I Love to Write/We Love to Write

“ I liked how we could write whatever we want.” “I liked the marathon.” “I liked how we didn’t have to use prompts and we had more freedom in our writing.” “I liked how the slam poets came. It was fun listening to their poems!” “I have enjoyed my time all week writing with my son. My goal was for him to find a community of writing peers and he has. I also wanted to stoke his passion for telling stories…and to be able to have him share and be encouraged by someone other than me.  All achieved! These are just a few of the comments from some of the participants of the I Love to Write, I Love to Write2, and the We Love to Write summer writing workshops that took place June 23-27, 2014.  There were four total workshops; two I Love to Write workshops for students that...
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Nebraska’s Warrior Writers

Photo from L to R:  Scott, Sharon, Jim, Andy, Mary, 
Not pictured:  Barb, Muhammed, Dr. Ritchie, Dr. Naseem, Beverly
By Scott Gealy and Beverly Hoistad Nebraska’s Warrior Writing Project and Nebraska Writing Project   The kernel of an idea for Nebraska’s Warrior Writers was sown at a national conference almost a year ago and germinated with casual airport conversation on the journey home to Lincoln, Nebraska. The people who dream big at Humanities Nebraska, Chris Sommerich and Erika Hamilton, began visualizing how Missouri’s writing project could be adapted for Nebraska veterans and applied for grant money. Following funding approval, the seed began to root, as representatives from the Human Services Federation, the Nebraska Writing Project, Humanities Nebraska, and the Veterans’ Administration met to decide how best to publicize, staff, and implement what was tentatively described as the Nebraska writing project for veterans and active military. Workshops officially began in September at the V.A. in Lincoln and have been attended by veterans from both Lincoln and Omaha. Workshops focus on...
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NeWP Represents at NSCTA Conference

by Jan Knispel On September 26th, 2014, the Nebraska Writing Project was represented by Jan Knispel, board member; Brenda Larabee, Co-Director; and Janell Stoeger, Summer Institute Teacher-Consultant presented an overview of the Nebraska Writing Project to a session of speech coaches at the Nebraska Speech Communications and Theater Association convention in Grand Island, Nebraska. Larabee is the speech coach at Stuart High School, Stoeger is the head coach at Valentine High School, and Knispel is the retired head coach at Valentine High School. Brian Mohr, former Summer Institute Teacher Consultant issued the invitation to present at this year’s NSCTA Convention. The session began with a writing activity patterned after one given by Paula Anderson at the Platte River Writing Retreat earlier in September. Knispel introduced the writing session by having the attendees write a list of cooking terms, having the participants share their lists in groups, and write a poem...
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Agate Teacher’s Workshop: Exploring the Bones of Place

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  [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 9–10, 2015 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, Barbour’s one-time student and a contributor to...
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Platte River Writing Retreat

by Adam Hubrig   On September 12th, an assembly of Writing Project Teacher-Consultants met on an unusually cool September afternoon to begin the Annual Fall Writing Retreat at Platte River State Park. After sharing fire-warm pizza at the Chokecherry cabins, we began a writing activity in which we wrote the recipe for the perfect autumn day, with many writers noting that maybe right here, sitting in the screened-in campground porches and surrounded by other writers, we were living it. As many of our autumn poems noted, while at the Writing Retreat we were all able to leave student e-mails, papers needing grading, and the hard work of teaching behind for a weekend and focus on being writers. As darkness settled in, we huddled around a campfire Friday evening to try and squint a glimpse of the aurora borealis, a rare sight for the area. Though unsuccessful in this endeavor, everyone...
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ConnectEd Unconference: Empowering Teachers to Share and Lead

On July 26th, 25 teachers representing most of the Metro area schools (OPS, Millard, Westside, Bennington, Papillion-LaVista, Gretna, and UNO) gathered for ConnectEd–an Unconference sponsored by The Nebraska Writing Project, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Omaha’s Learning HQ, and hosted by Pheomblue. The day began with coffee and brainstorming discussion topics for the day. After one of our walls was covered in conversation  ideas, we put tallies next to the topics we wanted to discuss. We had four breakout rooms, so we assigned the top four scoring topics to rooms and got busy discussing the issues that mattered to us. We repeated this process three times throughout the day; conversations naturally carried over into lunch and over drinks after the Unconference. Teachers were interested in the following conversation topics: connecting the school to the community, how teachers can impact a school climate, preventing teacher burnout with effective professional...
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Summer Board Retreat 2014

Board Retreat 2014 466
Over twenty members of the Nebraska Writing Project’s Leadership Board convened this week at the St. Benedict Center just north of Schuyler, Nebraska. The meeting of these teachers from all over the state began with reports about all the amazing things that the Nebraska Writing Project has been doing over the past year. From the annual staple Summer Institute, to the newly developed youth writing programs, over twenty projects were reported on during this phase of the meeting. Robert Brooke, Director of NeWP, then took the lead with a visionary agenda for the coming 2014-2015 school year. He pronounced that now that finances have stabilized, and we’ve weathered the crisis that came about after the federal government cut funding for the National Writing Project, it is time to think about what the Nebraska Writing Project can do as we move forward. This exciting concept allowed everyone to share their ideas...
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New Orleans Writing Marathon

Privileged to Share my Writing.
Jeff Grinvalds July 20, 2014 I had the pleasure and privilege to attend Richard Louth’s famous New Orleans Writing Marathon hosted by the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project. I was encouraged by former NeWP Marathon Guru, Susan Martens who is now the director of the Prairie Lands Writing Project. The New Orleans marathon is open to anyone from any writing project nationwide. Together, we and 53 other writers spent five days traversing the famous French Quarter writing, sharing and discovering. I cannot put into words the gratitude I have for the host members of the SLWP who helped to make their city our city. We were also blessed to be inspired each day by Kim Stafford of the Northwest Writing Institute who gave us a framework for different ways to see the world around us and how to put those observations into words. From seeing the light filtering through the cracks to finding the...
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Platte River Writing Retreat

Peaceful Lake
September 12-14, 2014 Spend the weekend with fellow NeWP teachers at Platte River State Park, located between Lincoln and Omaha on I-80 at 14421 346th St. Louisville, NE 68037. Options for camping and participating are outlined in the attached flier. RSVP to marathon or retreat events to Diana Weis. To participate, you can join us for the entire weekend. $50 will get you two nights and two days in a beautiful, serene setting where you can relax and recharge. Sit by the campfire, make smores and share stories. Explore the Nebraska wilderness with a notebook in your hand. Enjoy the natural beauty of Platte River State Park while bonding with fellow NeWPers. If you wish, you may make your own reservations at the park here. If you can’t make it for the weekend, we would love to have you join us on Saturday, September 13th for the Writing Marathon. We will...
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Busy Summer for NeWP!

As many teachers say goodbye to another school year, the Nebraska Writing Project kicks into gear with the annual Summer Institute that runs from the beginning of June to the end of June. Sixteen new participants and four facilitators join together in Andrews Hall at UNL to share writing, learn about teaching, and learn that “the best teachers of writing are writers themselves. The facilitators for this summer’s Institute are Dr. Robert Brooke, Diana Weis, Amy Tasich and Sarah Thomas. The institute ends on July 3rd. This is also the second year for Stacey Waite’s incredible Young Writers Camp, where 37 young writers from all over Nebraska have convened to create magic and mischief through the written word. One participant said, “Another great day today, cant believe the first week of camp is over!! Its crazy how much we have accomplished, the creativity is amazing. Jovan Mays was great, i...
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