Auburn Junior High School teacher Whitney Reed ’04 began developing her “Room 11” program after teaming up with Pushcart Prize finalist and poet Emma Bolden to start a poetry-writing club for middle school students in Valley. At the end of the year, the students published their poetry in an anthology.
“I got a taste of something I really liked,” remembers Reed, who subsequently created Room 11, which brings artists and musicians into the classroom to augment the regular curriculum. The name Room 11, adapted from astrology, signifies creativity.
Reed works with Auburn’s College of Liberal Arts and the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for Arts and Humanities to recruit local artists to share their crafts with her students. Her lesson plans weave together what the students are learning in the English curriculum with what the artist has to offer. Chantel Acevedo, an associate professor of English at Auburn, recently taught Reed’s students about writing short fiction, for example, while music professor Karen Garrison demonstrated how to play the flute.
“The program is collaborative, and that’s why it’s different,” says Reed, who is now adapting and packaging Room 11 for use by other teachers around the state.—Sarah Hansen