Imagining the Possibilities: Improving the Teaching of Writing through Teacher-Led Inquiry by Jessica Singer Early

After reading this week’s article, there were a lot of new ideas that were brought to my attention about new methods of teaching writing. Jessica Singer Early who is an Associate Professor of English Education at Arizona State University brings to our attention the idea of “Teacher-Led Inquiry”. There is an obvious change in writing that goes beyond the classroom. This generation of students are different from one another and have a more diverse voice than ever. These students are in a classroom where the diversity is higher and are not being taught to their level. Instead, they are the ones being forced to learn standard and common core tests in order to develop their writing. I have always believed there is a better way of teaching writing in the classroom for students who have various forms of learning.

Early continues on to say, “We must find ways to give students opportunities to learn and adapt to different genres of writing, especially those that may have an impact on their later lives” (pg 12). School has given students the impression that there should only be one way of teaching and one way of learning. From my personal experience, the subject of math is a good example. Growing up, my ability to break down math in order to understand it, was a skill I did not have. I never had a teacher who was able to adjust the lesson in order to accommodate the way I learned. My senior year of high school, I failed the math section of the HSPA, which was the New Jersey state test I needed to pass in order to graduate. My teacher who taught the students who failed the math section taught the overall subject of the math but was able to individually teach us how to solve problems so we could understand. Each one of us grasped the material differently. The same rules apply to what Early is speaking about in this article. There needs to be an opportunity for students to learn based on their individual selves.

Another point that was made in the article was giving students a greater purpose for writing that will eventually go beyond the classroom. When a student has a particular audience to write for that they can also relate to, their writing develops. “Initially, we talked about how this kind of writing invites students to identify a real audience beyond the classroom teacher, to have empathy and understanding for that audience, and to attempt to reach the audience through appropriate content, purpose, and conventions (Gallagher, 2011). By doing this, students will have the teachings of writing that can connect to real-world situations that go beyond the classroom.

However, not everything falls on the student. The teacher, who is the main subject of this article, has to be able to recraft the teaching methods in the classroom. The example of Debra, an eighth-grade English teacher, was given in this article. She decided to create an after-school writing group for middle school students in order to support their writing that will go beyond the classroom. This is an important part of the article because Debra decided to take matters into her own hands and created a safe space for these kids. Safe spaces are used today for kids to be able to be themselves and feel as if they can make a difference.

If encouraged the correct way, they can make a difference. “By expanding the curriculum to include college-and career-ready writing opportunities, these teachers gave students opportunities to examine and explore how diverse forms of writing function in the world, who deems these forms of writing important, and why and to whom these genres matter in academic, professional, and civic settings (Early, pg 14). It was the teachers who gave these students the opportunity to develop their writing beyond the classroom. Developed writing does fall on the shoulders of the teacher, but if we have more teachers who are willing to change writing teachings, then the teacher inquiry will work out for the better.

My haiku

Scent of soppy wild grasses

The gloomy leaves reach out for spring

Colorful centipede kisses the dew

湿草之臭

木叶郁郁向春

百足饮露

 

Splash of water and ink

The misty hills float in the distance

Cry of blood —— cuckoo-koo

沒骨浅绛

空山遥遥隐于雾

杜鹃泣血

A mini-biography of Yosa Buson

Yosa Buson (1716-1784) was born in a wealthy family but he chose to leave in pursue of art. He apprenticed to several haiku masters and he was also greatly influenced by Chinese poems. His experimental poems have been called “Chinese poems in Japanese,” and two of them contain passages in Chinese. He was a master in both haiku and haiga. A very important event in his life was that he spent three years (1754–57) in Yosa, Tango province, a region famous for its scenic beauty. His style is ornate and sensuous, rich in visual detail.

