Spelling as Social Justice at the Boston Teachers Union Professional Learning Conference

This year I took a course that challenged both my writing and thinking abilities – the Boston Teachers Union Inquiry Project class. Once on month on Fridays throughout the school year, a group of five other teachers and myself met to pursue our own individual teacher inquiries under the guidance of three master teachers  – Steve Gordon, Crystal Haynes, and Bob Comeau.

The course had me undertake a process that I found difficult yet incredibly worthwhile and engaging – it demanded that I find a question, gather data and research, analyze, reflect, and then find a more specific question, in order to come to deeper and deeper levels of understanding. The course resulted in my production of a final paper that synthesized both research and pedagogy along with deep reflection about my teaching practice: Spelling As Social Justice: Empowering Students Learning English as a New Language Through Explicit Spelling Instruction (pdf).

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Jennifer Dines with Inquiry Master Teachers Steve Gordon and Crystal Haynes

I am very proud to be presenting a workshop on my inquiry work at the Boston Teachers Union 3rd Annual Professional Learning Conference on Saturday, June 4th, 2016. Here is a description of the presentation:

Spelling as Social Justice: Empowering Students Learning English as a New Language Through Explicit Spelling Instruction

How does spelling support development of language control and linguistic complexity? What is an effective approach to teaching spelling to middle school ELLs? Participants in this workshop will understand spelling as a gatekeeper to proficient academic writing, as well as gain insights into the practice of systematic spelling instruction connected to culturally responsive YA literature.

Additionally, teachers who underwent the inquiry process this year will be participating in a panel about the course. Here is a link to my colleague Colleen Mason’s fascinating paper Does the Project Approach Work?: A Case Study Exploring Emergent Curriculum in an Inclusive Pre-K Setting (pdf).

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