Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Conversations in Literature
Conversations in Literature — Workshop

Individual Program

1. Responding
as Readers

2. Envisioning

3. Stepping In

4. Moving Through

5. Rethinking

6. Objectifying
the Text

7. The Stances
in Action

8. Returning to the

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Our Advisors

In this project, we have been fortunate enough to have the support and guidance of nine advisors who represent many segments of the language arts educational community. With their assistance, we have designed Conversations in Literature to meet the needs of language arts educators working with students in middle and high school.

Judith Langer, Chief Content Advisor
Dale Allender
Arthur Applebee
Elizabeth Close
Shawn DeNight
Frank Horstman
Alfredo Lujan
Elizabeth Penfield
Sallie Snyder
Betty Tillman

Judith A. Langer, Ph.D.

Judith Langer Judith A. Langer is Professor of Education at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She specializes in studies of language, literacy, and learning. Her research focuses on how people become highly literate, on how they use reading and writing to learn, and on what this means for instruction.

Her major works examine the nature of literate thought — the knowledge students use when they "make sense" and the ways in which their learning is affected by activities and interactions in the classroom. She has studied reading and writing development, the ways in which understandings (envisionments) grow over time, how particular literacy contexts affect language and thought, and the contribution of literature to literate thought.

She is presently studying the professional and classroom features that accompany English programs where students are "beating the odds" in literacy. Her work on envisionment building has had a major impact on literature instruction and assessment. She serves on many advisory boards and national reform groups involved in reconceptualizing literacy education.

Langer has published in a wide variety of journals and collections. Her books include Reader Meets Author/Bridging the Gap; Understanding Reading and Writing Research; Children Reading and Writing: Structures and Strategies; Language, Literacy, and Culture: Issues of Society and Schooling; How Writing Shapes Thinking: Studies of Teaching and Learning; Literature Instruction: A Focus on Student Response; Literature Instruction: Practice and Policy; and Envisioning Literature: Literary Understanding and Literature Instruction. Effective English Instruction will soon be published.

Langer has been director of the National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement (CELA) since 1987. The Center's research, including Langer's work on envisionment building, has been primarily funded by the United States Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI). She is also chair of the Department of Educational Theory and Practice.

Langer serves as the chief content advisor for Conversations in Literature.

Dale Allender, Ph.D.

Dale Allender Dale Allender currently serves as the Associate Executive Director of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). A former teacher in the Iowa City Community School District, Allender has also lectured at Grinell and Coe Colleges. He has also served the language arts community as an Editorial Board Member of The New Advocate, as representative-at-large for the Alliance for Curriculum Reform, and in his current position as the NCTE Liaison to the Iowa Council Teachers of English and language arts Executive Board.

A recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for Native American Literature fellowship and numerous other awards, Allender has also served as a consultant and curriculum developer for a number of media projects, including Songmasters: The American Road, a music recording of traditional socially conscious songs performed by contemporary popular music artists; Tutu and Franklin: A Journey Towards Peace, a dialogue between Desmond Tutu and John Hope Franklin and twenty-one international, multicultural high school students; and Regret to Inform, an award-winning documentary on widows from the Vietnam War, featured on PBS.

Some of Allender's recent publications include "Deep Reading: Building a Schematic Bridge Across World Mythology and Multicultural Literature" which appeared in Multicultural Review, "The Myth Ritual Theory and the Teaching of Multicultural Literature," "Standing on the Border: Issues of Identity and Border Crossing in Young Adult Literature," and "African and African American Voices and Experiences" which is included in Adventuring with Books.

Arthur N. Applebee, Ph.D.

Arthur Applebee Arthur N. Applebee is Professor in the School of Education, University at Albany, State University of New York, and (with Judith Langer) is Director of the federally sponsored National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement. The Center has an active research and development agenda in elementary and secondary instruction, in effective uses of technology, and in teacher education.

