Friday, April 20, 2012

Welcome to the 2012 Spring Edition of eMuse!

In this edition...

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The Eastern Michigan Writing Project's 20th Reunion!

Bill Tucker

BREAKING NEWS . . . The Eastern Michigan Writing Project will hold its Twentieth Reunion on July 21 at Dave Kangas’ farm in Scio Township. Details are unfolding as this story breaks.

EMWP teachers are urged to participate in planning and with helping to locate teachers who have fallen off the radar, especially, but not limited to, those from the first eight years. Contact Bill Tucker

• If you want to be on the planning committee or
• if you have an e-mail contact for teachers on the periphery of our community. We want all to feel welcome.
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For the Love of Teaching Writing

Angela Knight

Fifteen new Summer Institute participants and a leadership team are all gearing up for four weeks of camaraderie and partnership in the process of expanding our horizons and both wallowing in and leaping out of our comfort zones as we challenge ourselves and each other to become better writers and better teachers of writing.

The annual orientation of the participants and mentors will happen on May 1st in Room 320 of the EMU student center from 5-7:30 p.m.
The 2012 Summer Institute will commence on Thursday, June 21st at 9 a.m. in the same room, and continue through Thursday, July 19th at 3 p.m., sans Wednesday, July 4th.
By creating a place and time in which teachers are self-directed in personal and professional development in writing and the teaching of writing, encouraged by their colleagues, and assisted along the way in this process, we hope to expand the network of teacher leaders who will promote writing in their school buildings and districts.

Bill Tucker - EMWP Director
Cindy Guillean, ’11 – Returning Fellow
Angela Knight, ’05 - New Teacher Coordinator

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EMWP Family Literacy Initiative: Reaching Out Across NWP Sites to Invite Parents In

Kimberly Pavlock, TC ‘92

On Saturday, May 19, Teacher Consultants representing Writing Project sites from across the state and the Midwest will come together on the campus of Eastern Michigan University for the EMWP Family Literacy Regional Training Institute.

During the Institute, we will provide background information about the Family Literacy Initiative (FLI) and model two different workshops for Institute participants: “How to Help Your Child Write: A Workshop for Parents” and “Make Way for Writing: A Family Writing Workshop.” We will also answer questions about training TCs as presenters, marketing the FLI, and ideas for further outreach opportunities. At the end of the day, we will lead attendees through a series of prompts to help them think about ways they might be able to encourage parent involvement and promote family literacy at their own schools and Writing Project sites.

The Institute will meet from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in Room 300 Halle Library. Because money is tight for Writing Project sites across the country, we are charging just $75 per person to attend. Breakfast and lunch are included. EMWP TCs interested in attending are only asked to pay $10 to help cover the cost of food. If you haven’t looked at our Family Literacy workshop offerings lately, please take a moment to check them out at We have a number of new opportunities now available including “Writing Across Generations: A Workshop for Elementary Students and their Grandparents” and “Family Writing Fun Night” which provides students and their families with a variety of engaging and fun writing activities/stations to take part in together.

If you would to register for the FLI Regional Training Institute or have questions about the event, please contact Kim Pavlock at or Cathy Fleischer at
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NWP Lands Professional Development Grant

Bill Tucker

As soon as the earmarked funding for the National Writing Project was eliminated by Congress last spring, NWP cast its net into other waters. The resulting catch brought new funding, some of which can replace the former funds. In March of this year NWP was awarded $11.3 million for its proposal entitled:
“The National Writing Project: Leveraging a National Improvement Infrastructure for Professional Development to Improve Writing Instruction for All Students.”
This is a one‐year grant.

The grant was announced to Writing Project sites in late March with the first RFP (Request for Proposals), which is due May 1. The other two RFP’s are due May 15 and June 1 respectively.

RFP #1 – Teacher Leadership Development
Grant for sites interested in investing in teacher leadership programming for a minimum of 20 teachers in the 2012‐2013 program year. Proposals Due: May 1, 2012 Award Amount: $20,000

This grant resembles our previous funding in its goals and requirements and will more or less substitute for what we had been accustomed to for twenty years. Of course it is less than half of what we used to receive, but it allow us to give fellowships to the institute participants this summer and support disciplinary literacy, professional development, and Family Literacy in smaller measure than we did before. Look for the announcement of new positions when we receive news of our funding in June.

The second and third RFP’s are competitive and targeted at “high need schools.” Both invite a Writing Project site to do intensive professional development in schools with documented socio-economic disadvantages and weak performances in writing. This would be the most challenging professional development we have done, but our teacher consultants bring diverse and cumulative experience to bear on this challenge.

