Sunday, September 4, 2011

Summertime Journey at EMWP

Cassy Korinek

We came from teaching experiences in private and public school; from rural and urban communities. Some of us teach at the college level, others teach middle or high school learners. Some of us teach primary school and even have experience teaching the very, very young! We came from districts like Monroe, South Lyon, Ypsilanti, Adrian, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Hamtramck, and even Dexter. Some of us are teachers of English, counselors, drama teachers, foreign languages, and even teachers of multiple disciplines. Despite our diverse backgrounds we all came together this summer at the EMWP with a common passion, our love for writing in a world that is so fragile and ever-changing!

We came charged with different writing missions. One of us had visions of finishing a novel. Marquin Parks' mission during the institute was to finish the final chapters of his work, The Great Misunderstandings of Alexander the Grate. When Marquin finished reading a chapter called "The Torture" to us, we all wanted to know more. We heard from Marquin weeks after our time together was over. He had completed his novel and happily sent us all the final chapters for feedback and celebration. When we one day see The Great Misunderstandings of Alexander the Grate on book shelves, we’ll proudly reflect as we pick up a copy, “We know this remarkable author!” 

Writing Marathon - Marquin and Cindy listen at the Eagle Crest 

Summer Invitational teacher/poet Dawn Richberg, in her closing thoughts at the institute, delivered a heartfelt "thank you" for the sacred writing time and the colleagues who helped her develop expressions of personal reflection. Our treasured time not only revealed magnificent works, but it uncovered the “hidden gems” that each of us possess. Gems that will travel with us into our classrooms to inspire, name, and liberate writers we guide.

Writing Marathon - Dawn at the Ugly Mug
In demonstration lessons, some of us gallantly blazed a path to help us grow in our skills of using technology to gain a passion for “new literacies.” Participant Erin Klein helped us reflect on 21st century learners. She exposed us to search engines to inspire research, online writing tools such as Storybird, and ways to interact with each other such as using Schoology. Her compelling demonstration lesson left us with great excitement about the possibilities of using technology in our classrooms. 

Writing Marathon - Erin, Stacey, Rian, and Nick at Kerrytown

Participant Jessica DeYoung Kander took us to a new level of using discussion boards for “just in-time learning” possibilities not only in the classroom, but with our peers. It was a fast-paced demonstration, but every Summer Invitational participant was captivated and individually challenged. Each of us walked away wondering about the possibilities of ramping up the use of technology in our classrooms, for the very young all the way to college. 

Other demonstrators helped us focus on detail in order to bring out the language and flavor of works that we create as well as those we experience. Participant Cindy Guillean guided us in a bridging reading with writing lesson by diving deeper into the author’s intention. Even after her lesson, we continued to discuss evidence that supported our interpretation of the piece. Looking at writing through an author’s lens certainly left us with compelling writing possibilities. Participant Janice Vujic gave us another look at diving deeper in our thoughts by examining art and interpreting the who, what, why, and how implied by the photographer or painter. 

Writing Marathon - Final Sharing Time

Our demonstrators’ lessons left us with wondrous thoughts of what it takes to inspire and guide 21st century learners in the area of literacy. The recipe included creating thinkers and communicators who use their talents in melodious ways to relate and gain a deeper understanding together. It’s vigorous, it’s powerful, it’s essential, and it’s possible.
We parted after a month with tears of joy reflecting our accomplishments, yet tears of sadness that our month-long commitment together had come to an end. Our time together helped us surmise that a writer’s work is never done and it cannot be done alone. It takes the hands of many along the way to make it speak the depths we want it to share.
With this in mind, we are recharged as we step back into our classrooms this fall. Miles will separate us, but we will continue to join together as a community of writers, researchers, and friends that will stay closely connected in order keep inspiring ourselves and our students to stay the course as lifelong learners in a fluid world.

1 comment:

Angela Knight said...

I wish I'd been there! So glad you had such a great summer.