Literacy Beat and TERSG go to Copenhagen

by Dana L. Grisham and Thomas DeVere Wolsey

Two members of the Literacy Beat team are in Copenhagen, Denmark for the 18th Nordic Conference on Literacy and the 21st European Conference on Literacy held at HF-Centret Efterslægten, a school in the northwest part of the city.

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School Name

Dana, DeVere, and frequent Literacy Beat guest poster Linda Smetana presented an overview of the study from the Teacher Education Research Study Group (TERSG) from the Literacy Research Association.

What Does Effective Writing Instruction Look Like? Practices of Exemplary Writing Teacher Educators

  • Linda Smetana, California State University, East Bay
  • Thomas DeVere Wolsey, The American University in Cairo
  • Dana L. Grisham, California State University (retired)
  • Roya Q. Scales, Western Carolina University

Abstract

Recent research indicates that pre-service teachers receive insufficient instruction in the teaching of writing (Graham, et al., 2014). A study of 50 U.S. teachers in preparation found that only about 25% had a writing-intensive methods course in their program (Myers, et al., 2016). Using constructivist grounded theory, researchers investigated the modes and methods of 18 teacher educators across the U.S., the content of writing methods courses, how they structured learning experiences for new teachers, and the theoretical and practical models of writing that were employed.Data were gathered through collection of course syllabi and interviews with writing faculty. Data were analyzed through open coding for themes. The research team triangulated the data for reliability and did member checks to refine the themes. Findings showed that exemplary writing instructors viewed writing as a tool of power for social justice. They sought to develop teacher candidates who saw themselves as writers by employing a process writing approach across a variety of genres, taught in writing methods classes. The implications and the applications to k-12 classrooms will be discussed in the session.

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Dana, DeVere, Linda

Selected References

Myers, J., Scales, R. Q., Grisham, D. L., Wolsey, T. D., Smetana, L., Dismuke, S., … Martin, S. (2016). What about writing? A national exploratory study of writing instruction in teacher preparation programs. Literacy Research and Instruction, 55(4), 309–330. doi:10.1080/19388071.2016.1198442

Sanders, J., Myers, J., Ikpeze, C., Scales, R., Tracy, K., Yoder, K.K., Smetana, L., & Grisham, D. (In Press, 2019). A curriculum model for K-12 writing teacher education. Research in the Teaching of English.

Scales, R.Q., Tracy, K.N., Myers, J., Smetana, L., Grisham, D.L., Ikpeze, C., Yoder, K.K., & Sanders, J.   (2019). A national study of exemplary writing methods instructors’ course assignments. Literacy Research and Instruction, 58(2), 67-83.   DOI: 10.1080/19388071.2019.1575496

Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

In this post, I share an infographic representing the ideas in the article,
“Accuracy in Digital Writing Environments: Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check”. Access the article by clicking here and scrolling down to the article.

You are welcome to share this infographic in your classroom or for nonprofit educational purposes.

Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check

Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check

Infographic design by Getty Creations

Creative Commons License
Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check by @TDWolsey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at literacybeat.com/2019/03/26/read-up-ask-around-double-check/.

28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead

Guest Post by Jack Milgram
Jack Milgram is a freelance writer and editor who agreed to share his words and an infographic about words with Literacy Beat. I hope you enjoy this vocabulary challenge!

Find your own vocabulary subpar? Can’t keep your audience listening to you with interest for more than two minutes? Do you use words like “nice,” “good” and “new” way too often?

Well, we might have a solution for you.

Make your first step toward improving your speech by replacing some of the words that are responsible for very boring conversations.

And you know what?

We have exactly what you need: an infographic with some super helpful synonyms to 28 dull words that overpopulate our conversations. It’s time to realize that these words have overstayed their welcome in everyday use.

Moreover, when you vary your speech, you improve your thinking. Words are our most frequently used mental tools, and the more of those you have in your vocabulary, the quicker your thinking will become.

Everything’s quite obvious when you think about it.

All those common, dull, and boring words just sit on the tip of our tongues, and using them requires no effort whatsoever. On the contrast, bringing something new into your vocabulary involves thinking quite a bit harder.

That’s another reason we’ve made this infographic. The most difficult part has already been done. All you have to do is to start including these word alternatives in your everyday life.

Scroll down and see how you can give your vocabulary a significant boost!

28 boring words

28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead

Meet Jack:
Jack Milgram is a writer at Custom-Writing.org. He started his freelance career when he was a student. Jack has been interested in writing since he first took pen and paper in his hands. And he never stopped writing ever after. He loves combining his job with traveling around the world.

Jack Milgram

Jack Milgram

 

Online Resources for Argumentation and Logical Fallacies

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

This week on Literacy Beat, I gathered some resources for teaching students to create and critique effective arguments. This list will appear in Literacy in the Disciplines: A Field Guide by Thomas DeVere Wolsey and Diane Lapp to be published by Guilford Press in summer 2016.

In the first section, you will find several resources that are useful across disciplines.  The second section includes argumentation resources for specific disciplines, such as science, social studies, and mathematics. Have you found useful resources for working with argumentation in your classroom? Please share them in the comments section, below, or send me an email.

General Resources:

 

Discipline-specific Resources:

From the Literacy Beat archives: See how we used the Visual Thesaurus in the Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy Plus technique then visit their site. Just click the image below.

Writing and Technology: Free Virtual Conference

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

The week of October 5 through 9, 2015, Turnitin is offering a free virtual conference on the topic of Writing and Technology: Exploring the Intersection as part of Student Success Week.  I will be one of the presenters, and perhaps I’ll see you in the webinar!

