Folk Arts • Literary Arts
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
A sample project that can be accomplished in a twenty day residency is a community heritage book. This project can be adapted for students from second grade through high school. The goals of the project are:
- To familiarize students with the writing process;
- To help students learn to use pre-writing tools like webbing and storyboarding;
- To help students learn creative revision techniques such as peer feedback and conferencing and technical revision techniques using word processing software;
- To help students develop an awareness of audience and purpose in their writing.
I begin by explaining to students the process that I, as a freelance writer, use in developing a story idea for a specific audience with a specific purpose. I then explain that we will be writing a book of stories that reflect the unique history and heritage of the community. We discuss the potential audience and the purpose of the book and then brainstorm ideas for relevant topics. Each student submits a story proposal. Although I allow a great deal of latitude in the selection of a topic that fits the general guidelines, I do require that each story must be based, at least in part, on an interview. After interviews are complete, we begin the drafting and revision process, culminating with the publication of a community heritage book.
- This project is often integrated into a larger school or community heritage project, sometimes culminating in a community heritage festival. The project also integrates well into school-wide writing programs, demonstrating creative approaches to the types of writing that students must develop for portfolios (literary, personal expressive, transactive, and reflective) and developing the skills outlined in the Core Content for Writing (Content, Structure, Conventions, and Processes).
- Parents are directly involved in the entire project. Students usually interview their parents or another family member as the basis of their story. Before the story can be published, the interviewee must review the students story and help them to make any revisions needed, so there is on-going involvement in several stages of the writing process.
- I emphasize the creative aspect of this type of writing. It is not a case of simply collecting and organizing information. Creative choices must be made throughout the process not only about the topic, but also about voice and style.
- Through this project, students develop skills in Basic Communication (Goal 1) including research, reading, listening, observing, speaking, and finally writing.
- I draw out the creativity of children by allowing them total ownership of the stories within specified parameters. They select their own specific topic and format for writing. They decide whom to interview and develop their own interview questions. They decide how to organize their information and what illustrations to include. I emphasize throughout the peer feedback and conferencing process that the final decisions on changes must always be made by the author.
- This is a particularly relevant approach for teachers because they see that the most effective method for developing good writers is to allow students to make choices and to provide opportunities for writing for real audiences.