The stories, formats and topics were diverse but the common thread at the Prairie Lands Writing Project presentation â€œWriting Teachers WriteÂ VIâ€ was talent.
Tom Pankiewicz, assistant professor of English and the PLWP instituteâ€™s director selects the people who will read their work primarily from participants in the PLWP summer program.
â€œThe hard part is I only have time to use eight of them…because I probably could have chosen 28.Â I only have two hours,â€ Pankiewicz said.
PLWP works with teachers at grade levels from kindergarten through university to improve teaching of writing though working on writing projects.
Jill Steinmetz presented an essay on the perils of virtual communication.Â
Tina Janc wrote about a storm in Italy and faith in her husband overcoming fear.Â
Melissa Robinson read a part of her novel about a serial killer with ice princess victims.Â
Jennifer Vermillion wrote about the experience of the Paris Metro: the sights, sounds, smells and interactions.
Joe Marmaud read about fathers, sons, baseball and heroes.
Dawn Terrick told us about loss, relationships and room-mates.
Stacia Studder conveyed to us a story about several students in the game of life using basketball positions as a metaphor for their roles.
Vicky Meyer read lush poetry; and Bill Church told of cowboys and documentaries.
Tom Pankiewicz talked about the impact of television and the crucial role of the show Davy Crockett in a young manâ€™s life in the 50â€™s.
â€œI thought it was a wonderful collection of talent, very rich,â€ said Dawn Hansen, Western business office accountant.
Loriann Fish cried.
â€œWhen the teacher from Bode was talking about her students and the metaphor of the basketball team, each child, each student touched her heart in a special way.Â All the stories were excellent,â€ Fish said.
Vermillion believes students get assignments and they definitely donâ€™t enjoy revising their work.Â
She tells them, â€œThatâ€™s what writers do. They are constantly going back and rethinking and rewording.Â It is not just so we have another grade for the computer. Now it is good, it can be better, you try some things.
You play with the wording, you can try new ways.â€
She said she also saw the power of peer review in the summer PLWP project and in her class.
â€œSome students have a mythology that we teach writing but we donâ€™t actually know how to write ourselves.Â We teach writing because we love it and do it ourselves.Â I go through these things with my own writing, I get stuck, I never sit down and write perfect text – I wish I did,â€ Terrick said.
Pankiewicz confirmed this with a file containing piles of revised text for his story.Â
â€œThis is a piece Iâ€™m working on and I donâ€™t think I have the hand written copy I started with but I can show you all my drafts,â€ Pankiewicz.
All three teachers hope the lesson behind these presentations is to show that struggle and the results to the community.Â
When each writer presents ways to their students to revise, to overcome writerâ€™s block, they are showing techniques they use themselves.
Mark Henderson, research assistant for PLWP and English major said, Writers write is â€œa nice celebration.â€
Â We put this presentation on in the fall to kind of wrap up what the participants have been doing.â€