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Language Arts, Vol. 92, No. 2, November 2014

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: The Arts in Language Arts

  • Thoughts from the Editors: The Function of Art Is to Make People See [FREE ACCESS]

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

  • The Art of Learning to Be Critically Literate [FREE ACCESS]

    Jerome C. Harste

    Abstract: In this article, Dr. Harste argues that there are three components to a literacy program for the 21st century:  meaning making, language study, and inquiry—all taught from a critical literacy perspective.  He also outlines what the arts afford our understanding of literacy and learning and, in so doing, argues for an expanded definition of literacy, one reflecting our multicultural and multimodal world.

    Keywords: Literacy, Learning, Teaching

  • Creating Digital Comics in Response to Literature: Aesthetics, Aesthetic Transactions, and Meaning Making

    Kelly K. Wissman and Sean Costello

    Abstract: This article explores how eighth-grade students in a reading support class responded to the novel The Outsiders with the software program Comic Life. Rather than viewing this work from a new technologies or digital literacies perspective, we argue that unique insights can be gained by analyzing students’ digital compositions with lenses attuned to the arts, the aesthetic transaction, and student perspectives. In our presentation of four case studies, we are informed by two conceptualizations of aesthetics. First, we consider the aesthetic qualities of students' comics by analyzing the presence and impact of image selection, color choice, and overall design on the meaning students make in their comics. Second, we draw from Rosenblatt's discussion of the aesthetic transaction in both reading and writing as rooted in the senses, in perception, and within the students’ social worlds.We found that students worked within and across personal experiences, semiotic systems, and popular cultural texts in ways that reflected and often enriched their literary understanding. This article highlights how deliberate inquiry into students’ creative processes, products, and perspectives can provide insight into the potential of the digital arts to support meaning making and the aesthetic transaction.

    Keywords: Response to Literature, aesthetics, comics, digital arts, literature and the arts, Rosenblatt

  • Commentaries: The Arts in Language Arts

    Michael Shaw, Andrea L. Tochelli and Lynn E. Shanahan, Wendy Williams, Beth Olshansky, and Louise J. Shaw and Catherine Kurkjian

    Abstract: Language Arts readers offer their take on “The Arts in Language Arts” through experiences, perspectives, and resources that have shaped their appreciation for and use of the arts in widely differing classrooms.

  • An Interview with Heidi Mills and Tim O’Keefe, NCTE’s 2014 Outstanding Educators of the Year

    Dinah Volk

    Abstract: This article is distilled from an interview with Heidi Mills and Tim O'Keefe, recipients of NCTE's 2014 Outstanding Educators of the Year award. In the interview, Heidi and Tim reflect deeply on their beliefs about teaching, learning, and relevant theory, and they describe how they put those into practice in collaboration with others at the Center for Inquiry, a K–5 university–public partnership in Columbia, South Carolina. Their work has inspired pre- and inservice teachers, literacy coaches, friends, colleagues, children, and families, and has enriched the fields of teacher education, education, and literacy.

    Keywords: Literacy, Collaboration, Inquiry, democratic practice, kidwatching

  • Quiet Echoes from the Heart: Joyce Sidman and Her Poetry

    Barbara A. Ward and Terrell A. Young

    Abstract: This profile of Joyce Sidman, recipient of the 2013 NCTE Excellence in Poetry for Children Award, provides insight into the inspiration for her work and highlights her creative process. Tips for budding poets are included.

    Keywords: Poetry, nature, the creative process

  • Research and Policy: Narrative and Multimodality in English Language Arts Curricula: A Tale of Two Nations

    Kathy A. Mills and Beryl Exley

    Abstract: In this policy column within this special edition on “The Arts in Language Arts,” we critique the current place of multimodality and narratives in research and curriculum policy. This is a vital issue of significance for literacy educators, researchers, and policy makers because the narrative texts that circulate in our everyday lives are multimodal, tied to the ever-broadening range of narrative forms in digital sites of display. Here, we critically evaluate the place of multimodality and narratives in the language arts or English curriculum policies of two nations, the USA and Australia. In particular, we highlight the silence on multimodality within the Common Core State Standards, USA, and the contrasting centrality of multimodality in the National Curriculum: English, Australia. 

    Keywords: Common Core State Standards, picture books, audio, Australian Curriculum English, image, multimodal, narrative

  • Professional Book Reviews: Learning Art, Learning Literacy [FREE ACCESS]

    Diane DeFord, Karen Heid, Nancy James, Rebecca Harper, S. Rebecca Leigh, and Tasha Tropp Laman

    Abstract: In an era of high-stakes testing, accountability, narrow definitions of literacy, and deeply cut arts budgets, these books help us, as teachers, to engage children in meaning making in its broadest sense, and show us what is possible when we create curriculum where the arts are integral to learning in general and literacy in particular.

    Keywords: Assessment, Literacy, arts

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: The 2014 Orbis Pictus Award Winners [FREE ACCESS]

    Fran Wilson, Cyndi Giorgis, Joyce Herbeck, Marie LeJeune, Ruth McKoy Lowery, Sue Parsons, and Ed Sullivan

    Abstract: This column presents the winners of the 2014 Orbis Pictus Book Award. Each year the Orbis Pictus Award Committee selects the best nonfiction children's books published within the previous calendar year. The award, created by the National Council of Teachers of English in 1989, was named after what is believed to be the very first nonfiction book written especially for children.

    Keywords: Nonfiction, children’s literature

  • Conversation Currents: Developing Individual Talent and Abilities: An Interview with Sir Ken Robinson

    Language Arts staff

    Abstract: This interview features Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized scholar, speaker, and leader in the development and commitment to the arts, creativity, innovation, and the potential of human resources. He talks about how he became interested in the arts through drama, his ideas on assessment, and the importance of engaging people in active and significant learning.

* 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