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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 25, No. 4, May 2018

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: What's Next? Digital Tools and Social Media

  • Calls for Manuscripts [FREE ACCESS]

  • OFFICE HOURS Next Practices with Digital Tools and Social Media [FREE ACCESS]

    Sara Kajder and Shelbie Witte

  • LEADING THE CALL The Next Decade of Digital Writing [FREE ACCESS]

    Troy Hicks

    Abstract: The author, a leader in bringing digital tools into the writing workshop and writing classroom, discusses how the use of digital tools in the classroom has evolved in the first decade of this century, especially in the writing workshop. He examines ways several ELA teachers are using specific tools to assist with literacy learning in the classroom right now and makes some recommendations regarding the future of digital writing instruction.

    Keywords: Troy Hicks, 21st Century Literacies, Writing Workshop, Classroom Practice, digital composition

  • YA VOICES BOB and The Seven-Year Itch [FREE ACCESS]

    Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

    Abstract: Two bestselling middle grades authors discuss their process in collaborating for the first time on their novel, Bob, which will be released this month.

    Keywords: YA Literature, Collaborative writing, Rebecca Stead, Wendy Mass

  • Come with Me: Ed Tech and the Journey into Better Realities [FREE ACCESS]

    Cornelius Minor, Lakisha Howell, and Arlène Casimir-Siar

    Abstract: Framed by a hard look at current inequalities through a personal lens, the authors suggest that the questions that guide the future of education, equitable access, digital literacy, and educational technology are no longer about what tech to use or even how to use that tech specifically. Rather, the focus should be on determining how we can use these tools to approach and work through the difficulties associated with the "dystopia of now." One solution may be to use design thinking with instructional technology to update classroom practices to be more appropriate for twenty-first-century students.

    Keywords: 21st Century Literacies, equity in literacy instruction, design thinking, digital equity

  • Google Drive: Facilitating Collaboration and Authentic Community beyond the Classroom

    Jennifer S. Dail and Anete Vásquez

    Abstract: This manuscript explores the use of Google Drive to engage teachers in collaboration as they discuss Tyrell and Saint Iggy through critical literacy literature circles. It offers a model for organizing collaborative learning outside of classroom time. It describes affordances and constraints of the digital space and the process used. It also offers insight to how teaching in online spaces looks different from face-to-face instruction and how to support students.

    Keywords: Critical Literacy, Literature Circles, Collaboration, class organization, digital platform, Google Drive, online

  • STUDENT VOICES Trusting Our Students to Teach Us

    Linda Rief and Sam Fremin

    Abstract: This column brings the voices of middle school students to the fore. In this issue, Rief and one of her former students discuss the ways students and teachers can help each other learn to use classroom digital tools. The important factor is mutual trust between teacher and student so that teacher-learner roles can be fluid. 

    Keywords: Digital Literacy, Student-led Learning, digital classroom tools, Linda Rief, Sam Fremin

  • The Visual Learning Analysis: Using Digital Photography to Analyze Middle Level Students’ Social-Emotional Learning and Engagement

    James S. Chisholm and Kathryn Whitmore

    Abstract: Digital photography has transformed how we document our lives, perceive the world, and learn about the lives of others in distant places. So why shouldn't digital photographs also transform our English language arts classrooms? We describe how middle grades teachers and students used digital photographs to reflect on their own learning and to access nonlinguistic ways of making meaning. We share our approach to taking, selecting, and analyzing digital photographs, which we call the Visual Learning Analysis (VLA), and invite teachers to adapt it for their own assessment processes in their local contexts.

    Keywords: Classroom Ideas, Visual Literacy, classroom strategies, mutlimodal literacies

  • Beyond the Page: New Literacies in the Twenty-First Century

    Raven Bishop and Erin Counihan

    Abstract: "Literacy" continues to change, and ELA teachers continue to adapt to engage students who learn differently and whose texts come in a variety of new literacy formats. To make learning relevant, teachers need to emphasize not only the media through which students take in information but also the media through which students put out information. This article suggests that today's students need new literacy skills to comprehend—and to produce coherent arguments with—words, images, numbers and emerging technologies.

