Session 15

Hi everyone,

During this session we were treated to informative presentations on the following books:

I really enjoyed getting to know all of you this month! Please keep in touch via email or on Twitter, where I hope to continue the #hunterlit conversation with future students.

Please don’t forget that your email correspondence is due Sunday, 6/28, and your unit plans are due Tuesday, 6/30. NOTE: When you email your unit plan to me, you must tell me what you would like feedback on. If you don’t include that information, I won’t be able to give you detailed feedback.

Have a great summer!

Session 14

At this point, you should already be thinking about the unit plans you will submit as your final project for this course (by Tuesday, 6/30). For this online session, I thought it might be productive to provide you with some space and encouragement to think about “big picture” questions that will guide your work.

So far, the lesson plans I have received from each of you has been different. Clearly, you all work in schools that have very different expectations for how you provide evidence of planning. Some of you have shared highly structured plans, whereas others have shared more narrative descriptions. While I am open to any format, I recommend that you develop a focus for your unit plan that is based on what you would like your students to understand. I would like to see you include all of the information that is in the unit plan description, but most importantly, have a clear understanding of what you would like to accomplish with the unit.

In addition to the group presentation on Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design, I suggest you watch the following video (below) and review this template. You might find these materials helpful in planning your own unit.

After you watch the video and review the template, I would like you to engage in an email correspondence with a partner (see this Google Doc to find out who your partner is) in which you share your thoughts on the following questions:

  • What do you want your students to understand at the end of this unit?
  • What evidence will you need in order to know whether or not your students understand?
  • What strategies might help your students develop their understanding?
  • What questions do you have about student learning?
  • What advice or ideas can you offer to your partner?

* You have until midnight on Sunday, 6/28, to forward this email correspondence to me. I will expect to see that each partner has sent at least two emails. The goal of this activity is to get you thinking and planning “out loud,” sharing ideas, and encouraging experimentation and bold thinking. Please be specific, detailed, and helpful to your partner!

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Session 13

In this session we will have group presentations for the following titles:

In each presentation, students will run the class for 20 minutes. They will present the book, share a strategy from it, and provide a handout for us. I’m looking forward to what they will teach us!

NOTE: These presentations might give you some ideas for strategies you might like to incorporate into your unit plan (due Tuesday, 6/30).

Also, I thought you might be interested in the following links to articles, podcasts, and videos, shared on Twitter by your classmates and myself, which relate to our ongoing discussions:

One Teacher’s Quest To Build Language Skills … And Self-Confidence (NPR)

African Men. Hollywood Stereotypes. (video)

“For a Teacher, Back-to-Back Marathons, Then Fourth-Graders” http://nyti.ms/1GxhM2v

Session 12 (online)

For Thursday, June 18.

For this session, we are focusing on the role of language in literacy education. As many of you have shared, either you have had the experience of learning English as a new language, or you have worked with students who are learning English. The following texts will prepare you for our Twitter chat (Thrs. from 8-9PM) so please bring your questions to that session.

Please read/watch the following texts. You are given options so that you can have some control over your inquiry of this topic. When you have read/watched your selections, please leave a comment below in which you might…

  • offer your reflection
  • share moments that stood out to you and explain why
  • make a connection to your own learning and/or teaching
  • pose a question to the group
  • address a question/comment presented by a classmate

You must read:

Watch one of the following two speeches by prominent scholars:

Watch one of the following three author documentaries/speeches:

Session 11 (online)

For Wednesday, June 17.

For this session you are presented with the same three paths offered to you in Session 10. For this session, please select a different path to focus on. This time leave a public comment below. In your comment, please be sure to reference at least three of the texts in the path you selected and pose 1-2 questions to the group.

All materials can be found on a Google Drive folder: click here.

NOTE: To watch the videos, you will need to click on the “present” button on the upper right hand side of the slide.

Path 1: Critical literacy, writing & representation

  • Allen Luke on critical literacy (video)
  • Kittle, P. (2008). “Grammar, Punctuation, and What Keeps Me up at Night,” in Write Beside Them: Risk, voice, and clarity in high school writing. New York: Heinemann.
  • Graham, S. “Writing-to-Read”
  • “Geeking out with Junot Diaz,” (video)

Path 2: Student experience & hip-hop pedagogy

  • Kim, J. (2011).”Is it bigger than hip-hop?: Examining the problems and potential of hip-hop in the curriculum.” In V. Kinloch (Ed.), Urban literacies: Critical perspectives on language, learning, and community. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Michie, G. (1999). “You gotta be hard,” in Holler if you hear me: The education of a teacher and his students. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Valerie Kinloch, “Harlem Gentrification Project” (video)
  • Bomer, R. (1995). “Creating literate environments in secondary school literacy classrooms,” in Time for meaning: Crafting literate lives in middle and high school. New York: Heinemann.

