wondertorium

The Word Up! table facilitates weekly literacy programming at Stillwater, Oklahoma’s WONDERtorium children’s museum.

 

Word Up! programming focuses on children between the ages of 4 and 12. The main focus for the program is continued improvement in museum-inspired programming. We aim to develop literacy activities inspired by and designed to incorporate the various play-spaces in the museum—a modification to encourage children to explore the space with intentions to write about their observations. Further, we work to design literacy activities in accord with Oklahoma PASS Skills that are required for early childhood development.


 

Highland Park Elementary

One-on-one work with kids and their writing at the local Highland Park Elementary school. Work by the tutors is done weekly in order to develop the children's writing skills for the following essays: Narrative, Informative, and Opinion/Argumentative. This helps prepare the students for their state-­wide testing in writing. Children work in groups of 3 to 5 students on the genre of writing for the week. Students are given individualized attention, talk about sample essays, discuss the most important elements to include the specific genre, and work on the four square outline that the classrooms utilized.


 

Adult ESL Program

This was a continuation of the English as a Second Language (ESL) project launched at Highland Park Elementary to help interested parents who are English language learners (ELLs) improve their skills. In 2016, it was relocated to the Wondertorium children’s museum, which allowed for the children to have a fun and active learning space while we consulted with their parents.


 

Read, Write & RePete

The Read, Write & RePete group facilitates biweekly literacy programming at the Stillwater Public Library.

Read, Write & RePete focuses on providing free, public access literacy programming for children between the ages of 7 and 13. The Read, Write & RePete team members serve as literacy sponsors at the Library space on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. As this is a new outreach program of the OSU Writing Center, the team focuses on two main areas of development: First, it worked on fostering an environment that engaged visitors with literacy- and imagination-based activities via reading, writing, and sharing. In doing so, we aime to meet some Oklahoma PASS Skills required for early childhood development. Further, we also develop literacy activities inspired by various genres and forms of writing in order to give the kids a sampling of how many ways writing is done and used, e.g. from comic book writing to letterwriting.


 

Wings of Hope

Writing Center consultants visit the Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services shelter to work on literacy with the children living in the shelter and to assist mothers with the job search process including applications, resumes, and cover letters. The Writing Center also designates one consultant to the area of grant research for Wings of Hope in order to expand the impact that OSU writing consultants have at Wings of Hope and provide a greater range of writing skills and services.

 

 

Writing LAB

Led by the OSU Writing Center.

 

The Oklahoma State University Museum of Art advances creativity, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement through exhibitions and programs. Through exposure to original art, the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art will be a dynamic, innovative center of learning by providing a laboratory for creative thinking, interdisciplinary perspectives, and participatory experiences for all people. Activity/workshop goals are to transform the inspiration you find in visual art into the written word. Peruse the paintings, sculptures, and other works of art, then come together with other guests to write a poem, story, letter – there are no rules in art, and no rules in writing!

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Fall 2016 Research

In continuing the land grant mission of OSU, we also actively explore avenues of improvement not only to our consulting sessions, but also in how we are perceived in the community as a whole. As a result, we have a couple research projects currently in development with a few more on the horizon. One is in regards to the inclusivity of the LGBT community in the Writing Center, and the other is focused on the College of Engineering’s relationship with the WC. The following outlines the motivation behind each project and what is being done right now to help further each.


LGBT

Galen Bunting is a first year M.A. student: he heads up the “LGBT+ Writers and Tutors within the Writing Center” research project. He hopes to center Oklahoma State University’s geographical and cultural background while exploring the position of the SafeZone tutor within the broader context of the Writing Center, especially when confronting homophobic attitudes within writing, and hopes to explore ways in which the OSU Writing Center can uplift and reach out to LGBT+ students. To pursue this research question, he plans to interview OSU’s SafeZone tutors, and to examine studies of LGBT+ tutors and students. He also plans to measure student opinions (LGBT+ and otherwise) of the presence of SafeZone tutors on the Writing Center’s website via survey.


CEAT

ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) is a governing body that decides the baseline of whether a program meets standards to produce graduates who are entering “critical technical fields” (Abet.org). Aside from general knowledge of the applied sciences and theories that govern the engineering field, a key factor that determines the value of an engineer is the quality of writing one can produce. ABET requires written reports, both individual and group, during a student’s undergrad to try and prepare students as much as possible for the amount and type of writing they will be doing in industry.

Despite these requirements, we don’t see many STEM majors coming to the Writing Center. Each student, engineering or not, has to write many pages throughout their time at OSU, and by coming here, each student has a chance to improve their writing. This has not historically been the case of the engineering department. The goal of this project is to increase engineering student involvement with the Writing Center to better prepare them for the multitude of reports and presentations each will have to produce in their careers.


inquiry groups

A new facet being implemented in our WC this Fall is the addition of inquiry groups. Inquiry groups are consultant-led, informal discussions where our staff can engage in small group conversations without fear of ridicule on a wide variety of topics. For a given group, there will be an overarching topic that will be discussed, but given the informal basis of the discussion, the direction can be changed to go any which way. We believe this will enable our staff to think critically about the happenings of our center, analyzing areas of improvement, common problems encountered, and ways to increase outreach to typically underrepresented locales on campus. Our goal with these inquiry groups is to foster strong enough informal discussion about a topic that more information might be needed to address it, which would be a great lead-in to a new area of research.