2018 NCTE Annual Convention

Houston, TX
November 15-18, 2018

This fall, we’ll come together in Houston to celebrate students’ voices and the impact they make in the world.

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Deepen Your Learning with a Workshop


All workshops take place Thursday, November 15, from 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 


A variety of people are listening and learning in workshops and learning sessions at the 2017 NCTE Annual Convention.Register for a workshop today!

2018 Workshops

Click the titles below to learn more about each workshop. 

Grade-level interest for each workshop is listed in parenthesis at the end of the title (E = Elementary, M = Middle, S = Secondary, C = College, G = General (E, M, S, C), TE = Teacher Education, R = Research).



Katherin Garland, Santa Fe College, Gainesville, FL: Communicating Social Justice Ideas with Digital Movie-Making Applications: How iMovie and Movie Maker Can Empower Students’ Voices
Mary Rice, University of New Mexico: Discovering Voices and Telling Stories with Canva
Ewa McGrail, The Georgia State University; and Patrick McGrail, Jacksonville State University, AL: Video Podcasting: Learning How to Speak Well, Look Good, and Have Something to Say on Video
Stephen Goss, University at Buffalo (SUNY); Ryan Rish, University at Buffalo (SUNY); and Aijuan Cun, University at Buffalo (SUNY): Public Art Factory: Raising Student Voices Using Low-Tech and High-Tech to Publish Big Ideas in ELA

This half-day technology workshop sponsored by the Assembly on Computers in English (ACE) invites participants to explore digital movie making and audio recording apps, as well as graphic design tools to give students and educators voice and agency and to encourage creativity and critical thinking.

Participants will learn a variety of movie and video apps and graphic design tools that can be used to give voice to students and educators and to evaluate and respond to the voices of others. The sessions will provide opportunities to discuss how to move learners from merely consuming content to creating digital content and in this way to empower them to be advocates of social change, equity, and responsible citizenship in online, offline, and hybrid spaces.

Workshop leaders, drawn from K–12 and post-secondary faculty, will incorporate hands-on activities, group discussions, and instruction to familiarize participants with a newer generation of apps and technology tools. Sessions feature student work, classroom activities, and teacher resources.

Following a practical engagement with each new application, participants will have ample time to ask additional questions about incorporating each tool into their classrooms and schools. Participants will also be invited to join the ACE organization and ACE connected community, allowing them to work with ACE consultants throughout the year to develop technology projects for their own classrooms.

Tentative Schedule

11:30–11:50: Welcome and Introductions

11:50–12:50: Communicating Social Justice Ideas with Digital Movie-Making Applications: How iMovie and Movie Maker Can Empower Students’ Voices

12:50–1:40: Video Podcasting: Learning How to Speak Well, Look Good, and Have Something to Say on Video

1:40–2:30: Discovering Voices and Telling Stories with Canva

2:30–3:20: Public Art Factory: Raising Student Voices Using Low Tech and High Tech to Publish Big Ideas in ELA

3:20–3:30: Wrapping and Closing Remarks



Pam Allyn, Author/Consultant
Monica Burns, Educator/Consultant, ClassTechTips.com

Today’s readers are faced with the challenge of taming the wild text. They read across genres, for a variety of purposes, in both traditional and digital formats. This session will introduce five habits for successful reading: reading closely, widely, critically, deeply, and purposefully. Attendees will dive into easy-to-implement strategies and instructional methods, based in research, to help students cultivate strong reading skills in the 21st-century classroom. In addition, we will provide the argument and research for not only introducing digital texts into the classroom but also for finding the required balance as we honor the power of traditional printed text.

Facilitators will introduce research behind their argument that today’s teachers are change-makers on a mission to prepare students for the world of today and tomorrow. Using the interactive presentation software Nearpod, the facilitators will model strategies for teaching close reading and deep reading. Attendees will interact with real classroom examples of providing students access to a wide range of texts and opportunities to think critically about what they have read. Finally, participants will view, reflect on, and brainstorm ways to create purpose for readers using a variety of traditional and digital tools, including the free iPad- and Chromebook-friendly Adobe Spark creation tools.

