Official Portraits and Unofficial Counterportraits of At Risk Students: Writing Spaces in Hard Times

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2009-10-30
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Helping children find their voices and the power of their writing is crucial for their success as writers, particularly in the current repressive educational setting in which many economically poor children attend school. This book chronicles 5th and 6th grade writerschildren of gang members, drug users, poor people, and non-documented and documented immigrantsin a rural school in the southwest US coming into their voices, cultivating those voices, and using those voices in variety of venues, beginning with the classroom community and spreading outward. Such children are showing up in schools and in research more and more. In their writing, they make sense of who they are as writers and human beings and ultimately learn that their voices carry presence and power.

Author Biography

Richard J. Meyer is Professor in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies at the College of Education, University of New Mexico.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Prologuep. 1
Writing Spaces and Hard Timesp. 1
An Introduction to Searching for Our Truthsp. 3
Before the Work Beganp. 3
Portraits and Counterportraitsp. 10
Mesa Vista Elementary School (MVE): The Official Portraitp. 14
Finding the Schoolp. 17
Homelessnessp. 19
Writers Reveal Themselvesp. 21
Becoming More than an Observerp. 21
First Pieces of Writingp. 26
Initiating Data Analysisp. 29
Teacher as Screamerp. 30
Strictness, Power, and Microaggressionsp. 32
Strict Schools and the Search for Joyp. 34
The Counterportrait Up to This Pointp. 36
Claiming Spaces to Writep. 38
The Sixth Graders' Spacep. 39
Finding the Space to Writep. 48
The Fifth Graders' Spacep. 50
The Biography Assignment Begins to Evolvep. 52
Writing Spaces and the View of the Childp. 55
Counterportraits So Farp. 56
Rewriting Self and Writing About Othersp. 58
Sixth Graders' Non-Biography Biography Workp. 58
Moving Towards Increased Sharingp. 64
Fifth Graders Begin Biography Writingp. 71
Composing Classmates' Biographiesp. 73
Counterportraits (so far), Context, and the Presentation of Selfp. 80
Expanding Writing Spaces as Communities of Practicep. 84
Fifth Graders Interview, Transcribe, and Writep. 85
Some Fifth Graders' Transcriptions (Excerpts)p. 87
And in the Sixth Grade ...p. 99
Communities, Borders, and Counterportraitsp. 104
Legitimizing a Context for Counterportraiturep. 106
Writing Changes Writers: The Impact of Inertiap. 109
Good Newsp. 110
Sixth Graders Consider Expository Biographyp. 111
Featured Fifth Grade Writerp. 115
Working for Hoursp. 124
Counterportraiture, Working in the Plural Form, and Inertiap. 126
Heroes, Dark Secrets, Otter Pops, and Strugglesp. 130
In the Fifth Gradep. 130
Featured Fifth Grade Authorsp. 133
Chuck, The Humoristp. 133
Estevan's Herop. 135
Sixth Grade Poets' Dark Poetryp. 137
Sixth Graders' Brief Biographiesp. 142
Things Fall Apartp. 144
The Classroom as a "Site of Struggle"p. 149
Struggle and the Use of Timep. 150
Writing as Carnivalp. 151
Carnivals breed Strugglep. 152
Counterportraits, Struggles, Legitimacy, and Possibilitiesp. 153
Writing Places as Hybrid Spacesp. 156
Sixth Graders Get Seriousp. 157
Poetry in the Biography Genrep. 167
Hybridized Texts and Contextsp. 172
Hybridized Spaces and Counterportraitsp. 175
Products, Presentations, and Powerp. 177
Our First Public Venuep. 178
Reading Their Work in Small Groupsp. 179
Slam Poetryp. 191
For Familiesp. 193
Counterportraits and Spheres of Influencep. 194
When Small Spheres Align ...p. 197
Suffering, Struggles, and the Communityp. 199
Home Visitsp. 200
Bringing the Community to Sixth Gradep. 205
Writers' Reflections on the Yearp. 207
Reflections on Self-as-Writer and Counterportraitsp. 208
Reflections on Writing and Counterportraitsp. 210
What Else, What Next, and Counterportraitsp. 213
Thank You Notes, Relationships, and Counterportraitsp. 215
Critical Literacy, Hope, and Counterportraitsp. 218
Writing Spaces for Better Timesp. 223
The Purposes of School, the Search for Joy, and the Spirit of the Childp. 224
Inner Strugglesp. 226
Language and Identity Strugglesp. 228
School as a Site of Strugglep. 229
Knowledge/Power Strugglep. 230
Agency: Responding to Strugglesp. 231
Agency and Responsibilities in Composing Counterportraitsp. 234
Agency and Responsibility: The Bigger Picturep. 235
Agency and Responsibility in Schoolsp. 239
Agency and Responsibility in Partnershipsp. 242
Changing the Course of Historyp. 243
Epilogue: Microeducational Economiesp. 246
Counterportraiture as Method/Method as Political Workp. 248
Full Text of Some Biographiesp. 253
The Storyboard Protocolp. 267
Editorial Checklist: Biography Project Spring 2007p. 269
Referencesp. 271
Index of Children's Workp. 283
Indexp. 285
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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