Opportunity for school-aged English Language Learners

826michigan is offering a drop-in workshop for English Language Learners. This new workshop series is especially designed for English Language Learners between the ages of 6 and 18! A team of knowledgeable, passionate volunteers are working hard to create a fun and creative atmosphere for kids to learn and practice new English skills. The students will participate in activities designed to improve their pronunciation, grammar, and conversational skills in individual or group settings. This workshop is most suitable for beginning or intermediate ELL students.

Eric Canosa is an English teacher. He spent time in China teaching English in the WorldTeach program through Harvard's Center for International Development. More recently, he has taught Teen English classes for University of Michigan Family Housing.

This workshop will be on Saturday afternoons, 12:00-1:00 PM through March 27, 2010 (no session on February 27). This workshop takes place at 826michigan: 115 Liberty St., Ann Arbor, MI. If you have questions, you may contact them at (734) 761-3463.

For other learning resources, you might try Brainfuse, an online homework help service, free to AADL cardholders and available 7 days a week between 2:00 and 11:00 PM. For in-person homework help, members of the University of Michigan chapter of Circle K are available on Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00-8:00 PM, in the Youth Story Corner of the Downtown Library.

2010 It's All Write! Short Story Writing Contest

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Got an idea for a short story? The timing is perfect if you do, either have an idea you've been thinking about, or put an ending to a story that has a brilliant beginning but you just didn't know how to finish. The 2010 It's All Write short story writing contest for area teens has begun. The last day to turn in stories is Friday, March 19. Click here for complete guidelines.

1st Place ($250), 2nd Place ($150), and 3rd Place ($100) prizes will be awarded in the following categories : Grades 6-8, Grades 9-10, and Grades 11-12.

Need inspiration? You might want to check out last year's winning stories or any of the short story collections edited by Donald R. Gallo.

Free pap test screening!

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and if you are a woman aged 21 or older, have not had a pap test in the last two years and do not have medical coverage for a pap test, you can get one free on Saturday, January 30. Testing will take place at the U-M Health System, Briarwood Building 2, Suite B, 400 E. Eisenhower Parkway between 10:00AM and 2:00PM. This screening is sponsored by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Women's Heath Program.

Cervical cancer is a serious disease that affects about 11,000 women each year. Cervical cancer has no symptoms at its earliest stages; however with early detection, the cancer can be cured. This test takes less than 10 minutes, and could be life-saving.

To schedule a free screening, call the Cancer AnswerLine at 1-800-865-1125. Registration is required.

Great Lakes, Great Times reading series

Great Lakes, Great Times is a monthly reading series that, according to this month’s host, “showcases the best established and up-and-coming writers working today.” The January reading will take place at 826Michigan, and will feature readings from authors Brian Evenson, Joanna Howard, and Blake Butler. (Find Evenson's The Open Curtain at AADL.)

The event is geared towards adults, admission is free, and anyone is welcome. It's all happening Saturday, January 23, 7pm at the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair Shop at 115 East Liberty.

U-M authors tackle germs, epidemics

Heads up for a fascinating conversation between U-M faculty members Laura Kasischke, poet and novelist, and medical historian Howard Markel at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20 in Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, 913 S. University. These prominent writers will "reflect on how their research methods, narrative styles, and sense of themselves as authors challenge our knowledge and sentiments about diseases and ourselves." Kasischke’s latest novel, In a Perfect World, is set in a time when Phoenix Flu is ravaging the country. Markel has written books including When Germs Travel. The event is presented by the Author’s Forum, a collaboration of the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, and the Ann Arbor Book Festival. Learn more here.

The Verve Pipe plays a “family show” at The Ark

Michigan’s own legendary rockers, The Verve Pipe, will bring some family fun to Ann Arbor on the morning of January 16.

After being asked to submit a song for a youth compilation CD, they ended up having more fun and creating more kids’ songs than necessary, which lead to the family-friendly songs becoming their new CD, "A Family Album.” If you’re interested in hearing the digital album, check out the band’s website. The show at The Ark starts at 11am this Saturday and all tickets are $10 and general admission. See The Ark’s listing for full event/ ticket info.
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Buhr Park Outdoor Ice Arena opens again!

Sharpen those skates…. After delay, Buhr Park’s outdoor ice rink opens tomorrow! The rink will be open for the season, January 9 – April 1. There was a delayed rink opening because a new cooled subfloor was constructed, which allows ice skating during temps over 50 degrees. See here for full schedule of hours and pricing! Skate rental is available.skatingskating

Mittenfest is coming to Ypsilanti

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The fourth annual Mittenfest will be happening this weekend at the Elbow Room in Ypsilanti on Dec 31, Jan 1, Jan 2, and Jan 3. Its fourth year expands to four days in length, and this year there is another great line up of nearly 40 local bands and DJs playing each night, including Chris Bathgate, Frontier Ruckus, Timothy Monger, and Drunken Barn Dance, to name a few. All proceeds from Mittenfest benefit the local non-profit 826Michigan. This event is a sure-to-sell-out happening event that raises a lot of money for a good cause. Hearing live music and supporting free tutoring and workshops for kids? You can’t go wrong.

Here is a great interview with Brandon Zwagerman, the organizer of Mittenfest. He talks about how he plans it and discusses everything from why certain bands play to why it benefits 826Michigan.

The event is 18+, doors open at 4pm each night, New Year’s Eve is $9 cover, all other nights are $7 each night. See here for a full schedule of bands.

Purple Rose: Escanaba extended through Jan. 23

By popular demand, Purple Rose has extended Escanaba, a world premiere play by Jeff Daniels through Jan 23. This is the latest installment and origin story in the wildly popular Yooper trilogy (Escanaba in da Moonlight, Escanaba in Love). Even if you haven't seen earlier shows, apparently the latest is nonetheless very enjoyable. You could also check out our DVD Escanaba in da Moonlight and do some catching up at home.

Christmas Carol'd at Performance Network through Dec. 27

For holiday entertainment, consider Christmas Carol'd at Performance Network Theatre. In this adaptation by Joseph Zettelmaier, five actors play all the parts. Sounds fun. To get into the spirit, you could read the classic story, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, on which the play is based -- or just some words spoken in the original story by Scrooge's nephew, calling Christmas "a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time, the only time ... when men and women seem by common consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow travellers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."

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