Program Activities

Taos Pueblo member Benny Romero talks to young writers at Aztec Ruins
Taos Pueblo member Benny Romero talks to young writers.

NPS Photo

At this time we offer the program each year to four groups of 3rd through 5th grade students from area elementary schools. In the writing workshop, students work with children's writer in residence Uma Krishnaswami. Uma offers a brief orientation to fiction writing, and on using the senses to construct setting in stories. They also tour the site with a traditional presenters who share a personal perspective.

Stories are completed, edited and polished back in school over the following week, in a collaborative mentoring process in which teacher and writer work together. In the art or photography workshop, students work with professional artists or local photographers in creating works of art representing their experience of the site.

The culminating event in the program is the Young Authors’ Reading held at the visitor center at Aztec Ruins, at which young writers read their work to peers, family and friends, and the public.

The Aztec Ruins Children's Writing Workshop is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts; The Western National Parks Association also helps fund this program.

More information on children's writer Uma Krishnaswami, her books and programs can be found on her website

The Children's Writing Workshop uses the tools of creative writing to link our community's children with the historic and cultural resources of Aztec Ruins National Monument. When you sign up your 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade class to participate in the project, you can expect the following activities to take place:

Activity Location Collaborators
Teacher orientation meeting with writer in residence School Teacher, writer in residence.
Class orientation meeting with writer in residence School Students, writer, teacher.
Field trip 1: Monument tour, meeting with traditional presenter, writing workshop Aztec Ruins National Monument Students, writer, teacher, Pueblo presenter, parent volunteers/ aides, Aztec Ruins interpretive staff as needed.
Working with writer in residence to complete stories School Students, writer, teacher.
Editing time School Students, writer (one-to-one editing and consultation).
Field trip 2: Young Authors’ Reading (families and friends, and thepublic, are invited to attend) Aztec Ruins NM Students, writer, teacher, parent volunteers/ aides, Aztec Ruins interpretive staff, audience of families, peers, public.
Display of completed work at Aztec Ruins Visitor Center Aztec Ruins NM Teacher/other school staff, Aztec Ruins staff, writer.

Who Takes Part?
Selection criteria
Four teachers will be selected each year to bring their students to Aztec Ruins to take part in the Children's Writing Workshop. Please note that participants for 2004-05 school year writing workshops have been selected. To apply for the 2005-06 school year, you must be a teacher of a 3rd through 5th grade class in San Juan County, New Mexico.

Application (MS Word)

Please fill out an application form. All completed applications will be reviewed and participants selected based on the following criteria:

- Quality of written statement
- Ability to provide bus transportation.
- Grade level of students (we try to offer this workshop to a range from3rd through 5th graders).
- Location of school (we try to provide this program equitably to schools in different parts of the county).
- Willingness to commit time and energy to the project. Taking part in the project will mean some extra work. It will also require that you commit to using the methods of this project and fostering the kind of classroom ecology we need so your students meet project goals.
- Willingness to be a partner in the project, and not just a consumer of a service.
- Willingness to serve as a mentor in the future to new teachers taking part in the program.

Please e-mail your completed application to
or mail it to:
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Attn.: George Herring /Writing Trails Project 84 County Road 2900
Aztec NM 87410

Last updated: December 23, 2017

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Mailing Address:

725 Ruins Road
Aztec, NM 87410


(505) 334-6174 x0

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