New Publication–Literacy Engagement through Peritextual Analysis–Out Now!

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Thanks to my former professor, Dr. Jennifer Dail, and one of the book’s editors, Dr. Shelbie Witte, I had the opportunity to contribute a chapter in the recently published Literacy Engagement through Peritextual Analysis (2018, ALA and NCTE). In the fall of 2017, I worked alongside Glenn Rhoades to bring visual literacy and peritextual analysis to his classroom. Peritext constitutes what makes up the components outside of the text proper (i.e. preface, afterwards, index, glossary, dust jackets, etc.). We spent nearly a month helping students learn about visual literacy and peritext as it might relate to pictures and film. In the case of our chapter, Inviting Students to Exit through the Gift Shop: Reading Banksy’s Public Art through Documentary Film and Director’s Cuts, we specifically had student create their own mini-documentaries featuring their own digital, Banksy-inspired pieces.

From the ALA website: “Paying attention to subtext is a crucial component of literacy. However, the concept of peritextual analysis takes such examination much further, teaching readers how to evaluate information and sources using elements that precede or follow the body of the text. A work’s Preface, Afterword, index, dust jacket, promotional blurbs, and bibliography are only some of the elements that can be used to help readers connect with and understand the main text. Speaking directly to librarians and educators working with K-16 students, this important book outlines the Peritextual Literacy Framework and explains its unique utility as a teaching and thinking tool…”

The book and the chapter I co-authored is available now through American Library Association (ALA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and will be featured in the NCTE conference bookstore this week in Houston, TX. See the linked title of the book above to navigate to the ALA store.

See You @ NCAC, NCTE,and ACTE!

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I’ll start by apologizing for yet another long hiatus on the blog. Work in my office has been busy, but engaging and continually interesting. I intend to post on my new adventures as an instructional coach in the world of Career and Technical Education (CTE) soon, including describing some of literacy efforts and how my office reviews instruction and experiences in our college and career readiness academy schools.

In the meantime, November will be a busy, busy month where I will find myself in Texas three times for three different conferences!

ncaclogo2018First up is the National Career Academies Coalition (NCAC) in Houston. I’ve attended before and look forward to attending this year, especially as my focus on academy schools has broadened in my new role.

cropped-NCTE_FaviconNext is the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in Houston as well. I will receive my Teacher of Excellence Award in person. Still feeling very honored to be awarded and recognized!

VISION-2018_1170x300Finally, I’ll be at the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) in San Antonio. This will be my first time attending, but we have a few of my district’s teachers presenting, so I look forward to supporting them and seeing CTE on an even larger, national scale!

Hope to see a few of you at one of these as well. Remember to follow me on Twitter @theprofjones

Building an Ethic of Caring in the Classroom: Winners and Losers

My Post (3)

See parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Philosophically, I do not care for grades, grading, or the culture both perpetuate. I live in a world where grades exist and grading must be done, so as my own philosophy of teaching has tilted closer and closer to the belief that grades and grading should be eliminated, I have learned to think about how to exist the system and meet the needs of students. Some scholars would be disappointed to see me write this as a researcher (Anderson, 2018), but more on this later.

Why this disdain for grades? The short answer is I don’t want to continue to support a system that inherently means some kids win and some kids lose. The catalyst for my philosophy is rooted in my doctoral studies. As I read more, discussed more, and explored my own beliefs about education, I concluded a few years ago that I no longer believe there is a real purpose for grades, and I personally believe they harm learning.

Today’s post does not really call for eliminating grading, but rather more importantly, I will advise on some practical ways to approach a classroom where grades must exist, but they do not have to define the learning. Continue reading

A Note: A Former Student Recalls the Value of Her Project-Based Learning Experience

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This will be a rather busy week, so the next part of the “Building an Ethic of Caring in the Classroom” will likely be delayed. As a quick preview, the post will explore the nature of how a classroom, at times, sets itself up to have winners meaning there has to be losers, and the dire implications that can have on a student’s education. See parts 1, 2, 3,  and 4 by clicking the linked numbers.

Today I am simply sharing a note I received from a former student, Tiffany, who was part of my first project-based learning (PBL) immersive classroom (The Studio) with my friend and colleague, Nic Carroll. Her note is a reminder why teaching is such a rewarding occupation, and it certainly champions what PBL as an instructional approach may inspire. Tiffany is a recent graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Enjoy!

Hi Carroll and Jones-y,

Before I begin, I am typing this on my slow, laggy phone, so I apologize (particularly to Coach Jones) for any typos…

I just wanted to send you a little note to thank you both AGAIN for being such an influential people early in my career. I know I have thanked you both before, but I will be eternally grateful for the impact you made in my life.

PBL completely changed my life aspirations early on, teaching me to pursue my passions, regardless of what the world was telling me. PBL allowed me to explore my creative side, transforming PowerPoint presentations into memorable experiences and creating websites and logos, early in my ‘career’.

On Wednesday, I interviewed for a graphic design position that also includes PowerPoint design/animation. Let’s just say that PBL came up, and I found myself reminiscing back to the moments with PBL that truly changed my life.

Fast forward to today… I was just offered the position a few hours ago and am so excited. While I have loved and will continue the freelance life as the Founder/CEO of TDang Designs LLC, I am super pumped to be learning and working under someone else. And as I celebrate with my friends and family, I just wanted to share my life update with 2 people that have been an integral part in shaping who I am today.

I can’t thank you both enough…

So much love,
Tiffany

No, Tiffany, thank you!

Building an Ethic of Caring in the Classroom: The Emotional Elevator

My Post (3)

Series: Part 1//Part 2//Part3

We all ride in the emotional elevator–sometimes daily, other times weekly, and there are a few of us who only tend ride it occasionally, sparingly.

The emotional elevator is a term used to talk about our thoughts’ journey back and forth between the lower (emotional pain and pleasure centers) and upper (cortex, rational thought) parts of our brain. Out of the FOG explains the term “riding the emotional elevator” well and gives some great examples if you want to know more about the concept.

Most of us spend the majority of our lives moving up the emotional elevator (i.e. higher order thinking, rational thought), but at times our elevator can plummet to a lower floor quickly, where we find ourselves reacting out what feels good in the moment, ignoring the long term consequences of an action. While for most adults this is more of an occasional occurrence (with exceptions of course), an adolescent’s emotional elevator is moving between floors regularly and often. Educators can play a unique role in their classrooms during what is truly a volitale for a student during their middle school and high school years.

But honestly, this post is not about students’ emotional elevator journies; it’s about teachers’. Continue reading