Making Bold Choices Wisely

1 11 2012

So you’d think in this day and age when TV, movies, and the Web make the viewing of “mature” material hard not to experience that challenges to books would be a rare occurrence.

Think again.

The latest data on book challenges from the American Library Association does show a downward trend in book challenges but still the average is one a day in the United States (Huffington Post, Sept. 30, 2012).  That’s 10,000 since ALA began its data collection and The Office of Intellectual Freedom estimates that only one quarter are reported and recorded (Englebert, Sept. 29, 2012).

We’ve discussed the importance of being open and upfront about the books you choose to share with your students, be that in whole class direct teaching, small group inquiry or books clubs, independent reading projects, or your classroom library for recreational reading.  And we’ve shared advice like designing teacher blogs and web sites as windows into your classroom and curriculum (be sure to offer option of subscribing via email or RSS feed) and using Google Voice if you send messages to parents who may find it easier to respond via voice.  Email marketing companies like Contactology also offer free services to educators so spiffy eNewsletters can be sent via email.

Frances Bradburn, who shared via video of her vast experiences as a librarian, state-wide technology director, and lifelong advocate for young adult literature, has graciously set aside some time this week to respond to lingering questions that you may have about making bold choices.  Please post your questions below and click “replies via email” so you’ll be prompted when Frances or others have posted responses.



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 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!

Welcome to Session 15! Our ALP Celebration!

7 12 2011

We’ve done much collaborative work in our book clubs and production of the Maberry UNDEAD event.  And we’ve also made contributions individually through our blogs, bookcasts, VoiceThreads, Diigo tags, and tweets.

The Action Learning Project multimedia reports are contributions that we make based on our own personal interests and goals for the course.   Each one will contribute in a unique way to our understanding of how we can learn through literature with young adults.

The rubric describes the ALP multimedia report task:  To produce an up-to-6 minute video or audio slide show that shares the story of your implementation and your evaluation of the project. Be sure to include feedback from students and work samples when relevant.  It really is a challenging digital storytelling task.  The video should be able to stand alone so with a brief intro and reflection on your blog, other teachers can watch the video and understand your project well enough to explore similar projects themselves.

Dipity timeline

Be sure to check out the exemplars and review the rubric.  Note the pre- and post-screening tasks:

  • Prepare a brief introduction to your ALP multimedia report and be ready to field questions when you present it to the class.
  • Reflect and self-assess in your blog post where you publish your ALP multimedia report.

You can also review last spring’s ALP Celebration.

Please do come to the celebration ready to transact with the presenters to ask good questions.  We’re producing this program that will be archived for others to learn from, so the contributions that you make will have an impact.

End-of-Course Checklist

December 7th — 8 am. EDT. — Please complete ClassEval at  Thanks for your feedback!  I will use what I learn to improve the course.

December 12 — 8 am. EDT. — Post your ALP Multimedia Report to your blog and tweet.  Do include a brief intro and reflections.

December 13 — 11:59 pm. EDT — Complete your Post-FOKI.  Be sure to have met with me for a brief exit conference by now (or Wednesday, December 14, if you need more time).  No Final RAP is necessary.  Consider your exit conference to be your Final RAP.

Session 4 Highlights: The Importance of Knowing Quality

20 09 2011

I think before seeing the Project Specs for this blog post, I had never really thought about my definition of literary quality. After finishing my Bachelors and Masters in English, I guess I assumed that I would know a “good” book when I saw one. I mean, I talked about books in literature seminar classes for six years, that should qualify me, right?

However, when I sat down to write this post, I typed “What is Literary Quality,” turned the font green, and then stared at those four words for about a half hour. Then I gave up, saved the post, and shut my laptop. Sigh. — Meg on YA Literary Quality

Meg’s not the only one a bit perplexed by the assignment to define literary quality.  Ashley and Ryan, also English majors, expressed surprise at how disconcerting this task was.  No one had an easy time of it.

