"Empowering Student Voice and Choice:

Using Novels in Verse and Poems of Protest

in the High School English Classroom"

w/ Rebecca Ashley

"SCAR STORIES: Finding Breakthroughs

in Student Writing through

Wounds, Words, and Hope"

w/ Luke Reynolds

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Rebecca Ashley is the English Department Head at Canton High School and is an emerging anti-racist educator teaching Senior World Literature and AP Literature and Composition courses.  She is learning everyday from her students and from co-conspirators across the United States working toward decolonizing the canon and empowering student voice and choice. She created and serves as the faculty coordinator of the student Text Bias and Equity committee at CHS. The group reviews current and potential new texts for bias and helps teachers find new, more inclusive, and anti-racist approaches to teaching literature and decolonizing the curriculum. 

Novels in verse have exploded onto the scene of YA literature and offer an entry point to poetry for all readers. When we allow students to choose the books they read, and use contemporary poetry as a model for their own writing, poetry shifts from a sometimes daunting genre to an empowering mode of expression. In this workshop participants will have the opportunity to learn about using a book club model with novels in verse to inspire original student poetry and increase reading joy. Participants will learn about protest poetry as a genre that is relevant, engaging and inspirational for young folks who want to share their voices to make change.

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Luke Reynolds has been a public school English teacher in CT and MA for many years before becoming an Assistant Professor of Education at Endicott College. He is deeply passionate about authentic connection, kindness, compassion, and listening to the stories of others, as well as sharing and connecting through his own. He is the author of A CALL TO CREATIVITY (TCP), FANTASTIC FAILURES (Simon and Schuster) and IF MY LOVE WERE A FIRETRUCK (Random House), among other books.

This workshop explores how we can work to equip student writers to find power by facing their wounds, rather than negating or denying them. Through structured and unstructured writing activities, modeling, empowering discussion strategies, and classroom presence, this workshop examines ways to make such an endeavor both feasible and safe.

"Adolescent Literature and Mental Health: A Path Toward Normalization"
w/ Brooke Eisenbach, Ph.D., Jason Frydman, Ph.D., and Jen Wilson, Ph.D.

Recording Available: Email request for access to neateconference@gmail.com 

Educators, school-based mental health specialists, and pre-service teachers will work together to highlight and share a variety of contemporary middle level and YAL featuring characters with mental illness and mental health needs, along with classroom discussion approaches for the secondary ELA classroom, in an effort to further dismantle the stigma that often surrounds mental illness and enhance mental health education. Participants will engage in conversation surrounding select adolescent literature, as well as suggestions for selecting titles featuring mental health themes for the classroom space.

"Beyond Marxism: Class Performance, Cultural Capital,

and Class Analysis in the ELA Classroom"
w/ Sophia Tatiana Sarigianides and Nicole Godard

Recording Available: Email request for access to neateconference@gmail.com 

Educators, school-based mental health specialists, and pre-service teachers will work together to highlight and share a variety of contemporary middle level and YAL featuring characters with mental illness and mental health needs, along with classroom discussion approaches for the secondary ELA classroom, in an effort to further dismantle the stigma that often surrounds mental illness and enhance mental health education. Participants will engage in conversation surrounding select adolescent literature, as well as suggestions for selecting titles featuring mental health themes for the classroom space.

"Critical Theory: A Vehicle for Teaching Social Justice
w/ Ariel Maloney & Tanya Trayer

Recording Available: Email request for access to neateconference@gmail.com 

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Ariel Maloney taught in Cambridge, MA for 13 years and now works as a curriculum writer for Chicago Public Schools’ Curriculum Equity Initiative. She has presented at multiple conferences including the 2017 Boston EdTalks; her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, Commonwealth Magazine, Education Post, and NEATE’s The Leaflet.

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Tanya Trayer has been an ELA teacher for over twenty years. She currently teaches ninth grade English at Boston Collegiate Charter School. She has served as an Instructional Support Coach and a teacher/counselor for Cambridge Housing Authority’s Work Force Program. She has presented workshops and PD for educators in multiple venues.

Participants will learn how to introduce critical literary theory, specifically focusing on Gender Theory, Social Class Theory, and Critical Race Theory, as a strategy to improve student engagement, develop students' literacy and analytical skills, and promote social justice pedagogy. Participants will receive a “crash course” in theory, as well as many materials to help scaffold students’ learning about theory in the classroom. Participants will have the opportunity to practice applying these strategies with a combination of print and media texts and will leave the workshop with resources and instructional moves to implement critical theory in their own classrooms.

"Windows and Mirrors: Asian American Stories, Protagonists, and Authors"
w/ Michele Leong  & Charlene Beh

Recording Available: Email request for access to neateconference@gmail.com

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Michele Leong has been teaching at Newton North since 1998. She is a member of the English department, as well as the director of the Dover Legacy Scholars Program, and co-director of the Office of Human Rights. She is also the co-advisor of the Asian Culture Club, and has taught Asian American Literature for the past 17 years.

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Charlene Beh has been teaching at Newton North since 1998. She is a member of the English department, as well as the co-advisor of the Asian Culture Club. She has also taught AP Literature and Composition, Diverse Perspectives in Literature, and Women in Literature and Society.

To what extent do our texts reflect the experiences of these students? In this workshop, educators will learn about different portrayals of Asian American protagonists in texts, examine issues of gender, and discuss texts that reflect experiences that many Asian American students face.

"Teaching Students to Enter the Discourse"

w/ Marie Levey Pabst

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Marie Levey-Pabst is a writing instructor at Bentley University and Bunker Hill Community College. She loves teaching all writing and collects mentor texts like it's going out of style. She is a strong proponent of workshop instruction and has been heavily influenced by Nancy Atwell and Penny Kittle.

Empowering our students to share their authentic voices means teaching them to actively engage in civic, academic and social discourse. In this workshop, you learn a simple and powerful structure that can shape any text-based, topic-based, or research-based unit to push students to creatively contribute to the social, civic and academic discourses.

"Moving to Color Brave: Adjusting Our Lens to Talk about the R-Word"

w/ Cathy Sosnowski

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Cathy Sosnowski has served as a teacher, department coordinator, department chair, assistant principal, and a director of curriculum, instruction, assessment. She is an adjunct professor at CCSU’s M.A.T. program working with pre-service ELA teachers. She is the current president of the CT. Council of Teachers of English.

Often in our quest to be seen as not racist, we lay claim to being colorblind without understanding how that refusal to talk about the R-word, race, is itself a problem. In this workshop we will mine the lenses we view the world through, assess their impact on that view, and grow our ability to change the lenses we use.

Elizabeth Carroll | Facing History and Ourselves

Recording Available

Email request for access to neateconference@gmail.com

During this period of remote and hybrid learning, it is both more challenging and more important than ever to nurture a sense of community and connection with your students. As you settle into this school year amidst the ongoing pandemic, you are adapting to unprecedented shifts in how you interact with students, all while the United States continues to grapple with ongoing issues around race and racism, policing, the election, and more. Remote book clubs, grounded in student autonomy and choice, can help students feel a sense of control during this time of uncertainty, build reading into their daily routines, feel affirmed in their identities, and make meaningful connections with each other through an exploration of literature. This session will explore Facing History and Ourselves’ guide to setting up and maintaining remote book clubs that nurture community and connection in your classrooms this year.

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