Resources for Teachers

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Writing Resources for Teachers

Ball, Arnetha F. “Text Design Patterns in the Writing of Urban African American Students: Teaching to the Cultural Strengths of Students in Multicultural Settings.” Urban Education 30.3 (1995): 253-89. ERIC. 17 October 2015.

Researchers analyzed the expository text of four African American high school students to determine how they were able to bring culturally influenced text design patterns into the classroom. The article touches on implications for writing instruction of culturally diverse students.

Beach, Richard, Chris Anson, Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, and Thom Swiss. Teaching Writing Using Blogs, Wikis, and other Digital Tools. McKee, Heidi A. and Danielle Nicole DeVoss. Digital Writing Research: Technologies, Methodologies, and Ethical Issues. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton, 2007.

Blatt, Gloria T. and Jean Cunningham. “It’s Your Move: Expressive Movement Activities for the Language Arts Class.” 1981. ERIC. 17 October 2015.

Caterall, J.S., Chapleau and J. Iwanaga. “Involvement in the arts and human development: General involvement and intensive involvement in music and theatre arts.” Champions of Change: The impact of the arts on learning, ed. E.B. Fisked 1-18. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership, 1999.

Cenoz, Jasone and Durk Gorter. “A Holistic Approach to Multilingual Education: Introduction.” Modern Language Journal 95.3 (2011): 339-343. ERIC. 17 October 2015.

A brief article focused on teaching English Language Learners, but useful for urban educators because it exposes the “monolingual bias” in education that expects native speaker proficiency in two or more languages. The article describes students who are expected to achieve native speaker proficiency in their second language, but who use codeswitching, translanguaging, and codemeshing. I would like to apply this research to the multi-lingual practices of urban students, particularly to explode the myth that students who speak in a non-standard dialect (of any type) are deficient communicators.

Cliatt-Wayman, Linda. “How to Fix a Broken School? Lead fearlessly, love hard.” TED. June 2015. Lecture.

This Ted Talk is inspirational because the principal who took over a low-performing and persistently dangerous high school in North Philadelphia was able to turn things around for her students. Part of her success stems from a great deal of external control of both students and staff, and it made me wonder if this degree of control interfered with intellectual risk taking necessary for strong writing.

Dean, Deborah. What Works in Writing Instruction: Research and Practices. Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English. 2010.

Delpit, Lisa. “The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People’s Children.” Harvard Educational Review 50.3 (1988): 280-298.

Delpit’s work focuses on how teachers can serve disadvantaged students. She notes that both explicit instruction, including attention to the rules of power, are necessary to be effective in urban schools.

Dickson, Randi. “Developing ‘Real-World Intelligence’: Teaching Argumentative Writing through Debate.” English Journal 94:1. (2004): 34-40. ProQuest. Web. 29 June 2015.

Debate is a powerful pedagogical tool, and it is interesting because it incorporates argumentation–which many teens love–with rules–which many teens hate. How do we incorporate debate into the classroom to promote learning?

Dixon, Chris Jennings (Ed.) Lesson Plans for Teaching Writing. Urbana, IL: National Council of the Teachers of English. 2006. Print.

This book focuses on effective, high-interest lesson plans that allow teachers to engage students while still meeting the standards for writing. The chapter on improving persuasive writing would be especially important.

Dornbrack, J. & Dixon, K., “Towards a more explicit writing pedagogy: The complexity of teaching argumentative writing.” Reading & Writing 5.1 (2014): 1-8. Proquest. Web. 6 July 2015.

Duncan, Garrett Albert. “Urban Pedagogies and the Celling of Adolescents of Color.” Social Justice 27.2 (2000) 29-42. Education Source. Web. 26 Mar. 2016.

Esquith, Rafe. Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56. New York: Penguin. 2007. print.

Esquith, Rafe. There Are No Shortcuts. New York: Anchor, an imprint of Random House. 2003. print.

