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Lake Superior Writing Project 2011 Mini-Institute

Lake Superior mini-institute participants 2011The Lake Superior Writing Project welcomed nine area teachers to our second summer mini-institute July 11 through 15, 2011, at the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. We read Georgia Heard’s Writing Toward Home: Tips and Tales to Find your Way and enjoyed a week rich in writing, sharing, and exploring our roles as writers and teachers. We began our week with an in-depth look at our own writing history. Paint-chip poetry was once again a big hit! Mid-week we were inspired and awed by our metro-area teacher-presenters, Michelle Shaw (ISI 2008), Countryside Elementary, Edina, and Sean Fleming (ISI 2008), Wellstone Elementary, St. Paul. We were even interviewed and featured on UMD’s website.

One of the most memorable parts of the week was our closing activity, which was inspired by Heard’s last chapter. We each took time to write down two lists—those things we hope to leave behind, and what we hope to take away and keep close to our teacher-writer hearts. Some of what we left behind: fear of failure; discounting my experiences; excuses; thinking my writing needs to be nice and together to begin with; too many shoulds; negative self-talk; lack of ideas; self-doubt. Some of what we took home: inspiration; feeling supported; renewed confidence; hope; reflection; ideas for my classroom; a writer’s identity.

Our final reading was again held outdoors at the scenic Bagley Outdoor Classroom under warm, but misty skies. UMD’s College of Liberal Arts Dean Susan Maher joined us for this special occasion and shared encouraging words.