Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spring Cover Page

May Flowers 
A Spring of Opportunities

WritEL grant opportunity
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The WritEL Grant, a collaboration between EMWP and EMU's Department of World Languages, is recruiting teachers for Cohort II, which begins in August 2017. The grant provides a 40% scholarship for teachers pursing an ESL endorsement via a graduate certificate or MA in TESOL. EL paraprofessionals can also get assistance for a minor in TESOL if they are pursuing a teaching certificate. Please consider joining the WritEL ranks or sharing information with those who may be interested. Some classes will be offered "NWP style," and others online or at EMU's Livonia location.

For more information, contact Sara Lorenz at .

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By Aimee Grant

Warm weather is finally here, and that means that preparations for summer are underway. As you stock up on sunscreen and make final choices about which lake you’ll head to for your vacation, please take a moment to share brochures for Inkstains Summer Writing Camp with your middle and high school students.

The middle school camp will meet July 10 - 14, and the high school camp is July 17 – 21. Both camps are held at Eastern’s beautiful Student Center, and students get to spend a week surrounded by other like-minded writers. Campers go on a writing marathon, contribute to a camp blog, try out a fun assortment of creative writing activities, and culminate the week with a reading of their best piece published in the camp anthology.
Applications require a writing sample, often something students produce in class, as well as a short teacher letter of recommendation, so be sure to spread the news well before the June 19 deadline. Find all the details here:

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Summer Institute: Engl 592

by Bill Tucker

What are you doing July 12-28? 
You could be at the Student Center 320, 
8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. daily
Three half-days in the fall, 
(based on your availability)

Institute 2016
          Current registration for the summer institute foreshadows a good range of grade levels and experience in the crowd. The only surprise is the absence of Institute repeaters, so we’re writing just to remind you that you’re invited.
          Just as always we’ll be writing “from our soles” (see SI 2013), we‘ll be sharing the best in professional reading, and we’ll have guests sharing their experience in literacy leadership.
          But we plan to engage teacher leadership in new places.. The Institute will be led by your colleagues Kris Gedeon and Angela Knight, who have assisted in several previous institutes, together and individually.  Bill Tucker will assist them for a change. It is one way we are inviting more teacher facilitation of the work of EMWP.
          [If you participated in the College-Ready Writers Program or plan to participate in the next generation CRWP, you have and will see more teacher leadership: Sarah Lorenz, Jeff Taylor, Dave Kangas, and Maggie Teal are among those who have spearheaded this innovative argument-from-sources writing program.]
          Kris and Angela are planning new ways to share our successful and problematic practices as teachers, as we both demonstrate and investigate the writing activities that most intrigue us. They realized that even our successes often call for more reflection and research in the context of the Institute. That work will continue into three continuity meetings in the fall.
          We think this summer will bring both novelty and nostalgia for you second-or third-timers, and we welcome your participation.
We will offer both credit and non-credit participation, with a $400 scholarship underwriting the cost either way.

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Everyday Advocacy

An Eastern Michigan Writing Project Summer Institute
                                    June 27 -29, 2017       9am – 3pm each day
Eastern Michigan University Campus, Ypsilanti, MI

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 public narrative, starting from anecdotes and building toward an action plan.  By the end of day 3, 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, author of Teachers Organizing for Change, and lead developer for the Everyday Advocacy website.

Who can apply? To apply, please fill out the online form (link below) by May 1, 2017.  If more than 25 apply, teachers will be selected based on three criteria: (1) commitment to the topic; (2) school and subject area representation (i.e., diversity in grade level; school location; school size, etc.); and (3) connection to the NWP network.

Is there a cost?  $75 for the three days.  Payment is due on the first day of the Institute.

Further questions? Contact Cathy at

Registration link:  Read more!

