When Third-Grade Writers Do Case Studies

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Author: Janet Kiddoo

Summary: Bilingual third grade students acted as helpers to first graders in a collaborative writing workshop. The third grade teacher guided her students through a process similar to teacher inquiry–to reflect on their own experiences as writers in order to help the younger writers, to take notes on their experiences as teacher/tutors, and to carefully think through the problems encountered and results obtained in order to improve their practice. This article models three useful practices in a writing context: 1) students as researchers; 2) older students as tutors to younger; and 3) reflective practice in writing and teaching.

The Ubuntu Academy: An Immigrant and Refugee Youth Writing Camp

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Author: Susanna Steeg

Summary: Ubuntu, a Bantu word that translates as “I am, because we are,” is the guiding philosophy behind the CT-Fairfield WP’s two-week literacy lab designed to invite immigrant and refugee youth into writing spaces that honor their heritage and promote academic success. This innovative approach to youth writing camps will be a valuable read for sites looking for ways to reach out to underserved populations who might not otherwise have access to youth writing camps & enrichment opportunities.

Writing in Home Dialects: Choosing a Written Discourse in a Teacher Education Class

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Author: Eileen Kennedy

Summary:In exploring how to encourage her Caribbean teacher education students to use their vernacular dialects (vernacular Englishes, Spanish, and Haitian creole) in narrative writing, Kennedy discovered reluctant writers who lacked confidence, in part because their use of home languages had always been suppressed. Over time she helped her students compose drafts in their home language(s) and use Standard English for final drafts. For teachers and sites wanting to explore political and sociological implications related to suppression of home language and devaluing of students’ cultures and identities, this piece provides a rich narrative of possibility, strategies and theoretical grounding.

English Language Learners, Classroom Drama

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Author: Dana Loy

Summary: Through a year-long drama and playwriting project with her bilingual class of 8th graders, Dana Loy and a visiting artist engaged her students in writing stories that could be dramatized, learning about playwriting and working together as actors with the end goal of developing a script that would be performed in a university theater. Along the way, these immigrant students drew on their experiences and strengths, improved reading and writing skills in both languages, discovered confidence and a sense of community, and increased their chances of remaining in school. An inspiring article filled with rich detail and examples that could be useful for teachers and sites interested in exploring intersections of writing and performance arts—in classrooms or other youth programming.

Creating Intentional Communities to Support English Language Learners in the Classroom

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Author: Judith Rance-Roney

Summary: How can teachers support English language learners, including recent immigrants, in language acquisition while also investing all students in creating a classroom culture that encourages shared experiences, knowledge construction and the integration of resources that ELLs bring? Judith Rance-Roney’s answer was to create the Culture Share Club as an intentional learning community within the classroom. Rich descriptions of many effective practices with solid theoretical and research grounding makes this article a must-read for study groups, professional learning communities, or professional development.

A Social Networking Space for Teachers of English Language Learners

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Author: Lynn Jacobs

Summary: This article provides the background story of the development of the Know ELL Ning. This article and the Ning, Know ELLs, could be used by PD groups, inquiry or study groups, or within a summer institute to explore content related to teaching English language learners, as well as to learn how such social networks are created and developed over time.

Bringing Hard Talk to Your Writing Project Site—with the Theatre of the Oppressed

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Author: Chris Tsang

Summary: When faced with difficult conversations and scenarios involving heated subjects such as race, class, gender, or language, role-playing can be used as a facilitation technique to create an entry point for dialogue and disruption. The author discusses how role-play inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed can be used to help educators navigate uncomfortable and troubling scenarios they have experienced or envision experiencing in schools.

Are You the Teacher Who Gives Parents Homework?

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Author: Carole Chin

Summary: In this chapter from the NWP publication Cityscapes, an elementary teacher describes how she uses the writing of students and their families to build community, honor family cultures and languages, and provide a forum to address fears, anxieties, and concerns. Threaded through the narrative are many suggestions for activities that teachers might adapt to their own settings and communities.

Building Culturally Responsive Units of Study: From Texas to Mexico and Back

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Author: Katie McKay

Summary: By crafting units of study that cast immigration as part of the American historical process, a teacher-consultant at the Heart of Texas Writing Project creates opportunities for her bilingual fourth-graders to explore immigration in a trusting and productive classroom environment. This article can support discussions about how to connect curriculum to students’ own knowledge, how to explore sensitive topics with younger children, or how to use writing to support students’ understanding of history or current events.

“I’m a Writer Now!” The Who, Where, and When of an ELL Newspaper

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Author: Joe Bellino

Summary: Joe Bellino, a teacher of English language learners, describes the process of publishing “Silver International,” a newspaper written by his ELL/International high school students as well as how the paper positively affected readers, writers, and the school. This resource offers inspiration for teachers planning authentic writing experiences that give voice to the bilingual/bicultural experiences of their students.