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Seeking Diversity

Language Arts with Adolescents

By Linda Rief
Foreword by Nancie Atwell

A detailed look into master teacher Linda Rief’s own classroom, Seeking Diversity is a complete guide to exemplary and effective literacy practices with a range of adolescents, from the gifted to the challenged.

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    In order for any classroom's diverse population to progress toward a sense of quality and a broadening of mind, expectations must be high and individual goals must be recognized. Linda Rief does more than show her students the way, she joins the journey.
    —Voices from the Middle
Seeking Diversity is the result of watching, listening to, and learning from adolescents. It is also about a teacher, a learner engaged in the process of coming to know herself as a reader and writer in her own classroom. It is a chronicle of apprenticeship, where the students do astonishing things as readers and writers because their teacher believes they can, because she expects them to, and because she is right there beside them—reading, writing, questioning, thinking, learning, and growing.

Linda Rief takes the philosophies and ideas of Atwell, Romano, Graves, Murray, Calkins, and the Goodmans and makes them her own. She adapts them to her classroom, her students, her style, her constraints and invites other teachers to do the same- stretch the ideas, make them theirs, but above all, trust the students.

Seeking Diversity is organized chronologically, following Linda and her students from September through June. Teachers will find especially helpful:

  • organization techniques—materials, the room, and expectations
  • ways of using life experiences and literature to immerse the students in meaningful writing and reading
  • evaluation beliefs and techniques that focus on process as well as product and on self-evaluation over outside assessment
  • portfolios from a range of students—what's in them, who chooses, and what they show us
  • a new look at art as an integral part of students' literacy
  • an appendix filled with handouts for both students and parents
  • numerous lists of best-liked books for individualized reading, reading aloud, and reading together.

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