As the end of the semester blew by I was buried in many wonderful manuscripts and things. They were quite effective at distracting me from grading. Usually I enjoy grading final projects. I mean, I’ve designed all the final projects, so they’re things I’d be interested in reading (a lot about collecting different kinds of texts to read), but with the house and things, I was finding much less joy in said grading. So, I wrote a lot.
An article about reading instruction that my colleague-friend Katrina Jansky and I wrote will hit the presses shortly in the summer edition of English in Texas. We developed this from our presentation at the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts Annual Conference in January.
Abstract: It’s an era of uncertainty: new TEKS, changes to STAAR, school finance… What’s a teacher to do? How can teachers avoid reinventing the reading curriculum every time a change rolls around? Reflecting on the foundations of reading instruction–time, choice, relevance, talk, and rituals and routines–offers a way to answer these challenging questions. This article connects each of these touchstones to theory and research, as well as discusses brief strategies that support each principle. The article also offers teacher commentary on each principle. Finally, the article argues that the heart of reading instruction doesn’t change, it is readers falling in love with books.
For another manuscript, and building on our work about writing on the walls, Anna Consalvo and I finished up a manuscript about post-it notes. It’s under review, so send some happy thought bubbles in to the universe if you’ve some to spare.
I also had the great privilege to present for a Heart of Texas Writing Project Saturday workshop focused on advocacy. I even wrote a blog about it and NCTE published it. While the rhetoric around education today is almost entirely economic–go to school to get a job. There is a long tradition of culture and citizenship being the driving force behind education. I think–as does the Texas Educator Code of Ethics–that it’s high time to return to that citizenship piece. There is also a long tradition of educators raising their voices to support students, schools, and public education. Now is also the time for such voices to be persistent.