Students in today’s world are asked to do much heavy lifting as they gaze at a tablet, open a web browser or flip through the pages of a graphic novel. As educators, we can prepare students for this wild world by giving them the access to a toolbox of strategies so they can navigate through new and familiar spaces in the English Language Arts classroom and beyond. In this session, attendees will be introduced to more than the “why” by spending time focusing on the “how.” They will leave with actionable tips to take back to the teachers and students they support.



Danielle Filipiak, University of Connecticut
Terry Flennaugh, Michigan State University, East Lansing
Joanne Marciano, Michigan State University, East Lansing
Rae Oviatt, Michigan State University, East Lansing
Vaughn Watson, Michigan State University, East Lansing

Building on understandings of youth-led action and responsibility, youth participatory action research (YPAR) scholars such as Ernest Morrell have found that youth coresearchers’ have been able to improve their sophisticated literacy skills through engagement in civic inquiry projects in YPAR. Moreover, youth’s own concerns with their access to quality education and rigorous learning became a foothold for youth to engage in these civic inquiry projects. For instance, Nicole Mirra, Antero Garcia, and Morrell’s work with the Council of Youth Research highlights the various methodological choices youth researchers make when collecting data for their collective inquiry.

In bringing together opportunities for meaningful engagement in participatory inquiry with youth and communities that begin with youth questions and end with collective civic action that holds potential for positive impact on policy and schools, the work of YPAR is where the interstices of relationality, respect, and responsibility meet. YPAR becomes a key tool for connecting education research with schools and communities in much-needed collaborations. Yet, when and where can these important and necessary collaborations come about?

Tentative Schedule

11:30–12:00: Welcome & Introduction to YPAR

Attendees will have an opportunity to meet our workshop facilitators and each other in this brief introduction.

12:05–12:55: Introducing YPAR Method Design Tools

Facilitators will rotate through attendees’ tables providing attendees with a 5-minute overview of facilitators’ engagement with YPAR, including YPAR method design tools that facilitators will be engaging with attendees that day. A 3-minute Q-&-A will follow.

1:00–1:50: YPAR Planning & Design for Implementation Workshop

Attendees will choose tables based on matching their design interests with facilitators’ YPAR design tools. During this time, attendees will have myriad opportunities to engage in planning and design for implementation of YPAR in their literacy classrooms with the support of our facilitators. Specifically, attendees will select a YPAR method design tool and prepare an aspect of a design plan using the YPAR method design tool to implement in their literacy classrooms. Attendees can expect to take away plans for implementing method tools for implementation such as generating interview protocol, using Google Forms to create surveys, designing photovoice collection, writing autoethnographic research memos, and enacting listening parties for analyzing classroom YPAR data.

1:55–2:30: Completing & Sharing Plans for Mini–Poster Presentations

Attendees will work, together in pairs, small groups, or individually to prepare a visual representation of their YPAR plan. Analog or digital visual representations of the plans will be completed and prepared for sharing.

2:35–3:05: Digital & Physical Mini–Poster Presentations

Attendees will share their work in a digital and physical mini–poster presentation where facilitators and attendees will provide critically caring feedback and support in considering what next steps to take for design and implementation.

3:10–3:30 Question & Answer

Attendees and presenters will have a final opportunity to collectively reflect on designing and implementing YPAR in the literacy classroom and collaborating across communities of praxis.



Kevin DePew, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
Kylowna Moton, LA City College, Los Angeles, CA
Michael Seward, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, Pennsylvania State University, State College

This workshop will provide attendees, first, with a theoretical framework for understanding the inherently colonial nature of the educational system and, second, with practical steps that they might apply in their own classrooms and institutions for resisting such colonization and for decreasing the damage done to students via the educational system.

Using decolonial and critical race theories, facilitators will briefly present a lens for understanding the racism, xenophobia, and biases inherent in the American educational system. However, the primary focus of the workshop will be on practical steps that attendees can adopt or adapt for their own contexts—at the state, local, institutional, classroom, and personal levels. For each level, presenters will explore the degrees to which current practices are colonial and then offer practical suggestions for altering approaches.

Self: The workshop will ask attendees to explore their own roles and complicity in the forces of colonization. Facilitators will present the demographics of educators and of students and will challenge attendees to understand themselves and their motivations as embedded within (not outside of) the forces of colonization. Practical steps will then be covered for acknowledging and resisting such complicity to enable educators to reflect on ways that they can include students’ voices in their curricula.

