This online class is a collaboration between the Oregon Writing Project and the Vanport Mosaic, “a memory-activism platform” which seeks to amplify, honor, present, and preserve the silenced histories that surround us in order to understand our present and create a future where we all belong. The Vanport Mosaic uses theater, dance, oral history, tours, and exhibits to tell the history of the Portland area. During this week-long course, educators will have an opportunity to read and create curriculum for four plays about the intersection of race and history.
Three of the plays raise up the history of Portland’s past by focusing on the Black experience, examining legacies from the lost city of Vanport; an Albina neighborhood slated for destruction; and the Portland Black Panthers to today’s fight for social change - with the fourth play casting an even wider net looking back to the contributions our Nation’s Founding Mothers, both free and enslaved, made on the birth of our democracy and the founding of our constitution.
During the course, educators will have an opportunity to meet and discuss the plays with Damaris Webb, co-director of the Vanport Mosaic. Teachers may take the plays back to their schools to help students understand the history that surrounds them.
OWP director, Linda Christensen, will model teaching strategies designed to ground the curriculum in students’ lives, prepare critical reading activities around historical and literary documents, and create artistic written expressions like poetry, interior monologues, or historical fiction.
By the end of the course, participants will have the ability to:
- Write in a variety of genres and styles about local history
- Analyze local history and find entry points for students
- Develop a unit around one of Vanport’s collection of plays and materials which embeds reading and writing strategies into local history.
Course Details & Registration
Dates: Monday-Friday, August 2-6, 2021, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Instructor: Linda Christensen, MEd
Graduate Continuing Education Credit: CEED 839, 2 sem. hours, $700
About the Instructor
Linda Christensen, MEd has been involved in the Oregon Writing Project (OWP) since her first National Writing Project Summer Institute in 1980. Linda has taught and/or provided literacy coaching in public schools for over 40 years, including seven years as the PPS district language arts specialist, and regularly provides professional development in writing across the curriculum for local and national schools. Linda is a social justice activist, leader, and author for Rethinking Schools, a national grassroots social justice education magazine, and author and editor of several books: Reading, Writing and Rising Up, 2nd Edition, Teaching for Joy and Justice, Rhythm and Resistance: Teaching Poetry for Social Justice, and most recently The New Teacher Book: Finding purpose, balance, and hope during your first years in the classroom, 3rd Edition. She was awarded the 2020 Distinguished Service Award from NCTE.