Kindness: Can It Be Taught? Using Kindness As an Instructional Tool

Yes, it can be taught! Through action research, daily interactions, project based learning, and a little help from technology, building a culture of kindness is not only feasible, it’s part of the curriculum! Think you have too much to cover? This session will explore how you can tie kindness to content and course skills while promoting and supporting SEL.

Authenticity as Method: Keeping it Real with Students

The curricula and methods of ELA can be powerful tools for reaching disempowered, disconnected students and motivating them to act, think, interact, and appreciate through the enchantments of language and story and expression. In a discussion format, a panel of early career, veteran, and preservice teachers share their approaches to cutting through the malaise and resistance often promoted by school environments to reconceive school as a space for humanistic, creative, and moral involvement.

Art as entryways and escape routes

In today’s educational landscape, it is essential for students to have meaningful opportunities to engage in humanizing and antiracist pedagogy. Art can serve as both an entryway and an escape route to help students understand and challenge oppression. As texts, art can reveal our reality, highlight the difficulties of marginalized groups, and provide a space for antiracist discourse and action. In our classrooms, the examination and creation of art as story and justice allows students to confront the realities of racism and other oppressive forces in our everyday lives and challenge themselves and others to think critically about the ways in which it manifests in our society. Art can act as an entryway to ignite dialogue, inspire voice, build community and foster collective action. Additionally, it can also be used as an escape route to explore and express the complexities of racism and its implications, as well as a means to escape oppressive structures. . In this session ELA teachers will learn how to use art in ten ways in our antiracist ELA classrooms.

Keeping it Real: Shaping Adolescents’ Identity and Agency With YAL & Action Research

The pandemic and social divisiveness has exacerbated inequities and made it difficult for teens to reflect on their place in the world. Apprenticing adolescents in action research grounded by inclusive Young Adult novels is an authentic and engaging way to reframe their civic learning and empower them to shape their world for healing, dreaming, and unity. The presenters will share work grounded in Freire’s Critical Literacy theory and further scaffolded by scholarship in action research and positioning. The presenters will model how to use Young Adult Literature and Critical Action Research to provide students the participatory spaces to critique the world and engage them with relevant interrogation of texts and exploration of of political language, civic values, and their agency in the world (Cammarota & Fine, 2008, Freire, 2016; Mirra & Garcia, 2017). As educators continue to shape literacy practices, we recognize schools, one of the largest enculturating institutions in the world, have the opportunity to teach adolescents how to use literacy to navigate humanity & social contexts. This presentation is of interest to educators wishing to reimagine a liberating pedagogy that privileges inclusive adolescent voices.

AP Language: High Stakes + Low Stress = Remarkable Success

In an attempt to bolster enrollment and lower stress for both students and teachers, we have designed an AP Language and Composition class using a writing workshop model empowering students to explore topics that matter to them. Our AP Language and Composition pass rate exceeds 95%, and our enrollment in the course continues to grow each year. The course is designed to help students analyze everything from social media posts to peer-reviewed academic journals in an authentic, yet rigorous manner. Students complete nearly all work within the class period which helps to minimize student stress while maximizing time for in-class conferencing with the teacher. This session will focus on sharing ideas and strategies to help high achieving students who are often extremely busy and stressed find joy in researching, analyzing, and writing about issues they care about.

Going “Gradeless”: Equitable Assessment Strategies for the Reading and Writing Classroom

Going “gradeless” is becoming a popular approach as educators work to provide more equitable and authentic assessment and feedback that support all students. This presentation shares the experiences of a collection of middle school, high school, and college teachers who implemented various approaches to equitable grading, including going gradeless/pointless (Guskey, 2015; Zerwin, 2020), ungrading (Blum, 2020), and labor-based grading (Inoue, 2019a). In this presentation, we will share our findings and experiences with an emphasis on gradeless assessment practices for writing and reading instruction.

Sharing the Reader’s Journey: Facilitating Book Club  Podcasts

As choice reading continues to ensure that students of all abilities find enjoyment in reading, teachers incorporating choice reading into their curricula may seek ways to encourage student voice in discussions. This presentation will offer an idea to be applied for ongoing book club units or end-of-semester assessment. Students reading choice books trace their personal reactions to their reading to determine theme or genre-based connections with peer readers. They then apply podcast knowledge gained through class listening experiences to construct and record discussions of their reading journeys using the podcasting app Anchor.

Building Authentic Collaboration: Our Experiences as Dual-Enrollment Instructor and Embedded Librarian

Human Resources expert Tim Baker, in his 2019 text on performance and development strategies, theorizes 5 “pillars of authentic conversation” that allow colleagues to effectively collaborate and to “keep it real” in their working relationships. By identifying authentic approaches to task-focused conversations and people-focused conversations, Baker lays out a plan for co-workers in any environment to strategize, carry out their plans, address unhelpful behavior, build trust and appreciation, and move into the future. Faced with teaching dual-enrollment speech and composition classes in area high schools, the session presenters (a community college instructor and librarian) discuss their experiences as they formulated a strategy for collaborative teaching. They describe the Embedded Librarian role as it exists at their school and how their approaches to these shared courses have evolved along the way. Weaving in Baker’s terms and definitions of authentic conversation, the presenters share what worked and what didn’t in their collaborative teaching. The session also offers assessment data from when two of the dual-enrollment courses taught by the presenters were offered by high schools without a media center or librarian in their buildings.

Community in Action

How to add a zinger to the end of a novel unit that deals with hard topics. Go through the steps to create a discussion panel of experts. Your principal loves it, your school board loves it, and your students love it. This conversational piece is the type of activity that students will remember long after they have left your classroom and building behind them. It gives them a safe place to ask questions, make statements, and be heard while receiving wisdom, advice, and encouragement by community members who are experts in their fields.