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

Session 8 (online)

For this online session you will need to watch this video of a speech given by Gloria Ladson-Billings on culturally relevant pedagogy. While watching, please consider our class discussions; however, also push yourself to raise new questions based on what she has to say.

Then, please select one of the following articles to read:

Finally, you might be interested in checking out this article about Kendrick Lamar’s recent visit to a NJ classroom.

 

After reading/watching the videos/articles posted here please leave a comment on this post in which you reflect on how this reading/watching relates to the thoughts, ideas, and questions, that came up in our last class. Also feel free to pose new questions to the group.

 

Looking forward to our Twitter chat tomorrow night at 8PM! We will discuss the following questions. Please be ready to share your ideas.

How can teachers really know their students?How can knowledge of students drive instruction?

Session 7

In class today we discussed active reading strategies, and culturally relevant pedagogy. We watched a TED Talk by Chimamanda Andichie, called “The Danger of the Single Story.” Then we reviewed all of the poems posted on our Google Map, sharing how they tell our multiple stories of teaching in NYC.

We tried out a pre-reading strategy described in Kylene Beers’ book, called “Tea Party.” In this strategy, everyone is given a card with words/phrases from the text they are about to read. Students rotate partners, each time sharing their predictions about the text. Then, we engaged in a Round Robin reading of “My Name,” from The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros. Finally, we listened to Cisneros read the passage herself.

We also began an interesting conversation on Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.

Power Point: EDLIT755 Session 7

Handout: EDLIT755 MyName

Session 6 (online): Teaching Context

Hi everyone,

As we think about how different instructional strategies work in our own teaching contexts, it can be helpful to spend some time paying closer attention to the contexts in which we teach. When we say “that won’t work at my school,” what do we mean? What is the disconnect between the strategy and the context? For this online class, I would like you to explore your teaching context by taking the time to observe and notice the sensory details of that place. This activity will serve as a first step towards the development of your sense of what it means to teach in your particular teaching context.

Background:

One project I have done with students that gets us to think about this is the following Poetry Mapping Project.  Here’s a short piece I wrote about it a few years ago.

We began by reading the following chapter in Georgia Heard’s book Writing Toward Home. While this book isn’t exactly geared for students in the classroom, it is filled with prompts for writers and I have found it to be helpful when I’m trying to think of writing ideas for students.

Read:  “Where Does Writing Hide”

Then, I gave the students the following example of my own poem. If you open the following document you will see how I presented the poetry-writing experience to my students.  You might also want to use this as a guide for writing your own poem, as you will do today.

Read: Evolution of a Poem

The assignment I gave my students was to write a poem using sensory details (much like the one in my example, if they like) about a particular place.

When I worked in Queens, I used this Google map to publish my students’ poetry.

A few years later, when I taught on Long Island, technology had improved and we were able to include audio and visual elements to our Google map.

Teaching in Context: Writing about the neighborhoods where we teach

While the students in the examples above wrote about where they lived, you will write about where you work.  You will need to explore the neighborhood you work in. Take a walk on your lunch break, or take mental notes as you interact with the area surrounding your school building on your walk to or from school. Your poem will require that you pay attention to sensory details, so remind yourself to pay close attention to your surroundings. You might also ask yourself, what does “literacy” mean in this context? Are you introducing literacy to your students, or are there context-specific ways in which they already are literate?

Here you will find directions for how to write your own poem about the neighborhood in which you teach: Directions for EDLIT755 online assignment Session 6

Once you write your poem, go to the map, click on the upside-down teardrop thing, drag it to the location you want, and plant it down. Then, you will see a little box pop up that allows you to post directly on the map.  If you click on “rich text,” you will be able to add a picture to your poem or change the color of your font (cool!).

Please let me know if you have trouble! You can always send me an email with your poem and I will post it for you. Also, if you would like your poem to be anonymous, that’s fine – just send it to me so that I know and I’ll post it for you.

Click on the map:

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Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat

Once you have posted your poem, watch this conversation with Edwidge Danticat (particularly from around minute 22 and on), who wrote Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work. In it, she speaks of feeling that her own success was an “accident of literacy.”

Once you are done with this writing project, I would like you to leave a comment below in which you explain what the process felt like for you, what it made you think about, what you might have noticed in the poetry of your classmates, and how you might use or adapt this idea in your own classrooms. Also, please leave links to other poets/writers/educators whose work you would like to share with us.

Summary of what you need to do:

  1. Use the following document to write a poem about the neighborhood in which you teach: Directions for EDLIT755 online assignment Session 6
  2. Click on the Google Map I created for this class and use the marker to add your poem. You should post it on the location you write about.
  3. Watch the Edwidge Danticat video. What does she mean when she uses the terms “accident of literacy” and “birthright”?
  4. Read the following conversation between Aurora Anaya-Cerda (owner of La Casa Azul Bookstore) and Cati de los RíosClick here.

  5. Leave a comment at the end of this post in which you reflect on this work, and pose 1-2 questions to the group.

DUE: Tuesday, June 9, midnight.