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The 12th Annual Language Series 2012

Differentiating Learning for Language and Concept Development

A Look at Spiders

William Ayers, Melissa Bernardin, Kelvina Butcher, Nancy Cloud, and Ryan Alexander-Tanner

Please click here for resources from the 2012 Language Series.


at the Language Series

  • January 21, 2012

    The Language of Sequential Art: Comics in the Classroom

    Comics is a medium—not a genre—with as yet untapped potential to engage learners in a range of powerful literacy practices across the curriculum. Participants will explore the anatomy and language of comics by creating their own. By illuminating the process of comic art, and facilitating a conversation about a graphic novel, the presenters will model how to read and discuss comics in the classroom and how this is different but similar to reading more traditional texts.

     Ryan Alexander-Tanner is a cartoonist and educator who lives in Portland, OR. He specializes in creating comics, teaching kids how to make them, and teaching teachers how to teach them. He co-authored (with William Ayers) and illustrated To Teach: The Journey, in Comics (Teachers College Press, 2010). Ryan’s work can be seen at:

    William Ayers, Ed.D., is a Bank Street graduate who has an extensive and committed career in education. He is the formerly Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He is also the founder of
    both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society. He has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. Please visit for more information.

  • January 28, 2012

    Supporting Language and Literacy Development in Content Area Classrooms

    Dr. Cloud will focus on how to select texts (including bilingual and multimedia) for English learners of various proficiency and literacy levels, so each student can find the most appropriate text to engage in a meaningful way. Participants will learn how to analyze content area texts to determine language targets for learners and share activities designed to help students advance their English literacy skills, no matter their starting place.

    Nancy Cloud, Ed.D., currently serves as Professor of Education in the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development at Rhode Island College. She coordinates the M.Ed. in TESL and Bilingual Endorsement Programs and teaches graduate courses on second language and literacy development.

    To learn more about Dr. Cloud’s Booklist Project, go to: booklist-project

  • February 4, 2012

    Exploring Diversity in Our Lives and in Our Classrooms

    “...Education needs to enable the student to look through window frames in order to see the reality of others, and into mirrors in order to see her/his own reality reflected.” (Emily Style). By exploring curriculum through the lens of culture, race, class, and gender in the interest of supporting language development, participants will understand how specific activities help children develop greater self-understanding, positive self-esteem, and community responsibility.

    Kelvina Butcher, MS.Ed., is the Assistant Director for Teaching and Learning at the First Program Division of the Dalton School in NYC. An educator with over 30 years of teaching experience, Kelvina has taught The Teaching of Reading, Writing and Language Arts and Multicultural Education Through the Arts for Bank Street College. She is affiliated with the National Project Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED), which provides a forum for educators to discuss issues of gender equity and diversity.

    Melissa Bernardin, MS.Ed., is one of the First Program Librarians at The Dalton School and a freelance video editor. Prior to joining the Dalton community, she was the founding librarian at Excellence Boys Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant. She also served as the Resource Specialist for the New York City region of Teach For America, helping corps members gather materials to enhance their classrooms and lessons. Through all this, her focus is always on incorporating diverse literature and media to foster students’ understanding of the global community.