Fall 2014 PD: Mt. Pleasant Area Literacy Exchange

Listen. Write. Teach.

Join us for collegial conversations about literacy learning.

Janet and Steve PhotoThis fall, we begin a new series featuring local teachers who will share their ideas, inspiration, and enthusiasm with you, the pre-service teachers of CMU and K-12 colleagues in our region. These events are free and open to the public, and will be held on the second Thursday evening of each month.

On Thursday, October 9th, join Steve Markey, a teacher from Woodcrest Elementary in Midland as he invites students to express their opinions in “The Great Penny Debate.” Then, on Thursday, November 13th, join Janet Neyer, a teacher from Cadillac High School, to learn about Google Apps in Education.

Download our MPALE Flyer (Fall 2014).

Sessions will be hosted at Mount Pleasant High School, Room 111

  • Snacks @ 6:45 PM
  • Session begins @ 7:00 PM

The Mt. Pleasant Area Literacy Exchange unites pre-service and in-service English and Language Arts teachers to promote literacy education. Partners include the Chippewa River Writing Project, the National Council of Teachers of English Student Affiliate at CMU, the CMU English Education program, and Max and Emily’s Eatery.

Renewing Her Passion For Teaching: A Profile of Erin Busch-Grabmeyer

Nine years after completing her undergraduate degree in the English Education program in 2001, high school teacher Erin Busch-Grabmeyer still keeps Central Michigan University close to her heart.  In her eighth year at St. Louis High School, just south of Mt. Pleasant, Busch-Grabmeyer continues to renew her passion for teaching. Her recent work as a participant in the Chippewa River Writing Project’s 2010 Invitational Summer Institute was not only an opportunity to get in touch with current technologies and best practices, but a valuable reminder that a good teacher never stops learning.

Erin Busch-Grabmeyer (right) consults with fellow teacher participant Rose Daum during the 2010 CRWP Summer Institute.

“It really helped to think I could go outside the traditional teaching method and revisit the idea that teachers can be writers, too,” explains Busch-Grabmeyer.   “It was a reminder for me to take the time to write with my kids and not get busy grading and doing all of those other kinds of things.”

For four weeks this past summer, Busch-Grabmeyer collaborated intensely with fifteen other participants selected from across the state to hone their skills as both teachers and writers through the CRWP Summer Institute.  The group showed represented teacher participants ranging from all levels of K-12 education, as well as composition instructors from CMU and SVSU.   This marks the second annual summer institute for the CRWP, which was founded as a joint partnership between CMU and the National Writing Project in 2009 and is currently directed by the English Department’s Troy Hicks.

For Busch-Grabmeyer, the Summer Institute has served as another step in her commitment towards continuous growth as an educator and a valuable tool in helping her meet the unique needs of her students in a technologically advancing society.

“As kids change, teaching practices change,” notes Busch-Grabmeyer.  “It’s important to renew my teaching after being out of undergrad for nearly a decade.”

Busch-Grabmeyer’s commitment to innovative approaches in the classroom has paid off.  She was recently interviewed for her work in bringing non-profit and privately funded technologies to her high school classroom, and has also successfully developed an online writer’s workshop with her students, using Google docs as a peer editing tool.

“My next step is to create a classroom wiki page,” explains Busch-Grabmeyer.  “I’m going to be researching more with digital literacy and what it means to be a teacher and a student in 21st century writing.  How should our teaching methods shift in our teaching styles today?”

Knowing her passion for both teaching and learning, Busch-Grabmeyer will be one of the nation’s teacher leaders who continue to figure out the answers to questions such as these, and continue to engage her students.

To learn more about the Chippewa River Writing Project at CMU, contact Troy Hicks at troy.hicks@cmich.edu or visit http://chippewariverwp.org

Central Michigan University Hosts National Writing Projects of Michigan Annual Network Retreat

Technology was a key topic of discussion during the Summer Retreat.

Monday, August 9th marked the opening events of the National Writing Projects of Michigan annual network retreat on the grounds of Central Michigan University’s Mt. Pleasant campus.  The three-day retreat drew in NWPM members from all across the state, encompassing most of the eleven sites that make up the NWP’s Michigan network.  For many, the event was not just an opportunity to socialize with colleagues both near and far, but the chance to look ahead to the development of future collaborative efforts between sites as each makes plans for the year to come.

CMU’s Kathryn Koch, Interim Dean of the College of Education and Human Services, and Pamela S. Gates, Interim Dean of the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences welcomed participants Monday evening with opening addresses.  Guest speakers, meanwhile, included NWP national coordinators Christina Cantrill and Paul Oh, who presented on digital networking spaces and highlighted their latest projects.  Danielle DeVoss, co-author of the upcoming Because Digital Writing Matters, invigorated participants with her opening presentation “Digital Is…”, while updates from the Holocaust Educators Network and a colorful book display offered NWPM members fresh ideas for future work.

Aram Kabodian, Red Cedar WP, and Karen Chichester, Eastern Michigan WP, discuss uses of educational technology during one of the NWPM sessions.

Participants spent the day on Tuesday sharing their local site work related to the summer institute, continuity, professional development, and youth/community programs. One partipant noted that “the opportunity to hear voices from all the other Michigan sites reconnects us as a network.  The sessions stimulated and grew my/our site’s thinking.  Thank you for providing this time and space to work together.” Finally, on Wednesday, participants joined in a “town hall”meeting about the ideas presented over the course of the retreat, and left with many ideas for their sites.

The annual retreat marked CRWP’s second participation since its official launching in 2009.