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Writing for a Change: Boosting Literacy and Learning Through Social Action



Writing for a Change: Boosting Literacy and Learning Through Social Action


Writing for a Change shows teachers how to engage students in “real world” problem-solving activities that can help them to acquire voice, authority, and passion for both reading and writing practice. Written in collaboration with the Center for Social Action in England, the book describes the innovative Social Action process for encouraging students to collaborate on problems of their own choosing—to analyze options, develop action plans, discover solutions, and finally to reflect on their work. Featuring stories by teachers who have successfully used the method, the book shows that first graders as well as high-school students can enjoy this exciting and educational process. Practical guidance for applying the process to any curricular area is provided along with an extensive list of classroom activities.

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Foreword, Richard Sterling xi

Sponsors xiii

Preface xv

Editors and Contributors xxi

ONE Exploring Student-Driven Learning and Literacy Through Social Action 1

PART ONE Social Action in Practice 9

TWO Power Play 11
Paula Laub

THREE Lending Student Voice to Curriculum Planning 19
Dietta Poston Hitchcock

FOUR The Story of the Youth Dreamers: In Their Own Words 25
Mildred Harris, Chantel Morant, Shanta Crippen, Chris Lawson, Chekana Reid, Cierra Cary, Tiffani Young-Smith

FIVE Reflections on the Youth Dreamers 31
Kristina Berdan

SIX Community Action in a Summer Writing Institute 43
Chinwe “La Tanya” Obijiofor

SEVEN Changing Our World 51
Lori Farias, Critics of Society Class

EIGHT Poetry and Power in the Creative Writing Workshop 57
Maggie Folkers

NINE Shall We Dance? 63
Connie Ellard Bunch

TEN The March on John Philip Sousa 67
Elizabeth A. Davis

ELEVEN Social Action and Parent Involvement 73
Mildred Serra

PART TWO Getting Started with Social Action 79

TWELVE Learning from Social Action: Reflections on Teaching and Social Action 81

THIRTEEN Principles for Practice: What Is Social Action? 87
Jennie Fleming, Ian Boulton

FOURTEEN Recommendations for the Classroom: Before You Start 97
Jennie Fleming, Ian Boulton

PART THREE Stuff You Can Try: Activities for Social Action 107

Metro Map 111

Naming the Group 113

Community Vocabulary 115

Devising the Vision 117

How We Behave in Groups 119

Movie Poster 121

Four Faces 124

But Why? 127

Codes 132

Changing Your Mind 134

Sculpts 136

The Three C’s 138

SWOT 140

Ideal Specimen 142

Force Field Analysis 144

Worst Nightmare 147

Now/Soon/Later 149

The Swimming Pool 151

Messages 153

References 155

Resources for Further Reading 157

Index 159

"This informative paperback discusses the development of teacher-facilitated and student-driven social action projects." (Childhood Education, Fall 2007)

"This book engages with an integrative framework of literacy acceleration and critical social action." (PsycCritiques, 09/06/2007)