community

Honoring the Word: Classroom Instructors Find That Students Respond Best to Oral Tradition

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Author: Michael Thompson

Summary: In this award winning essay, Native American teacher and NWP site director Michael Thompson, reflects on his own practice and shares findings from research interviews he conducted with instructors in tribal college and university classrooms to learn how they approach literature and writing. In particular, he wondered if assigned texts represented “the value that Native people have historically given to traditional stories, teachings, speeches, tribal journeys, and accomplishments.” Instructors reported that Native communities typically value the spoken word over the art of writing and described language practices such as collecting personal narratives of elders in documentary films and digitized recordings. Classroom teachers, study groups and professional development leaders interested in exploring resources and practices that support efforts to “reclaim and honor oral traditions” of native peoples may find this article of interest.
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Why We Are Sticking To Our Stories

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Author: Tina Deschenie

Summary: In recounting the power of the oral tradition of storytelling, Tina Deschenie describes the mesmerizing experience of listening to her father tell elaborated stories in the Diné language about Coyote as well as numerous other practices of native traditions grounded in “the power and beauty of oral tradition and face-to-face storytelling.” This piece could be used within professional development or study groups advocating for culturally relevant practices, bi-literacy, family and community traditions, and exploring innovative ways to bring native stories into classrooms that might range from capturing oral histories to digital animation.
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Working at the Intersections of Formal and Informal Science and Literacy Education

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Author: Tanya Baker and Becky Carroll

Summary: This resource describes the multi-faceted work of the NWP (and partners) Intersections Project which supported local partnerships to design programming and innovative projects that connected science and literacy learning. The authors present two cases and their benefits to participants: one focuses on enhancing museum/science field trips and the other describes a STEAM partnership project (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Mathematics) between a writing project and a local science/engineering “discovery” center. Video, art, and student reactions are embedded. This resource could provide schools and teachers with ideas about partnerships with area museums or science centers, as well as literacy integration for science or STEM learning.
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Writing from the Feather Circle

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Author: G. Lynn Nelson

Summary: In this resource, a writing teacher from Arizona applies the Native American feather circle to the teaching of writing and describes her work teaching sections of first-year composition exclusively for Native American students. The feather circle focuses on speaking from the heart; in the classroom this approach involves writing honestly and openly first and worrying about form later. The author shares the writing experiences of her students using a culturally responsive stance, and describes how an emerging group, “Native Images,” has shared their writings and art in community-based settings and at conferences across the country. This resource would be useful in teacher discussions of culturally relevant pedagogies for writing.
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Family Matters: A Mother and Daughter’s Literacy Journey

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Author: Amy Clark

Summary: What happens when we explore our “people”—when through writing we explore the richness of our culture, our family, our identity? How often do we find examples of a mother and daughter who have the opportunity to experience a summer institute together? This beautifully written narrative set in Appalachia could be a read aloud in a workshop or summer institute to generate ideas for writing, or as a way to discuss family/generational literacy, dialect, place, and an authentic rendition of the many facets of the writing experience.
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Inviting Parents in: Expanding Our Community Base to Support Writing

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Author: Cathy Fleischer and Kimberly Coupe Pavlock

Summary: Looking for ideas for ways to reach out to parents to help them understand why we teach writing in the ways we do along with sharing successful strategies for how they might help their children or teens with writing? What about how to build awareness of connections between high school and college writing? This article, filled with research-based strategies and examples for those seeking to facilitate such experiences, also makes a case for how successful workshops with parents can help them become “informed, knowledgeable readers of educational reform and potential advocates for change” that may supplant what they are aware of from media or legislative mandates.
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How Our Assumptions Affect Our Expectations

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Author: Jan Hillskemper

Summary: Increased parental involvement in student success is a goal of most every school and teacher. However, there can be vastly different ideas on what parental involvement looks like at school. This article, which would be a useful resource for teachers addressing the issue of parent involvement, examines how teachers can drift into a set of misguided assumptions when they mistakenly believe parents have the same values and expectations that they have, and that the teacher’s beliefs on parental participation are the “right” ways for parents to be involved in their kid’s education.
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“A More Complicated Human Being”: Inventing Teacher-Writers

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Author: Christine Dawson

Summary: How might teachers pursue and support personally and professionally worthwhile writing practices in the midst of the many demands associated with teaching? How might writing groups sustain their work together – in person or online? This final chapter from The Teacher-Writer: Creating Writing Groups for Personal and Professional Growth, a book that documents the first year of a successful teacher writing group, includes strategies developed and a generative framework grounded in lessons learned by the group as they met face-to-face and worked online. Their story and what they learned together will be of particular interest to teachers who wonder how to build on their commitments to personal writing and sustain a collegial community that forms in the process of writing and sharing.
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Youth Writing Contests: How Sites Inspire Writers and Increase Visibility of NWP Work

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Summary: Are you looking to grow the youth programming and visibility at your site? If so, this collection highlighting seven NWP sites’ creative, and often revenue generating, programs and opportunitites for youth could provide the spark and ispiration you need. Several unique partnerships with the Scholastic Arts & Writing contest are shared, as well as out of school work with refugee students and a Saturday showcase and publication day for teens.

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Youth Writing Camp – Manuscript Day

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Author: Janet Neyer

Summary: Thinking of developing a youth program? Looking for creative ideas to recruit more young writers to your summer camp offerings? If so, then this blog post describing an exciting one-day free youth event the Chippewa River Writing Project (CRWP) hosted could be the spark you need. This collaboration between the CRWP and the NCTE student affiliate at Central Michigan University is 1) a model for creatively engaging young writers K-8, 2) a model for how to partner with like minded campus partners, 3) a model for how to provide outreach and opportunities with short, yet meaningful programming, and 4) an example of how an outreach effort can also serve as a great marketing tool/opportunity.
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