Thursday, April 24, 2014

Welcome to the Spring 2014 Edition of eMuse!

In this edition...

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Summer Institute Reincarnated

Bill Tucker, Director

To accommodate the busy teacher, we will offer a three-week Summer Institute this year, beginning June 30 and ending July 18.

Although we will preserve the essential goals of Teacher as Writer, Consultant and Researcher, we will encourage team demonstrations and feature presentations on teacher leadership to help teachers reflect on possible roles as public advocates, school improvement leaders and classroom researchers. The three-credits will be offered as independent study and cost less than $1800.

We will send out the revised application shortly.

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EMWP Advanced Literacy Coaching Institutes

Julia Keider

For two days, coaches and teachers across Michigan will invest their time to collaborate on best practices and teacher development during the first offering of the EMWP Advanced Literacy Coaching Institutes on April 28-29. Julia Keider, EMWP Instructional Coach, will lead the group of participants on their journey, as they “walk the coaching path” to becoming better coaches.

After two successful cohorts of the Basic Literacy Coaching Institutes, the EMWP ventured to establish itself as a leader amongst the National Writing Projects in Michigan to engage teachers, coaches, and administrators in meaningful dialogue using job-embedded professional development through coaching mindsets.

Compared to the Basic Institute, which was offered in June and November of 2013, the Advanced offers two days of collaboration, with the first day focusing on enhancing coaching skills and awareness, but then day two includes four presentations from coaches in different roles: Sarah Lorenz, Professional Development Coordinator from EMWP; Jackie LaRose, EMU Reading Faculty; Liz Lietz, Novi Schools Instructional Coach; and Curtis Refior, Coach and Presenter for WestEd.

The Advanced is different in that it allows coaches clearer opportunities to define themselves as coaches in the work they do every day. Instead of prescribing that there’s only one way to coach, we initially established some basic building blocks for coaching during the Basic Institute, but now we’re expanding that so coaches know that personal style, in addition to data and self-analysis, is an important aspect to coaching, no different than it is in teaching. We hope that people walk away with a more conscious sense of themselves as coaches and teachers.

If you are interested in the Literacy Coaching Institutes, Cohort III will open registration in June, available for coaches, teachers, and administrators K-College. The dates are August 18-19, with a registration fee of $225. Contact Julia Keider for more information at .
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Telling Our Stories/Raising Our Voices: From Anecdote to Action

Cathy Fleischer

An Eastern Michigan Writing Project Summer Institute
July 22-23, 2014
9am – 3pm each day

Sadly, the ongoing conversation about school reform too often leaves out the voices of teachers—those who are most intimately acquainted with the day-to-day issues that impact students and their learning. We believe that these voices are essential ones for policy makers to hear, but we recognize as well the pressures on teachers to remain silent.

How can teachers safely enter the conversation? 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 2, you should have an action plan to take back to your classroom and school. The workshop is facilitated by Dr. Cathy Fleischer, EMWP co-director and author of Teachers Organizing for Change.

Who can apply? Any teacher in the EMWP network is eligible for this institute. To apply, please fill out the accompanying form. The deadline for applications is May 1, 2014. If more than 10 apply, teachers will be selected based on two criteria: (1) commitment to the topic, as reflected in a short response essay and (2) school and subject area representation (i.e., diversity in grade level; school location; school size, etc.). Additional teachers (up to a total of 25) from other NWPM sites may apply, but without a stipend from EMWP (see below).

Is there a cost? The Institute is free for teachers, but limited to 25 participants. In addition, EMWP teachers are eligible for a stipend: $200 for attending the two days, plus $100 for creating and implementing an action plan.
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Internship in Special Education and Writing

William Tucker

At least three internships in teaching writing to secondary special education students have been funded by a grant from the National Writing Project. Interns will meet at least six times in the 2014-15 academic year to study and observe the teaching of writing with special education students in the lowest quartile of performance.

Some likely questions to address:
• How do special education teachers develop student writing in the lowest quartile of performance?
• How do special education teachers support the mainstream classroom in teaching writing to the lowest quartile?
• How do mainstream classroom teachers integrate special education teachers in the work of the classroom in writing?
• How do all teachers resolve the tensions between skills and fluency in writing?

