Coming Around Again

30 09 2012

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know that place for the first time.

— T. S. Eliot

A mobiius strip brings us back around to where we began, and often, as T. S. Eliot reminds us, we come “to know that place for the first time.

MidTerm is a good time to “come back around.”  It’s a good time to do a bit of critical reflection.

I’m re-posting Teresa’s thoughtful explanation of critical reflection to remind us that critical reflection is all about examining our beliefs and our assumptions.  Each week we critically reflect on what we’re learning and how that might be changing our beliefs about teaching and learning with literature for young adults.

So far, we’ve examined our assumptions about young adult literature and its role in the English Language Arts classroom, and along the way we’ve studied theories of learning, literacy, and literature and begun to develop a pedagogical framework complete with principles to guide our practice.  We’ve also begun sort of a meta conversation about the technology we’re using and how it may be shaping our teaching and learning.

We’re beginning a project that will continue for the rest of the semester — The Change Project, a project dedicated to teaching for critical literacy and social change.  It’s both an author study of Marc Aronson, well-known author and editor of nonfiction for young adults, and a collaborative critical inquiry into how we might design literature-based projects that teach for social justice.

Meanwhile in the next few weeks, we’ll continue with our collaborative critical inquiries into important topics/issues that include: “Sequential Art, a Radical Change?,” “Nonfiction: The Neglected Stepchild”; “Whose Face Do I See in the Mirror: Are We Post-Multicultural?”; and “Making Bold Choices: Intellectual Freedom and the Right to Read and Create.”

First up is “Sequential Art, a Radical Change?”  Many of you have not read nor even considered reading sequential art also known as graphic novels.  You’ve much to examine then about your assumptions about how intellectually rigorous and compelling this art form can be.

This collaborative critical inquiry includes the typical compelling question with resources to explore before blogging a creative response, “weaving” what you learn from colleagues to extend the conversation, and then bringing all of your questions, assumptions, and beliefs to the Bookhenge for a live seminar next time we meet there on October 11.  We’ll also have a passionate fan of sequential art, founding member of the Eva Perry Mock Printz Club and now grad student in Library Science, Lauren Nicholson aka Serenity Engineer, talk with us.

The Sequential Art CCI also includes our first collaborative assignment — a book club.  One book club has already formed around the book, The Arrival.  Pitch your own graphic novels via Twitter and make sure your group gets listed on the wiki project page.  It takes three readers to create a club and a club usually maxes out at four.  Book clubs will meet to discuss their book and prepare an introduction to the book that will engage our class.  Ideas for these “performative engagements” include collaboratively produced bookcasts ( WeVideo has great potential for collaborative online editing), dramatic performances, Reader Response activities, and others not yet seen in The Bookhenge.  These book club presentations will take place October 18.

Yes, that’s a week later than the original due date, but Marc Aronson has rescheduled for November 29 so we have an extra week to work with.

Here’s an overview of The Change Project:

The Change Project, Part I — Bittersweet: Freedom at a Cost — Due Oct. 25  Form and organize groups . . .
You need to join a group to research a question — probably the question you suggested; Share your research journey — what you learned and resources you found helpful on a Wiki Project Page; Engage class in a performative engagement.   Note that these wiki project group pages are for archiving your project in one central location.  You may link to any other tool you prefer (Glogster, Google Sites, Weeby, etc.) from your wiki project page.  Many groups also find organizing and working behind the scenes using Google Docs to be helpful.

The Change Project, Part II — Aronson Anchor Book — Due Nov. 15  Form and organize groups . . .
You need to join a group to choose an Aronson book http://www.marcaronson.com/ Design a Collaborative Critical Inquiry with question, related resources, plan, etc. Share with class. Engage us with the book in a performative engagement, too.

The Change Project, Part III— Aronson Interview — Nov. 29th
We’ll welcome Marc Aronson to The Bookhenge.  By this time we will have constructed a Wallwisher with questions to guide our interview.  The world is invited, and with nonfiction’s new-found popularity due to the Common Core State Standards, this event should make a real contribution as well as all of our collaborative project work that is shared freely on the Web.

That pretty much spells out our two collaborative projects.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Please post in a comment here and tweet to update others.  As always, if you have a variation on these assignments that would hold more value for you and your group, pitch it and we can negotiate a rubric that will meet course goals and your own personal goals.

See you in the Bookhenge!

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