In order for full participation in a democratic society, our teachers and students need more than scripted lessons, mandates, and sanctions handed down by those far from the classrooms. During the Reagan years, systems and structures were set in place so that corporate giants and government would have more control over education: those who have the same life experiences as those in power. The effect resulted in educational policies such as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 (NCLB) and now the Race to the Top and the push for national standards, and management of education by policymakers. Current educational policies stifle teachers from using their expertise to make informed decisions about how to scaffold and provide the appropriate instruction, not scripted lessons, for the unique and various students in their classrooms.
This workshop will examine practices that support students and teachers in their quest to become active and engaged participating members of our society. At a time where economic, social, political, and educational reform is demanded of us by the potential failures of these systems, it seems prudent and important to revisit and explore what is currently being researched, review what does work, and discuss how to use this information to empower teachers—the ones who tirelessly give of themselves to help their students engage in meaningful learning with purpose and joy.
This workshop will provide participants and presenters multiple opportunities to engage in critical reflection, dialogue, and action toward an educational reform and advocacy that enables teachers and learners to collaborate, explore, engage, and renew ourselves through positive, empowering, professional advocacy.
W.5 Working with NCTE to Advocate for Literacy Education (G)
Sponsored by SLATE (NO FEE—1/2 Day—9:00 a.m.—Noon)
Since 1911, NCTE has developed policies and taken stands to improve teaching in the English language arts and to improve student learning. The Council realizes that the voices of educators are most important in policymaking efforts at the national, state, and local levels and so this session, sponsored by NCTE’s political action committee, SLATE (Support for the Learning and Teaching of English), is designed as a how-to session for members on using NCTE policies to advocate for literacy.
Participants will learn how NCTE makes policy. They’ll receive copies of NCTE’s legislative platform, learn about NCTE’s advocacy efforts to accomplish the goals of the platform, and learn how they can use the platform to advocate for literacy education. Participants will practice how to talk about NCTE policies with legislators and policymakers and they will hear from other NCTE members who have used NCTE policies to advocate for literacy education. Throughout the session participants will gather information to develop a personal literacy education advocacy plan to take home and enact.
W.6 Critical Literacy and Today's Online and Digital Media Technologies (G)
Sponsored by the Assembly on Computers in English
Through hands-on activities, group discussions, and one-on-one instruction, participants will be introduced to today’s digital information and communication-age technologies. Online applications such as podcasting and bookmarking services, digital reading and writing tools, and other programs will be explored. Our special focus will be on connecting these new applications to support the acquisition of critical literacy and analytic skills and meld them with existing classroom objectives and practices.
W.7 Toward a More Hopeful Vision of Writing, Teaching, and Assessment (G)
Through reading, writing, and thinking, we will engage with other teachers committed to figuring out how to make English class a meaningful place of hope and engagement with the world through words. This workshop will be both inspirational and practical, offering an experience and vision of writing and teaching worth fighting for, as well as practical strategies to avoid the “That’s a good idea but I could never do it in my school” trap.
We’ll take on assessment despair together and figure out how and why the wrong assessments can kill the most meaningful classroom experiences. We’ll learn to assess our students’ writing in ways that empower our students and ourselves. We seek teachers who claim the power of literacy for themselves and their students in the face of obstacles. We will create an online professional learning community that will continue after the conference, uniting teachers in a search for clarity and purpose in writing.
Penny Kittle is a high school teacher and consultant in northern New Hampshire. Her book, Write Beside Them won NCTE’s Britton Award in 2009. Marianna Romano teaches secondary English in Illinois. She has presented at numerous conferences, including NCTE. Maja Wilson taught high school, middle school, and adult education in Michigan for 10 years before taking a sabbatical to pursue her doctorate in Composition Studies at the University of New Hampshire. Her book, Rethinking Rubrics in Writing Assessment won NCTE’s Britton Award in 2007.