RFP#2: Evaluating the Impact of Professional Development to Meet Challenging Writing Standards in High‐ Need Elementary Schools
Grant for sites that have a track record of providing sustained professional development services focused on teaching writing in high‐ need elementary schools. This strand includes an independent evaluation component that focuses on teacher and student outcomes.
RFP Available: April 3, 2012 Proposals Due: May 15, 2012 Award Amount: $20,000 per treatment school, $3,000 per control school for 25 school pairs

This RFP was issued in early April. We are already looking for candidate schools for it.

We have not yet seen RFP #3. The summary description is
RFP#3: Professional Development in High‐ Need Schools
Grant for sites interested in providing intensive professional development in a high‐ need school as a part of new or ongoing programming.
RFP Available: April 16, 2012 Proposals Due: June 1, 2012
Award Amount: $20,000 per school served for 75 schools

If anyone has a school in mind for this grant and is willing to investigate the potential, contact Sarah Lorenz ( or Bill Tucker (
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Inkstains Writer’s Camp 2012

Aimee Grant

Do you know of any enthusiastic middle school and high school writers who would jump at the chance to go on a writing marathon, post their writing on an interactive camp bog, create tons of poetry and stories, and publish a cool anthology with their writing in it? Each July, Inkstains Writer’s Camp does all of this, along with tons of other fun activities, with student writers from all over Southeastern Michigan.

This year the middle school camp runs from July 9-13, and the high school camp is July 16-20. Many of our campers are recommended by TCs from the extended network of EMWP alumni, and we’re hoping that you continue to spread the good word about Inkstains. You may have filed away the brochure that was recently emailed under your to-do list at school, and now is the perfect time to get it in the hands of kids who are crazy about writing. Registration is taking place now, and there are currently plenty of spots available. However, our camp increases in popularity every year, and in recent summers we have had a waiting list for late submissions. Please let your students that they’ll want to get their applications in soon to ensure their spot. We’re always delighted to talk about this favorite program of ours, so don’t hesitate to contact Kim Pavlock at if you would like to request a brochure or if have any questions about the camp.
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Collaborations Galore!

Cathy Fleischer

Is writing in math anything like writing in art? Does science writing in high school help students write in college biology classes? In order to seek answers to questions like these, EMWP is venturing into some new ground this summer—co-sponsoring a Disciplinary Literacies Institute.

For three days in June and five meetings over the next academic year, middle school, high school, and college teachers from across the disciplines will come together to explore what we mean by literacy in specific disciplines and how we might help students make smoother transitions from middle school and high school to college—particularly in the area of writing. We’re particularly excited about this work because of the partners who have joined together to create this multi-level, cross disciplinary conversation: EMWP, the Eastern Michigan University Writing Across the Curriculum Program, and the Washtenaw Writing Collaborative. In addition, we’ve been fortunate to be supported in part through a grant from the Dean’s office of EMU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The workshop will be facilitated by Sarah Andrew-Vaughan (EMWP TC and Ann Arbor Huron High School teacher), Steve Pernecky (chemistry professor and WAC Fellow at EMU), and Cathy Fleischer (EMWP co-director and English professor at EMU). Look for reports on our work—including some web-based materials—as throughout the 2012-13 academic year!
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English Studies for Teachers Celebration!

Cathy Fleischer

We’re thrilled that six Teacher Consultants are among the eight MA students who presented their research at the annual English Studies for Teachers Celebration/Presentation. Stacey Briggs (2011), Dawn Izzi (2010), Alli Kaplan (2006), Lauren (Russette) Nizol (2007), Brad Silverman (2010) and Michelle Westerdale (2003) joined MA colleagues Jason Elstone and Ethan Konett in the event.
The Celebration/Presentation gives these students an opportunity to talk to undergraduate and other graduate students about the teacher research studies they have pursued as the culminating projects of their MA degrees. Over the past year, they’ve learned about teacher research: from how to come up with a meaningful question to how to collect and analyze data to how to go public with their findings. Students will be finishing their amazing projects over the summer. Congrats to all of you!

MA Students and their Research Topics

Stacey Briggs
How does art influence learning in the English classroom?

