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    Planning for the Day After: Talking to Students About Traumatic Events

    ILA Staff
     | Jan 15, 2021
    WhatWillWeSay_680w

    “What were some of your day afters?” asked Matthew R. Kay, author of Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom, at the beginning of ILA’s free digital event on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

    Kay’s session, “‘What Will We Say to Them Tomorrow?’: Tackling Tough Conversations in the Classroom” is available on demand for free on ILA’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

    Answers from the nearly 1,000 educators participating in Tuesday’s webinar came pouring in: Columbine. 9/11. Sandy Hook. The Boston Marathon bombing. The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

    In the days after the violent insurrection that occurred in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, educators grappled with how to address the attack in their classrooms—or if they even should. Students ask questions, of course. How would educators answer them?

    Kay took to Twitter the day after, giving advice and reminding fellow educators that students need engagement and substance, not quick fixes.

    MattKay_Twitter1

     

    Those looking for with additional resources from Kay may be interested in the following:

    Follow Kay on Twitter, where he regularly shares valuable resources from others.

    MattKay_Twitter2

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    ILA’s 30 Under 30 List Honors Emerging Leaders in 12 Countries

    By ILA Staff
     | Jan 11, 2021
    30 Under 30 collage

    ILA released its biennial 30 Under 30 list today, an initiative that shines a spotlight on the next generation of leaders who are working to create positive change in the global literacy landscape.

    The 2021 list of honorees includes educators, nonprofit leaders, authors, volunteers, researchers, and social entrepreneurs. Though their roles may differ, they all belong to a growing cohort of young innovators, disrupters, and visionaries in the field.

    “The start of 2021 is filled with much promise thanks to the work of this year’s class of honorees,” said ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “Their work—whether it’s research on multicultural literacy, helping young students find the power of their voice, or dismantling systems of oppression in education—is impacting the lives of countless individuals and communities. Not only do these emerging leaders share in our mission of literacy for all, but also they are helping to ensure that the post-COVID era, when we get there, will be grounded in equity for all.”

    Representing 12 countries, this year’s list celebrates emerging leaders such as

    • Patrick Harris, 27, founder of Good Trouble Media and humanities teacher at The Roeper School in Michigan, U.S., who helped transform his middle school English department into a humanities program geared toward preparing students to tackle social justice issues. Through his media company, he also creates education-focused podcasts, most notably The Common Sense Podcast, in which he and his cohost showcased the highs and lows of being Black teachers.
    • Ondřej Kania, 28, CEO/cofounder of JK Education in the Czech Republic, which began as an advisory organization for students in Central Europe by assisting them with obtaining scholarships and financial aid to attend schools in the United States. Now, the organization is working to transform the education system in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with the founding of four schools grounded in personalized, project-based learning.
    • Havana Chapman-Edwards, 10, founder/executive director of Girls Have Rights in Frankfurt, Germany, whose youth-powered nonprofit aims to eliminate barriers to girls’ education. Chapman-Edwards, the youngest honoree on this year’s list, has raised more than $40,000 for girls around the globe for items such as books, school supplies, toiletries, and transportation.

    ILA’s 2021 30 Under 30 list also includes the following individuals: 

    • Saurabh Anand, 28, Graduate Student Research Assistantship Fellow, University of Georgia, Georgia, U.S.
    • Anna Bjork, 28, English Language Learner Teacher, Minnetonka Public Schools, Minnesota, U.S.
    • Ryan Brady, 18, Founder, Hippkids, Ohio, U.S.
    • Candace Chambers, 27, CEO, Educational Writing Services; PhD Student, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
    • Jimmie Chengo, 23, Founder/Executive Director, Afribuk Society, Kajiado, Kenya
    • Cedric Christian Ngnaoussi Elongué, 27, Founder/Executive Director, Muna Kalati, Accra, Ghana
    • Enwongo-Abasi Francis, 24, Ambassador, World Literacy Foundation, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria
    • Seth French, 29, English Language Arts Teacher, Bentonville High School, Arkansas, U.S.
    • Shayla Glass-Thompson, 28, Literacy and Language Equity Specialist, Badger Ridge Middle School, Wisconsin, U.S.
    • Tiyana Herring, 23, Fifth-Grade Teacher, Kate Sullivan Elementary School; Graduate Student, Florida State University, Florida, U.S.
    • Tori Hill, 27, Executive Director, Writers and Artists Across the Country, California, U.S.
    • Mahdi Housaini, 25, Founder, Parande Library, Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan
    • Jigyasa Labroo, 28, Founder/CEO, Slam Out Loud, Dharamshala, India
    • Roman Lay, 28, English/Drama Teacher, Alcoa High School, Tennessee, U.S.
    • Andrea Liao, 18, Founder/President, Book the Future, Washington, U.S.
    • Josephine Lichaha, 28, Teacher, Go Ye Therefore, Livingstone, Zambia
    • Austin Martin, 25, Creator/Director, Rhymes With Reason, California, U.S.
    • Simpson Muhwezi, 29, Founder/Creative Director, Wandiika Literacy Initiative, Kampala, Uganda
    • Erin O'Neil, 26, Founder, Fishtail Publishing, Ohio, U.S.
    • Akash Patel, 28, Spanish Teacher, Ignite Middle School; Founder, Happy World Foundation, Texas, U.S.
    • Rebecca Quiñones, 28, Second-Grade Spanish Dual Language Teacher, P.S. 139, New York, U.S.
    • Zachery Ramos, 21, President/Founder, Traveling Library, California, U.S.
    • Dwayne Reed, 29, Fourth-/Fifth-Grade English Language Arts Teacher, Chicago Public Schools; CEO, Teach Mr. Reed, Illinois, U.S.
    • Kelsey Reynolds, 25, Literacy and Education Advocate, California, U.S.
    • Mari Sawa, 29, Literacy Specialist, Earth8ight School, Okayama, Japan
    • Olivia Van Ledtje, 12, Founder, LivBits, New Hampshire, U.S.
    • Tien-Hao Yen, 29, Founder, LIS Education, New Taipei City, Taiwan