Social Justice Unit

by Shannon McLeod Mound

April is poetry month! I created these lessons for my twelfth grade English students, who attend a technical high school to study auto mechanics, IT, and other career-focused skills. This population is mostly made up of students who say they “hate reading” and are reluctant to write as well. Poetry is not something they’re typically enthusiastic about. I’ve tried to make poetry more relevant to my students by having them research social justice issues that are important to them and make those issues the focus of their original poems. The goal is to introduce poetry with lessons that first expose students to poetry that addresses social issues, then engage students in writing poems that reflect upon their chosen social issues.

Following the Process:

EXPOSURE: Students will define “performance poetry” and “social activism.” Then, they will listen to and read four poems: “Counting Graves” by the Steinmetz High School Slam Poetry Team, “OCD” by Nate Hilborn, “Advice to Rihanna” by Mahogany L. Browne, and “Arroz Poetica” by Arecelis Girmay. After they listen to/read each poem, they will write responses to questions about each poem’s topic, purpose, and success in a graphic organizer. We will discuss each poem and students’ responses as a class. I chose poems that dealt with a mix of both societal and interpersonal issues. Last year, students had mixed reactions, which inspired some interesting dialogue. I saved Girmay’s piece for last because it is the most challenging for students.( They tend to dislike the poems they struggle to understand.)

ENGAGEMENT: students will journal about whether they think writing can promote social justice. Then, they will read “Flint,” a poem about the water crisis by Flint youth poetry group Raise it Up! We discuss the poem, using close-reading strategies. Afterwards, students research social issues of interest and choose an article to read and annotate. This article will provide them with insight and inspiration for their first original poem. A very simple prompt with few stylistic restrictions would not be too intimidating for the class population. Students simply begin with the phrase, “It’s not right…” They can use this phrase for repetition throughout, or simply as a starter for their first line of the poem. For their second original poem, I have students focus on a more personal social issue and write a poem that uses the phrase, “The thing you don’t know about __________.” Prior years I had a few students write poems on police brutality, while another student wrote, “The thing you don’t know about football players.” These prompts allow students to engage in a wide range of topics. With assistance, students revise poems and then they each choose one of their pieces to perform for the class.

Steinmetz High School Slam Poetry Team, “Counting Graves”

Nate Hilborn,

Mahogany L. Browne,
“Advice to Rihanna”
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Monday, May 1, 2017

English Education for Fall 2017: Additional Offerings!

by John Staunton

I am writing to alert you to some of our additional offerings in English Education for Fall 2017.  Whether you are a graduate student in the MA English Studies for Teachers or MAT – English Program, an EMWP alum, or getting ready to start in your own classroom and interested in taking your teaching and inquiry to the next level, there is definitely something here for you. 

These are just of a few of the many graduate courses we offer in our various programs each year.   

(These courses will work for degree requirements in both the MA in EST and the MAT-English programs; Cognates Electives in other graduate programs in English, as well as endorsements and graduate credit toward continuing professional development and your license renewal).

ENGL 518 Topics in English Education (Staunton) W 5:30-8:10
ENGL 530 Issues in English Studies for Teachers (Staunton) 
W 5:30-8:10

These two courses are cross-listed and will meet together.  Taught by Professor John Staunton, who specializes in Literature Pedagogy and is Co-Director of the EMWP, the class provides opportunities for students to explore the field of English education and issues of research and pedagogy in the discipline(s) (e.g., interpreting literature; reading/viewing multimodal texts; incorporating twenty-first century technologies; writing; assessing student performance; constructing theoretical frameworks and examining consequences for student learning, etc.) and to discover potential research topics and interests, or link class experiences to existing ones, and build connections between research and the student’s pedagogy.
                Contact Professor Staunton—that’s me!—for more information (

ENGL 508 Writing for Secondary Teachers (Tucker) 
T 5:30-8:10

A writing course for students teaching or preparing to teach in various disciplines in secondary schools. Students develop their skills as writers and learn how to teach writing in all content areas. Special focus on recent composition research, theory, and practices, and on strategies, materials and evaluation techniques.  Taught by Professor Bill Tucker, the illustrious Director of the Eastern Michigan Writing Project, this course is the perfect option for any teacher and teacher-to-be who wants to make writing central to their teaching,  no matter the subject area.
                For more information, contact Professor Tucker (

