After 29 years of teaching high school English, Kathy Kurtze returned to her classroom this fall with a set of fresh ideas and resources she gathered from her experiences with the Chippewa River Writing Project — a site of the National Writing Project now at Central Michigan University.
Kurtze was among 13 teachers representing K-12 school districts, Mid Michigan Community College and CMU, who participated in the first CRWP institute.
“The most exciting part was being introduced to new teaching approaches,” said Kurtze, who teaches at Carson City High School. “The whole aspect of bringing technology into the writing process was brand new to me. Now, I’m excited to bring it into my lessons. I want my students to do podcasts and learn about how this enhances our writing.”
Sharing resources is one of the main goals of the National Writing Project, which operates with the concept of teachers teaching teachers and a mission to improve the teaching of writing and learning among kindergarten through college students.
Kathy Kurtze, an English teacher at Carson City High School, works on a journal entry about a recent writing assignment.
Photo by Robert Barclay CMU University Communications
Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 marked the One Hundred Day Celebration of the Chippewa River Writing Project, as members of the Summer Institute met to celebrate the occasion at Central Michigan University. Participants met at Anspach Hall’s Writing Center for a potluck dinner and a creative writing session, followed by an open reading. The event was coordinated by Kathy Kurtze and headed by CRWP director Troy Hicks.
For further information, check out nationalgalleryofwriting.org. The CRWP gallery, entitled “Chippewa River Writing Project 2009 Participants,” is open to all members and their students. Here’s to our first one hundred days, and many more to come!
Participants in this year’s inaugural Chippewa River Writing Project Summer Institute found over their four weeks together the time, energy, and support that they needed as writers and teachers of writing.
One anonymous evaluation comment summarized the feelings of many in stating, “After this summer, I feel so much more prepared to teach writing in my classroom. I have also vowed to write with my students and to take the time each day to write for myself.”
Each day, participants in the institute gathered to write for themselves and engage in activities related to the teaching of writing. At the end of the institute, each participant produced a portfolio of personal and professional writing, many of which can be found as links to their digital portfolios on the CRWP wiki.
At the end of the institute, Kathy Kurtze, an English teacher at Carson City Crystal High School, was announced as CRWP’s second K-12 co-director. From the CHSBS News site, she states:
“This has awakened a new need for me to know my writing and make changes,” said Kathy Kurtze of Carson City who has been teaching at Carson City-Crystal Middle School for 29 years. “From being students again, we all seem to have a renewed empathy toward our own students.”
Participants who completed the summer institute and are now teacher consultants affiliated with CRWP include:
Alicia Ciaramitaro, Collins Elementary, Houghton Lake Community Schools
Lucia Elden, Mid Michigan Community College
Louis “Bud” Kanyo, Mid Michigan Community College
Megan Kowalski, Central Michigan University
Kathy Kurtze, Carson City-Crystal High School
Rita Maddox, Retired from Gratiot-Isabella RESD
Gretchen Martin, Farwell Elementary School
Deborah Meister, Fellowship Baptist Academy in Carson City
Elizabeth Nelson, Greenville High School
Ashley Patton, North Elementary, Ithaca Public Schools
Shannon Powell, Central Montcalm Middle School
Amanda Smoker, Meridian Junior High School
Chanda Wekwert, Hillman Jr. and Sr. High School
CRWP events will continue this fall for both teacher consultants from this summer’s institute and other local educators. Plans for professional development events are underway and the CRWP leadership team will attend the National Writing Project’s Annual Meeting this November in Philadelphia.
Throughout the day, participants worked in writing groups, discussed professional readings, and enjoyed getting to know one another as writers and colleagues.
As the summer institute continues, participants will engage in their own personal writing, respond to the writing of their peers, read and discuss current literature about the teaching of writing, and prepare their own teaching demonstrations. Follow along with our ever-emerging agenda as the summer continues.