Sizemore has had 90+ writing residencies sponsored by the KAC. She worked with the Kentucky Folklife Program to develop the Community Scholars program and is certified as a community scholar and a community scholar trainer. She has coordinated areas at the Kentucky Folklife Festival and has served as community scholar for programs funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. She has published 5 resource guides that include community writing activities. She authored the audio driving tour “MORE THAN MUSIC: A Heritage Driving Tour of Eastern Kentucky,” narrated by Ricky Skaggs and produced by the Kentucky Historical Society. She received the "Hambleton Tapp Award" for Creative Teaching of Kentucky History in 1994 and the Governor's Award for Arts in Education in 1998. She has edited over 20 community heritage anthologies and is the former KAC Outreach Director.
Potential Residency Project
Poetry Unit – Five Day Residency
This poetry project can be adapted for students from second grade through high school. The goals of the project are:
- To collaborate with a teacher to demystify the process of writing poetry.
- To help students learn to use visual thinking strategies like sketchnoting and illustrated poetry and poetic devices like simile and alliteration., making direct connections to the KY Academic Standards.
- To provide students the opportunity to explore and express emotions.
- To model the process of using expressive poetry as a vehicle for social and emotional learning making connections to the CASEL competencies.
I work with teachers to refine the exact structure of the residency. Depending on the grade level and previous experience with creative writing, we might complete as many as four poems during a five-day residency and make individual booklets for participants to keep. (An alternative is to create video poems.) I begin by leading the class (students and teachers) in writing a group cinquain poem in response to a visual prompt such as a painting or photographs of clouds. This helps students relax as we brainstorm together and sketchnote ideas, then create and refine a poem. As we refine the poem, we focus on word nuance and the process of creative choice. I try to keep this introductory session playful and non-intimidating to allow time for me to get to know the teacher and students and for them to know me. As we move into using prompts that might elicit more personal and emotional responses, I always allow students the alternative of using different visual prompts and writing poems on less personal topics if they are reluctant to express their emotions on paper. I provide laminated artwork and project images but also encourage participants to use images from the albums on their phones or their own personal artwork. I also encourage them to write poems at home, where they might be more comfortable. Although I encourage students to share their poetry with their peers, I allow them to keep their poetry private or to restrict who can read it if they wish. This empowers their sense of ownership and control and often inspires the most authentic expression of their inner thoughts. Usually after being given these alternatives, students who were initially reluctant end up writing extremely powerful poetry and often decide to share their poems with classmates. I invite teachers to share their poetry with the class, and this often gives students the courage to share their poetry.