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2015 May Language Arts, v92.5

Non-Member Price: $12.50

NCTE Member Price: $4.25

Issue Theme: Writing as Creative Construction

Level(s): Elementary, Middle

ISBN/ISSN: 0360-9170


Language Arts
Volume 92, Number 5, May 2015

Issue Theme: Writing as Creative Construction

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Thoughts from the Editors: Think BIG: Students and Teachers as Creators
Guest Editors: Dorothy Suskind, Kateri Thunder, and Jane Hansen

Everyone Has a Neil: Possibilities of Literacy Desiring in Writers’ Studio
Candace R. Kuby and Tara L. Gutshall Rucker
Abstract: The aim of this article is to demonstrate the sophisticated and collaborative literacy desirings of children when they are given time, space, materials, and permission to create multimodally in Writers’ Studio. We share artifacts created by one second-grade student, Neil, for an in-depth look at the possibilities of writing as a creative construction. We use pedagogical documentation to visualize and better understand the processes of his writing. Thinking with poststructural ideas of becoming, fissures, and desire and the posthumanist idea of intra-activit-with-materials, we analyzed artifacts, videos of writing, conversations with students, photographs, and notes. Analyses helped us understand the processes of Neil’s literacy desiring, not simply the products. Even within a climate of mandates and standards being pushed on teachers, this type of multimodal teaching and learning can happen. As educators, we have to imagine the possibilities, trust students, and also give them permission to create other possibilities of writing.

Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry
Jane Gilrain
Abstract: A fourth-grade classroom at Freemansburg Elementary School receives a Teacher-Artist Partnership grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in cooperation with the Allentown Art Museum and the Bethlehem Area School District to teach reading and writing through arts integration. Two artists—Mark McKenna, theater artist, and William Christine, visual artist—join the ELA classroom three days a week. “Tales from the Odyssey,” a fourth-grade version of Homer's classic by Mary Pope Osborne provides the inspiration. Students become engaged with the material physically, mentally, and emotionally through the acts of performing and painting. Students empathize with the characters in “The Odyssey” and compose their own poems based on similar themes. Many students write about their experiences of loss through the heroic voices of Odysseus, Telemechus, and Penelope. Various genres—story, dialogue, photographs, description, poetry, and interview—are combined to create a patchwork image of the arts-integrated classroom.

Bilingual Picturebook Making in the Elementary School Classroom
Angie Zapata, Nancy Valdez-Gainer, and Corinna Haworth
Abstract: In this alternatively formatted article, three teacher-researchers explore how third- and fourth-grade students in English-As-A-Second Language classrooms learn to read and write bilingual picturebooks. Seeking more innovative and culturally responsive writing processes and products for children, the authors consulted research on multilingual and multimodal composition and the art of the picturebook to design and enact curriculum. Authors share their instructional design and materials and showcase how two students were mentored by Latino children’s authors and illustrators to craft their own picture books.

Research & Policy: Redesigning the Everyday: Recognizing Creativity in Student Writing and Multimodal Composing
Jason Ranker
Abstract: In this column, the author explores everyday creativity in writing and multimodal composing from a sociocultural perspective. Central to this perspective is the idea that elements of students’ creative compositions originate from their social interactions and participation in culture and everyday life. During creative composing processes, students first isolate and then draw upon elements from previous experiences and events in a process referred to as “dissociation.” Then, in a process of association, the student-creator assembles or redesigns the isolated elements by bringing them into new and complex relational wholes along with elements that have been isolated from other events and contexts. Using this perspective on creativity, teachers can play a crucial role in recognizing and supporting students’ creative multimodal composing processes as they emerge.

Professional Book Reviews: Exploration, Inquiry, and Inspiration for Writing
Lucy Spence and Victoria Oglan
Abstract: The article reviews three books that will inspire teachers to teach writing with creativity. The first book focuses on early childhood: Playful Writing: 150 Open-Ended Explorations in Emergent Literacy by Rebecca Olien and Laura Woodside. The second book, Science Notebooks, Second Edition: Writing about Inquiry by Lori Fulton and Brian Campbell, focuses on elementary students. The authors describe how to use science notebooks for inquiry learning. The final book reviewed is Chart Sense: Common Sense Charts to Teach 3-8 Informational Text and Literature by Rozlyn Linder. In it, the author describes how to use anchor charts for writing instruction.

Children’s Literature Reviews: Creativity and Children’s Literature
Jonda C. McNair, Deanna Day, Karla J. Möller, and Angie Zapata
Abstract: This children's literature review column focuses on books that are creative in terms of style and content as well as those that emphasize the creative exploits of numerous individuals. Readers of this column will find out about people such as the famed artist couple, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Lois Ehlert, the illustrator of the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Josephine Baker, the famous dancer.

Conversation Currents: Creativity—An Investment
Bob Sternberg
Abstract: Professor Robert J. Sternberg, professor of Human Development at Cornell University, has developed a couple of well-known theories of intelligence, including the Triarchic Theory of Intelligence, which states that intelligent behavior stems from a balance between analytical abilities (problem solving), creative abilities (using prior knowledge and skills to deal with new situations), and practical abilities (the ability to adapt to a changing world). He also developed, along with colleague Tod Lubart, the Investment Theory of Creativity. Important in this line of thinking is that creative people habitually see problems in novel ways, take risks, and have confidence to pursue unpopular ideas that have growth potential. Creativity is as much an attitude toward life as a matter of ability.

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