Which is why YA literary quality is a good place to begin.  Not everyone we’ll teach with, or parents whose students we’ll serve, nor even students we’ll teach will believe that YA literature deserves a place in the ELA classroom.  Michele quickly agreed that there are “many” literary snobs out there who believe only in the canonical texts.  So we need to have a good grasp of YA literary quality and know where we can find other knowledgeable reviewers who have vetted books.

We’ll begin by looking to the Printz Awards, realizing that the Printz Award Committee’s charge is to recognize literary excellence with an eye toward advancing the writing for young adults.  Committee members have that responsibility because they have years of experience evaluating young adult literature.  They explain in their crtieria that “as every reader knows, a great book can redefine what we mean by quality.  Criteria change with time. Therefore, flexibility and an avoidance of the too-rigid are essential components of these criteria” (Printz Award Committee).  But our class was also impressed by insights and yes, the passion that the Eva Perry Mock Printz Book Club shared in their discussion of the books they felt reflect literary excellence.  And we see value here, too.  No, they don’t have the experience nor the benefit of history in knowing what book may push the envelope of literary excellence and change its definition forever.  But they have their finger on the pulse of young adult literature and their perspective is one that we teachers and librarians need to hear if we want to encourage reading.

Meg described the “three camps of young adult literature” — the official Printz Committee, the Mock Printz Book Clubs that are charged to read for literary quality, and ALA’s “Teens Top Ten” award which usually has around 8,000 teens voting across the country on a list of books chosen by popularity by teens in the associations’ galley projects.  She, as most of us, expressed concern that we also need to hear from those teens who are learning to evaluate literary quality.  Ian shared a very relevant quote from Marc Aronson, who helped developed the Printz Award:

Advocates of the importance of popularity see this measure as the voice of the people, a check against the imposition of adult values on teenage readers.  But in practice, concern with popularity is the opposite of respect for teenagers.  Instead, it judges art on the basis of stringent but unexpressed and untested adult assumptions” (p. 113).

What we want to do is respect teen readers even more by recognizing that when they are made aware of the elements of literary quality and have the opportunity to learn to discuss books and evaluate books with their peers that their opinions can be valuable to the English teacher and to librarians. We’re fortunate to have the Eva Perry Mock Printz Book Club to consult with and guide us, but other teachers and librarians need to hear from them and others like them.  So we’re beginning an inquiry to see how we might make the results of the Mock Printz Book Clubs each year more accessible to teachers and librarians.  Stay tuned . . .

Island Lighthouse

Discussion group at the Island Lighthouse

Speaking of YA literary quality, here’s a list of tips for writers of YA lit conceived of and begun by Michele (1- 5) to which our class added 3b and 6:

1.  The “Can We Please Be Original” Plea

2.  Keep It Simple (No More Than Three Crises)

3.  Teens Should Sound Like Teens (and 3b.  Act Like Teens)

4.  Avoid the Sweet Valley Syndrome (Physical Beauty at All Costs)

5.  Make Your Words Beautiful

6.  Remember that the literature should give something back to teens

group photo of Eva Perry Mock Printz Club

2011 Melinda Awards starring Eva Perry Mock Printz Book Club & NC State ECI 521 Students (Maberry's Rot and Ruin won which explains zom looks)

Though we value teens’ opinions on the literary quality of YA lit and see the process as an excellent way for teens to become critical, engaged readers, we understand that it is not the quality of the book but of the reading experience that is most beneficial (Howard, 2011).  That’s why we will follow resources such as ALA’s numerous and diverse awards and booklists to find books that we can share to encourage all of our students to be active, critical, engaged readers.

