Passionate about and dedicated to lifelong literacy for all students. I collaborate with English language arts and social studies teachers around the country. Integrated curriculum design, innovative reading and writing instructional pathways, challenged literature, classical and modern rhetoric, and blended canonical, modern literature with humanities are areas I cover. I also emphasize how teachers can leverage students’ interest in social media to hone their reading, writing, thinking, listening, speaking, and viewing skills. I work with students of varied abilities: challenged, at grade level, and above grade level.
Writer: Numerous articles and books:
Books: A Rhetoric for the Evolving Writer published by University of North Texas Press 1991;
The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn published by University Press of Mississippi, August 1998;
Common Core: Paradigmatic Shifts—published April 2015, Cambridge;
Teaching Literature in the Context of Literacy Instruction—published October 2015, Heinemann;
Writing for Life: Using Literature to Teach Writing Literacy—in progress
Articles: (Latest ones)
“Green Pens, Marginal Notes: Re-Thinking Writing and Student Engagement,” English Journal, May 2012.
“Making Characters Come Alive! Using Characters for Identification and Engagement,” English Journal, September 2012.
“Assessment: Our (Re)Inventing the Future of English,” English Journal, September 2013.
“The Duality of the American Derived Identity Through the Narrative Lens of Henry James and Mark Twain,” upcoming Mark Twain Annual.
“Mark Twain and Youth: 21st Century Literacies” in Mark Twain and Youth: His Life and His Writings, Bloomsbury, in progress for 2015 publication
“She Spoke to everyone, or just to one,” The Washington Post, 29 May 2014
“A Tribute: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: The Chicago Tribune: Perspective” 6 June 2014
“Curiouser and Curiouser: How Did We Get Here? A Brief Reflection on Standards,” in English Journal, November 2014
“Mark Twain Meets Generation Z: Their Questions, Conundrums, and Challenges,” Mark Twain and Youth, Bloomsbury, 2016.
“We Dare Not to Teach What We Know We Must: The Importance of Difficult Conversations,” English Journal, 106.2 (2016), 88-91.
“21st Century Challenge: Necessary Perspectives on Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as Anti-Slavery Novels,” Critical Insights: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, H. W. Wilson, 2016
Teacher, Scholar, Reader Lifelong Learner:
At heart, I am a high school English (ELA) teacher because I learned so much about my craft, pedagogy, and about the depth of my passion for teaching during my ten years in the classroom in Irving, TX. From there, I experienced a brief time at a community college while completing my doctorate in English and Rhetoric, completing my doctoral residency at the University of London through Texas Woman’s University. And although I have spent the bulk of my career at university (University of North Texas and Harvard Graduate School of Education), I spend a great deal of my consulting and research time in high schools around the country–working with students, teachers, administrators.
My degreed scholarship focuses on late 19th century British and American literature with a concentration in classical and modern rhetoric. My overall scholarship its with pedagogy and philosophy of education, particularly within Humanities, ELA, and social studies. My articles, books, and practice–all reflect this passion and interest. Consequently, I am a voracious reader of the Canon, modern, literature–fiction and nonfiction. I am also equally passionate about the arts–all mediums–with an eye for blending these elements with ELA components of critical reading, writing, thinking, listening, speaking, viewing–all requisite skills for life, life well beyond the classroom.
Because I spend a significant amount of my time with middle and high school students and teachers, I remain in a constant state of inquiry and discovery. I also view what I and my colleagues do for students is what Seneca asserts: “We learn not for school, but for life.” When I am with middle and high school students, as well as with college, graduate students, I engage with them in anticipation of what we will share, discover, question, and explore more deeply. As we conclude, my hope is that not any of us is the same as we were at the beginning.
When will I have learned enough? Not even with death.