For teachers affiliated with the Chippewa River Writing Project, a picnic celebrating our accomplishments in the first five years marked the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. Teachers from the 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013 summer institutes joined together to reflect on our accomplishments and look ahead to the future.
And, we had a great deal to celebrate.
First, we honored the service of Penny Lew, one of our founding co-directors of the writing project, who is stepping back from the leadership team after five years. Penny is a middle school teacher in Farwell who has participated in three of our invitational summer institutes, led professional development sessions, and presented at state and national conferences. With a brief poem, we tried to emulate the wacky, wonderful writing style that Penny has often shared in our institutes, bringing smiles to our faces and tears to our eyes.
Second, we welcomed a new co-director, Jeremy Hyler, a middle school teacher at Fulton Middle School. Jeremy first participated in an intensive summer institute during the summer of 2010 and, since that time, has continued his relationship with the CRWP, accomplishing numerous goals. He has co-facilitated a successful middle school writing camp for three summers, presented professional development sessions around Michigan and nationally, and has co-authored a book for teachers: Create, Compose, Connect! Reading, Writing, and Learning with Digital Tools.
Finally, we began to look ahead to our 5th Annual MLK Day Writing Conference coming up this January and featuring the one and only “Book Whisperer,” Donalyn Miller. Everyone at the picnic received a copy of Miller’s latest book, Reading in the Wild, and we discussed many ideas for continuity and professional development events that could lead up to her visit.
As I shared in my post for the NWP’s 40for40 blog earlier this summer, our site has taken on a great deal of work in our first five years, and much of what we have accomplished has been documented on the CRWP wiki. With five years under our belt, nearly 50 teacher consultants in our ranks, and hundreds of other educators who have been affected by our presentations, workshops, and publications, the CRWP continues to move forward with creative programs for our colleagues and our students in mid-Michigan and beyond.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Troy Hicks (@hickstro) is a former middle grades teacher, now associate professor of English at Central Michigan University where he focuses his work on the teaching of writing, literacy and technology.