Saturday, September 19, 2009

Welcom to the 2009 Fall Edition of eMuse!

What is “Writing for Real”?

Bill Tucker

The EMWP presents its second annual “Writing for Real” Conference at the Student Center, October 17, 8:30 – 3:30. We have gathered amazing projects from across the grades, K-college, that show how to engage writers with audiences beyond the classroom.

Who are these audiences and why should we care about them? They range from our immediate peer group to the social networks of the internet, from professional agencies to the community at large, from teacher research networks to parents of school children to gaming communities. Writing has come of age because of social media, digital capabilities, small learning communities and reflective writing practice.
All of these audiences are recognized and celebrated in “Writing for Real,” a prelude to the National Day of Writing (October 20). The conference will be keynoted by two imaginative teacher consultants, Corey Harbaugh and Pen Campbell, invited from the Third Coast Writing Project (Western Michigan University). Their address is entitled “It Takes a Village to Raise Triplets: Symbiosis at Work and Play.”
Each of the four sessions will feature a presentation on digital writing from teacher consultants of the Eastern Michigan Writing Project, recently trained with the National Technology Standards and providing “cutting edge ideas for methods to incorporate technology into every classroom.”
Perhaps this is all a pretext for getting our teaching friends together, sharing the inspiration across the EMU and EMWP communities. Beyond the variety of media and disciplines represented, we hope “Writing for Real” will initiate conversations across the grade levels, enlarging our own community of teachers and writers.
Look for our announcement in your mailbox by the first day of fall. And invite your professional colleagues. Let your friends meet ours.

Click here to download the flyer and registration form.
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Sacred Writing Time: Saugatuck Edition

"If you want to be a writer, write."

We like to think we are committed writers, but sometimes it helps to have the company of writers. Writing retreats are born of this need. Angela Knight and Kris Gedeon will lead a group of intrepid writers to the shores of Lake Michigan the weekend of October 23-25. We’ll write and share and create a space in time to allow ourselves imagine. Then we'll write some more.

The registration deadline was Friday, September 18, 2009. However, we aren’t quite full yet… check out our lakeside accommodations at See the attached flyer and contact Angela Knight if you're still interested. We may still be able to add a few more writers after the deadline.

The retreat itself is FREE. Angela and Kris are not charging anything to lead this retreat weekend; they are doing this out of their own selfish desire to have a sacred writing weekend.
Your cost will include gas, a few meals, and lodging. Happy hour on Friday, breakfast and lunch on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday are included, courtesy of EMWP. The cost of lodging depends on the cottage you choose, divided by the number of people are sharing it. The lodging prices listed are the whole weekend, NOT per night. See the flyer for more info!
Writers must write… this is the time and place to feed the writer inside you!
Click here to download the flyer.
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Congratulations to Sarah Lorenz on her new position, Lauren Nizol on the birth of her son, and Michielle Coberley-McLemore on producing her own script!

Sarah Lorenz has accepted a new position as a Title I English Language Arts Instructional Coach with the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators. She’ll be working part-time in this role at the Academy of Waterford and continuing her work with professional development with the EMWP. Congratulations, Sarah!


Congratulations to Lauren Nizol on the birth of her son! Dylan Matthew Nizol was born to Lauren and Matt Nizol on May 20, 2009. See the smiling Dylan below:


EMWP TC form ’97 Michelle Coberley-McLemore will be producing her own script at Onsted High School November 19-22. Her play called “Hyde and Seek Jekyll” is a modernized version of the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. With modern music, timeless morals, and eternal hope it pays tributes to the questions in the original but with less violence and equal suspense. If interested in tickets, e-mail There will be a public Saturday evening and a Sunday matinee performance.
TC Michelle McLemore placed in the top four for Michigan Teacher of the Year for 2009. She was the only high school teacher to place in the top four. She was recognized in June at the State Board of Education office and received a commemorative pin and certificate.

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Inkstains 2009: Writing to “Unlock the Traffic Jam”

Kimberly Pavlock, TC ‘92

Imagine . . . thirty-two middle school students one week, thirty-five high school students the next, waking up early to walk a writing marathon across the campus of Eastern Michigan University. With notebook and pen in hand, talking and laughing with friends, they look for the perfect spot to rest and continue writing. On the back of each camper’s gray Inkstains t-shirt are the words of John Updike, “I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head.”

Thanks to Inkstains Co-Director, Aimee Grant, middle-school camp leaders Shirley Klokkenga, Sarah Soebbing, and Alli Kaplan, and our high school camp leaders, Sean Eldon, Amie Van Horn, and Alli Kaplan, a record number of secondary students came together as student writers this past July to find inspiration, to immerse themselves in the writing process, and to learn from each other.

