Monday, September 16, 2013

Welcome to the Fall 2013 Edition of eMuse!

In this edition...

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How are you celebrating the National Day on Writing?

Cathy Fleischer

The National Council of Teachers of English has established October 20 as the fifth annual National Day on Writing, a day designed “to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in and help make writers from all walks of life aware of their craft.” The Eastern Michigan Writing Project invites you to join us in celebrating that day—encouraging and honoring all the many forms of writing that you, your students, and your community practice. Let’s make southeastern Michigan a hub of writing activity by taking note of what, how, and why we write!

The EMWP has created several resources to inspire NDoW activities and to share what we’re doing.

• On Saturday, October 5, EMWP’s first Literacy for Life Saturday Session will be devoted to the National Day on Writing. Come try out activities and share your ideas for celebration. The session runs from 10-11:30, followed by a panel of college instructors from 11:30 to 12 who will talk about the ways NDoW supports college readiness. To register or learn more, contact Danielle Newby at

• EMWP has its own blog with ideas for activities and a space for sharing. Join us there:

You can also download more information and ideas here.

Make sure, also, to check out the resources offer by NCTE, including a twitter chat led by Penny Kittle and Sokolowski on October 20 at 8:00pm.
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Literacy from K to Perpetuity

Bill Tucker

Our Saturday Seminars will resume October 5 with a planning workshop for the National Day Writing. Yes, they are still celebrating writing on October 20, and we have ideas to promote writing in your community. We will hold six such seminars (schedule and registration attached) during the school year, offering up to twelve clock hours for those wanting to notch their professional development belt. We appreciate pre-registration, so we can prepare for breakfast and appetizing handouts, but if you show up unannounced we will welcome you anyway.

Park in the beautifully repaved Jones-Goddard lot south of Pray-Harrold (EMU) and ascend to the third floor, where (continental) breakfast will be served at 9:30 a.m. The program begins at 10:00 a.m. As we did last year, we will sponsor a College Panel at 11:30 a.m., which will reflect on how the featured writing skills prepare students for college. Join us on the second Saturday of most months, except in October, when we jumpstart the National Day of Writing October 5. Read more!

The Inkstains Experience Through the Eyes of a Middle School Camper

Emma Roth

After another great summer, we asked a middle school camper to be a guest writer for the article, so here is a wonderful piece by Emma Roth about how cool it is to come to Inkstains.

Thunder crashed all around us like cymbals in the ears of the other percussionist as we ran to shelter in the library. When running for cover from rain, it is more likely to hear the words “get inside” or “my hair!” But, when running with members of the Inkstains summer writing camp based at the Eastern Michigan University student center, it is far more likely to hear “save the journals!”

On the first day of camp, we are given journals. With specific instructions to write. Just write. Whatever you want. Whatever comes to mind, whether it be related to a writing prompt, or what you had for breakfast. Then, we settle down and basically talk about writing and books. Amongst the anticipated jokes about The Hunger Games (Welcome to Inkstains. May the odds be ever in your favor) and Harry Potter, we actually start to learn more about writing, reading, and each other. Over the next couple of days, we play games, write, explore the campus, write, listen to speakers that come in, share our stories and poems (and put them into our camp blog), and then, write some more.

But the best part? Writing with peers. Peers who understand the feel of writing. Peers who understand embracing “nerdiness” and will always love your writing, long, short, sci-fi, fantasy, depressing poetry, whatever it is. And, of course, the other best part - the teachers. Ali and Sean are the English teachers I wish everyone could have; they are hilarious, serious, fabulous, and many more “ous” words. They know how to talk with you on your level without sounding like they are “babying” you. Also, of course, they know how to write! Really well, at that.

In the age of computers, instilling such a love for a journal that you would rather get yourself wet than it, in a Middle School student is...well, magic. That’s what happens at Inkstains. Magic. Inkstains is perhaps the best summer camp I have ever had the pleasure of attending. It is my hope that many more attend to keep that magic alive. Always remember, the pen is mightier than the sword (or lightsaber, or wand, or bully, or corrupt politician).
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Summer Institute 2013: A Marathon of Learning

Shari Hales

Summer Institute 2013 was a marathon from start to finish! The teacher participants and facilitators all learned from one another and grew together in strides. Our summer’s journey began by discovering that inspiration can come from the most unlikely places, like a discarded shoe in the middle of a crossroad.

SI 2013 Icon

All of the participants gained momentum as the summer progressed. Maryann Dreske started the institute strong with an informative presentation about cross-curricular writing. Kevin English not only introduced many of us to Twitter, but also demonstrated the importance of having students use narrative to ground their argument writing. Erin Umpstead and Martina Vit engrossed us in writing activities, causing us to focus on the question: how do we reach all our students? Julie Harden sparked a great debate about validity in assessment of student writing.
SI 2013 Group Photo
Chelsea Lonsdale focused our attention in genre study and introduced many of us to the art of zines! If you want to talk about engaging students, talk to Rachel Talbert and Matt Tootalian; they not only gave us many practical tips for increasing students’ interest in reading and writing, but also generated our creativity and curiosity about activities like book passes and genres like graffiti. Diana Martin was thoroughly enchanting as she drew us all into the elementary mindset, kindling ideas about digital writing and collaboration that we could use in middle school, high school, and college. Rebekah Moeller and Amy Perry jumped bravely into their demonstrations about collaboration in digital writing, teaching us how to blog and use collaborative documents when we workshop; both mastered technology tools new to them for their demonstrations.
SI 2013 participants Chelsea Londsale and Amy Perry

Shannon McLeod spurred us to reflect on our teaching practices and reminded us that no matter how long we’ve been in this race, there is always room to grow and improve our teaching and writing. Our growth as writers, researchers, and presenters was obvious as the finish line of the institute loomed on the horizon.

With added encouragement from Cathy Fleischer and Kris Gedeon, we all learned (or remembered) that we each have a story to tell and our own inspiration to give.
SI 2013 Leadership Team

We pledged to use our OUTSIDE VOICES and take what we learned back to our schools: administrators, fellow teachers, parents, and students. Walking away from this leg of our marathon triumphant and energized to continue the journey, participants finished the institute looking forward to our continuity meetings and spreading the word about this life altering summer event.

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What? Another Reunion?

Bill Tucker

Last year’s 20th reunion whetted our appetite for more. Once again we’ll meet and celebrate our existence on November 2, 2013, again at the Corner Brewery, 20 Norris St, Ypsilanti.

This will be more social than fund-raising, but we are open to contributions to raffle off or other ideas that put money in our pockets. The plan, however, is to meet and greet and bring teachers and their families together for the sheer joy of it.

Please save the date, and we’ll send E-vites in the next month.

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Womyn’s poetry fest!

On September 19th, local poet and 2011 EMWP participant Dawn Richberg will join poets Jill Halpern and Charlotte Young Bowens and performance artist Callie McKee in this celebration of womyn and their creative spirits. Open mic preceding.

Sept. 19th; 325 Braun Ct., Ann Arbor, 7:30pm. Refreshments; Free. 663-0036.


Debbie Young (TC 2006) was interviewed last spring for Parent's Magazine by Elizabeth Foy Larsen. Her story was published in the September issue. Below is a page from her article. Debbie is quoted in the lower, left column.

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