2016 Agate Writing Workshop

Twelve teachers from across the state joined in the 2016 Agate Teacher’s Workshop June 6th through 8th. This two-year partnership between the NeWP and the National Park Service turned its focus to Exploring the Bones of Place. Park ranger and Fort Union museum curator, Fred MacVaugh and NeWP member, Diana Weis lead interpretive sessions and place-based writing activities. You can follow the workshop’s story and see participant writing from the event by clicking on the picture below.
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Spring Gathering 2016

Stacey Waite, Acting Director
On Friday, May 6th, the Nebraska Writing Project gathered together TCs from all over the state to celebrate the State of NeWP. Stacey Waite, acting director, opened up the ceremony by declaring the state of NeWP to be strong, and jokingly pointing out that she didn’t manage to “sink any of the Nebraska Writing Project ships” during Robert Brooke’s sabbatical. Her good humor was followed by entertainment provided by high school slam poets who competed in Louder than a Bomb this year and also represent members of the Young Writers Camp. They were Jack Buchanan from Lincoln High School, Ashley Marco from Waverly High School, and Tiara Crites and Rose Gaffner from Lincoln Southwest. After the Slam Poets wowed the audience with their rhythmic riffs, the military veterans of the Lincoln Warrior Writers group shared three of their pieces. Finally, after a break, Stacey continued the program by presenting Paula Baker...
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NeWP @ NETA 2016

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The Nebraska Writing Project continued its partnership with NETA for the second year in a row by attending the April 21-22 NETA Conference and sharing four presentations. The NeWP NETA representatives for this year were Jeff Grinvalds, Technology Liaison; Brenda Larabee, Co-Director; Jodie Morgenson, Waverly High School; and Tiffany Young who teamed up with Amy Johnson both from Pyrtle Elementary. Check out the presentation reviews below!       Jodie Morgenson presented her “Blog Magic: A Versatile Tool for the Classroom and Beyond” session on Thursday afternoon. She discussed ways that blogs can be useful for both students and teachers, as well as things that have worked and NOT worked for her. The session seemed to perk up when Jodie mentioned that her blog had received attention from a European news station and ultimately landed her students and her some airtime on European television. Euronews reached out to Jodie when they...
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Poetry from the Plains

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Join us for a Poetry Reading for the website launch of “Poetry From the Plains: A Nebraska Perspective” poetryfromtheplains.org Date: April 30, 2016 Time: 2:30-4:00 PM Place: UNL Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, 14th & S Street, Lincoln Poets Reading: Twyla Hansen, Lenora Castillo, Allison Hedge Coke, Matt Mason Free and open to all.  The public is welcome. The new website, “Poetry From the Plains: A Nebraska Perspective” (poetryfromtheplain.org: launch date April 30, 2016) is a web resource for Nebraska poetry.  It features selected poems, scholarly essays, and historical resources about Nebraska poets whose work addresses the cultural and geographical richness of the Great Plains.  The website is hosted by UNL’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, and supported by grants from Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Arts Council.  The development directors are Twyla Hansen, Nebraska State Poet, and UNL English faculty Robert Brooke and Stephen Behrendt. Eight Nebraska poets are currently...
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Northern Youth Writing Festival 2016

On Saturday, March 19th, 11 youth and their instructors from 4 communities traveled to Stuart to participate in the Youth Writing Festival sponsored by the Nebraska Writing Project.  Communities represented in the festival were Stuart, Valentine, Lynch, and Wausa. Students were able to attend sessions presented by Kendra Vanderbeek, Melissa Pilakowski, and Brian Mohr.  Following the sessions, participants enjoyed a sack lunch and then headed out for a writing marathon around the town of Stuart led by Jan Knispel.  Upon completion, students returned to the school to publish their writing from the day. The Nebraska Writing Project prides itself on the philosophy of teachers and students writing together.  This was a shining example of that philosophy in action.
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Youth Writing Festivals 2016

