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University Relations

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April 22, 2005
Contact: Maryemma Graham or Sarah Arbuthnot, KU English department, (785) 864-2557.

8 Lawrence teachers complete KU workshop to teach Toni Morrison novels


LAWRENCE -- Eight teachers from the Lawrence School District participated in a reading in-service workshop on reading and teaching work by the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison conducted at the University of Kansas Continuing Education offices on April 1.

Lawrence teachers participating were:
- Art Sloan, Lawrence High School
- Vicki Tucker, West Junior High
- Kathleen Scollon, South Junior High
- Susan Brummett, Juvenile Detention Center
- Linda Wedge, Free State High School
- Pat Hays, USD 497 (substitute teacher)
- Lori Stussie, Alternative High School
- Susan Tate, Lawrence High School

The workshop was part of "Language Matters II: Reading and Teaching Toni Morrison, the Cardozo Project Model," a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and co-directed by Maryemma Graham, KU professor of English. Sarah Arbuthnot, KU graduate student in English, coordinates the project. Language Matters II is a special teaching initiative of the Toni Morrison Society and KU's Department of English.

Lawrence High School teacher Susan Tate noted, "The workshop was a fascinating day spent studying Toni Morrison combined with discovering ways to teach Morrison's novels to high school students. Although English teachers at both LHS and Free State have taught 'Beloved' and 'Song of Solomon,' the Language Matters II Cardozo Project Model suggests the possibility of reaching a much broader range of students with Morrison's fiction."

The Lawrence teachers prepared strategies to teach "Song of Solomon," one of Morrison's novels. Giselle Anatol, KU associate professor of English, and Marceline Rogers, English teacher at the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics High School and at Queensborough Community College, led the workshop. Gladys Sanders, Lawrence, served as project evaluator.

Graham and Carolyn C. Denard, associate dean of Wells College in Aurora, N.Y., co-direct Language Matters II. The project includes in-service teacher workshops in Lawrence; Manassas, Va.; and Cincinnati, and a one-week seminar in July at the University of Northern Kentucky in Highland Heights, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

Several of the Lawrence teachers will have an opportunity to attend the summer institute with about 20 teachers from schools throughout the United States.

In the summer seminar, participants will work with Morrison's eight novels and six children's books. The seminar takes place a week before the fourth biennial Morrison conference in Cincinnati, which Morrison plans to attend. Participants will visit the home of Margaret Garner, the fugitive slave whose life became the subject of Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Beloved," as well as attend the debut of an opera based on Garner's quest for freedom.

Graham is also president of the Toni Morrison Society and Denard is founder of the Toni Morrison Society. Arbuthnot is a graduate student in English and is the daughter of Bob and Susan Arbuthnot of Belleville.

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