Our discussion continued  with a look at the recent research on the value of pleasure reading.  Vivian Howard (March, 2011) in her research explores the academic, social, and personal benefits of pleasure reading by teens.  She reports the findings of others, notably Krashen (2004) and that what he calls “free voluntary reading” can improve student scores on standardized tests in the areas of reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, and writing and results in stronger reading comprehension, vocabulary, verbal fluency, and general knowledge; Bussiere et al. (2001) and that teens’ “enjoyment of reading and time spent reading” has a higher correlation with academic achievement than high socioeconomic status; and the National Endowment of the Arts (2007) findings that those who read for pleasure enrich our cultural and civic life by “participating and contributing to civic and social improvements.” Howard’s own research focused on the relationship of pleasure reading to personal internal development and found as Ross (1999) did in her research on adults that teens often choose a book for pleasure but find the experience enriching through a “circular relationship” that brings insights that are valuable in their personal lives and development.  Howard concludes:

The present study strongly supports the concept that teens, like adults, unconsciously use pleasure reading as a means of everyday life information seeking and the reasons for personal salience identified in the foregoing discussion have a strong developmental theme: in their pleasure reading, teens gain significant insights into self-identification, self-construction, and self-awareness, all of which aid them in the transition from childhood to adulthood (p. 53).

All of this very encouraging for those of us who would probably find our ability to define the value of reading about as difficult as defining literary quality.  Because it is something that we intuit and know from personal experience.  As advocates for young adults, our personal insights will guide us and our professional knowledge will support the work that we do.


Aronson, M. (2001). “Calling All Ye Printz and Printzesses,” Exploding the myths. pp. 109-122. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.

Howard, V. (Mar, 2011). “The importance of pleasure reading in the lives of young teens: Self-identification, self-construction and self-awareness,” Journal of Librarianship and Information, 43: 46-55. [Available online through NC State Library]

Orientation Session Highlights: Learning to Bookcast

30 08 2011

Storms threatened – and actually knocked Ryan off line – but those us who could gathered around the firepit in the Bookhenge where it was safe and dry.

We began with an appropriate poem – Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled” and responded to a Reader Response question about our own “road less traveled” and how that decision had affected our journey.

I introduced Reader Response theory and explained that it would be an important influence on our work this semester since research (Oldfather and Dahl, 1994) suggests that part of the decline in the motivation to read of students in middle schools and high schools may be traced to instruction that lacks opportunities for self-expression and personal response.

That’s why we’ll explore both Reader Response (Rosenblatt, 1938/1995) and Pink’s six elements of creativity (Pink, 2005) along with other theories of literacy, literature, and learning to create opportunities for students to join the “participatory culture” and use technology (low and high tech – from writing to multimedia) to respond to literature.

Our mantra as we design learning opportunities will be “Does it get in the way of the live sense of literature” (Rosenblatt, 1938). And a big question, perhaps an essential one, will be “Can we teach creativity?”

We’ll learn more about Reader Response and Creativity theories in our collaborative critical inquiry called “Waves of Change” – a jigsaw activity in which we each research our assigned theory(ies) and contribute to a VoiceThread.

Our current collaborative critical inquiry is dedicated to the exploration of the literary quality of young adult literature. We’ll be bookcasting two of the most recent young adult novels recognized for their literary quality. The first comes from the American Library Association’s Printz award winners of 2011 and the second from the Eva Perry Mock Printz short list for 2012.

Bookcasts are different from the more familiar book trailers in purpose. The goal of a book trailer is to encourage others to read the book. The goal of a bookcast is to cast as in “to set forth or let loose” a creative response. Bookcasts can reflect connections that are text to text, text to world, or text to self.

Examples of bookcasts and ideas about how to create them can be viewed in our Orientation Bookcast Gallery. Other exemplars can be seen here You’ll see that using images plus music plus narration is effective with many variations on this theme. You can create cartoons using ToonDoo or Pikistrips and then bring them into iMovie or MovieMaker. Xtranormal is s simple way to create a bookcast but you don’t have a great deal of choice of scenarios and characters. PhotoStory, an audio slide show tool, is highly recommended for those with PCs. iMovie will help you accomplish the same with a Mac. See the Bookcasting tools & resources

Remember that you have the option to make an overt connection to the book that inspired the bookcast. The connection can be explained as Scott did in his response to Louis Sachar’s The Cardturner or as subtle as in Lara’s Bones of Iraq inspired by Janni Sumner’s Bones of Fairie. None is required though. Alison chose to make no direct reference in her response to Punkzilla. See all of these bookcasts in our Orientation Videos and more exemplars in the Project Specs for Bookcasts . . . Note another popular format is the Common Craft style demonstrated in the Shiver response.

