Friday, July 30, 2010

Who is Katie Farren?

 Henry Stindt at the Museum
        When Virginia-based writer-photographer Dan Mouer visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with his wife Robin and lifelong friend Henry Stindt, an artist-photographer who has spent decades teaching painting and photography, he waited for the perfect moment to capture this image.
        "As we sat down for our lunch break in the museum's cafe," writes Mouer, "we began talking about the exhibit we had just come from. The light behind Henry made a halo around his long gray hair. I simply waited for a time when his face relaxed as he was listening to Robin. The light and the intensity of his expression made the shot."  To see more of Mouer's photographic art,  please visit To see a larger view of this photo, please click on it.
        Mouer's image invites a myriad of comments that are sure to inspire writing. Students will readily respond to such questions as: (1) What does the expression on the man's face tell you? (2) Who or what is the man looking at? (3) What is his profession or occupation? (4) What is he thinking? (5) Does he have a family? (6) What are his political affiliations.
       Alternatively, you could list several key words related to the photo and use them to trigger responses. A few examples are pensive, intense, surprised, distrustful.
         Finally, you could simply show the photo to your students while you encourage them to use their imaginations to create either expository or creative writing. The possibilities are endless.
 How Some Master Teachers  Use Photographs
             In a review of Write What You See in Voices of Youth Advocate, August, 2009, Joyce Doyle wrote: "Possibly the most helpful feature is a special section in the back of the book where high school and college teachers show how they have helped to inspire creative writing through the use of photos." Here are two examples.

           After having students respond to several photos in terms of the five senses, Lehigh Valley Writing Project Co-Director Kristy M. Weidner-Gonzalez has the students write short poems in which each line reveals one of the senses. Then the students take a walking tour of the school and surrounding neighborhood during which they photograph their favorite places. Using the images they produced, the students revisit the idea of senses as they write about what they had experienced when they created the photos. “The second time around has much more meaning for the students,” writes Weidner-Gonzalez, “because the places they photographed were much more personal and held certain memories for them.”
          As a teacherconsultant for the Illinois State Writing Project and an English teacher at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington, Ann Cox uses photos to teach characterization. After giving her students a magazine photo of a person, she asks them to write a character sketch of the person. Then she provides a scenario and directs the students to describe how their characters would react and why. Finally, students share their writing with the class and discuss their motivation.  
Who Is Katie Farren?
        Katie Farren is a teen volunteer at the Darien Public Library, Darien, Connecticut. Here's what she wrote about Write What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner.
        Do you ever have trouble writing stories for your English class or on your own? Well Write What You See is packed with 99 intriguing photos, writing prompts and key-words that will surely motivate you to write stories that will blow people away. The ideas and stories these pictures can help you come up with are endless. You'll never have trouble writing again!
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           Write What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing sells for $24.95. But through September 1, 2010 you'll pay just $16.47 when you order directly from the publisher at That'll save you a whopping 34%.
        Here's how to receive your discount. Just enter coupon code HPIXWS when you order online. Your discount will be entered automatically when you check out. The $8.48 discount applies only to orders that include Write What You See.
       You can also phone in your order at 1-800-864-4297 and mention the code HPIXWS to receive the discount. Don't delay. Order today!
Coming Soon
Guest Blog by Molly Anderson-Childres
The Man in the Green Shirt by Michael Shapiro
 Student Photo Contest by Stephanie Susan Smith
Summer Storms by Cynthia Staples 
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