Wednesday, March 28, 2007

English Update March 28, 2007. Archive.

Writing..... Introductory Paragraph..... What should the introduction of a composition do? “A properly constructed introduction provides a general context that either implies a thesis for the essay or leads to an explicit declaration of it.” J T Crow. EJ (Mar. 05), 48.

Writing..... Journal..... What are some alternative methods for writing in journals? Write a journal, using the form of letters to someone. K Campbell. Wrt (May 05), 15. “Letter Journaling.”

Writing..... Peer review..... How effective are student comments on peers’ papers? Author finds that student comments on their peers’ papers are superficial, that the student writers do not revise along the lines suggested by their peers and that student comments are not as valuable as the teacher’s. The students say they like peer response groups but she, the teacher, is skeptical. ME Casey. TETYC (Mar. 05), 278.

Writing..... Poetry..... What are some techniques for teaching students how to write poetry? Students underline words and phrases on a page torn out of an old book; or in books they are reading. Arrange the words and phrases into a poem. I tried it. Here’s mine, taken from several pages in Schlesinger’s Robert Kennedy and His Times: “A profound emotion—the dread of war;/ Unrelenting antagonisms lead to the end of everything;/ The only victor—compulsive gloom.” L Gajdostik. CN+ (Apr. 05), 7-8.

Writing..... Prewriting..... How prepare students for writing? One way of preparing to write an essay: Summarize what happens in the beginning, in the middle and end of your essay. List 3 words or phrases that summarize the contents of your essay. HE Ollmann. N+ (Oct. 04), 8-10. Begin by outlining your article or book. C Willis. Wrt (Nov. 04), 27. How to get ideas for stories. Look for things that leave you with lingering questions. Write the story to answer those questions. T Bailey. Wrt (May 05), 13. Read the obituaries and find stories in the gaps—what’s missing from the person’s life record. L Batt. Wrt (Jan. 05), 29. Tell the story behind a photograph. L Batt. Wrt (Jan. 05), 29. Listen to stories friends, relatives and strangers tell you. L Batt. Wrt (Jan. 05), 29. With a few minutes to go in class, someone said, “Red” and everyone began to write. L Batt. Wrt (Jan. 05), 29. Start with a setting with enough detail that it can’t be mistaken for someplace else. Then let people loose in that place. L Bat. Wrt (Jan. 05), 29. Write regularly, but not always for publication. P Campbell. Wrt (Jan. 05), 34. Write something different from your preferred, habitual genre. P Campbell. Wrt (Jan. 05), 35. In ten words write the purpose of your piece. Begin with, “The purpose of this is….” P Campbell. Wrt (Jan. 05), 36. Develop a specialty. P Campbell. Wrt. (Jan. 05), 36. Write for increasing amounts of time, 5, 10, 15 minutes, using a timer. Introduce the topic and write. BD Barrett. Wrt (Jan. 050, 39-40. In the first draft write what you know and what you need to know about the topic. M Anderson. Wrt (Nov. 04), 22-23. Begin article with a single sentence that summarizes the article succinctly. Suggested by AV Manzo.

Writing..... Process..... How help students gain insight into how writers write? Share with students quotes, articles, etc. that reveal how professional writers write. Also, survey the faculty and community to learn how people who write prepare for, organize and revise their writing. Suggested by JS Damico. RT (Apr. 05), 644-652.

RT = Reading Teacher. Wrt = The Writer. CN+ = Classroom Notes Plus. TETYC = Teaching English in the Two-Year College. EJ = English Journal.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

English Update. March 27, 2007. Archive

Writing..... Evaluation..... When is conscious use of “mistakes” effective in writing? Author points out that many common “errors” [sentence fragments; “they” instead of “he,” and beginning sentences with coordinating conjunctions] when used purposely can be very effective stylistically and are so used in published materials. [The problem is to make sure the students are using them stylistically, not making mistakes they don’t recognize.] D Gorrell. TETYC (May 05), 393-402.

Writing..... Evaluation..... How can teachers of writing improve their teaching? Teachers meet to evaluate their students’ writing samples. Enables them to identify problems that need to be addressed. D Fisher, et al. RT (Apr. 05), 656-666.

Writing..... Evaluation..... What are some effective methods for helping students improve their writing? Finds that both teacher correction and simple underlining of errors are superior to describing the type of error, even with underlining, for reducing long-term error. Teacher correction results in the most accurate revisions and is preferred by students for its efficiency, but students indicate that they learn more from self-correction based on teacher underlining of errors, which also requires less teacher time. [I do both—correction of 10-minute writings and student self-correction in major writing assignments. Ray. J Chandler. RTE (Nov. 04), 205. (abs.) Students make fewer errors if they learn to find their own errors and make their own corrections rather than having their errors corrected by the teacher. [How help students to “find” their own errors? Ray. ] DR Ferris. RTE (Nov. 04), 204. (abs.)

Writing..... Evaluation..... How do students’ timed essays differ from their untimed essays? Compare timed essays with students’ untimed essays. Y Cho. RTE (Nov. 04), 205. (abs.)

Writing.... Evaluation..... What are some challenges in teaching writing? Identify and describe a level of competence expected of students completing our writing courses. JF Kobler. CCC (Oct. 78), 264-266.

Writing..... Fiction..... What are some problems in writing effective fiction? “We are often offered novels of murder and detection set in some period past—Elizabethan England, Ancient China, Imperial Rome—but they are rarely successful because the author is more concerned with detailing the period than with telling a good story.” Rev. of The Detling Secret by J Symons. NYER (Feb. 7, 83), 123.

Writing..... Genre..... Are creative and expository writing categorically different? “…we need to recognize the false dichotomy between wheat we call ‘creative’ and ‘expository’ writing….” AR Gere. CCC (Oct. 78), 260.

Writing..... Grammar..... How help students improve sentence structure? After combining sentences, students choose which sentence seems to be better or best, but need to keep in mind that context and tone could affect the decision. Ray. Suggested by EH Schuster. EJ (May 05), 94-98 who had students contrast two sentences and decide which was the better expressed.

Writing..... Grammar..... How help students identify and solve problems in writing? Give students a monthly calendar. Each day of the calendar has a problem in sentence structure, usage or punctuation. Math Tchr (March 05), 480-481. [Reaction: Take the problems from grammar texts or SAT prep materials. Put them in the form of the SAT objective writing questions. You could use the same problem for a week, maybe for the entire month, like passive active voice. A way of highlighting the kinds of problems that will appear on the SAT writing section.]

Writing..... Grammar..... Are grammar and composition the same? “For years we have taught grammar and usage, thinking that we were teaching composition, but the kind of mental activity required for grammatical analysis is not the same as that required for composing a sentence.” RL Graves. CCC (Oct. 78), 227.

Writing..... Grammar..... How can a preoccupation with grammar inhibit writing ability? “This preoccupation with the skills of grammatical analysis rather than with the skills of composing is a subtle, yet crucial factor in the recently publicized decline of writing ability.” RL Graves. CCC (Oct. 78), 227.

TETYC = Teaching English in the Two-Year College. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English. RT = Reading Teacher. CCC = College Composition and Communication. NYER = The New Yorker. EJ = English Journal.

Monday, March 26, 2007

English Update. March 26, 2007. Archive

Writing..... Assignments ..... How give effective writing assignments? Students need to understand clearly the purpose of a writing assignment. A Beaufort. RTE (Nov. 04), 162. (abs.)

Writing..... Attitude..... How distinguish between an amateur and a professional writer? “The amateur wants to be a writer. The professional wants to write.” BJ Chute. Wrt (May 1950). [Wrt (May 05), 8.]

Wtiting..... Conditions..... What are ideal conditions in which to write? “Don’t look for ideal writing conditions. They don’t exist. Work where you are and with what you have.” BJ Chute. Wrt (May 1950). [Wrt (May 05), 8.]

Writing..... Creative..... How teach children to write poetry? Introduce children to writing poetry by using patterns, including free verse, Haiku, cinquain, the diamante septolet, quinzaine, quintain. IM Tiedt. “Exploring Poetry Patterns,” 1082-1084. [File]

Writing..... Creative..... How teach children to write stories? Before writing stories, children should tell them orally. MJ Tingle. EE (Jan. 70), 73.

Writing..... Creative..... How teach creative writing? After reading a particular work in a genre, students formulate the “rules” for writing in this genre. TF Haffner. N+ (Oct. 04), 3-4.

Writing..... Creativity..... How teach students to create character? Exercises in creating character. 300-word sketch involving character’s thoughts who cares passionately about something and then 300-word sketch involving character’s thoughts who feels the opposite. Write letter in which writer describes meeting you—and does not like you—and then letter from someone who likes you. G Godwin. Wrt (Dec. 04), 8. [originally, Dec. 1979.]

Writing..... Critical Thinking..... How teach argumentative writing? “Kaspar asked her students to write a letter to the person with whom they most disagreed on an issue and to present their arguments against his or her position….” LF Kaspar and ST Weiss. TETYC (Mar. 05), 286.

Writing..... Criticism of my point of view..... What is wrong with teaching the five-paragraph essay? The belief that asking students to write within a prescribed form (the 5-paragraph essay) suffocates their creativity. Assumes that students will write what is safe and correct at the expense of writing what they really want to express. That never happened in my experience. The students began with their topics, used their experiences and shaped their messages in the format of “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them.” In addition, students often expanded the parts of the 5-paragraph essay to go well beyond 5 paragraphs. The introduction could go on for several paragraphs as I do in my model. The thesis sentence could be expanded into several sentences or even a paragraph as happens in many published writings. Details were expanded into several paragraphs albeit with a single topic sentence or a topic paragraph. The summary paragraph was usually just that—a single paragraph. Ray 11/04.