Pedagogy: The workshop will explore how current teaching methods have emerged from colonial practices and will offer concrete suggestions for altering pedagogies in the classroom.

Assessment: A significant portion of the workshop will focus on grading and testing and the deeply colonial nature of such practices. Facilitators will explore with attendees the possibilities for resisting the damage caused by these practices and for developing alternative modes that recognize students’ ways of knowing, doing, and representing as valid.

Curriculum and Materials: The workshop will explore the ramifications of decolonization on curriculum, literature, and materials. Attendees will gain concrete suggestions for decolonizing their curricula and texts and return home with a start-up list of where to locate relevant resources for further exploration.

Institution: The workshop will explore how policy and procedure might be addressed.

Teacher Training: Implications for decolonization on teacher training and professional development will be explored.

Nation/State/Community: Ramifications of the decolonization of education at broader social levels will be discussed. Facilitators will explore with attendees the need for a change in rhetoric and messaging about learning and students in order to maximize impact on policy at higher levels.



Molly Adams, Instructional Coach/NWP Teacher Consultant, Ennis ISD, Ennis, TX
David Cole, Project Director, NEXMAP/NWP Teacher Consultant

Engagement in academic and civic discourse for students today seems to come at an even greater price per student. With each passing year, we lose the relevance, rigor, participation, and motivation necessary to promote students’ interest in positive change in education and our world. Perhaps it’s because we take the complex concepts and skills students need to master and either water them down or cut out their innate interestingness in the name of standardized tests and our own fear of change—and in that process diminish the opportunity for students to become better informed and contributing citizens in the process.

How can we re-engage our students in conversations about change in the world? What if we allowed science, literacy, design thinking, and crafted visualizations and storytelling to help frame our ideas of literacy and communication skills? What if we could combine elements of illumination with familiar literacies as a framework for students to explore and communicate their understanding of complex subjects that are personally relevant, and, ideally, motivating? What if these methods could inspire participation in what students actually want to change?

Using NEXMAP.org’s creative process worksheet as a tool for ideation and documentation, we will facilitate a thinking and design process to identify a topic where we want to see change, then develop our ideas and plan a project to take back to our classrooms. In this half-day workshop, participants will complete a sequence of step-by-step activities that include writing and instructional strategies, human-centered design prompts and templates (using sticky notes, abstraction laddering, an importance/difficulty matrix, storyboarding), while learning about the fundamentals of paper circuitry as a complementary lens and set of materials to support a rich teaching and learning experience with multimodal composition.

Participants in this workshop can build on their own instructional goals and learning objectives as a foundation for their work, while using the creative process worksheets to document their own illuminated infographics, creating a plan for implementation as well as an authentic artifact they can take back to their classrooms/school sites to share with students and colleagues.

This project and approach is especially useful for social justice topics and work on civic discourse, as well as any problem-based activity that would benefit from a hands-on exercise to support initial brainstorming, topic definition, and prioritization. Additionally, the workshop will include opportunities for collaboration and structured feedback from peers as part of the teaching and learning cycle. With such a collision and remixing of critical thinking, disciplinary literacy, PBL, and the inclusion of electrical and digital components, teachers (and their students) can re-imagine possibilities for authentic experiences with communication, connection, and civic engagement. The future has never looked so “bright.”

Worksheet URL: http://goo.gl/PjdbZn

Molly’s HYN Resources: http://bit.ly/hyn2018

NEXMAP: www.nexmap.org

Sample workshop: https://vimeo.com/246218052



Joshua Cabat, Roslyn Public Schools, Roslyn, NY
John Golden, Portland Public Schools, Portland, OR
Megan Pankiewicz, Col. Zadok Magruder High School, Rockville, MD
Renee Shea, Writer/Educator, Columbus, OH
Fran Sterling, Consultant, Blueshift Education

It is becoming increasingly clear that an essential part of our job as English teachers today is to help our students differentiate between truth and fiction, fact and opinion, and news and “fake news.” This half-day workshop will present classroom teachers with rationales and classroom-tested strategies and lessons for incorporating more documentary film into the curriculum. The workshop will include presentations from classroom teachers, documentary filmmakers working in the field, consultants for film festivals from around the country, and developers of online educational resources for nonfiction film.

