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Journal > Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy
Recentering the Middle School Classroom as a Vibrant Learning Community: Students, Literacy, and Technology Intersect
by Dana L. Grisham and Thomas D. Wolsey
|Grades||6 – 8|
Technology reshapes our thinking about learning in multiple ways. This article proposes that middle school students can use asynchronous online discussions to improve their responses to literature, increase their engagement with the classroom community, and recenter the classroom around student voices. Working in small groups, students read the same novel. They are prompted to post their responses to the young adult literature in a closed, egalitarian online network.
The authors examined online transcripts, interviewed students, and observed lesson sequences in eighth-grade humanities classrooms over three years. They found that threaded discussions helped these middle school students to
- Engage with and learn new literacies
- Examine literature through a more critical lens
- Socially construct knowledge to create a more authentic community of learners
The authors also found that the role of the teacher is transformed by technology to scaffold instruction through participation in online conversations.
Grisham, D.L., & Wolsey, T.D. (2006, May). Recentering the Middle School Classroom as a Vibrant Learning Community: Students, Literacy, and Technology Intersect. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49(8), 648–660. doi: 10.1598/JAAL.49.8.2
Grades 9 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Make the most of your students' diverse ability levels and experience with a prewriting activity in which they describe an abstract idea using blogging and photographs that they have taken.
Grades 7 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Students form literature circles, read Esperanza Rising or Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan, use a Critical Thinking Map to discuss social issues, and use a class wiki.
Grades 5 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students in grades 5 through 12 read and respond to electronic books by using e-book tools and features, including digital note-taking capabilities.