NeWP @ NETA 2016

NETA Participants

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
Jodie Morgenson

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 did a Google search for “Vine in Education” and her post about using Vines to teach Shakespeare’s Macbeth popped up in the results. Jodie also gave tips for how to set-up and manage student blogs and comments and shared resources for student and teacher blogs. If you are interested in these resources, you can view the links here: If you’re interested in reading her blog, you can find it here:

Tiffany and Amy
Tiffany and Amy

Tiffany Young and Amy Johnson presented on Friday afternoon. 

They demonstrated one way to use a website to communicate with parents and publish student writing. They also provided how-to documents for creating and maintaining the website.  Participants had the opportunity to either begin creation of their own website or practice on a pre-made website created by Tiffany and Amy.   If you want to know more about using websites to communicate with parents or publish student writing, contact Tiffany or Amy at You can access the how-to documents at the following website:

Brenda Larabee
Brenda Larabee

Brenda Larabee showed about 10 teachers who attended her session at NETA on Friday afternoon how to bring authenticity into their classrooms, by creating for a real-world audience using Adobe Slate.

She showed how her own students flourished after studying a book and creating their stories using multiple apps and presenting them through Adobe Slate. She also demonstrated step-by-step how to create a Slate from beginning to end.  Participants were able to create their own stories worthy of publication prior to leaving the 45 minute session. Brenda would welcome questions or comments about Adobe Slate or Adobe Voice at  The notes for her presentation can be accessed at

Jeff Grinvalds
Jeff Grinvalds

 Jeff Grinvalds presented on Friday afternoon as well.

He taught a group of fifty teachers how to use Doctopus and Goobric to streamline their grading. Doctopus and Goobric are add-ons for Google Chrome that make grading Google Classroom assignments quick and easy. The session went well with most of the teachers following along and trying it out or taking pictures and notes. If you want to learn more about Doctopus and Goobric, feel free to contact Jeff at You can access instructions here

In addition to presenting, NeWP representatives met with hundreds of potential participants for our Summer Institutes. The enthusiasm of teachers at NETA is nothing short of awesome! We hope to be back next year!

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Poetry from the Plains

Poetry from the Plain poster - details below

Join us for a Poetry Reading for the website launch of “Poetry From the Plains: A Nebraska Perspective”

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” ( 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 featured on the website.

The three officially recognized state poets:

  • Twyla Hansen, Current Nebraska State Poet
  • William Kloefkorn, First Nebraska State Poet
  • John Neihardt, Nebraska Poet Laureate in Perpetuity

Five additional contemporary poets whose work is explicitly centered in the cultural and natural landscapes of the Great Plains, and represents vibrant cultural and poetic traditions in the region:

  • Lenora Castillo, Latina poet from Lincoln
  • Allison Hedge Coke, American Book Award indigenous poet
  • Yvonne Hollenbeck, award-winning cowgirl poet-rancher
  • Matt Mason, Omaha slam poet, Executive Director of Nebraska Writers Collective
  • Don Welch, Neruda Award winner poet from Kearney

On the website, each poet is represented by several of their poems and essays about their writing by scholars at UNL.  Additional resources include a list of other notable Nebraska poets, historical essays on the earliest poets active in Nebraska, and an annotated bibliography.  The site will be an ongoing project of the Nebraska State Poet, the UNL Department of English, and the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities.

Four of the poets featured on “Poetry From the Plains: A Nebraska Perspective” will read from their work at the Poetry Reading.

Dr. Robert Brooke

John E. Weaver Professor of English

Director, Nebraska Writing Project

202 Andrews Hall

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lincoln, NE 68588-0333

(402) 472-1807

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Northern Youth Writing Festival 2016

DSC_0981On 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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