Introducing the Teacher Casebook

Today I get to let you in on a project that I have been working on with my friend Nick Thompson (The University of Gerogia) for the last several months. The project is the Teacher Casebook, a website that will act almost as an academic journal in the public sphere, inviting current classroom teachers to share their experiences through writing case reports to share with the world.

The project is inspired by the work Shulman and Colbert (1988) conducted in the late 80s/early 90s where student teachers and mentor teachers wrote case reports that reflected on their instructional practices and relationships in the schoolhouse. Their work, coupled with discussions with friends and family who are in professions outside of education, is our catalyst!

The Teacher Casebook seeks to build a repository of teachers’ stories that are concise, powerful narratives that are couched in current education research. The research component is what is most important about these case reports. Teachers discuss and even write about their experiences frequently, but how often do we look at those experiences through the lens of research and what the field says about our experiences. Consider the benefits of finding cases that speak to your own experiences–the realization you are not alone and there others concerned or experiencing the same or similar schoolhouse moments. Consider the benefit of seeing that there is research to speaks to those moments as well. Consider how case report writing and reading are similar to what professionals in the medical and law fields participate in writing and reading. Consider being able to read and digest this kind of writing in mere minutes!

Each case is limited to approximately 1,000 words and is identified as either an Instruction-Type Case (experiences related to lesson planning, classroom instruction, pedagogical moves) or Relationship-Type Case (experiences related to interactions with students, parents, colleagues, and communities at-large). Currently, there are only a few cases written and available, but the hope is to grow the collection and push beyond language arts teacher contributions, creating a public, digital space for educators to seek out and share experiences connected to one another.

If you want to take a look for yourself, here’s the web address:
https://teachercasebook.com

And here is a link directly to a case I wrote as an example:
https://www.teachercasebook.com/casebook/using-banksy-s-art-to-inspire-new-approaches-to-literacy-instruction

If you’re interested in writing a case and being part of the project, click here: https://www.teachercasebook.com/submission-guidelines

If you want to learn more about the project beyond the website, you have a chance to see me and Nick present the project at the JoLLE conference in Athens the first weekend of February as well as see a roundtable discussion with a few of our original case writers at GCTE in Brasstown Bald the second weekend of February.

I also invite you to tweet at me (@theprofjones) or email us at teachercasebook@gmail.com.

Please spread the word! If you know a teacher who would love this sort of opportunity, pass along the information and share, share, share! We are out to create another professional development opportunity empowered by teachers and the research that speaks to teaching experiences.

Shulman, J. H., Colbert, J. A., ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education, W. D., Far West Lab. for Educational Research and Development, S. C., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management, E. O. (1988). The Intern Teacher Casebook.

Happy New Year: A Look Back in Books!

I genuinely wish I read more books in any given year. Since my doctoral studies, I have not pushed myself to read as voraciously as I always intend. One of my resolutions this year is to change that and in general read more books for both edification and pleasure.

Still, I read my fair share of interesting books that I am sharing in my first post of 2019 along with a brief sentence review for your consideration. Read on to check out the books, and here is to all of us reading more this year!

Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith

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So turns out having a toddler changes you. Who knew? I wanted to start with one of the most charming children’s books I read to my daughter (over and over again) this past year. The artwork is unique and the story is a wonderful tale of how important friendships we may take for granted really are. I recommend this for any elementary teacher’s library and certainly for the home of anyone with a child to read to and with!

The Bible Tells Me So… Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It by Peter Enns

While I do not talk about religion or my own affiliations on this blog, I mention Enns’ book because it is the one that resonated me unlike anything else I read. In a nutshell, Enns argues readers, interpreters, and followers of the Bible have to see the text as one that had a very specific audience and context for its time as it was assembled, and that acknowledging that there is metaphor, symbolism, and borrowed cultural experiences in it does not diminish or invalidate Christianity. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a refreshing way to wrestle with what appears to be the Bible’s inconsistencies.

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans

I know, I know, two books about the Bible in a row. What can I say, as a someone who considers himself a believer and someone who wrestles with doubt, Enns’ and Evans’ books were two of my most interesting reads. Evans has a similar take on discussing the Bible as Enns does; however, while Enns is a Bible scholar who blends history and scholarship effortlessly, Evans writes as a memoirist does, blending personal story telling, with contextual history, and re-imaging of some of the most brutal and difficult to reconcile stories in the Bible. I recommend this text really for the same reason as I recommended Enns’.

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Literacy Engagement through Peritexual Analysis edited by Shelby Whitte, Don Latham, & Melissa Gross

This will seem like a selfish plug, but it’s not. I genuinely feel this is a great collection of chapters showcasing the benefits of looking at, wrestling with, and leveraging peritext, or the text that surrounds the text proper (i.e. glossary, index, dedication, book jacket, etc.). I recommend this book to just about any media specialist, but also to teachers–ELA or otherwise–who want to help students make deeper connections to how text interacts and is informed by the text surrounding it that is often taken for granted.

Spider-Gwen Vol. 1: Greater Power by Jason Latour & Robbie Rodriguez

One of my favorite early reads of the year was the collection of comics that make up the first volume of Spider-Gwen comics. Now after seeing Into the Spiderverse at the movies, I have even more appreciation for the text and art created by Latour and Rodriguez. The collection is a refreshing take on Spider-man origin story with a unique, yet familiar heroine who has both depth and kick-ass qualities to keep you reading. I highly recommend for a high school or older audience, but especially anyone who loves the Spider-man or saw Into the Spiderverse and want to learn more.

Gnomon

Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

This monster of a book ends my little list this year. Complex, compelling, and nearly impossible to finish my be the best way to explain my feelings about my one standout fiction text of this past year. The book takes on the survellance state in a way that is both jarring and, at times, unreadable. This is one of the most challenging narratives I’ve read in a long time, but it has elements of great storytelling throughout. I would recommend this for any reader looking for a challenging read, rife with diction not often used in fiction writing, and anyone who loves a good sci-fi detective story!

I wish I had more worth sharing, but beyond the texts above my reading this past year was both limited and maybe not as thrilling as I hoped. Here’s to a better year of reading ahead.

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 @ #NCTE2016

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The National Council for Teachers of English begins this week in Atlanta. For the first time in four years, I do not have to travel. (I enjoy exploring new cities, so I’m a little bummed, but saving the money is nice.) I am only presenting once this year as part of the annual round table I have been a part of since I began my doctoral studies. What is fun about this year is I’m nearly done with my dissertation, and I have all kinds of goodies from the research to discuss with my table. The feedback from the respondent will be timely as well and may help as I work to cross the finish line. If you’re going to be in Atlanta this week, hit me up @theprofjones (Twitter).

Here’s my session info:

Title: Collective Advocacy: The Research and Practice of English Education Doctoral Students (B.28)
Time: Friday, November 18; 11:00-12:15
Location: B206

ZineCast 2016: Thursday, April 28 @ 11:30AM UPDATED

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SEE THE UPDATED LINK FOR THE EVENT!

This year’s annual zinecast is THIS Thursday! Don’t miss a chance to see some really cool and authentic work from my students. Each student has tackled some form or argumentation based on their interests or lived-experiences. Each zine shown is being volunteered by the students to part of the festivities. Never seen a zinecast? This is kind of what it’s like.

Join us at 11:30PM EST here: https://plus.google.com/events/c6337trl6c6vpocrk2ud36licqc

Note that this is a Google Hangout Broadcast.