During his varied career, Applebee has worked in institutional settings with children with severe learning problems, in public schools, as a staff member of the National Council of Teachers of English, and in research and professional education. He joined the faculty at the University at Albany from Stanford University in 1987, as part of a SUNY-wide Graduate Research Initiative designed to place the University at Albany at the forefront of literacy research in the United States.

With degrees from Yale, Harvard, and the University of London, Applebee's work focuses on how children and adults learn the many specialized forms of language required for success in school subjects, life, and work. His numerous books and articles focus on particular issues in curriculum and instruction in reading, writing, and the English language arts. Since the early 1970s, he has also worked with the National Assessment of Educational Progress, helping to design, implement, interpret, and report a continuing series of evaluations of the educational attainment of U.S. students.

An internationally recognized expert, Applebee consults at the national, state, and district level on effective approaches to curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Applebee is a former editor of Research in the Teaching of English, a past president of the National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy, and a recipient of the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English, from the National Council of Teachers of English.

Elizabeth Close

Elizabeth Close Elizabeth Close is the Director of Educational Outreach for The National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement (CELA). Before assuming that role in 1999, she taught for many years in the Guilderland Central School District near Albany New York and in the Roosevelt and Sachem Central School Districts on Long Island. As a teacher, she was one of a number of teacher/researchers working with Judith Langer and her research staff in the Envisioning Literature Project.

Close completed her undergraduate work at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She did her graduate work at Hofstra University and the University at Albany. She has been active in the National Council of Teachers of English, serving on the Secondary Section Steering Committee, the Executive Committee, and as chair of the first Middle Level Nominating Committee. She was the recipient of the 1999 NCTE Edwin A. Hoey Award for Outstanding Middle School Educator in language arts and received a Paul and Kate Farmer Writing Award in 1993 for an article in English Journal. She was co-editor of "Middle Talk," a column in English Journal, and co-editor of A Middle Mosaic: A Celebration of Reading, Writing, and Reflective Practice at the Middle Level (NCTE, 2000).

Shawn DeNight, Ph. D.

Shawn DeNight Shawn Eric DeNight has been a high school English teacher since 1985. At Miami Edison Senior High School, he teaches English and journalism. He is also the language arts department chairperson.

In 1999, he earned certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in English/Language Arts for adolescents and young adults. He has worked with the National Board as an assessor and as an assessment developer. In 1995, he received his Ph.D. in English education from the University of Miami. His dissertation study investigated the effects of teacher written comments on the quality of students' writing.

In October of 2000, he was named to USA Today's All-USA Teacher Team. In 1994, he was selected as Florida's state teacher of the year. In 1997, he participated in a teacher exchange program to Russia and Ukraine sponsored by the United States Information Agency.

At his school, DeNight sponsors the National Honor Society, supervises a computer writing lab, and chairs the school's accreditation self-study team. For his school district, he works as a facilitator at the Zelda Glazer Writing Institute, a two-week summer in-service program dedicated to the teaching of writing. He has also been a leader in the district's intergenerational community outreach programs.

Frank Horstman, Ph.D.

Frank Horstman As the K-12 Specialist in English language arts for the Maryland State Department of Education, Frank Horstman works with a variety of issues related to language development: curricular design, instructional implementation, assessment, and school improvement.

Specific projects have ranged from kindergarten-Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR) training, to primary-managing the Reading Excellence Act Grant, to middle-range finding for the Maryland Writing Test (MWT) and the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP), through high school-collaborating on the development of the English High School Assessment. While he received his formal training in applying theories in cognitive psychology, linguistics, and classical rhetoric to improving writing instruction, Dr. Horstman credits the training he received from his English, journalism, and foreign language students with helping him develop a very practical perspective on English language arts.

He also believes that serving as both a staff development facilitator and an administrator have helped him to see the learning process from still other perspectives. Dr. Horstman welcomes the opportunity to support educators across Maryland in their goal to improve student achievement in English/language arts.

