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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 25, No. 2, December 2017

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Teachers Who Write (as Teachers of Writers)

  • Call for Manuscripts [FREE ACCESS]

  • OFFICE HOURS: Breathing In, Writing Out [FREE ACCESS]

    Shelbie Witte and Sara Kajder

  • The National Writing Project [FREE ACCESS]

    Abstract: This article lists activities of the National Writing Project across the United States.

  • LEADING THE CALL: There Is Always Time to Write Together [FREE ACCESS]

    Jeff Anderson

    Abstract: Do you share your struggles as a writer or just your successes? Reflect on how honestly sharing your doubts and struggles will normalize them for writers in their own processes. Share how you overcome doubt throughout the process well into becoming a professional writer. Doubt is real, but pushing through it transforms the writing and the writer.

    Keywords: Writing Instruction, classroom strategies, teacher-as-writer

  • YA VOICES: The Man Who Taught Me to Fail [FREE ACCESS]

    Laurel Snyder

    Abstract: The author tells the story of her encounter with a teacher who showed her the nitty gritty of the writing life and brought out her own talents.

    Keywords: Writing Instruction, Failure

  • How to Think, Talk, and Write Your Way into Better Teaching

    Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O’Dell

    Abstract: Modeled after a Lorrie Moore essay, this piece offers a step-by-step guide to collaborating with other teachers, being agile with your lesson plans, and, yes, writing.

    Keywords: Writing Instruction, Collaboration, teacher-as-writer

  • Guide on the Side: Collaboratively Writing and Revising with Students

    Kristine Pytash, Elizabeth Testa, Keely Geise, and Christie Kovalchick

    Abstract: We contend that by writing alongside our students we have the opportunity to serve as mentors for all stages of the writing process, especially during revision. We begin this article with an overview of the revision process and then provide a close look at the experiences of two novice teachers who embarked on this endeavor with their students and exemplify how writing with students can serve as an instructional approach for teaching revision.

    Keywords: Revision, Writing Instruction, teacher-as-writer, teachers of writers

  • Writing Changed How We Teach Writing: A Co-Interview Between Two Debut Teacher-Authors

    Jason Griffith and Jennie K. Brown

    Abstract: A former middle school teacher turned graduate student who published his first book of teaching methods and a high school English teacher who just published the first installment of a middle grades fiction trilogy discuss what they learned about their students and the teaching of writing through the process of writing and publishing their books. 

    Keywords: Revision, Writing Instruction, Writing Process, drafting, teacher-authors

  • STUDENT VOICES: Teachers Who Write (As Teachers of Writers)

    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 issue, Rief’s students tell us what they gain when their teacher shares her writing life in the classroom.

    Keywords: Writing Instruction, Writing Process

  • Turning Off Autopilot: Mindful Writing for Teachers

    Nicole Damico and Anne Elrod Whitney

    Abstract: In our work with teachers at every stage of their careers, we have found that writing can be a tool for mindful engagement. Here, we present two examples of strategies for mindful writing. Teachers with whom we have engaged activities like these tell us that one thing mindful, brief writing experiences can do for them is to slow down time. The teaching day, week, and school year are packed with more interactions than one can process. Each moment is so rapidly superseded by another equally urgent moment that it can be hard to experience any one moment at all. What writing can do is, just for a brief period, allow us to be all in one place.

    Keywords: Writing, Professional Development, teacher-as-writer, mindfulness

  • NEW VOICES: Where Early-Career Educators Learn to Teach Writing

    Christopher Lehman

    Abstract: The New Voices column explores the struggles, successes, and dreams of early-career middle level educators, from preservice through sixth year. In this issue, we meet three early career educators who are finding strength and possibility in the teaching of writing through mentorship, reflection, and writing alongside their students.

    Keywords: Writing Instruction

  • EVERYDAY ADVOCATES: Creating a Safe Environment for Change

    Cathy Fleischer

    Abstract: This column helps show readers ways to raise their voices in advocacy, expanding on methods discussed at—A Toolkit for Teachers. In this issue, safe ways of being an advocate are discussed.

