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5 Mar 2014

New Book by CRWP Teacher and Director Released

Posted by Troy Hicks. No Comments

Chippewa River Writing Project teacher consultant, Jeremy Hyler, and Director Troy Hicks release a new book this week from Routledge – Create, Compose, Connect! Reading, Writing, and Learning with Digital Tools. The book’s description, from the Routledge website, states:

Create Compose Connect CoverFind out how to incorporate digital tools into your English language arts class to improve students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Authors Jeremy Hyler and Troy Hicks show you that technology is not just about making a lesson engaging; it’s about helping students become effective creators and consumers of information in today’s fast-paced world. You’ll learn how to use mobile technologies to teach narrative, informational, and argument writing as well as visual literacy and multimodal research. Each chapter is filled with exciting lesson plans and tech tool suggestions that you can take back to your own classroom immediately.

 Along with a companion blog and wiki,  the book has been featured in a variety of education-related blogs including this post today from MiddleWeb, a webinar last week with 1to1 Technology, and through Jeremy’s post on Teach Thought.
This summer, Hyler and Hicks will lead a one-week institute related to the book at CMU in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Contact Troy Hicks for more information.

9 Jan 2014

CRWP Announces 2014 Digital Literacy Institute

Posted by Troy Hicks. No Comments

Create, Compose, Connect!

An Advanced Institute for Building Digital Literacy Leadership

CRWP PhotoAs opportunities for digital reading and writing continue to grow, teacher leaders must continue to develop their own digital literacy practices. We invite you to create, compose, and connect with us this summer!

During our week-long, intensive workshop, teacher leaders will be invited to participate in teaching demonstrations, writing activities, “digital literacy challenges,” and inquiry groups to investigate key questions related to digital literacy leadership.

In addition to providing teachers with a variety of ideas for the classroom, our goal is to help each participant develop his or her leadership capacity as it relates to leading professional development.

CRWP Digital Literacy Institute 2014 (PDF Version of Flyer)

Participants in this institute will:

  • Participate as learners in teaching demos provided by Troy Hicks and Jeremy Hyler
  • Read, discuss, and apply current research and theories related to digital learning to
  • classroom practice and school leadership
  • Engage in a variety of “digital literacy challenges” by collaborating with colleagues to
  • create pieces of digital writing
  • Develop plans for classroom implementation, curriculum, and assessment

The $500 registration fee includes:

  • Breakfast and lunch each day
  • A copy Hyler and Hicks’ book: Create, Compose, Connect!
  • All activities and materials for the week of July 20-25, 2014
  • A one-hour, post institute reflection with Jeremy or Troy via Skype or Google Hangout

Begin the registration process on our secure CMU site.

Housing and Transportation
The registration fee does not include housing or transportation costs. CMU is located in Mt. Pleasant Michigan, about 2.5 hours north of Detroit, and about an hour from both the Lansing and Midland airports. Typical rates for area hotels range from $80 to $150 per night. Also participants can opt to stay in an air-conditioned CMU dorm at the cost of approximately $150 for the week. More info on housing and transportation will be made available upon registering.

Graduate Credit
Up to 3 CMU graduate credits or SCECHs will be available at an additional cost (Info TBA)

Additional Questions?
Contact CRWP Director Troy Hicks at troy.hicks@cmich.edu

23 Jul 2013

CRWP Teacher “Writes with Wings” at ALA Annual Conference

Posted by Troy Hicks. 1 Comment

The following letter, written by Ashley (Patton) Smolinski, CRWP 2009, demonstrates the lasting power of participating in an invitational summer institute. 

Ashley Photo

Ashley (Patton) Smolinski, CRWP 2009 Teacher Consultant and current graduate student in library science at University at Albany

Years after graduating from the first class of the Chippewa River Writing Project, I am still a writer. Those words, ‘I’m a Writer’, came back to me most recently at the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Chicago. Brad Martin, a librarian and research specialist for ABC news, upon reading my first article for the conference newsletter, Cognotes, surprised me by saying ‘You’ve done this before!’ Although I responded that no, I hadn’t written like this before, there was more to my story…

The truth was that I hadn’t written for a newspaper, but, in my head and more importantly in my heart, I said, ‘I haven’t written like this before, but I AM a writer.‘ I was selected by my student chapter of the ALA to represent the University at Albany as a member of the Student-to-Staff program and was assigned to work with the unit, Cognotes. My responsibilities were really quite simple and involved attending conference sessions and writing articles for the newspaper.

Throughout the conference, my articles were included in the paper and five were chosen to be included in the highlights section. I was overjoyed. As if things couldn’t get any better, I was invited by the publisher and senior reporter to write for them again in the following mid-year and annual conferences. I took the opportunity to tell Brad Martin that I although I appreciated his compliment very much, I normally wouldn’t have felt confident enough to write for Cognotes, if it wasn’t for Chippewa River Writing Project. In response to describing my experience at CRWP, Brad smiled and said, “They were right.”

