Foreword by: Richard Beach
Publication Date: January 8, 2021
Series: Language and Literacy Series
Learn how to develop and sustain multimodal, project-based learning (PBL) instruction in secondary English Language Arts classrooms. National standards encourage authentic forms of reading, writing, and communication that can support college and career readiness, and this book highlights PBL as a powerful way to harness students’ interests and engage them in academically rigorous learning. The authors provide specific, research-informed curricular approaches and instructional guidance for classroom teachers, as well as an overview of the dimensions of PBL that are often overlooked in the broad expectations of inquiry-based teaching. Instead of “quick fix” lessons, Compose Our World explores how core dimensions of equitable teaching—such as social and emotional support, universal design for learning, and cultivating classroom community—function as the bedrock for student success in PBL contexts and beyond.
Alison G. Boardman is an associate professor in equity, bilingualism, and biliteracy in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. Antero Garcia is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. Bridget Dalton is an associate professor in literacy studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Joseph L. Polman is a professor of learning sciences and associate dean for research in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder.
“ Compose Our World offers English teachers welcome hope in these difficult times. In its pages, we see students—and teachers—whose experiences in school have been transformed by a turn toward meaningful projects they design and work through themselves, projects that can even change their communities for the better. And although these projects are not made primarily for a grade, the authors describe how students can be brought in on generating the specific criteria used for assessment. The work certainly fulfills state standards, but it goes far beyond them. This important book, which should be read by all high school English teachers, is both inspiring and practical. It shows that positive change in education is possible, provides practical guides to that change, and features exciting projects students made as they became agents for composing their world.”
—Teachers College Record
“This engaging book builds on and extends this focus on problem/inquiry-based instruction for engaging students in English language arts classrooms in making changes in their worlds.”
—From the Foreword by Richard Beach, professor emeritus, University of Minnesota
“Project-based learning has been in schools for over a century, in spite of reductive curriculum and assessment requirements imposed on teachers. The authors have produced a thoughtful, reflective, project-based approach for these challenging times, focused on the process of teaching students how to inquire into questions, produce multimodal texts that address authentic issues, and promote their development into active citizens.”
—Peter Smagorinsky, Distinguished Research Professor of English Education, University of Georgia
“With their CAPE (Caring, Advocacy, Perspective-taking, and Empathy) principles as a guiding framework—and with examples of student work that illustrate authentic, project-based learning—the authors of Compose Our World provide English Language Arts educators with practical assignments, robust assessment criteria, and a vision for empowering our youth as readers, writers, creators, and citizens.”
—Troy Hicks, professor of English and education, Central Michigan University
“Compose Our World reimagines the English language arts classroom as a dynamic and welcoming community, where students harness powerful tools and strategies to make sense of their world. This is no fairy tale; vignettes show how ELA-meets-PBL is working with real students and real teachers to produce real results.”
—Suzie Boss, journalist and educational consultant
“This resource could not be more timely. The need to organize instruction around questions that are rich and meaningful to students, offer texts that will advance students’ knowledge building regarding these questions, provide opportunities for students to represent their knowledge-building in multiple ways, and teach toward social justice has never been greater. What a gift this volume is, especially at this moment.”
—Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar, Ann L. Brown Distinguished University Professor of Education, University of Michigan
Foreword Richard Beach
Introduction: Introducing Compose Our World and the Pedagogical Possibilities of Project-Based Learning in English Language Arts
Project-Based Learning in English Language Arts
Compose Our World ELA-PBL Design Principles
Transforming Teachers by Shifting Curriculum
A Set of Curriculum Resources Based on the ELA-PBL Design Principles
How to Use This Book
Composing the Future
PART I: INTRODUCING THE COMPOSE OUR WORLD ELA-PBL DESIGN PRINCIPLES
1.;Authentic Making in English Language Arts
PBL in ELA as Authentic Making
Authentic Making in Action
2.;Learning and Engagement in Collaboration
What Is the Purpose of Collaboration?
How Do I Teach Collaboration?
What Structures Can I Use to Facilitate Productive and Equitable Collaboration?
3.;The Iterative Project Design Cycle
What Is the Iterative Project Design Cycle?
The Lifecycle of a Project
The Iterative Design Cycle in Action: The Throughlines Project
Final Thoughts About Iterative Design
4.;Attending to Teacher and Student Emotions and Care
Why Is There SEL in My ELA-PBL?
From SEL to CAPE
Empathy and Perspective-Taking
Bringing CAPE Into Your Classroom
5.;Strengthening PBL Through Universal Design for Learning and Multimodality
Unpacking UDL: What Is It and Why Does It Matter in ELA-PBL?
Reinventing Romeo and Juliet in an English, Theater Arts, and Science Interdisciplinary PBL Project
Multimodality and Digital Tools in an ELA Storytelling Project
PART II: PUTTING ELA-PBL INTO PRACTICE
6.;Building an ELA-PBL Classroom
Ms. Mattern’s Classroom: Where English Language Arts Becomes Project-Based
Integrating Text Into ELA-PBL
Incorporating ELA Skills Into PBL
Becoming an ELA-PBL Teacher
7.;Making Assessment Work in ELA-PBL
Assessment in English Language Arts Project-Based Learning
ELA-PBL Assessment: Principles and Practices
8.;Building a PBL Educator Community
What Is at the Center of PBL Educator Communities?
Our Version of Professional Learning Communities
Principles for Designing Community
What Structures Support Your PBL Community?
Designing Possible Futures for Our Classrooms, Together
Be Flexible, but Stay Focused on Your Purpose
Maintain Vulnerability, but Ensure Safety and Wholeness
What Does It Really Mean to Be an ELA-PBL Teacher?
Embrace the Minimum Viable PBL Practice
Support Students in Their Shift to PBL Learning
The Possibilities for ELA-PBL in a Changing World
Appendix A: Compose Our World Design Principles
Appendix B: Compose Our World 9th-Grade ELA Project Overviews
Appendix C: Criteria Protocol
Appendix D: Educator Check-in Survey
About the Authors