Writing and Technology

Student Success Week

There are several fascinating speakers, so register early. My session is

Writing and the Visual : Graphically Organizing Your Writing

Tuesday, October 6th 10:00am PST

And here is the abstract:

What if students could see how their writing is organized using graphics? It turns out that when they graphically organize their writing, students are more likely to write well, to compose their thoughts, and to try new approaches. In this session, Thomas DeVere Wolsey will discuss cutting-edge research on how visual organizers enhance writing and writing instruction.

Update: You can watch recorded sessions here: http://turnitin.com/en_us/resources/student-success-week

Which Robber Baron Are You? Quizzes to Inspire Writing

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

You might be like me if you scroll through your Facebook news feed clicking “like” but come to a screeching halt when you find a social media quiz like this one, Which Social Networking Site Are You? on Cha Cha.  It turns out that I am Google+. Want to know which Avenger you are from the Marvel series? Take this quiz on The Escapist. According to this quiz, I’m Hawkeye.

Hawkeye
Hawkeye

Take this quiz

These quizzes that focus on the quiz taker and often combine popular culture are a little addictive. But what if they were educational tools, too? I set up a free account on Qzzr to find out.

Standards in this example:

History–Social Science Standards for California Public Schools

8.12 Students analyze the transformation of the American economy and the changing social and political conditions in the United States in response to the Industrial Revolution.

(4) Discuss entrepreneurs, industrialists, and bankers in politics, commerce, and industry (e.g., Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Leland Stanford)  (1998, p. 38).

Common Core State Standard for writing and related substandards.

I created a social media quiz that asks students, “Which Robber Baron are you?” Based on their responses, they are given a prompt for writing based on the popular RAFT technique [click here]. In this example, I gave students the option to choose the topic based on their responses. I controlled or assigned the role, audience, and format. When I learn more about social media quizzes, I will add the R, A, and F into the quiz, as well.  Try out the quiz, below—you know you want to!

Robber Baron

Click the image to take the quiz (opens in a new window)

To set this up, I designed an Excel template with two sheets (see below). One sheet is for the overall profile for each choice; in this case, Leland Stanford, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J. P. Morgan. For each, I wrote a profile in second person (you are….) which I post as an outcome. If you would like to see the Excel spreadsheet I used, please click here. Each profile is set up according to criteria I determined in advance: Early life, interests, business focus, and so on.  The Qzzr tool allows me to choose an outcome (in this case, one of the Robber Baron profiles along with a format type), and I enter the questions from the Excel sheet into Qzzr. Just copy and paste from Excel into Qzzr and voilà!

Excel

Tabs for each sheet are on the bottom left.

Next, I create a link to a writing prompt based on the students’ responses in Qzzr and place that in the final outcome description (for example, “ You are John D. Rockefeller”).  I linked the prompt to this blog, but you may use a variety of platforms to deliver the prompt to students (e.g., Google Drive, your course management system). The great thing about Qzzr is that if the students don’t like the assigned topic, they can go again.

In this example, I wanted students to compare the assigned Robber Baron with another in the same industry. The prompt, which you may download here, is based on the format of the prompts provided at Achievethecore.org for informative writing.

Other quiz tools you may like:

http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/

http://www.playbuzz.com/

Good luck, and have fun, too. Learn more about differentiation on LiteracyBeat here. Also, check out other educational uses of social media quizzes here.

Images:

The images were found using Creative Commons image search, and the photos of the Robber Barons are in the public domain. Background image in Qzzr: https://openclipart.org/image/300px/svg_to_png/178502/robber.png

Literacy Instruction in a Brave New World: A themed issue from Kappan

Phi Delta Kappan has just published a themed issue on “Literacy Instruction in a Brave New World” (November, 2014, volume 96, No. 3). For a short time period, you may view and download all of the articles online, for free.

http://pdk.sagepub.com/content/current

magazine cover shows child reading on a tablet

Literacy Instruction in a Brave New World

As literacy and technology expert Mike McKenna states in the opening to his article,

“Technology integration into language arts instruction has been slow and tentative, even as information technologies have evolved with frightening speed. Today’s teachers need to be aware of several extant and unchanging realities: Technology is now indispensable to literacy development; reading with technology requires new skills and strategies; technology can support struggling students; technology can transform writing; technology offers a means of motivating students; and waiting for research is a losing strategy.”

We have a lot to learn, a lot to accomplish, and we need to pick up the pace! I found this issue both practically valuable and thought provoking.

Please go to the Kappan website http://pdk.sagepub.com/ and search for the current November 2014 issue, or click on  http://pdk.sagepub.com/content/current to go directly to the table of contents. I’ve listed the table of contents below (note that Jill has a piece on online inquiry and I have a piece on eText and eBooks). Enjoy!

Literacy Instruction in a Brave New World – Table of Contents

Michael C. McKenna, Literacy instruction in the brave new world of technology

Joan Richardson, Maryanne Wolf: Balance technology and deep reading to create biliterate children

Christopher Harris, Fact or fiction? Libraries can thrive in the Digital Age

Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Can computers make the grade in writing exams?

Melody Zoch, Brooke Langston-DeMott, and Melissa Adams-Budde, Creating digital authors

Bridget Dalton, E-text and e-books are changing literacy landscape

Diane Carver Sekeres, Julie Coiro, Jill Castek, and Lizabeth A. Guzniczak. Wondering + online inquiry = learning

Gail Lynn Goldberg, One thousand words, plus a few more, is just right

Kristin Conradi, Tapping technology’s potential to motivate readers

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