Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tamir Reports from France

Bonjour √† tout le monde. So, I have been in Angers for two and a half months already, and it has flown by! I have only got three months left in France now, and I feel like I don’t have enough time for everything that I want to accomplish.

The past two months have been such a learning experience. I have learned something very common but something that surprises me a lot in France. That is, the amount of strikes they have. I definitely do not understand everything that is happening, but from my understanding, the French government is requiring the college students that are majoring in Elementary Education to have their master’s degree as well as their bachelor’s in order to teach. Most of the French students as well as some of the university teachers does not agree with this requirement, therefore they have been striking against it. It started by us, the students, showing up to class and the teacher wouldn’t show up, or the teacher would show up but none of the French students would come to class. And then one day at the beginning of February, I went to class to find the whole university blocked with tables and chairs, while some students that are for the strike were inside the school, I guess promoting their cause. So there was an announcement that the school would be blocked off until the 13th of February. Well, the 14th is when our week long winter break started, so I decided to travel. I went to Paris and then to Barcelona, and by the time I got back for classes on the 22nd, the school was still blocked. I just thought it was so crazy that the students have so much control over the school and that they can just shut the whole school down like that. Finally on the 9th of March, they voted to end the blockage but to keep the strike going. So I have had most of my classes for the past three weeks, but there have been a few instances where the teacher didn’t show up.

After this week, our two-week Easter break starts, and I plan on traveling again. All in all, I feel like I have had more break than class, which I am sure sounds like what most college students would rather have, but trust me: when you spend a lot of money to come to a foreign country to learn, you would rather go to class and learn! But I am definitely not complaining about the great opportunities to travel around Europe, either. So far, I have enjoyed my time here very much regardless of what is happening with the school and wish that time would slow down a little bit.
--Tamir Batchuluun

Monday, March 30, 2009

High School Writing Day: American Writer II

A record crowd—241 juniors and seniors and 25 teachers from 14 area high schools—converged on the Missouri Western Campus on Thursday, March 6, to participate in this year’s "American Writer II" High School Writing Day, jointly sponsored by the EFLJ Department, Prairie Lands Writing Project, and Western’s Student Affiliate National Council of Teachers of English (SNCTE) Club.

Students collaborated on poems during the morning Audition, participated in a series of writing workshops, and read their original works at the final Open Mic session. Teachers joined Western faculty members at lunch to hear Kay Siebler, MWSU Composition Director, discuss "Why I Teach Writing."

American Writer II Host: Western BSE English major and SNCTE President Kyla Ward
Workshop Presenters: Western English/journalism faculty Meg Thompson, Dawn Terrick, Bill Church, Dana Andrews, Stacia Bensyl, Mike Cadden, and Bob Bergland; Western BSE English alum Amy Miller (Benton High School English teacher); Western BSE English and Graduate Certificate alum Debbie Schwebach (Lathrop High School English teacher and curriculum director); Western BSE English alum Tina Janc (Buchanan County Academy Literacy Teacher); Vickey Meyer (St. Joseph Central Creative Writing Teacher); Western English majors Dustin Limback, Mary Stone, and Hannah Strasser.

High School Writing Day Planning Team Members: Western BSE English alums and Benton High School English teachers Amy Miller and Stefanie Lyle; Western English faculty Tom Pankiewicz and Jane Frick; BSE English majors Kyla Ward and Josie Clark.

SNCTE Teacher Assistants: BSE English majors Luke Akers, Jocelyn Clubine, Amanda Hash, Lisa Crawford, Denise Price, Amanda Rawlings, Katie Shobe, Holly Richardson, and Aimee Whitacre.

Western BSE English alums who brought their students to High School Writing Day: Sara Capra (Park Hill High School), Debbie Schwebach (Lathrop High School), Emily Garrett (West Platte High School), K'lea Snyder (Benton High School), Melisa Harper (Cameron High School), Ron Lathrop (Smithville High School), Heidi Mick (Platte County High School), Deb Moore (Leblond High School), Kathryn Nichols and Sandy Veale (Mid-Buchanan High School).

For pictures, video, and poetry from the event, see the "2009 American Writer Retrospective": http://www.missouriwestern.edu/plwp/americanwriter2/

Kathy Miller Wins Technology in Teaching Award

Kathy Miller (part-time instructor of English and 2001 Prairie Lands Writing Project Invitational participant) is the recipient of a $10,000 Best Buy Teach Award for implementing innovative technology projects with ninth-graders at West Platte R-II High School. Kathy is the A+ Coordinator at West Platte and an adjunct English instructor at Missouri Western. The grant is one of 15 awarded nationwide, and the only one awarded in Missouri (See http://www.bestbuyinc.com/community_relations/teach_awards.htm).

Congratulations, Kathy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Public Reading of Student Work

On Monday, April 13, at 3:00 pm in Hearnes 102, the EFLJ Department and Developmental Writing Program will host a reception for the ENG 100 student publication, Discovering the Student, Discovering the Self. This is the third year for the publication and reception and, once again, we are all excited about this event. Please join us as we have the privilege of hearing what these students have written and celebrating their great successes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yearbook Garners Awards . . . Again!

