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    Literacy Begins With Leadership

    By Clare Maloney
     | Apr 11, 2017

    Tweet_chat_image_4-2017_w300Fostering a literacy-rich environment begins with school leadership. School administrators provide direction and guidance in communities worldwide, setting both the standards to which teachers aspire and the goals for students to meet. But what does it mean for a school administrator to be a literacy leader? How can teachers help administrators embrace this role? How does the school environment change when administrators lead the charge for literacy? We will explore these points and more during this month’s #ILAchat.

    ILA’s 2017 What’s Hot in Literacy report uncovered some interesting findings. Respondents found the topic of School Administrators as Literacy Leaders to be not at all hot and of middling importance. However, Literacy in Resource-Limited Settings ranked high as important and somewhat hot, suggesting that members of the global community feel their leaders should act to help ensure all students obtain the literacy resources they need to succeed. Furthermore, Teacher Professional Learning and Development ranked as extremely important, but it was not a hot topic among respondents. It makes us wonder: If School Administrators as Literacy Leaders were a more valued topic, would Teacher Professional Learning and Development be a hotter topic?

    Join this month’s #ILAchat hosted by Superintendents Glenn Robbins (@glennr1809) and Randy Ziegenfuss (@ziegeran) to discuss the value of administrators as literacy leaders in your community and school.

    Glenn Robbins is Superintendent of Tabernacle Schools located in Tabernacle, NJ. He is a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and winner of the National Digital Principal of the Year Award for his advocacy for the power of technology as a learning tool. Additionally, he is a recipient of the Student Voice Award and a BAM Educator’s Voice Award. He is also a devoted husband and father.

    Randy Ziegenfuss is currently serving as Superintendent of the Salisbury Township School District located in Allentown, PA. Randy is a former classroom teacher and is currently teaching at Moravian College as a clinical adjunct professor of education. He has been recognized as Outstanding District Administrator for the State of Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania School Library Association and as Outstanding Leader of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology. He has also directed and produced many theater productions.

    Join us Thursday, April 13, at 8:00p.m. ET., and follow #ILAchat and @ILAToday to join the conversation!

    Clare Maloney is an intern at the International Literacy Association. She is currently seeking a BA in English from the University of Delaware.

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    Award-Winning Children’s Book Author and ILA General Session Speaker Carmen Agra Deedy on the Potent Power of Words

    By Carmen Agra Deedy
     | Apr 05, 2017

    CarmenAgraDeedy_w220There was a period in my life when words exhausted me; there are still days when I seek refuge in solitary walks, or cooking, or sketching, just to still the humming language center of my brain.

    A strange thing for a writer to confess, I suppose.

    And yet I love words. Adore words. But this was not always so.

    Spanish is my first language. My parents were Cuban refugees who settled in Decatur, GA, in 1964. English first entered our home by way of a mysterious and unwieldy item of furniture. My sister and I watched entranced as our father, amid fierce grunts and mild curses, negotiated this Pandora’s box up the winding, narrow stairs and into our attic apartment. I, a skittish 5-year-old, watched from the relative safety of the doorway.

    Our first television.

    The massive console looked like it could hold my sister and me in its unseen bowels. Shiny rabbit ears protruded from its boxy head. The convex glass screen brought to mind an all-seeing eye. It alarmed me at first—but then with the flick of a knob and a muffled “click,” the creature came to life. In an instant, I was hypnotized.

    Hercules became my favorite program. It was a cartoon version of the great mythological strong-man. I didn’t know any of that at the time, of course, but I loved watching his exploits. Then one day, my mother asked me to explain an episode; my English was sketchy, hers almost non-existent. I glanced toward the TV, then back to her. I paused, dumbstruck. In a moment of such clarity that I remember it still, I realized that early on, I had stopped trying to extract meaning from the strange sounds the characters made when they spoke; instead, I relied on what I saw in order to work out the story.

    So I lied to her. I told my mother what I thought the story was about and she, satisfied, left me alone. I know now that this was the birth of my first coping strategy as an auditory dyslexic. It would be 28 years before I was even partially diagnosed, but I would nonetheless one day learn that for most people, words were transmitted in the audio version of HD—but the words my brain processed were more like the hazy images from our old Zenith television.

    Words in my native language lacked crispness as well, but I had learned to compensate. If a word slipped by too quickly, or the frequency of a voice made it hard to understand, I guessed at the meaning by filling in the missing pieces.

    I never wondered why I understood some people more clearly than others, why some words were more distinct—no more than I wondered what a revolution was, nor how it had served to bring me to Decatur and, all too soon, to Oakhurst Elementary School.