Because ours is a participatory culture and everyone is learning to sample, remix, and mash-up, it is imperative that we as English teachers learn to advise our students about copyright and fair use. Remember “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” We have “great power and great responsibility” to teach our students the “new literacies” and the new media literacies include understanding copyright and fair use. Excellent source for guiding decisions – Code of Best Practices for Media Literacy Education (American University’s Center for Social Media)

I want you to learn to approach these decisions as ones requiring critical thinking and reasoning. Be bold in using our fair use rights while defending the copyright/intellectual property ownerships of the creators.

The four factors for determining copyright and fair use (Stanford University Libraries based on Section 107, Copyright Law) are 1) Purpose and character of use, 2) nature of copyrighted work, 3. Amount and substantiality, and 4. Effects on the market or creator’s ability to make money off his/her work.

Things used to be so simple when the classroom only extended to its four walls. Now, with the Web, our classrooms extend to the far corners of the world.

There are a couple of scenarios that we had small groups discuss and share their decisions. The first concerning googling for images – decided with the help of Bill Ferriter, teacher and blogger. Decision: You must use images for which the owner gives permission for use. And when the owner requests attribution or any other special specifications, then you must honor his/her requests. For example, Flickr Creative Commons is a great resource for images and many are available to use with only an attribution requested. Learn more about tools and resources for bookcasting in the Bookcasting section of Personal Learning Environments . . .

The second scenario concerned royalty-free music. Incompetech is a favorite. For others, check out tools for bookcastng Also, more and more school libraries are purchasing “stock libraries” of music that students and teachers can use for multimedia productions.

When students learn to create media and what it means to own one’s creative work, then they are much more likely to value and respect the intellectual property of others.

Avatar Makeover with Bill Lovin/Ajax Quinnell was a short but pretty intensive session. I saw some changes in appearance right away. If you have questions as you evolve your personal look, just let us know.

For archived UStream of session, slides, videos, and chat log, see our Archived LIVE Classes . . .

Session 3 Update: The Promise and Peril of Young Adult Literature

16 06 2011

Just wait until you see the creativity and innovation expressed in our class’s Action Learning Projects. I’ve learned about almost all of them by now, and you couldn’t not ask for a more diverse, interesting collection of inquiry questions and accompanying projects about learning through literature with young adults. From students trying their hand at nonfiction photojournalism to teaching for social justice, each one will make a big contribution to our collective learning. And ECI 521 classes to come – you’ve seen how we can learn so much from past projects.

Please do be sure to register your project at Action Learning Project Synthesis and update your progress. We can help each other out by tweeting or by adding to Zotero or Diigo any articles you find that might be helpful to others.

Share resources -- contribute to others' success!

Do consider giving Zotero a go as a research management tool. If it’s just not working on your machine, then no problem – Diigo will serve you well. I’d just feel better if you took this opportunity to learn a tool that can serve you well through your papers to come. See #3 below for a review of Diigo and Zotero.

Heads-Up — Session 2 Synthesis: Guiding Principles and Neglecting Nonfiction Never” is posted to the Course Blog


1. Session 3: The Promise and Peril of Young Adult Literature — 06/16/2011 – 06/22/2011
2. Genre Book Clubs Process & Product
3. Diigo for Bookmarking & Tweeting /Zotero for Lit Review Lites
4. Neil Gaiman – LIVE on UStream – Tuesday, June 21, 4 pm

1. Session 3: The Promise and Peril of Young Adult Literature — 06/16/2011 – 06/22/2011

In Session 3, we’ll have three Essential Questions:

What is Young Adult Literature?
How is Young Adult Literature evolving?
What is the promise and peril of Young Adult Literature?

Here’s a synthesis of all of the assignments for the session – you’ll also find these in the Syllabus and on the Course Calendar:

Please note that I’ve monitored and adjusted the dates so there’s a bit more time to complete your ALP Proposal, Lit Review Lite, commenting on blogs, and book club responses.

