March: Curriculum Conversation

On March 20, 2009 IWT offered the first in a series of Curriculum Conversations on cross-disciplinary approaches to teaching canonical texts through diverse writing-to-learn practices. Although writing to learn and writing to read are by now familiar instructional strategies, their use in the classroom remains challenging, especially when applied to familiar texts in the secondary and college curriculum.

March: Curriculum Conversation

On March 20, 2009 IWT offered the first in a series of Curriculum Conversations on cross-disciplinary approaches to teaching canonical texts through diverse writing-to-learn practices. Although writing to learn and writing to read are by now familiar instructional strategies, their use in the classroom remains challenging, especially when applied to familiar texts in the secondary and college curriculum.

About the March Curriculum Conversation

Re-thinking How We Teach Canonical Texts through Writing
A cross-disciplinary approach to teaching American or world history, for example, along with central texts in American or British Literature is an ideal that social studies and English teachers share, even as they find it difficult to realize. The March workshop is an opportunity to think about developing an interdisciplinary approach to curriculum in all these subject areas.

This series will be devoted to exploring and re-thinking the curricular choices we make. How and why does a text, like The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, Romeo and JulietHuckleberry Finn, The Odyssey or, this year, Richard Wright's Black Boy (American Hunger), fit into the secondary or college curriculum? What does choosing certain texts rather than others tell us about American education in the 21st century? How does teaching a text across genres and across disciplines fundamentally change the questions we ask about that text and about the larger curriculum? Do our curricular choices—choices influenced by teachers, school administrators, and by state and federal departments of education—reflect the questions Americans are asking at this historical moment? Should they?

The workshop tackles these questions through multi-genre, focused writing exercises and discussion led by IWT associates who work with and think deeply about these issues in their own teaching. Participants are asked to read Richard Wright's Black Boy (American Hunger) before coming to the workshop.

This series of one-day workshop for teachers of all subjects will:
  • Explore how unexpected pairings of a variety of genres, including poetry, drama, and essay, with a major key text of the curriculum reorients and reinvigorates our reading of the text
  • Offer specific, take-away writing strategies for teaching the text next to historical, economic, and sociological documents—including primary documents—enabling truly cross-disciplinary collaboration with colleagues
  • Provide an opportunity for participants to share their current curricula with each other and engage in cross-disciplinary planning with a team of teachers from their own or other schools.
8:30am-4:30pm
BARD COLLEGE
Workshop fee: $200 (includes morning coffee, lunch, and anthology of related readings)


If you have a favorite canonical text that you’d like to see in our next Curriculum Conversation, please let us know, at: peoples@bard.edu