All posts by Jenna Fournel

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Teaching for Responsibility and Independence

Terry Thompson @TerryTreads leads an #NCTEchat on Teaching for Responsibility and IndependenceJoin Terry Thompson @TerryTreads this Sunday for a conversation around “Teaching for Responsibility and Independence.”

Terry is an author, teacher, and consultant living in San Antonio, Texas. He provides staff development for teachers of readers and writers in grades K–8. Currently a reading interventionist, Terry has served as a classroom teacher, basic skills teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, and literacy coach. His most recent book is The Construction Zone: Building Scaffolds for Readers and Writers.

Here’s what we’ll discuss during the chat:

Q1: What challenges do you face when it comes to shifting students toward independence in literacy?

Q2: What evidence do you look for that show students are reaching independence? What assessment practices seem most valuable?

Q3: Despite our best intentions, how might we get in the way of students working at optimal levels of responsibility and how can we monitor for this?

Q4: What are some ways we can invite our students to share the responsibility for learning and to move toward independence?

Q5: How can our feedback help students take responsibility for their own learning?

Q6: After reflecting on tonight’s discussion, how will you be more mindful of teaching for student responsibility and independence tomorrow morning?

24 most popular books for the African American Read-In

Each February since 1990, communities across the country have gathered to celebrate the African American Read-In. Gathering in schools, libraries, community centers, churches, and homes, people come together to read and discuss the writing of African American authors. After each event, hosts are encouraged to fill out a “report card” that details how many people attended the event and what books were read.

According to reports from the last several years, these twenty-four titles were the most frequently read. We’ll post an updated list of the most popular books from #aari17 after the report cards are all submitted in March.

4 Quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Full view of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DCIn honor and celebration of a writer and orator whose words changed the world, we offer four short quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The links go to the full texts from which these quotes were drawn as well as some resources that you may find useful for the classroom.

“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.”

From “The Purpose of Education” in the February 1947 edition of the Morehouse College student newspaper, the Maroon Tiger.

This quote and others are also explored in this Answer Sheet blog post from Valerie Strauss.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

From “A Proper Sense of Priorities” delivered February 6, 1968, Washington, D.C.

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

From: Strength to Love (1963)

Explore many more original texts by Martin Luther King, Jr. in this digital archive.

“I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.”

From “Where Do We Go From Here?,” delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention
Atlanta, Ga.  August 16, 1967.

You can listen Dr. King deliver the last 16 minutes of this speech here.

 

 

2017 Convention Proposal FAQ

Are you considering submitting a proposal for the 2017 NCTE Annual Convention? You should!

We’ve been getting some questions about the process and thought it would be a good idea to address the most frequently asked ones below.

Read Jason Griffith’s 6 tips for crafting a proposal here. (He wrote it last year, but they’re still quite relevant!)

Is the proposal system live?

Yes! The proposal system went live on November 19 and can be accessed here. Full details on the word counts and fields you will have to fill in can be found here.

Why is the deadline January 5  January 12?

Your proposal goes through many review steps before a final determination is made about selection. In order to ensure that each proposal gets the time and attention it deserves, we selected a deadline that offers the maximum amount of time for review before our program selection meeting in February. Additionally, the timeline this year reflects a new plan to ensure announcements about the 2017 program go out in April and include schedule information so presenters can secure funding and make arrangements to attend earlier in the year. To accommodate these improvements to the overall process, we opened the proposal system four weeks earlier this year in an effort to provide you with as much time as possible for completion. NOTE: The deadline has just been extended by one week in response to feedback from our members. We have worked to adjust the review process so we can still address the needs outlined above within this new time frame. 

Can I get help with my proposal?

Yes! NCTE has online coaches whom you may contact to help you hone your proposal before you submit it. To give coaches time to work with proposers, please request assistance as soon as possible. Please indicate your reviewer level when emailing annual2017@ncte.org to request a coach.

What topics are being considered this year?

