middle/high school

My New Teaching Partner? Using the Grammar Checker in Writing Instruction

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Author: Dorothy Fuller and Reva Potter

Summary: What happens when middle school students are invited to explore grammar check tools in an intentional way as part of a teacher inquiry project that connects to instruction? The authors describe their process and the benefits: students became more informed users of the tools and more confident writers, and they made explicit and intentional connections to grammar concepts. This article could be included as a resource in a professional development program or study group focused on finding authentic ways to incorporate grammar into writing workshop approaches.
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Putting the “Shop” in Reading Workshop: Building Reading Stamina

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Author: Amanda N. Gulla

Summary: How might teachers motivate students who identify as “non-readers” to find purpose in reading? In this article, Amanda Gulla, a teacher consultant with the New York City Writing project offers a portrait of the ways in which co-teachers orchestrated an independent, reading-workshop model classroom for their urban CTE (career and technical education) students who developed fluency and agency as readers. Future teachers and those interested in exploring solutions to the challenges of reading instruction will enjoy this easy-to-read ethnographic study.
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Teaching Writing in the Digital Age

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Author: Joel Malley

Summary: In this brief video showing footage of students engaged in myriad facets of digital writing, teacher Joel Malley unpacks ways writing forms the foundation of all learning that is enhanced through digital means—deep learning through submersion in content; collaboration, response and publishing through social media, video production and digital storytelling; and significant growth as writers. Workshop leaders might use this as an introductory invitation to generate discussion or perhaps as a model for composing similar videos to document how digital writing looks and why it matters.
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Theory, Politics, Hope, and Action: Building Immersive Writing Experiences for Bilingual Writers

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Author: Carole Edelsky

Summary: How do you make schoolwork resemble out-of-school work? How do you [create] an immersion experience, setting up a context where kids want to acquire a Discourse that includes and values highly literate practices?” These are two of the questions Edelsky explores in her article which launches with two incredible pieces of writing produced by bilingual students. The student writing and Edelsky’s explanation for how it came to be will motivate educators ready to consider their roles as writing teachers and classroom culture builders who can advocate for just language policies both in and outside the classroom.
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Grammar—Comma—a New Beginning

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Author: Mary Ehrenworth

Summary: Teaching grammar through inquiry and seduction? In this piece, Mary Ehrenworth shares strategies for moving away from direct instruction (which seldom works) to making it possible for students to “have an apprenticeship relation with great authors, even at the sentence structure level.” By honoring diverse dialects and helping students make intentional choices through inquiry (How DO authors choose verb tense?), teaching grammar becomes an integral part of the composing process. Examples of student work illuminate the effectiveness of this approach and make this article useful for workshop leaders and teachers seeking fresh approaches for teaching grammar within the context of student writing.
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Preserving the Cultural Identity of the English Language Learner

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Author: Wilma Ortiz and Karen Sumaryono

Summary: With an advocacy goal of helping immigrant students retain their cultural identities and succeed within the mainstream classroom while also learning a new language, the authors share several effective writing practices that validate students’ primary language in meaningful ways and promote a strong sense of self. These include: helping all students use key words from a variety of languages; inviting students to use their primary language in response to journal entries, writing prompts and free writes; using multilingual mentor texts; employing “writing to learn” in native languages to explore content; and using cooperative grouping to support speaking in English. The details and examples in this article make it an excellent resource for study groups, professional development or individual teachers seeking ways to support language learners.
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Learning From Laramie: Urban High School Students Read, Research, and Reenact The Laramie Project

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Author: Marsha Pincus

Summary: In this story of an extended teacher research project, the author shares the design, purpose, and impact of a course called “Drama and Inquiry,” where she and her students explored multiple perspectives, shifting identities, and ethical dialogue through their study of non-canonical plays including “The Laramie Project.” Consider including this article in an advanced institute to support conversations about teacher inquiry and social justice.
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Honoring Dialect and Culture: Pathways to Student Success on High-Stakes Writing Assessments

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Author: Michelle Crotteau

Summary: As teachers we often struggle to find ways to honor our students’ home dialects while still preparing them to take high-stakes writing tests requiring the use of Standard English. In this piece, the author describes her three-pronged approach within a Writing Strategies class for students who had failed the state test. Students developed linguistic and mechanical fluency by speaking and writing about their interests (e.g., hunting), drawing upon their Appalachian English dialect, and by learning how to recognize audience-appropriate situations for employing both Standard English and their own dialect. Lots of student writing samples, coupled with the author’s own rationales and experience, make this a useful piece for workshops, study groups, or professional development focused on culturally relevant practices within a high-stakes testing environment.
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Tech Tools for Teachers, by Teachers: Video Game Design in the Classroom

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Author: Greg Kehring

Summary: What can the writing process teach students and teachers about video game design, and how can game design expand our understanding of writing genres? Read about this middle school teacher who used Gamestar Mechanic to engage his students in digital writing and connected learning. From “creation” to “peer revision” and finally publication on a gaming website where others played the games and offered feedback, he and his students discovered the power technology can have in understanding composing and creative processes and providing new avenues for writing. For teachers who are reluctant to engage in digital work (or who are ready to take some new steps), this article can provide encouragement, guidance, and testimony about how students learn and respond to such experiences.
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Improving Students’ Academic Writing: Building a Bridge to Success

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Author: Juliet Wahleithner, Jayne Marlink

Summary: This report would be of interest to those embarking on college-preparatory reading/writing initiatives; it describes the statistically significant impact of a statewide professional development program designed to improve students’ understanding and ability to write academically in high school, and specifically in grades 11 and 12. The authors clearly lay out the study’s purpose, methods, and guiding frameworks, including one for forming sustained professional learning communities.
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