Looking Back and Moving ForwardMay 2011.
NCTE and Voices have traveled together toward new understandings about young adolescents’ literacy and learning. As NCTE celebrates its 100th anniversary, we are taking our final steps as VM’s editorial team. We invite you to get on board and join us as we reminisce about where we have been and as we look to the future for new possibilities. In this final issue, we reflect on seminal literacy practices of yesterday and seek new and evolving ways of helping our diverse students become strong and independent learners. What are the seminal literacy practices advocated by NCTE that every teacher of young adolescents should embrace? In looking forward to the future, what new and evolving practices should we take along? Let’s get “on the road again” (Willie Nelson) and take one final journey together. Deadline: May 1, 2010.
The September 2011 issue of Voices from the Middle will be the first for the new editorial team of Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Diane Lapp. They have decided on “Quality Teaching” as their first theme, so start thinking about this one! Additional calls and the Submission Guidelines for the new editorship will appear in our May issue.
September 2011. Teachers matter and what they do matters most. In fact, quality teaching has greater influence on student achievement than any other factor in education. But what do we mean by quality teaching? What are the components that comprise quality teaching, and how do we know it when we see it? Understanding quality teaching has implications for professional development and curriculum design. It’s even part of a Response to Instruction and Intervention model; to be successful, all students need access to quality core instruction. As a profession, we’ve focused on evidence-based instruction, but have debated the evidence. How do you make decisions about quality teaching and how to use those valuable instructional minutes? Deadline: September 1, 2010.
The Faces of Intervention
November 2011. Middle school can magnify the academic difficulties that some students experience in elementary school, especially at a time when the content demands are rapidly escalating. It is critical that young adolescents taste success in middle school, as grades, behavior, attendance, and course completion in sixth grade are a powerful predictor of dropping out in high school. Some schools have responded by scheduling intervention courses to boost literacy skills, while others focus on mentoring and tutoring. How does your school intervene with students at risk of failure in middle school? What are the changing roles of general and special education literacy teachers? How is the middle school English class affected by schoolwide interventions? Deadline: November 2, 2010
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