Teacher Research Annotated Bibliography 2011-12

Posted on April 10, 2011

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DeStigter, Todd. 2001.  Reflections of a citizen teacher: Literacy, democracy, and the forgotten students of Addison High. Urbana, IL:  National Council of Teachers of English.

  • In many ways, DeStigter’s work, and therefore, John Dewey’s work, has “fathered” my stance as a teacher, and this stance has led to the birth of the Citizen Teacher blog. DeStigter’s examination of school has had one over-arching impact on my work: I see my students as citizens, and I see my work, in part, as the job of preparing them to not only participate in, but also create, a more humane and democratic society.

Fleischer, Cathy. 2000. Teachers organizing for change: Making literacy learning everybody’s business. Urbana, IL:  National Council of Teachers of English.

  • If DeStigter is the father, Fleischer is the mother. Through her book, but moreso through her ongoing mentoring over the nearly 20 years since she was my English Methods teacher, Fleischer has had the most influence on my work as a teacher of any single human being. Building on the foundation I learned in her Methods class, I have been able to maintain the course of Best Practice while simultaneously navigating the stormy waters of constant “reform,” “standards,” and testing movements that have only become more virulent and oppressive with each passing year. This book was the catalyst for me to begin creating the online content that I would come to refer to as “my online empire.” In a world where “Education Reports,” have come to mean a public blaming and shaming of schools, teachers, and ultimately, our students, through publishing “failing” test scores, I have decided that I want to do my part to humanize, broaden, and democratize the conversation on student “achievement.” Our children are NOT test scores. They are human beings, and through posting artifacts from a humane and democratic classroom, where Best Practice brings forth critical and creative thinking, and where achievement means so much more than what can be measured on a standardized test, I offer the community an alternative vision of  “student achievement.”

Glass, Ira. Two Steps Back. 2004. This American Life.

A school requires parents to pick up their students’ report cards and have conferences with parents three times per year; it takes 4 days per year. The school requires LOTS of reading and writing. For ten years, the school improves test scores and many other areas of student success. Then a move to Central Administration and Uniformity in Chicago Public Schools disempowers teachers, requires them to spend 1.5 days meeting with parents ONLY. Scores drop; the school begins to fail after only nine months. The best teacher in the school becomes disheartened and thinks she can’t stay in the profession; she cannot go along with the bad practice that is being mandated by administration.

Hicks, Troy. 2009. The Digital Writing workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

  • Steeped in Writer’s Workshop practices and a social constructivist approach (Atwell, Calkins, Elbow, Graves, NCTE, NWP, Romano, Wiggins, Yancey), Hicks’ is my go-to guy for inspiration and ideas to expand my ELA “online empire.” Unlike “technology” workshops that focus on the mechanics of technology, Hicks’ work is centered on high quality thinking and writing in Language Arts, and technology is explored as one of many tools we use in the service of that process. The student remains at the center; the integrity of Writer’s Workshop remains intact. Another aspect of this book that I love is this: the beautifully simple layout and design. Visually, TDWW is a delight to read; I’d like to thank Troy and the design team for that! Thank you! 🙂

—–. 2010. Keynote Address: Creating Your Digital Writing Workshop. Eastern Michigan University. September 25, 2010.

  • “Writers are now composers. They can include video, audio, etc. in their writing….Teach the writer, then writing, then technology.” With these two gems from his keynote speech and his excellent, user-friendly demonstrations, I left the session ready to wade into the waters of digital composition. I decided that in Part A of the American Literature course, I’d gently nudge students into the online environment by requiring students to email me and take a formative assessment online, using a Google form. I began composing my own digital portfolio: video, blog, forms, nonfiction, instruction, poetry, essay—so that I can model and intelligently discuss the issues that my student writers will face as their writing moves from the page to the web and back. I started using and referring to these online resources daily in class. Then, in Part B of the course, students would be required to publish their writing projects online in some way, whether it’s a shared document or a blog, or a youtube channel. This keynote showed me that digital writing doesn’t have to mean that “cool computer tricks” usurp good writing instruction. It gave me the information and inspiration I needed to lead my students on the journey from the page to the screen with their writing projects.

O’Brien, Anne. Doing More Than Involving Parents. (2010). Moving beyond involvement to engagement.

—-What Parents Want in School Communication. (2011). A blog interpreting the data from a national survey that conveys the top requests by parents: instant, online communication.  Edutopia.

Robinson, Sir Ken. (2010) RSA Animate: Changing Education Paradigms. Youtube.

  • This animated audio of Robinson’s work is described on TED’s website as follows: “Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools’ dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD.” <http://www.ted.com/> This talk has brought me to a realization about the approaches I favor in my teaching practices: the reading/writing workshop;  individualized instruction; collaboration and community; real-world research; talking circles; student choice and learning options; inquiry and project-based learning; portfolio assessment; and the IB model…. All of these practices share an appreciation for and ways to cultivate divergent thinking in the classroom. The idea that all teachers will be teaching the same lesson, on the same day, in the same way is, according to Robinson, the way to chaos: it creates anesthetized, apathetic, alienated young people who are, in fact, greatly harmed by the “production line model” of education culture. Citizen teachers must continue to resist the ever-increasing pressure to standardize instruction–to think of learning as merely the ability to pass a test. We must provide students with classrooms that “wake them up to what’s inside of them,” as Robinson urges.

Wilhelm, Jeffrey D. and Bruce Novak. Teaching Literacy for Love and Wisdom: Being the Book and Being the Change. (2011).  “What English can do for democratic life, inside and outside of the classroom.” I haven’t read this yet.

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