Edina’s “Writer’s Block” presents at National Conference: Photo Story

Andrea Kimball, print editor in chief

On November 2-4, I had the honor to present at the National Conference in Peer Tutoring in Writing with four other students: Sarah Jones, Grace Meyer, Maggie Stang, and Eliza Thompson.

All five of us have been coaching student writers for two years at Edina High School’s writing center, The Writer’s Block. We were accompanied by Martha Cosgrove and Bethany Mohs, English teachers and Coordinators of The Writer’s Block.
First of all, what is The Writer’s Block? You may not have heard of us, but we are a resource for all Edina students to get advice and assistance in any stage of the writing process. We help with personal writing, English essays, timed writing, and everything in between. “It’s a place where students can work one on one with a coach on his/her writing with the goal of making better writers,” explained Head Coach Grace Meyer.

At the conference, we attended informational sessions presented by high schools and universities across the country. Edina was one of the few high schools to present; most of the sessions were presented by college or graduate students. We learned about different peer tutoring philosophies and gained new ideas to put to work back in Edina.

Most notably, we presented our own 30 minute session to about 50 people. We talked about The Writer’s Block and our unique philosophy of being “coaches” rather than “tutors.” We don’t correct papers, but rather work with students to bolster not only their writing in that specific paper but their writing in general. “It was fun to be asked questions from college writing centers that were curious about our methods,” said Senior Coach Maggie Stang. “[My favorite part was] getting different perspectives from different writing centers from across the country to enhance our work,” said Senior Coach Sarah Jones.

“I felt very proud,” said Bethany Mohs about the trip as a whole. “I felt a real sense of accomplishment in terms of what I saw our student writing coaches do.”

The Writer’s Block is currently working on its next project: The National Peace Essay writing contest. Students are invited to write a 1500 word essay this winter, and enter it in a contest to win up to $10,000.