WHACTE – West Houston Area Council of Teachers of English

Last week, I went to the WHACTE 2009 Fall Breakfast.

I was most happy to hear that the new TEKS–which I have been leery of–are being assessed by a test designed by teachers. The TEA has selected teachers to figure out what parts of the new TEKS are even assessable. Also, until the new TAKS tests are deployed, the TAKS will only assess the overlap of the old TEKS and the new TEKS.

The speakers also reminded us of the TCTELA anual conference January 22-24, 2010, in Austin and the Abydos/NJWPT conference March 4-6, 2010, in Houston.

The food was good, too.

MLA Language Map

MLA map

“The MLA Language Map is intended for use by students, teachers, and anyone interested in learning about the linguistic and cultural composition of the United States. The MLA Language Map uses data from the 2000 United States census to display the locations and numbers of speakers of thirty languages and three groups of less commonly spoken languages in the United States.”

This map, and the chart below it, would be great for helping students “to understand and respect diversity of dialects” and languages. It’s interactive and visual, so students will want to play with it, leading to authentic discoveries about language.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to fit the activity of viewing this map into a lesson where viewing will help meet the learning objective.

New Standards (TEKS) in Texas

There was a whirlwind of emails earlier in the year, when us teachers were at our busiest, about the possibility of new TEKS in Texas. I was concerned because the TEKS I teach are very close to those that teachers from across the country have published with NCTE. The TEKS that we will be required to teach starting in the 2009-2010 school year were implemented despite concerns that other educators had voiced.

This year, I’ve been teaching these TEKS for 8th Grade:
Next year, I’ll be teaching these:
I’ll be spending time trying to compare and contrast them to see what I taught this year that I can salvage.

There is an NCTE article in the March 2009 Council Chronicle titled, “Teacher Advocacy: What Happened in Texas.” I haven’t yet formed a response.