2015 Spring Writing Marathon – Benson (Omaha, NE)

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I concluded that if I could only nudge the world a little bit, maybe that would be enough.But nudging isn’t enough.” ― Jacqueline Novogratz Hello Writing Friends, The Nebraska Writing Project has talked a lot about mindfulness and positive advocacy this year, so it is only natural that these topics become the inspiration for our 2015 Spring Writing Marathon in Benson Benson is a neighborhood in Omaha, NE with a rich history of community and advocacy. Before its annexation in 1917, Benson residents prepared as many improvements as they could to ensure the continued development of their community. This early advocacy can still be seen throughout the neighborhood today as well as signs that the community continued to evolve and is currently undergoing another transformation. The marathon launch is at the Omaha Bicycle Company. Owner Sarah Johnson has offered her space for our launch. Sarah is instrumental to Omaha’s bicycle...
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Winter Writing Marathon

Over twenty NeWP TCs met after the January board retreat for the Winter Writing Marathon. The Ascent sculpture by Jun Kaneko was a hot spot for writers, but groups ventured throughout downtown Lincoln on their writing journeys. Click here to read more about their day.
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Now Accepting Applications For The 2015 Nebraska Holocaust Educator’s Summer Satellite Seminar

The Nebraska Writing Project, the Institute for Holocaust Education, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Memorial Library in New York City are pleased to release the details of the  2015 Nebraska Holocaust Education Satellite Seminar for teachers, held June 22 – 26, in Lincoln, NE.  This is the 4th year of this workshop, and the seminar is free to all accepted participants; it even includes some meals during the seminar, educational training materials, and lodging if needed. Questions may be communicated to Katrina Gotschall (O’Neill High School) by emailing her at katrinagotschall@oneillschools.org or Tom Seib (Pius X High School) at tom.seib555@gmail.com.  For your convenience, this year’s detailed brochure is attached, and you can apply for the seminar by clicking on this link:  http://www.thememoriallibrary.org/satellite-program/nebraska/ We hope you will consider joining us for this amazing learning opportunity, and if you know of any other teachers who may be interested in this awesome seminar,...
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NCTE 2014: Writing Marathons in Washington D. C.

This November, I had the wonderful opportunity to represent the Nebraska Writing Project and Westside High School at the National Council of Teachers of English conference in Washington D. C. I also attended the National Writing Project national conference where we celebrated the 40th year of the writing project’s existence! The energy and enthusiasm was infectious. I felt surrounded by thousands of creative educational experts.     I was invited to present with Dr. Susan Martens, formerly of the Nebraska Writing Project and now the director of the Prairie Lands Writing Project in St. Joseph, Missouri. We were joined by Richard Louth of the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project and Casey Olsen of the Montana Writing Project. Each of us shared our pedagogical approach to using Writing Marathons as an educational tool with students of writing. We presented to teachers from all over the country and capped off the presentation by...
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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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