Volume 123, Number 3, 2021
An introduction to this special issue of Teachers College Record.
In this article we follow a group of young children who are attending a prior-to-school educational setting as they play a game together over time. We investigate how this game became a space where children learned to be together, communicated with one another, and represented themselves in particular, intentional ways.
Drawing from a larger qualitative study of writing and play in a kindergarten classroom, this article analyzes the ways children subvert the authority of the teacher, curriculum, and/or school-approved topics in writing workshop—a seemingly innocuous time set aside for “real” writing and storytelling. Following children’s interest in horror genres, the author examines how children cultivate spaces of experimentation and affect, where “scary” ideas lead to intertextually rich stories where both symbolic (e.g., print, drawing) and contextual ideas (e.g., horror, realistic stories) are poached from the local and broader culture, media, and school literacy.
This article documents the power of multimodal feedback in a K–1 storytelling workshop unit. The children in this study developed and demonstrated writing strategies through peer feedback during share time, most powerfully in the form of copying one another. The author argues that supporting multimodal expression and feedback can enrich the literacy curriculum in early-grades classrooms.
This study contributes to larger conversations about how children use play to make schooled writing personally meaningful and build upon their (digital) funds of knowledge. The author uses a descriptive case study design and ethnographic methods to examine how one child exemplified creative language play. Specifically, the author considers how the child used his physical play in the virtual world of Minecraft to invoke creative language play as a tool within the standardized curriculum. This study calls attention to the connection between children’s lived experiences and play in digital spaces—as physical acts enacted through screens—and their relation to, and being evidenced in, schooled writing. In turn, the author encourages a rethinking of what it means for adults to maintain clear lines between what is digital play and what is not. Further, she argues for the importance of cultivating a space for children to build on what was previously familiar to them by offering scaffolds to bridge these experiences between what we, as adults, understand as binaries.
Drawing upon data from a multiyear case study, this article explores the role of play in teacher education as novice literacy educators from margins toward center through approximations of practice. Play, it is argued, supports preservice teachers in developing a tolerance for complexity, which has implications for both their teaching as well as their development as educators.
This article explores the way multimodal production processes afforded playful literacy practices in two very different classrooms: one 6th-grade class engaging in the creation of podcasts, and one 8th-grade class painting a scene from a recently read novel. Two focal play assemblages emerged, foregrounding play as craft and work-play flows.
In a world filled with animated films, television, video games, smartphone applications, and digital media texts, this article investigates the implementation of a curricular framework for play-based makerspaces. By exploring how a third-grade classroom, preservice elementary education students and preservice secondary E/LA teachers approached their own media productions, this study illuminates how collaborative, digital-storytelling affords participants to respond critically, productively, and multimodally, as well as highlights the implications for K-12 classrooms and teacher education literacy courses.
In this article, I narrate and analyze fort building pedagogies from early childhood methods courses I have taught over the past five years as a way to awake embodied literacies of play in preservice and in-service teachers. I explore how fort building itself offers a story beyond that of the commodification and neoliberalization of schooling.
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