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.

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.

The Larry Johannessen New Teacher Forum

This interactive discussion session will address fears, hopes, and strategies for success in teaching. Student teachers and teachers in their first few years of services are invited to talk about challenges and victories. Experienced teachers and others who care about the struggles of novice teachers are encouraged to attend and share their ideas.

This Speaks to Me

The task of nurturing the authentic voices of students within our classrooms can be one of the most important undertakings of teachers at all levels. Activities focusing on the listening, viewing, and reading interests of students can enhance their written and spoken communication skills as well as support social and emotional learning while encouraging the use of instructor provided analytical tools across various disciplines. The activity, “This Speaks To Me” allows students to share what they see, hear, and feel while developing writing, listening, and critical thinking skills. Finally, through practice and discussion participants can decide if “This Speaks To Me” can be a tool to use in their classrooms as well as how it might be adapted across age levels and abilities.

Communicate Extraordinarily with Tier 2 Vocabulary

The interactive workshop will provide participants with research and strategies to implement engaging and meaningful speaking and writing strategies using tier two or high level vocabulary. The purpose of embedding tier two vocabulary into the speaking literacy is to improve student communication skills, especially written communications. Based on research, students write how they talk, and do not advance their verbal vocabulary after third grade. With more exposure, especially to students form low-income families, students can gain a repertoire of specific words to used on a daily basis, where they can identify more words and its synonyms in literature, increasing comprehension and reading/writing stamina.

Featured Speaker, Briana Morales, 2023 Illinois Teacher of the Year

Briana Morales is a proud Latina and freedom fighter for students in alternative education, where she has spent her career loving and learning alongside students furthest from justice in East St. Louis, IL. Throughout her career she has helped    students turn pain into power through narrative poetry of witness. Briana was honored in 2021 as a NCTE Early Career Educator of Color and more recently as the 2023 Illinois Teacher of the Year.

Featured Speaker, Jessamine Chan, Illinois Author of the Year

Jessamine Chan holds a B.A. from Brown University and a MFA from Columbia University. Chan worked as a reviews editor at Publishers Weekly, and her stories have appeared in Tin House and EPOCH. Her debut novel The School for Good Mothers is a New York Times Bestseller and was included on The Today Show host Jenna Bush Hager’s “Read with Jenna” book list. It was a finalist for the 2023 John Leonard Prize awarded by the National Book Critics Circle. Freckle Films, a production company owned by Jessica Chastain, purchased the rights for a TV adaptation of A School for Good Mothers.

Lifetime Membership Award, Gary Anderson

The Ethical Frame:  Understanding the Relationship of Discourse and the Ethical Basis of an Argument

For teachers who teach argumentation. In addition to effective argument processes (claim, evidence, warrant; logos, ethos, pathos), the way a speaker frames an argument can determine a speaker’s success with an audience. This frame is built with a speaker’s discourse–deliberate and purposeful language choices of a speaker to present an argument. Effective deployment of a particular discourse can redraw the moral and ethical lines that make an argument appealing. This session will provide teachers with a vocabulary and knowledge base for teaching the concept of discourse and the way a speaker’s choice of discourse frames an argument.