For the past two years, students and recent graduates from Donna Shrier’s Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) cohort have assisted with the children’s activities at the Wordstock Festival. Wordstock is Portland’s premier literary event and features a lively Children’s Area, coordinated and operated by PSU alumni and students.
GTEP alumni Autumn Lind, ’09, who now teaches for Hillsboro School District, took the lead in coordinating this year’s activities. “My role is to provide a creative and inspiring place for kids of all ages to write, read, interact with, and explore writing and reading.”Ms. Lind created and managed the activity stations, and coordinated the volunteers, including more than 20 students currently enrolled in the GTEP program.
The Wordstock Children’s Area features activity stations that include creating comics, solving and crafting word puzzles, and story writing inspired by a picture prompt. The students also operated the Children’s Area Stage which features well-known children’s book authors and illustrators such as David Shannon and David Wiesner.
GTEP cohort leader Donna Shrier was contacted by Festival Director Greg Netzer to provide assistance at the event; she notified GTEP cohorts who immediately jumped at the chance to help.
As future teachers, GTEP students have just the right skills for this activity.
“[They] have a natural ability to draw kids into the activities and make the experience comfortable and fun,” says Ms. Lind. “One of my favorite moments this past festival was seeing kids sprawled on the carpet, on chairs, and on bean bags, busily writing a story inspired by an image from Chris Van Allsburg’s book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.“