Virtual creativity: Lake Erie Ink moves its writing workshops to a Zoom format

When Amy Rosenbluth learned in March that she had to shut down the after-school creative writing programs at Lake Erie Ink on the Coventry Peace Campus, 2843 Washington Blvd. in Cleveland Heights, the executive director started looking for a way to keep her students engaged in their creative processes.

 

So, Rosenbluth and her team created Creative Communities Online—offering some of the Lake Erie Ink classes online via Zoom so the students can continue to talk, write, and create together.

 

“We believe that now more than ever kids need something to connect them, so we wanted to offer them a community where they can share their own feelings and thoughts about the world.”

The first four-week Creative Communities session was held throughout April, with 54 students participating.

Rosenbluth and her staff initially spent two hours meeting on Zoom, talking about alternative programming they could implement on a virtual level. The staff discussed and chose the classes they are passionate about teaching.

 

“It took us about a week and a half to learn how to use Zoom and create ideas for things that kids would like and figuring out who would teach what based on what the staff was passionate about,” explains Rosenbluth. “Right now, online learning is the only alternative we have, we are not going to send our staff to a place they can get sick. Having online creative workshops allow kids to have an opportunity without risking their health.”

 

Workshops are offered to students in second through 12th grade on topics such as Living Room Theater (writing a one-act play), In Other Worlds (sci-fi and fantasy writing), and Learn to Write Funny. There are even collaborative classes like Comedy Jam Sesh.

 

“The students love every class, but the two that really stood out were the poetry and comic classes because they were the classes that let kids be the most responsive and it is unlike what they do during school,” says Rosenbluth.

 

The first four-week Creative Communities session was held throughout April, with 54 students participating. The classes were so popular, Rosenbluth decided to open a second session in May. Classes begin today, Monday, May 4.

 

Rosenbluth opted to open a Creative Communities workshop to teachers as well this month, offering Creative Writing for Teachers.

 

All classes are free and open to the public, however a donation of $30 per four-week session is encouraged. The May session starts today, but students can still enroll.

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