  • We Must Write Together

    Peter Anderson and Katie Kraushaar

    Abstract: Although the language arts community accepts the importance of writing alongside students, the practice has yet to become the norm. This article asserts that becoming a teacher of writing who writes with students requires teachers to undergo a philosophical and pedagogical transformation. They must believe that writing with students is not just another thing to do; it is the thing that creates writers.

    Keywords: Writing Instruction, teacher-as-writer

  • Some Things a Poet Does: Sharing the Process [FREE ACCESS]

    Shelly K. Durham

    Abstract: An 8th-grade teacher demonstrates an Atwell essential lesson, "Some Things a Poet Does When Trying to Write a Good Poem." After a brief introduction/history, the author explains her opportunity for reading/writing workshop, describes the context for the poem she struggled to write, walks readers through the lesson (e.g. close reading, interview process), shares results—student comments, and concludes with what she learned. In sharing her struggle to write about something real, then writing with her students to create a class document, writing became an authentic endeavor, where students were more willing to revise and write multiple drafts.

    Keywords: Writing Instruction, Classroom Practice, Nancie Atwell

  • RESEARCH VOICES: The Value of Peer Review in English Language Arts Classrooms

    Lisa Scherff

    Abstract: This column aims to make current research more accessible to classroom teachers and to help find ways to apply it in the classroom. This issue looks at ways peer review can work in middle level classrooms.

    Keywords: Research, Writing Instruction, Peer Review

  • NOTES FROM THE NERDY BOOKCLUB: The Risk and Reward of Sharing Our Writing

    Cindy Minnich, Donalyn Miller, Katherine Sokolowski, and Colby Sharp

    Abstract: This issue, the Nerdy team discusses sharing their work, both online and face-to-face.

    Keywords: Writing Instruction, Peer Review, Nerdy Book Club, teachers-as-writers

  • Playing Around with Literature: Tabletop Role-Playing Games in Middle Grades ELA [FREE ACCESS]

    Mike P. Cook, Matthew Gremo, and Ryan Morgan

    Abstract: The ever-increasing interest in gaming, both in and out of school, suggests the need for further examinations of the affordances and educational possibilities that lie within gaming, especially within English language arts and literacy classrooms. This article describes the experiences of two middle school ELA classes implementing a tabletop role-playing game in their literature study. Moreover, we share the related benefits to student learning and suggestions, support, and resources for teachers interested in utilizing gaming to foster literary and literacy learning in their own classrooms. 

    Keywords: Literacy, Writing Instruction, Gaming

  • “What Kind of Reader Are You?” Self-Regulating Middle School Reading Practices

    Dawan Lynn Coombs and Caroline Howard

    Abstract: In order for students to become empowered readers who read strategically and regulate their practices, they must learn to assess their own progress. This article draws on classroom practice and research to explore how Carrie, a seventh-grade language arts teacher, helped her students evaluate their reading habits and then use these evaluations to self-monitor and self-regulate their reading practices. Specifically, it describes how integrating strategies such as reader quizzes, goal-setting, and reflective questions about students' experiences into her curriculum helped Carrie empower students to take ownership for their reading while also providing scaffolded instruction to support student growth.

    Keywords: reflective reading practices

  • NOTES FROM THE MIDDLE LEVEL SECTION: Drawing the Middle School Student’s Voice from the Chasms: Using Teacher Insight Inspired by the Classroom to Share with Others in Print [FREE ACCESS]

    Frances Lin

    Abstract: What makes middle school students special can be harnessed to elicit unique writing voices from the classroom. Ways in which the teacher may accomplish writing success in the classroom are explored in this article as well as avenues that teachers may take to become authors in the classroom or in the world of publication. Lin shares her experiences with the reader to underscore the importance of getting involved as a teacher of writing. Further ways of contributing to the educational realm is also explained as the reader learns about author opportunities and the work of an NCTE committee.

    Keywords: Middle School, Writing Instruction, Middle Level Section Steering Committee

* 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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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

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