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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 24, No. 1, September 2016

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Raising Our Teacher Voices

  • Calls for Manuscripts [FREE ACCESS]

  • OFFICE HOURS: We Are Listening [FREE ACCESS]

    Shelbie Witte, Sara Kajder

  • About the Authors [FREE ACCESS]

  • Leading the Call: The Consequences of Inaction [FREE ACCESS]

    Kylene Beers

    Abstract: Educator Kylene Beers extends a conversation from the 2015 NCTE Annual Convention with advice for early-career teachers working to balance the mandated curriculum and the desire to serve the students. The key is learning to be an advocate.

    Keywords: Advocacy, Early Career Teachers, Kylene Beers

  • NCTE and Teacher Advocacy: A Conversation between Leaders

    Emily Kirkpatrick, Susan Houser, and Nick Thompson

    Abstract: Voices from the Middle editors facilitate a conversation between NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick and President-Elect and 2016 Annual Convention Chair Susan Houser about what to expect at the upcoming 2016 NCTE Annual Convention and what advocacy means to them.

    Keywords: #NCTE16, Advocacy, Annual Convention, Emily Kirkpatrick, Middle Level, Susan Houser

  • YA VOICES: Branch to Branch [FREE ACCESS]

    Lynda Mullaly Hunt

    Abstract: For the YA Voices feature, young adult authors, in their own voices and words, share what’s on their minds and in their hearts related to young adults and the power of YA novels. This month, New York Times bestselling author Lynda Mullaly Hunt explores the many specific ways that we, as teachers, can impact the lives and futures of children and the importance of seeing the child before the student. She also discusses the specific teachers who changed her life as a kid and how one of them became the inspiration for her second novel, Fish in a Tree.

    Keywords: Lynda Mullaly Hunt, YA Literature, Young Adult Literature

  • Everyday Advocacy: The New Professionalism for Teachers

    Cathy Fleischer

    Abstract: How might teachers help revise the dismissive public narrative about education? Educators who have participated in advocacy workshops share specific strategies for making their voices heard and creating change in their own school communities. As they learn how to create change in smart, savvy, and safe ways, these teachers now view advocacy as part of a new professional stance.

    Keywords: Action Principles, Advocacy, Cathy Fleischer, Marshall Ganz

  • COLLABORATIVE VOICES: Whose Shiny Is It?: Collaborating with Kid Advocates

    Jennifer Ochoa

    Abstract: In Collaborative Voices, teachers and other literacy professionals will share ways that they are engaging in collaboration with the many stakeholders of a middle school and community, including one another. With a growing emphasis on engaging students in advocacy work and service-learning, it can be a challenge to provide the kind of guidance students need to remain engaged in such work. Inspired by Kathy Short’s Presidential Address and the 2015 NCTE Annual Convention, Ochoa embarks on a plan to really include students in planning advocacy on their own terms, without imposing her own ideas on the project and making it her “shiny” rather than theirs.

    Keywords: Collaborative Learning, Service Learning

  • NEW VOICES: Renewing Our Call To Teach

    Christopher Lehman

    Abstract: The New Voices column explores the struggles, successes, and dreams of early-career middle level educators, from preservice through sixth year. This inaugural column introduces some of those voices and point to the core reason to be part of the teaching profession: the students.

    Keywords: Early Career Teachers, Preservice Teachers

  • “An Offense to Their Human Rights”: Connecting Bud, Not Buddy to the Flint Water Crisis with Middle School ELA Students

    Matthew Knieling

    Abstract: This article explains how a middle school ELA teacher used Christopher Paul Curtis's Bud, Not Buddy to engage students in a research project on Flint, Michigan's water crisis. The article offers insights into the capabilities of middle school students by highlighting their work and their voices. The students in this classroom displayed an ability to demonstrate critical perspectives and genuine empathy, pose challenging questions, make thoughtful connections between their research and the novel, and employ complicated rhetorical strategies to convey their idea, all of which challenge the oftentimes low expectations of young students, especially students-of-color and low-income students.

    Keywords: Advocacy, community engagement, Response to Literature, Service Learning

  • STUDENT VOICES: Let’s Not Leave Story Behind

    Linda Rief

    Abstract: Linda Rief crafts this column, writing alongside her middle school students, to show the beauty and possibilities that lie within the words our students use to make sense of their world. This month, Rief points out the connection between writing and memory and how teachers can help students understand their lives through storytelling.

    Keywords: Storytelling, Writing Workshop

  • Get Up, Stand Up: How and Why English Teachers Must Identify as Advocates

    Christian Z. Goering and P. L. Thomas

    Abstract: We argue in this space that the public narrative surrounding the current state of education in the United Stated doesn’t have to be negative. We believe fervently that if more teachers took up the mantle of advocacy for the profession of education, misguided narratives would be less likely to dominate policy and practice decisions being made that negatively impact the well-being of our students, not to mention that of our profession.

    Keywords: Advocacy, Education Policy

  • “The Biggest Surprise Was the Feeling of Empowerment”: Teachers Sharing Stories for Advocacy and Transformation

    Sarah Hochstetler, Mark Letcher, Lindsay Jeffers, Amber Warrington, and Eileen Buescher

    Abstract: Under current political conditions, classroom teachers may feel undervalued and isolated, as they attempt to incorporate best practices. This article invites middle level educators to share stories from the classroom in a public forum, like a blog, where those committed to advocacy and effective ELA instruction can empathize, strategize, and celebrate the excellent work of students and teachers. Speaking back to policy through online outlets driven by narrative and supported by research can effectively inform stakeholders and may serve as an avenue to affect change.

    Keywords: Advocacy, Blogging, classroom practices, Standardized Testing, Teacher as Writer

  • We Are Our Stories: A Conversation with Jeff Anderson

    R. Joseph Rodríguez

    Abstract: Jeff Anderson, author and professional learning guru, reveals in this conversation his own writing process and life commitment to literature, teachers, readers, and writers across the country. The conversation was conducted at a time of change and struggle in public education and for literacy advancements among middle-grade students.

    Keywords: middle level reading, Professional Development, Jeff Anderson, Writing Instruction

  • NOTES FROM THE MIDDLE LEVEL SECTION: Middle Ground

    Matthew Skillen

    Abstract: Each issue will include a special message from members of the Middle Level Section. This issue includes Section Chair Matthew Skillen’s preview of what the 2016 NCTE Annual Convention has in store for those interested in Middle Level matters.

    Keywords: #NCTE16, Annual Convention, Middle Level, Professional Development

* 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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A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts