Article about American Born Chinese

Gene Luen Yang's self portrait

Gene Luen Yang’s self portrait

In the May 2014 issue of English Journal, Melissa Schieble discusses how to teach “racial literacy” via Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel. “Racial literacy” is Lani Guinier’s term for a critical stance that “moves citizens to explore race as less about interpersonal injustices and more ‘about the distribution of power’ and resources” (p. 49).

Schieble also proposes a list of questions to help students develop skills in critical visual literacy — in other words, how to read graphic novels as more than just entertainment.

Schieble’s list includes questions that look at “image syntax, shot distance, angles, and color” (p. 50). These questions work just as well when viewing film, sculpture, photography, or any other form of visual art.

These are the types of questions that will make APs happy to see students addressing in your classroom, especially if they see you moving the students from graphic novels to more complex informational texts which must also be read critically.

So find this article and read it, pen and paper at hand for the notes you’ll want to take.

–BR

Top-Ten Digital Reading Tools

blog wordleWant to help your students get excited about reading, especially reading independently? Sara Kajder’s April 19 post on her NerdyReader blog gives some pointers for hooking your students via digital tools such as GoodReads and Wordle. As Kajder explains,

It is usually the [reluctant readers] who are the most surprised when we begin using a variety of apps and digital tools to support their work as readers, as the thought of using Vine or Instagram in English class both disrupts their expectations and leads them to rethink the ways in which readers choose texts, make meaning and share their thinking with others.

How many of Kajder’s recommended digital reading tools are you familiar with?

–BR

Why We Teach YA – PB

Why We Teach YA:
As teaching professionals, I think we often teach YA because we have our own important memories of being young adolescents in the classroom. Some important experience has led us to the decision to teach. A passion for learning and literature certainly helps in this challenging job. We realize the real possibility of making an academic contribution to these young students and the importance of this influence, both personal and professional on students once they become adults. For me it was the memorable experience of literature and poetry that I discovered and loved but it also stems from feeling excluded in the learning process and being misunderstood by the teaching professional. Personal experience like this is something that we can build on in deciding how to approach the role as teacher and student friend.

Who We Are-PB

Who We Are:

We are individuals who recognize the importance of learning, the process of learning in individual lives and how language and the proper use of English can be of great value to anyone striving to be their best professionally or personally. We wish to show the importance and power of the English language and how through its use, it can affect the cultural, political and racial environment around us. There is a tradition of learning through literature and written response but also I think we are prospective teachers who realize that unlike social media where individuals are detached physically, in the classroom we have the opportunity to communicate on a one on one basis. The important use of dialogue and the exchange of ideas that can be seen not just through words but body language and facial expression is something we want to take advantage of in the process of teaching students. We care about humanity and the idea of justice and liberty, as corny as it may seem in our modern day world of money conscious action. We want to express the idea of caring, kindness and fairness, even if there seems an imbalance of material wealth and opportunity for all. We want to make a real contribution to the lives of young adolescents through the means in which we have been given, the lesson plan and our own interpretation of learning.