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IMGALTTAG Volume IV: Pittsburgh Writers


A Pittsburgh Memory
A Memoir Study Focusing on Location
Victoria A. Bauman

A unique aspect of children’s memoir writing is that their collection of memories, wisdom and value is limited. That is not to say these memories do not exist. Children should be given the opportunity to develop an understanding of who they are and where they come from, and how this is connected to the past and future, the near and far away. A memoir study focusing on location as a theme can provide this opportunity.

This unit is comprised of three major components; Activities that stimulate the recording of memories, activities that help students "craft" their work, and a focus on Pittsburgh.


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A View of Pittsburgh through the Pen
Dale Bizub

This research project is entitled, "A View of Pittsburgh through the Pen." It was developed to promote a wide array of resources (not limited to print) by Pittsburgh authors, as well as the views of other writers on Pittsburgh, past and present. The primary objectives of this unit are twofold. The first is to promote literacy through reading and the use of library/media skills. The second is to expose young people to the history and cultural heritage of this city called Pittsburgh.

Many cities across this country have experienced growth and decline. In recent decades heavy industry has declined in our region and we continue to struggle with the changes we are being forced to make. With the rapid expansion of technology and the growth of new industries in our area, the call has gone out to look to the future and let the past go. As we meet the challenge to rediscover who we are and where we need to go from here, I feel that much of what has been the backbone of this region may be forgotten. I fear that young people today lack an understanding of how the successes and failures of the past have shaped this region and its people. These readings and activities will help put the past in proper perspective for the future. This is a good resource for those wishing to know more about Pittsburgh, as well as a solid framework for developing a program to acknowledge one’s own hometown.


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Pittsburgh Writers
Doris Braun

I have chosen to develop a unit on Pittsburgh Writers for many reasons. I am currently teaching Reading, English and Computers to fifth and seventh graders at Mifflin School. Mifflin School is located in the Lincoln Place community of Pittsburgh. With very few exceptions, the families of my students have lived in this area for several generations. I would like my students to recognize and be able to write about some of the good qualities germane to their own city. I want to make them aware that Pittsburgh can and does serve as a setting for many fictional and factual stories. I would like to introduce them to some of the writers from their own city who have been published and are successful. The focus in the Pittsburgh Public Schools is literacy, so why not read and write about what is most familiar to us—our own city? As part of our Standards Based Portfolios, the students are required to include a response to information, a personal narrative, a response to literature, a report, and a persuasive essay. In addition, each student is expected to read twenty-five books per year. I think that it would be really nice to choose some books by Pittsburgh authors that take place in Pittsburgh locales. I feel that my students would be able to achieve all of these goals within the framework of the Pittsburgh Writers’ Unit.


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Meet me at the Pitt-At Fort Pitt School
Christina Blassingame-Cleveland

This unit is designed for the pre-kindergarten student ages three to five years old. The goal of this unit consists of three things; to explain the history of Fort Pitt School, to acquaint students with the Garfield community, and to further acquaint students with the city of Pittsburgh. It is important that the students view Garfield as a community that is thriving with learners of all ages and that works together to educate all students.

The intent of this unit is to help other teachers find creative, fun ways to promote school pride, introduce students to the surrounding school neighborhood, and give historical information about the city of Pittsburgh.


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Meet you at the Point: A Scavenger Hunt about Pittsburgh
Carolyn G. Davis

This curriculum unit will be an exciting way for my students to collect facts, data and information about the city of Pittsburgh. Although this unit is written for the students who live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it can be adapted for students who live in other cities. In this curriculum unit, the emphasis will be placed on literacy, using essays, novels, poems, prose and tour guides about the city of Pittsburgh. This unit will give students the opportunity to explore and discover facts about Pittsburgh that are not covered in the social studies unit.


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Shapes of Our City: A Preschool Approach to Writing
Alexis Kilgore

The goal of this curriculum unit is to educate pre-school students about the importance of writing. This will be accomplished first by defining what writing is and then by offering the students a variety of ways to look at writing and the writing process. It will provide ideas for pre-school teachers to integrate the literacy component into their curriculum. The concepts of "shapes" and "our city" will be used to connect these ideas together.

Young writers, as well as other writers, are most interested in writing about something that they are interested in or have prior knowledge of. The students will be given the guidance to put the information and the ideas they have learned into some form of writing or pre-writing activity. This curriculum unit promotes the idea that by providing children with purposeful and meaningful writing opportunities in the classroom you can begin to develop their understanding of some basic literacy principles.


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Pittsburgh Personals
Angela Mazza

Pittsburgh Personals is a unit that attempts to obtain young writers to place Pittsburgh as the setting for a personal narrative. Many writers set stories in a familiar place such as where they grew up, where they attended college or where they live presently. In researching Pittsburgh, students will use print and electronic sources in the school library, compile bibliographies, write a report, and present them in class. The information presented will cover a variety of subject areas that bring to the students’ attention, the history of our city and the ethnic diversity that remains in our community.


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Pittsburgh Kids/Pittsburgh Writers
Dr. Don Roberts

A person who wants to be a serious writer is often told to write about what he/she knows best. This good advice will be the basis of what is attempted in "Pittsburgh Kids/Pittsburgh Writers." Children usually know their immediate neighborhood in terms of where they live and where they go on a daily basis. They need to know more to write knowledgeably about their lives both in the city and its neighborhoods.

This curriculum unit will help Pittsburgh students become knowledgeable Pittsburgh writers by providing opportunities for them to learn about the city through Social Studies activities. Then, they will use the basic facts they have learned about their city and its neighborhoods in a wide variety of creative writing assignments. It should be noted that there are fifteen quotes from professional Pittsburgh writers imbedded in the text of this curriculum. They may be used as literary prompts for writing assignments. The overall goal of "Pittsburgh Kids/Pittsburgh Writers" is to make students more aware of where they live and, in the process, to give them material to use when they write stories set in their own neighborhoods and the city at large.


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Writing Pittsburgh
Nina Sacco

This curriculum is standards based and rich in the areas of reading, writing, and speaking. The unit affords opportunities to build the New Standards Portfolio by presenting reading, writing, and speaking assignments accompanied by the applicable portfolio entry sheets. Students are able to take ownership of this unit by creating an anthology of original writings. At the end of the unit the students celebrate their anthology with an authors party.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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