Monday, June 29, 2009


Confronting Bullying: Literacy as a Tool for Character Education

Everyone has a stake in bullying especially when we know kids who are bullies are much more likely to end up in jail as adults. In many of the recent school shootings the victims have experienced bullying themselves.

Even though as individuals we can’t stop every act of violence, we can in schools work to reduce bulling on our campuses. “Everyone must identify a personal role in the formal and informal policies that seek to reduce violence, harassment, and bullying…Only when individuals are aware of a problem can they begin to consider taking action”. (Hazler 1996, p155)

Although bullying is receiving attention in schools, Confronting Bullying is the first to offer the inclusive inquiry cycle and the critical literacy perspective on bullying. Most books about bullying in classrooms offer suggestions that aren't embedded in literacy practice. Most character education books don't provide rich literacy instruction and quality book recommendations. Confronting Bullying provides all of these.

Confronting Bullying is available in over 223 libraries across the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa. It is also included on the parentbooks Violence and Bullying booklist and the Action Alliance for Children Booklist.

Avaliable at Heinemann, Barnes & Noble, Borders and other fine retailers.


Who's Invited to Share?:Using Literacy to Teach for Equity and Social Justice

Who's Invited to Share? has had an impact nationally and internationally and has been used for study groups at universities including American University, University of Georgia, Hofstra University and in Saskatchewan, Canada. The book is avaliable on websites from England, Canada, Australia, Israel, Brazil and Who's Invited to Share? is also avaliable in over 225 university libraries in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and South Africa.

Review from
"I will begin by saying this book has inspired me to use my gift of teaching with a group of students who will need it the most. Dr. Henkin shares a variety of personal and professional narratives which highlight the need to teach so that all voices are heard and honored. This book serves as an excellent resource for all teachers who are working toward creating an environment where all children are respected for what they bring to the classroom.

Dr. Henkin lists a variety of professional resources as well as children's books that deal with the issues of gender, diversity, and multiculturalism. These resources provide an excellent starting point to better understand the issues children bring to the classroom and the issues teachers face in the classroom.

Dr. Henkin interviews and observes many classrooms where teachers and students work together to create classrooms that are equitable for all. The students in this book seek to make their community better for all who live there. The curriculum is rich and meaningful and all voices are heard. This book is a must for all teachers to read."

Avaliable at Heinemann, Barnes & Noble, Borders and other fine retailers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Please Donate to the Limpopo Writing Project

The Limpopo Writing Project took place during the first two weeks of January 2009 at the University of Limpopo in South Africa. Eleven teachers joined the two South African Co-Directors and the Director and the two of us from the US for the Limpopo Writing Project Summer Institute, the first of its kind in South Africa. I had gone to teach writing and Mary Lou assisted by teaching computer skills and mentoring the teachers.

The Limpopo Writing Project is modeled on The San Antonio Writing Project. The San Antonio Writing Project is a local, non-profit organization designed to promote the effective teaching of writing in San Antonio area schools ages Pre-K through the University level. Our teachers become San Antonio Writing Project consultants after they’ve completed the five-week Summer Institute. They share their belief that writing is essential for learning in all content areas with their students. Hundreds of children in the greater San Antonio area are receiving better writing instruction thanks to the teacher consultants from SAWP.

I met Dr. Leketi Makalela when he was visiting UTSA with another grant at the university. He had heard about The San Antonio Writing Project and wanted to replicate it at his university in South Africa. He asked us for help. We raised money and received a small grant to bring two South African teachers to the US last summer to participate in the 2008 San Antonio Writing Project Summer Institute. Ngokoana Dikari and Nakedi Mogaba stayed at our house, participated in the workshop and participated in our lives for five weeks. Their professor, Dr. Leketi Makalela joined us for the last two weeks of the SAWP workshop.

Leketi is now the Director of The Limpopo Writing Project and Ngokoana and Nakedi are now the Codirectors. The eleven teachers that participated in the Limpopo Writing Project came from all over rural South Africa. Each day we wrote and shared our writing, talked about writing instruction and shared classroom lessons. We also participated in book discussions. Mashaba, a high school teacher wrote near the end of the workshop,

“Looking back, I wish I could have been in this workshop ages ago, but then it is not too late to mend. From now onwards, I am a good writer and all my colleagues and learners will be good writers, too. Somebody has already mentioned that we are seeds, and seeds bear fruits.”

