Modes of Incorporating Diverse Texts


Our Revised Proposal:

Additional Information for our Presentation can be found at our google doc:

Group Members: Sarah Menger, Jessica Lund, Erica Saidoo, Lyndsey Ferguson, Amanda Carlisi
  • different ethnic groups, cultural texts (What kind of literature does _ group create? How can it be incorporated in a classroom?, etc)
  • genres/modes (sonnet, short story, other poetry forms, novel, film, speech, epic,essay, etc...)
  • How do actual teachers incorporate these different forms and texts? What do the students think? ---We'll learn this through interviews and teacher/student surveys

First Meeting Oct 3
Contacting Teachers for survey/interview
Questions for Teachers:

Hello teachers! We are seniors at Michigan State University in the Teacher Education Program. We are doing a research project on how to incorporate different modes and diverse texts in the secondary classroom to make the texts more relevant to students' lives. To make our research more authentic, we really need student and teacher feedback. We would greatly appreciate it if you would take a few minutes of your time and complete the following survey. If there is something you would like to discuss further, we would be very happy to set up a personal interview. We know how busy teachers are ,so we figured that a survey like this would be most efficient.

Yes! You can use my name for academic purposes only _ No, I would prefer to remain anonymous_

Be as specific as you can be!
1. Where do you teach?
2. What class and grade level do you teach?
3. Describe your class. What are the demographics? (Ethnic groups, gender, socio-economic)
4. How do you incorporate diverse text and modes in your classroom?
a. What are some texts you use?
b. What kinds of different modes do you use? (Poetry, novel, film, speech, essay, short story, etc..)
5. In what ways do you connect literature to your students’ lives?
6. What is your favorite lesson which incorporates diverse literature? Why?
7. Do you have any other thoughts or tops on how to incorporate diverse texts and modes in a secondary classroom?

Questions for Students:
  1. What are some of your favorite texts that stand out to you in your high school/middle school experience?
  2. Did you find any texts that you feel really connected to your life? What were they?
  3. What was missing from your English classes thus far? What kind of books or literature would you like to see in your Language Arts classes?

Coffee Talk with Kelly:
  • Modes: purposefulness of modes, why use different modes? Can we frame this as a theoretical lens? What are the underlying assumptions of different modes and is it really as obvious as people think? (No, but how?)
  • BIG QUESTION: Why do different modes matter?
  • Workshop ideas (30 min)
- panel discussion, with us as the panel. Ask students to come prepared with one question (send them our materials ahead of time?)
- maybe split the time, some "instructional time" then some panel
-How will we get to know our audience? Once we figure it out, we need to find a way to engage them specifically in our lesson.
  • To find research:
- Use MSU's ERIC database
- use search terms "diverse modes", "multiple intelligences", "multimodal"
- People : COE website--> departments-->pick one, then click on people--->they all have websites!
- TE/Psych people: David Wong (compelling experience? how to make education a compelling exp?), Rand Spiro, Zhao

To Do
  • Each of us contact former teachers, other teachers, etc... and ask to do the survey.
  • Circulate surveys to teachers and students
  • Cathleen Clara interview?
  • Research different cultural groups and what kinds of modes are commonly used.
  • Erica-Poetry and Music, Amanda-Graphic Novels and Comics, Jessica-Film and Plays, Sarah-Short Stories and Internet texts (blogs, fanfiction, internet communication ex: Rosie Dunn), Lyndsey- Nonfiction and Oral texts
  • Other: Letters? Magazine? Newspapers?
  • Annotated Bib due 10/27---need 6 resources


Essay on use of short story--critical, historical, cultural perspectives SM

Brief essay called "Forming Connections and Awakening Visions" with explanations of the uses of short stories in the classroom including introducing students to different cultures and points of view, use as a lead-in for historical study, explore new genres, develop critical lens for evaluating literature...
Short Stories in a secondary classroom-ERIC resource SM
This NCTE publication is an excellent compilation of several teachers’ personal stories about using short stories in the classroom. The introduction discusses the necessity of incorporating short story modes into the English/Language Arts classroom which has as of late become too consumerist and focused on acquiring information, rather than the desire for truth in personal experience. The editors suggest that the short story is a mode which in and of itself allows for students to experience that “suspended animation” once privileged by writers like Edgar Allen Poe and as a mode, there are also several sound pedagogical reasons for using the short story as described in the compilation of teacher narratives. Each section is categorized according to a reason for using short stories like “Encountering Other Perspectives”, “Seeing what is Really There” by reading carefully, and many more. This is an excellent secondary AND primary source for our research project because not only does it just give examples of how to use short stories in a classroom, but it discusses the pedagogical reasons why short stories are a necessary mode in every classroom. We consider this to be primary and secondary because it has both a secondary perspective in the foreword and first-hand accounts from teachers. This source has proven to be very insightful for the obvious reasons of providing information about the short story as a mode but also raising questions about both the emotional and pedagogical reasons for using any mode in general.