Reference: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Buson

Developing Students’ Critical Literacy: Exploring Identify Construction in Young Adult Fiction by Thomas W. Bean and Karen Moni

Although this article was written almost twenty years ago, authors Thomas W. Bean and Karen Moni discuss many dilemmas that teenagers go through at home and socially that conflicts with their education that relates to teenagers today. Specifically, teenagers who live in urban areas and surrounded by poverty. The coined term, “contemporary young adult literature” is described as a genre for readers between the ages of 12 and 20. It offers an escape for young adults and a window of opportunity to relate to fictional characters going through similar issues. This article talks about the reality that if a teenager who has to work for their family in order to survive and then goes to school surrounded by books and lessons that does not help with their issues, they are not going to be focused and they will be unmotivated.

“Adolescent readers view characters in young adult novels as living and wrestling with real problems close to their own life experiences as teens” (Bean & Rigoni, 2001, pg 638). It is important to understand that just like adults need an escape from their stress of work and life itself, there are young adults and teenagers who are going through just as much. Using novels that relate to them and that are written in first-person is a great way for these students to learn how to tackle life problems. Another term that was brought to my attention in this article was “critical literacy”. Bean and Moni argue that using critical learning in school empowers students. It allows them to ask the question of, “what choices have been made in the creation of the text” (Janks & Ivanic, 1992). Most of the time, we use novels that cannot relate to them and therefore, they lose interest. However, if you have critical literacy used in the classroom while reading young adult fiction novels, that changes students’ educational process.

In the article, Bean and Moni discuss how the world around us is swallowed by the flow of media, images, advertising, commercials and it influences the making of one’s identity. The last term that was mentioned in this article that I found to be very important was “Enlightenment Views”; which is defined as, “Enlightenment views of identity development were based on somewhat fixed social structures and actions according to class differences” (Mansfield, 2000, pg 640). However, this was challenged by Foucault in 1980 saying, “the Enlightenment View of the rugged individual and argued that power was a driving force in shaping identity” (pg 640). There are two sides developed about whether or not the Enlightenment View heavily influences young adults. Power is something that these teenagers living in urban areas do not see in media nor do they experience it. It is difficult to think they have some sort of power in this society when everything around them shows them in a negative way. Once the students became aware of their society’s cultural influences, they realized more that their identity is blurred by unstable employment, communities, and institutions that do not care about them.

The representation of families and life in the 1950s and the 1960s of a loving, two-parent, white family household with a steady income that is shown on television is a revelation of how the rest of the world is unattached. A teenager who is a person of color living in an urban area, that is taking care of themselves and balancing school, does not find identity in the midst of that. The way critical literacy ties into everything allows the reader to go beyond the usual response questions and learn from the character’s mistakes and apply it to their own life. Critical literacy offers a foundation and framework for these students. I believe that if we continue to use young adult fiction in school, students will be able to break the cycle of not finding their own identity and being lost in the sea of society.

Summary & Response of “The big fight over Coexist”

The post named “The big fight over Coexist” written by Phil Edwards mainly discusses the history of the logo “Coexist” and the development of its meanings. “The big fight over Coexist” refers to the fight over its ownership and its real implications. The logo was invented by a Polish artist Piotr Mlodozeniec in 2000, consisting of three religion symbols. It soon became popular on the Internet. Since 2005, some changes have been made to modify this logo and “Coexist” starts to have commercial profit. At first this logo was designed to participate in a contest, later it was used to make money, but now it has deeper ethical denotation on a worldwide scale.

After reading this post, I come to realize that the signified can be comprehended from diverse dimensions. Since the world is changing rapidly, the cultural context also differs in different time periods. With the trend of globalization,  different cultures and social groups have to learn to coexist with one another harmoniously. The big fight happens not only over the logo “Coexist”, but also happens over human existence.

My blogger brand

Color: My brand consists of red, purple and orange, which leaves the reader an impression of romance and adventure.

Contrast: The color of the brand and the white background have strong contrast.

Repetition: This is a drawing of a piece of red cloud, which coincides with my blog name.

