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Marcelle Haddix’s Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life Presentation

Marcelle Haddix’s presentation as part of the ongoing Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life series was thrilling. A recent graduate, currently teaching in a local school told me this was the talk she “needed” to hear. Likewise, many attendees (both in-person and via email afterwards) shared that they were invigorated and renewed by Dr. Haddix’s frank discussion of the needs of preservice teachers of color, the challenges with wanting to “help” a community, and the possibilities that unfold (to lift a phrase from one of her research participants) when we shift our stances as teachers and teacher educators. I hope you watch Dr. Haddix’s talk below.

“Are You Still Helping That Community?”: Toward a Publicly Engaged Teacher Education and a Focus on Community/ies


Next week will be an equally great presentation from Dr. Patrick Camangian of the University of San Francisco. As usual we will be in Clark A205 at 5:30 and the event is free. Here is a bit of info about Dr. Camangian’s presentation:

Moving Left of Center: Teaching a New Ending

If teachers truly want to make their classrooms more culturally empowering, we need the type of learning, an ability to read the world, as Paulo Freire says, that leads to social transformation in students’ actual lives. This presentation honors this by discussing the importance of tapping into the humanity that young people bring into classrooms, treating their most pressing concerns as worthy of intellectual interrogation and important starting points for all learning. Toward this end, this presentation will draw on work done in urban schools throughout California as a context to understand the socio-educational experiences of different cultural groups in urban communities and, more importantly, consider ways in which classroom teachers can more effectively remedy the problems facing urban communities.

This series has developed into a powerful, necessary dialogue and I am thrilled to imagine how next week will only further add to this more-than-conversation. Please join us!


Finally, as Marcelle mentioned, she and I met through the NCTE Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color fellowship program – there is still time to apply to join the next cohort of committed literacy scholars. (And shoot me an email if you are interested and have any questions.)

Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life: Schools for Community Action & Looking Forward

Two weeks ago, we had an awesome turnout at our second event as part of the Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life speaker series at CSU. Mark Gomez, Patricia Hanson, and Katie Rainge-Briggs shared their powerful work at the Schools for Community Action. They had an interactive presentation that involved researching issues local to Fort Collins and presenting elevator pitches for sustainable change. The work was engaging and a fun change of pace from the traditional academic mode of presentation. Their presentation can be viewed below (though if you find the small-group activity a bit dizzying, I encourage you to skip to around minute 44 when they do some larger wrap-up in a traditional format).

This Tuesday we are honored to have Marcelle Haddix as our next presenter. Below is the title and abstract of her presentation. I know it is one you don’t want to miss.

“Are You Still Helping That Community?”: Toward a Publicly Engaged Teacher Education and a Focus on Community/ies

Working from a scholarship-in-action, community engaged framework, Marcelle Haddix will discuss ways that notions of community/ies and public engagement are defined and taken up in English and literacy teacher education.   Her talk will feature examples from two areas of scholarship.  The first area involves a study of the ways students of color navigate the multiple discourse communities they inhabit as preservice teachers and their construction of teacher identities in the current climate of teacher preparation programs.  Specifically, Marcelle will highlight the ways that teacher candidates of color define public engagement and what it means for them to work with/in urban schools and communities.  The second examines the experiences of secondary English and literacy preservice teachers enrolled in a Teaching Writing Course where students coordinate and facilitate a community writing event for local middle and high school students.   In looking across both areas, her talk will articulate new directions for encouraging community building and public engagement in English and literacy teacher education.

As usual we will be in Clark A205 at 5:30 and the event is free. Please join us!

Catching up: DMLcentral & #NCTEchat

A couple of updates:

- The #NCTEchate I co-hosted with @frankisibberson was awesome. At  couple of points in the conversation the chat hashtag was trending. A Storify archive of the chat can be viewed here. At the end of the chat several participants committed to blogging about the NCTE position statement we co-authored and their general thoughts about formative assessment. Franki did an awesome job of rounding most of these up. Check out the 15 different responses here.

- A couple of weeks ago, I talked with Bud Hunt about the 1:1 iPad deployment he has been developing in the St. Vrain Valley School District. That conversation and a short blog post showed up on DMLcentral here.