The structure of the workshop will be as follows:
  1. Examine the results of the January 2018 study called Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life. There are several conclusions the researchers draw about political, social, and cultural factors that have led to the confusion of fact and fiction. For our purposes in the classroom, the researchers conclude “competing demands on the educational system limit its ability to keep pace with changes in the information system.” In other words, we are not regularly able to teach the critical media literacy skills that students need in the 21st century. These results lead to a discussion about the important role documentary film can play in the classroom.
  1. Present approaches for teaching documentary film through classroom activities that ask students to critically analyze the visual, sound, and text tracks of a documentary film in order to determine the film’s point of view and to evaluate the techniques used to present that point of view.
  1. Share activities and approaches for having students create their own documentary films. It is not enough for students to be critical readers of media; they need to become producers of it as well so that they can understand the techniques that filmmakers use and recognize the ethical considerations of working in the documentary film medium.
  1. Screen portions of 1 or 2 documentary films and participate in interviews with the professional documentary filmmakers who created them about their processes and their recommendations to classroom teachers who want to incorporate more documentary film.
  2. Examine and evaluate available educational resources for using documentary film in the classroom. Representatives from nonprofit organizations such as POV, ITVS, Doc Academy and film festivals with education outreach programs will share their work and be available to answer questions from the participants.

The session will conclude with an opportunity for collaborative planning and reflection as participants consider the ways that they will incorporate what they have learned in the workshop into their own classrooms.

This workshop will help to address what NCTE has stated in the Definition of 21st Century Literacies: “The 21st-century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies, many literacies.”



Barry Hoonan, Odyssey Multiage Program, Bainbridge Island, WA
Julie Wright, Educational Consultant/Author

If we want to support our students in creating classrooms where choice, debate, and independence are central to their developing literacies, we need to start by giving them lots of opportunities to talk, lots of time to read, and lots of chances to solve problems. Using small, flexible groups during reading workshop does just this.

In this session, we will explore how curating texts with students’ interests and curiosities in mind puts students’ voices at the forefront of our planning. We will show how to use our skills to make plans that are specific to our students’ collective and individual needs and discuss planning templates that give teachers a structure for creating responsive, flexible small-group learning experiences. We will explore ways teachers can curate texts that inspire students to want to read more. In addition, we will discuss different ways students can curate texts for themselves, igniting their own reading while fostering independence and discovering their own voices. We will show how students moved outside the classroom as curators for others in their learning community and share video of student-initiated book clubs and small-group conversations. We will co-construct independent small-group protocols with participants. Finally, this session will focus on how students took ownership by reading a menagerie of texts during small-group learning; how they developed diverse response strategies; and how they lifted their own deep thinking and that of others around them through constructive conversations, arguments, and writing.



Malene Golding, Houston ISD, Houston, TX
Cindy Puryear, Houston ISD, Houston, TX

Writing is a soft skill that is crucial for student success. Many teachers struggle with teaching writing and establishing the reading-writing connection in their classroom. We will demonstrate the use of mentor texts to grow students as readers and writers.

Reading and writing are inseparable. They are as interdependent as breathing in and breathing out. The reading-writing connection is far more than simply combining reading and writing during the literacy block. This connection involves critical thinking, structured oral discussions, and analyzing texts deeply as readers and writers. The use of mentor texts fosters the interdependence of reading and writing in more than one way, using text as an example of author’s craft and using a book of choice to encourage deep thinking are just two of the ways that teachers can use mentor texts. Drawing inspiration from experts such as Lucy Calkins, Kylene Beers, Stephanie Harvey, and Jeff Anderson, we will walk through examples that illustrate how to effectively use mentor texts not just to improve reading skills but to grow extraordinary writers.



Tracy Cretelle, Rochester City School District, NY
Sharon Peck, SUNY Geneseo, NY

This practical, hands-on workshop shows how to make curriculum relevant to diverse students through place- and project-based pedagogy. Teachers will learn how to create projects to engage students in reading, writing, and taking action in their school communities. Participants will explore methods of developing multimodal narratives to inspire change in their school communities, look at supporting research, hear from teachers who embraced the process, look at projects created by teachers, and leave with a plan for integrating place-based narratives into their own work.

