GCTE Writer’s Retreat: Be Part of the Teacher Casebook

Georgia Council of Teachers of English logo

June 21-23 join me and my colleague Nick Thompson in Amicalola Falls for the Georgia Council of Teachers of English “Teachers as Writers” writing retreat. We will be hosting a workshop geared toward teachers sharing their formative, professional experiences for an audience of fellow educators while helping them navigate framing those experiences with current research.

If you join the retreat and partake in our workshop, your writing could be featured in the Teacher Casebook, a free, public offering of teacher’s stories being shared with one another as a form meaningful professional development that puts real teacher experience and research together!

We would love to see old friends there and make new ones as well. There is still time to register for the retreat by clicking HERE.

To learn more about the Teacher Casebook visit https://teachercasebook.com

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.

To Track or Not to Track? Outcomes of Serving All Students in the Same Classroom

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Today is the first post in a short series about some of my favorite current and past colleagues reflecting on this past year’s teaching experiences. This first entry comes from Dr. Taylor Cross who shares insights gained from his recent research.

By Dr. Taylor Cross

“When I was in high school growing up in the northeast Georgia mountains, I was in ‘honors’ or “accelerated” classes. I didn’t put myself there; it just happened…. Who I mostly did not have classes with were the students whose parents were the hourly blue collar workers, most of which had not gone to college, and some who had no real concept of what a college education would look like.”

When I was in high school growing up in the northeast Georgia mountains, I was in “honors” or “accelerated” classes. I didn’t put myself there; it just happened. I don’t think at the time I really processed what that meant or why I was in those classes, but I knew generally that I was “smart” and that the other kids in my classes were also “smart”. In these classes the other kids were, for the most part, other kids whose parents went to college, like mine did. Their parents were the lawyers, business-owners, realtors, medical professionals, educators, etc., that kept our little town churning along. Most of these kids’ families weren’t originally from this small town, but had found their way to it by virtue of job placements.

Who I mostly did not have classes with were the students whose parents were the hourly blue collar workers, most of which had not gone to college, and some who had no real concept of what a college education would look like. The majority of these students’ families had lived in this area for generations, and the culture of many of them was native Appalachian. I was “sheltered” from these students because as a student who had shown academic promise, I was lumped with others like me. As a matter of fact, when I look back in my high school yearbook, I don’t recognize about half of the students I see because I never had classes with them, even though my school was very small.

This was my high school education experience. I was put in classes with other kids “like” me because it was perceived that putting us together would benefit us, and having the kids who were “unlike” us together would be right for them. This is also what the majority of schools across America do today with their core subjects to a large degree. They track their gifted and talented students together, and they group their average and struggling students together. Is this good? Is it a problem? Do these situations truly benefit the students who are separated from one another? These are complicated questions for which the answers can vary from context to context. Continue reading

Next Month: Teacher & Student Voice Series

I’m excited to announce (after a month long hiatus) two series that will be posted in tandem next month:

 

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While I will write a post as part the the ‘Eye Heart Teaching‘ series, most of the posts will be completed by guest writers–both students and teachers.

The ‘Student Voices: Intern Edition‘ series will include entries from my current internship students who are wrapping up their year as industry interns. They’ll reflect on their experiences, the benefits of interning, and may even critique the methods of the internship course itself.

The ‘Eye Heart Teaching‘ series will include entries from colleagues who will share everything from their recent research to evolving teaching and professional philosophies to sharing narratives about their favorite moments in their classrooms in 2017-18.

The first posts will be up by the first week of May. Stay tuned and be sure to share using the hashtag #EyeHeartTeaching and #StudentVoices

Updates: Developing the Work Force through Work Based Learning, Researching Peritext, & The Studio Reunion II Rescheduled (Finally)

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So it’s been a month.

The culmination of a busy season at work, being a dad, writing chapters for books, and conducting research really pushed blog posting to the very back of my to-do list. I have a few interesting pieces I hope to get up on the blog shortly, but in the meantime, here are a few updates in which I think a few of you might be interested. Continue reading