Teaching During Uncertain Times: Fostering Community and Writing Skills With Personal Narratives

Presented by Dr. Ah-Young Song

Session 1 - Wednesday, August 26 (9am - 3pm)

Session 2 - Thursday, August 27 (9am - 3pm)


Given the challenges of teaching in 2020, many educators are wondering how to help expand students’ writing skills while also building a sense of community among learners in blended or online environments. This interactive workshop focuses on personal narrative writing as an engaging mode of learning to facilitate students’ self-expression and understanding of others.

This day-long workshop will allow participants to explore elements that make a writing unit effective across various educational contexts, including synchronous and asynchronous formats. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in writing exercises and create their own models for their students. Throughout the session, the facilitator will point to digital tools that educators can opt to integrate for online videoconferencing, in-person learning, or self-directed asynchronous lessons.

In the morning, participants will engage in a virtual walk-through of activities for a personal narrative writing unit. Detailed plans, student samples, readings will be provided so that educators can begin to think about applications to their own unique contexts. In the afternoon, educators will receive hands-on support to create their own writing-focused lesson plans for virtual, in-person, or hybrid learning environments.

Specifically, we will explore a range of creative exercises that promote self-exploration, imaginative thinking, and active engagement with source texts. Some of the activities include a human mapping exercise, online quotation activity, and show & tell to generate ideas. We will produce quick-writes, playing with different writing conventions and multimodal formats.

This practical workshop will emphasize the application of concrete strategies to help bring writers’ experiences to the page. The session will also review how to foster a welcoming learning environment, support students during writing conferences, and facilitate youth agency during the writing process.

About the Presenter

Ah-Young Song is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where she teaches courses on adolescent literacies, contemporary education, and race & society. She has a BA and MA in English from Brown University and an MPhil and PhD in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has led teacher education workshops on project-based learning, multimodal activities, and literacy across the curriculum for public school teachers in New York City, Georgia, and Florida. Before becoming a teacher educator, she taught high school students across four countries. Her research interests include youth literacy education in out-of-school spaces, critical multimodal learning, and inclusive pedagogies. Her most recent publication in the Journal of Literacy Research addresses the role of literacy researchers in technologically-mediated contexts.

Who Should Attend?

Secondary Educators in English, Social Studies, Humanities and/or Performing Arts.


Each workshop will run from 9:00am-3:00pm EST; Log in at least 10 minutes early to give yourself time to get set up.


The cost of this workshop is $199.00 per person. For groups of 6 or more, please contact our program administration for group pricing - admissions@elitedirection.com.

Your Privacy

This virtual event will be recorded, including breakout sessions where your camera and microphone may be turned on. This recording will only be shared with you and your fellow workshop attendees for 30 days. Your recorded image and audio will not be used in any other way.