Included in the workshop is a look at how place- and community-based pedagogy supports student motivation and agency and builds ownership in curricula. It looks at the ways in which multimodal narratives, place-based writing, storytelling, wikis, and VR platforms can support student understanding of community and transform acts of reading and writing into powerful modes of communication and invitations for community involvement and change.

Participants will move through a series of topics and activities that support development of their own place-based plan to organize and implement in their instruction immediately following the workshop.

This workshop is informed by research showing that place and community-based instruction holds the potential to transform learning through intersections of place, community, and local knowledge. It provides alternate ways of seeing and coming to know school communities, as well as alternate ways for students to position themselves within the community



John Creger, American High School, Fremont, CA: The Personal Creed and Personal Hope
Abigail Michelini, California State University Channel Islands: Rhetorical Listening to Build Imaginative Bridges across our Imagined Divides
Bruce Novak, Director of Educational Projects for the Foundation for Ethics and Meaning: A Renewed Discipline of Personal and Interpersonal Studies to Generate a New Democratic Politics of Meaning
Nan Phifer, Author: Finding Hope and Gratitude in Working through Sorrows
Kathleen Yancey, Florida State University: Rhetorics of Hope to Counter Rhetorics of Division

Whatever the results of the 2018 elections, our country, and our students, will stand in need of moving on from the extreme divisiveness we have recently experienced: rebuilding our moral and psychological infrastructure and finding new forms of personal and collective hope in order to eventually put this divisiveness definitively in the past. The sessions in this workshop will explore practical tactics for the awakening and activating of hope in the English classroom: rhetorical listening to build bridges over psychic walls, the personal creed to build bridges to a meaningful future, and memoirs of the soul to remember the gratitude and deep learning often found in the darkest of times. The workshop is an offshoot of the 2018 AEPL Summer Conference.

Kathleen Yancey will lead off the day with a brief keynote and an introductory discussion of classroom strategies appropriate for building bridges to hope in our times.

John Creger will present elements of the NCTE Moffett Award–winning Personal Creed Project that leads students to deeply examine the meanings and values latent in their lives. He will provide moving student testimony of how this project has led them to envision and enact meaningful and purposeful lives, stemming from the several decades he has been teaching this project. And he will lead participants in short writing exercises they can use to activate their own students’ hope.

Nan Phifer, author of Memoirs of the Soul, will then lead participants in a scaffolded series of writing prompts taking them through a dark time in their own lives that they were able to emerge from stronger, wiser, and more hopeful than they were before. Then she will lead us in a discussion of how we might collectively emerge stronger, wiser, and more hopeful through the current dark times we are experiencing together.

Abigail Michelini will share her doctoral research practicing Krista Ratcliffe’s Rhetorical Listening to make human bridges between those of sharply contrasting political views, as she experienced teaching in West Virginia during the 2016 elections. She will guide participants in making imaginative bridges with students or others in our lives whose worldviews may be different from our own.

Bruce Novak, coauthor with Jeff Wilhelm of Teaching Literacy for Love and Wisdom: Being the Book and Being the Change, will conclude by offering a vision of how literacies focused on the generation of love and wisdom can be critical in transforming democracy itself into a space in which the “malice toward none and charity for all” envisioned by Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman can become a definitive political reality. He will show how what Hillary Clinton has called “a politics of meaning” needs an educative discipline of personal and communal meaning-making at its heart.



Lyn Fairchild Hawks, Duke University Talent Identification Program, Durham, NC

Our students can write powerful stories, but sometimes writer’s block (fear/lack of inspiration/need for structure) stops the creative process. With the visual power of web tools, we can open portals to creativity, turning the classroom into a storymaker space. When our students try on various hats (literal and figurative) using avatars, suddenly brainstorming characters and points of view gets a lot more fun. When they plot using storyboards with heart-clutching moments, see how their stories start turning their own pages! And what about interactive graphics to sketch out potential settings or explore theme? The writing process gets more fluid, flexible, and experimental, because these visual means spark meaningful fiction and get our students experimenting in the same playful, thoughtful ways authors do. We’ll use professionals’ tips and guides as we explore these student activities, taking our creative writing to the next level. We’ll also discuss how to make these tasks part of your existing literary analysis units: how using mentor texts, we can explore both fun and rigorous creative writing practice, helping our students better understand devices and strategies all authors use to create worlds, voice, pacing, and imagery.

