The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquium Archive

Sonia Kline

Name: Sonia Kline, Curriculum & Instruction

Presentation Title: “I Can’t Write Nothing Down If I Don’t Know How To”: Mapping Texts and Contexts in Middle School Online Writing

Date: February 7, 2013


While the importance of context is widely recognized in studies of scholastic writing, the connections among students’ textual products and aspects of context are seldom mapped out. Drawn from my dissertation research on middle school students composing in Scholar, an online writing environment that supports peer response, this talk details the case of Tanisha, an eighth grade African-American female, situated in a school that serves a predominately low-income population. Her case is of particular interest because she moved between two very different language arts classes taught by the same teacher—one with a mandated curriculum, the other without a formal curriculum. By examining her texts captured within the online environment, and texts and talk generated within and beyond the classroom, my work traces and makes visible connections among her texts, the texts of others, and broader socio-cultural-historic contexts.