The morning started off with a session on engaging struggling high school readers with Gay Ivey (from JMU). Here are a few of the novels she suggested:
- I Heart You, You Haunt Me
- Stuck In Neutral
- Paranoid Park
- Out from Bonneville
I really liked her suggestion of including a book “playlist” in classroom activities to further engage students. Basically, it’s a playlist of books, but instead of giving an overall synopsis of the novel, students find lyrics that relate to the book. (She felt that this was extremely useful for lower level readers.)
Next, a session devoted to rethinking 21st century literacies…
Korina Jocson (Washington University) started off. Why does all of this matter? (With “this” being the focus on 21st century literacies, the ideas of youth media, remixing, and the like.) Think: consumption, production, dissemination, recontextualization. All very powerful strategies to arm our students with.
Check out this site and click on “It’s a New Day” in the right side as an example of a mixed video. Also, here is another video that shows a remixed version of a song/video.
Imagine if we could get our students doing these things…WOW. And to wrap-up…look-up local youth media organizations near you…and just imagine the possibilities of mulitliteracies….
Then, Morrell and one of the local teachers he has worked with, Veronica Garcia, talked about and showed why it’s important to focus on what works.
Again, research has only focused on the problems, not the solutions for evolving pedagogies. We need to remember to look at the bigger picture –> challenging our students to re-create the world, showing them their own power! Essentially, powerful consumption = powerful production. We want students to decode text, yet understand all that’s behind them. We need to help students see themselves as intellectuals (think: word choice in the classrooms despite “labels”).
The day’s general session, the Middle School Mosaic, included more powerhouses (Kajder, Bauer, Morrell, Probst, Beers) and was definitely another amazing session. Let me tell you all, people were lined up hours before, waiting to get in. Front row seating was an absolute for many and I could see how waiting for hours could turn a bit “vicious” (ha) for those focusing solely on the front row. Lots of really, really smart ideas and lots of really, really thought-provoking “stuff”…but I have to admit, I’m still wondering if everyone really got the “so what?” factor that the convention stemmed around. We can talk about engaging mulitliteracies, we can talk about technology, we can talk about shift…but there’s so much more to it then saying, “I set up a class wiki.” More on this thought to come….