Youth Writing Conference

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Make Your Statement Write Your Story

Registration open until Friday, April 28.


Ozarks Writing Project (OWP) invites students in grades 5-8 to the Missouri State University campus for a day of writing. Some of the most talented teacher-writers in southwest Missouri will conduct sessions designed to inspire students to Make Your Statement, Write Your Story. Workshop topics include bullet journaling, a positive social media presence, fractured fairy tales, postcards from Pluto, a writing marathon, and more.

Students will attend four workshops plus an opening session in Plaster Student Union (PSU) with a welcome by MSU President Clif Smart. This session, 8:50–9:15 AM, is open to the public.


Friday, May 12, 2017
8:45 AM – 2:30 PM


The day will begin with check-in and an opening session in the PSU Theater. Workshop sessions will be held in Strong Hall, a beautiful four-story building located just off Holland Avenue. It will comfortably hold all our classes, giving attendees the ability to mingle in one central location.

Please dress appropriately for the walk across campus.

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Price Reduced!

The cost of registration is $40 per student and includes lunch, a notebook, and a souvenir bag. Teachers who bring students attend for free. Please register and pay online.

Deadline: Friday, April 28

Student Registration  |  Teacher Registration  |  Payment


There are two ways teachers may handle payment:

One, students register online and give teachers their payments. You collect all payments and then pay by credit card, eCheck, or purchase order. Teachers paying by PO will receive an invoice from Katie Stinnett ( This method works well in schools where a portion of the payment comes from other sources. This is our preferred method; we are grateful to you for doing the cross-checking between registration and payment. (Colleen can easily provide you with a list of who registered online.)

Two, students may complete the registration and payment process entirely by themselves. Students will be asked for the name of a supervising teacher. This will be the teacher who receives student schedules and event information; it is generally the teacher chaperone. Students can pay with a credit card or eCheck. 

Information for Teachers

  • All workshops and lunch will be in Strong Hall. It is Finals Day—no classes are scheduled, so few students will be on campus.
  • Follow your district’s policy regarding the required number of teacher chaperones. You will not have to accompany your students all day long—there will be plenty of supervision. Teachers generally check-in with their students at lunch time.
  • You are encouraged to participate in sessions. Session materials will be available online following the conference.
  • Wi-fi will be available to teachers.
  • On May 8, you will receive student schedules, parking and drop-off information, and all necessary information to have a productive day.
  • Like Ozarks Writing Project on Facebook for updates on presenters and sessions. #OWP_YourStory




Our presenters need your help! Sign on to assist in providing 600 enthusiastic and motivated middle schoolers an amazing writing experience.

Volunteers are needed to do the following: 

  • Greet students with a smile.
  • Help students with activities.
  • Connect with students who do not have partners.
  • Give students encouraging feedback.
  • Escort students to restrooms.
  • Support presenters.
  • Assist with set up and clean up. 

Sign-Up to Volunteer via GivePulse


1. A Closer Look (gr. 5-6): Dig deep. Take a closer look at the things that shape you. Write and illustrate a sketch poem. (Annette Tankersley - Branson)

2. Beginner’s Guide to Blogging: Write for real readers on a platform designed for students. Learn from an experienced blogger. (Patricia Robbins - Marshfield)

3. Comic Cut-up: Using frames from well-known cartoonists, change the ending and add more details to create a comic in your own distinctive style. (Angelic Case and Sally Bagg - Branson)

4. Fanfiction: When you are a fan of a book or series, it may be hard to reach the end. With fanfiction, it doesn’t have to be over. Jumpstart with your writing with a fanfiction fanatic. (Sofie Kondro - Reeds Spring)

5. Fractured Fairy Tales (gr. 5-6): The Big Bad Wolf always gets a bad rap. Mash up a fairy tale and create a new ending with a different point of view. (Sandy Miller and Kelly Neal - Branson)

6. Freakish Fairy Tales (gr. 7-8): Fairy tales were once dark and scary for good reason. No more “Happily ever after!” Warn the world about important life lessons. (Susie Kinlock - Monett)

7. Heart Maps: Explore and write about what we all hold inside—feelings, hopes, vulnerabilities, passions, and wonderings. (Maggie Abrams - Plato)

8. Make a Statement: Wreck a journal. Color, cut, paste, write, and share and make your story come alive. (Brittny Rogers - Republic)

9. More than Words: You’re not just a writer; you’re also a scientist, artist, storyteller, and philosopher. What’s important to you? Try several kinds of writing and blend them up. (Jaime Brown - Nixa)

10. Myth and Movement: Experience movement as an inspiration for writing a myth. A dance instructor will guide you through this writing experience. (Tami Franklin - MSU)

11. Poetry Speaks: Performance poets from MSU will be your instructors. They will provide the prompts, give you performance tips, and give you a chance to shine. (Taylor Vinson - MSU)

12. Postcards from Pluto (gr. 5-6): What’s it like to live on another planet? Travel the galaxy and send a postcard home describing life in space. (Amber Kirbey - Willard)

13. Ramp It Up: If you’ve got a scar, you’ve got a story. Write about experiences common to us all and ramp up your writing with strategies proven to make it worth reading. (Laurie Buffington - Laquey)

14. Science and Story: Observe phenomena from the natural world; then convey your impressions with a paragraph, poem, or a song. This session is lead by a scientist who is a big proponent of writing. (David Cornelison - MSU)

15. Social Media Star (gr. 7-8): Maximize your positive social media presence. Learn how to positively impact your life and thousands, potentially millions, of other lives.  (Audra Vanhooser - Bolivar)

16. Superhero Comics: Comic book writer Cody Walker, who can’t go more than 15 minutes without thinking about Batman, will instruct you in creating superheroes and writing your own comic book. (Cody Walker - Marion C. Early)

17. That’s Funny: Release your humor with parody writing. Make fun of a movie, commercial, or song. (Amy Sampson - Monett)

18. What’s My Story? Write, talk, draw, and create identity charts, masked poems, and image galleries to learn who you are, what you know, and how your story fits into the world. (Casey Daugherty - Republic)

19. Words with Friends: Do you love words? Collect them in magazines, books, and newspapers and play with them to create found poetry. (April Smith - Monett)

20. Writing Marathon: Set yourself free to write in several campus locations under the supervision of an experienced marathon leader. (Betsy McQueen - Branson)