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Language Arts, Vol. 91, No. 2, November 2013

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Innovations

  • Call for Manuscripts [FREE ACCESS]

  • Thoughts from the Editors: Extraordinary Capacities: Contested and Varied Spaces of Innovation in Education [FREE ACCESS]

    Teri Holbrook, Laura May, Peggy Albers, Caitlin McMunn Dooley, and Amy Seely Flint

  • Adaptive Teachers as Innovators: Instructional Adaptations Opening Spaces for Enhanced Literacy Learning

    Margaret Vaughn and Seth A. Parsons

    Abstract: Adaptive teachers are innovative in their teaching approach, assembling and reassembling their instruction based on their knowledge of effective pedagogy and the specific and individual needs of their students. This article presents descriptive case studies of two teachers’ adaptive teaching. These teachers taught in different contexts: a sixth-grade classroom in a suburban school in the Mid-Atlantic region and a third-grade classroom in a rural school in the Pacific Northwest. The researchers closely examined these teachers’ instructional adaptations and found that their adaptations often opened up spaces for students’ learning. Accordingly, these adaptations illustrate the innovative nature of effective literacy teaching.

  • Innovation, Research, and Policy: Evolutions in Classroom Teaching [FREE ACCESS]

    Virginia J. Goatley and Peter Johnston

    Abstract: This article offers a vision of innovation within the complex nature of teaching. Innovation is the process through which new ideas are generated and put into productive practice—“new” meaning new to this situation or this location or this community. In this article, the authors describe a) how innovation occurs through small-scale “tinkering”; b) the conditions for innovation; c) methods for distributing and developing innovation; d) the complex relationship between policy and innovation; e) the need to evaluate fully the consequences of innovation; and f) how to develop capacity for innovation. Building capacity for innovation also requires examining our goals—what we think we are doing – because, when innovation occurs, it occurs in the direction of people’s goals.

  • Research and Policy: Grassroots Inquiry: Reconsidering the Location of Innovation

    María Paula Ghiso, Gerald Campano, and Rob Simon

    Abstract: This column explores a grassroots approach to educational innovation as an alternative to the dominant entrepreneurial model, whereby market solutions are thought to be the best mechanism to spur change. We contend that there is a need to delink automatic connections between innovation and entrepreneurship and to reimagine the location and nature of innovation. Drawing on postcolonial theory and various examples of grassroots communities of inquiry, we highlight how practitioners, parents, and students develop creative ways to address issues relevant to their immediate contexts of teaching and learning. Our model of grassroots innovation espouses cooperation, rather than merely competition, and involves inquiry processes that value a diversity of perspectives, especially from those most directly impacted by educational policies and practices.

  • Professional Book Reviews: Literacy in the Multicultural Classroom: Expanding Definitions and Broadening Visions [FREE ACCESS]

    Kindel Nash, Cindy Morton-Rose, Lisa Reid, Erin Miller, Sabina Mosso-Taylor

    Abstract: The four books reviewed in this column all reiterate the importance of multicultural education and offer numerous examples of how teachers enact practices that support culturally relevant teaching. The selected texts address topics including how teachers can move from talking about multicultural education to doing multicultural education (Multicultural Teaching in the Early Childhood Classroom: Approaches, Strategies, and Tools, Preschool–2nd Grade), the role the United Nations Rights of the Child (ROC) can play in supporting critical inquiry in the classroom (A Critical Inquiry Framework for K–12 Teachers: Lessons and Resources from the U.N. Rights of the Child), ways allies can advocate for LGBTQQ youth and work against heterosexism and homophobia through literacy (Interrupting Hate: Homophobia in Schools and What Literacy Can Do about It), and the negotiation of the complex intersection of race, ethnicity, and identity of one Latina woman, Raquel Cepeda (Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina).

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: 2013 Orbis Pictus Award Winners [FREE ACCESS]

    Fran Wilson, Cyndi Giorgis, Joyce Herbeck, Lisa Morris-Wilkey, Sue Parsons, Ed Sullivan, and Deborah Thompson

    Abstract: This column presents the 2013 Orbis Pictus Award winners. The Orbis Pictus Award recognizes outstanding nonfiction books published for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. This award, established by the Elementary Section of the National Council of Teachers of English in 1989, is the first book award to honor nonfiction books written especially for children.

  • Conversation Currents: Digital Storyworlds: Transmedia Literature in the ELA Classroom

    Kate Pullinger, Amanda Havard, and Melanie Hundley

    Abstract: As stories evolve into new, varied, and experimental formats in our current digital age, teachers, authors, storytellers, and readers are presented with myriad new conversations about the creation, discussion, and dissemination of literature. What does it mean to consume a story in the digital age? What do the terms we use to describe them—digital fiction, story worlds, transmedia, interactive fiction—really mean? In this conversation, author-educator-storytellers Kate Pullinger (Inanimate Alice) and Amanda Havard (The Survivors, Immersedition™), and language arts professor Melanie Hundley of Peabody College at Vanderbilt University discuss with LA the quintessential question of current literacies: As stories appear in varied digital formats, how will both new forms and content shape students' discussions of narrative, their understanding of story, and their lives as readers?

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