2013 PDS Inquiry Conference Abstracts: Secondary English

Hey wait, this isn’t what we agreed on!
Allison Scoble
als44@psu.edu
South & North High School, Grades 9,11 and 12 English
How can preconceived notions about how “school works” influence student perceptions of classroom community? This session explores how the classroom climate evolves through student perceptions of grades, class discussions, social media, and student/teacher relationships.

Reel Literacy: Engaging 21st Century Texts
Floyd A. Butler II
floydandrwbutler@gmail.com
South High School, Grade 9 English
It is time for secondary English classrooms to completely engage in 21st century texts. Specifically, the consumption of film as film, is a literacy practice that must be incorporated into secondary English curriculums, not as a supplement, but as an irrevocable staple. Moreover, different mediums require different methods of engagement, and the goal is to foster skills for engaging all texts, but each individual text must be acknowledged for its own conventions and functionality.

Poetry for the Stages: Using Theatrical Elements to Explore Poetry
Miranda Libkin
miranda.libkin@gmail.com
North High School, Grade 11 English
Will transforming poetry into performance affect students' understanding and engagement? In this session, I’ll explore how the study of this theatrical transmediation impacted the way my students interacted with the poems we studied.

Finding The “Write” Curriculum
Victoria Begg
vgb13@scasd.org
North High School, Grades 11 and 12 English
This presentation will address how can we develop writing journal prompts that promote critical thinking for our students, how this practice of reflective writing develops skills beyond academic agendas, and how it helps serve the larger purpose of schooling for thoughtful civic engagement.

“Will” Power: Engaging Reluctant 21st Century Readers with Shakespeare
Carolyn Dodd
ccd18@scasd.org
South High School, Grade 10 English
Shakespeare is often a hurdle over which many of our students must “fall down, or else o'erleap” as his works endure as standard core texts.  This presentation will explore how we can engage reluctant 21st century readers with these challenging 400-year-old plays through four modes of interaction with the Bard’s work including intertextuality, media and technology, and physical performance.

How Can You Have Any Pudding If You Don’t Eat Your Meat?:  Teaching Students Who Don’t Value School
Caitlin R. Hunt
caitlinrosehunt@gmail.com
North High School, 12th Grade English
Too often in today’s society, students are conditioned to believe that they must do well in high school in order to move onto a four-year university and have a successful life.  But how can we effectively teach students whose social worlds do not value school?  This presentation will explore emergent curriculum as a means of preparing these types of students for whatever they will be pursuing after high school.

HOMEWORK, BUSY WORK, AND MISSING WORK:  an exploration of how different types of homework relate to the classroom
Jeff M. Luttermoser
jeffluttermoser@gmail.com
North High School, 12th grade English
Looking specifically at a group of seniors months away from graduation, we will explore ideal homework, and how its form and purpose determine its ability to support, or inhibit learning.

Tone it down! Negotiating Students Who Control the Tone of the Classroom Environment
Anna Grimaldi
agrimaldi28@gmail.com
South High School, Grade 10 English
How do we encourage all students to have a “voice” in the classroom when some students dominate classroom discussion? This presentation will examine a negotiation of student and teacher values for participation, as well as various strategies that aim to create a successful classroom community.

“Why are we doing this?”: Value Systems and Relevant Schooling
Sarah Dianese
sdianese@gmail.com
High School North and South, Grades 9, 10 and 12 English
Students come from many different cultures and value systems, making it impractical to take a “one size fits all” approach to teaching. This session will focus on homework to explore the reasons behind students' differing values for school and ways to make education relevant to all.

Chickens or Eggs? Either way, We Cross the Road
Joe Evans
jde5080@gmail.com
High School: Grade 9 and 11 English
Which comes first, interpretation of the text or interpretation of our lives? As we ask students to bring their own liveliness and understandings to our discussions, how do we encourage a value in the texts while maintaining intersections outside of the classroom?

Challenging Student Assumptions: Engaging Students in Diversified Inquiry
Ashley Williams
alwilliams1215@gmail.com
North High School, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, 12th grade English
How can we challenge our students’ assumptions without devaluing their beliefs and without disrupting classroom community? This session will explore multiple opportunities that allow students to explore and reflect on beliefs divergent from their own.

Who’s making the “Boy Books” Boy Books? How perceptions of gender influence interpretation in the classroom
Dan Landers-Nolan
dlandersnolan@gmail.com
South High School, 10th grade English, 12th grade Sports and Adventure Literature
Historically gendered works such as Macbeth and Lord of the Flies conjure up several questions for educators: Do characters like Jack and Lady Macbeth polarize the classroom? How do characters like Piggy and Macbeth fit into a student’s expectations? This presentation will discuss these questions and how they can be used to inform teaching.

#Collaboration and the Classroom
Samantha Curti
src5131@psu.edu
South High School, Grade 10 English
Technology has transformed the way students communicate, collaborate, and associate with one another. This presentation explores students’ experiences with virtual collaboration through new technologies and social networking platforms, and considers the possibilities as well as the implications for incorporating these into classroom practices.

Maximizing Meaning through Multimodality
Rebecca Van Horn
beccalvh92@gmail.com
North High School, Grade 11
Looking specifically at a unit on The Great Gatsby in three Advanced English classes, this presentation will explore how creating multimodal assignments allows students to find value in the text, tap into their social worlds and use transmediation to expand their thinking.

Windows and Mirrors: Approaching Sensitive Issues While Reading Classroom Texts
Leah Brown
leah58bro@gmail.com
South High School, Grade 10 English
Given the diverse individualities of students, educators can show students windows and mirrors to the worlds in which they live as they crack open the books they read in their classrooms to explore sensitive topics such as racial tension, gender and sexuality, religion, culture, and identity in the classroom.

Free Reading Friday: Why We Spent 20% of Classtime Reading for Pleasure
Suzi Shelton
suzishelton.ss@gmail.com
South High School, Grade 9 English
What does an effective Silent Sustained Reading environment look like and what are the benefits? This inquiry examines a year long effort to make 9th grade students “readers,” the plan to reach this goal, and how to effectively implement SSR time in the future.

Can Anthropological Learning Occur in Large Classrooms?
Personalizing Instruction through Bimodal Organization
Nathanael Thacker
thackernate056@gmail.com
South High School, ESL
Emerging dialogues and practices within the field of secondary education affirm that students receive more personalized instruction in smaller classrooms. Through a bimodal classroom organizational model, instructors in large classes can provide settings for increased feedback and dialogue with all student-learners.