    ILA’s 30 Under 30 honorees are featured in the January/February 2021 issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s bimonthly magazine, which published today. To view the Literacy Today feature and read more about the honorees’ accomplishments, visit literacyworldwide.org/30under30.

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    ILA 2021 Conference Canceled; In-Person Conferences Remain Paused

    By ILA Staff
     | Jan 04, 2021

    ILA2021Cancelled_680The International Literacy Association (ILA) announced last week that it is cancelling the 2021 Conference, scheduled to take place in Indianapolis, IN, October 12–17.

    The move came just as the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the United Kingdom. With the possibility of mass distribution to the general population as early as June 2021, some may see the call to cancel premature.

    Not so, says ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post.

    “At this time, there’s no way to ensure the health and safety of conference participants, including our exhibitors, vendors, and staff,” she says. “It’s a gamble we did not feel comfortable taking.”

    Early response to the decision has been positive, with many expressing gratitude for the proactive approach.

    ILA plans to expand its robust slate of digital events in 2021. It’s also exploring new ways for educators to present outside of the conventional conference setting and to share their work with a wider global audience.

    The pandemic forced us to rethink how we teach, learning, and engage,” Post says. “Now we need to make sure we embrace what worked and not simply return to the old way of doing things.”

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    Celebrating the Literacy Champions We Lost in 2020

    ILA Staff
     | Dec 23, 2020

    As the year comes to a close, reflecting back on the last 12 months is natural. For many people, 2020 was a particularly challenging year. As we at ILA look to a brighter future in 2021, we want to recognize and honor the literacy champions to whom we said goodbye this year. These teachers, researchers, and literacy leaders dedicated their lives to the advancement of the field of literacy, and we are grateful for their service and commitment to transforming lives through literacy.

    ConnerCarol McDonald Connor, chancellor's professor of education at the University of California Irvine School of Education, whose life’s work centered on studying language and literacy development

     

    DurkinMary Dolores Durkin, professor emerita of Education in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and a recipient of ILA’s William S. Gray Citation of Merit Award, which honors ILA members who have made outstanding contributions to multiple facets of literacy development

     

    EdwardsWilliam L. Edwards, professor of Teacher Education at Missouri Southern State University, and a longtime member of ILA who traveled to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mauritius, and Malawi in his efforts to extend the mission of the International Literacy Association

    KennethGoodman_w140Kenneth S. Goodman, professor emeritus at the University of Arizona and a past president of the International Reading Association (now International Literacy Association), who has been referred to as “the founding father of the whole language approach to reading”

     


    Indrisano_w140Roselmina “Lee” Indrisano, professor emerita at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and a past president of the International Reading Association, whose work around issues related to early literacy development and enhancement of struggling readers and their families was widely recognized

    MacGinitieWalter H. MacGinitie, a noted educator recognized for his groundbreaking research in reading comprehension, who not only received the Reading Teachers’ Award for contributions to the field of reading from the New York State Reading Association but also served as a president of the International Reading Association.

    Redman

    Judy Redman, educator, administrator, and matriarch of the Palmetto State Literacy Association, who has been honored with the creation of the Judy Redman Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented for outstanding literacy service





    SamuelsS. Jay Samuels, whose may accomplishments and contributions to the field of literacy include coauthoring alongside Alan E. Farstrup the International Reading Association’s What Research Has to Say About… series of book

     

    SchmeltzBonnie Schmeltz, reading teacher, principal, and former president of State of Maryland Literacy Association (SoMLA), and a dedicated advocate for literacy instruction who ensured all children had access to books

     

    Strickland_w140Dorothy S. Strickland, state of New Jersey professor of reading, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor professor of education, emerita, at Rutgers University, a past president of the International Reading Association, and a renowned advocate of equitable literacy instruction and of improving the quality of teacher education programs and professional development

    Thelen

    Judith Thelen, professor, literacy advocate, and a past president of the International Reading Association, whose work in reading received national and international recognition

     


    WellsGordon Wells, educator emeritus at University of California Santa Cruz, whose work focused on sociocultural theories of learning

     




    We know this is far from a comprehensive list of the great many literacy leaders who have passed away this year. Our hearts go out to the friends, families, and communities affected by their passing. The world is a better place for their efforts, and their example serves as an inspiration to us in our own work.