W.8 Literacy and the Arts: Books That Inspire the Visual Artist, Poet, and Musician in All of Us (G)
Sponsored by the Children’s Literature Assembly
Sharing books with children that celebrate artistic themes and promote artistic expression provides expanded literacy experiences that enhance their lives. This workshop features a panel of respected and award-winning writers and illustrators who will discuss their own artistic processes as they share books that promote a variety of artistic endeavors: creating visual art, music, and poetry.
In these days of mandated curriculum boasting a “back to basics” mentality, it is increasingly important for artful educators to promote and sustain the partnership of the arts and literacy within their teaching and learning communities (Caughlan, 2008). Fostering engagement with books that integrate artistic themes allows educators to connect the arts across their curriculum and enhance their students’ reading vistas. This workshop will allow the audience members, including classroom teachers, college-level children’s literature instructors, and others interested in children’s literature, to interact with a panel of award-winning writers and illustrators to delve into the artistic themes within books.
Caughlan,S. (2008). Advocating for the arts in the age of multiliteracies. Language Arts, 86, 120-127.
W.9 Ambitious Reading: Learning to Study and Interpret Literature through Dramatic Inquiry (G)
How can teachers and students learn to look with fresh eyes at challenging language, plot structures, and characterizations in literature—by writers such as Shakespeare, Jacqueline Woodson, Sandra Cisneros, and Julius Lester? How can they imagine and interpret the ethical issues that arise during their reading? We invite elementary through high school teachers to join us in a day-long, active immersion in the dramatic inquiry practices that build strong relationships among students and enable vital, critical interpretations of complex texts.
Drama has long been regarded as a motivating experience for students as they read literature. As presenters who are university faculty and teachers, we have developed an understanding and practice of dramatic inquiry (Edmiston, 2010) based on the tenets of process drama (Heathcote, 1984; O’Neill, 1996; Wilhelm & Edmiston, 1998), drama strategies (Neelands, 1990) and critical inquiry-based education (Short, Harste, & Burke, 1996; Beach & Myers, 2001). Our work is distinctive, however, because we have also built a repertoire of practices through a year-long partnership with members of the UK’s Royal Shakespeare Company education department. The RSC educators’ approach to Shakespearean textual study is based on actors’ ensemble-building and rehearsal processes and the insights about a story that can develop by embodying selected portions of ambitious texts.
We have studied and adapted the RSC approaches for ambitious reading and ensemble development in third through twelfth grade classes throughout the 2009-2010 school year. We want to show teachers across the country how it is possible to reframe their understanding of reading, comprehension, and social engagement in meaning-making. We are especially committed to demonstrating how students who are often viewed as underachieving, resistant, or struggling can become central participants in an ensemble of reading and interpretation. Our work this year has confirmed that “standing up”, living inside, and creating fictional framings on the world of a text will transform students’ and teachers’ relationships and their views of what it means to “be a reader.”
We will follow a plan that begins with ensemble-building, then engages participants in an inquiry frame or point of view for dramatizing and interpreting a difficult text, and follows with guidance through a sequence of actions and representations that enable close reading as well as deeper understanding of our responsibilities as both “witnesses“ and participants in the world of the story. Throughout the workshop, we will share digital images/videos that demonstrate ambitious reading in actual classrooms.
The workshop activities will be divided into 1.5 hour-long segments.
9-10:30 Ensemble building – What is and what builds an ensemble? How and why can ensemble sustain learning?
10:30 – 12:00 Dramatic Inquiry: Framing investigation in a shared imagined world —What are our responsibilities for interpretation? What are our interests and ideas for interpreting selected texts? What will our reading do to create a more just and equitable world?
Break for Lunch
1-2:30 Practicing and planning sequences of experiences that take us closer to understanding across texts.
2:30 – 3:30 Reflection and discussion.
Beach, R., & Myers, J. (2001). Inquiry-based English instruction: Engaging students in life and literature. New York: Teachers College Press.
Edmiston, B. (2007). Mission to Mars: Using drama to make a classroom more inclusive for literacy learning. Language Arts, 84, 337-346.
