Students go from hating writing to loving it.
Those who love writing, do it better.
Teachers get tools that they can use in their classes once I'm gone.
Everyone produces at least one new piece...
...in as little as 45 minutes.
Contact Andy Baker w/Storm5 Management to Book Peter Now
It's so fun, kids forget that they're learning
- No behavior problems
- No profanity
- No boredom, ever...
I begin with one of my own pieces to grab their attention and ask them to tell me what kind of writing it is. "Who thinks it's poetry?" "Who thinks it isn't poetry?" Different kids raise their hand for each. Then I ask the question that I really care about. "Who liked it?" Everyone raises their hands. I have their attention.
I give them actual tools to open the door to a world of writing...
- The action of verbs
- Words that create instant imagery
- How and when to use adjectives
- The magic of the unexpected
- The responsibility that comes with powerful writing
I turn an old, boring poem into an exciting, relevant story...
A volunteer reads the first 5 lines
Then I perform it, tell the story of how it was written and teach them the same lessons
Then we write
Most of the time I give them 4 words chosen from their surroundings that don't seem to fit together and tell them to write anything they want as long as they use those 4 words. For longer sessions I tell them to choose a topic, write an exciting introductory sentence, and then pass that sentence to the person next to them to use with their original topic. The quality of writing is always more than what anyone expects. If time allows, students and teachers perform their writing in front of the class.
Additional topics for longer sessions
- How to write great introductions
- The importance of facts and transitions
- Closing big
- The importance of what you don't write
- A writer's greatest secret: editing
- School Assembly (30-45 min) followed by workshops
- 1 hour (or period length) workshops throughout the day with <50 students/session
- 2 hour workshops (more tools, writing and feedback) with <100 students/session
Fee: $700 US, £400 UK
That gets you a full day of whatever combination of workshops/assemblies you choose. I've done workshops for less, but only for a noble cause. Email Andy Baker, my manager, and he'll work it out. Don't let money be the issue.
Contact Andy Baker w/Storm5 Management to Book Peter Now
Thank you for the excellent job you did with our GT students last week. You totally had them eating out of your hand during your performances, and elicited a quality of writing from them that was exceptional. Your tips and tools on writing gave them tangible ways to improve. All of the teachers had very positive comments about the phenomenal job you did. Thank you for your work, especially since you did not feel at your best health-wise. It was top notch!"
Education Specialist, Gifted/Talented Education
Region 9 Education Service Center
Wichita Falls, TX
The following concerns a "problem child" who came to one of my workshops
"information on Wyatt
He can't focus for very long and does not feel school is worthy of his time, but his grades are always good. Teachers were desperate to find something to challenge him and he kept disrupting class with jokes and "snorts". He does not do well with large groups. He can't focus on that many people/tasks at one time. His home life stinks. Step brothers and sisters pick on him and call him weird. He fights with them constantly. At school, he strikes back at anyone that makes comments about his behavior. His father has custody and all he wants is to go live with his mother to get away from things here. Things would probably be the same there.
Last year someone nominated him for the gifted program. While testing with a group of 8, I found he could do more accurate work alone, so the testing was completed one-on-one. His school ability test score was 160, my test does not score any higher! My gifted program state that if a student has been in ISS or AEP, they are not allowed to go on trips with the G/T group. He has been there 15 days so far this year for striking back at students or disrespecting teachers with comments that were inappropriate. Since he had never been on a trip with me, I made the decision to take him to the Peter Nevland Writer's Workshop.
Best decision ever made. He was focused, loved the day, made comments at lunch and on the way home. Told his teachers what he learned. SMILED! His writings from the workshop showed glimmers of greatness, but the anger and frustration showed through too. He told me he was going to edit them with the skills he learned and let me see them after that. I hope he does. Peter seemed to have made an impact that hopefully will continue."
- Janet Goodwin
TAKS and Special Program Coordinator
Peter and Paul spent the first 20 minutes using word and rhythm to captivate their audience. Peter then recited some of his poetry and opened up a discussion on the descriptive words and imagery used within them. The initial response from the group was hesitant, but soon the group began to interact. Peter and Paul then performed one of their most popular songs called, ‘George’. I have never seen 50 teenagers that quiet, not through disinterest, they were actually moved by the words. By the end of the song you are in a prayerful state, whether you intend to be or not.
