bilingual/bicultural

Breaking the Boundaries of Texts: Video Game and Literacy Curriculum Development for English Language Learners

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Author: Nora A. Peterman, Lan Ngo, Robert J. LeBlanc, Susan Goldstein

Summary: This article describes a study of a literacy video game designed to help English learners negotiate new vocabulary and unfamiliar language structures as they read. The game, collaboratively created on Gamestar Mechanic by a team including a public high school teacher, actively engaged that teacher’s EL students who developed a sense of ownership over their learning. The authors discuss gaming as a literacy practice and suggest how it might be adapted to other contexts. This article may be useful in professional-development discussions of EL students and multimodality and could be a suggested reading as teachers develop inquiry into these issues.
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We Are All Teachers of English Learners (NWP Radio)

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Summary: Many NWP sites have retooled their recruitment efforts, inservice offerings and institutes in light of the significant demographic changes that have placed English learners in almost every classroom. On this NWP Radio show, teacher consultants from four sites offer a look at their work with multilingual students as a foundation for the development of site inservice and continuity offerings. This resource may be of use to teacher leaders looking for specific ideas and plans to support teachers of English learners in their schools and service areas.
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A Fourth Grade Service Learning Project Engages English Learners

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Author: Robert Rivera-Amezola

Summary: In this video, a teacher of fourth-grade English learners describes how he integrated service learning and digital literacy in a civic engagement project. They used “My Voice,” a service-learning framework, as a guide to choose a project about water conservation and pollution. The teacher made information accessible to his students via videos and images as well as language by using the website Discovery Education. The students wrote blogposts, and completed webquests, podcasts, and digital presentations.  The resources that supported this work along with the student outcomes are made available on the video as models for teacher study groups.
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Language, Identity, and Learning in Talking Appalachian (NWP Radio)

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Author: Amy Clark

Summary: This NWP Radio conversation with Amy Clark, co-editor of Talking Appalachian: Voice, Identity & Community, begins with a personal story of how transcribing an oral history interview with her great grandmother revealed the syntax and poetry in her speech. Subsequent segments include discussions of: 1) teachers’ and writers’ essays in Part II of the book that incorporate implications and ideas for instruction (4:38 -19:42); and 2) Amy’s teaching career trajectory that led to her bringing research about dialect to her writing project community; a discussion of contrastive analysis as a tool for helping students use their writing to understand reasons nonstandard grammar patterns exist so they can learn to make choices to switch between home/informal and school/formal languages; results and advice for researchers/study groups interested in this work (20:08 – 39:04).This resource could be useful in planning and/or leading professional development, study groups, or teacher inquiry focused on dialect and empowering student voice.
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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 literacy practices 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, that might range from capturing oral histories to digital animation, into classrooms.
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Culturally Mediated Writing Instruction for Adolescent English Language Learners

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Author: Leslie Patterson, Carol Wickstrom, Juan Araujo

Summary: Sites looking for examples of how to design a study and/or plan professional development focused on the impact of culturally mediated writing instruction (CMWI) for adolescent English learners may find this report by the North Star of Texas Writing Project a helpful resource. Findings suggest that positive effects are more likely to occur when inquiry-based professional development includes follow-up support as teachers learn ways to effectively mediate and differentiate instruction to meet particular needs of diverse learners.
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Opening the Classroom Door: Inviting Parents and Preparing to Work Together in Classrooms

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Author: Lynne Yermanock Strieb

Summary: In this chapter from her book, Inviting Families into the Classroom: Learning from a Life in Teaching, Streib draws on an extensive archive of documents (e.g., letters from parents, class newsletters, and detailed accounts of student-family interactions) accrued over a 30-year teaching career as a first- and second-grade public school teacher in Philadelphia. Capturing the complexity and nuance of working with the families, she candidly shows what can go wrong and how to overcome misunderstandings. These honest and thoughtful depictions of crossing cultural barriers could provide food for thought within a school/community study group or for professional development focused on building partnerships between school and families.
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Supporting English Language Learners: What Happens When Teaching in Students’ Native Language is Made Illegal?

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Author: Art Peterson

Summary: This inspiring story of Floris Wilma Ortiz-Marrero, a teacher-consultant with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project and 2011 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, describes how she became a vocal advocate for her ELL students in a time when the state made it illegal to teach students in their native language. In addition Ortiz-Marrero’s story, there are several important resources referenced and linked within the article. This article and the related resources would be a great starting point for teacher discussion groups focused on the ethics of ELL and/or bilingual education and legislation.
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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.
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