Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Evidence of Literacy in Every Classroom

Dickie Selfe comments that participants at last week’s 21st Century Literacies Impact Conference discussed “the need for . . . groups to literally ‘see’ what it looks like to integrate these [literacy] skills into our curricula.” Demonstrating what literacy and literacy learning looks like is perhaps the most important challenge teachers face. The 21st century classroom is a changing space. Our job is to find ways to show the rich, dynamic learning that takes place there.

Projects like the cross-curriculum activity described in “The Mouse That Roared: Teaching Vocabulary with Source-Based Lessons” from English Journal document what a classroom engaged in literacy instruction looks like. Student Displaying Triangular Vocabulary Poster for the Word Deltoid When you look at the deltoid poster students composed, you can see the student thinking and the connections among content areas—art, science, and language arts. Perhaps we cannot photograph, videotape, or record all the literacy learning that takes place in the classroom, but there are still ways to document good teaching and 21st century literacy. We just need to spend time thinking about how students work and identifying the artifacts that will show every stakeholder what literacy looks like.


Anonymous said...

One of the most powerful artifacts of student thinking and learning is student reflection. When students are journaling about what they are doing, they write about the connections.
Teaching with overall themes instead of individual topics creates a literacy filled classroom. By keeping a bulletin board of questions students pose about the theme, connections they make in the day about the theme, and books they read that connect to the theme, students make connections in all subjects. This also helps students make connections outside of the classroom. Students can bring in stories from home, news articles, magazine articles, pictures, etc. that relate to the theme.

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