Writing..... Criticism of my point of view..... How are professional articles similar to and different from the 5-paragraph essay? They are similar in that they introduce the topic, state wheat they are going to say, say it and summarize what they have said. How do they differ? They are not in five paragraphs. The introduction can be paragraphs in length. The topic sentence of intermediate paragraphs is expanded into a topic paragraph with subordinate paragraphs filling out the information of the detail. The reader still gains the major ideas and details of the article by reading the first and last paragraphs and the first sentences of the intermediate paragraphs. In short, the very format of the professional article attacking the 5-paragraph essay belies the criticism of the 5-paragraph essay—“I’m still looking for one.” Authors of professional articles follow the “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you told them” formula, which the 5-paragraph essay epitomizes. Ray. 11/4.

Writing..... Culture..... How do Chinese and Western writers differ? Discusses Chinese indirectness as the favored mode of communication vs. the European/American directness and suggests that the two modes can become complementary in a new Chinese/American rhetoric. L Mao. CCC (Feb. 05), 421-469. [Reactions: I have always assumed that directness and clarity, getting to the point with no wasted time, is the desired method of communicating. Obviously other cultures do not value directness and clarity as Europeans and Americans do. Interesting point of view. I think I need to read this article more thoroughly.]

Writing..... Deaf Students..... How do the mistakes in writing by deaf students differ from those of hearing students? “Many, although not all, deaf students’ English errors are similar to those made by hearing nonnative speakers.” KL Schmitz and SK Keenan. TETYC (May 05), 371.

Writing..... Evaluation..... How well do computers evaluate student writing? “How can a computer determine accuracy, originality, valuable elaboration, empty language, language maturity, and a long list of similar qualities that are central to assessing writing? Computers can’t. We must ensure that the human element remains the dominant factor in the assessing of student writing.” PL Thomas. EJ (May 05), 29.

EJ = English Journal. TETYC = Teaching English in Two-Year Colleges. CCC = College Composition and Commuication. Wrt = The Writer. EE = Elementary English.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

English Update. March 25, 2007. Archive.

Vocabulary….. Context….. What is required for learning words in context? The better a child reads, the better the child will recognize words in context. Rankin & Overholser. EE (Apr. 71), 266.

Vocabulary….. Development….. How increase students’ vocabularies? Expand on words; come up with words related in some way to the target word. Example: apostatized—abandon an organization or cause. Other, related words: ostracize, emigrate, secede, blackball, blacklist, boycott, exile, banish, deport, expel, expatriate, shun, etc. Ray (2004). Suggested by C Washburne, “Short Papers on Readiness, Reading Interests, Vocabulary Development, and Comprehension.” 533-551.

Vocabulary….. Introduction to Reading….. How use vocabulary to prepare students for reading a selection? Students given key words from article or story and try to compose their own articles or story by connecting these words. Then read actual article or story. MA Richek. RT (Feb. 05), 415. [Reactions: Solution to the problem of how to use a great many vocabulary words in a chapter, article or story. Good way to introduce the chapter, article or story. ] Students given list of words to be used in article, book or story. Each student given two or three words to become expert in. They teach these words to the other students. Then the class reads the article, book or story. MA Richek. RT (Feb. 05), 417. [Reactions: Another solution for what to do when the number of vocabulary words to pre-teach is too many. Students need to be shown how to “teach” the words, the meanings of which they have mastered, how to teach them in an interesting manner.]

Vocabulary….. Nouns….. What is the spirit behind the desire to learn vocabulary? George Eliot, 1856: “I never before longed so much to know the names of things…. The desire is part of the tendency that is now constantly growing in me to escape from all vagueness and inaccuracy to the daylight of distinct vivid ideas. The mere fact of naming an object tends to give definiteness to our conception of it. We have then a sign which at once calls up in our minds the distinctive qualities which mark out for us that particular object from all others.” LS Golub. EE (May 71), 450.

Vocabulary….. Stories….. What are some interesting vocabulary activities? Students find the stories behind the names of the body’s muscles. Makes vocabulary fun and the words memorable. J Blasingame, Jr. & A P Nilsen. EJ (Mar. 05), 59-64. “Root” of the day. Each day give students word roots, on which several words are based. JW Bloodgood & LC Pacifici. RT (Nov. 04), 253.

Work/Study Skills….. Handwriting….. What is the normal progression in learning to write by hand? “The practice of beginning instruction with manuscript writing in grade one and changing to cursive by the end of the primary grades has become almost universally accepted…. 75-100 minutes per week in primary grades; 45-60 minutes per week in intermediate and upper grades. EE Plattor & ES Woestehoff. “Toward a Singular Style of Instruction in Handwriting."

Work/Study Skills….. Handwriting….. What is another point of view toward the normal progression in handwriting instruction? Suggests beginning with manuscript and maintaining it throughout the grades. Cursive is not worth the time which could be better spent on other language activities. EE Plattor & ES Woestehoff. “Toward a Singular Style of Instruction in Handwriting.” 1009-1011.

Writing….. Assignment….. What are some interesting writing assignments? “My students’ work culminates in a persuasive essay to an elected official expressing their position on a current issue.” EP Gaunder. EJ (May 05), 31. When students complained about the cafeteria, English composition teacher made the cafeteria the assignment. Researched cafeterias in other schools, interviewed people to find out why things were done as they were and drew up a set of recommendations to present to the school board. F Barton. EJ (May 05), 75.Students produce magazines with a focus and publish them using the computer. They invite fellow students interested in the same focus to contribute articles. Use “Call for Manuscripts” as a model for inviting others to contribute. Use contemporary magazines for ideas on design and formatting. T Perry. EJ (May 05), 117-121. Students measure off a square foot outside, study the area using a magnifying glass from 20 to 30 minutes, take notes and then return to the classroom and write. R Webb. “Heaven Is Under Our Feet.” 1106-1108. Give students a wordless picture book and have them write the words of the story that the pictures tell. DJ Bissett. “Literature in the Classroom.” 1190. Students use pictures of people and places that “matter” as source for topics on which to write. R Reissman. N+ (Oct. 04), 12-15.

N+ = Notes Plus. EJ = English Journal. RT = Reading Teacher. EE = Elementary English.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

English Update. March 24, 2007. Archive

Reading…. Teaching….. Do teachers’ expectations for students influence the results? The effect of expectations on the achievement of young boys learning to read: When teachers expected boys to be successful in reading, they were; when teachers did not expect boys to be successful, they were not. Do expectations affect the results? Palardy. EE (Apr. 71), 271.

Reading….. Texts….. What should textbooks include after every chapter? Textbooks should include at the end of each chapter proposed extension activities in which the students use or extend the ideas contained in the chapter. [Reaction: Might be better than the questions that usually conclude each chapter. Give students something to do with the ideas. Example: After a chapter on the major uses of the comma, ask students to take a magazine, any magazine, and see on a given page how many sentences contain commas after introductory expressions, around interrupters, and before afterthoughts.]

Speaking….. Shakespeare….. How introduce Shakespeare? Students select from among some of Shakespeare’s most famous groups of lines and then memorize and present them in a chorus. Good way to introduce students to Shakespeare. Setting can be contemporary. R Laughlin. CN+ (Apr. 05), 11-13.

Speaking….. Assignment….. How help students learn to interview? Students interview others on a topic, then turn them into monologues. A Frkovich & A Thoms. EJ (Nov. 04), 76.

Speaking….. Discussion….. How improve classroom discussion? Rules for classroom discussion, the acronym, “TRAFFIC”: Turn and look at the people you are speaking to; Repeat what has just been said to show that you understand; Answer to the best of your ability; Function; Face to face when you are speaking directly to one person; Include evidence for your answer; Conclude or summarize. D DiMarco. TETYC (May 05), 403-405.

Speaking….. Discussion….. How help students improve their questions? Students analyze the questions they ask—what type of questions are they? Suggested by R Fischbaugh. RT (Nov. 04), 296-299.

Speaking….. Interview….. How improve students’ interviewing skills? If your subject is biased, don’t begin to argue. Take it all in. Your purpose is to gather information, not to win debate points. J Brady. Wrt (Nov. 04), 31. Write out key questions in advance. Cluster questions. Use non-questions like, “Tell me about….” Hypothetical questions can elicit surprising answers. J Brady. Wrt (Nov. 04), 28-31.

Speaking….. Storytelling….. Why tell stories instead of reading them? Telling folk tales (rather than reading them) enriches and entertains in an unforgettable way. CM Kirkton. “Once Upon a Time… Folk Tales and Storytelling.” 1025.

Speaking….. Storytelling….. How prepare for story telling? “Ruth Sawyer (The Way of the Storyteller, Viking Press, 1965) suggests that would-be storytellers begin by learning their story incident by incident or picture by picture—never word by word. Work by the instinctive method of seeing your story first, of making it live for you to the point that you can make it live for others.” CM Kirkton. “Once Upon a Time… Folk Tales and Storytelling.” 1026.

Speaking….. Storytelling….. Where find stories for story telling? Tell stories based on chapters in children’s, YA and Adult books. M Garthwaite. EE. 600-603.

EE = Elementary English. Wrt = The Writer. RT = Reading Teacher. TETYC = Teaching English in Two-Year Colleges. EJ = English Journal. CN+ = Classroom Notes Plus.

Friday, March 23, 2007

English Update. March 23, 2007. LA January 2007

Language Arts. January 2007.
Theme is children’s literature.

literature….. Response….. Encourage children to respond non-judgmentally to what they are reading as a basis for later judgments. They can do so in "reading journals" in which they discuss what they are thinking while they are reading. JF Copenhaver-Johnson, et al. LA (Jan. 07), 234-244.

Literature….. Culture….. Stories—folktales, legends, myths—transmit culture. D Reese. LA (Jan. 07), 245.

Literature….. American Indians….. Books about native Americans often reinforce false stereotypes. We need to find books about native Americans that present an accurate portrayal of their culture. D Reese. LA (Jan. 07), 245-256.

Literature….. Fiction/nonfiction….. To What degree do elementary schools emphasize fiction over nonfiction? Author is disturbed by the overemphasis in elementary schools on fiction vs. nonfiction. P Colman. LA (Jan. 07), 257-268.