The influence and experience that CRWP and the National Writing Project has had in my life was a much stronger impact than than I could have imagined. I have found that my technology skills, pedagogical practices, and my level of comfort and confidence in my own writing abilities has lasted and transferred into other areas of my life. I feel that I am part of a family, in addition to my own family, that embraces and values the path to becoming a better writer and mentoring others within the community along the way.

Thank you, CRWP, for helping me write with wings.

Linked here is the Highlights section of Cognotes, and within it, the articles I was privileged to write.

Ashley (Patton) Smolinski

17 May 2013

CRWP’s 2013-14 Professional Development Services

Posted by Troy Hicks. No Comments

CRWP Banner

2013-14 Professional

Development Services


Planning for professional development in the 2013-14 school year? The Chippewa River Writing Project can help meet your needs for high-quality, inquiry-based courses, school-based workshops and with our annual conference.

Save the Date for our 4th Annual Writing Conference

Jim Fredricksen

Fast becoming a tradition, our annual conference features a nationally-known keynote speaker and breakout sessions hosted by our own CRWP teacher consultants.

This year’s conference will occur on Monday, January 20th, 2014, and will take place at CMU’s state-of-the-art College of Education building.

Heinemann author and co-director of the Boise State Writing Project, Jim Fredricksen, will be our keynote speaker.

For more information about the conference, contact CRWP C0-Director, Elizabeth Brockman.

CRWP Mini-Courses

erin and roseThis fall, CRWP teacher consultants plan to lead one-month mini-courses on narrative, informational, and argumentative writing.

Using a hybrid format, participants will join us for three weekly meetings on CMU’s campus on either Tuesday night or Saturday morning, and then engage in online activities throughout the rest of the month.

For more information about these mini-courses, contact CRWP Director, Troy Hicks.

School-Based Workshops

Continuing in the NWP tradition of “teachers teaching teachers,” CRWP teacher consultants are available for half- and full-day professional development workshops that can be hosted at your school or district. With successful partnerships that have focused on digital writing, writing across the curriculum, and creating a writing workshop, CRWP can facilitate a variety of workshops for K-12 teachers. For more information, contact CRWP Director, Troy Hicks.

CRWP Wiki CRWP on Twitter CRWP on Facebook

10 Apr 2013

A Reflection on Our First Annual Winter Writing Retreat

Posted by Kathy Kurtze. No Comments

Jeremy Hyler, Penny Lew, Kathy Kurtze, and Troy Hicks work on a piece of writing at the 2013 CRWP Writing Retreat.

Jeremy Hyler, Penny Lew, Kathy Kurtze, and Troy Hicks work on a piece of writing at the 2013 CRWP Writing Retreat.

As spring comes to Michigan, we reflect on one particularly enjoyable weekend this past February. The East Bay Lodge in Prudenville, Michigan, on the expansive (and frozen) Houghton Lake was the site of our first annual winter retreat for teacher consultants from CRWP.  Eight members of the CRWP met for a three-day experience centered around fostering friendships and collegial discussions, and writing for both personal and professional purposes.

Friday night was time for reconnecting as friends.  As we visited and caught up on each other’s lives, both in the classroom and beyond, we found time to listen and laugh.  A  rousing game of WRITE-O (Kathy’s version of BINGO) led to personal writings that exposed facets of our private lives previously not revealed.  As we retired to our rooms, we took with us a new appreciation for each other.

Saturday started with continental breakfast around the fire, and a brainstorming of what we hoped to accomplish throughout the day.  Ideas were generated, shared via Google Docs, and to work we went! Some sat near the roaring fire, others tucked themselves into the cushiony chairs, and a few retired to the quiet of their rooms.  When pangs of hunger called, we reconvened for lunch and a read-around.  With finger snapping we applauded each other’s writing, offering compliments and suggestions.  Then, we were off to our respective areas to make changes and begin new projects.

Hours later, we drew together again, stirring the log fire to add warmth to the room, and then filling our talk with more ideas.  We generated a plan for Fall offerings, hoping to organize a session of one-credit classes that included a flexible venue and webinar offerings.  We pulled out calendars, sketched a plan, and dreamt up a series of sessions that could be offered and easily be repeated.  By dinner time, we were zealously preparing for a season of educational possibilities. Revived by dinner and conversation about everything but writing, we returned to our pre-dinner tasks with renewed vigor. Our mission: to design a brochure to advertise and promote our plan!

Once that was accomplished, we jumped into Google+ and set up a community, even hosting our first hangout! The objective is to meet each other in a digital space on a regular basis, hoping to keep connections alive throughout the year.  We designated the first Monday of the month as our day to meet, and agreed to a rotating list of topics.  Some may be to share strategies, others to talk about a book, and less formal ones to simply visit.  It will be kind of like any casual get-together—members reconnect, reinvigorate, renew our zest for what we do.  While we missed Tip-Up-Town, Houghton Lake treated us well and we look forward to continuing this tradition in years to come!