A genius teacher who does incredible things with his students in a poverty- and violence-filled Los Angeles school.

Felton, Mark K. and Suzanne Herko. “From Dialogue to Two-Sided Argument: Scaffolding Adolescents’ Persuasive Writing.” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 47:8 (2004): 672-683. EBSCO. 11 September 2015.

Ferdig, Richard E., and Kristine E. Pytash. Exploring Technology For Writing And Writing Instruction. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2013. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

Gallagher, Kelly. Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing through Modeling and Mentor Texts. Portland, ME: Stenhouse. 2011.

A product of the National Writing Project, Gallagher employs modeling and mentor texts to teach rather than merely assign writing.

Gatto, John Taylor. Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society. 2009.

This New York City and New York State teacher of the year shares powerful insights into the institution of public education and how it is not meeting the needs of students. His work helped inspire me to homeschool my five children for ten years.

Geis, Barbara. “Hanging on the Edge of the World: Teaching Writing to Urban Special Needs Youth, A Journal.” SKOLE: Journal of Alternative Education. 14:1 (46-63) 1997. ERIC 17 October 2015.

A personal account of a teacher’s attempt to design and teach writing in an alternative high school for high-risk students. While she was encouraging students to use writing as a means of personal growth, administrators were resisting her efforts in an attempt to maintain the status quo curriculum.

Gensemer, Robert E. Movement Education: Developments in Classroom Instruction. National Education Association: Washington DC. 1979. ERIC. 17 October 2015.

This educator guide describes the inherent unity of cognitive and motor ability and provides suggestions for classroom exercises to encourage mental and physical growth of elementary and secondary students.

Gordon, Don E. and Jesse R. Shafer. Practical Approaches to Achieving Success in Urban Schools. Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Washington, DC. 1996. ERIC. 17 October 2015.

Even though this collection of papers is 20 years old, it provides a description of innovative procedures that have worked for at-risk students. The first paper deals with classification of students in special education programs and the relationship between placement and school funding. The second paper focuses on restructuring school structure to meet the needs of diverse learners. The final paper describes how large urban schools can re-organie into smaller units instead of using homogeneous groupings within the larger school environment.

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. New York: Norton. 2014. print.

In the forward, the authors state that their goal for the book is “to demystify academic writing and reading by identifying the key moves of persuasive argument and representing those moves in forms that students can put into practice.” The authors state that they had a shared interest in democratizing academic culture and this volume is a method of explicitly sharing the moves that more privileged students may have absorbed throughout their education.

Hecker, Linda. “Walking, Tinkertoys, and Legos:  Using Movement and Manipulatives to Help Students Write.” English Journal 86:6, 46-52. 1997. ERIC. 17 October 2015.

This study describes how learning disabled students can improve their writing skills through physical movement and manipulating visuals. Manipulation of visuals can be used to help students organize their ideas and may be more intuitive than verbal explanations.

Hillocks, George, Jr. Teaching Argument Writing, Grades 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2011. Print.

A widely-used resource for teachers, Hillock uses the Toulmin model of argumentation to teach students how to create arguments through in-class activities. Some activities seem a bit dated, but the ideas can definitely be tweaked to create activities today.

Irvine, J.J., forward to Culture, Curriculum, and Identity in Education. H. R. Milner Ed., New York; Palgrave Macmillan. 2010.

Ito, Mizuko, Kris Gutierrez, Sonia Livingstone, Bill Penuel, Jean Rhodes, Katie Salen, Juliet Schor, Julian Sefton-Green and S. Craig Watkins. 2013. Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design. Irvine, CA: Digital Medial and Learning Research Hub.

Jacobs, Heidi Hayes (ed.) Mastering Global Literacy. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2014.

Jennings, Chris. “Consortium for Innovative Instruction: Aligning Writing Instruction in Secondary and Postsecondary Institutions.” Tidewater Community College/Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education Writing Coalition. 2002. ERIC. 17 October 2015.

