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Commentary #4- Book Study Culmination

Amanda Coan_Commentary #4 During these four weeks of Issues and Trends in Curriculum, I have had the opportunity to expand my knowledge about critical literacy, digital literacy, and ultimately making sure to honor my students' identities, histories, and experiences within the classroom. I was able to participate in a book study over Gerald Campano's Immigrant Students and Literacy: Reading, Writing, and Remembering. During the course of the four weeks, we broke up the text into three parts, we created three critical thinking questions, discussed weekly a question from each person making connections, and ended with a multimodal book review culminating everything we had learned. 
Prior to our book studies, we were asked to create a mindmap which centered on our current understandings of curriculum. We were asked to reflect on the following subtopics: student roles, student learning, how curriculum is determined, and curriculum design.


As you can see in figure one, I had a lot …
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Response to Our Common Text

Response to Our Common Text, Negotiating Critical Literacies with Teachers Prior to starting this course, I had thought that I would be only looking at common trends within our country's curriculum with our discussions focused on some of the common issues. Although we have talked about critical literacy in previous classes, it hadn't crossed my mind that it would be a focus of this class. So when I got the text for this class I was a little surprised by the title, Negotiating Critical Literacies with Teachers: Theoretical Foundations and Pedagogical Resources for Pre-service and In-service Contexts (Vasquez, Tate, & Harste, 2013). Even then, I thought I would get an overview of critical literacy with a few references to other resources.

As cynical as it was, I was definitely proven wrong. This book (and class) was so much more than I had thought. I now feel like I have a deeper understanding of critical literacy and understand its importance in the classroom. Now I think …

Commentary #3- ILA What's Hot in Literacy Report

Amanda Coan_Commentary #3
      Each year the International Literacy Association puts out a What's Hot in Literacy Report. This report compares the topics literacy professionals deem as important along with "hot" topics, which are topics that are currently receiving the most attention from educators. This list changes each year it comes out because our world is constantly changing and our attention shifts. This year's What's Hot in Literacy Report has been published and I am going to look at how my current research compares to it.
     For this master's program, I have chosen to write a thesis paper to culminate all of the learning that I have done in this Literacy Education cohort. I have decided to conduct a self-study of my writing instruction, specifically with ELL/DLL students.  I am currently still in the beginning stage of my thesis, looking through the literature to develop an understanding of what the research already says about writing instruction,…

Commentary #2 Hashtag Activism

Amanda Coan_Commentary #2

"Taking social action is an attempt to move the school curriculum to the community; to make it relevant to the lives of the students we teach" (Vasquez, Tate, & Harste, 2013, p. 15). 
             This quote from Negotiating Critical Literacies with Teachers: Theoretical Foundations and Pedagogical Resources for Pre-service and In-service Contexts (Vasquez et al., 2013) reminds us of the importance of taking social action. One way that people take social action is through the use of social media, particularly with hashtags.

Introduction
             One thing that has been on my mind as of lately is the state of Iowa's standardized testing that will be changing. Superintendents from districts all over the state came together to look at tests with the purpose of selecting the one that best fit with the Iowa Core. They ended up recommending Smarter Balanced. Despite having the recommendation of highly educated individuals, the state has chosen to…

Commentary #1

Amanda Coan _ Commentary #1 We live in a world where every day, new technology and information are coming out. We have access to many resources at our fingertips through the use of phones, tablets, and computers. Even though we have easier access to the database of knowledge on the internet, often we are still not living critically literate lives.
Throughout this literacy education cohort, we have learned the importance of evaluating texts as educators. Vasquez, Tate, and Harste (2013) argue that there is no such thing as a text that is neutral. This means that we have to be aware of the bias' and acknowledge them for what they are. When students and educators are aware of this then the language study and discussions can occur. However, we must dig deeper into texts and identify the underlying messages that are presented throughout the texts in order to truly be looking at the literacy critically. Once we are aware of the bias' and many times inaccurate informati…