Literature….. Fiction/nonfiction….. Method for analyzing the degree to which a book is fiction or nonfiction. No made-up material to all made-up material; minimal information to lots of information; no narrative text to all narrative text; no expository text to all expository text; no literary devices to many literary devices; minimal author’s voice to intense author’s voice; no front-back material to copious front-back material; no visual material to copious visual material. P Colman. LA (Jan. 07), 267. [Note: In adult fiction there is almost as much information about careers, professions, cultures, industries, etc. as in nonfiction.]

Literature….. Library….. How help families read together? Library encourages families to come one night a week to read and discuss a book together. C Ward. LA (Jan. 07), 271-272.

Literature….. Picture books….. How are picture books changing? Growing importance of nonfiction picture books. CD Wolfenberger and LB Sipe. LA (Jan. 07), 276.

Reading….. Research….. What are some research-based characteristics of successful reading instruction? Research-based characteristics of reading instruction: direct instruction in phonemic awareness; explicit, systematic phonics instruction; guided, repeated oral reading; direct and indirect vocabulary instruction; comprehension strategies instruction; provide direct instruction that included making learning goals clear; asking questions to monitor student understanding and providing feedback to students about their progress; modeling and direct explanation to teach students strategies; coaching teaching style vs. telling; engage students in higher level responses. BM Taylor, et al. RRQ (Jan/Feb/Mar 05), 44-45.

Reading….. Research….. How help students complete a research project? Students select subject. Begin with dictionary. Use table of contents and index to see if available books deal with the subject. Skim pages on which subject is supposed to be dealt with. Prepare reference cards. Record info in their own words. RE Sabaroff. EE. 398.

Reading….. Response….. How model the reading process? Reads aloud a short story. The students read along silently from the overhead. Verbalizes his reactions to what he reads. Demonstrates how to interact with the text. Students were surprised that he demonstrated confusion at what he was reading. It was a story he hadn’t read before. Gave students insight into how to respond while reading. J Sommers. TETYC (Mar. 05), 298-305.

Reading….. Response….. How help students respond to reading? Create tableaux, using scenes from stories. Students try to guess what is happening. R Tortello. RT (Oct. 04), 206-207.

Reading….. Scaffolding….. What does the term “scaffolding” mean? Scaffolding means providing help when students are having difficulty completing a task. KF Clark and MF Graves. RT (Mar. 05), 570-580.

Reading….. Strategies….. How help students monitor their own reading processes? Teachers should reflect on and define the learning strategies they use, share their reflections with the students and cause students to reflect on their learning strategies. BJ Walker. RT (Apr. 05), 688-692. Give students a questionnaire in which they define their view of a good reader. Do you know any good readers? Who? How do you know he/she is a good reader? Name some things good readers do when they read. Name some things poor readers do when they read. What kind of reader are you? Tell why. JC Johnson. RT (May 05), 767.

LA = Language Arts. RT = Reading Teacher. TETYC = Teaching English in Two-Year Colleges. RRQ = Reading Research Quarterly.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

English Update. March 22, 2007. EJ Jan. 07.

English Journal. January 2007.
Curriculum….. Word Play….. Spend some time enjoying word play—puns, obscure words, oxymorons, names, product names, car/truck/SUV names; neologisms. RW Shanley. EJ (Jan. 07), 12-14.

Literature….. Selection….. To combat the depressing nature of many required readings, choose books, stories, poetry that have a range of outlooks on life. P. Thacker. EJ (Jan. 07), 17-18.

English as a Second Language….. Plays….. Engage ESL students in putting on plays to help them become more fluent uses of English. P Bernal. EJ (Jan. 07), 26-28.

Vocabulary….. Words….. “Because they don’t announce the study of language with a capital L, they draw students into an exploration of words, and before students know it, they realize that words are interesting, important, changing and even entertaining.” R Perrin. EJ (Jan. 07), 36.

Vocabulary…. Words….. “That these activities are fun does not undercut their serious purpose. Rather, they approach important curricular goals that relate to language—addressing word development, meaning, tone, connotation, specificity, language acquisition and social contexts for language use—in a serious but not solemn fashion. Most importantly, these activities help students discover the power and pleasure of words.” R Perrin. EJ (Jan. 07), 39.

Writing….. Publishing….. Have secondary students write books and publish them. E Gordon. EJ (Jan. 07), 63-67.

Curriculum….. Interdisciplinary….. Plan an interdisciplinary unit, involving reading and activities from all disciplines. A Burke and SS Peterson. EJ (Jan. 07), 74-79.

Reading….. Professional….. How do researchers and teachers differ in what they look for when they read research? Finds that researchers focus on issues of research validity while teachers [who read their articles] focus on clarity, personal style and applicability to teaching. N Bartels. RTE (Nov. 04), 199-200. (abs.)

Reading….. Readability….. What are some problems with readability formulas? “Even the best readability formulae are divorced from the influence of reader purpose and experience.” AV Manzo. “Readability: A Postscript,” 962-965.

Reading….. Readability….. How can grammar help to establish readability? Interesting method for measuring syntactic complexity for readability. 0-count structures, SVO, etc.; 1-count structures: prepositional phrases, etc.; 2-count structures: passives, infinitives as subject, etc.; 3-count structures: clauses used as subjects, etc. M Botel and A Granowsky, “A Formula for Measuring Syntactic Complexity: A Directional Effort.” 513-516. [File]

Reading….. Readability….. What is the assumption of people who believe in using readability formulas? “Few things are more educationally foolish than assigning textbooks which are beyond the students’ reading ability.” ML Janz & EH Smith. EE. 622-624.

Reading….. Remedial….. What are the characteristics of remedial reading students? Studied a “struggling reader.” Found that the student was a successful reader in some contexts and a struggling reader in others. We need to look more carefully at “struggling readers” and should not be too quick to label them. SF Triplett. JAAL (Nov. 04), 214-222.

Reading….. Remedial….. What are the characteristics of a successful tutor? “This study identifies the specific aspects of tutoring that contributed to Mitchell’s feelings of enjoyment and pride, such as having opportunities to make choices, participating in activities that were personally relevant, working within his instructional level and focusing on his successes.” SF Triplett. JAAL (Nov 04), 221.

Reading….. Research….. What are the characteristics of successful school reading programs? Characteristics of successful schools in developing high performing readers: goal is improved student learning; strong building leadership [redirecting people’s time and energy; developing a collective sense of responsibility for school improvement; securing resources and professional development for teachers; providing opportunities for teachers to collaborate; increasing instructional time; helping school staff persist despite difficulties]; strong staff collaboration; ongoing professional development; shared student assessment data; aligned to state or district standards and assessments; reach out to parents. BM Taylor, et al. RRQ (Jan/Feb/Mar 05), pp. 43-44. [Reactions: Each one of these concepts requires some thinking about what they mean and how to implement them.]

RRQ = Reading Research Quarterly. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. EE = Elementary English. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

English Update March 21, 2007.

The Reading Teacher. March 2007.
Reading….. Dyslexia….. What to do with dyslexic children: early intervention with intense, explicit instruction. Listen to parents. RF Hudson, et al. RT (Mar. 07), 513.

Reading….. Dyslexia Defined. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. Characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. Deficit in the phonological component of language that is unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities. Shaywitz and Shaywitz. 2003. RF Hudson, et al. RT (Mar. 07), 507.

Reading….. Dyslexia….. “Can dyslexia be cured? In a word, no. Dyslexia is a lifelong condition that affects people into old age. However, that does not mean that instruction cannot remediate some of the difficulties people with dyslexia have with written language.” RF Hudson, et al. RT (Mar. 07), 510.

Reading….. Dyslexia….. “Explicit, intense, systematic instruction in the sound structure of language (phonemic awareness) and in how sounds relate to letters (phonics) is needed for readers with dyslexia.” RF Hudson, et al. RT (Mar. 07), 512.

Reading….. Dyslexia…. “The role of motivation and fear of failing are important when discussing reading problems.” RF Hudson, et al. RT (Mar. 07), 512.

Reading….. Assumptions….. Don’t assume students know fundamentals about reading—like reading from left to right; like you must make sense out of what you read and if you don’t then you have to go back and fix it; like following the order of the letters. DG Litt. RT (Mar. 07), 570-574.

Vocabulary….. Technique….. Begin a vocabulary program by collecting character traits in the books and stories students read. Discussions of characters in stories will elicit words with which students are unfamiliar. T Manyak. RT (Mar. 07), 574-577.

Reading….. Fluency….. Students read short rhythmic poem (“Eensy weensy spider”) while walking. Physical motion supports the motion in reading—fluency. JL Peebles. RT (Marc. 07), 578-581.

Reading….. Involvement….. How help children become involved in reading a book? “…I am reminded of my childhood when skimming a book with only mild interest, I would start suddenly alert and begin reading in earnest.” V Hamilton. EE (Apr. 71), 302.

Reading….. Kindergarten….. Should reading be taught in kindergarten? 50% of teachers, some teaching of reading; 31% of teachers, regular teaching of reading; 19% of teachers, no teaching of reading in kindergarten. LaConte. EE (Apr. 71), 257.

Reading….. Modeling….. How can the teacher “model” reading as a teaching technique? Defines “think-alouds” as the teacher’s talking about and explaining to the students how she reads books, from overviewing to looking for important information, to predicting, to recognizing the author’s writing style, to relating to her own life and to using the knowledge. [I would have the students do these things after I have demonstrated them using an actual book, with their having a copy of that book.] CC Block & SE Israel. RT (Oct. 04), 154-167.

Reading….. Phonics….. What is “analogy-based phonics”? “In analogy-based phonics, the aim is to teach students to use known words to decode unknown words. For example, to decode the unknown word snap, the student might think of the known word map. Analogy-based phonics is systematic when a planned set of phonic elements is taught sequentially (Ehri, et al., 2001; Stahl et al., 1998). Phonic elements might include common spelling patterns as well as initial consonants, digraphs, and blends. I further define analogy-based phonics as systematic when teachers provide students with sufficient opportunities to transfer decoding skills to novel words containing spelling patterns that have been taught. finally, analogy-based phonics is strategic when, through teacher modeling, children learn that when they are reading and come to a word they do not know, they can try to ‘think of a word they do know’ (i.e., a word with the same spelling pattern).” TG White, “Effects of Systematic and Strategic Analogy-Based Phonics on Grade 2 Students’ Word Reading and Reading Comprehension.” 234. RRQ (Apr/May/Jun 05), 234-255 (File).

