A Conference Like No Other

You’re invited to attend the first ever Fall Un-Conference sponsored by the Nebraska Writing Project on October 19th.

This rogue conference is modeled after Ed-Camp conferences and invites participants to create the day’s agenda. Here’s how it works: You and your friends show up at 9:00 to add discussion topics to our group white board. Interested in discussing technology in the classroom? What about Common Core? Or maybe a conversation about socially relevant curriculum would float your boat? We’ll have 15 minutes to brainstorm topics.

At 9:15, participants will begin voting for which topic they’d most like to discuss. We’ll narrow the list to four topics for the first time slot and assign those topics to rooms. At 9:30 you’ll select your topic and join other educators and stakeholders for a lively discussion. Discussion will last one hour. We’ll meet back at 10:30 to continue another round of brainstorming and voting. By 11:00 you’ll be talking again about issues that matter to you. The un-conference will conclude with a group lunch and final wrap-up at Buzzard Billy’s in the Haymarket. The conference is free and open to anyone. Help spread the word by forwarding this to your colleagues, friends, and other educational stakeholders!

When: October 19th, 2013. 9 AM-1 PM

Where: Bailey Library, Andrews Hall, UNL City Campus

Need more information? Contact Danielle Helzer at helzerdm@gmail.com.
Continue Reading

Platte River Writing Marathon 2013

September 21, 2013
Platte River State Park
by Jeff Grinvalds


Platte River State Park was alive with writers on Saturday. Seventeen Nebraska Writing Project members and friends of NeWP joined together to explore nature and write.

From the heights of the wooden tower to the depths of the mighty Platte River, writers were inspired by the natural and unnatural sights of the state park. They began their journey at the dock of Owen Lake watching the paddle boats and feeling the glorious sunshine while sharing conversation.

They then divided into groups traversing the trails of the park and nearby areas of interest.

Jeff Grinvalds and fellow writers, Maija, Alan and Kristi traveled outside of the park to Soaring Winds Vineyard and Schramm State Park. At the rock wall in Schramm which is home to fossils and millions of years of sediment, Jeff wrote this poem:

Fossil WallRock Wall

Children climb the wall
just above a sign that reads, “No Digging.”
They arrive in search of dinosaurs,
and mammoths, hoping to be the one to uncover
the next new species
the next Sue,

Instead they scratch the surface
never delving below last year’s dust
never reaching the sediment
that would reveal themselves
to the world.

Continue Reading

2013 Carol McDaniels Award Winner

2013 Carol MacDaniels Teacher of the Year

Dr. Robert Brooke Presenting Award to Susan Martens

2013 Nebraska Writing Project
Carol MacDaniels Teacher of the Year Award
Presented to Susan Martens

Transcript of presentation speech by Robert Brooke, NeWP Director
Susan Martens receiving award from Robert Brooke

I am pleased to present the 2013 Nebraska Writing Project Carol MacDaniels Teacher of the Year Award to Susan Martens.

For the past five years, Susan has taught in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln English Department, following a successful earlier teaching career at Arlington High School in east central Nebraska. She’s been active in the Nebraska Writing Project since her first Rural Institute experience, in 2001 at Cedar Bluffs. Since that first institute, Susan has held almost all of NeWP’s leadership roles. She’s been Co-Director, Institute Facilitator, Professional Writing Retreat Facilitator, Technology Team grant writer, Web Editor, Advisory Board member, and self-appointed Writing Marathon Wrangler. In short, Susan has been, as one of her colleagues puts it, “a force of nature” for Nebraska Writing Project. Next year, she leaves Nebraska to take up the Directorship of the Prairie Lands Writing Project at Missouri Western University. Her future colleagues in Missouri, who can’t be with us tonight, sent me two pages of support for this award — first, welcoming Susan to their NWP site as the “fulfillment of Prairie Lands’ dream”; second, pointing out “the shift in superlative mascot” that goes with the move. At Missouri Western, she’ll have a “magnificent mythical {griffin},” replacing UNL’s “bobble-headed blond boy in red rompers.”

Continue Reading