Week 1: Getting to Know You


Today is about building trust, ownership, and community in our workshop. It’s about establishing who we are as humans/writers/a group and why we write. This is our chance to set the tone.


Today’s goal

Write about yourself. [Who are you? Why do you write?]


Target exercise ideas

  • To go deep, students have to get vulnerable, and that takes norming and boundaries. Do the target circle exercise together to establish the culture of your workshop—then use it in all the weeks that follow! Build on it, point back to it, use it as a reminder. Watch this how-to video from our former executive director, Jo Dasher:
  • Another way to get ideas going for norming your workshop space is to let kids respond to scenarios, such as: “When we have an idea, but don’t feel comfortable sharing it out loud, we can”; “When someone says something that we appreciate, we can”. Find lots more options near the end of this resource library from Facing History and Ourselves.
  • What do you want to know about your kids? Use today as way to find answers to these questions. What interests them? What do they want write about in Deep? Make these these ice-breakers. Get moving! Stand up and toss a squishy ball or stuffed animal to each person as they answer.
  • Consider putting a writing quote on the board each week to get everyone’s head in a writing space.
  • Why do you write? On slips of paper, each contribute a line that begins with “I write…”, shuffle papers and distribute anonymously, read as a group to form a collective whole.
  • For reference, check out Cure for IDK, pg. 21, 161, 166.

Reading ideas:

Something autobiographical.


Writing prompt ideas

  • A: Write about your name like Esperanza did. Where did your name come from? How do you like to be called? Do you think it fits you? Why/not? If you could name yourself, what would you pick and why? What does it sound like?
  • B: Why do you write? What do you want your writing to do for you? your readers? What do you want to get out of Deep? What do you hope Deep will be?
  • C: Write a recipe for yourself. What “ingredients”(personality traits, favorite things, habits—good and bad–, family members, physical attributes, etc) are needed to make you? What should be avoided? Added? How will the maker know when it’s just right? Give specific instructions!


Sharing/performance ideas

  • Since this is your first week together, consider asking everyone share. You’ll probably have time for just one line from everyone. Share your own writing (done outside of workshop time), too, to show you have equal buy-in and are willing to take the same risk you’re asking your kids to take.
  • If you run out of sharing time, start with it next week. Sharing is really important for building your group’s sense of community.

Week 10: Publishing Submission: Final Revision and Author Bios (Part 3 of 3)



  • This week is for last-minute edits, checking our titles, and finishing author bios.
  • Remember, Deep writing is original, vivid, and fearless
  • Strategy: Hold mini-conferences with those who need it most. Set up an “office” and talk with writers one-on-one. Need a third writing fellow to get your group across the finish line? Contact Deep staff!
  • Publishing submissions are due this week after your workshop! Submit here.
  • Review the formatting and style guidelines. Items to note especially:
    • 1. Write a brief introduction for your workshop with your co-Fellow. Include your personal by-line. (Sample by-lines can be found in the style guide.)
    • 2. Only one Writing Fellow should submit for your workshop. Decide which of you will collect and upload the final submission to this site. This streamlines the publishing process.
    • 3. Submit one Word document for each author.Kids have missed out on publication in the past because their Fellows failed to double-check this!In this case, do not assume that your co-Fellow has it covered.
    • 4. Spell author names correctly. Kids have been published under the wrong names because their Fellows failed to double-check spelling against the students’ own folders.
    • 5. Format your Word documents to Deep standards.This saves countless hours of correction time for the publishing staff. Check against the formatting guide found on the blog.

Today’s goal(s)

  • Final revision: using vivid words and creative titles.
    • Replace boring, overused words with adjectives that are vibrant and alive.
    • Replace clichés with figurative language that’s new, never been heard before.
    • Write titles for your pieces that make your reader curious and grab their attention, don’t give it all away from the get-go.
  • Write your author bio.

Reading ideas

Writing prompt ideas

  • Individual last-chance revision feedback and notes for each Deep author.
  • A: Brainstorm three surprising titles for each of your to-be-published pieces. What’s the piece really about? How can you hint at it with the title? Is there a line or phrase that is powerful enough to become the title?
  • B: Write your own author bio. This is your chance to speak directly to your audience as yourself. What do you want your readers to know about you? Stay away from bland stuff, and give your readers some personality! Give a strange fact about yourself that most readers wouldn’t know. Why do you write? What do you hope people gain from your work? It’s okay to get silly or be serious—your pick.

Sharing/performance ideas

  • You’ve Got Me Feeling Emotions: Encourage young authors to channel the intention and emotions behind a piece by reading it in the most exaggerated emotion possible. If they are angry, ask them to shout; if they are sad, ask them to read it as if they were crying. Model so youth really step up to the plate.