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Language Arts, Vol. 85, No. 2, November 2007

Cover Art for Language Arts, Vol. 85, No. 2, November 2007

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Power of Words

  • Thoughts from the Editors: Words Transformed

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • Social Critique and Pleasure: Critical Media Literacy with Popular Culture Texts

    Jesse Gainer

    Abstract: This article addresses the importance of opening space for young people to engage in critical media literacy learning using popular culture texts. Children’s background knowledge includes a wide-variety of texts that are often ignored or excluded from school curriculum. The author shows how popular music, for example, can offer powerful opportunities for dialogically teachable moments and engagement in literacy learning that is critical but does not come at the expense of children’s pleasure in such texts. The author introduces the concept of a pleasure-critique nexus to demonstrate how social critique and pleasurable experiences are not at odds with each other. Furthermore, in this conceptual space pleasure can be derived from engaging in social critique.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • Talking about Difference and Defining Social Relations with Labels

    Jessica C. Zacher

    Abstract: In this study over the course of one school year, I set out to look closely at what the diverse fifth-grade students in Ms. Jean’s urban class were learning from the social justice curriculum. As a former kindergarten teacher at Gonzales myself, in this project I wanted to know what children said, thought, and did when they were asked to read books that brought up issues of difference and injustice.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • They Want to Learn How to Think: Using Art to Enhance Comprehension

    Jim Barton, Donna Sawyer, Cindy Swanson

    Abstract: This article describes an original way to integrate the visual arts with classroom literacy practices. Artists have a well developed repertoire of ways to observe the world around them through fresh eyes, and classroom teachers can use many of these same techniques to help young readers focus on subtle clues to meaning in stories. We describe these observational tools in detail, explain the method we used to introduce them to a group of third graders, and document the specific ways this approach to comprehension instruction encouraged students’ interpretations and judgments about The Gardner, a children’s book by Sarah Stewart.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • Literacy Education, Equity, and Attitude

    Christine H. Leland, Jerome C. Harste, and Caroline J. Shockley

    Abstract: The word “attitude” has different meanings. While some educators wish their students had less attitude, others are looking for ways to help students develop the kind of questioning, critical attitude that will allow them to interrogate and rethink what they already know or take for granted. This article describes a teacher education program that was consciously designed to help future teachers develop the kind of attitude that would allow them to see both literacy and teaching through a new lens. A case study approach follows one student through this program and into her own urban classroom. Data sources include pieces from the student’s journal, instructor responses, and conversations among the instructors and the former student four years later.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • FOCUS ON POLICY: The Power of Words: Top-Down Mandates Masquerade as Social Justice Reforms

    Linda Christensen

    Abstract: The author explores the appropriation of social justice language and metaphors for top-down mandates that disenfranchise students and teachers. Arguing against ideas that equate “equity” with “standardization,” the author reflects on the ways that these top-down programs impede authentic writing instruction. She urges teachers to decode the rhetoric and talk back to school districts that speak of equity and social justice, but treat educators like robotic hands that deliver education programs designed and shipped from sites outside of classrooms.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • RESEARCH DIRECTIONS: Words and Power

    David Bloome

    Abstract: The author explores five ideas about words and power: 1. Whenever we use words, we are constructing social relationships and social identities for ourselves and for others. 2. Whenever we use words, we are constructing tools for thinking. 3. Whenever we use words, we are constructing histories and temporal contexts. 4. Whenever we use words, we are constructing relationships among social institutions. 5. What we have constructed with words, we can deconstruct and reconstruct.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • PROFILES AND PERSPECTIVES: In Praise of a Scholarly Force: Rudine Sims Bishop

    Violet J. Harris

    Abstract: The author pays tribute to her mentor, comrade in ideas, and friend, who has also been selected as the 2007 NCTE Outstanding Educator in the English Language Arts: Rudine Sims Bishop. The author highlights Sims Bishop’s accomplishments in writing and teaching, especially her metaphor of the window and the mirror which became a rallying cry of sorts among academics, librarians, critics, scholars, and reviewers who advocated for the inclusion of “multicultural literature.”

    Keywords: Elementary

  • PROFESSIONAL BOOK REVIEWS: The Socially Transformative Power of Words

    Marjorie Faulstich Orellana

    Abstract: The author’s search for the term “power of words” in places like Google and yield fewer results than she had expected, but she reviews the materials she found.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • Poem: For a Teacher Gone Too Soon

    J. Patrick Lewis

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • CHILDREN’S LITERATURE REVIEWS: The 2007 Orbis Pictus Award Winning, Honor, and Recommended Nonfiction Books Published for Children

    Sandip Wilson, Carol Avery, Kim Ford, Marjorie Hancock, Sylvia Read, Elaine Stephens, Terrell A. Young

    Abstract: The Orbis Pictus Award Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English acknowledges excellence in nonfiction literature written for children. Each year the Committee selects up to fourteen outstanding books that make a contribution to children’s literature from among more than 300 books that are submitted. Topics of this year’s collection come from history, current events, and architecture and engineering yet focus on how communities and teams of people can make a difference in the quality of life for everyone. The committee selected honored and recommended titles in addition to the Orbis Pictus Award winner.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • IN CLOSING…: “Purpose”

    Jen McMillan

    Abstract: A teacher reflects on the kind of teaching that makes a difference to students and gives them a reason to come to school.

    Keywords: Elementary

* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts