The article that I chose for my second journal critique is called “10 Ways to Promote a Culture of Literacy” by Barry Gilmore. The following are three discussion points that were included in my journal critique:
1. Why is it important to build a literacy community in our schools?
In the article, Gilmore tells us a story of one of his 6th grade science classes. Gilmore found out that one of the 6th grade science classes was building their own planetarium out of PVC pipe and plastic. Gilmore though discovered the design of their planetariums were unique. Instead of the Big Dipper or Orion’s Belt, the students had created their own star clusters instead of using the typical astronomical objects. Gilmore heard one of the girls say, “We’re reading a novel called Every Soul a Star,” another girl said. “Our science teacher was talking to the English teacher about it. They decided to have us write our own myths in English class, and then make constellations based on our stories.” “And then we graphed the constellations in math class on an x-axis and y-axis,” the second girl said. “And we’re studying Ancient Greece in history, so it all worked out,” the first girl added. Gilmore was stunned to find out that “Here was a thriving example of crossdisciplinary literacy at its finest, a connection between different subjects with a hands-on project that truly excited the kids.” (Gilmore, 2017) These teachers from different content areas had met and collaborated with one another in order to plan a unit that all coincided with one another.
2. Why should we collaborate with teachers outside of our content area?
In the article according to Biancarosa and Snow “But if we truly want to build skills and joy in literacy, the best way is not in isolated pockets for individual students, but rather as a school community that values teamwork, shared learning, and a comprehensive philosophy (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006). At Gilmore’s school, the faculty talks in grade-level teams and departments. They discuss how to instill literacy as a value across the entire school. As a school, they came up with a 10-step philosophy of common expectations that students encounter over and over again. These 10 steps provide us with ways how they build a literacy-friendly school culture. These steps not only improve the school climate and culture, they aid in student involvement and interest.
· Should every school create a philosophy in order to build a literacy-friendly school culture?
In the article, Gilmore gives us a brief explanation of the 10 steps to a literacy-friendly school culture. Those 10 steps are, publicly celebrate reading, create classroom libraries, share your word walls, make time for collaboration, get students talking, read and write across content areas, value disciplinary literacy, provide authentic writing experiences, invite browsing, and promote reflection and goal setting. One of the most important quotes I found was in step 6: read and write across the content areas. “An English teacher might be thrilled to teach informational texts about science or to discuss the nuances of language in math word problems.” (Gilmore, 2017) It is important that we are collaborating with all of our colleagues, not just those who are in our content areas. Gilmore explains that our students view everyone in the school community as “equal owners of language, including everyone in the building.” (Gilmore, 2017) In the article, Gilmore has proved to us that creating a school-wide philosophy has been very successful for him in creating a literacy-friendly culture.
Biancarosa, C., & Snow, C. E. (2006). Reading next—A vision for action and research in middle and high school literacy: A report to Carnegie Corporation of New York (2nd ed.).Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.
Gilmore, B. (2017). 10 Ways to Promote a Culture of Literary. Educational Leadership, 74(5), 72-76. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.nwmissouri.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,uid&db=a9h&AN=121192894&site=ehost-live&scope=site