Thurber House's Programs for Classrooms

Thurber House is introducing NEW and inspiring programming to bring to your school! We offer exceptional literary arts experiences that inspire innovation, create critical thinking, enhance education, and enthusiastically entertain. This is only a short list of our workshops and we can tailor to your interests. If you do not see a topic that you are looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact us. For all questions, ideas, or to schedule a class, please contact Meg Brown at megbrown@thurberhouse.org or 614-464-1032 ext. 16. We would love to come to your classroom!

A brief description of our programs: 

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Grades 2-3: (These can all be adapted to older grades)

Dear Sully: Did you know that Columbus holds a Monster Convention and the monsters get very lonely here? To help them feel better, we work with students on the format and content of letters, how to address the envelope, and “mail” them to the monsters. We send back letters to the classroom from the monsters so the students get a response. It’s a fun and creative way to teach letter writing.

Fractured Fairy Tales: Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale? The villain probably doesn’t. Learn about point of view and create alternative stories, endings, settings, and more for some of our beloved fairy tales. This ties in perfectly with The True Story of the Three Little Pigs that is a classroom favorite.

Pet Diaries: These are not your typical pets! We’ll combine different animals to make “smanimals” (smushed animals) where you may have a giraffe head and a whale body. Where do you live? What do you look like? What is a day in your life like? There’s writing, drawing, and lots of laughter in this workshop. 

Any grade 4 and up:

Ghost Writing Workshops: Ghouls, goblins and giggles, oh my! We will share the scary turned silly ghost story from James Thurber, go over the ins and outs of a good scary story, and then turn students loose to write their own. We focus on how to make it a suspenseful, page-turner and how it can be successful without always being gory.  

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Fable Writing Workshops: Ever wonder how Aesop came up with all of those fables? How do you write a story that ends with a moral? Have no fear because, with our fantastic teachers, you will hear examples of fables from James Thurber, learn what makes a fable, and then put your imagination to work composing and illustrating your own. 

Create-a-World: J.K. Rowling took real-life London but also imagined an entire new world complete with wizards, Quidditch, different rules, and more. How did she do that? We’ll meet at Platform 9 ¾ and delve into how to make your very own world from scratch. It can be as “normal” or crazy as you want! This teaches setting, character development, and more. 

Superhero vs. Villains: Even superheroes have bad days and even villains have a heart, sometimes. We delve into what makes us love and hate these characters and how to make them “human” enough so that we care. You do not have to know a lot about superheroes or villains or even like that genre to have fun with this. All good stories have solid protagonists and antagonists and this is a great way to work on it.   

Poetry 101: Roses are red…we’re all tired of this one. Many students don’t realize that poems don’t have to rhyme or that they can be funny, short, long, song lyrics, etc. We bust through misconceptions of poetry and cover several different types in a short amount of time to keep them going. Haikus, acrostic, list poems, and even limericks will be covered. This is a great workshop to celebrate Poetry Month in April.

High School programs:

All of the programs listed above can be adapted to be challenging for high school students, as well. We have worked with after school writing groups, brought in workshops to English classes, and developed specific curriculum with teachers for their class but we do not have specified workshops. We love working in high schools and will gladly develop something that fits your needs.

Field Trips to Thurber House:

Come visit us! Thurber House is conveniently located in downtown Columbus, 77 Jefferson Ave. There are two different options for a field trip visit with us:

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Option 1: tour James Thurber’s home sharing information about the writer and cartoonist, the house, and the ghost stories. Length: up to 1 hour; Cost: $5 per student; limit 25 students (we can do larger groups but need more than 1 hour)

Option 2: tour of James Thurber’s home as above with the addition of a Thurber-based writing activity in our classroom space next door. You can choose from the topics of animals/pets; fables; family life; or ghost stories as these were Thurber themes. Length: one hour tour, one hour writing activity; Cost: $10 per student (same class size requirements as above)

 Notes: Easy drop-off and pick-up area, a park across the street with a gazebo for outdoor lunch, and Thurber House and Thurber Center (classroom space) are handicap accessible on the first floor only. Please let us know ahead of time of accessibility needs. 

COMING SOON: THURBER THEATRE TROUPE!

The Thurber Theatre Troupe is a group of actors performing adaptations of James Thurber’s funniest stories to honor his legacy and keep us all laughing at Thurber’s wit. For school visits, we will focus on his life in Columbus and how he overcame his eyesight difficulties (he was almost blind) to become a famous author and cartoonist. This fits well with Columbus/Ohio history curriculum, working through difficulties, and all in a humorous way. Great for elementary and middle school groups.

 Cost breakdown:

Thurber Theatre Troupe Performance: 1 hour performance; $475

Education Workshops: 1 hour class; $325

All day (workshops and performances): 2 classes/2 performances; $700

If a class exceeds 30 students, we will ask to break it up into smaller sizes. We can do larger groups but will charge for two classes. 

Contact Meg Brown at 614-464-1032 ext. 16 or megbrown@thurberhouse.org now to book your literary arts experience for the year. We offer assistance to organizations that have specific financial challenges. Please call for more information.

Thurber House is a 501c3 organization and all of our staff and teachers have completed background checks.

Interested in Professional Development for your school? Check out our list of Professional Development opportunities here.

Thanks to the Greater Columbus Arts Council; the Bette Wallach Fund for Columbus, the Charlotte R. Haller Fund, and the Ingram-White Castle Foundation of The Columbus Foundation; and The Ohio Arts Council for their ongoing support of our programs.