    It was 1966 when I joined the phalanx of scrubbed and mostly eager first graders that filed into Miss Burns’s classroom. She spoke Southern-accented English, a dialect I have come to deeply love but that was incomprehensible to me that day. Where was the English of Hercules? The words our teacher spoke were melodic and pleasing, but she might as well have been reading the phone book. And then she handed out little books with soft watercolor images of children and animals. Dick and Jane (Penguin) was about to be my undoing.

    To read Carmen Agra Deedy’s full article, view the open access March/April issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s member magazine.

    Carmen Agra Deedy, the author of 11 books for children, including The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! (Scholastic), will be an Opening General Session speaker at the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits on Saturday, July 15. In addition, she will be included in the Primary-Level Putting Books to Work workshop later that day.

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    #ILAchat: Fake News

    By ILA Staff
     | Feb 02, 2017

    renee hobbs headshotIn our modern times, with a 24-hour news cycle, glancing social media headlines, and polished websites run by the most partisan of groups, it looks like all that glitters is not necessarily gold in the news business.

    Enter the term “fake news”—two words used toward both credible and non-credible media alike. How can educators tell the difference? And how do you teach students to discern facts from opinion, or downright fiction?

    Join us on Twitter Thursday, February 9, at 8:00 p.m. ET when Renee Hobbs, Patrick Larkin, and other guests will talk about how to find accurate reporting and how to approach critical and media literacy in the classroom.

    Hobbs is professor of Communication Studies at the University of Rhode Island, where she directs the Media Education Lab. The lab’s mission is to improve the practice of media literacy education through both studies and service. She is the codirector of the URI Graduate Certificate in Digital Literacy and is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Media Literacy Education, the official publication of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. In addition, she wrote six books and more than 150 scholarly and professional articles, and she created award-winning multimedia curricula, including Mind Over Media: Analyzing Contemporary Propaganda. 

    Larkin is the Assistant Superintendent for Learning in Burlington Public Schools in Massachusetts, a NASSP National Digital Principal Award Winner, and former Massachusetts Assistant Principal of the Year who led the first 1:1 iPad high school implementation in the state. He has recently taken a close interest in the “fake news” phenomenon and is a writer for Education Week.

    Come armed with your questions and best strategies in encouraging students to be critical readers and thinkers. Don’t forget to use #ILAchat to join the conversation and follow ILAToday and Hobbs on Twitter.

     

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    #ILAchat: Teacher Motivation

    By ILA Staff
     | Dec 06, 2016

    Tweet_chat_image_12-2016_proof2Nathan Lang is all about enthusiasm. As the school year marches on, it’s a real possibility that educators can become complacent or, at worst, burned out, but Lang has a wealth of experience to help rejuvenate educators as 2017 approaches.

    Join us on Twitter Thursday, December 8, at 8:00 p.m. ET when Lang will offer suggestions on how to treat—and avoid—classroom burnout.

    Lang is a speaker, writer, professional learning facilitator, and education pioneer in the United States. He is currently a consultant with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and was formerly Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.

    For all of these roles, he draws from his experience as a high school science teacher, assistant principal at both the elementary and high school levels, a university adjunct professor, and an education supervisor at the NASA-Johnson Space Center.

    Thursday’s chat will include tips on valuing small victories with students and how to enhance classroom time while balancing current responsibilities.

    Follow Lang on Twitter and be sure to follow #ILAchat and @ILAToday on December 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET to join the conversation.


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    #ILAchat: Key Techniques for Rigorous Literacy Instruction

    By ILA Staff
     | Nov 07, 2016

    ilachat 112016Educators often hear the words rigorous and frustration texts. Finding the right approach to help your students through challenging materials can be frustrating on its own. Join us Thursday, Nov. 10, at 8:00 p.m. ET when we will be joined by educators who challenge and champion their students.

    Doug Lemov, managing director of Uncommon Schools, leads its Teach Like a Champion team, designing and implementing teacher training based on the study of high-performing teachers. He is the author of Teach Like a Champion 2.0 and coauthor of Practice Perfect.

    Colleen Driggs is a director of professional development for the Teach Like a Champion team at Uncommon Schools. Prior to joining the Teach Like a Champion team, she was a middle school science and literacy teacher.

    Erica Woolway is the chief academic officer for the Teach Like a Champion team at Uncommon Schools. She is a coauthor of Practice Perfect. Erica began her career in education as a kindergarten teacher and then worked as a school counselor and dean.

    Together, Lemov, Driggs, and Woolway have written Reading Reconsidered, a guide for teachers who want to push their students to meet their potential while being sure to make them confident and successful.

    During the #ILAchat, the three will share the tools and approaches they use in their classroom and give a sneak peek of their book. Be sure to follow #ILAchat and @ILAToday on Nov. 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET to join the conversation.


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