The San Antonio Writing Project is funded by a grant the National Writing Project receives from Congress. There are no funds available for this work in South Africa so we’ve had to raise the funds ourselves. Last year all the money was donated by our friends and family. 100% of the money went into funding the workshop and paying for the room and board of the participants. Mary Lou and I as well as the Co-Directors and Director in South Africa are volunteers working for free.

We are trying to do everything we can to raise funds for the Limpopo Writing Project. We need about $6000 American dollars to replicate the 2009 Summer Institute. We'd also like to support writing students in the teachers' classrooms. Leketi has shared that $50 could change a child’s life in South Africa for a school year. We’d like to give at least one writing student in each of the teachers’ classrooms $50 which would pay for the school fees, the uniform, and all their school lunches for a year.

Please consider donating to The Limpopo Writing Project. Your contributions are so appreciated. Please send donations to

The Limpopo Writing Project
C/O Mary Lou Daugherty
207 Northcrest
San Antonio, TX 78213

The Limpopo Writing Project

I'm thinking about all the teachers in the Limpopo Writing Project and all the teachers that I met in South Africa. We are now in the 2nd week of the SAWP 2009 summer institute and we're thinking about all of you and the influence you've had on our project. After every demonstration, one of the connections we always make to the topics are the global ones. I also share stories about Nakedi and Ngokoana and the SAWP TC's from last summer as they relate to this year. I also talk about the Limpopo Writing Project and all the teachers that I worked with there. If any of you are reading this, please reply. The teachers would love to blog here with you. They'd also like to have your students write to theirs.

We are trying hard to raise money for the 2010 Limpopo Writing Project Summer Institute. Everywhere I go I talk about the project and it's generated a lot of interest. Mary Lou and I even spoke at our Temple about the Limpopo Writing Project last Friday.

We are doing everything that we can think of to raise enough money so that the 2010 LWP Summer Institute will be a success. The next blog entry will detail how we can support the project. But please, everyone who is reading this, please consider donating to The Limpopo Writing Project and please ask your friends and family to consider supporting us too. Contributions can be made out to The Limpopo Writing Project and sent to LWP in care of Mary Lou Daugherty, 207 Northcrest, San Antonio, Texas 78213.

SAWP Summer Institute 2009

We are in the second week of the 2009 San Antonio Writing Project Summer Institute. We are meeting in the same small room that we’ve had for previous institutes which is definitely cozy. This year we are especially focusing on technology and have gone paperless. Our SAWP assistant and Graduate Student Jacob Sanchez is doing his Master’s thesis on this process.

Already we are seeing amazing things happening. Our logs have been transformed by movie maker and other programs into videos that document our days work through words, video, pictures and music. As one participant noted, you can see the process evolving each day as a new logger plans and takes pictures and the story board emerges in front of us.

We’ve been having spontaneous technology discussions as we reflect on the similarities between the writing process and the process of creating movies. We are challenging ourselves to get with the new technology and to embrace continual change.
For the first time ever, we’ve eliminated the SAWP notebooks and instead post all of our powerpoints and handouts on our google site. We’re also posting our writing and having electronic writing conferences too. Instead of a notebook, everyone received a jump drive. We’ve done a lot of writing and discussing about technology, especially our fears and concerns. But nothing surpasses the excitement we feel when someone shares their electronic journal or technologically advanced demonstration. We’re proud of ourselves and we know that we are moving into new territory. We don’t know where we are going but we also know that we will never move backward again.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kahani Project Article on UTSA Today

"The stories are amazingly personal and yet universal," said Roxanne Henkin, UTSA professor and director of the San Antonio Writing Project. "The students talk about their lives and their struggles to show their families in India that they are still Indian while fully American too. Their parents and the Indian community in San Antonio expressed pride and support as the students of all ages shared their stories."

Link to article: