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ELA Today

ELA Today is an online journal compiled and edited by the ATEQ Board featuring content relevant to English Language Arts Teachers in Quebec. It includes contributions from people in Quebec and from abroad in order to foster beneficial dialogue and share information, knowledge and pedagogical approaches.

Below are excerpts from ELA Today. Click on an excerpt to read the full article. Access to ELA Today articles is exclusive to ATEQ Members – make sure you are logged in to access content, or become a member if you aren’t one already!

Springboards 2021 Round-Up​​

Springboards 2021 – our first virtual conference – brought together an eclectic array of presenters around the theme of Teachers Teaching Teachers: Celebrating, Motivating, and Inspiring during a Time of Trial and Change. Former GET grant recipients, writers, teachers and academics made this year’s conference memorable with presentations ranging from teaching emotional self-regulation and the need for diversity in the ELA classroom, to using history as an inspiration for writing and teaching for critical moments, using video games and beyond. Here, our board of directors offers summaries and highlights from our keynote address and our Saturday sessions.

A Review of Springboards by Two Secondary Teachers

Springboards once again came through for this last-minute participant! An hour before the virtual conference, after putting aside the natural mess and noise that is now ubiquitous with teaching during a pandemic, I sent a frantic registration request to ATEQ. I felt that letting ATEQ’s line-up of exceptional speakers and dedicated educators slip by me would be a mistake at a time when we must act with urgency to change public education. This year’s virtual conference was particularly moving because it opened with evocative poetic narratives by Nikki Grimes, the keynote speaker. ​Check out our review in verse.

Get Writing and Talking with Nikki Grimes’ Bronx Masquerade!

Nikki Grimes’ YA novel Bronx Masquerade is the story of one high school English class where a spur-of-the-moment poetry reading turns into a monthly slam poetry event. Grimes succeeds in not only crafting a myriad of characters but in pairing forms of verse perfectly to each character’s distinct and diverse voice.

The prompts and questions below are a starting place for using Bronx Masquerade in the classroom. If you’re considering a poetry unit, including a selection of poems from the novel is a great way to introduce several forms, voices, and themes.

PechaKuchas: An Alternative Presentation Style in the Classroom

If you’re looking for an alternative presentation style that eases some of this pressure, but is also unique, you may want to consider implementing recorded PechaKuchas into your classroom. PechaKucha is Japanese for “chit chat”, and it is a 20×20 presentation format. The presenter chooses 20 images and speaks for 20 seconds per image. So, you have 400 seconds to give your presentation, and the images serve as a visual that guide you and your audience. You can record this presentation and present it by simply clicking play, or you can do it live.

Reading for Pleasure During #YApril ​

Spring has sprung and we’ve been reading new and old YA favourites for #YApril! After all, what better way to enjoy those longer daytime rays and warmer temperatures than with a stack of page-turning YA reads? To get you started on your next TBR pile, here’s a short list of some of the best and brightest from #YApril. Here are our top 8 picks.

Clue in the Time of COVID

Getting students to talk in class is never easy. Encouraging them to persuade an audience or defend an argument can sometimes feel like the proverbial pulling of teeth. Having students ‘buy-in’ for a class speech or debate is challenging at the best of times. No surprise then, that talk in the age of online teaching seems an insurmountable task… One answer: Among Us, a free online game where players need to simultaneously complete small tasks and avoid being killed by an imposter​.

Teachers Sharing Tech Tools

Teachers have been working hard to find creative and workable solutions for all of the professional shifts and changes that we have been living through since the pandemic began. It has been a challenge to find ways to address equity and differentiation, to maintain connected relationships with our students and to engage them effectively online. With so much Ed Tech out there, it is difficult to choose which tools are worth our time and energy.
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This is where ATEQ’s curated list of Hybrid and Online Teaching Resources, created by and for English teachers in Quebec, comes in.

Teaching Reading and Writing with Jennifer Serravallo

In my work as a consultant, I often get asked about professional resource books. My usual go-to authors are Penny Kittle, Kelly Gallagher, and Linda Rief, as what they have to offer are classroom-tested ideas for English Language Arts (ELA). Lately though, I attended a webinar with Jennifer Serravallo and now I understand what everyone has been talking about. Her book list is long, however there are three titles that I think are essential for ELA teachers.

The Marrow Thieves

Are you looking for an engaging book to introduce into an existing unit or a new novel for literature circles? Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves may be just what your class needs. This YA novel has much to offer a young reader, including issues related to family bonds, friendships, romance, adventure, survival and Indigenous culture and history, together with an element of suspense.

Miss, do you have any books about videogames?

Read about how this teacher answered this seemingly simple question. No matter how well-stocked we think our literary bookshelves are, we still have a lot to learn about what kids want to read and what will motivate them to read. The best way to do this is to listen. In this article, Ruwani says “We learned that a shelf dedicated to the video game genre must include books about art, design, and the culture of videogames. We learned that when it comes to books about videogames, students are knowledge bearers.