LITR 585 Literature for Teachers—NEW for FALL:  

Literature for Teachers combines study of particular literary content with discussion of methods for teaching. Subject matter varies by semester, focused either on a specific genre, literary period, or set of issues in teaching literature. Assignments and discussions of content will emphasize pedagogical approaches to particular literary studies and issues.
This Fall we are fortunate to have TWO sections of LITR 585 to offer, both will allow for immersive inquiry into literary pedagogy from two content areas of central importance to the secondary teacher:  Shakespeare and Multicultural Children’s Literature.

LITR 585/LITR 541—Studies in Shakespeare (Dionne) 
T 6:30-9:10

Taught by our intentionally recognized and global-traveled Shakespeare expert, Professor Craig Dionne, ‘Studies in Shakespeare” offers students opportunities for inquiry into Shakespeare, Culture, and Pedagogy through an intensive reading of representative plays of Shakespeare, and of relevant critical, historical and textual scholarship.
                For more information, please contact Professor Dionne (

LITR 585/CHL 586 Multicultural Children’s Literature (Caponegro) 
W 5:00-7:40

Awarding-winning educator, Professor Ramona Caponegro’s “Multicultural Children’s Literature” course allows students to pursue advanced study of the literature for children and young adults by and about underrepresented groups in America, including history of multicultural writing for the young; major issues and controversies of multiculturalism; historical and cultural background of each group; and critical apparatus for the selection, interpretation, and evaluation of such literature.  If you are interested in adolescent and young adult readers and what they read, this is the course for you!
                Contact Professor Caponegro ( for more information.

WRTG 580  Writing, Teaching, and Public Policy  (Fleischer) 
R 5:30-8:10

Want to change the public discourse about teachers and writing?  Or want to find out how decisions about the profession get made?  This graduate seminar is for you.  Taught by Professor Cathy Fleischer, NCTE Imprint Editor for the Principles in Practice Series and tireless advocate for literacy learners and literacy teachers, this course focused on how public policy impacts writing instruction at the secondary and college level.  With an emphasis on genres and strategies teachers and citizens can use to write and speak publicly in order to add their voices to the conversation, you will leave this class with the tools and resources to make a change.
                Contact Professor Fleischer ( for more information.

Below are additional cognate courses of interest to teachers of Language, Literature, and Writing that can be used as restricted electives in the MA in English Studies for Teachers Program and/or used for the Teaching of Writing Certificate Program.  

WRTG 503 Rhetorical Theory and Teaching of Writing (Miller) 
W 6:30-9:10

Taught by our venerable Dr. Bernie Miller, this thematic course will have students read, study and analyze representative selections from classical, medieval, renaissance, and modern theorists. Emphasis on applying rhetorical theories to writing and language instruction.   This is the ideal course for the advanced secondary or two-year college instructor looking to advance understanding in rhetorical theory from within the practice of writing instruction. 
                For more information, contact Professor Bernie Miller (

LING 532 Sociolinguistics (Acton) 
W 6:00-8:40

Ever wonder how the way we use language affects the worlds we inhabit and our social spheres?  Professor Eric Acton’s “Sociolinguistics” class offers an analysis of the diversity in language caused by social factors, and the correlative influence of these linguistic differences upon society and social status. 
                Contact Professor Acton ( for more information.

LING 533 Psycholinguistics (Seely) M 6:00-8:40

Language:  It’s all in your mind.  Or is it? And what does that mean?  Taught by award-winning graduate educator, Professor Daniel Seely, this course is an introduction to psycholinguistics, the mental representation of a grammar, perception of language units, aphasia and other language abnormalities, first and second language acquisition, bilingualism, language and thought.  (Not open to students in speech-language pathology program). 
                For more information, contact Professor Seely (

For more information, contact John Staunton, 

(Make sure to check our English Department Graduate Studies website over the summer for updates on these and additional courses in our English Department Programs.
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