Digital tools also help our students practice creative writing habits of mind—strategies to imagine inventively. Fluency is a generative aspect of creativity, the ability to produce many ideas in response to open-ended problems, while flexibility is the talent for seeing a problem from many perspectives, trying many different approaches, and categorizing ideas in a variety of ways. Society’s greatest innovators aren’t afraid of thought experiments and discarding ideas. Tool-based writing prompts that encourage fluency, flexibility, and revision lead to the kind of writing we study in classrooms. Students can move from images to words seamlessly, generating innovative storylines. For example, students can find ways to trouble their characters—inflicting challenges and changes by moving cards around on a storyboard—that make a reader want to stay with a book. We can differentiate easily for those who wish to write flash fiction as well as for those novelists in the making.

We’ll also explore how film clips—multimedia from an original adventure film embedded in Duke TIP’s free creative writing curriculum—serve as an effective lens of inquiry to help students make their own story choices. This interdisciplinary curriculum teaches students to write stories driven by interest as they craft original characters and plots, test different points of view, and experiment with settings. Along the way, they follow the stories of several characters set in ancient Rome and Egypt, Renaissance England, and twentieth-century China and Argentina. Lessons integrate film clips as a new take on “mentor texts,” thanks to actual mentors (Scheherazade, famed storyteller from One Thousand and One Nights and Keita, a fictional West African griot).

In our time together, we’ll analyze mentor texts (story and novel excerpts), brainstorm our own story ideas with digital tools, then generate experimental paragraphs of text. You’ll leave with several activities to empower students to create a digital portfolio of memorable fiction.



Kate Jackson, Corona-Norco USD, CA; CNUSDeDChat
Kimberly Kemmer, Corona-Norco USD, CA; CNUSDeDChat

In this hands-on session, attendees will discover the advantages of podcasting in the classroom, hear how secondary students produced their own podcasts, and have the choice to either craft their own podcast project or create a sample episode. Inspired by the popularity of the Peabody Award–winning Serial podcast, copresenter Kim Kemmer implemented a high-interest project combining research, argument, and podcasting in her eleventh-grade language arts classroom, where her students became detectives in solving a murder mystery from 1999. Whether it is solving a mystery or raising awareness of the critical issues of our time, podcasting is a great opportunity to give students a voice and a platform beyond the classroom. Copresenter Kate Jackson will share how tenth graders became advocates for human rights through student-produced podcasts, which gave students a voice in making local and global changes in society.

Dr. Ernest Morrell, advocate for critical media literacy, affirms that “youth participation in media production gives them leverage and voice… [and] also facilitates the development of more literate and thoughtful participants in our Democratic process.” Inspired by these words, students researched, wrote, produced, and narrated their visions, ideas, and arguments in original podcasts that were designed and created through free podcasting resources available to all students. Participants will have time to listen to compelling mentor podcasts, will record and edit audio narration with audio tools, and will explore podcast hosting platforms that can be used immediately in the classroom.

It is recommended that attendees bring an iPad, iPhone, tablet such as a Surface, or laptop. Session will reference Audacity, a free open-source audio software for recording and editing available to download at https://www.audacityteam.org/ or Mac users may use GarageBand, which is preinstalled on most iPads and iPhones.

The copresenters are Teachers on Assignment for Literacy and Instruction in the Corona Norco Unified School District in Southern California and are also the cohosts / coproducers of their own podcast, CNUSDEdChat, a podcast for educators and families. Their podcast covers topics on all things K–12 education and is a tool for on-demand professional learning in their district.



Samantha Doolittle, Abbott Lawrence Academy, Lawrence, MA

Now more than ever, the sociopolitical climate in the United States urges us to consider the role of education in the development of future generations of engaged, informed citizen-participants. The English classroom, then, offers a unique environment wherein students may learn both how to speak out against injustices and how to fight for equity in an increasingly tempestuous world.