Although we were pleased that the two camps filled quickly this year, we were disappointed that we did not have the space available to accommodate all students interested in attending. Next summer, the Inkstains Middle School camp (incoming grades 6-8) will be July 12-16, and the Inkstains High School camp (incoming grades 9-12) will be July 19-23. We hope that you will share these dates with your students.

We appreciate your telling your students about Inkstains and writing letters of recommendation in support of their attending. When you see your students this fall, we hope that they will share their published pieces and writing experiences at Inkstains with you.
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Creative Inklings

Angela Knight

Take a few NWP TCs, add three or four more teachers, about 30 kids, and give them five days that are modeled after the month-long Summer Institute. Daily morning writing prompts, mini-lessons, writing groups, sacred writing time, camp t-shirts. Writing marathon on Tuesday; published by Friday.

We even hired a few returning campers; these Junior Counselors were our “Returning Fellows.” We took all the desks out of a classroom and added carpet, pillows, and bean bags to remove the traditional school feel of this writing camp.
Creative Inklings camps expanded this past summer for Hamtramck students entering fifth-twelfth grades. One week for middle level campers entering 7th-9th grades, one week for entering 10th-12th, and two weeks to serve a combination of the three Hamtramck elementary schools for entering 5th and 6th graders.

The high school marathon was on the campus of Wayne State University.

Here are a few of the highlights from the elementary and middle level writing marathons to Greenfield Village, Hart Plaza, and Belle Isle. The poem was written by a 7th grade boy named Aseel. The story was written by a 5th grade girl named Amina.

Thomas Edison
(Written from the point of view of his wife)

You crazy, crazy old fool.
It isn’t working.
I should have known this.

You can’t make light during dark.
It’s impossible.
But NO, don’t listen.

Especially to your wife.
I’m trying to help.
You’re wasting your life
on something that will not work.

(Sigh) I should have married Bob.

The Detroit Princess

Once there was a Detroit Princess who lived on the Detroit River floating along with the current. She’s a happy cruiser ship. Her favorite thing is making people happy by riding them into the sunset. This makes them smile.
She has a husband. He is the Detroit Prince. The Detroit Prince is a cargo ship. He delivers materials to Windsor. He comes late from work because he wants to be a passenger ship and he sneaks critters onto his ship and rides them around the Detroit River at night. The Detroit Princess nags all day long.
Then one day, he left her and went to Canada without telling anyone where he was going. At first, the Princess just thinks that he was late again, but he never came back. She was very, very sad because she had feelings for him. She finally decides to move on, because she can’t wait for him any longer.
The Princess had trouble finding a companion. She had a few dates, but the nagging scared them away. Then one gloomy day the Prince came back with his girlfriend, The Pearl of The Ocean, and rubbed it in the Princess’s face. Her foghorn blew off, how mad she was. The Prince left before things got ugly.
The Princess went looking for a boat of her own, and she met Titanic the Second. They had a couple of things in common like their foghorns matched, and they started a relationship.
The Princess went to see the Prince and introduced him to Titanic the Second. The Prince was very angry. He blew his foghorn off too. But then when Titanic the Second saw the Pearl of The Ocean, he broke up with the Princess and asked out the Pearl of The Ocean. Of course, she said yes and broke up with the Prince.
The Prince and Princess began to cry. Then all of a sudden they looked at each other and their sterns turned to face.
They stayed in that position for quite a while, when the Prince turned around and said, “Well, we’re the only two here…care to float with me?”
The Detroit Princess replied, “Well, why not?” And everyone floated happily ever after.

Program Directors Tricia Maslowski (EMWP ’07) and Angela Knight (EMWP ’05).
Dickinson East/Holbrook Elementary camp directors Eva Hamilton and Shellie Scott (both EMWP ’08).
High camp school directors Katie Meister (MBWP ’07) and Valerie Allen (WSWP ’08).

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On-site Teacher Research Group Starts Work

Our first summer institute for an on-site teacher-research group was a success!
This summer, John Staunton and Kris Gedeon led a small group of teachers at Britton-Macon Area School on a three-day journey into teacher research. As usual at an EMWP event, food played a significant role! :D

On a more serious note, by the end of the three days everyone had identified inquiry questions and established their individual research plans for the year. In addition, these new teacher-researchers will be presenting at the Writing for Real Conference on October 17! We’ll be sharing early research from our classrooms and talking about the process of establishing a teacher-research group in our school. We’re all working on questions relating to writing across the curriculum – and we’d love to hear about what goes on in your classrooms.

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