HER special issue: Adolescent Literacy

check out the latest issue of harvard ed review that focuses on adolescent literacy. table of contents below.

Spring 2008

Introduction :
Why Adolescent Literacy Matters Now

Jacy Ippolito, Jennifer L. Steele, and Jennifer F. Samson

Adolescent Literacy :
Putting the Crisis in Context

Vicki A. Jacobs

Teaching Disciplinary Literacy to Adolescents :
Rethinking Content-Area Literacy

Timothy Shanahan and Cynthia Shanahan

Redefining Content-Area Literacy Teacher Education :
Finding My Voice through Collaboration

Roni Jo Draper

Cognitive Strategy Instruction for Adolescents :
What We Know about the Promise, What We Don’t Know about the Potential

Mark W. Conley

The Complex World of Adolescent Literacy :
Myths, Motivations, and Mysteries

Elizabeth Birr Moje, Melanie Overby, Nicole Tysvaer, and Karen Morris

Toward a More Anatomically Complete Model of Literacy Instruction :
A Focus on African American Male Adolescents and Texts

Alfred W. Tatum

Implementing a Structured Reading Program in an Afterschool Setting :
Problems and Potential Solutions

Ardice Hartry, Robert Fitzgerald, and Kristie Porter

State Literacy Plans :
Incorporating Adolescent Literacy

Catherine Snow, Twakia Martin, and Ilene Berman

Beyond Writing Next :
A Discussion of Writing Research and Instructional Uncertainty

David Coker and William E. Lewis


Conference on the Visual Study of Education (VISE) @ SUNY Albany

accepting photo submissions now - encourage your students/youth/children with whom you work to submit their work for presentation/publication at the fall conference.

more info here: VISE 2008


media by/about youth @ philly film festival

The Bloodlines Video Diary Project
For the 2005-06 school year, Temple University professor Eugene Martin -- in conjunction with Temple’s Media Education Lab -- gave two Philadelphia 8th graders cameras to create video diaries about their school, family and neighborhood life. Ebony is a 14-year-old from North Philadelphia who goes to St. Malachy School, and Dennis is a 13-year-old from Kensington who attends Community Education Partners School. The footage they created is interspersed with interviews with their families and teachers and other footage taken by Martin and his crew. The result is an intimate and fascinating glimpse into the lives of two pretty average kids, including their families, schools and day-to-day emotions and desires." --excerpted from program description

click here for more on philadelphia film festival 2008

new adventures in digital storytelling

story box
from the website description of their story maker:
"StoryMaker is a simple tool for creating digital stories. Using audio, pictures and text you can create storyboards, slideshows and much much more."

just saw it - excited to check it out...!

in the meantime, also checking out the growing list of digital stories that folks are posting on the main page, such as 'grab a granny'


21st century literacies

ncte recently adopted a new definition of what it means to be literate *today* - that is, in a world where "literacies—from reading online newspapers to participating in virtual classrooms—are multiple, dynamic, and malleable." so someone please explain to me why, when this large professional organization - one that embraces the always stimulating ncteAR meetings, whose themes continue to push our thinking about literacies, etc... - is still without the oomph needed to really challenge what gets assessed in the name of literacy across many of our classrooms...*today*?

i thought about this as some teachers i was talking with struggled to make sense of their students performance on assessments that they were mandated to deliver; what didn't make sense was the incongruence between in-class performance and "the score," a trope with which educators are all too familiar.

from the ncte website (with occasional commentary from yours truly):
(click on link for the complete definition)

Twenty-first century readers and writers need to
  • Develop proficiency with the tools of technology (someone tell me how a timed test or fill in bubbles will provide any kind of assessment of technology proficiency? i won't even mention the need to reconceptualize technology/ies as more than mere tools...!)
  • Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally (so when robert leans over to elia to talk through a question he has about the passage he is reading, he shouldn't be reprimanded, correct? or do you only get points for the testable kind of collaboration?)
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes (no, i don't advocate unexamined replacement of "all things school" with social networking profiles, but what might it mean to assume that youth are already engaging in transnational and global practices, communication, and information sharing, packaged in myriad ways?)
  • Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information (i dare anyone older than 25 to talk to anyone younger than 25 and not witness multiple streams of simultaneous information! all being managed, assessed, engaged, organized with seamless transition)
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts (not to belabor the social networking spaces point, but there are some seriously complicated kinds of multimedia text production, analysis, critique happening all the time. youtube, and the unlikely sense of hard-to-deny-community is another example.)
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments (not only is this not something that an easily scored test can measure, but issues of ethics are constantly being discoursed - to borrow david bloome's use of the verb form of this familiar notion - in the communities, spaces, and networks that youth inhabit. lissa soep's work with youth radio is just one example of many that illustrates the level of complexity in young people's thinking surrounding what to story, how to story, and what it means to make someone's story public in particular kinds of ways - e.g., radio, podcast, etc.)
many of us feel the possibility of november 5th, 2008 may bring; but while waiting for sea change, i hope we don't squander daily opportunities to support the literacies of adolescents, which, when unsupported, can sometimes have dire consequences for youth who, for so long, have been told that their very beings are subversive, unwelcome, and in need of remediation...