- Last week, I got caught up in the flurry of the NY Times column Professors, We Need You.” I discussed the column and its implications for scholarship with Greg McVerry. Our discussion also showed up as a DMLcentral post over here.

Buffy Hamilton’s Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life Presentation

It has been exciting to put together the CSU speaker series, Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life, that is unfolding over the semester.

As I mention in the introduction to this series, I am hoping attendees (and viewers) will consider the dialogue that unfolds across these five different speakers. What intersections can we imagine in the work we do with and for young people across the U.S. today? Kicking off our CSU speaker series this week, Buffy Hamilton’s presentation “Metanarratives of Literacy Practices: Libraries as Sponsors of Literacies” helped us challenge our notions of what’s possible in libraries and how these spaces should be thought of critically as “Sponsors of Literacies” – building off of research by Deborah Brandt. It’s been a true pleasure getting to learn from Buffy (even if it means she’s been stranded in Fort Collins longer than she planned due to an insane season of weather). If you aren’t already reading The Unquiet Librarian, what’s wrong with you?

Buffy graciously allowed us to record her talk and she has shared her slides via Slideshare. Both the video and the slides are embedded below. A quick note that next week’s talk will feature three classroom teachers , Mark Gomez, Patricia Hanson, and Katie Rainge-Briggs who all co-founded the Schools for Community Action at the August Hawkins Learning Complex in South Central Los Angeles. Their talk is titled “Schools for Community Action: Addressing the Lived Realities of Inner-City Youth.” I can promise another engaging talk. For local folks, we’ll be in Clark A 205 on Tuesday at 5:30. Bring a friend!


Shattering Silence with David Kirkland

My “Teaching Composition” course at CSU was honored to be able to talk with David Kirkland this past week. We’ve been reading his powerful book A Search Past Silence: The Literacy of Young Black MenI’d written about finishing his book over the summer and Kirkland’s words have been resonating with me throughout the semester.

The Q&A below was a powerful opportunity for our CSU students and I’m pleased to share it with viewers as well:

I should also point out the efforts of Rob Greco who has transcribed much of the talk here.

Co-hosting #nctechat this Sunday

Along with Franki Sibberson, I’ll be hosting the #nctechat this sunday. We’ll be building our discussion primarily around the recently released NCTE Position Statement we helped author, “Formative Assessment that Truly Informs Instruction.” Join us!

Teacher Voices: Teaching Young Men of Color


The National Writing Project recently published a new report that I helped contribute to, Teacher Voices: Teaching Young Men of ColorThe link describes the report as follows:

The new report from the National Writing Project, “Teacher Voices: Teaching Young Men of Color” focuses on powerful insights and knowledge from twelve teachers working in schools across the country. Working with colleagues from The College Board, this latest project in the Teacher Voices series advances conversations about the inadequate educational progress of males of color in America.

This was a fun project to be involved with and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to connect with some of the country’s most brilliant educators. The document can be downloaded as a PDF for free here. Check out to see out-of-control-hair-era Antero.



Announcing Spring 2014 Speaker Series: Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life

Any Colorado-local (or Colorado-Adjacent folks): please join us!

The Colorado State University Department of English is pleased to announce the upcoming speaker series: “The Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life.” Throughout the spring semester the department will host nationally recognized literacies-based researchers and educators to discuss how literacy and youth civic participation intersect from varying, interdisciplinary perspectives. I’m thrilled to be able to put this event together with some of the most powerful scholars doing necessary literacies research.

The speakers will be presenting their work and engaging in dialogue from 5:30-6:30, followed by a brief reception. These events are free and open to the public. All of the speakers will be presenting at the CSU campus in Clark A 205.

The speakers and dates for this series are as follows:

  • 2/11: Buffy Hamilton – School Librarian, Norcross High School, Atlanta, GA; 2011 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.
  • 2/18: Mark Gomez, Patricia Hanson, & Katie Rainge-Briggs – School designers and educators from the Schools for Community Action, Los Angeles, CA.
  • 3/4: Marcelle Haddix – Assistant Professor, Syracuse University School of Education, NY.
  • 3/11: Patrick Camangian - Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco and teacher at Mandela High School, Oakland, CA.
  • 4/22: Linda Christensen - Instructor and Director of the Oregon Writing Project, Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling & Rethinking Schools Editorial Board member, Portland, OR.

