Writing across the Curriculum in Secondary Classrooms: Teaching from a Diverse Perspective

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9780130224897: Writing across the Curriculum in Secondary Classrooms: Teaching from a Diverse Perspective

Appropriate for use as a core text for secondary writing methods courses that emphasize writing and learning across the curriculum. It is especially useful in courses using a style book as a supplement. It can also be used as a core text for the National Writing Project sites. This book is a collection of contributed articles on the subject of how to teach writing effectively across the curriculum in secondary, multicultural classrooms. The classroom teachers and other educational professionals who have written these articles offer a wealth of varied perspectives and practical suggestions for involving students in the use of writing as a tool for thinking. Any secondary teacher wishing to incorporate writing across the curriculum into her/his classroom will find this book an invaluable resource.

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From the Inside Flap:

PREFACE

Every summer for the past five years I have taught a seminar on writing and thinking across the curriculum. The class usually consists of mostly middle and high school teachers. In the course of our class discussions, we gradually arrived at the realization that although the textbook we used for the class had much to offer, it had become a little out of step with the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. We were surprised that texts were being written without considering the implications of the growing diversity of students in the United States. Over the years we had become accustomed to the diversity of our classrooms and recognized that meeting student needs meant employing diverse materials and methodologies. We had the same expectations of the textbooks we used. When our expectations were not met, we toyed with the notion of writing our own text. It seemed a daunting task when the idea first surfaced: How would classroom teachers teaching five classes a day find time to write a book? Would we be able to commit time and energy to a project that might take a couple of years? Forming a study group helped make the idea become a reality.

For almost a year, we met regularly, discussing what the book might look like, what we might want to focus on in the book, and what each person's role might be. The discussions during our study group meetings surprised us because they were so positive. At the end of a busy day, we looked forward to these meetings because we were focusing on what worked in the classroom.

For the textbook we envisioned, we wanted the resonant voice of many practicing teachers. So, to complement the teachers' voices, I invited a few colleagues from the university level to contribute to this book. These were colleagues who had had experience teaching in secondary schools but were now teaching at the college level. In some cases, the positions they held at the college level called for them to maintain ties with and gather wisdom from secondary schools and secondary school teachers.

From all, we have a unique intertwining of theory and practice. From the practicing high school teachers comes practical knowledge with a sound theoretical base. From the college teachers comes theory situated in practice. No other volume provides this kind of continuity, bringing the special wisdom of those who have worked in both settings to bear on the issue of writing and learning in the secondary classroom.

I wish to thank the authors of the chapters for agreeing to participate in this venture and for their patience and indulgence at each request I have made of them. My friend and colleague Anne-Marie Hall, especially, has been extremely helpful and supportive.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to my husband, Tom, and my niece Renée for their patience and their willingness to pick up the slack every time I had to work on the book. Tom, especially, has been a willing reader, a sounding board, and all-around cheerleader for this project.

To the many teachers across the secondary school curriculum who continue to search out ways to expand their students' literacy, my writing colleagues and I hope that this text becomes a valuable resource for you, now and in years to come.

I am grateful to the reviewers of my manuscript for their comments and insights: Angela M. Ferree, Western Illinois University; David N. Petkosh, Cabrini College; Donna J. Merkley, Iowa State University; Harold Nelson, Minot State University; Ann Lockledge, University of North Carolina-Wilmington; Cynthia G. Kruger, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth; and Karen Kusiak, Colby College.

Finally, I am indebted to Linda Sharp McElhiney for her unwavering faith in this project. I have been most appreciative of our editorial relationship because without her support, this book would not have come to fruition.

Harriet Arzu Scarborough

From the Back Cover:

Based on a need to teach writing and thinking across the curriculum, Harriet Scarborough worked with a number of her esteemed colleagues and practical thinking middle school and secondary school teachers to create a text for today's diverse classrooms. The author and her text contributors met regularly for a year to identify what was working in the classroom. They offer this book to you as you look to:

  • give voice to the use of writing to mediate learning
  • develop writing contexts for learning in content area classes
  • create writing environments conducive t risk-taking
  • make learning relevant and authentic for ALL students

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