Life at Fir Acres
“My writing has changed and improved after being exposed to other types of writing. I am thinking deeper, and I know my friends will see a change when I get back home. I have discovered how to learn more, how to gain more from my experiences.”—10th grader
Workshop classes meet for three one and a half hour sessions, or four and a half hours a day, Monday through Friday, leaving students time to write on their own, socialize, and explore the Lewis & Clark campus and Portland in the summer.
7:30–9 a.m. Breakfast
9:15–10:45 a.m. Morning session I
11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Morning session II
12:30–1:30 p.m. Lunch
2–3:30 p.m. Afternoon session
5–7 p.m. Dinner
7 p.m. Readings, social activities led by resident advisors
10:30 p.m. Students must be on their hall
11:00 p.m. Students must be in their rooms with the doors closed
12:00 a.m. Lights out
Fir Acres is a generative writing program. Class time is devoted to the work participants produce on-site.
Daily writing includes reflective journals, stories, poems, and personal and persuasive essays. Students’ home Workshops are mixed-age, and all Workshops—the entire community—share a course-wide reader with fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, to be used at the discretion of each faculty leader. During the second week, participants have the opportunity to choose electives with topics such as formal poetry, speculative fiction, magical realism, or myth.
Learning happens outside the classroom, too. On field trips, led by resident advisors, students practice observing and writing in new environments. Outings may include the Portland Art Museum, Powell’s City of Books, Portland Japanese Garden, the Shanghai Tunnels, and Tryon Creek State Park.
During the 2019 session, on three evenings, Fir Acres will welcome award-winning authors to campus to meet students, and we will also host a film screening, followed by a Q&A with the author of the book the film was based on.