The coalition was put in place in an effort to eliminate remedial instruction in writing for recent high school graduates by encouraging student-centered approaches to writing instruction at the high school and two-year college level. The publication of the coalition’s work focuses on three areas: increased communication between secondary and postsecondary institutions, collaborative opportunities for faculty to implement innovative instructional strategies, and implementation of transfer of knowledge and strategies to improve postsecondary educational access for diverse student populations.

Jolliffe, David A. “The Arkansas Delta Oral History Project: Youth Culture, Literacy, and Critical Pedagogy ‘in Place’” (166-179). Reworking English in Rhetoric and Composition: Global Interrogations. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois U Press, 2014.

Kim, Suke. “This is What It’s Like to Teach in North Korea.” TED. Mar. 2015. Lecture.

This lecture states that North Korean students were unable to write because they were denied access to outside information, particularly the internet, and they had always been told what to think in a system that denied free expression of thought. I wondered, then, why American students who have access to the internet on their phones and are free to think whatever they want still struggled with creating thesis statements and supporting them with effective arguments. Could U.S. students also be subject to a system that has consistently told them what to think? And do they now suffer from an inability to think creatively? Are disadvantaged students more likely to suffer from external control that prevents independent thought?

Kissel, Brian, S. Michael Putman, and Katie Stover. “Digital Portfolios to Enhance Students’ Capacity for Communication about Learning” in Exploring Technology in Writing and Teaching of Writing. (Ed., Richard E. Ferdig and Kristine E. Pytash) Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2013. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

Kozol, Jonathan. The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. New York: Broadway Paperbacks, an imprint of Crown Publishing. 2005. print.

Kozol returns to remind us that the achievement gap is continuing to widen. Like Savage Inequalities, this book is a study of the realities for many of our inner-city students.

Lemov, Doug. Teach Like a Champion. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass–John Wiley. 2010. Print.

Lemov has created a guidebook for teachers in urban schools. He focuses on controlling every moment of class time to maximize instruction. Any teacher in an urban district will appreciate the explicit focus on what to do and how to do it, but is this method effective in creating independent thinkers and problem solvers?

Leu, Donald J., Julie Coiro, Jill Castek, Douglas K. Hartman, Laurie A. Henry, David Reinking. “Research on Instruction and Assessment in the New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension” in Comprehension Instruction: Research-based Best Practices. New York: Guilford Press. 2015.

Lunsford, Andrea A. and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Everything’s an Argument. Boston: Bedford – St. Martin’s. 2010. Print.

A practical guide to teaching argument, from an introduction to rhetorical appeals to argument structure and evaluating evidence and citing sources.

Mc Grail and J. Patrick McGrail. “Preparing Young Writers for Invoking and Addressing Today’s Interactive Digital Audiences” in Exploring Technology in Writing and Teaching of Writing. (Ed., Richard E. Ferdig and Kristine E. Pytash) Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2013. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

McPartland, Robert Balfanz, Alta Shaw. “The Talent Development Literacy Program for Poorly Prepared High School Students” (252-273) Bridging the Literacy Achievement Gap Grades 4-12 Dorothy S. Strickland and Donna E. Alvermann Eds. New York: Teachers College 2004.

Meeks, Lynn Langer and Carol Jewkes Austin. Literacy in the Secondary English Classroom:  Strategies for Teaching the Way Kids Learn. Boston: Pearson. 2003.

Miller, Donna L. “Cultivating Creativity.” English Journal 104.6 (2015) 25-30. Print.

Miller quotes a lot of famous people who point out that we can’t keep running schools modeled after factories and then expect the kind of creativity necessary to survive in the digital world. I know that my daughter who works at Google has so much freedom in and out of her office to do her best work–I know most educators can’t say the same….

Milner IV, H. Richard. “But What is Urban Education?” Urban Education 47.3 (2012) 556–561. SAGE. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

Milner IV, H. Richard. Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There. Cambridge: Harvard Education. 2010.

