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Voices from the Middle Call for Manuscripts - Previous Revision

Upcoming Themes

Preparing Our Students as Writers
January 2012. Learning how to write effectively is a language process that begins early in life for the majority of students. As parents and teachers encourage young children to craft and illustrate early oral exchanges, they begin to view writing as an additional process of communication. During the primary grades, their developing knowledge of writing often becomes tangential to learning to read. Students then meet the middle school teacher who is tasked with preparing them to write effectively across many genres. Because this is indeed a complex task for middle school teachers, this issue of Voices focuses on preparing students as writers.We welcome articles that expand our views about how to know our students as writers and subsequently support their development as writers. Investigations of questions similar to the following will fuel this discussion while sharing possible insights: What is a profile of how well middle school students write? What are middle schoolers writing inside and outside of the classroom? What type of a curriculum remix is supporting students as writers? What are the best ways to assess student writing? When students write collaboratively, how can each contributor be assessed? What does writer’s workshop look like in the 21st century? What classroom contexts realistically support writing instruction? How can the voices of all students be applauded and developed? How can teachers be better prepared to teach writing? Deadline: January 3, 2011

Background Knowledge and Vocabulary
September 2012.
Students differ in a number of ways, including their background knowledge. They have different experiences, have read different books, and have had different teachers. Yet we know that background knowledge is critical to  understanding. Is there anything that teachers can do to build and activate their background knowledge so that relevant information is available for reading and learning? What ways, direct and indirect, have teachers ensured that student knowledge is valued and used? How do you determine what their background knowledge is, and what do you do to address these differences? Background knowledge is expressed through the words students know and use, so what might be the instructional relationship between vocabulary and background knowledge? We hope to highlight the importance of background knowledge, despite its current lack of popularity. We also hope to provide teachers with useful classroom ideas that will ensure students’ funds of knowledge are validated and extended. Deadline: September 1, 2011

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