When Carmen T. Bernier-Grand signed a book for Sophie at the Wordstock Festival, it was just the beginning of the relationship. For one week in March, Bernier-Grand became a writer in residence for Sophie’s 3rd grade class at Harney Elementary School.Bernier-Grand led Sophie and her fellow students through a series of activities writing the first draft of a book. The guidance she provided in her week of residency will result in a bound book that each student will take home at the end of the year.
Bernier-Grand also hosted a Family Write Night at Harney. Over 100 students and parents participated in the activities. She runs her workshops in English and in Spanish, and she encourages her students to write in whatever language feels most comfortable to them.
Teachers say that her bilingual workshops, and personable demeanor that draws in children and parents equally, have created an open atmosphere for families who do not speak English at home. These parents have become more involved in their children’s academic lives as a direct result of her presence in the school.
You can meet Bernier-Grand, and hear her read from her children’s books, April 15th at the upcoming Reading Fair at the University of Portland. She will read her books in the Wordstock Reading Corner in the big red chair. Catch her there, because she soon returns to the classroom for more Family Write Nights and a classroom residency with Harney first graders.
Click here to learn more about Wordstock’s Classroom Residency programs, Family Write Nights, and more programs for students and their families.
Q: What do Beaumont Middle School, the month of September, and Wordstock have in common?
A: Author Mark Pomeroy!
In September, Mark Pomeroy became a finalist in the Wordstock Short Story competition, earning a coveted place in The Wordstock Ten Anthology, and Kirsten Parrott, a Beaumont teacher who participated in Wordstock’s Teacher as Writer program, contacted the Wordstock office looking for a professional writer who could share his passion for writing with students in a classroom artist residency. Not only was Mark Pomeroy the right fit for her writing goals for her students, but we also learned another way in which this residency was especially meaningful – Mark himself was a graduate of Beaumont in 1983, and it was his middle school creative writing teacher that encouraged him to pursue writing as a profession.
I had the pleasure of sitting in on one of Mark and Kirsten’s classes last week, where I saw seriously engaged 7th graders taking part in a variety of writing exercises to prepare them for writing a short story by the end of his residency week. The energy in the room was palpable, especially when he showed the students a picture of him as a Beaumont student in the early 80s. Mark finishes his residency work at Beaumont on Thursday, and we hope to share some of the student work with you after the holidays!