Buffy’s talk next Tuesday is going to be awesome! Here’s the title and description:

Buffy Hamilton – 2/11 – Metanarratives of Literacy Practices:  Libraries as Sponsors of Literacies
How might libraries deconstruct the ideas and power relations that influence the ways they reinforce and distribute specific literacies and literacy practices to better understand their role as sponsors of literacy in their communities in a more nuanced and robust way?  By using Deborah Brandt’s concept of sponsors of literacy, libraries can situate and contextualize their work to frame their work as co-learners in a participatory community of learning who can collaboratively construct the possibilities of print, digital, information, and new literacies – rather than being a paternalistic sponsor that deliberately and/or unintentionally marginalizes the experiences and literacy histories of the people libraries serve.
Buffy’s an awesome speaker and I hope you will be able to join us for the first of five great events this semester. If you have any additional questions please email me. Thank you, I look forward to welcoming you at CSU!


Oh Hey, What’s Up Dude?

A quick note: my good friend Other Chris and I have started a podcast. It’s called Oh Hey, What’s Up Dude? You can find it here (or non-iTunes users here).

We’re putting out episodes every other week, generally. And it’s basically like this: Other Chris and I talk about science-y stuff (eventually), things we’re reading and listening to, and just generally ‘shoot-the-shit.’ As that sentence suggests, there’s some mild profanity.

I would start with the most recent episode, #4. We interview our other friend Chris (not “Other Chris” just “Chris”) about healthcare costs. In next week’s episode we will be learning about the science behind quitting smoking. If you have any ideas for topics you’d like us to focus on, get in touch!

“These things are your becoming”: Books read in 2013

This was a year of shoddy record keeping. Between buying a house, moving, getting married, and finishing a book, I had long periods of time where I lapsed in jotting down what I read from one week to the next. As such, the numbers below represent the books I was able to record and I suspect a few titles aren’t accounted for. To be fair, if I can’t even remember a book I read (which is kinda the purpose of me writing them down in the first place!) it probably isn’t a book I’m going to highly recommend. And so, that being said…

Books read in 2013: 107
Comics and graphic novels included in reading total: 14
Books of poetry included in reading total: 5
Books reread included in reading total: 7
Academic & Education related books included in reading total: 12
YA and Junior Fiction books included in reading total: 14

A few thoughts (As usual, here are my posts on books read in 201220112010, and 2009):

One of the first books I read in 2013 was Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. It is the book I most regularly come back to. And I admit that I’m thrown by the fact that the book I’m most fond of this year–the book that lingers in my mind–is essentially a collection of advice columns from formerly anonymous “Dear Sugar,” Cheryl Strayed. The columns are raw and honest and tender. I suspect those are adjectives thrown at this book regularly. It was from this column that I took the plunge. Maybe that’s a good place for you to decide if it’s a book for you too.

Likewise, I lingered slowly through The Conversations and found Walter Murch’s approach to editing and filmmaking to resonate with my own pedagogy of inquiry-driven teaching and learning.

Big Day Coming was a fun read because well… Yo La Tengo:

I want to tell you to read White Girls by Hilton Als but I’m not entirely sure how to describe it. A series of essays. Fragments. An explanation about why Michael Jackson is a white girl. And Truman Capote. And Malcom X’s mother.Hilton’s relationship with his friend that falls apart. Richard Pryor and the N Word. Gone With the Wind. Each sentence precise and lacking imperfections. Like the Winogrand photo that adorns the cover, it works as a fleeting snapshot of one person’s outtake on race, class, gender and sexuality now, here, in America.

As many of my posts have suggested, I spent a lot of the second half of 2013 reading Role Playing Game books or books about RPGs. Peterson’s Playing at the World is by far the most comprehensive of these texts. Not for the faint of heart (or at least not for those who don’t want to carry a brick of a tome with them – it’s a BIG book), Peterson’s history on the beginnings of Dungeons and Dragons is a well researched work that was a helpful foundation for my current research.

I suspect my reading to pace to dwindle a bit in 2014 as the year is looking to be writing-intensive and checking in with journal articles beckons. That being said, I’m currently reading this biography-ish book about the KLF and have this book about the life of Charlie Parker on deck. See you all in 2014!