“In conclusion, this study suggests that analogy-based phonics instruction can be effective for low-and normally achieving grade 2 students when it is systematic and strategic and implemented by regular teachers as part of a balanced literacy program. Systematic means (a) teaching a planned sequence of phonic elements including common spelling patterns and initial sounds, and (b) providing sufficient opportunities for students to transfer decoding skills to novel words containing spelling patterns that have been taught. Strategic means that teachers explicitly model an analogy decoding strategy. TG White, “Effects of Systematic and Strategic Analogy-Based Phonics on Grade 2 Students’ Word Reading and Reading Comprehension.” 234. RRQ (Apr/May/Jun 05), 234-255 (File).

RT = Reading Teacher. EE = Elementary English. RRQ = Reading Research Quarterly.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

English Update March 20, 1007.LA March 07

Language Arts. March 2007.
The theme for this issue is “inclusion,” i.e., including the disabled and other marginal groups in mainstream classrooms.

Parents….. How can teachers improve communication with parents of disabled children? Teachers need to learn how to communicate with parents, minimizing the use of jargon, or explaining it, and listening to them, to stories about their disabled children. J Tuten. LA (Mar. 07), 314-324.

Disabled….. What happens when children are treated as if they are disabled and therefore incompetent? “If children are repeatedly treated as incompetent and disabled and/or regard themselves in this way, they will begin to identify themselves as incompetent disabled human beings.” B Edmiston. LA (Mar. 07), 343.

Homophobia….. Why don’t university professors include gay issues in their curriculum? “I am frustrated that few university professors find time in their curriculum to integrate the topics of homophobia and heterosexism into their classroom discussions of other ‘isms,’ like racism and sexism.” JM Hermann-Wilmarth. LA (Mar. 07), 349.

Homophobia….. What will happen if teacher educators include gay issues in their curriculums? “It is my belief that as more and more teacher educators find ways to integrate gay and lesbian issues into their classrooms—using children’s literature, films and discussions—more and more elementary school teachers will find ways to integrate those same issues into their classrooms, which will, in turn, become more inclusive spaces.” JM Hermann-Wilmarth. LA (Mar. 07), 355.

Inclusion….. Do marginal groups want to be included in mainstream cultures that tend to exclude people because of social class, language, gender and race? “Inclusion into what? Do I want to be included in a system that is fraught with systematic barriers for certain groups?” AJ Artiles and EB Kozleiski. LA (Mar. 07), 363.

Literature….. Race….. What are some interesting novels dealing with race? Ernest J. Gaines. A Gathering of Old Men. 1983. 18-year-old white woman named Candy and 17 elderly black men all confess to a murder in defense of their peer who has shot a Cajun farmer. ML Gomez. LA (Mar. 07), 365.

Inclusion….. How define “inclusion”?…special needs children being bodily located in the same physical environment as children without special needs. K Edwards, et al. LA (Mar. 07), 385.

Inclusion….. What are UN goals concerning special needs children? UN Heads of State, 2002: “Each boy and girl is born free and equal in dignity and rights; therefore all discrimination affecting children must end. We will take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including equal access to health, education and recreational services by children with disabilities, and children with special needs to ensure the recognition of their dignity; to promote their self-reliance and to facilitate their active participation in the community.” K Edwards, et al., LA (Mar. 07, 389.

Reading….. Genre….. What should be the roles of narrative and expository material in the reading program? Strike a balance between narrative and expository reading in the elementary grades. LB Gambrell. RT (Mar. 05), 588-591.

Reading….. Habit….. How much time do people today devote to reading? People 65 and over read about an hour a day. Ages 15-24, 8 minutes a day. Overall average, 19 minutes a day for men and 24 minutes a day for women. Spend 2.5 hours a day watching TV. [The 15-24 age group amazes me—no reading in school or for school? Or, is this based on reading when you are not required? Ray. ] US Dept of Labor, 2003. Wrt (Jan. 05), 10.

Reading….. Habit….. To what degree do Americans have the reading habit? “…only 5% of North Americans can be thought of as habitual readers, or, to put it rather more urgently, 95% of all those who attend school will probably never take to reading as a matter of habit.” [I think I would amend this statement to “…never take to reading books as a matter of habit.”] LF Ashley. “Children’s Reading Interests and Individualized Reading.” 1088.

LA = Language Arts. Wrt = The Writer. RT = Reading Teacher.

Monday, March 19, 2007

English Update March 19, 2007. JAAL March 07.

Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. March, 2007.
This issue is devoted to electronic portfolios.

Curriculum….. Portfolios….. What are the values of portfolios? Portfolios support students’ reflection that can help them understand their own learning and document growth over time. HL Barrett. JAAL (Mar. 07), 436.

Curriculum….. Portfolios….. What can teachers learn from reviewing students' portfolios? Teachers reflect on the contents of students’ portfolios and are able to assess not only the students’ progress but also their teaching. T Hicks, et al. JAAL (Mar. 07), 450-458.

Curriculum….. Portfolios….. Here’s a wild idea. All student work is placed on a central bulletin board for all members of the class to comment on and make suggestions. What about students who do not want their work displayed for all to see it? K Fahey, et al. JAAL (Mar. 07), 461-469.

Curriculum….. Teacher Preparation….. Pre-service teachers put together electronic portfolios that are used in job interviews. What image do they want to create? HL Hallman. JAAL (Mar. 07), 474-485.

Curriculum….. Portfolios….. What is the effect on teachers who use portfolios assessment in their classrooms and to document their own progress as teachers? Does developing a portfolio as a teacher lead to/affect the teachers’ use of portfolios in their classes? SL Stansberry and AD Kymes. JAAAL (Mar. 07), 488-496.

Media….. Communication….. If we are going to have students use sound, pictures, video, text, etc. we need to help them understand how these media contribute to effective communication. BT Williams. JAAL (Mar. 07), 500-504.

Reading….. Comprehension….. What is the purpose of questions related to comprehension? “No question should be devised only to defeat a child or to embarrass his emerging confidence.” C Washburne. “Short Papers on Readiness, Reading Interests, Vocabulary Development and Comprehension.” 551.

Reading….. Content Areas….. How incorporate reading in the content areas into a basal program? Use chapter from a science text as a basal reading lesson. RE Sabaroff. 398.

Reading….. Definitions….. How does knowledge of phonemes affect learning to read? Inability to segment phonemes (i.e., unable to divide a word into its individual sounds); ineffective phoneme synthesis (i.e., unable to connect the sounds to form words). M Smith, et al. RT (Nov. 04), 302.

Reading….. English as a Second Langauge….. How prepare ESL students for reading? Emphasizes the importance of pre-teaching vocabulary and establishing questions to be answered for ESL students before reading. “One technique that is helpful in supporting ELLs’ reading and learning in academic content areas is ‘frontloading’ a lecture or assigned reading with activities that highlight key language. Such activities may include discussions aimed at eliciting and linking students’ related background knowledge, hands-on experiences that invite key questions, and highlighting of key vocabulary. In this way, important concepts, vocabulary and questions are identified before a lecture or reading begins.” C Harper & E deJong. JAAL (Oct. 04), 157.

Reading….. Fluency….. What role does fluency play in successful reading? “Reading fluency is one of the defining characteristics of good readers, and a lack of fluency is a common characteristic of poor readers.” Hudson, Lane and Pullen. RT (May 05), 702. [File] “…lack of reading fluency is also a reliable predictor of reading comprehension problems…. Once struggling readers learn sound-symbol relationships…and become accurate readers, their lack of fluency emerges as the next hurdle they face on their way to reading proficiency…. This lack of fluent reading is a problem for poor readers because they…focus on decoding at the word level that makes comprehension of the text difficult, if not impossible.” Hudson, Lane and Pullen. RT (May 05), 702. [File]

Reading….. Fluency….. How evaluate fluency of oral reading? Fluency should measure three components: oral reading accuracy, rate of oral reading and quality of oral reading—together, of course, with comprehension. JJ Pikulski & DJ Chard. RT (Mar. 05), 510-519.

JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. RT = Reading Teacher.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

English Update February 18, 2007 Archive

Literature….. Response….. What is the difference between retelling a story and summarizing it? Distinguish between re-telling a story and summarizing it. TR Haffner. N+ (Oct. 04), 3-4.

Literature….. Response….. How teach students to read literature? Teaching students to ask questions as they read, questions that they eventually use for discussion in class. “Rich discussion does not rest on a ‘real meaning’ of the text as determined by the teacher. The student-led novel discussions generated genuine give-and-take that exceeded my expectations. My letting go of the control of the questions meant that students were not only empowered but were also discovering how to comprehend text using a strategy. Self-questioning as they read helped them understand the process as a tool that good readers use to understand texts.” [123] SL Lloyd. JAAL (Oct. 04), 114-124. [File]

Literature….. SciFi….. What is the purpose of science fiction? The role of science fiction: the implications of technology; alternatives for the world’s future; help prevent consequences of uncontrolled technology. [Contradicts what I have always believed about literature, that it accomplishes no social change.] MJ Greenlaw. EE (Apr. 71), 201.

Reading….. Aloud….. Why do teachers read aloud to their students? “The most common reason teachers gave for reading aloud (in middle school) was to model aspects of fluent reading, such as pronunciation, intonation, rhythm, and style. Another frequently cited reason for reading aloud was to make texts more accessible to students. Teachers also specified ensuring all students were exposed to the information in the text. We speculated that these teachers may have been attempting to provide access for students who were unable or unwilling to read the text. Teachers also noted goals of reinforcing content and increasing students’ understanding or comprehension of the text.” LK Albright & M Ariail. JAAL (Apr. 05), 584.

Reading….. Aloud….. What kinds of books are not usually read aloud? Notable lack of nonfiction read alouds in middle school. LK Albright & M Arial. JAAL (Apr. 05), 587.

Reading….. Aloud….. Why should we read aloud to children even after they have learned to read on their own? “And even though children read well on their own, they never outgrow the pleasure of listening to good literature. Fifteen or twenty minutes should be regularly set aside for this.” RE Sabaroff. EE. 399.

Reading….. Basal….. What are some criticisms of basal readers? “Most criticisms directed at basal reader stories concern the unreal characters which tend to depict only middle-class families and use unreal language patterns.” R Ross in CM Kirkton. “Once Upon a Time… Folk Tales and Storytelling.” 1028. “Reading primers are narrative drills, not real books. Students should always have in the classroom real books for pleasure reading, and they should have time to read.” C Suhor. EE (Dec. 71), 921. “It is clear that we do not confine ourselves to reading in the basal reader. However, basal readers do lend themselves to skill development both in word recognition and comprehension and appreciation. But if they are to do so, they must be used intelligently, not mechanically. The given story or selection must be analyzed in advance by the teacher to see what kind of skill development would be suitable to it.” RE Sabaroff. EE. 397.

Reading….. Books vs. computers….. What are the values of printed books over electronic books? “The book is small, lightweight and durable, and can be stuffed in a coat pocket, read in the waiting room, on the plane…. Books give aesthetic and tactile pleasure…from the moment of purchase until the last page is turned. Books speak even when they stand unopened on the shelf. If you would know a man or woman, look at their books, not their software…. Nobody is going to sit down and read a novel on a twitchy little screen. Ever. EA Proulx. Wrt (Nov. 94). Wrt (Nov. 04), 8.

Reading….. Comprehension….. How use both nonfiction and fiction in working with a topic? Use information texts to build up students’ background knowledge on a topic and then use fiction to add a personal dimension to their knowledge of the topic. J Soalt. RT (Apr. 05), 680-683.

Reading….. Comprehension….. How help students improve comprehension? “Background knowledge is an important factor for creating meaning, and teachers should help students activate prior knowledge before reading so that information connected with concepts or topics in the text is more easily accessible during reading.” LS Pardo. RT (Nov. 04), 274. “The author’s intent in writing the text can influence how a reader interacts with that text, particularly if this intent is made known through a foreword, back-cover biography….” LS Pardo. RT (Nov. 04), 275.

N+ = Notes Plus. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. EE = Elementary English. Wrt = The Writer. RT = Reading Teacher.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

English Update March 17, 2007 Archive

Literature….. Children’s….. What are the characteristics of “radical change” picture books? “Radical change” picture books change familiar stories, change perspectives in the course of the stories and leave endings unresolved. S Pantaleo. RT (Oct. 04), 178-187.

Literature….. Criticism….. How help students learn and apply critical theories? Have students learn critical theory by breaking them into groups, each group responsible for becoming experts in a particular theory, demonstrating its use on a text and teaching that theory to the other groups. K Hinton. EJ (Nov. 04), 60-64.

Literature….. Culture….. How prepare students to read multicultural literature? In order for students to get the most from multi-cultural literature, they need increased background information about various cultures. JH Dressel. RT (May 05), 750-764.

Literature….. Culture….. Why read multicultural literature? Students read multi-cultural literature in order to understand the perspective of the characters toward the world, perspectives different from the readers’. B Louie. JAAL (Apr. 05), 568-578.

Literature….. Poetry….. How teach students to write poetry? When reading poems with children, consider how the poem or parts of the poem can be used as a model for the children’s writing their own poems. JL Certo. RT (Nov. 04), 266-271.

Literature….. Poetry….. What are young students’ opinions about poetry? Third Grader: Some of them [poems] are sad and some are funny. The funny ones are for kids and the sad ones are for adults, I think.” MW Harp. “Poetry in the Primary Grades.” 1171.

Literature….. Poetry….. What are some reasons that children misinterpret poetry? IA Richards: “The inability to respond to poetic imagery is one of the major causes for misreading and misinterpreting poetry.” H Livingston. “Art and Poetry,” 101.

Literature….. Poetry….. How help students understand the differences between poetry and prose? Teacher re-tells a poem in prose. Students compare the prose and poetic versions. Shows differences in genre and in voice. D Woodard. N+ (Oct. 04), 4-5.

Literature….. Purpose….. Why read literature? “As literacy educators, we believe in the power of literature to help our students understand life and create visions for the future.” DL Taylor. JAAL (Dec. 04), 298. [Literature, by and large, paints life realistically. Some call that depressing. Candid readers will admit that much literature is tragic. “Understanding life” means understanding the problems and passions that life entails. It means looking directly at the problems of living, of personality, of relationships. Reading literature is not usually a “joyous” experience. It raises questions about living, explores the problems of living and strengthens our understanding of the complexities of living. Stop painting literature as looking at life through rose-colored glasses.]

Literature….. Purpose….. What is the purpose for writing imaginative literature? Imaginative literature asks questions. UK Leguin. Wrt (Dec. 04), 8.

Literature….. Race….. What are some problems in discussing racial issues? On discussions of race. Fox (2001): “All of us fear saying the wrong thing, or not being understood, or not grasping the experience of others, especially once we begin to see how different that experience can be from our own.” BT Williams. JAAL (Oct. 04), 164.

Literature….. Bibliotherapy Lit Research What is the evidence for the success of bibliotherapy? “In summary, most of the positive evidence for bibliotherapy comes from case studies and that may be about where it will remain for sometime.” SW Lundsteen, “A Thinking Improvement Program Through Literature.” 510.

Literature….. Response….. Why read literature? Finds that the experience with shifting perspectives and voices in alternative text worlds leads students to recognize their own reality as only one version of reality. HV Blackford. RTE (Nov. 04), 192. (abs.)

Literature….. Response….. What happens when we isolate only the verbs in a work of literature? “To truly appreciate the pure physicality of the novel’s verbs, we had to extract those words and bring them to life.” J Schwartz. EJ (Nov. 04), 32.

Literature….. Response….. How respond to a novel? Students dramatize scenes from a novel. L Macy. RT (Nov. 04), 245.

RT = Reading Teacher. EJ = English Journal. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. N+ = Notes Plus. Wrt = The Writer. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English.

Friday, March 16, 2007

English Update March 16, 2007 Archive

Curriculum….. Technology….. What are the advantages and disadvantages of technology in the classroom? “What one gets from a technology must be balanced against what one stands to lose as a consequence of it….” H Karl. EJ (Nov. 04), 22.

English as a Second Language….. Content….. What is the goal for ESL students? Developing language facility as an ESL learner and at the same time acquiring content knowledge is difficult. MW Seng. “Oral Language Instruction and the Development of Cognitive Skills: Some Perspectives.” 571-583.

English as a Second Language….. Teaching….. What works with ESL students? Finds that a challenging curriculum that teaches academic vocabulary, promotes awareness of multiple word meanings and models word-learning strategies such as using contextual information, morphology and cognates significantly improves the performance of both ELL and EO fifth graders…. MS Carlo, et al. RTE (Nov. 04), 198. (abs.)

Language….. Competency….. How test a person’s competency in using language? “Transformational grammarians often use the ability of native speakers of English to interpret ambiguous sentences as evidence of linguistic competence. For example, the person who perceives two interpretations of a sentence like "Visiting relatives can be bothersome" must be able to process the grammatical relationships involved in each interpretation.” Sr. JM Jurgens. “Perceptions of Lexical and Sturctural ambiguity by Junior and Senior High School Students.” 497.

Literature….. Image….. How help students understand the concept of “image”? Begins with a dollar bill and questions about the images on it. Proceeds to images of American minorities and majorities. Raise questions about the images and their origins and the impressions they give. Does the same with literature of the decades—what image of the decades do the works of literature project? R Petrone & R Gibney. EJ (May 05), 35-39.

Literature….. Purpose….. Why read literature? “The poorest human in the world is he who is limited to his own experiences….” SW Lundsteen. “A Thinking Improvement Program Through Literature.” 512.

Literature….. Censorship….. What are some of the reasons that books are censored? Edward B. Jenkinson’s list of reasons books are challenged and banned: Children question authority; profanity; characters speaking non-standard English; African American literature and dialect; portrayal of women in traditional and non-traditional roles; mythology; non-Christian culture; supernatural; ethnic; violence; sex acts and language; invasion of privacy; too many cartoons; homosexuality; do not champion work ethic; don’t promote patriotism; negative view of parents and authority; SciFi; questionable authors; trash; nontraditional family; promoting self-awareness and self-understanding; promoting critical thinking; unfavorable to African Americans; use of masculine pronouns to refer to male and female. LK Winkler. EJ (May 05), 49.

Literature….. Censorship….. How help students understand the concept of censorship? Students examine picture books to find elements that could be challenged. Students play roles of parents, administrators, etc. Prepare position on whether the book should be banned, restricted or retained. Essay organized as follows: intro with student’s opinion about the book and author; summary of the book; reasons for the opinion; show understanding of others’ point of view; conclusion. LK Winkler. EJ (May 05), 50-51.

Literature….. Censorship…… What is the essential issue in censorship? [We do expect books and language to influence the attitudes, actions and lives of students. Censors don’t want books that will influence students to copy the use of profanity, engaging in sex, etc. For example, the use of the word “Nigger” with the tone of hate and contempt in Huck Finn could generate feelings of racism in the reader. How deal with these characteristics of books in such a way that the students remain objective and are not unduly influenced to the degree that they use them as models of behavior?] Here’s the passage that inspired this reflection: “While literature may not eliminate homophobia, nor alleviate the risks stemming from it, well-written books may help subvert the culture of silence still current in many school environments and offer a supportive framework for self-understanding by gay and lesbian teens. Moreover, books such as the ones discussed here may help heterosexual students who are homophobic to question their traditional assumptions in order to lead lives not bound and threatened by prejudices and fears. These recent works will generally affirm the lives of gay and lesbian teens and may expand the horizons of their heterosexual peers.” TL Norton & JW Vare. EJ (Nov. 04), 69. [Who’s to say that these books, on the other hand, will not turn homosexuality into an attractive life style for their heterosexual peers?]

Literature….. Censorship….. Why are folktales censorable? “The use of folktales, especially fairy tales, is somewhat controversial. Some disapprove ‘for moral and religious reasons, asserting that the craft and cunning that often help folk heroes achieve their purposes does not instill worthy ideals in children.’ Others contend that youngsters can and do differentiate between fantasy and realism and folk literature does not condone this kind of behavior; it merely shows that it exists.” CM Kirkton. “Once Upon a Time… Folk Tales and Storytelling.” 1025.

EJ = English Journal. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

English Update March 15, 2007

Literature..... Censorship...... CompuServe is no more responsible for messages posted on its system than book store owners for the contents of their books. DLN (Dec. 2, 94), A7.

Literature..... Censorship..... “Silent Night” is forbidden in schools while condoms are available in the nurse’s office. DLN (Dec. 13, 94), A3.

Literature..... Censorship..... “The answer to bad TV is to switch channels or turn it off, complain at the top of our voices and, if necessary, boycott the advertisers. If a majority of Americans are truly offended and not reveling in the slop they claim to detest, things will be set aright. If they prefer to indulge their worst instincts, censorship will not save us.” DLN (Dec. 12, 95). A9.

Literature ..... Censorship..... “Tolerance of an activity means endorsement.” Putting the authority to censor in the hands of local groups will mean chaos and many different “community” standards. The answer to objectionable material is to turn it off or don’t turn it on in the first place. If people don’t watch it, advertisers won’t support it. DLN (Dec. 14, 95), A12.

Literature..... Censorship..... “Indecent” defined: “Language or material tha, in context, depicts or describes in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs.” WSJ (Dec. 15, 95), A2.

Literature..... Censorship..... American Online has decided to reject certain words used in its online network, including “breast.” Reversed their decision when cancer societies objected. “Body parts that might be named in medical diagnoses do not fall under the category of offensive online communication.” Inq. (Dec. 2, 95), A2.

Literature..... Censorship..... Newt Gingrich: How do you maintain the right of freedom of speech for adults while also protecting children in a medium which is available to both? Inq. (Jul. 30, 95), c1/c8.

Literature..... Censorship..... How define the role of on-line services? Publisher or library? [For what it’s worth, I cannot see how on-line services could be called “publishers.” Publishers’ control over publications is exacting, for the purpose of selling a particular product by a particular author. Control of the content of materials published is the source of tension between author and publisher throughout the process, with authors often submitting to ‘suggested’ changes. Further, the publisher actively markets the materials in their finished form. The purpose of the publisher is to sell the materials submitted for publication. The purpose of individual members of on-line services is to express their opinions. The online service is not actively involved in helping the member sell the opinions expressed.]

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Teaching English in Two-Year Colleges March 07

Writing..... Assignment..... Students complete an “Op-ed” piece. Should include a description of the problem and a solution. K Strasma. TETYC (Mar. 07), 261.

Writing..... Assignment..... Students view film together, then review it. Note on what they agree and what they don’t. K Strasma. TETYC (Mar. 07), 260.

Writing..... Assignment..... Students write an essay modeled on Newsweek’s “My Turn.” K Strasma. TETYC (Mar. 07), 258.

Writing..... Assignment..... “Trendsetter’s Composition.” Students report on a trend they have observed, with examples. K Strasma. TETYC (Mar. 07), 259.

Literature..... History..... Literature and history are alike in that they both tell stories. How are their story-telling methods alike and different? ED Devet. TETYC (Mar. 07), 279-286.

Writing..... Interview..... First assignment is to interview a classmate and write it up. Diagnostic writing tool. We need to pay more attention to teaching skillful interviewing in class. Interviewing skills are important in many careers. BA Morris. TETYC (Mar. 07), 287-290.

Curriculum..... Students..... Students are blamed for their own failures when, in fact, the society is the cause of their failures. WH Thelin & K Taczak. TETYC (Mar. 07), 295.

Writing..... Editing..... In addition to a class handbook for writing and editing, keep a stock of individual handbooks that have special features helpful for different problems in learning to write. SK Miller-Cochran. TETYC (Mar. 07), 335.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

English Update March 13, 2007

Curriculum..... Parents..... How involve parents in their children’s education? Give parents suggested activities for follow up at home on what is being taught in the classroom. File. S Darling. RT (Feb. 05), 476-479.

Curriculum..... Profession..... How define a “professional”? Abraham Flexner (1915) on defining a profession: A profession involves essentially intellectual operations with large individual responsibility, derives raw materials from science and learning; works this material up to a practical and definite end. WA Jenkins. “A Sense of Profession.” 519.

Curriculum..... Research..... What are some problems with educational research? Problem: Translating educational research into classroom practice that improves student performance. BM Taylor, et al. RRQ (Jan/Feb/Mar 05), 40-41.

Curriculum..... Strategies..... What do we mean by “strategies” in learning? Focus on teaching children strategies to use when they read and write. What strategy will students use, for example, when they summarize a book? KR Mehigan. RT (Mar. 05), 552-566.

Curriculum..... Teaching..... Why are teachers NOT technicians? “This research perspective affords a close look at the complexities of the teacher’s role in both leading and empowering students, and therefore validates teachers at a time when they are often simply viewed as technicians.” P Whitin. RTE (May 05), 365.

Curriculum..... Teaching..... How does a teacher’s language affect students’ learning? “Early childhood teachers understand that ‘What is the sound at the end of the word’ assumes that the child knows the concepts letter, word, sound, and end (or left-right progression of letters).”

Curriculum..... Teaching..... How improve teacher growth in teaching? Schedule study groups among teachers on particular problems and topics. Provide professional reading materials dealing with the topic or problem. C Cobb. RT (Feb. 05), 472-474.

Curriculum...... Inservice...... Question to teacher prep students or to classroom teachers: “Do you agree with this statement?” Interesting way to begin a class. Put the statement on the board and have students respond, first orally and then in writing.

Curriculum..... Teaching..... What do the terms “formal” and “informal” mean? “While the terms ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ seem ubiquitous in the educational literature, we wonder if their definitions may be more elusive than is generally acknowledged.” C Williams and K Hufnagel. RTE (Feb. 05), 261. [Reactions: I think of ‘formal instruction’ as direct instruction. I think of ‘informal’ methods as inquiry, focusing on answering questions to which the students do not know the answer. Another either/or type of issue. Both methods work.]

Curriculum..... Teaching..... What do we know about students’ education before they have reached our level? As teachers, we need to understand what has occurred before our students reach us and what will occur after they leave us. Ray. 2005. [Reactions One of my many failures as language arts supervisor, K-12. I needed to do more to inform each level—elementary, middle school/junior high, high school, college—of what was occurring at other levels. A daunting task, but it could well have been my ticket to observations at each level. Couple that purpose with the purpose of evaluating the implementation of the language arts curriculum and I would have had plenty of reasons for observing classroom teaching. I could have sent questionnaires to the various colleges to which our students would tend to go. And I would need to make very clear that my purpose is not to evaluate teachers’ teaching. ]

Curriculum..... Teaching..... How can teachers of all subjects motivate students to read? Teachers, even of Phys ed, need to think of texts—books, Internet sites, magazines—that are related to their subjects and give students a chance to explore them. PB Marlett & CJ Gordon. JAAL (Nov. 04), 226-237.

Curriculum..... Teaching..... What are some questions that help teachers plan their lessons? Three questions suggested by Postman & Weingartner as teachers plan their lessons: What am I going to have my students do today? What’s it good for? How do I know? SL Vanderstaay. EJ (Nov. 04), 53.

Curriculum...... Teaching...... How use the computer in the classroom? Before teaching any unit, be sure to explore Web sites dealing with that unit. Will build background knowledge, could raise questions, could be useful as follow-up activities. Suggested by LD Labbo, who gives Web sites to attract children involved with poetry. RT (Nov. 04), 308-311.

Curriculum..... Teaching..... What are some different philosophies of teaching? “What Margaret Mead has done, without explicitly intending it, is to describe the possibilities of a new kind of classroom, a classroom in which all—including the teacher—are learning and exchanging and developing, discovering together….” JE Miller, Jr. EE (Apr. 71), 176. “Induction is probably the most permanent way to learn something.” WA Jenkins. EE (Apr. 71), 183.

RT = Reading Teacher. RRQ = Reading Research Quarterly. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. EJ = English Journal. EE = Elementary English.

Monday, March 12, 2007

English Update March 12, 2007

Curriculum..... Grouping..... What are some types of student grouping other than ability? Some types of groups other than ability grouping: needs groups; interest groups; research groups; tutorial groups; reading level; departmentalized teaching—one teacher teaches reading and language arts, another math, a third social studies; multi-grade and multi-age grouping; ungraded—students move through reading and math levels; dual progress—core program half day and electives the other half of the day. WH Miller. “Some Less Commonly Used Forms of Grouping.” 989-992.

Curriculum..... Humor...... What are some common experiences with language that could be improved? Offer a mini-lesson on how to tell a joke. PL Earls. “Humorizing Learning.” 107-108.

Curriculum..... Inquiry..... What are some language investigations in which to involve students? Ask students what letters are silent and in what circumstances. RE Sabaroff. EE. 395.

Curriculum..... Inservice..... What are some unusual methods of teacher inservice? “Coaches used writer’s notebooks to capture the process of their own learning.” A Donnelly, et al. LA (May 05), 341. Teachers collaboratively plan a lesson. One teacher teaches it. The others observe and collect data. The lesson is then revised and taught again to a different group of students. J Hurd & L Licciardo-Musso. LA (May 05), 388-395. [File]

Curriculum..... Inservice..... What is the purpose of teacher inservice programs? “Our belief is that what teachers experience in professional development will transfer to their work with students in the classroom.” CH Casbon, et al. LA (May 05), 365.

Curriculum..... Inservice..... What are some models for lesson plans? Form used in “lesson study”: Date; site; planning team; title of lesson; goals of the lesson; relationship of the lesson to the California standards; rationale—what do students understand about this topic? What more do we want them to understand? Lesson description: introduction; activities; summing up; evaluation; what we want to look for during the lesson observation; conclusions. J Hurd & L Licciardo-Musso. LA (May 05), 392.

Curriculum..... Inservice..... How improve teachers’ knowledge of children’s and Young Adult books? Give teachers brief annotations of the latest children’s and Young Adult books reviewed in professional publications. Suggested by LL Godfrey & FB School, “Annotated Bibliography for Third Graders.” The annotations are brief but clearly indicate the story line of each book. 124-131. [File]

Curriculum..... Interdisciplinary..... What is the rationale for interdisciplinary studies? “They [Postman and Weingartner] insisted that all academic subjects are, in essence, studies of the language of these disciplines….” TP Moran. EJ (Nov. 04), 25.

Curriculum..... Learning..... How teach students how to learn? Teaching students how to learn by involving them in tutoring. ES Friedland & DM Truscott. JAAL (Apr. 05), 550-562.

Curriculum..... Literacy across the Curriculum..... How chart teacher growth in understanding of interdisciplinary studies? Article contains questions asked by pre-service and inservice teachers about literacy across the curriculum—at the beginning of class, during the class and at the end of the class. M Lesley. JAAL (Dec. 04), 320-334. [Having the students try the techniques on themselves to see how their own learning was affected and then projecting how the activity would affect their students would be one suggestion I would make to the author. She had them write a “place-based” paper on some place they observed. However, she gave no purpose for the assignment and students were unable to understand its relevance. I would anchor my approach to literacy across the curriculum in the DRA, writing to learn, the essay exam and research paper, activities that would fit comfortably with what content teachers already do. The class involved angry confrontations. The teacher gave little direction except to have students try to figure out the answers to their questions about literacy across the curriculum and to understand by themselves the relevance of activities. She gave no direction about how to operate in groups, just put them into groups and gave them the task. The teacher tried to demonstrate critical literacy by having the students engage in it, but she offered no suggestions as to how to control and direct the process in their own classes. Most teachers will not let anarchy reign in their classrooms and this was anarchy in the teacher education classroom.]

Curriculum..... Math..... How apply student learning to real-world situations? The Math Standards recommend that students should learn math in contexts outside of math, in other words, in real world applications, like finance. HS Shultz. MT (Apr. 05), 531-532. Author sets out to answer the question, “How fair and accurate are drug tests of student athletes,” another real-world application of math. IE Lyublinskaya. MT (Apr. 05), 536-543. “Teaching probability and statistics through game shows.” MA Carlton & MV Mortlock. MT (Apr. 05), 564-564. Connect what students are learning in school to what people actually do with these skills in the real world. BV Street. RTE (May 05), 417-423.

EE = Elementary English. LA = Language Arts. EJ = English Journal. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English. MT = Mathematics Teacher.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

English Update March 11, 2007

Critical thinking..... Attitude..... How define critical thinking? “I link the term critical thinking with the doubting game. I don’t see how ‘critical’ can ever be pried away from its connotations of criticism, arguments, doubt and skepticism.” P Elbow. CE (Mar. 05), 39.

Critical thinking..... Attitude..... What are some characteristics of illogical thinking? “…this fight against either/or thinking.” P Elbow. CE (Mar. 05), 398.

Critical thinking..... Defined..... How practice critical thinking? Students collect bumper sticker messages, then discuss and interpret them and infer the characteristics of people who display them. LA Morton-Meier. JAAL (Nov. 04), 280-283.

Curriculum..... Adolescence..... What are the effects of the traditional stereotype of the adolescent? “Traditional…conceptions of adolescence as a time of turbulence, raging hormones and immaturity diminish adolescents’ voices and agency. These conceptions downplay adolescents’ individuality and diversity. An emerging awareness of adolescence as socially constructed, rather than biologically determined, helps create space for new understandings of adolescents and what they need to succeed in school.” F Serafini, et al. RRQ (Oct/Nov/Dec 2004), 487-488.

Curriculum..... Adolescence..... How should teachers deal with adolescents? “Florez-Gonzalez tells educators to pay particular attention to the interests and needs of individual adolescents rather than treat them as a homogenized population without regard for individual differences.” F Serafini, et al. RRQ (Oct/Nov/Dec 04), 488.

Curriculum..... Assessment..... How can teachers help students become more conscious of how they learned what they learned? What is assessed is what is taught. However, teachers can deepen students’ understanding of how they learn effectively by having them reflect on what they did as they learned. P Johnston. RT (Apr. 05), 684-686.

Curriculum..... College..... In what way are two-year college teachers perceived differently from four-year college teachers? Teachers in community colleges are ‘marginalized” when compared to teachers in four-year colleges because two-year college teachers usually do not engage in scholarly activities, i.e., publishing. J Andelora. TETYC (Mar. 05), 107-108.

Curriculum..... Computer..... How can teachers learn to use the computer to help them in their instruction? Teachers define the methods they believe work best for them and then think about how to use the computer to extend these methods. LD Labbo. RT (May 05), 782-785.

Curriculum..... Distance Education..... What are some problems with distance education? Student criticisms of distance learning: Lack of audible communication; delays; time outs; material missed because of technological problems; 2-second-long microphone delays. A Blackstock and VN Exton. TETYC (May 05), 279-280. “One of the chief problems of using ITV to teach writing is the inherent difficulty of adapting a course as interaction-dependent as composition to a technology designed for the lecture format.” A Blackstock and VN Exton. TETYC (May 05), 381.

Curriculum..... Distance Education..... What is the value of distance education? “It comes down to a choice between making the courses available by means of an admittedly problematic technology and not making them available at all.” A Blackstock and VN Exton. TETYC (May 05), 382.

Curriculum..... Evaluation..... What are some innovative approaches to schooling? “They [students of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, Colorado] know what ‘mastery’ looks like (through rubrics) and have some say in creating rubrics…. They also know that there is no failure (they are simply not ready yet to demonstrate mastery), no ‘markers’ such as GPA or class rank that stay with them forever, because there are no grades.” LB Easton. EJ (May 05), 55.

Curriculum..... Evaluation..... How make evaluation of student achievement more explicit? Suggests keeping brief anecdotal records of each student’s achievement in class. Statements of achievement are concise, in a short sentence. F Boyd-Batstone. RT (Nov. 04), 230-239.

Curriculum..... Evaluation..... What do innovators in education frequently overlook? “A common criticism leveled at educators is that they innovate but frequently fail to evaluate.” AV Bailey & G Housekeeper.

Curriculum..... Evaluation..... What are some problems with innovation? “Solutions” to educational problems may inadvertently create as well as solve problems. RF Robinett. EE (Apr. 71), 208.

Curriculum..... Goals..... How involve students in their education? Have students design their ideal school. KA Nugent. EJ (Nov. 04), 37-42.

CE = College English. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. RRQ = Reading Research Quarterly. RT = Reading Teacher. TETYC = Teaching English in the Two-Year College. EJ = English Journal. EE = Elementary English.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

English Update March 10, 2007

Literature..... Censorship..... “We must protect the ideas we hate.” DLN (Dec. 28, 94), A6.

Literature..... Censorship..... Suggests that dismissal for moral reasons may extend to those who select the immoral books read in English class. DLN (Dec. 3, 94), A6.

Literature..... Censorship..... Education vs. indoctrination. Article written in connection with banning Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye at Morrisonville High School. Inq. (Dec. 6, 94), A15.

Literature..... Censorship..... Relationship between televised violence and social violence is thin. Inq. (Dec. 28, 94), A1/A10.

Literature..... Censorship..... Parents’ request to read aloud sections of book refused at West Chester School Board Meeting. Parents requested that books be rated as are movies. Inq. (Dec. 1, 94), cc2.

Literature..... Censorship..... Japanese are ardent consumers of violent porn but are one of the most law-abiding societies on earth. DLN (Dec. 14, 94), A12.

Literature..... Censorship..... Justification for controversial novels: strong themes can be discussed with adults in the “safe haven” of the schools. Arthur Applebee. DLN (Dec. 1, 94), A3.

Literature..... Censorship..... West Chester, PA, parents requested that overviews of books to be studied during the year be sent home so that they can determine their child’s participation. Inq. (Dec. 1, 94), cc2.

Literature..... Censorship..... West Chester, PA, panel to decide whether Lucy is too steamy for students Some teachers said they did not know the book would be required for all students. Inq. (Dec. 1, 94), cc9.

Literature..... Censorship..... Federal judge’s view that hate literature cannot be possessed by student because of school’s purpose to teach good citizenship. DLN (Dec. 31, 94), A1/A5.

Literature..... Censorship..... Title of editorial is usable: “Great Books Aren’t Polite.” Also points out the paradox that censors themselves have not been contaminated by the books they seek to ban. DLN (Dec. 30, 94), A10.

Literature..... Censorship..... Some signers of petition (28/185) to ban three multicultural books as pornographic written by female writers do not live in the West Chester School District. DLN (Dec. 1, 94), A3.

Literature..... Censorship..... Canada’s Butler Law defines pornography as harmful to women. Does not specify harmful characteristics, however. Not a censorship law, but a civil rights law. NYER (Oct. 2, 94), 76.

Friday, March 9, 2007

English Update March 9, 2007

College Composition and Communication. February 2007.

Writing..... Teaching..... “A majority of college students do not speak, write or read their own language well. Graduate instructors who direct master’s essays and doctoral dissertations are shocked at the extent to which they must become teachers of ‘hospital’ English. Yet we are aware that many of the candidates for higher degrees are already engaged in part-time teaching of freshman English. If they cannot recognize and correct their own egregious errors, what is happening to the end-products of their teaching?” Report of the Commission on the Humanities, 1964, p. 138. CCC (Feb. 07), 319.

Curriculum..... Society..... “Can you be ghetto without living in the ghetto?” KE Campbell. CCC (Feb. 07), 343.

Language..... Jargon..... “In order to maintain a strong-strong relationship, the CCI must consistently review what, and for whom, it is brokering. As educators, we have a unique perspective to witness and evaluate the relationship occurring in a local educationally based LMI such as the CCI.” M Pennell. CCC (Feb. 07), 370.