Moffett, James. Teaching the Universe of Discourse. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1968. Print.

Morphy, Paul. Frederick Douglass and I. Writing to Read and Relate History with Life among African American Adolescents at a High-Poverty Urban School. Dissertation. Vanderbilt University. 2013. PROQUEST. 17 October 2015.

A study of different methods using Black narratives to teach history instead of (boring) textbook accounts. The study concluded that the “Writing to Read and Relate” (W2R) strategy gave students the most knowledge from primary texts.

Morris, Richard W. and Conan N. Louis. A Writing of Our Own: Improving the Functional Writing of Urban Secondary Students. Final Report. National Institute of Education, Washington DC. 1983. ERIC. 17 October 2015.

This 227-page report describes the writing program that grew out of a study of writing and literacy of diverse students in North Philadelphia. The first section describes writing for students and includes themes such as literacy, bilingualism, bidialectism, informal language and the role of writing in the workplace. The second section focuses on writing instructional methods including using music and the integration of school and social relationships to promote learning.

Moss, Barbara and Suzanne Bordelon. “Preparing Students for College-Level Reading and Writing: Implementing a Rhetoric and Writing Class in the Senior Year.” Reading Research and Instruction 46:3 (2007): 197-221. ProQuest. Web. 6 July 2015.

Interesting because it suggests that students will get to be seniors in high school and still not know how to effectively write and argue in preparation for college. This raises the question of transfer – a buzzword for educators — but the question remains on why students don’t show improvement in writing skill.

Mouritzen, Gaye S. “Improving Writing Skills in Alternative High School English Classes Through Writers’ Workshops.” Practicum Paper. Nova University. 1993. ERIC. 17 October 2015.

Describes how the introduction of writers’ workshops and increased emphasis on student-centered activities led to an increase in writing quality and positive attitudes for urban students.

National Council of Teachers of English. Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing.Urbana: NCTE. Feb. 2016. Web. 26 Mar. 2016.

National Council of Teachers of English. Students’ Right to Their Own Knowledge. Urbana: NCTE. Fall 1974. Web. 26 Dec. 2015.

Newell, George E., et al. “Teaching and Learning Argumentative Reading and Writing: A Review of Research.” Reading Research Quarterly 46.3 (2011): 273-304. EBSCO. Web. 6 July 2015.

A lengthy literature review that divides the research on argumentative writing into the cognitive approach and the social approach. The authors suggest that students need to learn both in order to write arguments.

Nussbaum, E. Michael & Schraw, Gregory. “Promoting Argument-Counterargument Integration in Students’ Writing.” The Journal of Experimental Education 76:1 (2007): 59-92. Proquest. Web. 6 July 2015.

Penrod. Diane. Using Blogs to Enhance Literacy: The Next Powerful Step in 21st-Century Learning. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

Perry, Kathryn. “The Movement of Composition: Dance and Writing.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology and Pedagogy 17:1 (2012). ERIC. 17 October 2015.

“A multimodal attempt to capture and compare both the physical and conceptual movement involved in dance and writing.” The author plans to continue to explore “the non-linear nature of composition as expressed in the movement of the body and of the mind.”

Porter, Jim “Remix Culture, Remix Writing.” AIMS News. Blog post. Oct. 27, 2009. Web. Dec. 26, 2015.

Reilly, Erin B. “Remix Culture: Digital Music and Video Remix, Opportunities for Creative Production” from Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids: Bringing Digital Media into the Classroom (Ed. Jessica Parker) Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 2010.

Rex, Lesley A. and Laura Shiller. Using Discourse Analysis to Improve Classroom Interaction. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.

Rex, Lesley A., Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Steven Engel. “Applying Toulmin: Teaching Logical Reasoning and Argumentative Writing.” English Journal 99.6 (2010): 56-62. EBSCO. Web. 29 June 2015.

