About

Since the 2010-2011 school year, students in one of teacher April Kincaid’s classes at McCollough-Unis School in Dearborn, Mich., have been honing their skills as storytellers. They use writing, photography, video and audio to tell the stories of the people and events in their lives and around them. “The Living Textbook,” is a bridge that connects social studies and journalism. It is our hope that, whatever these students decide to do in school, this bridge will lead them to a future in which their voices and the voices of their generation are heard.

The students
You can meet the students through their “story of my name” project.

The teacher

April Kincaid, a graduate of the University of Detroit-Mercy, has been a Dearborn Public Schools teacher for 15 years.

April Kincaid

Besides teaching this journalism class at McCollough-Unis, she teaches social studies, leadership and coaches the cheer team. Kincaid is a national award-winning cheer coach and coaches the Police Athletic League team and an All-Star Team.

Kincaid started teaching at Oakman Elementary in Dearborn, Mich., as her first career job. She taught 2nd and 5th grades there.

Kincaid is a Detroit native and attended Precious Blood Elementary, Bethany Lutheran for middle school and three different high schools in the city.

The Living Textbook helped her receive journalism training at the Michigan State University School of Journalism’s Michigan Interscholastic Press Association during the summer of 2011.

The co-directors

Emilia Askari is a journalist, a fan of the digital game Civilization, and a doctoral student in educational psychology and educational technology at Michigan State University. She’s also the mother of two children about the same ages as the students in Ms. Kincaid’s class. Emilia spent two decades as a reporter at big newspapers such as the Detroit Free Press and the Miami Herald. Over the years, she’s won more than 20 prizes and fellowships.

Emilia Askari

During the summer of 2012, Emilia spent a month in Mongolia working with journalists and librarians to save content from Mongolian news websites before it’s lost to history.

Emilia, who is Iranian American, has been a member of the Asian American Journalists Association for about 20 years, serving in the past on its national board. She also has served in leadership positions with several other professional journalism groups, including the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Emilia has taught environmental journalism at the University of Michigan for a decade and a half. She wants to create a game that will teach digital literacy and content creation in middle schools. Emilia likes camping, travel and people who dream big. Her family includes two pet turtles.

Joe Grimm teaches at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism. He worked at the Detroit Free Press for 25 years and was newsroom recruiter from 1990 until 2008. He teaches reporting and editing at MSU and in the 2012-2013 academic year is part of a College of Communication Arts and Science team working with professionals in Saudi Aramco at Saudi Aramco.

Joe Grimm

Joe Grimm

In 1993, he established the annual “Spirit of Diversity” job fair in Detroit. He has been a member of AAJA since 1990 and helped create its Michigan chapter.

In 1997, he launched the JobsPage, a journalism careers site. That led to a careers blog in 2003 that became part of Poynter Online’s Career Center in 2006.

The JobsPage also launched two of Joe’s eight books. He won the Center for Great Lakes Culture’s non-fiction book of the year award in 2002 and is a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. Grimm created “100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans” in 2000. He posted it Sept. 12, 2001.

Photo and video journalist

Laura Fawaz is a freelance photojournalist with a degree from Oakland University in broadcast journalism, and a double minor in studio art-photography, and in Islamic studies.

Laura Fawaz

After graduation in 2008, she worked on various photography and media related projects for non-profit organizations. Laura officially began working as a freelancer in the fall of 2011.

She reports for The Muslim Observer and is the anchor for its weekly webcast and freelances for two other online newspapers. She also enjoys taking photos for her small photography company, The World Captured. She has been a member of the Asian American Journalists Association since 2011, and enjoys being a part of Ms. April Kincaid’s classroom, and the AAJA-Michigan chapter.

AAJA demonstration projects
The “Living Textbook” is one of three demonstration projects proposed by Dinah Eng, founder of the Asian American Journalists Association’s Executive Leadership Program. The other projects involve ethnic media in Chicago and a mobile news site in New York City’s Chinatown.

The projects are funded by the McCormick Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Kodak donated video cameras for the project and Target and Costco donated camera equipment.

We are grateful to all our generous sponsors.

This site was designed and built by Steven Chin at MKmedia.

Unis Middle School

Unis School serves grades K-8 in the Dearborn Public School District. The school principal is Heyam Alcodray. These are its beliefs about education:

  • A student's highest potential includes improvements academically, artistically, emotionally and socially.
  • Student achievement requires a cooperative effort among parents, teachers and the community to provide encouragement and reinforce core values.
  • Good instruction is assessment-driven, outcomes-based, active, and engaging.
  • Effective instruction touches the world of each student providing for different learning styles and needs.
  • Education is a life-long process that prepares students to be successful, contributing citizens in a changing world.

Gallery

My aunt and brother Thanksgiving Arabic and American Drumstick Thanksgiving

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