Jason Elstone
Engaging adolescent males in academic writing

Dawn Izzi
Negotiated Spaces: Facilitating Discussion about Texts with At-Risk Students

Allison Kaplan
One-to-One Instruction and its Effects on Academic Achievement and Student Confidence

Ethan Konett
The Power of Narrative in the History Classroom

Lauren Nizol
Discovering Process, Purpose and Voice through Genre Study

Brad Silverman
What Are They Talking About? Assessing the Narrative Voice

Michelle Westerdale
Connecting with Parents to Support Student Writing

Left to Right: Lauren Nizol, Jason Elstone, Dawn Izzi, Ally Kaplan, Stacey Briggs, Michelle Westerdale, Ethan Konett, and Brad Silverman
You can learn more about the MA in English Studies for Teachers at Read more!

Home, Willa Cather, and My Classroom

Jim Schaefer

Years after she left Red Cloud, Nebraska, Willa Cather claimed that her writing was best “when she stopped trying to write and began to remember” (Betts 124). But, as she started to remember, in her book, The Best Years, she identified a wonderful sense of what it was like to be “home.”

She said that “she gave herself up to the feeling of being at home. It went all through her, that feeling, like getting into a warm bath when one is tired. She was safe from everything, was where she wanted to be, where she ought to be” (Betts 124). I try to fashion the space known as my classroom in an attempt to evoke that sense of belonging in my students. Not all, perhaps none, of them have experienced what’s it like to live where Willa lived, from 9 to 16 years old, while in a small town like Red Cloud, which has a certain “timeless quality” as the center of an agricultural district. A walk down Webster Street, the town’s main commercial avenue, still reveals buildings like the 1880s Opera House where William Jennings Bryan once spoke. Although my students may not have had that kind of idyllic living situation, they are often familiar with the frustrations that Willa faced in everyday life. Her house may have seemed spacious, with its 14-foot ceilings and “rambling succession of rooms” (Betts 124), but she had to share it with her parents and six brothers and sisters. The only way she could have her own space was in a corner of the attic, which was partitioned off from the boys’ row of beds and which she had put up rose-patterned wallpaper she bought with her earnings from her first job at Dr. Cook’s pharmacy. While this was not the stuff of a glamorous life, it was, as Willa later wrote, “the material out of which countries are made,” the long unfolding of events in a family and the community as family. The larger classroom of life, where our sense of home, our literary guides like Willa, and the activities in our classrooms all merge together in a profound learning process.


Betts, G. R. (1981). Writers in Residence: American Authors at Home. New York: A Studio Press/The Viking Press, 1981.
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Happy Writing Trails Again!

Cassy Korinek

Just a summer after a month long writing adventure with EMWP, Lynne Gronvall and Cassy Korinek are off to an exciting reading and writing training at Columbia University.
In August, the two Writing Project fellows will attend Lucy Calkin’s Summer Institutes--all thanks to the Dexter Educational Foundation. They are both very excited to meet with other reading and writing educators across the country and globe to discuss building literacy in first grade. Both are very eager to return to school in the fall to share their experience and continue their research in bridging reading and writing in the early years.
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At the 2012 English department Celebration of Excellence:
  • Dawn Izzi (TC '10) was awarded: "Outstanding Graduate Student in English Studies" 
  • Jessica DeYoung Kander was awarded the 2012 Graduate Dean's Award for Excellence in Research for her thesis "Reading Queer Subtexts in Children's Literature" 
  • Sarah Primeau was honored for her outstanding work in the EMU Writing Center 
  • The following Teacher Consultants presented their Master's Projects: 
  Stacey Briggs (2011)
  Dawn Izzi (2010)
  Alli Kaplan (2006)
  Lauren (Russette) Nizol (2007)
  Brad Silverman (2010)
  Michelle Westerdale (2003)

Congratulations to Cathy Fleischer, Co-director of NCTE, for receiving the Rewey Belle Inglis Award for Outstanding Woman in English Education, November, 2011!

Congratulations to Doug Baker, Co-director, for receiving the 2012 Assessment Leadership Award!

CAS Dean's Program Initiative Grants were awarded to:
  • Doug Baker (with Elisabeth Daumer) "Multiple Lenses Project: Reading from Different Perspectives for Different Purposes" 
  • Cathy Fleischer, Bill Tucker (with Ann Blakeslee) "Disciplinary Literacy and the Teaching of Writing" 
Kudos to all!

Birth Announcement:

Earlier this year, Elizabeth (Liz) Bertolini-Lietz, summer institute participate of 2010, and her husband Tom Lietz gave birth to a baby girl, Charlotte Emily Lietz. Charlotte was born 2/21/12, weighing in at 9 lbs, 1 oz and 21.5 inches long. Congratulations!
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