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Artful Connections to Literature and Culture through Teacher/Student Pen Pals Maria A. Ceprano & Nancy A. Chicola Buffalo State College
…things gain meaning by being used in a shared experience or joint action John Dewey, 1916
Penpalling • Impact on Children • Writing messages as a regular part of children’s lives • Providing authentic opportunities for written communication • Creating intrinsic motivation for writing
Penpalling • Impact on Teacher Candidates • Focus on aspects of the writing process • Genuine assessment of children’s writing needs • Awareness of individual differences
Penpalling • Impact on Mentoring Teachers • Extends and refines writing workshop model • Supports meeting individual differences • Creates a productive learning environment
Research on Penpalling • Focus on reading and writing • Children’s literature connection • Holistic content
Penpalling and Children’s Literature • Contributes to long-lasting appreciation of books and reading • Promotes reading and literature conversation • Provides a common bond
Penpalling and the Arts • Learning connection • 21st Century skills • Habits of mind • Emotional connector • Connecting to the arts • Creating and participating • Knowing and using arts materials • Analyzing works of arts • Understanding cultural connections
Penpalling and Social Studies • Connecting to Socio-cultural experiences • Developing an awareness of similarities and differences • Understanding diverse practices and perceptions
Current Project • The Setting • Enterprise Charter http://enterprisecharter.org/ • High Poverty/Urban http://www.ci.buffalo.ny.us/ • Participants • 5th & 6th grade children identified at-risk • Graduate-level teacher candidates
Current Project • Methodology • Assignment • Letter exchange • Modeling • Common literature prompt • Conversation about art • Action Research • Questions • Design project • Presentation
Current Project • Going beyond the “sloppy copy” • Focusing on Visual Arts http://www.bryancollier.com/ • Making Cross-cultural connections • Addressing cognitive dissonance
Expected Results • Improving Writing Instruction and Performance • Developing Responsive Literacy • Making Artful Connections • ???
Art is a shadow of what a person is thinking... a small glimpse of what they hold inside. Little secrets, regrets, joys... every line has its own meaning. ~Sarah, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999