student engagement

Literacy, Technology, and the Underprepared: Notes Toward a Framework for Action

24 views 0


Author: Glynda Hull

Summary: After introducing cases of underprepared students using computers in a community college literacy course, Glynda Hull raises important issues and tensions related to the role of technology in the teaching of writing. While she argues for the democratizing potential of “information technologies” to support a liberatory pedagogy, she also acknowledges that greater access within structural constraints of schools and writing centers must also be addressed to best support the diversity of these students. Although there are a few terms and technologies representative of its 1988 publication date, this piece may be explored from an historical perspective, perhaps as part of a study group or retreat focused on equity, access, social justice and advocacy.

Multiple Texts: Multiple Opportunities for Teaching and Learning

58 views 0

Author: Laura Robb

Summary: Offering a vivid glimpse into her middle school classroom, author Laura Robb illustrates how making available a range of texts at different reading levels and from a variety of perspectives on a subject promotes the engagement and success of all students in her heterogeneously grouped classroom. Noting that multiple texts help all students engage as active members of a literate community of readers, Robb also shares a list of sources for locating a range of nonfiction texts along with a variety of effective teaching strategies. Sharing both theory and practice, this article could be easily the basis for a single workshop session or a series of workshops demonstrating strategies for strengthening students’ content-area literacy skills.


Book Review: Teaching Reading in Middle School

32 views 0

Author: Rosalyn Finlayson

Summary: This review of Laura Robb’s book, Teaching Reading in Middle School, is a useful resource for professional development program leaders and teachers looking for strategies to implement reading workshop in their classrooms to benefit students at all reading levels. Sharing the impetus for and insights drawn from her inquiry into reading in her middle school classroom, Robb has identified a framework that enables all students, including struggling readers, to realize that being a successful, strategic reader is within their reach.

Exploring “Systems Thinking” with Grinding New Lenses (NWP Radio)

19 views 0

Summary: Eight teachers from three National Writing Project sites spent a month in Chicago exploring the power of systems thinking to support students in the way they learn, make, and write. Of particular interest to teachers planning and leading young writers programs that focus on digital literacy, this project, called “Grinding New Lenses,” engaged teachers in their own learning and thinking about systems, followed by an opportunity to lead a summer camp with youth from the surrounding area.

Curriculum Rewired: Teachers and Students Come Together Around Innovative New Pedagogy

18 views 0

Author: Razeen Zaman

Summary: “Grinding New Lenses,” a four-week summer camp supported by a MacArthur Foundation grant, combined intensive professional development in design thinking for teachers with their leading a program for sixty-five rising sixth- and seventh-grade Chicago area students that engaged them as game designers and digital storytellers. “The end result: students who learned to take on roles as proficient designers, philosophers, writers, and activists; teachers who become avid systems thinkers; and strong curricula that underwent a rapid process of iteration, innovation and refinement.” This article and the related NWP Radio show offer inspiration for teacher leaders planning youth opportunities focused on developing students’ digital literacy.

Boys’ Literacy Camp Sets a Standard

34 views 1

Summary: When adolescent readers can read, but won’t read, how can teachers get them engaged? Teacher-consultants in Maine created a summer wilderness camp where students discovered they had to read in order to do things they wanted to do. For example, they had to read about canoe safety before piloting a canoe, or study how to edit a film digitally in the process of making one about their adventures. The goal was to make reading and writing real and necessary. This idea would be readily adaptable for summer youth programs.

The Evolution of a Model Writing Teacher and a Model Writing School

1154 views 3

Author: Art Peterson

Summary: How does a Writing Project teacher become a leader? This brief portrait describes how award-winning elementary teacher Julie Johnson evolved into an exemplary teacher of writing and collaborated with colleagues to develop a model writing school. This resource can fulfill multiple needs for site leaders and leaders of advanced institutes or teacher inquiry groups if they are looking for examples of effective early-grade writing classrooms, evidence of content-based writing in elementary grades, or schoolwide efforts to find effective approaches to writing.

Composing Science (NWP Radio)

35 views 0

Guests: Kim Jaxon and Leslie Atkins Elliott

Summary: In this engaging NWP Radio Show, Kim Jaxon and Leslie Atkins Elliott, authors of Composing Science: A Facilitator’s Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom, talk about teaching writing, teaching science, and creating classrooms in which students use writing to learn and think scientifically. In a lively conversation, Kim, a composition and literacy specialist, and Leslie, a science teacher educator with a Ph.D in physics, talk about concrete strategies and approaches for engaging students in practices that mirror the work that writing accomplishes in the development and dissemination of scientific ideas. Together they address a range of genres that can help students deepen their scientific reasoning and inquiry in this excellent resource for teachers engaged in inquiry into disciplinary literacy.

The Family Writing Project: No More Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

25 views 0

Author: Arthur Kelly

Summary: Describing the family writing project that he developed and led, Arthur Kelly explains that such programs offer families the rare opportunity to come together and create a community of writers: “As in National Writing Project summer institutes, participants in family writing projects discuss ideas and issues that are important to them. They work together on activities, write extensively, and respond to each other’s work.” Useful for teachers exploring program models to support community literacy, this article includes several writing prompts that work in family writing contexts as well as a rationale for why family writing programs build community and honor writing as they honor writers’ lives.

Students Tell Their Stories Digitally

24 views 0

Author: Joel Elliott

Summary: When designing a digital storytelling workshop, it may be easy to forget that it’s really about the telling of stories and the writing practices that generate powerful narratives. This piece provides a good conceptual starting point and reminder that in such settings, students are more engaged, willing to work harder and write longer pieces–and all the while quite adept at figuring out the technology. This is important for teachers nervous about not knowing the latest digital tools.