Lit Review Lite may be completed as a draft by Friday, June 18, and I will respond so you can incorporate into your Action Learning Project due Monday, June 20, 11:59 pm. If you’re feeling confident, then Monday, June 20, 11:59 pm is fine for both to be completed.

Action Items:

• Complete “Promise and Peril” Collaborative Critical Inquiry — read, blog, tag & tweet, participate in Second Life (Blog, Twitter, Second Life). Read and blog by Mon. June 20, 8 am. Comment by Tues, June 21, class time.
• Complete Graphica Genre Bookclub — read, discuss, create multimedia response or live performance, publish multimedia response, include on each member’s blog, tag and tweet, present at LIVE Class (Second Life, choice of digital tools). Post multimedia response to blogs by Tuesday, Jun 21, noon and tweet the news.
• Complete “Radical Change” Graphica Collaborative Critical Inquiry– read, blog, tag & tweet, participate in Second Life (Blog, Twitter, Second Life). Read and blog by Mon., June 20, 8 am. Comment by Tues., June 21, class time.
• Meaningfully participate in LIVE Class on Tues., June 21, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
• Review and reflect upon your work this week in your RAP (Reflective Assessment Process). Complete by Wed., June 22, 11:59 pm
• Stone Soup — Generous sharing of connections made, articles, research, resources, etc. via Twitter, Diigo, Zotero, blogging and commenting . . .

Heads-up: Plan ahead to complete Action Learning Project by Wed., June 28, 11:59 pm.

2. Genre Book Clubs Process & Product
Three book clubs are in various stages of formation. If you’ve not joined one, then please make your choice and contact the facilitator of each club:
Runaways Book Club – Blakely @lordblakely (Amber and Matt)
Stitches – Kendra @timberlake_k (Ali, Hannah, and Susie)
Ghostapolis – Jenny @jennylomelino (Frances and Will)

Plan to read the book, discuss with club in a Second Life meeting, and collaboratively produce a multimedia project or live performance or combination for class, Tues., June 21, 7:00 pm. Again, if you have a multimedia component that you need “loaded” for the Bookhenge, make sure to post it to your blog and tweet by noon on Tuesday so I can get it ready before class.

3. Diigo for Bookmarking & Tweeting /Zotero for Lit Review Lites
Here’s where those Dr. Seuss-like named tools come in. When I find something relevant to share, I bookmark it in Diigo and tweet it from there in one smooth motion.

Bookmark and Tweet

For more formal articles that might be used for a Lit Review Lite, I’d opt for Zotero because it provides the citation information. Btw This is a fascinating article about the neuroscience of stories and empathy – two of Dan Pink’s elements of creativity.

Beats 3 X 5 cards

4. Neil Gaiman – LIVE on UStream – Tuesday, June 21, 4 pm
Gaiman will be talking about the tenth anniversary edition of his American Gods, the first-ever One Book-One Twitter selection

Session 2 Synthesis: Guiding Principles and Neglecting Nonfiction Never

16 06 2011

Theories sometimes don’t get the credit they deserve because we can’t seem to pack them up and take them with us, or at least not easily. Just as mobile technology frees us to have what we need to communicate anytime, anywhere, “mobile” theories allow us to take them along in our back pockets. How do you make a theory mobile? By giving it wings! By converting it to set of guiding principles or a framework for decisions.

That’s what we did as the final stage of our collaborative critical inquiry on learning, literacy, and literature theories. Called “Waves of Change,” layer 1 includes “resident experts” sharing their understanding of various learning, literacy, and literature theories, Wave 2 presents the connections/syntheses made, and Wave 3 became a set of seven guiding principles synthesized from Wave 2. Heads-up that these seemed in my perspective to be the “biggies” but I’d appreciate any input. The beauty is that we can each pack our own guiding principles to take along our teacher’s journeys.

Guiding Principles for "Learning Through Literature with Young Adults" Framework

Discussion of Principles

The principle clearly at the foundation of our framework is creating a learner-centered classroom or to quote Ali — “value what the learner can bring to the learning.”