3 Feb 2013

Seven CRWP Teachers Present at National Conferences

Posted by Erin Busch-Grabmeyer. No Comments

Most teachers attend a conference for professional development, many choose to go to local events, a few go to national, and even fewer present at a national level… Chippewa River Writing Project is present at all levels.

CRWP Co-Director prepares for her presentation at the NCTE 2012 Convention.

CRWP Co-Director prepares for her presentation at the NCTE 2012 Convention.

Since the inception of Chippewa River Writing Project (CRWP) in 2009, we have been involved at a national level, attending the National Writing Project (NWP) Annual Meeting and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention for the past four years. These national conferences attract many participants—nearly 600 attend NWP’s annual meeting, and over ten times that attend the NCTE Annual Convention.

As a new writing project site, CRWP wanted to send teacher consultants to national conferences to gain information about best practice and new trends in the teaching field, not only to help with their own classroom instruction, but also to help foster the growth of CRWP and the Summer Institute.  After a few years of attending these conferences, and renewing our excitement for the classroom setting, conversations post-conference eventually led to the submission of proposals.  Even as a young site, we knew we had something to offer other colleagues.

CRWP’s national presence began in Orlando in 2010, with an invitation to Site Director Troy Hicks and Co-Director Kathy Kurtze to present at the NWP Annual Meeting as a first-year site.  CRWP’s commitment to furthering writing and literacy education continued in Chicago (2011) and in Las Vegas (2012) with presentations by many teacher consultants.  Most recently, in Las Vegas, Teacher Consultants Jeremy Hyler, Erin Busch-Grabmeyer, Elizabeth Nelson, and Co-Director Penny Lew, along with Site Director Troy Hicks, presented “Writing, Technology, and the Common Core.” In this presentation, the genres of narrative, informational, and argumentative writing were discussed, along with ways to incorporate different types of technology, including Glogster, Prezi, and digital stories into writing instruction.

In addition, Teacher Consultants Andy Schoenborn and Amanda Smoker, along with Co-Director Kathy Kurtze, presented “Alternative Approaches to Teaching Argumentative Writing.” Using George Hillocks’ book, Teaching Argument Writing as a framework, these three discussed how argument can be taught in a classroom setting without falling into the 5-paragraph trap, utilizing Prezi, Public Service Announcements (PSA), Glogster, and Voki.

Finally, several teacher consultants have participated in NCTE’s Tech-to-Go, an on-the-fly conversation about digital learning tools.  Teacher Consultants – Elizabeth Nelson, Erin Busch-Grabmeyer, Andy Schoenborn, Amanda Smoker, and Site Director, Troy Hicks – have all offered their knowledge and experiences with various types of technology in the classroom.

In addition to our national presence, several teacher consultants have also presented in local districts and at statewide conferences, including Michigan Reading Association (MRA) and Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE), showing CRWP presence around the state as well.

Admittedly, it is common for all teachers to attend some kind of professional development.  As we continue to grow, we fully expect to expand our voice in area schools as well as at the national level at both NWP and NCTE.  Whether it is sharing our experiences about technology or guiding teachers in effective content instruction, CRWP is a presence that is here to stay.

9 Dec 2012

CRWP Third Annual Writing Conference

Posted by Troy Hicks. No Comments

CRWP 3rd Annual Writing Conference
Monday, January 21, 2013

(PDF Version of Flyer and Schedule)

Online Registration Form

The $90 registration includes workshop fees, continental breakfast, box lunch, and a copy of Barry Lane’s book, 51 Wacky We-Search Reports: Face the Facts With Fun. 0.5 CEUs available onsite for $25 (cash or check only).

Barry Lane

Barry Lane

Featuring a virtual keynote conversation with internationally known author and speaker Barry Lane, we invite K-12 teachers, literacy coaches, and curricular specialists to join us for a day focused on “Literacy in the Content Areas: Common Core State Standards in Science, Mathematics and Social Studies.”

Conference sessions will be facilitated by Chippewa River Writing Project Teacher Consultants and Elementary, Middle and High School Teacher Teams from Mid-Michigan schools. Support for this event has been provided by the National Writing Project and CMU’s College of Education and Human Services.

The schedule features the opening keynote and four hours of concurrent sessions.

  • 8:00 a.m. Check-in and Continental Breakfast
  • 8:30 a.m. Virtual Keynote with Barry Lane
  • 10:00 a.m. Concurrent Sessions Begin
  • 3:30 p.m. Sessions Conclude

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

  • Online with credit card
  • Call with credit card: 989.774.3172
  • Or mail participant names, school affiliation, and email with a check payable to CMU to:

Jamie Fockler
CMU Department of English Language & Literature
215 Anspach Hall
1429 S. Washington St.
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859

 Questions? Please contact CRWP Director, Troy Hicks.

