Teaching Artist

As a teaching artist with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts,  I engage students in using language to focus their thinking and channel their creativity.   Writing is first of all a discipline, a craft to be learned then used for self expression.  Writing makes us better thinkers and communicators and is worthy of our dedication and hard work.

I use hands on activities that challenge my students to think critically and creatively and connect to their world.  But I’ll let them speak for themselves:

Elementary school:

I am learning different ways to use language…it’s really exciting and fun!

I experienced the way you can do so much with just a little imagination.  You helped me find the poetry in me!

I love poetry now because it’s feelings and art and you can write about anything.

Today I learned to use my imagination more and let it go wild.  My mind is growing.

I learned how to read and write better and think and use my brain.  Thanks for coming to our school and making me love it at the end.

What I liked about poetry is that I learn language…you learn more English.  (ESL learner)

Gifted students in Allegheny College’s programs for public schools:

I learned to perfect my writing abilities and broaden my choice of words.  Now I know there are different ways to get your point across to the audience.

Ms. Zill’s creative writing class is fantastic.  I love being able to write what I like and have interesting prompts to work from.  I receive honest critique and enjoy listening to and sharing thoughts with classmates.  This class has definitely helped me grow as a writer.

Before this class I didn’t like getting opinions that weren’t positive…that has changed.  Now I enjoy getting feedback on my work.

Writing was never my strong point but everyone helped me and I was glad that I received constructive criticism….I valued that.  This was a great class and I loved it.

Where I’ve taught residencies:

Middle Schools, High Schools and Charter Schools:  Conneaut Valley H. S., Conneautville, PA; Smethport H.S., Smethport, PA; Port Allegany H.S., Port Allegany, PA; Perseus House Charter School, Erie, PA

Elementary Schools:  First District and Second District Schools, Meadville, PA; Harding, Ridgefield and Vernondale Schools, Erie, PA and Russell School, Warren, PA

Community Groups:  The ARC of Crawford County, Elk County Council on the Arts, and CHAPS (Crawford County Mental Health Assistance Program), Meadville, PA

Click here to see some of my creative language activities for K-12.


Lora Zill has been a great friend, mentor and artist. She mentored me as a teaching artist-in-training for ArtsErie and I also interned for her in an Allegheny College program.  Lora has a keen sense of student and classroom needs. Her expectations are a perfect balance between realistic, sensible, and idealistic and elicit above and beyond from the students.  Her down-to-earth approach connects with students in a way educators wish they could. Her understanding of her craft and ability to collaborate is superb. Working with Lora will change how you view the arts of writing and education. — Siobhan Peterson-Walsh, Artist-In-Education, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Artist directory   http://www.pacouncilonthearts.org/aie/artist_details.cfm?ID=11

Contact me if you are interested in having me come to your school or community center as a teaching artist.