Site which explores the validity of internet texts SM
This article is about broadening the definitions and assumptions we hold about what a text is and what qualifies as reading. The author explores the kinds of texts readers encounter online and discusses the validity of hypertext, multi-media, and interactive texts online. Coiro suggests that the texts that we find on the internet do require higher level thinking and the mastery of internet literacy. This is another great resource for us because in this class and in our research project we have discussed digital literacy and what kinds of texts are privileged in a classroom. This author brings up many new aspects of internet texts which we have not yet discussed. It also raises many questions like whether or not all internet texts are one mode under the umbrella of the internet, or if each kind of text might be a different mode. We hope that this source will prove useful to us in helping us to expand our own and our classmates definitions of what qualifies as a mode and how we can think about using this mode(s) in a classroom and with what kind of pedagogical rationale.
This is the NACAE's (National Association of Comics Arts Educators) website. It has a lot of resources from teachers on how they have used comics in their classrooms. This is a great website for us to use because it not only has ways to use comics in a class, but also lists of comics to use. One really cool aspect is that some teachers have posted their syllabi. I think this is a great source for us because it will show our classmates that it is possible to use comics in a classroom because it has been done by many different teachers. It is also very helpful because it has an abundant list of comics that teachers have used. This is great because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of what comics would work well in a classroom. In addition to all the resources, the website also has articles about using comics in the classroom. Hopefully this portion of the website will help us with the reasoning behind why using comics in a classroom is useful. AC

Eek! Comics in the Classroom!
This is a "Professional Development" article from Education world. It is very pro using comic books and graphic novels in classrooms. This article explains how comics and graphic novels can teach many literacy skills. It talks about how students are more attentive when teachers use comics. The article talks a lot about why using comics and graphic novels in a class is a good way to use alternative texts. It also explains why using comics and graphic novels are good for struggling readers. The article also suggests that using these types of texts make the material relatable and relevant to students. In addition to all of the reasoning, it also provides additional resources for using comics and graphic novels in classrooms. Hopefully this website will provide evidence for using comics and graphic novels in classrooms. AC
*I'm not sure if I did these right....I tried my best. lol. Please let me know if I need to add anything or redo them.*
Amanda--You did them fine, I was just going to ask you to write out the citation for them but I just put it into and it creates the citation so it's not a big deal. Thank you!
Everyone else: if you guys don't mind just writing the citation I'd appreciate it! Thanks, Sarah.
PS: We still need at least one Primary Source so if one of you guys could do a primary source (interview, etc) that would be great!!

The website for Teacher’s Mentor is helpful because it has lessons that incorporate poetry with vocabulary, reading, and poetic devices. This site reflects on ways to choose poems to how to go about teaching it in a classroom setting. Not only does this site have information about copyrights and whatnot, it has links to popular and useful children’s poetry. For example, you can link to Shel Silverstein and Judith Viorst who both write poetry for kids. This site is important to our Diverse Modes Group because it deals with how to go about suing poetry in the classroom and why it is important. Even though this site is geared toward elementary students, it can be used in an ESL classroom or upgraded to fit a higher level thinking group.
Haga, Mary. "Using Poetry to Teach Reading." Teachers' Mentor. 2001. 26 Oct. 2008
This website is important because it talks about what humanities are which include literature, history, music and arts. It includes why teaching the humanities are significant in our schools and classrooms today. A researcher notes that “the primary task of those who teach the humanities is now to identify the common ground on which persons can gather in order to make responsible judgments about the quality of life in our world in light of the traditions of the past and the competing demands of the future.” This sums up the articles tone, however, it also includes reasons why students should be able to find relations between a text and a painting. This website is important to our group on Diverse Modes in the classroom because it validates English and different forms of English in the classroom.
Holbrook, Hilary T. "ERIC Digest." Humanities in English Classrooms. ERIC
Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills Urbana IL. 26 Oct. 2008

