It’s a new year. Winter is in full swing. And we are back! We are looking forward to bringing you more insights from teachers, professors and parents in the coming months. We had a long conversation with the members of the Commission on Writing Teacher Education at the NCTE Annual Meeting in November, and we have many interesting topics to write about. Authors are hard at work drafting their posts, and we are looking for more ideas from you. If you have something to say about writing instruction, please consider submitting a topic idea through our “Author” page. We will help you develop your idea into a full submission!
To kick off the new season, we wanted to share some of what our editorial board has been reading these last few weeks. Perhaps one of these links will inspire you to respond via a post on Writers Who Care.
Kristen’s Virtual Shelf
What happens when a school community comes together in order to send a message to the world? Check out this amazing example of what schools can create. What has your school created? What would you like to create?
Are you a little tired of hearing how we need to increase achievement in light of the PISA results? Jeff Bryant gives a nice analysis of testing, test scores, and the corporate driven incentives to raise red flags. (And he even uses the term “authentic” to describe what education should be.) There is so much to respond to in this conversation. Perhaps Bryant’s post will give you some ideas.
Leah’s Picks to Click
In her animated Ted-Ed Original, Jessica Wise reports that “researchers in psychology, neuroscience, child development, and biology are finally starting to gain quantifiable scientific evidence showing what readers and writers have always known: that stories have a unique ability to change a person’s point of view.” Wise’s 5-minute digital story is such a page turner that it doesn’t feel like a lesson. She closes with the same question that we should keep asking the young writers in our homes and classrooms: “What story will you try on next?”
Rohan Gupta thought he would hate poetry–until he went to a poetry slam workshop with his class and experienced writing and performing for an audience: “This taught me that if you write without purpose it means nothing. If you write with passion and meaning it can make a difference and affect people.” The event was hosted by Movement 515, a creative writing community that brings students and teachers together weekly for writing and performance focused on creating change. What kind of community do your young writers have?
Mark’s Good Reads
Amidst all the competing voices and opinions on public education, it can be difficult to filter fact from fiction. Rutgers professor Bruce Baker has been working to “translate” education reform and finance language for some time, in a timely and well-researched fashion, and his blog is a worthwhile read. In this article, Baker shows how much of the evidence presented by education reform proponents simply doesn’t hold water, when investigated further. Are there similar examples of how statistics and data are being misrepresented, or simply misread, by teachers and administrators in your districts?
The Nerdy Book Club is a fantastic resource for children’s and young adult literature, and in this post, Julie Falatko demonstrates the close interplay between reading and writing, in listing ways parents can support their children’s writing at home. Compare this post to Patty Dunn’s post from last October, and consider how you help your own children and relatives find their writerly voices.
This essay makes the case that high-stakes testing impacts students’ relationships with reading. The author suggests, “If we want our schools to be transformative places, if we want students to develop a deep love for reading, then we must understand that the most fundamental parts of an education are those that cannot be easily quantified through standardized tests.” How do you make space in your classrooms for helping students cultivate a love for reading (and writing)?
The Washington Post features this first installment (of three) from Mike Rose, faculty at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. This piece begins an interesting discussion about how teachers are taught to be teachers, and how educational reform influences teaching and teacher education. What do you think about the recent debates concerning traditional teacher education programs?
Share Your Thoughts!
What have you been reading? What has sparked your thinking? Write about it!