In 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.
Nathan 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.
Educators 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.
Every adult working in a school goes to work each day because he or she wants to help students—help them learn and support them as they grow into lifelong learners and engaged citizens.
But in today’s world, we know this means more than reviewing the everyday curriculum. Students are facing unique challenges within and outside of the classroom, and educators are finding themselves not only teaching but also advocating for students. For October’s #ILAChat, our panel will share their experiences as young literacy leaders and how they advocate for students around the world.
This month’s #ILAChat on Thursday, October 13, at 8:00 p.m. ET, will feature a panel of 2016’s 30 Under 30 honorees.
Although most educators know the need to put diverse books in the hands of students, the reality is that often they are surrounded only by characters and plots that do not reflect their ethnicity or culture. As these students learn to read, it’s possible for them not to know what’s missing. That happened to Deborah Ahenkorah Osei-Agyekum as she grew up in Ghana.
As a student at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, she cofounded a student-led organization, Project Educate in Africa (PEIA), to provide books to African children. As she was organizing a book shipment, it hit her: “I saw a book with a black girl on the cover,” she said in Literacy Today. “I realized that out of the thousands of books we had shipped, this was the first I saw that represented the people the books were going to. It dawned on me that apart [from how] many children in Africa lacked access to books, there was another problem, possibly the root problem, which is: There are not enough diverse children’s books being produced in Africa, and they are not easily accessible to all children.”
From there she founded the Golden Baobab Prize with her mentor, Rama Shagaya. They hoped to inspire the creation of African stories written by Africans for children. A publishing and multimedia company, African Bureau Stories, and the nonprofit Golden Baobab grew from the prize, and now they are producing these stories, not just encouraging them.
“It’s absolutely critical that there is balance and representation,” Ahenkorah Osei-Agyekum said when she won the 2015 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize given by Grinnell College in Iowa. “It’s not OK that children in some parts of the world wake up, pick up books, and see themselves and their cultures and their language, their slang, and their food represented in it and children in another part of the world...pick up books and only see other people.”
Bronx, NY–based teacher Alex Corbitt makes lessons come to life in his classroom, bringing outside issues into school to help his students become literate on many levels.
“My job as an educator is to empower students to become compassionate, critically engaged citizens,” Corbitt said in an interview for Literacy Today. “Being ‘literate’ is more than having the ability to read and write. Literate citizens are well informed, wary of media bias, and committed to improving their communities. I bring the ‘real world’ into my classroom so that students can engage in literacy practices that define their daily lives and future careers.”
Fellow New York educator John Maldonado uses technology to level the playing ground for his special education students, including those with autism.
“The concrete, predictable cause-and-effect nature of technology is something that my students easily understand and feel comfortable with,” Maldonado said. “Technology allows my students to move past whatever communicative difficulties they may have and express themselves in whatever way is the most effective for them.”
By engaging nearly the entire Google for Education suite, Maldonado gives his students tools with which they are familiar and empowered.
Kellyn Sirach, a teacher in a rural Illinois school, saw that her students faced several obstacles on the road to literacy. There was no public library and only a tiny school library, and middle school students were already reading far below their grade level. As a response, she formed a sixth- through eighth-grade book club called The Booth Bookies, established a student newspaper dedicated to promoting literacy awareness throughout the community, and created the Million Word Club competition to see which grade could read 1 million words first.
She also engaged the community by establishing a Little Free Library and continues her efforts to give her students the power of literacy.
Join our panel to learn how these individuals make an impact in their student’s lives through advocacy and, in turn, how you can bring advocacy to your practice. Be sure to follow #ILAChat and @ILAToday on Oct. 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET to join the conversation.
This year the International Literacy Association and UNESCO celebrate the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day (ILD) at an event entitled “Reading the Past, Writing the Future,” in which key cross-sector stakeholders will dig deeper into the progress being made to eradicate illiteracy around the globe.
We will gather in Paris Sept. 8 and 9 to identify the challenges in literacy education and how to address them in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which focuses on the critical factors of equity, inclusion, quality, and gender dimensions. The agenda also aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,” which makes way for the launch of the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL), of which ILA will be a part. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the strides we are making through GAL and other international partnerships.
In Paris, through sessions and panel discussions, we will look at the progress made in the last 50 years and look toward the future to see how we can finally begin to move the needle toward a literate society. A literate society is one that makes informed political decisions. A literate society can make informed medical decisions. A literate society makes the decisions that lead to prosperity and our collective success. Yet, despite our efforts, 12% of the world remains illiterate—nearly 800 million people.
As part of ILD, ILA is also taking “Steps to Advance Literacy,” by developing our activity kit and service kit.
We took a look at the lengths children around the world go to get to quality education and focused our activity kit on Jamaica, where the barriers to education are great. In addition to the school supplies necessary for any successful student, there are uniforms to buy, down to the right shoes. Parents and students must also arrange for transportation, whether on a bus or on foot. ILA’s affiliate, Jamaica Reading Association, has worked tirelessly to make literacy accessible to all by working to get books into classrooms and libraries and providing professional development at their annual national conference. To engage the community in the effort, the group also organizes concerts and marches in the street on ILD to raise literacy awareness and celebrate education.
We hope you’ll also join us by celebrating ILD in your district, school, and community on September 8, 2016. Share with us the activities and events you are participating in via social media using #ILD16 and #Steps4Literacy. Together we can take the necessary steps toward 100% literacy around the world.
Marcie Craig Post is ILA’s executive director.