Melissa Kate Miller is an international recording artist, songwriter, stage and voice actress, writer and poet. As US Managing Director for Artfully AWARE, founder of the Benched Players and leader of the cabaret blues act, The Melissa Kate Project, she draws from a varied background for her students.
Miller holds a BFA in Musical Theater from SUNY Fredonia. She has worked with many arts-in-education programs, and she has taught and choreographed at many area schools. She has also taught workshops at the Lancaster Opera House for kids and teens. Miller uses theater, creative writing, poetry and song to help students develop creative and critical thinking skills.
Miller’s extensive work with special education and students at risk of social or academic failure has shaped her approach to teaching the arts. She believes in the transformative power of the arts. By working side-by-side with teachers and students, she hopes to encourage greatness and curiosity, build academic and social skills, and help students navigate a successful future.
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Students will uncover their own author's voices as they discover that creative writing is different than essay writing, and they will be inspired to write creatively on their own and to incorporate those techniques in formal writing. Using theater based prompts and games, students will unleash their natural skill of storytelling and discover that creative writing is a place for free exploration and development of self.
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Students take a personal journey down the Erie Canal by speaking in the voices of the era. An experienced teaching poet or writer leads literary exercises involving vintage maps, photographs, drawings, and imaginative prompts. The poet/writer can incorporate concepts that the classroom teacher would like to focus on. Students learn to write in character, helping them develop a sense of narrative and delve more deeply into the details of daily life in a small town from the past. Over several workshops, the students engage in sustained imaginative writing, creating interrelated narratives involving diverse characters.
The number of workshops depends on the program and budget of an individual school. Contact the office to learn more.
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In this residency, learners can have several opportunities to explore the possibilities of poetry and write their own poems in different ways. Students will use their senses to increase their descriptive capabilities. They will realize the strength of their ideas, the imagery they create, and how best to use them effectively in their poems. In some workshops, Melissa can incorporate music, rhyming, syllabic and poetic forms along with learning about the styles of other poets and discovering new ways of communicating. Clean rap, slam, and freeform poetry are deconstructed to discover the thought process behind their themes and what patterns emerge. Students write in each of the workshops and are encouraged to edit and share along the way. The entire residency consists of ten possible workshops, and may incorporate theater and improvisation techniques. Less may be chosen and/or individualized according to students' and teacher's needs.
This program can be tailored to suit an adult audience and is available as a professional development workshop.