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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 17, No. 3, March 2010

Cover Art for Voices from the Middle, Vol. 17, No. 3, March 2010

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Merging Literacy and Technology

  • Call for Manuscripts

  • Editors Message

  • Fresh Perspectives on New Literacies and Technology Integration

    Linda D. Labbo and Karen Place

    Abstract: This article provides practical ideas for integrating technologies into the classroom in ways that honor students’ out-of-school technology funds of knowledge. The challenges and unintended consequences of integrating technology into the classroom and the role that video gaming can play in helping students find agency and the ability to think critically about print-based narratives are also included.

  • Creating Video Games in a Middle School Language Arts Classroom: A Narrative Account

    Adam Oldaker

    Abstract: This article describes the author’s experience co-facilitating a project for which seventh-grade students designed and created original video games based on Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. The author provides an overview of recent literature on video game implementation in the classroom and explains how the project was designed and facilitated, how student engagement changed over time, and how learning outcomes (both expected and unexpected) were assessed. He also reveals how students were encouraged to reflect on the learning process through writing a narrative essay and completing a survey, and concludes with a call for more quantitative research on the topic of using game play for learning purposes.

  • Cin(E)-Poetry: Engaging the Digital Generation in 21st Century Response

    Denise H. Stuart

    Abstract: There is a need to integrate into classroom learning the out-of-school technologies that students interact with every day. We know that reader response approaches to the study of literature engage learners, and we also know that both students and teachers have mixed attitudes about the study of poetry. In this article, a response activity with poetry integrates technology and engages the 21st-century digital learner. Middle level preservice teachers collaborated to develop Cin(E)-Poetry, and in the process, they not only negotiated meanings of poems but had a change of attitude about teaching and learning poetry. Both process and product are presented for developing this engaging genre of new literacies.

  • The Interactive Potential of Multiple Media: A New Look at Inquiry Projects

    Jason Ranker

    Abstract: This article presents the inquiry and literacy processes of two fifth-grade students as they created a digital video about African American history for a school project. During this process, the students gained experience in researching (both on the Web and in books) and writing, with the overall goal of creating a digital documentary video about African American history. The interaction of the various media in the project (books, writing notebooks, the Web, digital video) created a synergy that fostered and perpetuated the students’ literacy and inquiry processes.

  • Next Steps in the Journey: Technology in Our Schools: A Call for a Cost/Benefit Analysis

    Jeffrey D. Wilhelm

    Abstract: Wilhelm is a vocal advocate for the substantive integration of technology into language arts classes in ways that support the “critical” use of technologies and the learning of new concepts and procedures for reading and composing. He makes the case that no one can be considered fully literate without a familiarity with and appreciation for our culture’s most powerful tools of communication. Here are some solid and persuasive arguments.

  • Books for Young Adolescents: They Go Together—Teenagers, Technology, and Reading

    Shawn Bird and Vickey M. Giles

    Abstract: Students read. What, why, and how may change with technology, but reading is here to stay. And so are the ups and downs that are part of teenage life. Books reviewed this month cover some common teenage issues, including death, divorce, illness, and changing relationships. Add to the spring mix a couple of books about baseball, and there’s something here for everyone!

  • Stories along the Way: If Life Were a Movie, How Would You Write It?

    Penny Kittle

    Abstract: An English language learner with a love of snowboarding and a battle with the written word . . . in English . . . finds inspiration, motivation, and success when he pairs his writing project with making a movie.

  • New Puzzles/Next Moves: Technology Is Power: Suggestions for Beginning Teachers

    Nancy Shanklin

    Abstract: Shanklin knows it can be hard for new teachers to incorporate all they know about technology with the realities of a classroom. She suggests setting incremental, monthly technology goals; investing in equipment; assessing students’ grasp of the technology at their disposal and their use of it in classroom projects; searching purposefully for Internet resources to avoid the “black hole” of Web possibilities; working with parents and libraries to make sure students have what they need to continue their work out of school. Finally, she advised new teachers to continue to build on their existing technology knowledge because “Your students are counting on you!”

  • Student to Student: That Blurry Line between Science and Fiction

    Kim Ford

    Abstract: We can see science changing our daily lives constantly. So what better theme for this month’s Student to Student than that wonderful and imaginative combination of science and fiction? Here are books to stretch the imagination and leave us wondering where that line is between what is and what might be.

  • Technology Toolkit: Author Visits: The Sky(pe)’s the Limit

    Sandy Hayes

    Abstract: The time has come when authors our students love or authors who write in genres our students love can come into our classrooms and discuss their books, describe their writing process, and answer students’ questions. Through these visits made possible by Skype, even the most reluctant of readers can be inspired to read and, just maybe, inspired to write.

  • Professional Reading for Middle Level Educators: Technology and Literacy

    Penny Silvers

    Abstract: Reviewed are Engaging the Eye Generation by Johanna Riddle; Teaching Teens and Reaping Results (in a Wi-Fi, Hip-Hop, Where-Has-All-the-Sanity-Gone World) by Alan Sitomer; Text Me a Strategy: How to Encourage Students to Develop Skills They Need to Become Independent Learners by Kathy Paterson; Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change, and Assessment in the 21st Century Classroom by Anne Herrington, Kevin Hodgson, and Charles Moran.

  • Bumps in the Road: Teachers Become Zombies: The Ugly Side of Scripted Reading Curriculum

    Maura Demko, guest author, with Wanda Hedrick

    Abstract: A brief history of NCLB and the resultant scripted reading programs shows how hollow these fixes are when you eliminate teacher responsibility, professional judgment, and flexibility. The authors caution, “In some cases, we do think that these programs can be successful, but only if the teacher has the power as an educator to adjust the curriculum in response to the needs of their students.”

  • Postcard from the Middle Level Section

    Heidi Huckabee

    Abstract: Huckabee, the Web editor for the Middle Level Section Steering Committee, recognizes the challenges of keeping up with technology and incorporating it into your classroom. She suggests using all available resources, including your students, new teachers, veteran teachers who have already taken the plunge, the information available on the Web, and last, but not least, professional conferences, like NCTE’s next Annual Convention in Orlando (November 2010). She also urges all teachers to interact through NCTE’s blog (; click on “Middle”), where you can ask questions, answer them, and find support through an active professional community.

* 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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