Russakoff, Dale. The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools? Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2015. print.

I read a review of this book, “a stunning account of efforts by wealthy outsiders and ambitious politicians to fix Newark, NJ’s failing public schools.” There has not been a shortage of money or rhetoric, but neither have had an impact on student achievement. Students who live in poverty continue to under-achieve, while the adults clamor for the spotlight. The author offers some hope, but mainly focuses on the fact that students are dealing with the devastating effects of poverty in their community while adults talk about standardized test scores.

Selfe, Cynthia L., Ed.  Multimodal Composition: Resources for Teachers. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton. 2007.

Song, Yi and Ralph P. Ferretti. “Teaching Critical Questions about Argumentation through the revising process: effects of strategy instruction on college students’ argumentative essays.” Reading and Writing 26: 67-90 (2013). Proquest. 29 June 2015.

Spandel, Vicki. Creating Writers: Six Traits, Process, Workshop, and Literature. Boston: Pearson. 2013.

Tatum, A. W., & Muhammad, G. E. (2012). “African American males and literacy development in contexts that are characteristically urban.” Urban Education, 47.2 (2012), 434-463.

Tyre, Peg. “The Writing Revolution.” The Atlantic. October 2012. Web. 21 Jan. 2016.

VanDerHeide, J. & Newell, George E. “Instructional Chains as a Method for Examining the Teaching and Learning of Argumentative Writing in Classrooms.” Written Communication 30.3 (2013): 300-329. SAGE Publications. Web. 6 July 2015.

Vilson, José Luis. This is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class and Education. Chicago: Haymarket. 2014.

Watson, Tim W. and Pamela J. Hickey. “Lingua Anglia: Bridging Language and Learners.” English Journal 104.2 (2014) 121-123. Print.

Webb, Suzanne. “Remix Assignments in the First Year Writing Classroom: What Do We Gain–What Do we Give up?” 2010. Web. 26 Dec. 2016.

Weiner, Lois. Urban Teaching: The Essentials. New York: Teachers College Press. 2006. Print.

This book has been used as a textbook for new and prospective city teachers to acquaint them with issues they are likely to face in their new occupation. The book is written in a personal style — the author shares her own experiences, both failures and successes. She is realistic about the demands on urban educators, but also urges them to personally reflect on the issues that they will face in the classroom. She is able to clearly define what separates urban teaching from teaching in the suburbs. In fact, she insists that the large, impersonal bureaucracy with its emphasis on inflexible rules is often the determining factor in urban teachers’ and students’ struggles.

Weinstein, Larry. Writing at the Threshold: Featuring 56 Ways to Prepare High School and College Students to Think and Write at the College Level. Urbana, IL: NCTE. 2001.

Wilber, Dana J.. iWrite : Using Blogs, Wikis, and Digital Stories in the English Classroom. : Heinemann, 2010. Ebook Library. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

Winn, Maisha T. and Latrise P. Johnson. Writing Instruction in the Culturally Relevant Classroom. Urbana:  NCTE. 2011.

This is a practical guide to teaching in diverse classrooms, written by experienced teachers.

Yeh, Stuart S. “Empowering Education: Teaching Argumentative Writing to Cultural Minority Middle-School Students.” Research in the Teaching of English 33:1 (1998): 49-84. ProQuest. Web. 6 July 2015.

This article echoes Delpit because the author shows that research shows non-white students write better argumentative essays after explicit instruction with extensive practice and modeling.

Zeicher, Kenneth M. and Daniel P. Liston. Reflective Teaching: An Introduction. New York: Routledge. 1996.

The first in a series for prospective and new teachers, this book guides educators into the practice of reflection, an action necessary to improve individual practice and the social conditions of schooling. This book is an important beginning for urban educators.

Weinstein, Larry. Writing at the Threshold: Featuring 56 Ways to Prepare High School and College Students to Think and Write at the College Level. Urbana, IL: NCTE. 2001.


















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