All posts by Lisa Fink

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About Lisa Fink

Lisa Storm Fink is the Project Manager for ReadWriteThink at NCTE. After teaching grades K-4 for almost 9 years, she brought her varied experiences (multi-age classrooms, looping, cooperating teacher for preservice teachers, plus a specialization in Remedial Reading) fulltime to the ReadWriteThink site. Lisa feels lucky to have worked on all parts of the ReadWriteThink site as a writer and reviewer, curriculum developer, and now as Project Manager. She enjoys sharing the site with others during professional development opportunities as well as with her preservice students at the University of Illinois.

The Ten Journals of NCTE

journalcoversAs a teacher, I often spend the summer getting caught up on things I set aside during the school year. When I am busy teaching, I might skim my professional journals but not read them deeply. But in summer, I enjoy spending time immersing myself in professional publications.

Did you know that NCTE publishes ten peer-reviewed journals? They offer the latest in research, classroom strategies, and fresh ideas for educators at all levels.

  1. College Composition and Communication
  2. College English
  3. English Education
  4. English Journal
  5. English Leadership Quarterly
  6. Language Arts
  7. Research in the Teaching of English
  8. Talking Points
  9. Teaching English in the Two-Year College
  10. Voices from the Middle

Journals are available in print and online, along with an extensive archive of past issues. To access back issues, click on the “Individual Issues” link in the left menu of each journal. Make sure to dig into the additional online content that many of these journals have to offer!

Interested in submitting to a journal? Check out these calls.

What are you reading professionally this summer?

Celebrate Mandela Day

In 2009, the United Nations declared July 18th “Mandela Day”, an international day of honor for former South African President Nelson Mandela. Also his birthday, Mandela Day invites everyone, particularly young people, to take action to promote peace and combat social injustice. According to the official Mandela Day website, Mandela Day “was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made [in 2008], for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said that ‘it is in your hands now’.”

Familiarize students with Mandela’s life and legacy by reading aloud Kadir Nelson’s Coretta Scott King Honor book, Nelson Mandela. Share the illustrations and stop frequently for questions and discussion of Mandela’s early life, determination to change social conditions in apartheid-era South Africa, and eventual presidency. Fill in any gaps with resources from the biographical websites found here.

Then explain the purpose and mission of Mandela Day before inspiring students to brainstorm their call to social action by sharing this page from the Mandela Day website. There, students will see examples of service projects around the key themes of awareness building, food security, literacy and education, service and volunteerism, and shelter and infrastructure.

Finally, invite students, as a class or in small groups, to determine a project they can undertake to plan and publicize their contribution to a more just world.

How do you plan to recognize this day?

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

sportsThis week in the United States, Major League Baseball holds their All-Star game. Harness students’ interest in sports and incorporate them into the classroom!

Developing Contemporary Literacies through Sports: A Guide for the English Classroom shares meaningful and productive ways to engage students in reading, writing, and other literacy practices. It’s a collection of lessons and commentaries–from established teachers, teacher educators, scholars, and authors–and its companion website provide numerous resources that support teachers in developing students’ contemporary literacies through sports.

Tune in to this podcast episode to hear about works of sports fiction and nonfiction that explore issues of identity and belonging, courage and equal rights, and changes over time in American history and culture.

We’ve all heard the expression “poetry in motion”. This activity gets children writing poems about grace and movement using photos of athletes.

In “Swish! Pow! Whack! Teaching Onomatopoeia Through Sports Poetry” students explore poetry about sports, looking closely at the use of onomatopoeia. After viewing a segment of a sporting event, students create their own onomatopoeic sports poems.

Through the retelling of the 1941 baseball season, children will see two legendary players as characters in “Batter Up! Telling Sports Stories With Trading Cards” and can create trading cards that highlight these players.

Invite students to look at different online baseball trivia questions to see how they are written. Then, as part of this activity, have children write their own questions and play a trivia game.

How do you incorporate sports into the literacy classroom?

It’s Almost Independence Day! Or is it?

calendar_556_declarationMany people celebrate the Fourth of July as the birthday of the United States, but the actual events on that day involved only a half dozen people. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved and signed by the officers of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Most of the other members signed during a ceremony on August 2.

Is the Fourth of July the day the U.S. declared its independence? Explore all the dates during the summer of 1776 that are associated with the Declaration of Independence:

  • July 2: Declaration of Independence Resolution adopted by the Continental Congress
  • July 4: Declaration of Independence signed by the officers of the Continental Congress
  • July 8: First public reading of the Declaration of Independence
  • August 2: Declaration of Independence signed by 50 of the 56 men who signed the document

Explore texts that include the stories surrounding the Declaration of Independence. Possibilities include reference books, encyclopedias, and specific texts, examples of which appear in the Independence Day Book List.

With your students, consider why there are so many different dates and why we celebrate the nation’s birthday on July 4.

June 2017 #NCTEchat: YA Lit – Complex Texts, Complex Lives

nctechat_grpahic_juneJoin Jennifer Buehler @ProfBuehler and members of #NCTEreads tonight, Sunday, June 25 at 8 pm ET, for a conversation around “YA Lit – Complex Texts, Complex Lives.”

Jennifer Buehler is the author of Teaching Reading with YA Literature: Complex Texts, Complex Lives. In this text, Jennifer Buehler shows how to implement a YA pedagogy—one that revolves around student motivation while upholding the goals of rigor and complexity.

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

Q1: Why do you teach YA lit?

Q2: How do you engage students in the study of YA as complex literature?

Q3: What are some texts that lend themselves to unpacking and analysis of complexity?

Q4: What classroom tasks do you use to cultivate agency and autonomy in teen readers?

Q5: What forms of assessment blend both personal and analytical responses to YA lit?

Q6: How do you advocate for YA lit in your school and the wider world?

We hope to see you tonight at #NCTEchat!