Alfredo Celedon Lujan

Alfredo Celedon Lujan Alfredo Celedon Lujan is a native of the village of Nambe in northern New Mexico. He currently teaches English at the Native American Preparatory School in San Ysidro, New Mexico. Lujan is active in many national language arts organizations. He is National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Rainbow Strand planner for Middle and Secondary Sections, a member of NCTE's Steering Committee, Secondary Section, and a member of the Early Adolescent language arts Committee with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Previously, Lujan taught English at Pojaque Middle School, chaired the NCTE Committee on Racism and Bias, and was a member of NCTE's Commission for Literature. He also served as a SLATE (Support for the Learning and Teaching of English) representative in New Mexico, and edited Capirotada, the newsletter of NCTE's Latino Caucus. He has also held leadership roles in educating teachers, serving as an instructor at the Bread Loaf/Gallup-McKinley Teachers Institute, and as an instructor/facilitator in many Writing Across the Curriculum workshops and inservices.

His publications have appeared in The Council Chronicle, California English, La Herencia del Norte, Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Magazine, Bread Loaf News, A Work of ARTE, New Mexico Sports Journal , Puerto del Sol, and the New Mexico Humanities Review.

Lujan was an National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow (1985, 1989, 1990), won First Place for student writing portfolio in the Quality Education Awards Program at University of New Mexico, and has served as a writer in residence for the Anchorage and Mat-Su School Districts in Alaska.

Elizabeth Penfield, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Penfield is Professor Emerita of English at the University of New Orleans. She is the author of four books and numerous articles published in state, regional, and national journals, including Arizona English Bulletin, English language arts Bulletin, and the ADE Bulletin. Her book Short Takes, published by Harper Collins, is currently in its seventh printing. She is a contributor to the Longman Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric, and her article Freshman English/ Advanced Writing: How Do We Distinguish the Two? was published in On Teaching Advanced Writing. Together with Charles Moran of the University of Massachusetts, she edited the NCTE publication Conversations: Contemporary Theory and the Teaching of Literature. Penfield has also presented papers to many state, regional, and national groups, including the Conference on College Composition and Communication and the National Council of Teachers of English.

Penfield's principle areas of interest are composition and rhetoric, and contemporary literature. She has consulted on writing with schools throughout Louisiana and for the Wyoming Conference on Freshman and Sophomore English. She has also chaired the New Orleans Writing Project. At the University of New Orleans, she has directed the freshman program, chaired the English Department, and served as Associate Dean of Liberal Arts.

Sallie Snyder

Sallie Snyder Sallie Snyder is a former language arts/reading supervisor for the Miami-Dade County Public School District where, during her 25 years in the district, she also taught high school English at all levels and was an assistant principal for curriculum.

In addition to her other responsibilities as supervisor, she served as the district administrator for Dr. Judith Langer's study on exemplary English instruction in the Miami-Dade County area. She also had the pleasure of being both a facilitator for the Zelda Glazer Miami-Dade County Public Schools/University of Miami Writing Institute for ten years and a member of the Pacesetter English teacher training team for three years. While working as a supervisor, she served on several state committees and served a term as President of the Florida Council of Language Arts Supervisors.

Before moving to Florida, Sallie taught language arts in Ohio, California, Nebraska, and Georgia. Now living on the southern Oregon coast, she is an adjunct teacher of writing at Southwestern Oregon Community College, and, in addition to her work for Maryland Public Television, works part time as a consultant for a publisher.

Betty Tillman

Betty Tillman currently teaches Ethnic Literature, American Literature, and European Literature at Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School in San Francisco. She serves as head of the English Department there, and is very instrumental in its program to support beginning teachers. Her thirty-five year career as a language arts educator has also included numerous positions on Wallenberg's Literature Review and Recommendations and Fine Arts Core Curriculum Committees. Holding a master's degree in Theater and Communications from the University of New Orleans (LSUNO), Tillman has advised the drama clubs in many of the schools in which she has taught, and coordinated talent shows and other opportunities for student artists to showcase their talents. In September 2000, she was selected to take part in the Toyota International Teacher Study Program in Japan.

Tillman has also created and presented a video for middle and high school teachers on teaching techniques for African American students, entitled, "I Didn't Do Nothin', Why You Always Picking on Me?"

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