This workshop allows secondary educators the opportunity to build, from the ground up, an English curriculum that places equity and justice front and center. The workshop’s focus will be fivefold: teaching with privilege, selecting literary works in line with social justice values, encouraging sociopolitical engagement through research, fostering cross-cultural experiences, and instilling empathy in our students.

Privilege in the Classroom (30 minutes): Participants will discuss what it means to be an English teacher in 2018 by considering the following questions: What does it mean to teach with privilege? How can we bring allyship into the classroom? What challenges arise when we strive to incorporate equity and justice into our practices and curriculum? Participants will be encouraged to share personal experiences from their own teaching careers as we work to establish common ground.

Designing a Social Justice Curriculum (75 minutes): Participants will curate a literary curriculum that reflects their students’ own experiences while simultaneously challenging their preconceived worldviews, and whose timeless and timely stories foster genuine student engagement. After providing a brief explanation of my own curriculum design process, participants will dive into the process themselves. Participants will consider the demographics of their own student populations in order to identify the unique needs of their students. They will then use these criteria to build a full-course literary curriculum (texts and assessments) that balances the need for diverse voices with the expectation of rigorous and comprehensive selections that sufficiently prepare students for college and beyond.

Expanding Students’ Worldviews (75 minutes): Participants will devise a research-based project that asks students to explore the social justice issues about which students care most and that challenges students to take action and effect sociopolitical change. Using my own self-designed, eleventh-grade social justice research project as an example, we will explore the crucial elements that differentiate this type of project from the standard “research paper.” Participants will then work with one another to design a research project suited to their specific curricular needs.

Connecting Curriculum to Culture (30 minutes): Participants will examine their own English curriculum and identify opportunities to bring the outside world into their classrooms. Points of focus will include recruiting guest speakers (I will speak about recruiting author Junot Díaz after teaching The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) and organizing expeditionary learning trips.

Teaching Our Students to Care (30 minutes): During this final section, participants will discuss effective strategies for cultivating active and compassionate citizen-participants out of our students. This discussion will also emphasize the importance of instilling the values of advocacy, self-care, and self-love within our students by incorporating all three into our day-to-day practices.



Paul Allison, New York City Writing Project, NWP, Youth Voices
Christina Cantrill,  NWP
Joe Dillon, Denver Writing Project
Jo Paraiso, Fremont High School, Oakland, CA
Dawn Reed, Red Cedar Writing Project
Chris Sloan, Judge Memorial Catholic High School, Salt Lake City, UT

We invite participants into an exciting new approach to online blended learning that teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project are helping to develop through partnership with LRNG and with each other through our building, protecting, nurturing, and tweaking of an openly networked site for Youth Voices. At the beginning of the workshop, we’ll do a playlist together—a curated group of online experiences designed around a theme. We will ask participants to do the activities outlined in a playlist that addresses a current issue facing our nation.

For example, last year, in the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally and the counter protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, schools were about to open in Oakland, California. Recognizing the historic importance of this moment, a teacher at Fremont High School, and one of the workshop facilitators, thought that an inquiry into Charlottesville would be an excellent way to invite her new ninth graders to raise their voices about issues that matter to each of them for an audience of peers from around the country on Youth Voices.

Following this teacher’s lead, we have built another LRNG playlist around an issue of importance for our students, and we’ll ask participants in this workshop to use the resources in this playlist to engage in four online experiences (XPs). This experience will inform conversations about this new form of blended, online learning, and we’ll show participants how students can choose projects from a national collection of playlists on LRNG.

In the second half of the workshop, participants will build their own online projects for their students using Youth Voices and LRNG. We’ll use a protocol to take a close, critical look at one of the playlists that we’ve developed; then we’ll ask each participant to re-envision a project that they love to do with students because of how it helps youth to make their voices heard.

Each participant will create a playlist with XPs that is student facing and that is intended to support learning experiences in classrooms with teachers, in after-school programs with mentors, and at home when the student is alone. We’ll help participants find the balance between providing enough instructions and scaffolding for students and keeping the XPs engaging.

Participants will finish their playlists by creating open digital badges. They will design the graphics for the badge, and they will choose the criteria that will be used to determine when a student has done enough quality work to earn the badge. We’ll then show them how we assess badges on the LRNG platform.

