Literacy for the 21st Century Conference Program

Literacy for the 21st Century: Filling Gaps & Building Bridges



9:00 –10:30              Creating a Culture of Literacy

Jeri Callaway – Freedom Writers


Session One

10:40 – 11:30          Effective Student-Led Writing Centers

Kim Kotty – Fenwick High School

Georgia Schulte – Glenbard West High School

The writing center empowers students to take control over their own writing, to value their own ideas, and ultimately feel confident about their choices as a writer. This session will discuss best practices for planning, staffing and training student writing tutors and share how to use student-led writing centers to undergird the work of the classroom teacher.


10:40 – 11:30          Teaching the Holocaust Through Literature

Jill Rembrant

This session will help language arts teachers help their students understand what historical events took place that led up to the deportation of Jews to the death camps and the Final Solution. Students will examine primary resources, including visual history testimony, art and diary entries in order to understand this difficult topic before they meet the victims of Nazi terror. In this way, they can begin to examine the concept of how choices made then and today  shape the world in which we live.


10:40 – 11:30          We Are All Thinking Teachers

Lynnette Rotramel

Literacy in today’s digital world is more complicated than reading and writing. It requires making meaning of a myriad of messages. How do we move beyond covering content in order to develop critical thinking skills, cross curricular lines, and help our students make meaning of increasingly multimodal messages? Memorization of information is no longer the goal of education. Literacy means making sense of the information that is at our fingertips. Feel confident to support the reading and thinking skills of your students in this interactive presentation designed to help you to teach reading strategies and prepare your students for 21st century literacy. Applicable for reading and content teachers in grades 4-12.

11:40 – 12:20 LUNCH

Session Two

12:40 – 1:30             Many Voices, Many Truths: Building Bridges to the World, One Poem at a Time

Norman Boyer – Saint Xavier University

Poems from around the world are an ideal way of filling gaps in global awareness and building bridges with the world in our classrooms.  This presentation will introduce you to short, teachable Polish, Arabic, Persian, Latin American, Chinese, and Japanese poems.  They will be read in the original language by native-speaking friends and colleagues as recorded by the presenter. 


12:40 – 1:30             Creating Epic Writing Rubrics

Callie Stanley, Mona Busch, Michele Amato, Casey Kennett, Hayley Hoffmeyer

In this interactive session, participants will focus on the qualities of an instructional writing rubric including research supported best practices with rubrics. This will include strategies for using a single rubric over an extended period of time and for multiple assignments, using a rubric instructionally rather than just in a summative way, using a rubric to guide conferencing with students, and using rubrics to support writing across all content areas. Participants will practice strategies for appropriate rubric use, create a multifunctional writing rubric to use with their students, and leave with other rubric resources that they can use in their teaching.


12:40 – 1:30             Video Games in the English Classroom

Donna Binns – Eastern Illinois University

In this interactive session, participants will learn about reading and writing with video games.


Session Three

1:40– 2:30                Connecting Literature to Life: Interdisciplinary Approaches in the English Classroom

Kim Kotty – Fenwick High School

Georgia Schulte – Glenbard West High School

Though schools subjects are neatly stratified into discreet subjects, the world is not. This session will offer ideas for how to authentically make connections between the literature we teach and the modern world in which we live. It will discuss how to incorporate the media of our day to day lives– primarily advertising, television, and music– both as primary and parallel texts. 


Session Three, Cont’d

1:40– 2:30                Accept the Challenge

Deb Will – Zion Benton High School

Young adult literature has gained popularity, but selecting texts that can not only be read for enjoyment but also studied as literature can be difficult.  I present a selection of texts that have literary value and may be incorporated into English classrooms.  I include books both students and teachers will love!

1:40– 2:30                Analyzing and Writing Narratives

Mark Sujak – Morton East High School

Both the Common Core and the PARCC exam place importance on narrative skills that are often overlooked in the ELA classroom. This session will look at Common Core and PARCC aligned techniques to both analyze and write narrative fiction and non-fiction memoirs.


Session Four

2:40 – 3:30               Read, Think, SPEAK: Using YA Literature in Nontraditional High School Disciplines

Gretchen Zaitzeff and Jeff Wollenweber – U-High

Learn how University High School has incorporated classic and award-winning YA literature in its Freshman Wellness and AP Calculus curriculums. Discuss the possibilities of collaborating with your school’s librarian and other colleagues to build cross-curricular support for improving literacy while meeting state learning standards. Brainstorm ways to embed literacy skills in STEM and other non-traditional courses.


2:40 – 3:30               I Can Name that Theme in 6 Words (or Fewer)

Kristin Runyon – Charleston High School

I had an AHA! moment last year when I realized my students could name a thematic topic, such as appearance versus reality or the American dream, but they could not describe what we the readers were supposed to learn about that thematic topic (the life lesson). I will share with you two activities, the Literary 3×3 and the Six-Word Memoir, that require students to choose the most accurate words to concisely state a life lesson. I will also share a debate strategy, Thunderdome (yes, Mad Max style), in which the students have to support their choices.


2:40 – 3:30               Teaching News Literacy in the English Classroom

Elizabeth Marino – News Literacy Project

News literacy teaches students how to sort fact from fiction and how to be responsible news consumers and creators.This session will give English teachers an overview of news literacy, practical tips on how to integrate news literacy into ELA middle and high school classrooms, and a variety of resources to begin using right away with students.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.