Monday, October 10, 2016

Fall 2016 Welcome Back eMUSE edition!

Summer yielded another phenomenal Invitational Leadership Institute, a College-Ready Writer's Institute, and the Teacher's Advocacy Workshop.

It is an exciting harvest time filled with opportunities beginning ...this weekend!So, grab your favorite beverage and peruse the articles without delay so you don't miss out.

Image result for eastern michigan university in the fall Read more!

EMU Wins Grant For English Learning Program

EMWP is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a 2.5 million dollar U.S. Department of Education grant for five years of programming to improve services to English Learners in our area. This work is a collaboration with Dr. Zuzana Tomas in the EMU Department of World Languages. The national Professional Development Program grant is an initiative of the Office of English Language Acquisition. The grant has the following program goals:

  • Offer high quality professional development to teachers and paraprofessionals through an intensive, 54 hour program of teacher inquiry groups and PD each year.
  • Conduct a randomized controlled trial or quasi-experimental design studying the effects of a program of professional development to improve writing achievement for ELLs.
  • Offer professional development to administrators, counselors, and school psychologist through two day long workshops each year
  • Enhance the preservice preparation and teacher induction of TESOL students at Eastern Michigan University through participation with the inservice PD and after-school tutoring with opportunities to implement teaching strategies from methods courses.
  • Provide tuition toward TESOL  certification and career-ladder opportunities for teachers and paraprofessionals through the inservice program and additional scholarships, with the goal of 50 newly credentialed TESOL teachers in the region at the end of the 5 year program period.

More information will be coming soon about the professional development portion of ht grant for TCs who may be interested in participating and earning a TESOL certificate.

We will also be seeking instructional coaches to work with teachers during the school day during second semester of this year and for next year as they implement practices from the professional development program. If you are interested, have experience teaching English learners, and have daytime availability, please contact Sarah Lorenz at or . Read more!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

When We Wobble

We've all been there -- had that moment when our beliefs or practice were challenged and we had to step back to contemplate the big picture and how, or if, everything works together for the best effort. Columbia University's Bob Fecho and a student created STORRI and is invited all teachers to share their wobble moments. 

STORRI (School Tales: A Research and Repository Initiative) is a website designed to attract, share, unpack, engage, and reflect on stories of “wobble” that teachers tell about the complexity of contemporary classrooms. Through STORRI, teachers and teacher educators will have opportunities to write about moments in their practices when their belief systems wobbled.

What we mean by wobble is something happened in the classroom that compelled you to pay attention, to stop and think, to raise a question, to open yourself to other perspectives.

By collecting these stories, we hope to provide other angles on classrooms-- ones that illustrate the range of transactions that occur between teachers and students and the context in which they engage.

Stories on this site might be used for serving the professional needs of preservice and inservice teachers, for creating learning communities, for advocacy research, and for informing the general public.

Check out STORRI and consider adding to the conversation:

Read more!

Cathy Fleischer Recognized by MCTE in 2016 for Distinguished Career!

EMU's own Professor Cathy Fleischer has been recognized by the Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) as the 2016 recipient of the Charles Carpenter Fries Award, given in recognition of a distinguished career in the teaching of English and dedication to the advancement of the profession. 

We are so proud of you and have been honored to know you as a teacher, friend, co-worker, and literacy advocate. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.  (Peruse her EMU bio and some of her accomplishments.)

The press release says it remarkably well though we each have our own stories of how Fleischer has challenged us to become the best teachers, and writers, that we can be.   Congratulations, Cathy!


"The Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) has selected Professor Cathy Fleischer as the 2016 recipient of the Charles Carpenter Fries Award, given in recognition of a distinguished career in the teaching of English and dedication to the advancement of the profession. Her prolific contributions have inspired colleagues, teachers, students, and parents, particularly through professional and community projects she initiated and sustained, including the Family Literacy Initiative, Disciplinary Literacy Initiative, Teacher Research, and Teacher Advocacy. She is the author of five books and editor for National Council of Teachers of English’s Imprint Principles in Practice Series (13 books to date).

EMU graduate, Jennifer Buehler, now a professor at University of St. Louis, states: 'What’s incredible about Cathy is how she has modeled continual professional growth and tireless work for change throughout her career, and how at every step, she has looked for ways to bring others along with her in that work…. She is one of the most dynamic, forward thinking, and inspirational people I’ve ever known.' "
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Writing Contest To Share !

Looking for real world application and audiences? Help students explore genres with the intent to publish. Besides numerous art categories, the Scholastic Writing competition offers contests in diverse fields:
Writing CategoriesCritical Essay
Dramatic Script
Flash Fiction
Novel Writing
Personal Essay & Memoir
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Short Story
Writing Portfolio (graduating seniors only)

Check out the link for full information. 

