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Language Arts, Vol. 87, No. 4, March 2010

Cover Art for Language Arts, Vol. 87, No. 4, March 2010

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Collaborations for Change

  • Call for Manuscripts

  • Thoughts from the Editors: Strengths, Resources, and Shared Visions: Collaborations

  • Teacher Inquiry for Equity: Collaborating to Improve Teaching and Learning

    Linda Friedrich and Marilyn McKinney

    Abstract: This article examines how five teachers, who participated in a national program, supported and sustained collaborative teacher inquiry as a means for addressing inequities in their classrooms and schools. Their efforts illustrate both the possibilities and challenges that emerge as teachers interact, analyze data together, and write about questions of equity. Collaborative inquiry, when properly facilitated and structured, supports teachers in confronting their biases and disrupting inequities. Acknowledging the hard work of taking such action, we identify strategies and structures grounded in teachers’ expertise that help to create systems of mutual responsibility and accountability, develop teacher leadership, and sustain inquiry for equity over time.

    Keywords: Elementary, School/Community

  • Violent Red, Ogre Green, and Delicious White: Expanding Meaning Potential through Media

    S. Rebecca Leigh

    Abstract: This article reports on the meaning potential of daily access to drawing/writing media for widening and deepening meaning construction. In a yearlong study in a second grade classroom, the author worked with a second-year teacher to see what would happen when art and language were encouraged ways of knowing in which children could construct meaning. The power of media was an unexpected finding in the study. This paper explores and examines how different drawing/writing media – marker, crayon, pencil, color pencil, pen, pastel, and paint - influences what children think about and how they construct meaning through pictures and words as a result. Analysis of students’ drawn and written responses, audio taped talk in four different structures, and interview data suggest that children were able to use media in meaningful ways.

    Keywords: Literacy, Elementary, Media

  • Collaborative Voices Exploring Culturally and Socially Responsive Literacies

    Carmen L. Medina and María del Rocío Costa

    Abstract: This piece shares preservice teachers and instructors reflections on their perceptions of a course on Spanish language arts methods in Puerto Rico.  The course was redesigned to focus on interrelated curricular and pedagogical aspects such as literacies as situated social practice, funds of knowledge, popular culture and critical literacy.  In redesigning the course the instructor and colleague/co-researcher explored perspectives related to “inquiry as stance” (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009) and engaged with the students on inquiry approaches and practices to examine the collective experience within the course and the polticial nature of the work we do in literacy education.

    Keywords: Diversity, Literacy, Pedagogy, School/Community

  • Research Directions: Ends in Themselves: Theorizing the Practice of University–School Partnering through Horizontalidad

    Gerald Campano, Michelle A. Honeyford, Lenny Sánchez, and Sarah Vander Zanden

    Abstract: In this article we share our current thinking about the methodology of collaborations for change and make visible our own attempts to theorize the practice of university-school partnering. We suggest that a fruitful new direction for research may involve turning to the Global South and the Latin American idea of horizontalidad [horizontalism], with its emphasis on consensus, direct democracy and shared knowledge construction. Drawing on data from our current involvements with university-school partnerships, we examine how viewing relationships as primarily a process, rather than merely a means to achieve preconceived outcomes and products, shapes the way we think about a number of different methodological questions, including: Who poses research problems and questions?; What does it mean to “gain access” to a research site?; How (and where) do relationships matter?; And, when we value our relationships as ends in themselves, How do we navigate the evolving parameters of research? We conclude by sharing some of our own ongoing struggles and dilemmas forging partnerships for change.

    Keywords: Diversity, Research, School/Community

  • Focus on Policy: Dreaming of Collaboration

    Marilyn Johnston-Parsons

    Abstract: Marilyn Johnston-Parsons writes about collaboration. She describes several university-school collaborations with which she has been involved in terms of the tensions and the dialogue that has been associated with them. While she worries about the state of collaboration in this educational age, she admits to “cautious optimism” that more collaboration can be encouraged as part of the work of democracy that our schools do.

    Keywords: School/Community

  • Profiles and Perspectives: Finding Voice, Defining Self: An Interview with Yuyi Morales

    Mary Esther Soto Huerta, Jesse Gainer, and Jennifer Battle

    Abstract: Our interview with Yuyi Morales revealed the thoughts, emotions, and critical perspectives of a children’s book author and artist. Our conversation with Yuyi kept her voice central to our discussion. Readers will discover how Yuyi relies on her background to write about cultural themes and to generate rich illustrations that embellish the text she crafts. As a professional, Yuyi continuously seeks ways to advance her creative talents, which include writing, art, creating puppets, and her expanding use of technology. Yuyi is captivating, and the information she shared will undoubtedly spark interest and enthusiasm in all readers.

    Keywords: Diversity, Literature, Writing, Media

  • Professional Book Reviews: The Transformative Possibility of Collaboration

    Martille Elias

    Abstract: Books reviewed for the issue’s Professional Book Reviews column are: Children's Language: Connecting Reading, Writing and Talk (2008) by Judith Wells Lindfors; Designing Socially Just Learning Communities: Critical Literacy Education across the Lifespan (2009) by Rebecca Rogers, Melissa Mosley, Mary Ann Kramer, and The Literacy for Social Justice Teacher Research Group; and Negotiating Literacy Learning: Exploring the Challenges and Achievements of Struggling Readers, K-6 (2008), edited by Janine K. Bixler.

    Keywords: Literature

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: 2009 Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts

    Deanna Day, Mary Lee Hahn, Mary Napoli, Janelle B. Mathis, Jonda C. McNair, Kathy G. Short, and Edward T. Sullivan

    Abstract: Every year the Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts Committee reads and reviews hundreds of books that language arts teachers will enjoy sharing and recommending to their students. The committee identified thirty titles designated as notable, using criteria that included: Books that deal explicitly with language, such as plays on words, word origins, or uniqueness in the use of language or style; books that invite child response or participation; books that have an appealing format, be of enduring quality, and meet generally accepted criteria of quality for their specific genres.  For more information about the Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, visit the Children’s Literature Assembly’s website at

    Keywords: Elementary

  • In Closing . . . Humbled by a Fifth-Grader’s Homework

    Charles Fuhrken

    Abstract: This issue’s In Closing... page features the collaboration between a fifth-grader, his uncle, and the Internet as they work together to answer homework questions.

    Keywords: Literacy, Pedagogy, School/Community

* 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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