“Communication skills are more vital in our social, technoloyg-based culture.”
Will shared update on Carrboro High and its openness to social media like Facebook.

Two interesting, related articles —

Twitter Finds a Place in the Classroom Twitter as a backchannel in his face-to-face classroom . . .

Against the Whole-Class Novel More than an argument against the whole-class novel, Particia calls for transforming the English classroom using today’s digital tools.

We’ll add to and refine our framework as we continue throughout the term.

Session Highlights

Some of the newest “Waves of Change” theories were reviewed, including Reader Response, Pink’s Six Elements of Creatvity, and Social Constructivism/Connectivism. Rosenblatt (1938/1995) argued that each reader transacts with a text to create a “poem” (from the Greek “poiesis” to make; to do something; to change). So we begin with the reader’s poem and build on that relationship to engender deeper, more reflective, more critical and creative thinking. Susie used storytelling to explain how the context also affects “the poem,” as her response to Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye evolved.

Story is one of Pink’s Six Elements of Creativity. Along with design, symphony, meaning, and play. Kendra reminded us of the importance of being a teacher who models creativity in her work. Crabtree (2004) reminds us that “keeping students engaged in learing requires having the latitude to be highly creative, to build strong relationships, and tailor to the learning needs of the student.”

We are teaching during an exciting time, a transformative time as the Constructivism theory of the 20th century evolves and many begin to adopt Siemens’s theory of Connectivism. It really is more than simply a shift in metaphors — it’s a shift in understanding how we learn and how that learning is evolving in a digital age. Will described Social Constructivism as “co-constructing” and Amber explained that Connectivism is “the process of making connections through external resources and then internalizing them.” See our Collaborative Critical Inquiry for more on theories. We’ll discuss others more in depth in other sessions.

Many of us have a passionate interest in teaching for social justice and I shared the NC State College of Education’s mission statement and made the connection to democratic principles and the role that literature can play.

Louise Rosenblatt and John Dewey were contemporaries; Reader response is influenced by tranactional theory

Nonfiction, the Neglected Stepchild

Most of us came to the realization that, as Susie tweeted, that we have been neglecting nonfiction. We also realized, thanks to Hannah, that nonfiction is a multi-faceted genre, including biographies, memoirs, and creative nonfiction to name a few. Blakely was inspired to include primary sources into the mix.

Using nonfiction, which is “living and breathing” literature (Hannah), makes the study of literature more relevant, dynamic, and contemporary. Read an article that Hannah discovered in her research that speaks of the transformation of the English classroom — “English Language Educators Balance Text-Only with Multimedia Tools.”

About guys and their preference for nonfiction, we reviewed some Smith and Wilhelm research and discussed ways that we can use sound pedagogy, applying many of the theories we’d studied, to “situate, model, and make social” (Smith) the study of literature.

We also returned to scenario building to create essential questions for

Maus Multivoice Poem written and performed by Blakely, Frances, and Will (for text)

Maus Book Club (Will, Frances, and Blakely) perform their multivoice poem. Second Life's lag factor makes all the more aurally interesting!

Essential Questions:

What lengths would you go to to survive? And what does morality mean in that situation?

How do our parents’ decisions affect us?

Interview parents and create own graphic novel.

The Glass Castle Book Club: Jenny, Amber, and Matt

Essential Question: How have you learn to persevere?

Relevant speech by Stephen Krashen on the poverty of our children today and our need to re-evaluate our priorities to provide them with the food, healthcare, and books they need to succeed. Krashen’s speech begins at 34:34.

The Forbidden Schoolhouse Book Club: Kendra, Susie, Ali, Hannah

Essential Question? What in your life is worth standing up for?
Suggestion: Combine with fiction in a project, possibly Huck Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird.

To learn more about essential questions . . . Grant Wiggins on Essential Questions

To watch videos of past ALPs that relate reflect the Learning Through Literature with Young Adults conceptual/theoretical framework and nonfiction projects . . . Session 2 Videos

To learn of additional nonfiction and fiction for a diversity of learner needs, interest, and abilities — YALSA’s Book Awards and Booklists

To review the live UStream of the class: