Presentations for Teachers of English
Keynote: The American Naturalists Tradition: The Storyteller’s Journey Through Literature and Science
Walking a path first blazed by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson; Brian “Fox” Ellis travels in the tradition of the American Naturalists. The Transcendentalists were the first truly American movement in literature that broke from European traditions. Fox follows in these footsteps. He promises to tune our ears to the quiet whispers of wildflowers, to teach us the songs of wind and wave, to share the stories of the land. (This was originally a keynote address for the Illinois State Teachers of English Conference, and has since been presented at several science teacher and environmental education conferences.)
Fox also performs as Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe.
The American Naturalists Tradition: In this participatory workshop we will learn to listen carefully to the other creatures who share our home. We will travel through geological time and enter the worlds of molecules and woolly mammoths. Learn to read natural history through hands-on science activities. A poet’s eye and gift for language is very similar to the detailed observation and ability to communicate complex ideas required of scientists. Learn to use haiku to teach entomology. Learn to use poetry to help students write clearer more exciting essays. Come to celebrate the voices of nature and find your voice as a poet. The basic question here is simply: What is my relationship within the web of life?
Mark Twain's River His-story (and Her-story, too!): Learn how to conduct oral history interviews to research local history with an emphasis on average folks. Learn library research skills and how to turn "field notes" into dynamic literature. Though we will focus on river history and the context that inspired Samuel Clemens, the skills learned are applicable to any period of history.
Prairie Tales: An Inter-Disciplinary workshop that blends social studies, language arts and science to celebrate the Prairie Ecology and Literature! American Indian folklore and pioneer history blend in this celebration of one of America's most diverse and magnificent ecosystems. In this participatory workshop we will learn creative writing strategies that integrate the curriculum in meaningful, inspiring lesson plans. Blending math and field ecology we will create poetry that explores the adventures of a seed, journeys through the four seasons with the plants and animals that call the prairie home. Trace the geological history of the oak savanna through the travels of "Rusty", a molecule of ferrous oxide. Learn of the struggles and successes to restore the prairie to America's heartland and motivate your students to write dynamic historical fiction, while making a difference in the future of our ecological well-being!