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    ILA Next: Week 2 Continues to Tackle the Challenges of COVID-19

    By Colleen Patrice Clark
     | Oct 16, 2020

    ILANext_680wIf there’s anything we’ve learned this year about remote instruction, it’s that learning opportunities designed with intention—particularly with equity and empathy in mind—are more critical now than ever before.

    As Nancy Frey said during her ILA Next Main Stage Session with Douglas Fisher: “It’s not the platform itself, but rather it’s what we do within that platform.”

    This idea has been a common thread among presenters throughout ILA Next, a monthlong learning event designed to meet the needs of educators and students in our virtual and hybrid environments.

    Building upon this theme, several speakers have also pointed to the need to reimagine education as a whole. Like the book title of Main Stage Session speaker Yong Zhao states: An Education Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste.

    The following are just some of the messages shared during Week 2 about how we can rethink our teaching, maximize our impact, and maybe even change the concept of schooling altogether.

    Embrace mistakes

    An inevitable teacher moment in distance learning is making a mistake on a recorded video. Resist the temptation to rerecord, urged Fisher.

    “I would like to argue for three reasons not to do that,” he said. “No. 1:You don’t have time…No. 2: I think it sets up this false expectation that we have to be perfect every time. And No. 3: We rob the students modeling opportunities for self-correction. We need to normalize mistakes.”

    If we can show that, he said, students might just take a risk.

    Prioritize self-care

    Social-emotional learning and trauma-informed pedagogy are at the forefront of our practices—but don’t forget about caring for your own needs. Main Stage speaker Cornelius Minor referred to it as rationing.

    Educators strive to give 100% each day, but now is the time to give yourself a mental break and understand that it’s OK to give 100% on one day and then maybe 70% or 80% on the other days.

    “I want to acknowledge that this is not irresponsible or lazy. Rather, rationing…is what responsible people do in extreme situations,” Minor said. “I am choosing how I invest my energy and my time across my week, understanding that I cannot do everything. Giving 100% is going to fatigue me. And no kid, no community, needs a fatigued educator.”

    Fisher compared it to the phrase about putting your own oxygen mask on first.

    “You cannot fill the cup of another person if yours is already empty,” he continued. “You’re worth it. We need you. Don’t burn out. Please take care of yourself.”

    Intermediate Pathway Workshop presenter Lori Oczkus also took time to touch on self-care, quoting aphorist Mason Cooley: “Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.”

    “That’s a great quote right now since we can’t go many places,” Oczkus mused, adding that the mental and physical benefits of reading are plentiful—for teachers and students alike.

    Connect with students

    Several presenters have focused on the importance of students taking the lead, even in distance learning. In Kenneth Kunz and Kia Brown-Dudley’s Primary Pathway Workshop, they discussed the power in storytelling and classroom conversations as both a window into the teacher’s world and a window into the students’ world.

    Brown-Dudley used the analogy of a volleyball game to illustrate how to practice classroom conversations. “I like to think of conversations as being more like a volleyball match than a tennis match,” she said. “When you play tennis, you hit the ball over the net, the person hits it back to you…But with volleyball, you hit the ball over the net and that ball or idea is passed around to other members on the team before it goes back over the net.”

    She added: “It’s really important that we’re hearing all voices, that we’re encouraging all of our students to speak.”

    “This storytelling for me, it just provides such a powerful way of connecting with students and building relationships, even in the virtual environment,” Kunz said.

    Return to better

    Minor declared that the path forward must be defined by individual teachers, school cultures, and pedagogies that grapple with the question: What if we didn’t return to normal? What if we returned to better?

    “This current pandemic and the shift to remote or hybrid or socially distanced learning has revealed what so many educators representing historically marginalized groups have been articulating for years, and that is the reality that there are profound inequities in schooling,” he said.

    Although there is no “one best way” forward, essential components include self-work, systemic awareness, active changemaking, and powerful teaching.

    Rethink schooling

    Main Stage speaker Zhao said COVID-19 presents the time to rethink the “what, how, and where of learning” in profound ways.

    Reforms of the past have focused on policy and pedagogy, he said, but not on the actual learning environment in ways that will encourage students to become owners of their learning.

    “We need to have students be responsible for their own learning and you, we all, [must] work to create that space,” he said. “Let’s not think about the curriculum. Let’s think about the child…Let’s not think about how to teach. Let’s think about how to support learning.”

    To accomplish this, this time of crisis can be “smartly used to invite innovations and big changes.”

    Chief among them—learning pathways for students, which should be created with them, not for them.

    “Children are the creators of the future,” Zhao said. “I don’t like it when schools and systems say, ‘We will get our children ready for the future.’ There is no future. The future is made by our children. We prepare them to participate, to create a better future for all of us.”

    Colleen Patrice Clark is the managing editor of Literacy Today, ILA’s member magazine.

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