Chapter 2 New Literacies

Chapter Two

I work with kindergarten through third grade students in my school. I have an eye on our English Language Learners, but really I have an eye on all learners. I collaborate with classroom teachers on ways and ideas to make content meaningful. The idea is to bring the page, the book, the experience to life, to take what may be 2D into the 3D realm, to have the experience come out to the audience, regardless of the content area.  As I consider the text New Literacies I feel like it is the handbook that explains what has been happening more and more in education as we talk about using authentic voice in writing with attention to the details, using the senses to bring the reader or audience into their stories and work. In Chapter Two, this statement resonated with me…page 34: Humans, then, are bearers and carriers of practices, through which they do and be and understand. To me this addresses the reflective question, page 39, that asks what Reckwitz means when he says that “mental patterns” are not personal but rather social. Reckwitz states that mental patterns are not our private possessions. That sounds absurd at first pass, but then you realize that it is true. We are not in isolation we are a part of a social structure that is living and dynamic. In this now very intimate setting, INTE 5340,  we will see each other in a much deeper way, even though we are not physically together. As I take this journey, everyone will be able to be with me on this journey, as much as they choose.
Curious to me that literacy is spoken in terms of practice. I get practicing the saxophone or practicing your gymnastic passes, but practicing literacy seems rather odd, unless it’s stupid spelling words out of context in a list of twenty!  Back to that idea of what we do is our practice, as an example, bloggers were identified. The common thread was blogging, but there are many types of practicing bloggers world wide, even though there are tremendous varieties and types of blogs. Before thinking of literacy as a practice, it was though more of as a tool, a writing system. Then comes more thinking, that metacognition (thinking about thinking) and we have Scribner and Cole, page 35, moving the thought of literacy into the realm of a practice. Something that is done repetitively (they said recurrent), uses technology to accomplish tasks, the tasks that we humans do…circling back to what we individually and corporately practice. Depending on what happens in living, new technologies are born. Literacy then, is not reading and writing, but rather applying these skills to our lives in what we do.
So, if I adopt this thinking, then I adopt that no one is illiterate, correct? What about severe autism?  What about a student with selective mutism? Can we tap into their stories? We have who I will call, Mr. AP in our school with severe cognitive impairment. He is non-verbal. The SpEd Dept. has some type of technology that Mr. AP uses to select what he wants. The other day he wanted his money. There is a picture of coins, and he tapped it. Instead of passing by, saying hi to Mr. AP, I need to check in on him. What can I do to help his story be told?
I am still kind of spinning with ALL.of.this.Technology. The unleashing of literacy….that Mark Zuckerberg & Co. did!  Wow, they caused all sorts of world wide commentary when Facebook was born. I refer to Facebook as the Yearbook that never shuts up. I think Lankshear and Knobel have it right, literacy was unleashed through Facebook.   It’s rather fitting, the term unleashed. Wildly coursing here and there, we see people on mountaintops, underwater, falling, surprising, hurling hate, sending love, and attracting attention with needy statements like “Oh my gosh….” and when we’ve had enough we sign off for the day and some suspend themselves for months. Is it too much? Is chocolate too much? Is driving too much? Is sleeping to much? Full circle, even among the masses, we are back to ourselves. IDK about you….I am enough for me. ~Diane
Literacy Vine 
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