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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 18, No. 1, September 2010

Cover Art for Voices from the Middle, Vol. 18, No. 1, September 2010

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: International Literacy

  • Editors Message

    Roxanne Henkin, Janis Harmon, Elizabeth Pate, and Honor Moorman

  • Opportunity Matters: The Ithuba Writing Project in South African Schools

    Misty Sailors, Leketi Makalela, James V. Hoffman

    Abstract: Our lead article explores the impact the authors witnessed when they helped South African teachers create culturally relevant books written in their students’ languages. Through participation in the Ithuba Writing Project, these teachers were able to relate transformative stories about their lives through books that they subsequently shared in the classroom. South African teachers were able to explore what it means to be a writer, refining their definitions of “writer” and their own instruction. The authors document the changes in these teachers as writers and teachers of writing.

  • Taking Down Walls: An International Wiki Creates a Community of Thinkers

    Denise Maltese and Kate Naughter

    Abstract: This article explores collaboration between a rural school in upstate New York and an international school in Amman, Jordan.  The authors describe how they provided their students with real audiences for their writing, and, over time, built an international community of writers.  Classroom walls were blurred as the authors “team-taught” one another’s students, planned writing lessons, and provided support to each other for this project.  By tracing students’ writing throughout the school year, the authors show how students’ interest in each other developed and therefore led to international understanding. Key points include: providing real audiences for student writing; collaborating using a Wikispace; sharing points of view internationally; and developing a community of writers.

  • Becoming Jordan’s Writers: Developing Powerful Writing Instruction in the Middle East

    Christopher Lehman and Emily DeLiddo

    Abstract: The United States involvement in the Middle East has been prominent in our recent national history, sometimes clouded by myths and misrepresentations of the people of that region of the world. This article details the experiences of teacher-researchers working with teachers and students in Amman, Jordan, to develop powerful English writing workshops. Through their interactions, the authors' discovered how writing can bring people together, essentially diminishing the space between cultures. They describe what the vibrant students of Amman have taught them about the teaching of writing to second language learners.

  • Next Steps in the Journey: Diversity Brings Vitality: Lessons from International Literacy

    Jeffrey D. Wilhelm

    Abstract: Wilhelm laments the “melting pot” metaphor that seems to represent the value American schools place on conformity. Preferring the Canadian metaphor of a “mosaic,” which embraces diversity as supporting vitality, Wilhelm asks us to infuse our teaching with a sense of curiosity and respect for cultures other than our own in order to appreciate what those differences mean for our understanding and our actions in the world.

  • Books for Young Adolescents: Expand—Don’t Shrink! Read!

    Shawn Bird and Vickey M. Giles

    Abstract: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Students may be navigating new technologies, threats, and delights, but their lives hold many of the same challenges as they always have. Addressing topics from relationships to sports, from racism to religious persecution, these books address timeless themes.

  • Stories along the Way: of pizza and poetry and writing that matters

    Penny Kittle

    Abstract: “This is the writing that lasts; this is the writing we work for.” So ends Kittle’s memory of an evening “writing party” at her elementary school one cold winter evening. Families gathered to write about recollections, hopes, opinions . . . becoming closer to their own thoughts and each other in the process.

  • New Puzzles/Next Moves: International Literacy Projects: Even for Beginning Teachers!

    Nancy Shanklin

    Abstract: Shanklin describes how an international literacy project can fulfill educational goals prevalent in state and national standards—research and reasoning, critical thinking, the reading of ethnic and global literature, oral language and presentation skills. She identifies common fears about such projects and talks us through them toward resolution.

  • Student to Student: Shrinking the World, Expanding the Mind

    Kim Ford

    Abstract: Even as our students’ awareness of the larger world expands, access to information and people from other cultures shrinks that world, too, making it possible to identify with those whose lives differ greatly from our own. As these students know, however, a good book is a good book, and even the students who contributed to this column from overseas have a great feel for which books will appeal to readers across the globe.

  • Technology Toolkit: Crossing Digital Bridges

    Sandy Hayes

    Abstract: Technology has changed how our students interact—with each other, with entertainment options, with the world at large—but it hasn’t changed their nature: they are still curious, playful, and eager for contact outside of their own schools. Here are websites and resources to “hook your students up” with a world waiting to share and wanting to know more.

  • Professional Reading for Middle Level Educators: International Literacy

    Penny Silvers

    Abstract: The books reviewed for this issue present a vision for 21st-century education at both international and local levels. Reviewed are Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World by Heidi Hayes Jacobs; Reading on the Edge: Enabling, Empowering, and Engaging Middle School Readers by Leigh Van Horn; Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels; Teaching for Joy and Justice: Re-imagining the Language Arts Classroom by Linda Christensen.

  • Bumps in the Road: Dyslexia and Writing: Why Are So Many Instructional Plans One-Dimensional?

    Lori Ann Prior, guest author, with Wanda Hedrick

    Abstract: Prior, a mother of two children with some level of dyslexia, questions why so many instructional plans neglect writing intervention strategies. Reading and writing are closely interconnected, and a child who struggles with reading may well require help with writing, but too often the “help” consists of accommodation, not instruction. Research seems as unbalanced as practice in this regard. The author offers several suggestions for addressing this problem, with a focus on individualized writing instruction.

  • Postcard from the Middle Level Section

    Kerry R. Stephenson

    Abstract: Literacy is a human right. This simple premise is the foundation for several NCTE motions. Stephenson identifies them and reminds us that literacy is directly connected to issues concerning quality of life. We need to be prepared to teach all students; can help.

* 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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