The selection committee is looking for work on a broad range of topics, including:

  • Advocacy
  • Argumentation
  • Assessment
  • Community/Public Literacy Efforts
  • Content Area Literacies/Writing across the Curriculum
  • Composition/Writing
  • Digital and Media Literacies
  • Early Literacies
  • Equity and Social Justice
  • Informational Text
  • Literature
  • Multilingualism
  • Narrative
  • Oral Language
  • Reading
  • Rhetoric
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development

What’s the criteria for selecting sessions?

You can read all about the criteria here. But here are some guiding ideas to help you:

  • Be clear and thoughtful. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for reviewers to imagine what this session might be like.
  • Think engagement. In her call, Jocelyn Chadwick explains that “all program proposals must be interactive, engaging the audience and providing clear takeaways.” Sessions that involve participants in activities, discussion, Q&A, or other kinds of interaction are often the most popular at the Convention, and program planning decisions around proposals are driven by that knowledge.
  • Make it relevant. There is so much going on in education right now that it’s likely any of your ideas will fit in, but bear in mind that attendees come from all over the country, from classrooms of every shape and size. Think about how what you’re thinking and doing in your local context could resonate with folks from lots of different contexts.

The NCTE offices will be closed December 23–January 2. We’ll make sure to answer any additional questions as soon as we get back. 

 

Teachers, Schools, and Civil Discourse

The following post is by NCTE member  Jonna Perrillo and originally ran in the El Paso Times.

jonnaperrilloLike many American parents, I was grateful to send my children to school on November 9. They attend schools where they feel happy and at home, and I hoped that their teachers would recognize and respond to children who felt confused by the end of a confounding election season. I was not disappointed.

In the face of this challenging day, some American teachers chose to do nothing, teaching as usual. But others, including my children’s, did a great deal, from reviewing the US governmental system of checks and balances to discussing tolerance to organizing events for families to attend together. In many places, educators had to address a sense of crisis and despair.

We should applaud the work of teachers and schools like this, those who can see that acknowledging and discussing politics does not equate to either advocacy or excoriation.

American schools have always been good at teaching some kinds of citizenship skills. We require students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we teach them about how government works, we ask them to vote for class president as an exercise in campaigns and elections.

Since the introduction of multiculturalism in the 1920s, schools have also been teaching tolerance. This is a vaster project, but at the very least, most humanities teachers know to teach a more diverse set of readings and ideas than they once did.

Citizenship and tolerance are related to but different from civility. Civil discourse requires a person to express ideas in ways that are respectful and informed, expressive and reasonable at once. It includes but exceeds being polite. It is about responding rather than reacting, understanding more than arguing, listening as much as talking, and believing in the process even when one is unpersuaded by another’s ideas.

It is, in other words, a skill, not just a product of character, and one that improves immeasurably when we teach it rather than just expect that it will happen between good people.

Teachers understandably feel pressured to avoid politics in polarizing times, when it feels as though any revelation of how we think is equal to petitioning for one side or the other. Yet polarization is not new, and it has helped to create many teachers who lack the confidence and will to facilitate discussions about any of the kinds of issues that were central to this election.

Teacher educators like myself too often fail to prepare teachers for holding civic discussions, especially about moments that feel unpredictable. We are good at teaching teachers to simulate important acts of citizenship, like voting between one candidate or another. But we fail to teach them how or why to lead discussions about the day after. Or how to talk about ideas around which students may fundamentally disagree. Or how to use the classroom and curriculum to respond to the political fears students absorb. Instead, we treat all of this as extracurricular work. We need to do better.

Now, as much as at any time in our history, teachers across the nation, Democrat, Republican, and Independent, will need to serve as beacons and instructors of civic consciousness and behavior. As citizens who seek greater civility than we have seen, we need to support teachers in the cause, letting them know we value it and the larger goal at hand. And we need to thank those who are doing this difficult work well, however they do it. Our children’s classrooms may just become the best models of how to participate in respectful, productive, and civil discussion.


Jonna Perrillo is associate professor of English education at the University of Texas at El Paso and author of Uncivil Rights: Teachers, Unions, and the Battle for School Equity.