Path 3: Critical literacy & the writing process

  • Wallack, N.B. (2009). “Focused freewriting: How to do things with writing prompts.” Writing-based teaching: Essential practices and enduring questions. Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Janks, H. (2010). “Orientations to literacy,” in Literacy and power. New York: Rutledge Press.
  • Dr. Steve Graham (video)
  • Nikky Finney on blackboards (video)

Session 10 (online)

For Tuesday, June 16.

Please select one of the following reading paths to follow. Each path has different reading and viewing materials, and slightly different themes. After you have watched/read the materials provided in the path you have selected, please send me an email with a 2-3 paragraph reflection. All materials can be found on a Google Drive folder I created: click here.

NOTE: To watch the videos, you will need to click on the “present” button on the upper right hand side of the slide.

Path 1: Critical literacy, writing & representation

  • Allen Luke on critical literacy (video)
  • Kittle, P. (2008). “Grammar, Punctuation, and What Keeps Me up at Night,” in Write Beside Them: Risk, voice, and clarity in high school writing. New York: Heinemann.
  • Graham, S. “Writing-to-Read”
  • “Geeking out with Junot Diaz,” (video)

Path 2: Student experience & hip-hop pedagogy

  • Kim, J. (2011).”Is it bigger than hip-hop?: Examining the problems and potential of hip-hop in the curriculum.” In V. Kinloch (Ed.), Urban literacies: Critical perspectives on language, learning, and community. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Michie, G. (1999). “You gotta be hard,” in Holler if you hear me: The education of a teacher and his students. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Valerie Kinloch, “Harlem Gentrification Project” (video)
  • Bomer, R. (1995). “Creating literate environments in secondary school literacy classrooms,” in Time for meaning: Crafting literate lives in middle and high school. New York: Heinemann.

Path 3: Critical literacy & the writing process

  • Wallack, N.B. (2009). “Focused freewriting: How to do things with writing prompts.” Writing-based teaching: Essential practices and enduring questions. Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Janks, H. (2010). “Orientations to literacy,” in Literacy and power. New York: Rutledge Press.
  • Dr. Steve Graham (video)
  • Nikky Finney on blackboards (video)

Session 9

In this session we focused on “Writing Next,” and engaged in a “silent discussion” on the text.

This discussion quickly led to questions about character and grit, and thoughts about whether or not we sometimes make learning too easy for students. For example, do students need to memorize math facts? Or, should they just learn how to use calculators? I noted that similar questions could be raised about writing. Do students need to be able to write by hand? We noticed that in the writing-by-hand activity that started our class that night, a few students decided not to use paper and pen. Instead, they opted to type on their laptops. Is that “okay”? Who decides? These questions about skills and what students need to do are always controversial, influenced by power, identity, and a long history of exclusion in education. They are also at the heart of what it means to study literacy.

Moving from our questions about what students need to do, what learning looks like, and what behaviors we associate with literacy and academic posture, students began to raise other important questions. How do we know when we are the ones doing more work than the students? Will students develop the expectation that teachers will always make exceptions and accommodations for them? Several students pointed out that for students with disabilities, the assistance is necessary; their students have plenty of “grit,”they work their hardest all of the time, and so modifications are not optional, but necessary.

I brought in an example of my own teaching to show that some of the same ideas we have been discussing – making learning cultural relevant, bringing students’ lives into the classroom, differentiation, multimodality – don’t need to be seen as approaches to literacy that make things easier for students. I tried to explain by sharing a project I worked on with a 10th grade honors class, where we used photography and social media to develop an approach to literacy influenced by critical literary theory. These theories are often not incorporated in the secondary classroom; Deborah Appleman has pointed out that many teachers view them as too sophisticated for teenagers to understand. In her book, Critical Encounters in High School English, she shows how these ideas can be utilized. In my own work, I found that utilizing multimodal texts (such as photographs) made the concepts more accessible to the students and helped them push their thinking and literary analysis to new levels. After they wrote their papers, I asked them to take the ideas in the papers and present them in a form other than the traditional essay form. The results surprised me, as the students used multiple genres and modes to share their ideas — reinforcing their comprehension not only of the texts they read, but also the ideas that they wanted to share.

Power Point: EDLIT755 Session 9