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On Saturday, March 19th, NeWP hosted the Youth Writing Festivals. For our Eastern Festival, we moved locations to Gretna High School and we had a fantastic turnout. There were over 50 students there from eight different schools/districts. The Eastern Festival is for middle school students and they ranged from 6th to 9th grade. Each student received a notebook and t-shirt for their participation in the festival. The day was broken up into four sessions, with two groups of students traveling between the sessions. Sessions were led by area middle school teachers Elizabeth Lambert, Heather Kinsey, Shelley Sheets, and Amy Tasich. Sessions focused on character development, character interactions, topic and story creation, ignoring the editor, and there was a writing marathon for each student as well. The final session of the day was for publishing student work. Student pieces can be found on our blog http://newpyouthwritingfestival.wordpress.com/. This is the fifth year...
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Winter Board Retreat 2016

January 23, 2016 Andrews Hall University of Nebraska-Lincoln Led by acting Director, Stacey Waite, the Nebraska Writing Project board met on Saturday to share, learn and plan. Twenty members of NeWP participated in the annual retreat. The first item on the agenda was the new t-shirts and polos sporting the brand new NeWP logos. T-shirts are on sale for $15 and polos are $25. Contact Stacey Waite if you are interested in purchasing one for you and your NeWP friends! The traditional writing project introductions followed, and then it was down to business. The official agenda began with NeWP members sharing all of the amazing programs that we have offered over the past few months including the Warrior Writers program, the Gretna embedded institute, and the upcoming Youth Writing Camp and Festival. More information on these programs and all of the upcoming Writing Marathon dates can be found at here. Danielle...
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2016 Writing Marathons Announced

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Whether you are new to writing marathons or a veteran, 2016 is an exciting year. It marks the eighth anniversary of writing marathons in Nebraska. Writing from this year’s spring and winter writing marathons is attached. Information is located at the close of this article on how to become involved with a marathon as well as when the 2016 marathons are scheduled. This year marks the eighth2015 Writing Marathon year of the organization’s writing marathon. The inaugural marathon took place in September 2008 at Platte River State Park. Writers filled three cabins that weekend to set forth in the woods to write together. Susan Martens, current director of the Prairie Lands Writing Project and then NEWP leadership team member, organized the event after experiencing the event at a NWP conference. “After I’d done one, I realized how perfect it was, how simple but also how powerful. It’s the relationship between...
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NeWP Teachers Enjoy National Council of the Teachers of English Convention

Nebraskans at NCTE in Minneapolis
At least sixteen Nebraska Writing Project teachers descended on the Twin Cities for the National Council of the Teachers of English convention November 19-23. NeWP teachers presented at three panels. Pius X teachers Lauren Funk, Katie Elsener, Tom Seib (emeritus) and Jane Connealy (emeritus) presented on their Holocaust education program. NeWP Director Robert Brooke was joined by three past NeWP teacher leaders, now site directors at other Midwestern Writing Projects, for a panel on NWP and community engagement. Maggie Christensen, Director of the Oxbow Writing Project, spoke about their young writers partnership at the Hope Center. Cathie English, Co-Director of the Ozarks Writing Project, spoke about her teacher education course. Susan Martens, Director of the PrairieLands Writing Project, spoke about Writing Marathons. Robert Brooke, NeWP Director, spoke about the Veterans writing workshops our site ran this year in Lincoln and Omaha. NeWP University partners Lauren Gatti, Nicole Green, and Sarah...
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2016 Agate Teacher’s Workshop

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Agate Teacher’s Workshop: Exploring the Language of Fossils [by Fred MacVaugh] Are you eager to explore opportunities to combine creative writing and science in the classroom? Join teachers from around Nebraska for a June 6-8, 2016 teacher’s workshop and writing marathon at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in northwest Nebraska. The workshop is open to all teachers in and outside of Nebraska Writing Project and will touch mainly on the areas of science, English, and history. Facilitators from NeWP and the National Park Service will lead participants in science-themed, place-based writing exercises, readings, and discussions. They’ll lead hikes to the early 20th-century fossil quarries where paleontologists like the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Erwin Barbour and others discovered some of the world’s rarest and most significant 20-million-year-old mammal remains. Participants will also explore paleontology-, science-, and Nebraska-themed poetry and creative nonfiction (essays) written by Cornhusker State native, author, and anthropologist/paleontologist Loren Eiseley,...
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