    Keywords: 21st Century Literacies, Classroom Practice, Digital Literacy, Visual Literacy

  • NEW VOICES Early-Career Teachers Understand: Technology Integration Is Not Optional

    Christopher Lehman

    Abstract: This column focuses on teachers in the first 3 to 5 years of their teaching careers. In this issue, two early-career middle grades teachers discuss the ways they have been working to provide greater access to digital tools for their students.

    Keywords: 21st Century Literacies, Early Career Teachers, Digital Literacy, digital inclusion

  • Fighting Fake News: Interdisciplinary Online Literacies for Social Justice

    Summer Pennell and Bryan Fede

    Abstract: In this article the authors share critical literacy strategies for middle school students reading online articles on social justice topics. The examples draw from a qualitative study of an interdisciplinary middle school class. Results found that students need support with information literacy and critical literacy to understand underlying belief systems and power structures working within a text. Furthermore, the authors posit it is necessary to combine critical literacy with mathematics so that students learn to question these power structures with numbers as well as texts. These strategies can help students determine if news sources are reliable or merely "fake news."

    Keywords: 21st Century Literacies, Media Literacy, Critical Literacy, Social Justice, information literacy

  • Infoadvocacy: Writers Engage in Social Justice through Infographics

    Lindsay Yearta, Katie Stover Kelly, Brian Kissel, Megan Schonhar

    Abstract: In this article, the authors describe how one teacher encouraged her students to better understand and advocate for social justice issues by creating infographics. Students reflected upon and responded to the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by selecting a focus topic related to a social justice issue and then researching and creating an infographic to share with audiences within and beyond the classroom. 

    Keywords: Literacy, Technology, Advocacy, Digital Tools, Social Justice, infographics, student advocates

  • NOTES FROM THE NERDY BOOK CLUB Digital Tools You Need to Know

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

    Abstract: Members of the Nerdy Book Club list their favorite digital tools for classroom use.

    Keywords: Digital Literacies, Digital Tools, Nerdy Book Club

  • RESEARCH VOICES “Technology” in Schools: Effective Remedy or Snake Oil?

    Lisa Scherff

    Abstract: In this final research column, Lisa Scherff discusses "The Impact of Digital Technology on Learning: A Summary for the Education Endowment Foundation," published in England. Study authors Higgins, Xiao, and Katsipataki summarized 48 meta-analyses and quantitative studies published from 1990–2012 regarding the impact of technology on learning. Scherff shares recommendations and findings that can help today's teachers choose the correct digital tools for their students.

    Keywords: Technology, Classroom Practice

  • EVERYDAY ADVOCATES Making this Work Sustainable

    Cathy Fleischer

    Abstract: This column helps show readers ways to raise their voices in advocacy, expanding on methods discussed at everydayadvocacy.org—A Toolkit for Teachers. In this fourth and final column, Fleischer discusses how to make advocacy part of teachers' day-to-day lives.

    Keywords: Advocacy, Cathy Fleischer, Everyday Advocates

  • NOTES FROM THE MIDDLE LEVEL SECTION Reimagining Teaching and Learning

    Shanetia P. Clark and Diallo D. Sessoms

    Abstract: This column gives an update of the new digital presence and inspirations of the Middle Level Section Steering Committee and Voices from the Middle.

    Keywords: Digital Tools, Voices Amplified

  • NOTES FROM THE MIDDLE LEVEL SECTION “Knowledge, Passion, and Compassion”: Urban Middle School English Language Arts Teachers—What’s Your Story?

    James Blasingame

    Abstract: In this column, the author shares some results of a small survey of middle school English teachers in urban areas.

    Keywords: Urban Teaching

  • Thanks to Reviewers, Vol. 25 Index

* 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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