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2015 September Language Arts, v93.1

Non-Member Price: $12.50

NCTE Member Price: $4.25

Issue Theme: Embodiment

Level(s): Elementary, Middle

ISBN/ISSN: 0360-9170


Language Arts
Volume 93, Number 1, September 2015
Issue Theme: Embodiment

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Calls for Manuscripts

Thoughts from the Editors
Teri Holbrook, Laura May, Peggy Albers, Caitlin McMunn Dooley, and Amy Seely Flint

Drama as Serious (and Not So Serious) Business: Critical Play, Generative Conflicts, and Moving Bodies in a 1:1 Classroom
Beth A. Bucholz
Abstract: This study, part of a longitudinal classroom ethnography, explored the use of drama as a social art or tool that invited children to produce knowledge and critical insight into their relationships with technology. Through a series of process drama engagements, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders constructed meaning with their bodies, improvising multilayered, dramatic scenes related to the introduction of one-to-one (1:1) iPads in their classroom. One dramatic engagement is explored here in detail: children’s production of digital commercials that argued for or against 1:1 devices in schools. Using a framework for analyzing performative experiences in education, analyses focused on the moment-by-moment emergence of children’s bodies and affect within a single focal commercial. Findings suggest that by positioning classroom practices, rituals, and discourses as productive sites for collective cultural and dramatic interpretation, children became active theory makers, producing knowledge that went far beyond rational classroom discussions about technology. This work suggests that the intersection of drama and technology offers possibilities for expanding the interpretive space of the classroom—a way for teachers and children to collectively and critically consider how technology may disrupt ways of being and learning in classrooms, inviting new forms of relations between bodies and materials.

Becoming the Story in the Joyful World of “Jack and the Beanstalk”
Kathryn F. Whitmore
Abstract: This article looks into the world of pretend to understand how the invitation to move, to take risks, and to become the story of Jack and the Beanstalk afforded three- to five-year-old children a means to be more than their usual selves. It describes a ten-week process drama residency studied in two preschool settings: first in three classrooms in a rural Head Start school and one year later in two classrooms in an urban Reggio-inspired child development center. The focus is on the compelling effect of engaging preschoolers’ bodies in movement and pretend, particularly for three children who presented what the author chooses to call “special circumstances” and whose experiences illustrate how embodied learning occurred so prominently in the Jack and the Beanstalk residency.

“Bumblebee’s in Trouble!” Embodied Literacies during Imaginative Superhero Play
Jaye Johnson Thiel
Abstract: Using philosophies of Deleuze and Guattari, this article illustrates how superhero play is an embodied literacy. Seeing this as one way to engage in social class-sensitive teaching practice and as an opportunity for children to experience what the author calls “muchness” or “intellectual fullness,” educators are invited to imagine what is possible in the literacy classroom if lines of flight generated during play are listened to and followed.

Celebrating Marilyn Singer: A Poet of Many Interests
Nancy Hadaway and Terrell Young
Abstract: Marilyn Singer, the recipient of NCTE’s 2015 Excellence in Poetry for Children Award, joins a distinguished group of poets that NCTE has recognized since 1977. She has published more than one hundred books for children and young adults in different genres, including thirty poetry collections. Her work addresses a wide variety of topics and poetic formats. She even created her own poetic format, the reverso. This profile of Singer highlights her work, her creative process and her evolution as a writer.

Research and Policy: How Should Readers Develop across Time? Mapping Change without a Deficit Perspective
Maren Aukerman
Abstract: When reading comprehension is primarily treated as the ability to reach sanctioned interpretations or to use sanctioned interpretive techniques, students’ existing reading practices that do not fit expectations are often treated as problems to be fixed. While some scholars have been troubled by this notion, justly aligning it with a deficit perspective, few of them have offered a way of conceptualizing comprehension development that honors all student textual sensemaking while still allowing educators to trace patterns of growth across time. This conceptual article provides such a framework, elaborating on six developmental domains for comprehension that stem from a transformative perspective rather than a deficit perspective on students’ reading development across time. These developmental domains are literate identity, intellectual integrity, textual curiosity, imaginative engagement, sociopragmatic agency, and textual dexterity. The article details these domains and some of their pedagogical implications.

Professional Book Reviews: Embodiment through Performance, Movement, and Making
Lucy Spence and Stephanie Milling
Abstract: Three books are reviewed including A Reason to Read by Eileen Landay and Kurt Wootton, Smart Moves: Why Learning IS Not All in Your Head (2nd ed.) by Carla Hannaford, and Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager. These books explore literacy through a movement or activity perspective.

Children's Literature Reviews: From Microbes to Music: Recommended Children’s Literature for Grades K–8
Jonda C. McNair, Deanna Day, Karla J. Möller, Angie Zapata
Abstract: This children's literature column features reviews of recently published titles about a range of topics including a mouse who solves mysteries, extreme weather, tiny creatures, the experiences of contemporary Native Americans, and the ocean. It also includes a wide variety of genres and subgenres.

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