The Griffon Yearbook won six awards at the recent national College Media Convention in New York, New York, March 17. The Gold Circle Awards are a national competition sponsored by Columbia Scholastic Press Association and awarded at the convention. The recipients of the awards were:
Anna Flin: Certificate of Merit, Feature Writing, Student Life

Raphelle Drew: Third Place, Academic spread multi-page presentation; Certificate of Merit, Academic Spread, black and white; Certificate of Merit, Academic multi-page presentation; Certificate of Merit, Academic spread black and white; Certificate of Merit, Sports Page black and white

Pictured (l to r) in Times Square are Lauren Dillon, Kailiey Alexander, Heather Keitzman, Ralphi Drew, and Amy Chastin.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Champion Among Us

Instructor Dana "Kill Shot" Andrews and his racquetball partner, Gena "No Nickname" Orosco, won the Kansas State Racquetball Class B Mixed Doubles title last week in Overland Park, KS. They play in the regionals on April 17 in Overland Park.

Good Luck, Dana!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Alumna Requests News During Convalescence

Sue Ferguson jokes that she is "donating the remainder of this year to medical science." What is no joke, however, is that in April she will start five months of chemotherapy, with two months of radiation treatments to follow, for the treatment of breast cancer.

Sue asks, "While I'm going through this experience that's going to require some level of isolation, I would love to hear from friends from Missouri Western via email": sue.ferguson@gmail.com

While she is at home working on, as she says, "the next great American novel," let her know what you're up to.

Good luck, Sue!

Open Mic and Student Tribute

"'The New Lit Our Loud' reading series rocked the Cafe Acoustic Open-Mic on March 18. Nearly twenty MWSU students, faculty, and alumni combined with several community members to share their original poetry and prose. Many of the pieces soon will be published in the 2009 edition of _Canvas_, the MWSU student literary and arts magazine.

One of the most poignant moments of the evening was when Cafe Acoustic co-owner Lisa Hancock read two pieces written by her son, Brian Piepergerdes, a MWSU alumnus who died in a car crash earlier this year. Check this blog for upcoming readings, two of which are being planned for April."

Monday, March 16, 2009

King Arthur Discovered (though he had no comment)

Dr. C.J. Jeney reports: Over Spring Break, the ENG 361 Lit on Site class went to England in search of King Arthur. The trip began with guided tours of historic sites and museums in London, including the Tower of London, and the Museum of London. After that, the coach swept us off to places of Arthurian and Medieval legend: Glastonbury, Bath, Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge, Tintagel, Canterbury, Dover, and Leeds.

We visited the castle ruins at Tintagel in Cornwall, the birthplace of Arthur, and the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, wherein we found Arthur's burial place. We wandered the ruins of Old Sarum, (one of William the Conquerer's headquarters, and the place where the Domesday Book was begun). The trip included a tour of Leeds Castle in Kent, so that we could see a medieval castle actually maintained as a family home throughout the centuries--definitely not a ruin. Our pilgrimage ended in Canterbury, with a visit to the great Cathedral there.

Did we find King Arthur? We think so--he seems to still live in a quiet place within the heart of England...

Although the British seem a bit embarrassed about him, and claim that he's as fictional as our American Mickey Mouse, they still preserve the places immortalized in the famous tales by Malory, Chretien, the Pearl Poet, Marie de France, Chaucer, and other great storytellers.
If you see someone from this semester's ENG 361 class, be sure to ask about our adventures in the UK!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spanish Class Adapts and Performs Play for ESOL Students

In the first week of March, Dr. Karina Vazquez's students in SPA 312 (Advanced Conversation I) adapted the script of jorge y su conciencia for presentation to Ms. Jacole Mahoney's ESOL class at Edison.

The students of SPA312 Advanced Conversation I adapted the script to fit contemporary situations and worked on the stage, the introduction, and the role play at the end. This play is part of the Service Learning component of Dr. Vazquez's course. Dr. Vazquez says that "the idea of performing a play for ESOL kids came from my students, who at the beginning of the semester answered a survey on Service Learning and the Community of St. Joseph." The students involved were Joshua Kalin, Spencer Moss, Pamela Covarrubias, Julie Filley, Matthew Starr, Daniel Sanders, Kali Connard, Susan Brock, Brean Riley, Dawn Pokora, Jonathan Burdford, Allison Jones, Laura Bilecki, Caley Mazurkiewycz, Carlos Fern√°ndez-Devaul, and Samantha Mikus.

The play "jorge y su conciencia" was writen by argentine poet, writer, and feminist Alfonsina Storni. It is included in the Series "Teatro Infantil", published in 1930. The play focuses on gender roles distributions from a perspective of a child and his conscience.

"I talked to the kids today," Ms. Mahoney told Dr. Vazquez, "and asked them about their favorite parts. They thought the play was funny, and they liked the props and animated actions. They mentioned the cat, the boy sleeping, the McDonald's sack, etc. They said they like it when people talk to them in Spanish."

The next script adaptation will be presented in April at Humboldt School.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kyla Ward Wins Greef Award

Kyla Ward, BSE English senior, received the 2009 Robert J. Greef Award as Missouri Western's outstanding English teacher education graduate for 2008-2009. Kyla and the other outstanding graduates from around the state were honored at the state's Write to Learn Conference at Osage Beach, MO, last Friday. The Missouri Association of Teachers of English (MATE) sponsors the annual recognition ceremony for outstanding English teacher graduates; the Greef recipients received a free membership in MATE.

In nominating Kyla for the award, MWSU English professor Bill Church wrote, "Kyla is an exceptional student who enriches every class she takes with her intellect, wit, energy, and professionalism. . . . She has served our campus generously beyond the classrooms by monitoring computer labs and leading workshops for developmental writing. Furthermore, she serves unselfishly as president of our student chapter of SNCTE. She will become an outstanding teacher and mentor."

EFLJ offers hearty congratulations to Kyla!