GCTE Preview: See You in Athens!

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The Georgia Council of Teachers of English (GCTE) conference in Athens, GA is in just a few short weeks, and this year feels particularly special since I have so many of my colleagues presenting this year too. I cannot entirely pinpoint why I wanted to ensure more of the ELA teachers at my school presented this year, but I know part of the inspiration came from the stellar work they were doing. I have always, no matter the setting, worked with phenomenal ELA teachers. My current school is no exception, so when the time came, I sent an email encouraging several of my compatriots to submit a proposal. Thankfully, most all accepted the challenge, submitted a proposal, and were accepted! In today’s post, I will preview many of the presentations/workshops my colleagues and I will be showing on the weekend of February 9 and 10 as well as why you should check them out! For anyone interested, it is not too late to go to GCTE this year. Go here for conference information. Continue reading

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Revisiting Banksy (Again): Leveraging Visual Literacy & Documentary to Promote Critical Thinking

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As part of working on a publication that comes out later this year, I worked closely with my colleague and friend, Glenn Chance, in his classroom where he trusted me to help him implement work with visual literacy and connecting it to the work he was doing with memoir. Since I currently do not have my own ELA classroom, I truly appreciate Glenn allowing me to invade his planning and class time. There were several goals of this project and unit, but in today’s post I am only going to concentrate on how we developed visual literacy skills for students and how we partnered them with both memoir, author’s purpose, and documentary. Inside the post there is a breakdown of what we did and or reflections on those actions from our planning and class time in hopes what is shared can help you in your classroom or at the very least continue the conversation for the value of the explicit instruction of visual literacy. For anyone attending GCTE this year, we’ll be presenting this information there as well. Continue reading

Banksy Revisited: Image Meets Rhetorical Text

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Last week I posted about revisiting Banksy’s work to inspire some critical visual literacy work with my students. You can read and see some of their images here. I mentioned in that post my intention of pairing their visual work with some academic, rhetorical writing to anchor the overall experience. I am excited to share some of the results with you. Inside today’s post you will see a few new images (as well as one from last week) paired with the student-composer’s rhetorical explanation and intention for the visual.  Continue reading

Banksy Revisited: Student Encounters w/ Critical Visual Literacy

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A semester of being on A/B block for the first time has messed with my grand scheme a bit. Being sick since NCTE does not help much either. (I’ve concluded I will not be thinking clear-headedly much this week!) Still, I am excited to be venturing back into the microcosm of the artist known as Banksy. Two years ago I used his (her? their?) stencil-style graffiti art to introduce the impact visuals have on how we read the world with my students. In the first iterations, seen here and here, I was simply happy to have students create their own media, their own digital Banksy-style visuals to comment on the world around them. This year, however, I am hoping to guide my students to think through and write about their visual expressions. Inside today’s post are a few of the newest creations students have built as well as explanation of how we will work to make the experience a bit more critical as we close the semester.

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On Writing: Changes in Practice

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So, much like I revised my philosophy on reading in my classroom, my doctoral studies have also affected my philosophy on writing in my classroom. The history of research in writing is deep! There is no hyperbole here. Much like I had posted early this past summer, reading up on writing research is like drinking from a fire hose. (Except without all the pain and trip to the emergency room.) The point is that the research is ripe with tradition has taken various detours in the last several decades. I promise not to give anyone a history lesson (not that I could at this point), but, if you’d like, read on to see how I changed some of my writing instruction and activities in my classroom this year. Continue reading