Going Public WITH OUR PRactice

Writing is a core component of inquiry—for students and teachers. Throughout the Invitational Summer Institute (ISI), teachers draft and share pieces for personal, institute, and broader audiences. This page will be updated throughout the summer to include descriptions of various ISI structures for supporting teachers in going public with practice.


Portfolio Overview — 2020 PhilWP ISI

Pre-Institute Posts

Sign up for TPS Teachers Network

The Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program hosts a members-only online forum for educators who have participated in professional development funded by the Library of Congress. This forum is called the TPS Teachers Network.

We will use this forum to "go public" with practice by writing and posting on the network.

You will have access to the entire online forum, as well as a private group that is open only to participants and facilitators from this year's Invitational Summer Institute and Advanced Institute. In general, you may choose to post most of your reflections in our private group by replying to existing discussion threads. However, you are encouraged to join and post in other discussion groups as well.

This video explains how to respond to existing threads on the TPS Teachers Network

Post 1: Building Community: Teacher as Text

Dr. Steven Thurston Oliver uses “teacher as text” as a way to make connections with his students. He shares his own story while he teaches and encourages other teachers to do the same in their classrooms with their students.

  • Take some time to imagine coming back to your teaching in September, in whatever capacity that may be. Keep in mind a return after students abruptly ended a school year as a pandemic was beginning, and after a summer of racial tension and violence. What is a story you would tell that might help you build a connection with your students and invite conversation?

  • As you think about your own teacher text, what are some new questions you have? What would be a new line of inquiry you might want to pursue?

You might be in dialogue with ideas from other pre-institute readings or experiences to help you think about and write about “teacher as text.”

Add your reflection as a comment in the "Invitational Summer Institute: Post 1" discussion thread on the TPS Teachers Network.

Post 2: Building Community: Creating “Brave” Spaces Together

This summer, we’ll be building community together online. Our ISI is built on teachers writing and talking together. Group Agreements are one way we can create a “brave” space together.

Use the resources here as you consider the following questions:

  • What makes everyone “feel safe” may be different. What does it look like to build “brave” spaces? Can a safe space also be a brave space? How can the transparency and openness that happens in your closest and most trusted relationships translate to this space?

  • Read about three suggested working agreements. Do these agreements resonate for building our online community? How might you revise or add to them? Are there any other agreements you would suggest?

Add your reflection as a comment in the "Invitational Summer Institute: Post 2" discussion thread on the TPS Teachers Network.

Post 3: Writing Outside of Our Boxes

One of our many goals during the ISI will be to consider how “learning spaces have been defined/redefined for us” and our students. There may be a number of structures in our schools that may keep us and our students in boxes, whether it be through testing students in particular ways of separating disciplinary subjects from one another in the school day. Our pre-institute readings challenged us to think about some of the confines we either operate in or out of, and how these confines can keep us from thinking “outside the box.”

What are you thinking about in terms of the “boxes” that sometimes define our schools? What ways, if any, have you found to move beyond those boxes with students?

Check out at least one of the texts below: A blog post, a video, and/or a journal article below. (The readings are also in your bulk pack.)

Duke, N. K. (2019, March 4). Speaking up for science and social studies [Video]. YouTube. [29 minutes]
Duke questions ideas about what good language arts instruction should look like.
Rivera-Amezola, R. (2019, October 29). Reflections on “containing a writer’s voice.” PhilWP Blog. (2.5 pages, in bulk pack)
You might consider the metaphor of a box as 11-year-old Alexandra had to do. This is your chance to think about where your voice has been contained. What was the context? What did you do about it? Is it still in the box? Then, think about where the resources you possess as a teacher might work alongside your students so that future voices are no longer contained.
Smith, C. (2020). How culturally responsive lessons teach critical thinking. Teaching Tolerance, 64, 51-54. (5 pages, in bulk pack)
For Smith, culturally responsive teaching means holding on to “a complex set of facts that don’t fit neatly into a specific ideological position.”

Post 4: Supporting Inquiry and Knowledge Construction with Primary Sources

Another set of questions we’ll take up during the ISI is “What is inquiry?” and “How do we use writing to build an inquiry community?” One way to support student inquiry and knowledge construction would be by introducing students to historical primary sources. Of course, these wouldn’t be the only texts we’d use. But inquiry, particularly inquiries that help us think about our past and our present, can sometimes start with primary sources.

Check out at least two of the texts below: A chapter reading, a journal article, a video, and/or a podcast.

Based on what you know and what read, what is a primary source, anyway? What benefits might there be in using primary sources in inquiries with students? Are there any tensions or questions that emerge as you think about your prior experiences or future work with these kinds of texts? (You don’t have to respond to all of these questions. They’re simply here to help you start writing.)