Essay on Nonfiction Journalist Teaching Writing in A Classroom Setting

This website is important to my research on non-fiction for many different reasons. First of all, it presents non-fiction in one of its many different forms-a written/published article. Many individuals forget that articles found in the newspaper and/or magazines are non-fiction and this is one way to bring that realization to light. This article discusses how a particular journalist has incorporated non-fiction into a writing class. In the article, Mr. Vare discusses how non-fiction was barely discussed in class and how non-fiction writing wasn't even taught to him as a student in high school and college. This article also discusses successful ways to approach non-fiction in class. It discusses how non-fiction can teach readers to view this type of literature as a text which teaches us how to view mankind. It teaches us ways to learn from other experiences as well as how to become better readers in the process. This article is useful in the presentation of non-fiction by (as stated earlier) presenting non-fiction in one of its many different ways but it also helps us relate the process of teaching and writing non-fiction into the classroom setting. LF

Cromidas, Rachel. "Creative nonfiction journalist to teach writing course." 26 Feb. 2008. Chicago Maroon. 6 Oct. 2008 <>.

Strategies For Teaching Non Fiction

This website is important in our presentation of non-fiction because it discusses the importance that non-fiction plays in our every day lives. It discusses how everyone is subjected to non-fiction every day of their lives and therefore should be implemented and focused on within the classroom. Due to the fact that non-fiction is prevalent in our every day lives, we, as teachers, need to find ways to incorporate this often difficult topic in our classrooms. Along with short discussion of the importance of non-fiction in the classroom, the website also has a blog section where other teachers can give their own feedback and personal opinions on the article. Also, along with these two things, there are links to teaching non-fiction in the classroom. Some of these lesson plans are really well thought out. There was one specifically used in a k-2 classroom, but I could see it being incorporated into a middle school and possibly high school classroom if tweaked just right. Overall, this article gives us more information on the different modes in which non-fiction can be taught. LF

Secondary ELA Consultant Survey - PRIMARY

Sliwka, Carol. Email interview. 16 Oct 2008.
This survey was completed by Carol Sliwka, a Secondary ELA Consultant and former tenth grade English teacher for the Monroe Public Schools system. Sliwka’s teaching experience and curriculum building fieldwork are especially helpful for our research on the use of diverse modes in the classroom. Her survey responses include examples of ways to incorporate a variety of texts, ranging from film to speech. She has also listed several texts often included in the tenth grade curriculum at Monroe High, such as Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Things They Carried. Unit titles like Power, Overcoming Obstacles, Historical Conflict, and Diversity incorporate these texts as well as various activities and assessments that help students to connect the literature to their everyday lives. Sliwka’s survey responses also describe a multi-genre project that incorporates many different modes, as well as ways that she has engaged students in the literature using lit circles and flexibility for more options. Sliwka’s feedback will be helpful in gaining a current perspective of using diverse modes, as well as ways for engaging students in the classroom. She has also offered to provide additional information as we continue researching this topic. JL

Gardner, Traci. "Strategies for Teaching with Nonfiction." NCTE Inbox. 5 Feb. 2008. NCTE. 6 Oct. 2008 <>.

Small Inquiry Group Proposal


Colleagues will be able to see the significance/importance of incorporating different diverse modes into lessons. They will explore examples of different modes within the classroom and how they are presented. Colleagues should learn that each mode has a specific pedagogical purpose and/or meaning for being presented in class.


We decided to discuss the teaching of diverse modes due to the fact that each mode has a different purpose. Each mode can connect with students on many different levels and can teach students different things. Different modes challenges different literacies and challenge students to think in new and challenging ways. By presenting different modes in our lessons, we help students expound on how to explore different ways to think about thinking.


1) Develop synopsis of each portion

2) Send information to colleagues and have them develop questions pertaining to our information

3) Develop questions to ask during forum discussion

4) Give presentation on "so what" (information) as to why we are exploring this topic

5) Panel discussion/ Q & A session

6) Wrap up-possible activity (where we would show how to implement information presented in the classroom)


We will know when colleagues have learned information when they participate with the conversation, pose questions, are active not only in discussion but with activity and attentive during panel discussion. Students should have meaningful conversations using information presented and be able to connect information to their prior knowledge as students and/or teachers.