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Showing posts from November, 2014

Stop Slamming Stories

The theme for this year's National Council of Teachers of English's Annual Convention is Story as the Landscape of Knowing, and as an English teacher, I couldn't be happier. A national organization, one of the most trusted voices on literacy pedagogy, has chosen to place story at centerstage. Then why, in just my few short years as an English teacher, do I feel as if the power of stories has been repeatedly diminished and challenged, and that stories have been treated as if they are anything but complex?

Yesterday, Jim Burke referenced the work that we do in terms of an ongoing narrative when he said, "We are trying to help kids make their stories their own." Every day, I see hundreds of students, and they each have a unique story. As teachers, we are charged with the complex work of unraveling and learning about the histories of all our students, and we are also charged with the task of teaching them how to reclaim their narratives. Far too often, like my friend…

MCTE Musings

I always look forward to the last Friday in October. Since my junior year in college, I don't think I've missed a fall conference of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English--and I certainly don't plan on it any time soon. Just as I could feel the stress building this past week, I knew that MCTE, just like other quality days of professional development like summer institutes of the National Writing Project, would be a panacea for so many job-related frustrations and would provide answers for questions I've been wrestling with for months.

Like always, I left with my head spinning--and that's a sign of quality professional development. You leave knowing that there's so much more to be accomplished. Your work, despite all the long hours and years of practice, is really only beginning to unfold in front of you.

Yesterday, Penny Kittle spoke about how every student is on a personal learning journey, and I'm thinking about how my classroom reflects that. I'…