Heathcote, D. (1984). Collected writings on education and drama. Evanston, II: Northwestern University Press.
Neelands, J. (1990) Structuring drama. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
O’Neill, C. (1995). Drama worlds: A framework for process drama. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Short, K.G., Harste, J.C., & Burke, C. (1996). Creating classrooms for authors and inquirers (2nd. ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Wilhelm, J., & Edmiston, B. (1998). Imagining to learn: Inquiry, ethics, and integration through drama. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann
W.10 Exploring Key Issues in Language and Literacy Education for the 21st Century (G)
Sponsored by the Assembly for Research
This workshop is sponsored by the NCTE Assembly for Research and is designed for teachers and educational practitioners interested in learning more about prominent issues in language and literacy learning in the 21st century. It features a team of experts who address social, cultural, political, and linguistic issues that pertain to English Learners (ELs) and bilingual students across educational programs. Specifically, workshop discussions will focus on two issues of primary importance: (1) productive curriculum practices that harness the strengths of ELs and bilingual students, and (2) the role of digital media in reframing our understanding of language and literacy.
Researchers will draw on insights they have gained from examining various sociocultural factors that affect language and literacy learning in and out of school to facilitate practitioner dialogues. These dialogues will focus on ways to amplify the resources of ELs and bilingual students in order to enhance their academic potential in the context of 21st century classrooms. Topics will include ways to promote academic language in mainstream classrooms, exploit digital media technologies for language and literacy learning, expand ELs’ and bilingual students’ language and literacy toolkits, and organize teacher preparation to address the needs of linguistically diverse students.
W.11 Building Classroom Reading Communities (G)
Sponsored by the Whole Language Umbrella (WLU)
Expensive materials and scripted texts are not the most effective way to teach reading. This workshop will demonstrate through classroom examples and audience participation how to engage children from early grades through high school in talking about their readings and miscues, ultimately empowering them to discover their own reading strengths and areas for development. By encouraging students to talk about their miscues and explore miscues and reading strategies of others, we establish classroom reading communities that benefit all readers.
Rita Moore, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon
Vicki Seeger, Seaman Public Schools, Kansas
W.12 A Lesson from History: Nazi Propaganda, Media Literacy, and the Information Age (G)
The workshop has two main objectives:
To introduce English and language arts teachers to the resources of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
To explore contemporary issues of media literacy through the lens of the Museum's current initiative, "State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda."
The workshop will consist of four sessions:
Establishing a Historical Context The Holocaust was a historical event that took place in real time and involved real people: perpetrators, collaborators, bystanders, victims, rescuers. Using a classroom-ready activity from the www.ushmm.org website, teachers will gain an understanding of the chronology, key events, and people of the Holocaust. What role did Nazi propaganda play in creating the atmosphere in which the Holocaust took place?
State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda An exploration of the Museum's exhibition about Nazi propaganda, including an introduction to the resources available on the Museum's website (http://www.ushmm.orq/prooaqanda/). What can we learn from the past? How can an examination of Nazi propaganda benefit our students?
How Does Propaganda Work? The Nazi regime coordinated its propaganda efforts in a way that no government had up to that point. The Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment broadcast its message through newspapers and magazines, radio and television, and popular film. Teachers will work with classroom resources to deconstruct examples of Nazi propaganda, both visual and verbal. Does propaganda work? Are we susceptible to propaganda today?
Propaganda in the 21st Century The Nazi Party were masters at creating propaganda. Using modern techniques as well as new technologies and carefully crafted messages, they swayed millions with their vision. In a structured conversation, teachers will explore their role in combatting modern propaganda. How do we prepare our students to withstand a deluge of information that threatens to drown them? Can democracy and propaganda coexist? What are the implications for our classrooms?
Participants will receive classroom resources produced by the Museum including books, posters, DVDs, and CD-ROMs. Because of this, we would like to limit the workshop to 100 attendees.
W.13 Multicultural, Multiliterate: Writing the World