Friday, December 4, 2009

"For My People" Example #6

I loved this poem...Several students who identify as "white" wrote about the various racial identities that they have, which was cool...

"For My People" Example #5

This student honors his Filipino heritage and the diversity of the Philipines...I love the way he uses numbers...

"For My People" Example #4

Another empowered voice...Many students incorporated rhyme, though it was not a requirement...

"For My People" Example #3

I felt that the most effective poems were the ones that were honoring and celebrating a single "people" this one...

"For My People" Example #2

Some students chose to focus each stanza on a different group of "their people"...Like Jordan, many students revealed personal information that made for good poetry.

"For My People" Example #1

Some students took a humorous approach...Zach's poem also has a somewhat aggressive tone (though lighthearted), which was common in many poems....Many of the poems seemed to embrace stereotypes, which makes readers feel a bit uncomfortable, but I think that's part of their effectiveness. I have no idea, though, whether students consciously did this...

In some cases, I felt like some of the poems just read like a list of stereotypes, which I'm not sure, by itself, makes for effective poetry, though I can see how it might be a sort of disempowering of those stereotypes...I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I liked that most students, like Zach, played with stereotypes but also made visible some of the invisible work  or qualities of their "people" (i.e. in Zach's poem, he calls attention to the Mexican migrant laborers who pick fruit, and Mexican artists' contributions to the hip-hop, etc.).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Equity & Teaching In The New Millennium

Here is an article by two great researchers (Kathryn Au & Taffy Raphael) that Aja would like to share with our study group:

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

If you have any articles to share please send them our way! I would be happy to upload it to our blog.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Place to Find & Host All Our Student Samples

ATTENTION! We now have an easy, manageable way to host all our articles, student samples etc. that each of us can access from the internet on our own time!

I've created a account for us at

Here is a quick How To video in case you think you'll need it....but I promise if you head over to via the hyperlink it should be fairly self-explanatory how to:

1. Add A File

2. Upload it to our site

3. Download other member's materials.

Let's agree on a standard formatting for how we save our files so that we can easily access them if we need to:

For Student Samples: Name of Mentor Text_Grade Level_Member Name (example: Raised by Women_4th Grade_Christine)

For Articles: Topic_Name of Article_Author (example: AAVE_Summary of Linguistic Characteristics_Labov)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Spring SDAWP Day of Writing

Here are the Animoto videos of our SDAWP National Day of Writing (10/20/09) for Nubia Leadership Academy (Christine, Valentyna & Aja), San Diego Early Middle College High School (Kendra & Zenani) and Mesa College (John Rall):

We are hoping to host another date in the spring in Balboa Park with SDAWP Classrooms.

Please comment in this post if you would like to join us and we will send you updated information throughout the year.

We are considering a date in late May after standardized testing is completed for school sites.

African American Vernacular English AAVE

Some resources available online for AAVE:

Summary Statement of AAVE by Labov: file:///Users/christinekane/Desktop/aavestatementlabov.htm

The grammar of urban African American Vernacular English by Walt Wolfram

Do You Speak American? (PBS)

CAL Center for Applied Linguistics

Language Varieties with Syntax Charts

Power Writing

Christine Kane's Revised Version of Fearn & Farnan's Power Writing Strategy

1. Choose two familiar topics for students

2. Teacher writes a word bank for each topic.

3. Students discuss each topic with partner for 1 minute per topic.

4. Students look their partners in the eye and say mantra: “I am a writer. I am a powerful writer. I will write as much as I can, as well as I can, until the time is through!”

5. Student choose one topic and puts their heads down on the desk to think about a title and organization (1 minute)

6. Teacher sets time for power writing event - start small to build self-efficacy (No more than 1 minute)

7. Students write for set time period

8. When timer rings- say aloud: 1 minute to finish up your writing and provide students 1 more minute to complete thoughts

9. Students are given 1 minute to edit with “magic headphones”

10. Students are given 1 final minute to count # of words (silently in their head) and write down the number and circle it at the bottom of the page.

Chapter 2: Narrative Writing

Teaching Narrative Writing: Why It Matters

In my experience, students enjoy writing narratives. Telling stories from their lives opens opportunities to talk about meaningful, important, sometimes life-changing events with their classmates. Given the fact-packing, pace-and-test curriculum mode of education today, narratives provide one of the few opportunities for students to write or talk about their lives in school. (page 61)

Please comment on your classroom experiences regarding Christensen's narrative writing chapter in this post.

Student Narrative Mentor Text Samples:

Elementary Samples

Middle School Samples

High School Samples

College Samples

Chapter 7: My Dirty Little Secret

I Don't Grade Student Papers

Our grading should match our pedagogy. In my classroom I attempt to create aspect of the kind of society I want my students to live in: a society where the work is meaningful and intrinsically rewarding, where people grapple with big ideas they care about, in an environment where they can talk, read, write, and think without worry of failure or ridicule. Students need to feel that their work is important, relevant, and meaningful. If not, why should they spend time on it? (page 272)

Please post any comments on Christensen's grading policies in this post.

Chapter 6: Responding to Student Work

The Politics of Correction: Learning From Student Work

Once students begin-error by error- to understand how to "clean up" their writing, they gain confidence in their ability. They no longer feel like targets in the cross-hairs of the teacher's red pen; they don't need to "wash history from their throats" as poet Patricia Smith so passionately writes in her essay "Talkin' Wrong." Teachers exercise enormous power when we take our pens to student papers. Will we use our power to help students understand that Standard English is one dialect among many or will we use it to whittle away students' voices and home language one error at a time? (page 268)

Link to NWP article written by Linda Christensen on Responding to Student Work (Includes student examples seen on page 269-270 in book)

Please add your comments on how this is working out in your classroom to this post.

Chapter 1: Writing Poetry

The Role of Poetry: Community Builder, Grammar Text, and Literary Tutor

According to Linda Christensen, author of Teaching for Joy and Justice, poetry levels the writing playing field.

Here is the link to a video clip of Kelly Norman Ellis performing her poem "Raised by Women".

Mentor Text Samples for Raised by Women (Pages 17-22)

Christine's 3rd Grade Samples

PJ's 5th Grade Samples

Jean's 9th Grade Samples

Mentor Text Samples for I Love Poems (Pages 38-42 in book)

Aja's 2nd Grade Samples

Shivani's 3rd Grade Samples

Gabie's 3rd Grade Samples

Tyna's 3rd Grade Samples

Janis's 5th Grade Samples

Janet's 8th Grade Samples