native gap

Late Tape Hiss - Yoshi

Hello! This is a late, special edition of Tape Hiss. I originally wrote up a whole post about Aetherian immigration law, but with recent events in-comic finally coming to light, I thought I would do a meta post instead. Spoilers ahead for chapter 6 of White Noise–if you haven’t reached page 40, maybe catch up first before reading this!

I get asked every so often (as do a number of other trans/queer creators I know of) how to write transgender characters if you aren’t trans yourself. There are plenty of answers to this question that have already been covered, and I’m not going to cover more than the bare basics of that here. Look elsewhere for that. Here I’m going to talk about writing transgender/gender non-conforming characters in complex worldbuilding environments, specifically Yoshi. This is less a ‘here’s how to do this’ and more a 'here’s how to be thoughtful and deliberate about your writing in general, and how I applied that to a pretty complex topic.’ Pull from it what you will! I’m of the opinion that being thoughtful and deliberate in your character-writing and worldbuilding only makes you a stronger writer and your stories more convincing, but what do I know? I’m just some schmuck really.

Keep reading

When English Proficiency Isn’t Enough

COMPTON, Calif. — A large color photograph of an iceberg on display in teacher Angel Chavarin’s fourth-grade classroom at Laurel Street Elementary may not be the typical prop for a language arts lesson. But Chavarin is hoping visuals like this will help his students better understand the concept of inferences, which are, in effect, “the tip of the iceberg.”

Inferences are not an easy concept for young children to grasp, and it may be particularly difficult for the students of Laurel Street, where more than 60 percent of students are English learners.

But it’s a skill Chavarin knows his students need to master as California, along with 44 other states, transitions to the new Common Core State Standards. Created in 2010, the Common Core aims to prepare American students for college and careers by emphasizing critical thinking and problem solving. While the Common Core does not dictate a specific curriculum or reading list, it encourages language-arts teachers to expose students to challenging literature and nonfiction texts as well as sophisticated vocabulary. When writing and speaking in class, students are expected to present arguments and provide analysis backed by evidence, not opinion. Reading comprehension should include more than proof of recall; students need to demonstrate their ability to grasp big ideas as well as the nuanced inferences embedded in the text.

But some educators, including those enthusiastic about the Common Core, have publicly worried about the repercussions of raising the bar for groups of students who are already lagging behind, like those still learning English. They fear that the achievement gap between native speakers and English learners will widen, particularly in schools where teachers have little training and few resources. “Schools here have been working hard to address this issue for some time,” said Ben Sanders of the California Office to Reform Education. The Common Core “adds extra complexity. We’re worried that people will get overwhelmed.”

Read more. [Image: Ted S. Warren/AP Photo]