Lake Erie Ink: a writing space for youth provides creative expression opportunities and academic support for youth in the Greater Cleveland Community.
We envision a community where youth discover their voices, share ideas and inspire each other as valued participants.
The initiative grows out of the many years that teachers Amy Rosenbluth and Cynthia Larsen have offered creative writing programs for youth in Cleveland communities on the east side.
Two school poetry clubs started at Fairfax Elementary (Amy-2004) and Boulevard Elementary (Cynthia-2007) in Cleveland Heights. During the 2009-10 school year, five Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools hosted poetry clubs. For the 2010-11 school year, LEI offered four Library Writers Clubs to students in grades 4-12 as well as three elementary school lunchtime writing clubs.
Ms. Rosenbluth has facilitated the Heights Teen Poetry Slam for 11 years. Ms. Larsen taught project-based creative writing in collaboration with teachers at Boulevard and Coventry elementary schools for four years.
Both professionals are credentialed teachers and bring valuable youth programming and teaching experience to LEI. The primary objective through all of these initiatives has been to give youth a voice, a space to experience the power of creative expression, an audience and the skills required to communicate effectively.
LEI’s teaching methodologies are aligned with the well-researched project-based learning model, which emphasizes the in-depth exploration of a topic where learning and decision-making are student-centered. By centering instruction around a creative project, students invest themselves deeply in their work. The major tenets of project-based learning include: (1) giving students the chance to collaborate with instructors and peers, (2) placing students in decision-making roles, thereby reinforcing the skills and techniques learned, as they are forced to employ them independently, (3) designing assignments with more than one right answer leaving room for creativity and critical thinking, (4) taking advantage of an authentic audience of readers, thereby bolstering students’ pride in their work, (5) engaging students in a project that is meaningful to them at the moment, and (6) culminating in a final, finished product to make the learning experience more meaningful.