Mythology, Poetry & Nature
A Language Arts Educators Retreat
with special guests from the UK/London
Jonny Walker & Adisa the Verbalizer
April 26-28, 2024
“Have you no more memories?'
I am made of memories.
The memories come, and come.
We are all there, goddess and mortal
and the boy who was both.”
― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
Rediscover ways to harness the power of nature, creativity and poetry with your students, in this immersive weekend of forest writing. Across the three days, you will take part in a writing experience, which has been developed into a pedagogical approach by the retreat facilitators, who are traveling from London to deliver this course. We will utilize the twin themes of Greek myth and the Four Elements of earth, water, fire and air, in order to shape a lively, practical learning experience for educators, which can galvanize your own creative practice.
This program will empower you to bring transformative, child-centered pedagogies back into your school settings, and will equip you with a rich spread of arts and creative writing activities and ideas that you can immediately put into practice.
Taking place in the unique setting of Hawk Circle, you'll have space to think, to grow, to connect with yourself and to reaffirm your own values as an educator.
Activities and Pedagogies we will explore:
- Poetry inspired by trees
- Riding the rhythm in poetry
- Harness the senses with young writers
- Attending to syllables
- “Catching” conversation, and building poetry around it
- The role of the Strong Circle
- “Doing and reflecting” - fusing actions with words
- Developing students’ confidence with group games
- Balancing freedom and constraint
Here's What You'll Learn
Learn to shape mythic portals, create fire, weave fibers & willow and carve stone necklace symbols using nature skills both old and new.
Share and learn storytelling for Educators that inspires your students.
Explore mythical archetypes & themes and infuse them into our expressive practice.
You will get to know what this work feels like from the student's perspective, and find your own 'flow'.
Feel the value of a creative 'safe space' in it's power to awaken us all.
The forest trails, winding stream, misty mornings and spring birdsong all work their primal magic, with starry skies and crackling campfires gently complete our full days.
Jonny Walker is a London-based teacher and children’s book writer, who specializes in the teaching of mythology, creative writing and outdoor literacies. In addition to teaching mythology and poetry students across the UK and India, he has taught 1000+ students online, on the Outschool platform. Jonny is a prolific author of
children’s early reading books, and is published by HarperCollins, Oxford University Press and Scholastic UK. He has also authored a book on how to teach
poetry, with the former UK Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen. He leads the Poetry Teaching Network for the London Borough of Hounslow, and is a former English lecturer for an Initial Teacher Training programme.
Adisa the Verbalizer
Adisa the Verbalizer is a dynamic performance poet, also London-based, who has been working across the UK and internationally for the last 20 years, with people of all ages. Adisa’s poetry focuses on celebration of identity, on family and on the elements. His workshops, both in business and in schools, are famed for their high energy, thought-provoking content and
His mango-flavored metaphors and lava-filled performances are legendary on the London performance poetry circuit. Adisa is also a passionate cyclist and martial artist, and draws upon this vitality within the retreats.
Ricardo is the co-founder and co-director of the Hawk Circle Wilderness Education & Retreat Center. He is the host and creator of the Forest Educator Podcast, and several 'Forest Education Training Programs', leading educators, teachers and counselors in skills and approaches that have been successful for decades.
Ricardo has worked in nature based education for adults, families, children, youth and staff for over 35 years, and he's worked in a vast spectrum of educational settings throughout the US as well as in New York State.
"The retreat is ideal for any educator who is keen to develop their learners’
self-confidence, contentedness and love of language, especially those who teach Elementary and Middle Schoolers. It is a great opportunity to develop your own poetry and creative writing, experience a rich teacher-development space and a genuine peaceful renewal for educators."
Jonny and Adisa have worked together to lead Poetry Retreats for children aged 9-11 since 2016. These
retreats take children from the most disadvantaged boroughs of East London out into the New Forest, on
the south-coast of England, for four days of creative writing. This project has led to over 300 children having their writing published in ouranthologies, whilst also providing them with social, emotional and pastoral learning opportunities.
See a glimpse of our retreats in this video and this article.
Jonny Walker and Adisa the Verbalizer are thoroughly excited to be working in partnership with Ricardo Sierra at Hawk Circle to deliver our first US-based training retreat for teachers. The incredible site at Hawk Circle affords us a beautiful natural playground for us to learn and grow.
Lodging & Food
Participants will stay in heated cabins and enjoy home cooked meals throughout the Retreat.
(We can accommodate some dietary restrictions with advanced notice.)
We are located near Cooperstown in Central New York, and can arrange airport, bus or train pickup from Albany NY with advanced notice for an additional fee.
Get our directions address here if you are driving!
Program Dates: April 26-28, 2024
Program Fee: $1,400
Includes Lodging, Meals, all Instruction and Craft Materials throughout the program.
Open to 12 participants.
To Make Different Payment Arrangements,
please email Ricardo at Ricardo.J.Sierra@gmail.com