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Reflection on EMWP Teacher Advocacy Program

by Lisa Eddy

The Teacher Advocacy program, beginning in 2014, has had a tremendous impact on me as teacher and advocate. Learning the strategies for framing an issue and coming up with strategies to advocate for change gave me the knowledge and support I needed to advocate for less standardized testing which had nearly completely replaced our ELA curriculum.

The district had purchased a series of 8 standardized tests for grades 6-12 --which were touted as practice for the new SBAC test that was said to be coming to MI--then as practice for the new SAT when MI dropped SBAC.

As a result of what I learned from the teacher advocacy course, I was able to help facilitate change at my school by:

  • Formulating a list of “essential ingredients” for the ELA curriculum that restored Writing Workshop and independent reading, among other good literacy practices to ELA classrooms;
  • Persuading an ELA dept colleague to join me in advocating for fully developed ELA curriculum rather than teaching to the test;
  • Working with my colleague to persuade the new Curriculum Director to let us find a real, comprehensive ELA curriculum;
  • Pushing for a K-12 curriculum committee to be formed to research curricula;
  • Inviting my district’s ELA Instructional Coach to meet with Cathy Fleischer about our needs and to get some guidance;
  • Finding a curriculum we like that is written by classroom teachers, supported by research, and informed by leaders in literacy education who are involved in NWP and NCTE (Oakland/MAISA);
  • Asking the district to adopt the new curriculum.

Now, after several years of “teaching to the test”, our district once again has a research-based, comprehensive ELA curriculum, and I and my students are enjoying the first unit, Writing Workshop, because voice and choice have been restored in the ELA classroom. For the students in my district, who have done little beyond test prep in ELA since 2010, this is a huge victory, and I have to thank my colleague and instructional coach, Cathy Fleischer, and my Advocacy colleagues for giving me the support I needed to stand up for what’s right for students.

17 September 2016

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Everyday Advocacy Workshop

by Cathy Fleischer

Exciting news on the advocacy front! EMWP’s third summer workshop drew in attendees from around the state and the country. New Everyday Advocates joined returning fellows to learn ways of organizing for change in their local contexts, with a goal of reframing the conversation about the teaching of literacy. Teachers created action plans for developing allies, identifying decision-makers, honing their message, naming realistic goals, and coming up with tactics that might lead to real change. Among the plans that the participants came up with:

Alaina Feliks is working to help parents, teachers and administrators understand why it’s important to create a vibrant and well-supported reading community.
Liz Thackery has created a plan to help teachers, departments heads, and curriculum leaders understand the importance of teachers implementing innovative, research-based curricula in their schools.
Daniel Potter is helping policy makers better understand how teachers are already helping students learn literacy and involving decision-makers in these ways of teaching.

And more exciting post-workshop news: the Everyday Advocacy website that grows out of this work and that is sponsored by NCTE is almost ready to launch—with amazing information about becoming a change agent and lots of examples from teachers who have taken EMWP advocacy workshops. We’ll have a big presence at this year’s NCTE convention in Atlanta: teachers from across the country (and in the EMWP network) have gone through 3 evenings of online workshops and will lead a series of sessions at convention. The goal is to help members of NCTE see themselves as Everyday Advocates and to rewrite the story of literacy education!

Come join us there and take a moment to view our website!

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EdCamp EMWP Coming Soon!  Have you registered
It isn't too late. 

2nd Annual EdCamp EMWP:

Total Impact Literacy

October 15, 2016

Check out the EdCamp blog for more details.

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11th Annual Fall 2016 Writing Retreat: You DESERVE a weekend get-away!

Do the changing leaves have you itching to pen a poem? memoirs? a spooky short story? 

Take this weekend for you and feed your inner muse.  This weekend October 14th through 16th just 20 minutes from Traverse City on Lake Ann, MI come together with other writers.

Official welcome circle begins with your arrival after work on Friday. Check out time on Sunday is  2 PM. 

$50 + gas and food.

Please email Angela to reserve your sleeping lodge bunk. 
Please send money to be considered officially registered. 

Please WRITE the check payable to EMWP. 
Please MAIL the check to me: 
Angela Knight
7364 Brookridge Dr
West Bloomfield MI 48322

If you have any questions, please feel free to email either Kris Gedeon or Angela Knight. 

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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From Bill's Heart

Thank you

. . . for the outpouring of love, moral support, and prayers on the death of my wife, Kathy Hessert-Tucker. I was touched by so many of you who wrote or attended the visitation or memorial service.  Many of you knew her personally, and she loved the work of the Writing Project, participating in the 2011 summer institute.

