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2013 March Language Arts, v90.4

Non-Member Price: $12.50

NCTE Member Price: $4.25

Issue Theme: Literate Lunch

Level(s): Elementary, Middle

ISBN/ISSN: 0360-9170


Language Arts
Volume 90, Number 4, March 2013

Issue Theme: Literate Lunch

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Thoughts from the Editors: Advocating for Healthy Choice in School Curricula and Food Programs
Peggy Albers, Caitlin McMunn Dooley, Amy Seely Flint, Teri Holbrook, and Laura May

“Lunch Is Gross”: Gaining Access to Powerful Literacies
Lynn Gatto
Abstract: This ethnographic study documents how a space for critical literacy practices emerged as one teacher attempted to make literacy learning authentic.  The school lunch program in an urban elementary district provided the theme for an authentic and focused literacy unit. Throughout this focus unit, the students not only met state standards but also engaged in unpacking the relationship between power and language by asking complex questions about race relations, resource inequities, and institutional politics.  The description and analysis reveal and characterize three conceptual categories of critical literacy practices: 1) attentive, 2) connective, and 3) disruptive.  In attentive practices, students become aware of voice in consuming and producing texts, while in connective practices, texts become a vehicle for agency.  Disruptive practices bring voice and agency together to afford production of text for transformation of our world.  It was through these critical literacy practices that students made meaning and communicated those meanings for real audiences and real purposes.

Growing Language Awareness in the Classroom Garden
Patricia Paugh and Mary Moran
Abstract: For four years, Pat Paugh, a university teacher educator, and Mary Moran, a teacher researcher, collaborated on action research by systematically studying literacy development connected to the latter’s third-grade community gardening and urban farming curriculum. Their goal was to support an existing classroom culture that valued students’ development of literacy as a social practice for contributing to community and society, while also finding pathways for academic language instruction. Two social theoretical frameworks, Critical Pedagogy of Place (Gruenewald, 2003), and Systemic Functional Linguistics (Halliday, 1978) helped them bridge what was often dichotomized in the urban district as explicit language instruction vs. student-centered and relevant curriculum. This article illustrates how two aspects of the theory of functional grammar, genre and register, provided linguistic tools that supported Mary’s professional knowledge and her students’ linguistic growth. Together, Mary and her students connected their literacy learning to their involvement in their community.

Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Salad Tag: A Farmer Goes to School
William Summers
Abstract: Will Summers has been farming since 2007 when he interned for a small community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm in Austin, Texas. His agricultural experience since then has primarily been with nonprofit organizations where he has cultivated vegetables, kept chickens, milked goats, and introduced young people to the wonders of farming and gardening. In this article, he shares his story of working with teachers and students as he integrated good health and farming into K–12 curriculum as part of a “farm-at-school” program.

Research and Policy: Lunch, Teeth, Body, and Mind: Children’s Learning and Well-Being
Randy Bomer and Beth Maloch
Abstract: This article explores the research on the relationship between two particular aspects of poverty and school achievement. In particular, it examines research on food insecurity and oral healthcare among elementary-school-age children. The argument here is that these sorts of experiences of children in poverty account for some of the achievement difference between students from low-income homes and those with adequate resources for physical well-being. This fact has significant policy implications, as there are gaps in the ways policymakers engage with data; they often do not attempt to correlate student or school achievement data with material disadvantage like the ones investigated here. Reform efforts in curriculum and instruction would be more fruitful if they were combined with improving children's overall well-being.

Professional Book Reviews: From Local to Global: Helping Students Make an Environmental Difference
Susi Long, Julia López-Robertson, and Mary Styslinger
Abstract: This column highlights books that provide practical and theoretical approaches for “going green.” Some of the strategies include school gardens, eco literacies, and how to address environmental issues both locally and globally. These books foster students’ critical thinking about ways to save their world by becoming eco-conscious.

Children’s Literature Reviews: Invitations to Reading: 2012 Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts
April Bedford, Patricia Bandré, Donalyn Miller, Nancy Roser, Tracy Smiles, Yoo Kyung Sung, and Barbara Ward
The Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts offer invitations to young readers to interact with excellent books highlighting many and varied uses of language. The collection of books selected for the 2012 list invite readers from kindergarten through eighth grade to participate in language play and use innovative texts as models for their own writing, to observe and marvel at the natural world surrounding them, to laugh at humorous incidents or unexpected ways with words, to imagine new and different experiences, to preserve and learn from diverse cultural heritages, to question their own thoughts and feelings, to take the perspective of others, and to take action on behalf of issues and people that matter to them.

Conversation Currents: Story, Relationship, and Healthy Eating: An Interview with Chef Kevin Gillespie
Abstract: This Conversation Currents features Chef Kevin Gillespie, owner of Atlanta restaurant Gunshow, contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef Las Vegas in 2009, and food activist for various organizations. He shares his journey to becoming a chef, ways to integrate healthy foods in schools, and the role of literacy in nutrition.

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