17 Sep 2012

CRWP Welcomes Jim Burke – 10/20/2012

Posted by Troy Hicks. No Comments

Jim Burke

Join teacher, author, and educational leader, Jim Burke, for a day of inquiry based learning.

The Chippewa River Writing Project invites you to register for for a day-long workshop with Jim Burke. During this session, Jim will share his insights about inquiry based learning with secondary teachers. From asking essential questions to generating unit plans, join us as we discover ways to engage students in rigorous instruction that piques their interest, satisfies their curiosity, and leads to greater understanding.

Workshop Details

More About Jim Burke

A teacher for twenty years, Burke is also the author of nearly two dozen books and the creator of the acclaimed English Companion Ning. He has also won numerous awards, including NCTE’s SLATE Intellectual Freedom Award.

For More Information and to Register

  • Register by credit card with our web-based registration form. (Link will open in new window with a secure CMU web form).
  • Credit card payments will also be accepted by phone. Please call Jamie Fockler, CMU Department of English: 989-774-3172.
  • Registration Deadline: Friday, October 5th. Registrations are transferrable, but not refundable.
  • Additional support for this event is provided by the Michigan Council of Teachers of English.

29 May 2012

CRWP 2012 Youth Camps

Posted by Troy Hicks. No Comments

Announcing our 2012 Chippewa River Writing Camps!

CRWP Youth Camp ImageThe Chippewa River Writing Project aims to provide youth and fellow community members with unique opportunities to write and learn about themselves as writers.

This summer, we are pleased to offer four different camp opportunities, including a new camp for middle school students focused on writing and technology.

Together we’ll be sharing a love for writing. Let your child join us on an exciting journey through engaging activities as we live out our “writerly lives.”

Your $100 enrollment cost will provide transportation and admission to field trips, snacks, a writer’s journal, camp T-shirt, and a copy of our camp anthology, commemorating our published works. We ask that students  bring their own lunch each day.

Enrollment this summer is now closed.

15 Feb 2012

CRWP Announces Two Free Professional Development Events

Posted by Troy Hicks. 1 Comment

This spring and summer, teacher consultants from the Chippewa River Writing Project will be leading two substantive — and free — professional development events in mid-Michigan. If you have questions about either of these exceptional opportunities, please contact Troy Hicks, CRWP Director, at troy.hicks@cmich.edu

What’s the Big Idea? – Seminar Series

Tuesdays, 4:30 to 6:30 PM at Mt. Pleasant High School
March 27th, April 17th, May 1st, Sept. 25th, and Oct. 16th, 2012

CRWP - What's the Big Idea Seminar Series Flyer

Click image for PDF version of the flyer

First, we welcome middle and high school teachers of writing as well as college and university composition faculty to join us for a five-part seminar series focused on inquiry based learning and Jim Burke’s book, What’s the Big Idea? Jim Burke will be the keynote speaker for the 2012 MCTE Fall Conference and will continue the conversation with us during for a one-day special event on Saturday, October 20th, 2012, at CMU.

In preparation, we invite you to join a seminar series to begin a conversation about inquiry-based writing instruction for secondary and college teachers. This series of seminars is sponsored by the Chippewa River Writing Project with support from a Teaching Development Grant from CMU’s College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Registration – including all five seminars, light refreshments, and a copy of What’s the Big Idea? – are included at no cost to the first 25 participants who register. Graduate credit or SB-CEUs will be available, pending approval.

What’s the Big Idea Seminar Series Online Registration

Clicking the above link will open a Google Form in a new window.

CRWP’s 2012 Open Institute

June 25 – 29, 2012
9:00 – 4:00 each day

CRWP 2012 Open Institute Flyer

Click image for a PDF version of the flyer

Second, we welcome all teachers, K-university, to join us for a one-week intensive institute this summer entitled “Teachers as Writers: Reflecting on and Responding to the Common Core.”

During the week of June 25-29, 2012 — with additional interactions online both before and after the institute — participants will work with CRWP teacher consultants to better understand the expectations in the CCSS, explore useful digital writing tools, and engage in their own personal writing. The daily schedule will include writing time, teaching demonstrations from CRWP teacher consultants, writing groups, and technology explorations.

There is no cost for attending the one week institute, and participants can enroll for 3 CMU Graduate Credits for ENG 513c (cost apx. $1400 for in-state enrollment) or SB-CEUs. Participants can choose to stay on campus in a dormitory, with weekly rates of approximately $150. The workshop will run from 9:00 – 4:00 daily, with optional evening activities.

CRWP Summer 2012 Open Institute Online Registration

Clicking the above link will open a Google Form in a new window.