I am sorry if anyone did not receive notice of her passing. Her obituary can be found at:

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Up and Coming Opportunities

June 6 - “College-Ready Writers” Orientation – Student Center 5  – 7:30  p.m. (Applications closed)

June 20-24 – Advanced Institute – “College-Ready Writers,” Lake House, 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., daily.
Funded by the National Writing Project, scaling up practices for teaching argumentative writing.

June 23-24 – Basic Literacy Coaching Institute – McKenny Hall – 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Using literacy-based protocols to support adult learning, we will explore how collaborative working relationships, mindsets, and coaching norms impact learning environments in a positive way. Learn from coaching demonstrations and practice related to over-arching philosophies of literacy. Applications welcome! 

June 27 – July 1 – Writing Retreat, Parsons Center, Lake Ann, MI (For EMWP teacher consultants).

July 11- 22 – Invitational Leadership Institute – Student Center 320, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., daily.

July -11-15  Inkstains Middle School Writing Camp, (entering 6-8th grade). 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
July 18-22 – Inkstains High School Writing Camp, (entering 9-12th grade). 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

July 26-28 – Telling Our Stories/ Raising Our Voices (Advocacy workshop) McKenny Hall,
 Alumni and Tower Rooms, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.  In this workshop, we’ll help you become part of that conversation as you learn how to develop your personal stories into a more public narrative, starting from anecdotes and building toward an action plan.  By the end of day 3, you should have an action plan to take back to your classroom and school. Applications Welcome!

August 3, 4 – Basic Literacy Coaching Institute -McKenny Hall,  8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (see above)

August 15 & 16 –Building a Sustainable Coaching Network in Your District, McKenny Hall,

8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  In efforts to train and hire high-quality coaching talent, educators and teacher leaders will learn how to build a systematic approach to their coaching program. Establish a relevant, scaffolded approach for PLCs that emphasizes teaching and learning about literacy instruction at all grade levels. 
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2X the Opportunity: Writing Retreats For Us All

 The summer retreat will be Tuesday, June 28th - Friday, July 1st.  

The fall retreat will be on Friday, October 14-Sunday, October 16th

Please send e-RSVPs to to reserve your sleeping lodge bunk. 
Your registration will be confirmed when your payment is received. 

The retreat costs $40 before June 1st for summer and before September 15th for fall. Late registration will be $50 after June 1st for summer and after September 15th for fall. 

Please WRITE the check to EMWP.  

Please MAIL the check to 
Angela Knight
7364 Brookridge Dr.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Read more!

Disciplinary Literacies Institute

by Cathy Fleischer

Once again this summer, we invite teachers from all disciplines to join EMU college faculty for three days of exploration into writing in the disciplines: learning together what it means to write in our various subject areas and how we can help students make smooth transitions from subject area to subject area and from middle and high school to college.  The past three years of institutes have been eye-opening for all participants:  College faculty coming to understand more clearly the demands of schools, testing, and curriculum along with middle and high school teachers learning what college faculty are really looking for in their students’ writing.  At the center of this work is a spirit of inquiry and collaboration as we try to figure out new ways of teaching that will support disciplinary expectations and to reimagine assignments and units we can use in our classrooms.

Join us for the three days:  June 28-30 on EMU campus.  This work is especially valuable for interdisciplinary teams across a school or district, but individuals are welcome as well.  Sign up at
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Advocacy Workshop: Telling Our Stories/Raising Our Voice

By Cathy Fleischer

For the past two summers, committed teachers who are frustrated with the public narrative about teaching have spent three days learning to become Everyday Advocates: discovering ways to frame their stories, experiences, and knowledge into messages and actions that help change the minds of others.  These teachers have begun to shift the conversation in their schools and communities about the best ways to teach reading and writing, the problems inherent in mandated assessment, the structure of middle school curriculum, and more—and have done so in ways that are smart, safe, and savvy. 

This summer, we’ll continue the journey to make Everyday Advocacy a part of even more teachers’ lives as a new group will participate in another three day training:  July 26-28 on EMU’s campus.  We already have teachers from around the country joining us, and there are just a few more spaces left.  Contact Cathy Fleischer at for more information or check out the application form at

And if you can’t make the workshop, but are interested in this new way of thinking about teacher professionalism, be sure to look at the new Everyday Advocacy website that Cathy is developing for NCTE.  ( The website prominently  features  the work we’ve being doing, with examples from some of the amazing teachers who have participated over the past two years.
Read more!