We’ll review each other’s playlists and badges and begin to see the power of providing youth with curriculum online that leads them to publish multimedia blog posts on a site like Youth Voices where they can raise their voices about issues that matter to them and engage with their peers in significant conversations online.



Franky Abbott, Digital Public Library of America
Samantha Gibson, Digital Public Library of America
Susan Ketcham, East Central High School, St. Leon, IN
Lakisha Odlum, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY

The objective of this workshop is to introduce participants to new primary source–rich resources for instruction and demonstrate proven strategies designed to support students’ critical thinking skills. Attendees will navigate the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and its Primary Source Sets, collections of instructor-vetted primary sources on 160 topics in literature, history, and more, drawing on diverse resources found in DPLA—from newsreel footage to oral histories. Presenters will lead an interactive exploration of these free resources and collaborate with participants to develop approaches to incorporating primary sources that are optimized for their students and curricula. By the end of the session, attendees will have generated specific ideas for how to use a DPLA Primary Source Set or individual primary source in an upcoming course or assignment.

DPLA is a free national digital library that provides access to millions of materials from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. DPLA Primary Source Sets were designed and created in collaboration with DPLA’s Education Advisory Committee, a team of educators representing humanities disciplines across secondary and higher education. This project makes literature instruction a priority, curating a group of sets around works of fiction, memoir, poetry, and drama, like Night by Elie Wiesel and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. These sets provide context for the events surrounding and depicted in the literary work, including information about the life of the author, contemporary reviews, and historical inspiration. Alongside topics representing core curricula, the project tells stories of underrepresented groups, including African Americans and women.

Tentative schedule

Analyze a Primary Source (30 mins)

Presenters will model interactive strategies for engaging students around a single primary source, including close reading, asking questions, and visual thinking skills.

Using DPLA Primary Source Sets (30 mins)

Participants will take an interactive tour of DPLA’s Primary Source Sets to discover key features, use filters to find sets relevant to their interests, and think-pair-share to focus on an individual source or discussion question.

Implementation Ideas (45 mins)

Participants will collaboratively brainstorm ideas for primary source work in the classroom. Attendees will share previous experiences integrating primary sources into their teaching and discuss challenges. Presenters will offer implementation ideas for the sets gathered from educators, with special attention to literature instruction, and invite group contributions.

Your Turn! (45 mins)

Participants will work in small groups to develop an instructional idea that uses the Primary Source Sets and applies to their current classroom. As they work, they will record their plans by answering short writing prompts and then share with the whole group in brief presentations.

Finding Primary Sources (30 mins)

Participants will learn how to discover new primary sources not included in the Primary Source Sets. Presenters will share searching strategies and demonstrate sample searches with input from participants.

Wrap-Up (30 mins)

Participants reflect on what they have learned, raise questions that remain, and identify next steps for implementing new ideas. Presenters will also distribute a survey to collect participant feedback.



Debra Crouch, Consultant
Maria Nichols, Author

This workshop opens with exploration of a single text, engaging participants in authentic processes for thinking and talking together. Through reflection, participants explore their beliefs about comprehending as a process, the social nature of learning and effects on classroom community, the teacher as facilitator, the foundational importance of talk and varied perspectives as constructivist tools, and the development of student voice.

Emphasis then shifts from meaning making inside single texts to thinking and talking using text sets focusing on issues of significance through varied perspectives to broaden the range of voices in the meaning-making process. Participants will engage in a text set that expands meaning constructed in the original single text, experiencing the power of a range of genre and text types in the process.

This experience will be debriefed through multiple lenses, inclusive of the depth and breadth of understandings constructed through the range of genres, author voices, and student voices in a dialogic process. Participants will explore the range and importance of varied perspectives and formats within text choices, patterns of collaboration and talk, and the effect on engagement, voice, and community building. Examples of ways students use constructed understandings to envision change and engage in their world with an agentive stance will then be shared.

The workshop focus will then shift to the instructional implications of this process, with time devoted to intentional teaching decisions, lesson design, and the design of text sets. Video, photos, and conversational excerpts will illustrate students and teachers, in both urban and rural classrooms, engaged in this work. Examples of charting to capture the collaborative process will be included.

The workshop will conclude with ample time for questions, participant collaboration, and planning for implementation.