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)

One thought on “Session 10 (online)

  1. Wallack’s article about the Focused FreeWrite discussed the ways in which a focused free-write can enhance students’ engagement with material and the different forms a focused free-write could take in the classroom. I was so convinced by Wallack that I forwarded the article to the rest of the history department at my school. I’m big on pre-reading because I think it’s imperative for students – particularly our students with disabilities – to consider their prior knowledge and preconceptions before reading new material. Strong readers do this automatically, whereas many struggling readers do not. The focused free-write is a particularly useful pre-reading tool because it asks students to produce an informal piece of public writing, which is not only great practice for larger writing assignments, but also an effective way to think through new ideas. In my global history class we often assign a do now that could be classified as a focused free-write. However, I have not assigned a focused free-write specifically as an introduction to a particular text. I would like to try it next year to see how it affects reading comprehension. One question I would like to pose is, do we think it’s fair to require students to share their free-writes? Free-writes have often felt safe to me because of their fairly relaxed nature. My students are so self-conscious about their writing that I would like to give them opportunities to write without feeling the pressure to produce something shareable.

    The focused free-write could pose trouble for students with dysgraphia. Dr. Steve Graham’s video addresses the difficulty many students have with spelling and the mechanics of writing. I have students who refuse to guess about the spelling of a word and will ask for help with any word about whose spelling they have doubts. I also have students that write incredibly slowly and forget their thoughts by the time they get around to putting them on paper. I’d like to use technology as a remedy, but the truth is that most of my students can’t type much faster than they can write. Many students lack the computer literacy skills necessary to be able to use technology as a tool rather than a hindrance.

    I found Hilary Janks’ chapter “Orientations to Literacy” both intriguing and challenging to wrap my head around. She discusses cultural relevancy in different terms by focusing on the orientations of dominance, access, diversity, and design. As a history teacher, I am particularly concerned about these issues with the way we use texts because while our curriculum is unquestionably biased, the issue of bias in curriculum is a complicated and time-consuming conversation that feels difficult and potentially even out of place in the classroom. I have on occasion attempted to point out bias in our global history texts, but it usually either goes over students’ heads or is dismissed as unimportant and irrelevant to their purpose in taking the class – that is, passing regents and obtaining credits. When I ask students to consider why some histories are emphasized more than others, I usually get responses along the lines of “we study the important civilizations” or “the other groups didn’t have real cultural achievements.” I think that de-constructing the phenomena Janks addresses would take very intentional experiential learning with multiple modalities. I would love to see more about how teachers have dealt with these issues in their classrooms. My second question I’d like to pose is this: To what degree can concepts such as dominance and access be discussed in the high school classroom? Is it always appropriate? How can we get students invested in such a conversation?


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