Peter then gave them a collection of words….’eyes’, ‘platypus, ‘peach’ and ‘scribble’. Everyone was asked to write half a page in which they used these four words. I was amazed by the response. He selected three of the students plus their teacher to stand at the front and read out their prose. The diversity, emotion and detail produced proved just how deeply Peter had touched their hearts.
- Lesley Hewish, Katherine Lady Berkeley School, Wotton Under Edge, England
To whom it may concern:
Spoken Groove has come to Leander Middle School for the last three years. They have done a fantastic job engaging our students. Both Peter Nevland and Paul Finley have a natural ability to reach kids and relate to them.
Every year the band performed a concert for the entire school. This year, they also came during the school day and taught classes to our students. They both did a phenomenal job. Peter focused on creative writing techniques by sharing the strategies he uses to write his songs. His songs are true works of art that are filled with colorful vocabulary, unique rhymes and interesting figurative language. Many of his strategies helped teach some of our students that are usually uninterested in school. These students really connected with him and his ideas. His strategies helped our students gain useful techniques for the writing TAKS test and also showed them a practical use for creative writing skills in the real world. Peter earns a living as a creative writer and his work shows them that they can use their creative writing talents in a career as well.
Paul Finley offered guitar lessons and really captured the interest of our male population. All of his sessions were packed with young men gobbling up his every word. This was truly fun to watch since we do have a hard time capturing our young men’s interest. His class would be a great extension for band students and it definitely sparked the interest of some of our students who struggle academically.
Both Peter and Paul show such passion for their career and talents that they are great models for kids to see. I would love to see them involved in our district on a grander scale in the future. They are very professional and easy to work with. They always put on an excellent show for our students and inspire a lot of enthusiasm in our student body. We have been honored to work with them throughout the years.
Leander Middle School, TX
Good Morning, Peter!
Just so you know, I've been listening to your CD. The story of your grandmother was beautiful. I loved it. My eyes welled with tears - enough to add grass to the Sahara!
There's a big construction project in front of our gym Concrete trucks and the BIG crane were already working when I left this morning. Half way home, I heard the trucks, and I glanced around nervously - wondering where could those trucks be? It turns out it was YOU! Gotta love "Size is Everything."
Thanks again for all that you did. David and I came home different people. He's inspired. I'm rejuvenated. Life is good. You're the best!
Sarah, - Teacher at Jeanette Hayes Elementary, Katy, Texas.
So I came to watch you... on the recommendation of a 10 year old...I totally expected.... pop...manufactured disco....it didnt take long to make me SLACKJAWED!!!
I love what you do....it has opened up a genre I didn't even know existed!!! (So much for me knowing music!). You guys tell the Word in a way that people of my age (32... just...) need to hear. No. 27...Wow even my 6 year old loves it... followed by breakaway... ok that's prob just for us guitar folk...what a feeling ...I write, I play.. you guys have inspired me.... the poetry I've written...the songs, the melodies...maybe...just maybe....
The point in this email being... I love what you do and what you are saying. I hope to learn to reach people in the way you guys did, the way you reached me.
-Lynette Prince, Cambridge, England
…You've made me fall in love with spoken word. I write poetry, but I've never thought about going into your style until now. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me and for the incredible "funky white boy dancing".
-Tommy Tompkins, Wilmore, Kentucky
I am having a lot of trouble connecting with my 16 yr. young son, who is having a few personal crises. He has started writing poetry he calls “slam”, but it has a lot of very startling, shocking and vulgar lyrics. His mother and I have tried to listen and read some of it, but it is too much for us.
He owns one of your releases; it’s the only slam I can listen to without covering my ears. I actually like your stuff… …Will you give me any hint as to how to encourage my boy to write, but at the same time encourage wholesome things?
-Nathan McKinney, Fayetteville, AR
Our two children, Naomi and Louise, love listening to The Flobgob is this good news, I’m not sure yet!
-Paul Worth, Northampton, England
I love it! Pure genuis. ...(We're working on a spelling workshop next!)
-Amber Baker, Colorado State University
Hey Peter thanks for sharing some of your life with us. Your struggles, your feelings, and trying to do the right thing in a world of gray. It lets us know we are not the only ones who can barely see the next step in front of us.
-Mark (from the email list)