The Mason Writers in the Schools Program is an arts-in-education in-class and after school writing workshop that reaches over 600 Fairfax and Arlington students each year. Our mission is to bring creative writing workshops led by graduate writing students into classrooms where time to think and write creatively has been reduced. We hire graduate students in Mason’s nationally ranked creative writing MFA program to both teach and mentor students in local schools during once-a-week classes, fostering both the love of reading and the craft of writing.
Empowering Students with 21st Century Skills
Mason WITS empowers students with the confidence and resources to think and write creatively, understanding that better writers are better readers, and better readers are more likely to think for themselves, perform well on tests, graduate from high school, and succeed in life. Mason WITS programming fosters 21st Century Skills as students develop the art of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.
Mason WITS focuses on bringing global voices, diverse writers, and variety of writing styles into the classroom to promote our goal of expanding perspectives. In this way, students in the Greater DC/Northern Virginia area will see their lives and experiences reflected in our classroom readings. Furthermore, students will have the chance to develop a greater understandings of those who have experiences unlike their own.
Launched in 2011, Mason WITS has provided in class, before school, and after school creative writing workshops to over 200 classrooms! Here is a list of some of the schools we have worked with:
Thomas Jefferson School of Science and Technology
We have been invited back to TJ for the fifth time, assisting our partnering teacher’s persuasive essay writing curriculum by teaching a workshop titled “The Art of Persuasion in the Time of Argument.”
The Westminster School
We kicked off a brand new partnership to help 3rd-6th grade students who stay after school for science writing called “Weird but True Creatures” that covers strange creatures such as the Japanese spider crab and zombie spiders.
Robinson High School
Our WITS fellows have taught in Creative Writing Electives 1 & 2, working within classrooms of 9th-12th graders. WITS fellows at Robinson High School have brought in visiting published writers in each genre to talk about the art of publication.
Arlington Traditional Elementary School
In addition to our WITS fellows teaching in the classroom at Arlington Traditional, we also organized a writing contest to give students the space to explore and write about their families, backgrounds, and important traditions.
“It is true, I believe, that if literature has any social justification or use it is that readers can identify the common humanity in, and can therefore identify with, characters vastly different from themselves in century, geography, gender, culture, and beliefs; and that this enhances the scope of the reader’s sympathy.” — Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction