Thursday, October 4, 2007

Language Arts. September 2007.

Some ideas on teaching English from the journal Language Arts, September 2007, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

How help children practice their reading?
Children at noon meet adult volunteers from corporations to eat together and engage in a variety of reading activities. Such a program must be supervised. Teachers and reading specialists can help the volunteers select books and offer suggestions about activities to use with the individual children. ET Dawes. LA (Sep. 07), 10-19.

How help young children to relate literacy and science?
Kindergarten students observe bird feeder outside the classroom. They raise questions, learn to use bird publications, record their findings, take pictures for reference and evidence of the answers to their questions, etc. P. Whitin. LA (Sep. 07), 20-30.

How help young students become interested in words?
Student wears a "hat" (a crown) with an interesting word he has discovered written on it so that when other children or people ask about the word, he can explain it to them. P Pargh, et al. LA (Sep. 07), 31-42.

How involve the community in the classroom?
In this article, a poet who resided in the community became a guest teacher of poetry to 8th-grade students. AM Wiseman. LA (Sep. 07), 43-51.

How should schools be reformed?
Author suggests that beyond fifth grade in which basic skills are taught, students should engage in independent study with less and less time devoted to a standardized curriculum. J Lemke. LA (Sep. 07), 52-61. *** [RayS. One of the most interesting ideas I have encountered in my professional journals. Working out the details of such a reform will be difficult, but I think it is an idea worth pursuing.]

How deal with the problems of urban education?
We need to change the image of urban areas by presenting positive images of what actually occurs in urban areas. V Kinloch. LA (Sep. 07), 61-68. [RayS: All right, this will not solve all the problems of urban education, but I think it is one piece of the puzzle. The only images of urban areas I see are the "If it bleeds, it leads" of Channel 6, Action News each night--a daily chronicle of murder, rape, arson, and other assorted violence, etc. The perfunctory 30-second image of students gathered around the piano or receiving awards does not convey the kind of positive image needed to change people's views of urban areas.]

What are some examples of ugly and confusing language in educational publication or, when is an idea not an idea?
"Hope and possibility are key dimensions in the development of agentic identities." " opportunities to reframe the outcomes of education." p. 76. "One danger of undertheorizing transfromative learning...." p. 78. "It's about designing a particular kind of ecology that is saturated with tools, forms and networks of support...." p. 73. "Identifying the contradictions in the various activity systems that make up people's everyday lives...." p. 72. " practices that are not thoughtfully mediated...." p. 74. KG. LA (Sep. 07). [RayS. Ugh!]

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