Stipend for three interns: $500 each; four interns, $400 each.
Program guided by Dr. Rhonda Kraai, Assistant Professor of Special Education, Cognitive Impairment Area. The inquiry group will present key understandings to a Saturday Seminar on March 14, 2015. Applicants send a letter of interest and qualifications to Bill Tucker, . Deadline: May 1.
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EMWP Professional Development Updates

Karen Watts

Professional Development has experienced tremendous growth this year with the formation of several year-long partnerships and the expansion of coaching work.
Beginning last summer, the consulting team of Sarah Lorenz, Doug Baker, Mitra Dunbar, Rachel Toon, and Roseanne Stark have been working with the Grosse Ile district in all buildings, K-12, holding regular meetings with teachers and providing targeted PD to support their writing goals. The elementary buildings have been focused on writing workshop, with the adoption of the Being a Writer curriculum. Middle school has been working with writing across the curriculum and student engagement, and high school ELA and history teachers have been developing a joint research/writing project that incorporates the use of historical evidence in argument writing.

A similar partnership is also happening with the Woodhaven-Brownstown district. Consultants Sarah Lorenz, Karen Watts, and Dick Koch have provided PD sessions, facilitated departmental work sessions and conducted demonstration lessons. Sarah and Julia Keider are also providing 10 days of coaching in each of the two middle schools and the high school, focusing on writing in the content areas and the use of Socratic Seminars as a pre-writing strategy to build content and support for ideas.
At Lincoln High School, Karen has been meeting with school data teams once a month to facilitate the implementation of argument writing in all content areas. Teachers have all contributed to the development of a graphic organizer for argument writing which has been adjusted to meet the needs of each class or specific project. As students use the organizer in a variety of classes, they have become very familiar with the process of stating a claim, supporting reasons with evidence and providing a rebuttal to counterclaims.
Karen, Julia and Sarah have also been working in the Bedford district, providing two hours of PD and 13 hours of coaching at each of the five buildings. EMWP ran several well-received sessions at Bedford’s district-wide PD day in March and hopes to continue working with Bedford next year.
Hand-in-hand with these partnerships is the growth of coaching as a resource/offering from EMWP. The coaching model of professional development is one that honors teachers’ experience and knowledge while providing support and building capacity for school improvement. In order to prepare more TCs to be coaches, we have offered institutes to teachers interested in becoming coaches or in furthering their knowledge and experience with coaching. Julia conducted a two-day basic coaching institute in November for TCs and other teachers and will be offering the Advanced Coaching Institute in April.
As always, if you are interested in being a part of the professional development team or in bringing consultants or coaches into your building, please contact Sarah Lorenz.
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Inkstains: EMWP Summer Writing Camp

Maddie Fyke, Inkstains camper & Alli Kaplan, Inkstains teacher

To Whom it May Concern:

For the past six summers, I've only known one thing for certain – I was going to Inkstains Writing Camp. There's just something about it that keeps the campers coming back. Maybe it's the fact that the environment opens us all up to each other's writing styles and we can give each other valuable feedback. Maybe it's all the intellectual conversations we have, whether the topics are political, social – you name it! Or maybe it's just that I've never been in a supportive community of writers where I've felt so comfortable sharing my work.

We, as writers, have different experiences, and it affects our style. Every year, I am floored by the talent of the young writers who come through with their beautiful minds and words. Whether we are scrawling in our notebooks in the Kiva Room, conference rooms, the library, or the green grasses of campus, there are so many places to spark a moment of inspiration. Also, the guest speakers that we have the good fortune to meet through Inkstains have truly had an effect on all of us – Mike Moriarty has signed my copy of his slam poetry anthology twice now, and I bought it from him five years ago when he came to perform for us!

If I could say how much Inkstains has meant to me, I could write a book (which maybe isn't such a bad idea). Throughout my middle school and high school years, Amy Van Horn, Alli Kaplan, and Sean Eldon have led this absolutely inspirational endeavor, and none of us could've been a part of it without the help of the Eastern Michigan Writing Project. Inkstains Writing Camp has given me the confidence to be true to myself as a writer, and I think I can speak for past, present, and future campers when I say that I've become much more enthusiastic about sharing my work with the world. Since I started coming to camp, I have written four produced one-act plays for my high school, and I don't plan on stopping there. The confidence that this camp has given to us has not only helped us all as writers, but as people, too.

