Sunday, November 16, 2014

NCTE 2014 "Story as the Landscape of Knowing" [Preview] Session A:09 "Blurred Lines: Landscapes of Truth and Fiction in Imaginary and Informational Texts"

For an English teacher, what excites more than a good story? We know ourselves and our world through stories. As Carol Jago says, "Literature is a mirror of ourselves and a window into other worlds." 

I'll be teaming up, once again, with my convention colleagues Ami Szerence, who teaches at Schurr H.S. in Montebello, CA; Cherylann Schmidt, who teaches at J. P. Case M.S. in Flemington, N.J.; and Debbie Greco, my colleague at Highland H.S. in Pocatello, ID to explore the ways narrative lines cross boundaries in texts of various genres. 

To start our session, I'll present a Pecha Kucha that focuses on how we define, and construct our ideas about imaginary and informational texts. I'll challenge the privilege granted informational texts and argue that truth resides in imaginary texts, too, often in ways inadequate to informational texts. 

The second part of my presentation will showcase the journey my seniors have taken this past trimester as we've examined narrative forms and frames on our way to creating digital stories that seniors may use as the starting point for their senior projects. I'll showcase at least one of the digital stories. We laughed and cried together last week as we celebrated one another's lives in story. This was a rewarding community-building experience. 

Included in my part of our session is a twelve page document w/ many of the activities students completed as part of our emphasis on telling our stories and reading the stories of others, both classic and contemporary, including YA. I've uploaded the materials to the NCTE portal but it's available on Google Drive: "Contributing a Verse: Digital Storytelling for Research-Based Writing"

My Co-Presenters' Plans:

Over on Google Drive, my co-presenters have shared their plans. Here's what those attending our session can look forward to hearing in Ami's, Cherylann's, and Debbie's own words:

I am focusing on how I create text sets that blend fiction and imaginative literature around a central question or idea.  I plan to share my Racial Profiling unit and either my Brave New World or 1984 unit.  I will focus on how I use imaginative literature to gather evidence to support argumentative writing.  I hope to have time to have one or two participants share a novel or story they teach and create a text set on the spot.  I will upload my handouts soon.  

"Blending Imaginative and Informative Texts in Argumentative Writing" (Ami's presentation doc).

Multiple Genres, Multiple Voices - How do different genres (informational text, poetry, autobiography, and photographs) tell the story of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. I will walk participants through an abbreviated version of a lesson I do with my students when we study the Holocaust. My piece of the session will explore how each genre impacts readers differently and shapes their overall understanding of a historical event. (I’m doing an extended version of this talk at the Philadelphia Writing Project’s Fall Conference in October, so I’ll have worksheets uploaded within the next few weeks.)

My main focus will be the Heroic journey using a Document Based Inquiry approach connecting to The Odyssey and A Tale of Two Cities. I will upload the documents I will be using as well as the DBI Note catcher form. Depending on time availability (which is unlikely) I will do a side note on the use of census reports for A Tale of Two Cities pre-reading activity.  
1. Stage 1 - images and video… observations and wonders
2. Stage 2 - primary documents
3. Stage 3 - secondary synthesis documents
4. Stage 4 - Thesis statement with evidence based on observations and wonders from
stages 1-3
5. How much Odyssey & Tale of Two Cities fits fact versus fiction discussion
6. a side-by-side comparison of census reports - one from a wealthy neighborhood in
New York and one from a poor neighborhood in New York. What’s the narrative these

census records tell us?

*As Ami, Cherylann, and Debbie complete and share their materials w/ me, I'll update this post to link to their resources.

**Update: 1:14 MST.

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