explaining their reasoning behind their choice. Tommy led the group in an engaging post-lunch activity teaching the group how to write blackout poetry, and the first day ended with an activity that introduced the fellows to invention strategies for writing personal narratives.

Kennesaw Mountain Place BasedWith an emphasis this year on place-based writing and finding inspiration in nature, the second day was spent off campus at two different locations. The morning involved a mini-writing marathon at several different sites within Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. After lunch, the fellows spent the afternoon at the Kennesaw State University Museum of History and Holocaust Education, exploring ways museums and learning centers can facilitate writing in connection with historical texts and events.

More place-based writing and the first meeting of the summer’s writing groups was the order of the day for Wednesday. Amanda got the fellows exploring KSU’s campus in order to write with a photographer’s eye, and after lunch the fellows met in four different groups to workshop pieces of writing they had developed so far in the SI. Closing out the day, the fellows talked about sensory triggers, and how the memories we associate with them can be used to generate narrative writing.

Kassidy Photographer's Eye Lexy Photographers Eye

technology day

Thursday saw a workshop delivered by KMWP Director Dr. Jennifer Dail, who spent the morning introducing innovative ways of using technology to facilitate writing in the classroom. The fellows experimented with collaborative writing (penning group “I Am” poems using Google Drive), remix (generating a range of clever memes), and VoiceThread.  After lunch, Dr. Dail was joined by Ms. Michelle Goodsite to share the many ways in which this summer’s fellows can stay involved with KMWP after the Summer Institute, which includes an exciting new project conducted in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Education. Tommy concluded the day by asking the fellows to write about artifacts from a distance, creating stories by treating familiar objects as though they were foreign.


Writing Groups3At the end of a long first week, the fellows eased into Friday morning in their writing groups, followed by a narrative writing activity focused on using increments of time to identify personal stories worth telling. 2015 SI Teacher Consultant David Kitzler joined the group after lunch to share the ways he has encouraged collaborative writing in his classroom by using historical artifacts. The day previously, the fellows has been asked to bring a packed bag to Friday’s meeting, and the first week ended with a fun activity asking the fellows to write arguments and narratives involving a randomly selected bag belonging to one of their colleagues.

It was a productive and exhausting week, but the fellows left energized, full of ideas, and ready to resume work on Monday.

-Rob Montgomery

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