Others: The end of the cloud stretches down, indicating that it comes from the earth, specifically, comes from people’s imagination. This is another repetition with my blog introduction.

Analysis of 8 principles of logo design

Image result for logo

https://www.google.com/search?q=logo&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiL5tvC3eHZAhVJ61MKHVFYBL4Q_AUICigB&biw=1280&bih=615#imgrc=e-Lu3V8w4nkpdM:
  1. Alignment: The image and the words are placed in the middle of the logo so that the audience may feel comfortable when looking at it. Also, neat alignment makes it easier to read. 
  2. Hierarchy: The image of the warrior is the biggest and is placed higher than the words. The word “Spartan” is bigger and placed higher than “Fitness”. When I read this logo, I see firstly the Spartan warrior, then the word “Spartan”, then “Fitness”. Therefore my impression to this institution will be like this: It is a fitness club which can help me become as strong as a Spartan warrior, which was the best in the Greek world. 
  3. Contrast: This logo consists of red, black and white, which catch the reader’s attention immediately. Red image and black words are very prominent on white background. 
  4. Repetition: The style of this logo is consistent. The logo, the font and the colors are all very simple. Simplicity also corresponds with the Spartan way of life. These signifiers try to convey the principle of this fitness club: your fitness is our only goal. 
  5. Proximity: The warrior image, “Spartan” and “Fitness” are closely related to each other. 
  6. Balance: This logo is asymmetrical. There is only one warrior facing left. Maybe it wants to emphasize “the best”, “No. 1” so one warrior is enough. 
  7. Color: White means simplicity, red means energy, strength, bravery and honor, black means elegant and efficiency. These impressions are positive for a fitness club and will attract customers. 
  8. Space: There is much blank space on this logo. Again, it creates a sense of simplicity and tidiness. 

Online Fan Fiction, Global Identities, and Imagination by Rebecca W. Black

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This was an interesting article to read and discover different ways of using various research methods. Fanfiction is a term that I have learned through the media as well. I have my own YouTube page and I am constantly on YouTube and following other YouTubers. Fanfiction was a concept that I could not understand or something that I was not into. However, after reading this article, I realized that Fanfiction goes beyond creating fictional stories. It is actual a way to bring people from all around the world together. There is a larger concept to online Fanfiction that Rebecca W. Black discusses and tells how research methods proves that.

My senior year of my undergraduate studies, I took a Global Issues course in order for me to graduate. We learned that globalization is how people today connect by mostly technology. Black defines globalization as, “the accelerated movement of people, ideas, information, media, commodities, and capital across national and regional borders” (pg 397). Globalization began in the 1980s and has rapidly increased to the 21st century. From the on, this generation has progressed faster than any other generation. Technology has played a huge part of globalization as far as connecting through social media and various ways of communications. Fanfiction was something that I did not think of being apart of the globalization phenomenon. Black also continues to describes globalization by stating, “-has given rise to many significant questions about the nature and impact of online communication and socialization across time and space” (pg 397).

The definition of Fanfiction according to Black is, “a unique form of writing in which fans base their stories on the characters and plot lines of existing media and popular culture” (pg 398). Maybe one of the keys to connecting with the rest of the world is as simple as using our imaginations. There are other ways to connect with people around the world besides things such as education and politics. Using our imaginations and being creative are uniques opportunities to bring people from around the world together. There were more than one research method that went into collecting data for this topic. One of the methods we discussed in class in the beginning of the semester. “Using qualitative methods, I collected data from multiple sources over a three-year period” (Black, pg 403). Within the different research methods, the use of other communication techniques such as media were used as well. However, there was a downfall conducting this research, which was the lack of face-to-face contact. The research had to be solely based on their web identities, which could cause a disconnect between the person who is conducting the research and their subjects. I would like to see Fanfiction writing and other forms of creative ideas be used by people around the world in order to continue the cycle of globalization.