I truly hope that Eastern Michigan University will keep Inkstains Writing Camp going, because it has given students so much knowledge and freedom of expression that is sometimes hard to find in the classroom. And even though it's time to turn the page and start on the next chapters of my life, I'll always keep a bookmark in the memories that Inkstains has given me. I don't mean to just say goodbye to my time at Inkstains; I want this to be a hello for new campers because all students who aspire to write deserve this opportunity.


Maddie Fyke
Pinckney Community High School

Hello Maddie and the Inkstains campers!

It starts with a blank notebook. Well, blank to some. To us, it is the start to the most incredible journey. Blank pages are our equivalent to potential, to the building of short stories, poems and plays, and most incredibly (and something that you have tapped into) to the foundation of a new confidence.

The evolution of our initial thoughts and first words into published writing is only part of the magic of camp. Sometime during the start of day one, our classroom becomes an interactive space where ideas bounce, support extends and friendships grow. The once generic notebook is now a unique writer’s journal, no two ever the same. We are proud to have provided you with a safe space to take ownership and explore your potential.

I love that you can feel the years of camaraderie between Sean, Amie and myself, along with the Inkstains directors. I think it’s because we all, campers and teachers, share in your love for the craft and in a belief that we are all capable of good writing.

Keep sharing your writing and continue amazing us with your creativity. It’s a gift. I know you will be successful and make a difference in this world.

Alli Kaplan
Proud Inkstains co-teacher and believer in the power of writing

P.S. And yes, I think a book about Inkstains would be a great idea!

P.P.S. If you know anyone who is interested in attending camp this year, the middle school camp is July 7-11, and the high school camp is July 14-18.
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Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone: An Online Learning Experience

Cathy Fleischer and Sarah Andrew-Vaughan

Sponsored through a NWP grant, we’ve created an online learning experience designed to help teachers think about genre study and the Unfamiliar Genre Project (UGP)—concepts we explore in our co-authored text Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone: Helping Students Navigate Unfamiliar Genres. While we’ve completed part one—an online book study—we welcome you to join us this summer as we create our own UFGs and share them with others across the country.

Want to learn more about the Unfamiliar Genre Project?

Listen to this interview on NWP radio.

• Or check out the Heinemann site to purchase the book or read Chapter 4, "Unpacking the Unfamiliar Genre Project."

• You can also read samples of our students' projects (click on the "Companion Resources" menu).

Let us know you’re interested by filling out this form:
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Are you looking for time and space to write?

ENGL 531: Teacher as Writer
June 23 – July 3, 2014
Student Center 302
Dr. W. Douglas Baker

Course Description
ENGL 531, Writing for Teachers, is a two‐week intensive course (9:00 am-3:00 pm daily) that will provide you with the opportunity to write on self‐selected projects, get feedback from peers, and explore processes of such work as writers and as teachers. Based on principles of the National Writing Project (see, the class will encourage you to engage as a community of writers, including selecting topics and genres for particular purposes and audiences and exploring how these practices inform our pedagogy.

Some of you may elect to enroll in the course for the purpose of working on a personal writing project. The class will offer you the time and flexibility to build on your manuscript while learning how to integrate your experiences as a writer with those of your students, or future students. You will be encouraged to read brief selections by other writers and to respond to the writing of your peers; however, much of the time will be devoted to writing. Read more!

Yes, We Can Help Our Students to Succeed

Jim Schaefer

I recently had the interesting experience of reading two different serious books that both contained an inspirational message for teachers in their relationship with their students.

In her book, The Next American Revolution, the venerable Grace Lee Boggs, now 98 years young, talked about the need to create “a loving, caring environment in which young people can complete their schooling and also develop their leadership skills” (p. 177).

Boggs observed that this kind of environment that will develop individuals and groups who can respond “creatively with passion and imagination to the real problems and challenges that they face where they live and work” (p. 178).

In his book, How Children Succeed, Paul Tough (2012) argued that the people who do best in life are those taught to develop certain characteristics of conscientiousness, including being “orderly, hard-working, reliable, respectful of social norms,” and especially “self-control” ( p. 73).

I have found this to be true of my own students. The students who were successful were those who, as Duckworth said, developed a “passionate commitment” and an “unswerving dedication to achieve that mission” (p. 74, in Tough, 2012). As teachers, we can work with our students to develop that quality.


Boggs, G. L. (2011). The next American Revolution: Sustainable     activism for the twenty-first century. Berkeley, CA: University     of California Press.
Tough, P. (2012). How children succeed: Grit, curiosity, and the     hidden power of character. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin     Harcourt.
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