BLTN International Sampler

Dec 13th, 2014 | By | Category: BLTN Global, BLTN International, Fall 2014

 “Using the BreadNet telecommunications system in a recent collaboration with Anna Citrino, who teaches in Singapore, I observed my rural Vermont students begin to articulate a broader world view through the environmental concerns they shared with the Singaporean students, and in doing so, my students developed an appreciation for their home state of Vermont.  Our partners in Singapore brought cultural and racial diversity to our isolated corner of Vermont . . . This online conference bridged gaps of culture, race, and class.”

“Worlds Apart: Bridging the Gap between Rural Vermont and Urban Singapore” BLRTN Magazine  Spring/Summer 1997 by Mary Burnham, BLTN teacher in East Corinth, Vermont

Editor’s note: Below we provide a couple of abstracts of BLTN international virtual exchanges, followed by bibliographic citations for many published articles featuring students writing across international and cross-cultural differences. Most titles are linked to the full citations in the online BLTN bibliography. For reprints of articles not linked as full text, contact Dianne Baroz.

Networked Inquiry:  Learning about Language and Life through Personal Stories 2000-2002

Funded by Spencer Foundation as BLTN practitioner Research Project
Ceci Lewis, “Learning about Language and Life through Personal Stories,” On Teacher Inquiry, Teachers’ College Press, 2009.


  • Ceci Lewis (BL’99BLTN Advisory Board) Latina teacher researcher, instructor at CochiseCommunityCollegeinSierraVisita AZ
    • Student participant:  Samuel Pacheco, Tombstone High School AZ
  • LusandaMayakana (Andover Bread Loaf and BL ’05) Instructor,UniversityofWitwatersrandinJo’burg, South Africa
    • Student participant:  Khulekani Njokenweni,  UW
  • Mary Guerrero (Andover Bread Loaf and BL ‘04) teacher in bilingual classes at the Oliver School,  Lawrence,MA
    • Student participant:  Jessica, 4th grade bilingual student, Oliver School
  • Michael Armstrong,  Bread Loaf faculty member since 1980s:  Ceci, Lusanda, and Mary studied with Michael at BL and he visited Lawrence classrooms regularly;  Head Teacher, UK Primary school.

After taking Michael Armstrong’s Bread Loaf courses on narrative as a source of understanding (and data) about language and learning, this inquiry team met online via BreadNet and in person at Bread Loaf and Lawrence to plan a networked inquiry, opening a digital “conference” folder on BreadNet for their work (archived).  Inside this conference area they established four other “subconferences”:  Student Stories; Teacher Tales; Student Data (transcripts of interviews); Interpretations, where they posted their interpretations (teachers and students together) of student stories and their teacher tales.  They created a safe virtual space where lines between teachers and student researchers quickly blurred and the students, including 4th grade Jessica, offered advice and recommendations about EL acquisition to teachers (and others).  As Ceci wrote, “We all became learners together” and “By using an electronic conference as the primary storehouse for communication, our work became easily accessible to all members of our research team.”  These BLTN members’ belief that when trust is established and a safe digital space is available, we can become learners together is a powerful example of networked, connected learning that has shaped BLTN and classroom practice. The emergence over the past few years of young writing and advocacy leaders as valued members of BLTN is just one piece of evidence of the influence of “Learning about Language and Life Through Personal Stories.”  In 2014, Michael, Ceci, Mary, and Lusanda are still connected, with Michael, Ceci, and Mary working closely together over the years.  


Capetown Conference 2008

The Capetown Conference was a virtual exchange conducted over several months in the spring of 2008 among BLTN teachers and students in Nairobi, Kenya; Mumbai, India; Juneau, Alaska; and Thoreau, New Mexico. Students and teachers wrote to one another in an attempt to compare perspectives on climate change in preparation for an international summit to be attended by one of the teachers in Capetown, South Africa.  In introducing students, teachers engaged in significant correspondence with one another about their respective cultural and educational contexts. Students and adult participants then shared reflections on climate change as they had experienced it in their own lives. Since ages of participants ranged from 9 (4th grade) to 16 (secondary I.B. students), the level of discourse ranges from collaboratively composed photo-essays of backyard environments to well-structured essays about the global dynamics contributing to climate change. Adult responses to students play a significant role in developing student trust in one another. The exchange culminates in a shared reading and response to an excerpt from Wangari Maathi’s Unbowed, and in David Wandera’s talk at the INICE conference in Capetown.


Bibliographic Selections from the BLTN Bibliography

Benson, Chris. “Navajo Ways of Learning: An Interview with Rex Lee Jim.” Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network Magazine, 1996.

Bernieri, Lou. “Bread Loaf, Andover, and South Africa.” Bread Loaf News, 1993.

Burnham, Mary. “Worlds Apart: Bridging the Gap between Rural Vermont and Urban Singapore.” Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network Magazine, 1997.

Camden, Bekki. “From Guadalajara to the Classroom: Experiences That Transform.” Bread Loaf Teacher Network Magazine, 2005.

Caswell, Kurt, and Douglas E. Wood. “Making Connections: USjApanLINK Project.” In The Nearness of You: Students & Teachers Writing On-Line, 216–30. New York: Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 1996.

Caswell, Kurt, and Douglas E. Wood. “Reflective Voices: Constructing Meaning in the USjApanLINK Project.” In Electronic Networks: Crossing Boundaries, Creating Communities , 151–59. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, 1999.

Cazden, Courtney. “Peace Day in South Africa.” Bread Loaf News, 1993.

Citrino, Anna, and Brian Gentry. “Beet Farmers, Bombs from Baghdad, and the Northern Lights: Crossing Cultures, Sharing Stories.” In Electronic Networks: Crossing Boundaries, Creating Communities, 112–32. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, 1999.

Desmornes, Chantal Kenol. “Chantal Kenol Desmornes: Bringing It Back to Haiti.” Bread Loaf Teacher Network Journal, no. Spring 2014 (May 14, 2014).

Flint, Kate. “Crossing Cultures, Changing Practices.” Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network Magazine, 1999.

Gold, Eva, Elaine Simon, and Alisa Belzer. Networking Across Boundaries of Place, Culture and Role: A Report to Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network. Research for Action, October 1997.

Harvey, Jane. “Networking a Continent: Northeast and Southwest Net Links.” Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network Magazine, 1994.

Holsten, Allison. “Honest Young Scribes.” Bread Loaf Teacher Network Magazine, 2006.

Roppel, Rosie. “Tlingit and Laguna: A Cultural Exchange.” Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network Magazine, 1997.

Skelton, Sheri. “East of Siberia with an Instinct for Survival.” Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network Magazine, 1995.

Stumbo, Carol. “The World Class Environmental Conference.” Bread Loaf News, 1990.

Wandera, David. “Mabeshte Is ‘Cool’: Teaching Young Writers in Nairobi.” Bread Loaf Teacher Network Magazine, 2006.

Wandera, David. “What to Do When Teens Say ‘Amka Ukatike’: An Exploration of Agency in Teen Oral Literacy Performed Through Kenyan Hip Hop. .” African Journal of Teacher Education (AJOTE) 3, no. 1 (2013): 1–14.

Zuccaro, Carol. “Maple Syrup and Desert Sand: A Heritage Exchange.” Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network Magazine, 1997.


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