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Dedicated to Teachers

PIE: The Essential and Collaborative Parts of Engagement with Our Students – Part 4


As part of an upcoming Twitter chat on Thursday – September 29 at 8pm (eastern), Heinemann authors Jocelyn A. Chadwick and John E. Grassie are writing a four-part blog series on the core elements of ELA instruction. They write “because our students are ever-changing, we, too, must rethink and re-imagine what we teach, how we teach, why we teach literature, as well as literature's essential place and role in achieving lifelong literacy.” We must “rethink and re-imagine what we teach, how we teach, why we teach literature, as well as literature's essential place and role in achieving lifelong literacy.” 

In Teaching Literature In The Context Of Literacy Instruction, coauthors Chadwick and Grassie explore how the familiar literature we love can be taught in a way that not only engages students but does so within the context of literacy instruction, reflecting the needs of today’s classrooms. In part one of our blog series, the authors suggest how making pie connects to the work being done today by ELA specialists. 

Last week Jocelyn and John wrote: "our teaching as ELA specialists reminds me often of pie-making, real pie-making—the “from scratch” kind." This week the authors break down engagement:

Image by Brooke Lark Image by Brooke Lark

P: preparation and plan and purpose
I: instruction 
E: engagement 

E: Engagement: The perfect pie most decidedly does not mix, blend, whip, separate, measure, or bake itself. The baker cannot even dream of walking away and tackling another task until all is done. We, too, must remain engrossed, absorbed, and connected to our students—every period, every day. Of course, as ELA teachers we not only know this but also we know how draining this process can be. And yet, we do it because we know we must. It is who we are; it is our mission, as we see and understand it. Consequently, the engagement no longer looks as it did in the past, not even ten years ago. As our students change with each generation, so too do their needs and aspirations, experiences, fears, and comprehension. Technology, social media, globalization, current events, and the texts themselves affect student engagement and how we construct that engagement every day. As Dewey says, we no longer deposit knowledge as though students are static institutions who parrot back with little or no comprehension of how this knowledge even begins to fit into their real world, a world now interdependent on global literacy. Rather, we are partners, co-explorers, and resources in the lifelong process of learning and discovery and literacy.  

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Join the authors for a Twitter chat on Thursday – September 29 at 8pm eastern. The authors will focus on the core elements of ELA instruction: planing and preparation, instruction, and engagement, using literature as the foundational anchor. 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦


Jocelyn A. Chadwick has been an English teacher for over thirty years—beginning at Irving High School in Texas and later moving on to the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she was a professor for nine years and still guest lectures. Dr. Chadwick also serves as a consultant for school districts around the country and assists English departments with curricula to reflect diversity and cross-curricular content. For the past two years, she has served as a consultant for NBC News Education's Common Core Project for Parents, ParentToolkit. In June 2015, Chadwick was elected Vice President for the National Council of Teachers of English.

John Grassie is a veteran broadcast journalist, with more than 25 years’ experience producing news coverage, program series, and documentaries for Public Television, NBC News, and Discovery. During his broadcast career, Grassie’s work received numerous awards for excellence in journalism.

Topics: Literature, Reading, Teaching Literature In The Context Of Literacy, Administration, Adult, ELA, Jocelyn Chadwick, John Grassie

Date Published: 09/29/16

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