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Teaching the Language of School and Academics
May 2013.
Increasing numbers of students are coming to school from homes where English is not the dominant language. While the curriculum of the elementary school focuses on supporting the addition of English as a functional language, many students enter middle school without the fluency needed to read texts or to participate in vocalized discourse about the many content topics they are encountering. This lack of proficiency is not because of ineffective instruction or intellectual deficits of the students, but simply because acquiring the facilities needed for fluent academic functioning in a language can take years. Students must learn to read, talk about, write, and learn content information that is conveyed through inextricably entwined academic and content language. Therefore, the goal of this issue is to offer resources on and share examples of instruction that illustrate how to support middle school students in comprehending and using language that will promote their content area knowledge bases. Articles should demonstrate how to teach content information by explicitly showing how to help students understand the complexity of the abstract, dense, technical language that conveys the content. Deadline: May 1, 2012

Expanding the Canon: Virtue or Vice?
September 2013.
English content has traditionally been defined by its canon—the texts deemed noteworthy by the discipline. But the canonical approach to teaching English has been questioned in recent decades as concerns about the reading and language arts development of every student have become reality. The Common Core State Standards introduce a new layer to this dilemma, with text complexity and exemplars highlighted. As a profession, it seems that we need to ask: Should there be a canon? Is a new canon warranted? What is the new canon? How does it jibe with reading development? What role should content literacy, and nonfiction, postmodern, and digital texts play? In what ways can students be best supported to foster comprehension of challenging texts? We invite manuscripts for this issue that critically examine the canon, its role in curriculum, and the challenges and triumphs of supporting educators and their students in making text meaningful. Deadline: September 1, 2012

Feed-Forward: Linking Instruction with Assessment
December 2013.
Feedback is an important part of the learning process, and students deserve to know how they are doing. But feedback alone is not sufficient to radically improve understanding. In addition to feedback, effective teachers plan instruction based on student performance. For this issue, we focus on the ways in which assessments of student work inform instruction. What tools have you found helpful in determining which students understood the content and which students did not? How can you re-teach content for students who still need it while not sacrificing those who understood? How are lessons planned to ensure that checking for understanding occurs throughout the lesson? How can teachers be responsive to the current performance of their students?
Deadline: December 1, 2012

Narration, Persuasion, Argumentation: Teaching Writing with Purpose
March 2014.
The Common Core State Standards renew our focus on writing for many purposes. Narrative writing, the traditional focus of middle school English classrooms, is sharing the stage with persuasive forms, as well as with writing for argumentation. In this issue, we explore the ways in which a rich writing diet can support student learning within the English classroom and across the school day. How do you teach your students to engage in rhetorical writing? In what ways do you integrate narrative forms with complex texts? How do you collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines to ensure that your students hone their writing skills? How do students support the writing lives of their peers? What innovative approaches are you using to expose students to early college and career writing experiences? Deadline: March 1, 2013

Remixing the Roles of Teacher and Learner
May 2014.
Many teachers realized at the turn of the century that in order for effective instruction to continue in their classrooms, they must be open to the many ways that new literacies could enhance their teaching and their students’ learning. Inviting new literacies into the 21st century classroom remixes the lines between teacher and learner and teaching and learning. Transmission models of teaching become less relevant in a digitized world where people constantly interact with great quantities of unfiltered information, and expert knowledge is quickly checked and challenged as more and more information comes from websites that are communally managed (such as wikis). In the flurry of growing data sources, the validity of information must be closely scrutinized. For this issue, we’d like to focus on all of the changes that have occurred in your teaching and learning community because of new literacies. What great examples of new literacies instruction can you share? What roles, strategies, and instruction have been remixed in your classroom or school? What should new literacies educators be considering? Has anything of value been lost in the remix? Deadline: May 1, 2013

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