Curriculum..... Literacy..... We need to communicate with local community-based literacy providers. M Pennell. CCC (Feb. 07), 345-384.

Writing..... Issue..... People in the disciplines do not learn to write in their disciplines by any direct instruction, but by accumulating experience within the discipline. People outside the disciplines think their writing instruction is generalizable to all disciplines. M Carter. CCC (Feb. 07), 385.

Writing Across the Curriculum..... Disciplines have “meta genres,” forms of writing peculiar to the discipline. Professors in the disciplines should define these “meta genres” for their students. M Carter. CCC (Feb. 07), 385-418.

Writing/Speaking..... Forums..... “ ‘Indirect exclusions’ function tacitly through discursive norms and practices that prescribe particular ways of interacting in public forums.” WM Simmons and JT Grabill. CCC (Feb. 07), 420.

Writing/Speaking..... Issues..... The key to participating as a citizen when dealing with complex, technical issues is the ability to formulate the right questions. WM Simmons and JT Grabill. CCC (Feb. 07), 440.

Writing/Speaking..... Issues..... In order to participate in the decision-making process, we must learn how as non-experts to get the knowledge we need, usually through cooperation with others. WM Simmons and JT Grabill. CCC (Feb. 07), 419-448.

Writing..... Teaching..... “Disconnect” between how scholars see the teaching of writing and how we are teaching the students in front of us every day.” CR Farris. CCC (Feb. 07), 465.

Writing..... Personal..... We are emphasizing personal writing as a way of developing understanding of the diversity in the people around us. But never forget we are teaching writing and our goals include the skills of writing. PP Marzluf. CCC (Feb. 07), 465-469.

Reading..... Problems..... Discussing student reading at the college level is like discussing the weather—everyone complains about it, but nobody does anything about it. They don’t read assigned material. They think the teacher will cover it in lectures anyway. DA Jolliffe. CCC (Feb. 07), 470-471.

Reading..... How To..... “But by the time students come to college, it’s been a long time since students have had any instructor say to them, ‘Okay, let’s work on how to read this text.’ ” DA Jolliffe. CCC (Feb. 07), 473.

Reading..... Assignments..... “In a workshop I conducted recently, a very good high school teacher claimed that ‘the days of simply saying to your students, 'Read this for Friday' are long gone.’ ” DA Jolliffe. CCC (Feb. 07), 493.

Reading..... Attitude..... “Students bring to the classroom a notion of reading that is solitary, escapist and pleasurable; instructors expect interrogation and demonstration.” M Helmens. Qtd. in DA Jolliffe. CCC (Feb. 07), 482.

Reading..... Questioning..... Kathleen Yancey in Teaching Literature as Reflective Practice…addresses directly the lament with which I began this review essay: it’s not that students can’t read she says, ‘if by read we mean respond to a prescriptive set of instructions’; it’s that ‘they haven’t been asked to guide their own reading, to make their own questions.’” DA Jolliffe. CCC (Feb. 07), 485.

Reading..... Previews..... Daniels and Zemelman: Students create study guides to parts of textbooks Students read sections of the textbook and then teach the material to other students. DA Jolliffe. CCC (Feb. 07), 490.

Reading..... Comprehension..... Students should read other books in addition to their textbooks. DA Jolliffe. CCC (Feb. 07), 492. [I add, look up topics and questions on the Internet.]

Thursday, March 8, 2007

English Update March 8, 2007

Writing Textbook What is harder than teaching composition? Perhaps only one thing could be harder than teaching composition—and that is writing a composition text. LS Ede. CCC (Feb. 78), 69.

Writing Thesis Stressing the importance of a strong beginning, B. Ross-Larson writes, ‘Your main message is the one sentence you’d give to your reader if that’s what you’re limited to.’ CS Stepp in Rev. of B Ross-Larson’s The Web’s Impact on Writing…. American Journalism. Issue 8, 2002, p. 1.

Writing Thinking What is the relationship between writing and thinking? Peter Elbow attacks the rationalist, two-step model of first thinking, then writing and insists that writing is a way of thinking. J Kinney. CCC (Dec. 79), 355-356.

Writing Titles What kinds of titles grab the reader? …discovered the value of tags like, “The Story of…”; “The Truth about…”; “The Secret of…”; “Facts You Should Know About…”; “How To…”; and “…Made Plain.” L Conger. Wrt (Sept. 73), 10.

Curriculum Tracking What’s wrong with tracking? Creates expectations on the part of the teacher, affecting the quality of instruction. Teachers who teach upper-track classes often have more education and experience than those who teach lower-track classes.[To make matters even more complicated, teachers are also sorted into different tracks. Teachers who teach upper-track classes often have more education and experience than those who teach lower-track classes. S Caughlin & S Kelly. RTE (Aug. 04), 26. ]

Curriculum Tutoring How use tutoring? Use troubled older students to tutor younger students. P Lane, et al. JR (Feb. 72), 351-354.

Writing Usage Is sexist language discriminatory? In the spirit of combating sexism in language, an author named Jones objects to the indiscriminate use of people named “Jones” in examples used by teacher. VH Jones. CCC (Oct. 77), 283.

Writing Usage How use the resources of word processing programs to correct mistakes frequently repeated? [B Ross-Larson]: Modify the ‘auto-correct section of your word processor to flag frequent misusages such as ‘media is’ or ‘irregardless.’ CS Stepp in Rev. of B Ross-Larson’s The Web’s Impact on Writing…. American Journalism. Issue 8, 2002, p. 2.

Writing Writing across the Curriculum (WAC) What type of writing is emphasized in college? Most writing at the college level in all academic courses is expository. Not much use of “expressive” or “creative” writing. AR Gere. CCC (May 78), 185.

Writing Writing across the Curriculum (WAC) How do faculty outside of English feel about student errors in writing? “But do we have any evidence to support our assertion that faculty outside the English department are upset by English errors in student writing or that they are even capable of detecting such errors when confronted with them?” GC Klinger. CCC (Dec. 77), 343.

Writing Writing across the Curriculum (WAC) How do faculty outside of English feel about student writing? Author sampled college content teachers on “major” errors—those that are particularly irritating. Concludes, “English usage may not have a strong direct bearing on grading outside of English courses, but language errors are clearly distracting…to many instructors. On the other hand, undergraduates who have a firm command of proper English usage and who are skillful in written expression are likely to impress instructors favorably.” GC Klinger. CCC (Dec. 77), 247.

Writing Writing across the Curriculum (WAC) How teach students to write professional journal articles? Students in the social studies (history, psychology, criminology, geography and urban studies) learn how to write journal articles in their fields by reading them. EM Hoffman. CCC (May 77), 195-197.

Writing WAC How do content teachers use writing in their classes? Concludes that most faculty interviewed have not developed a coherent approach to the role of writing in their classes, are not aware of how to deal with problems in students’ writing and do not see possible connections between writing activities and other ways in which students learn. S Zemelman in RL Larson. CCC (May 79), 213.

Writing/Speaking What is the effect of our oral culture on students’ learning to write? [Ray: They write as they speak? Repetition, conversational vocabulary, i.e., “there,” “this,” “get,” “thing,” “it,” etc.?] Running words together (“alot”); confusion of similar-sounding words (“there/their”); misspelled words [tries, receive, existence, experience, persuade, neither, succeed, necessary, leisure, environment, dying, truly, writing, athlete, embarrass, definite, analyze, similar, disastrous]; sentence fragments; comma faults; omission of terminal “—ed”; proliferation of second-person pronoun; size of vocabulary. Compared 70s- and 50s-era papers. [File.] E Sloan. CCC (May 79), 156-160.

Literature Wonder What is the purpose for reading literature? It seems to me that we are losing our sense of wonder, the hallmark of our species and the central feature of the human spirit. M Konner. Psych Today (May 82), 91.

Reading Word recognition What do we mean by ‘word recognition’? We have to find the visual representation of a word in our visual memory and then apply phonological and semantic knowledge. (?) PH Salus and MW Salus in Understanding Reading Comprehension. J Flood, ed. Newark, DE, 1984, 138.

Literature YA What is the purpose for writing and reading Young Adult literature? M Hart: The young-adult writer’s obligation is to portray the world as teens experience it ‘in its glorious controversy.’ Qtd by EM Abbe, ed. Wrt (Oct. 04), 6.

Literature Young Adult How organize the literature program? The junior novel as a bridge from children’s lit to the classics. SI Ritt. JR (May 76), 627-634. [File.] “Most of the books chosen by the English committee at Alex’s [Mrs. Feinberg’s son’s] school are problem novels, and the curriculum proves inflexible. ‘We can’t ever say we don’t like the books,’ Alex tells his mother, because, according to his teacher, ‘if you’re not liking the books, you’re not reading them closely enough.’ The books are so depressing—‘Everybody dies in them,’ he told me wearily.” L Miller, NYT (Aug. 22, 04), Internet. [File.] …insistence on ‘making our children wake from the dream of their childhoods.’ Adults, she [Mrs. Feinberg] suspects, secretly resent the sheltered, enchanted world children inhabit and under the pretext of preparing them for life’s inevitable difficulties, want to rub their noses in traumas they may never actually experience and often aren’t yet able to comprehend. All the better to turn them into miniature grown-ups, little troupers girded to face a world where they have no one to count on but themselves. L Miller. NYT (Aug. 22, 04), Internet. [File.] Problem novels represent just a fraction of the YA market, but one particularly esteemed by educators and prize committees. (Newbery Medal winners are notoriously glum.) That, Daniel Handler, author of the best-selling Lemony Snicket series, told me recently in an interview, results from a ‘wrong-headed belief that the more misery there is, the more quality there is, that the most lurid, unvarnished stories are closest to the truth.’ Or, as one of Alex’s teachers put it, ‘A good book should make you cry.’ L Miller. NYT (Aug. 22, 04), Internet. [File.]

NYT = The New York Times. JR = Journal of Reading. Wrt = The Writer. Psych Today = Psychology Today. CCC = College Composition and Communication. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English.