Teachers Act Up!

Thoughts on Teaching, Language, and Social Change from Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor

Courses I Teach

UPDATE: COVID-19 2020 change

*LLED 8710 poetry course will take place ON-LINE with optional face to face or synchronous meetings if it is deemed safe!

8710E CRN # 65619 for 2nd short session has been uploaded.

 The current face to face section of 8170 crn 61506 has been closed.


List of Courses Taught by Dr. Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor*

  • LLED 7710/ LLED 5710 Writing Cultures: A Poetry Workshop for Creative Educators
  • LLED 8710 Advanced Poetry for Interdisciplinary Understanding  (SUMMER 2020, July [adapted second session])
  • LLED 6631/6631e Bilingualism and Bilingual Education
  • LLED 8590 Arts-Based Inquiry in Diverse Learning Communities  
  • LLED 7504 Theatre for Reflective Practice in the Language, Literacy, and TESOL Classroom
  • LLED 7506 Teaching Literature in Spanish for the K-12 Foreign Language Classroom
  • LLED 8650 Translingual Memoir
  • FYOS 1001 Theatre for Embodied Social and Personal Change
  • LLED 5040e/7040e Language and Culture in TESOL
  • Workshops: Spanish for Non-Spanish Speakers: What Every Educator Should Know 

**Courses are more fully described below

LLED 7710/ LLED 5710
Writing Cultures: A Poetry Workshop for Creative Educators


LLED 8710 Advanced Poetry for Interdisciplinary Understanding

Check out Misha’s Poetry Cast, featuring readings by invited poets, talented students, and Misha!

Course Description:
The act of reading and writing cross-cultural and social realist poetry is a vital, underused resource to develop teachers’ abilities to explore “the inscape of their own cultural and personal stories [and] travel the landscapes of the world, listening to the stories of others” (Frank, 2003, p. 194).  The aim in this course is to immerse teachers in the process of writing poetry, regarding themselves as writers and, based on this identity, creating their own poems as well as more cross-culturally relevant, meaningful literacy instruction in their own classrooms.

This writing intensive workshop is designed to give teachers and educational researchers uninterrupted time to work on their own creative writing, finding a place in poetry for multicultural introspection.  Students in this workshop will: 1) identify and discuss cross-cultural poetry; 2) explore aspects of craft and technique that generate great poetry; 3) visit multicultural communities for writing inspiration; 4) generate and respond to newly written poems; and 5) establish a community of teachers who write and writers who teach.

Course Objectives:  

  • To read and write contemporary poetry together
  • To acquire and use critical language for talking about poems we read, write, & revise
  • To identify what metaphors poetry provides for the educator’s life
  • To build an online poetry program for educators in Georgia
  • To give a public reading
  • To attend and discuss public poetry readings

*LLED 8710 Call # 51585
Advanced Poetry: Writing Cultures

8710 takes place as a summer intensive, gathering for conversations about craft, making new poems, reading and studying invited poet-speakers, and attending poetry readings.

Previous guest poets from years past include: Alice Friman, Jericho Brown, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Stephen Corey, Travis Denton, Thomas Lux, Ida Stewart, Cherryl Cooley, Sandra Meek, Tamara Madison, Laura Newbern, Ayodele Heath, Jenny Gropp Hess, Ginger Murchinson, Melissa Hotchkiss, Collin Kelley, Coleman Barks, Keetje Kuipers, and Ann Fisher-Wirth, and always the Poetry for Educators Collective.

Dr. Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, Language & Literacy Education


Summer Session (3 credit hours)

One week intensive, guided, independent poetry reading, writing, and preparation

One week face to face Immersion Course with evening poetry series

One week post-course, guided project and poetry manuscript completion

This class is designed for both experienced creative writers and those who do not have poetry experience but who desire to acquire poetic tools and learn how they may be useful across many different genres of writing, including academic prose.


(Pre-requisites: Register early to design individualized syllabus goals and acquire textbook.)

*Note: Attendance is required for all face to face class meetings, morning to evening hours with breaks included; Some accommodations to students’ time constraints may be made with advance notice.




LLED 6631

Bilingualism and Bilingual Education


Course Description

The goal of this course is to introduce concepts of bilingualism and bilingual education in local, national, and international contexts with regards to our diverse linguistic landscape and make sense of tensions between those who advocate a “bilingual edge” and those who see only a “bilingual handicap” for youth who have exposure to languages in addition to English at home and/or at school.  Students will learn the history of bilingual education and examine policies and practices in the United States and internationally where two languages or more are used in education contexts.  Rather than take “tests” to acquire the language and concepts of the field, we utilize a form of the popular “Trivia Games” that take place in public venues to test our ongoing understanding and debate nuances and interpretive differences.  When possible, this course takes place off site at locations where varieties of bilingual education are being implemented.  These sites include public elementary schools in the state where non-English language instruction occupies a portion of the school day.  These sites include J.J.Harris Elementary school, Unidos Charter Bilingual School, and the World Language Academy, among others.

Course Objectives

  1. Explore the social, emotional, political, pedagogical and cognitive dimensions of bilingualism through readings and project work;
  2. Familiar ourselves with state-wide and national language policies, past and present;
  3. Examine various aspects of bilingual education programs located in the United States and elsewhere;
  4. Become knowledgeable of web-based resources on bilingualism and bilingual education
  5. Examine the relationship between language, culture, economics and power.
  6. Compare and contrast the immigration and bilingual experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse communities in the United States and internationally.
  7. Apply course concepts to a final project related to individual  and social aspects of bilingualism and bilingual education.
  8. Create small language learning centers that focus on bilingualism and critical language awareness as it relates to the K-12 curriculum standards.


2016 Fall 114 Aderhold Hall, T 5:00-7:45pm,


QUAL 8590 CRN# 30975

Arts-Based Inquiry in Diverse Learning Communities

“Anthropology that doesn’t break your heart just isn’t worth doing anymore.”

Ruth Behar, The Vulnerable Observer

Course Description:

This course examines techniques of arts-based (visual, performance, & literary arts) scholarship to increase the value, validity, and impact of qualitative research for understanding culturally and linguistically diverse learning communities. Students will:

  1. Explore the history and theory of arts-based and poetic approaches to educational research in culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  2. Identify connections between arts-based research and other methods used in humanities-oriented empiricism (e.g. autoethnography, case study historical research, etc.)
  3. Practice the techniques and craft involved in arts-based approaches to inquiry
  4. Complete a pilot arts-based inquiry project among culturally and linguistically diverse learning communities and/or project of their own choosing
  5. Create a critical community for arts-based research through readings, discussions, and practice.

Methods Topics

The practice of arts-based inquiry in qualitative approaches, including: ethnographic, auto/biographical (e.g., life history, auto-ethnography), case study methods, narrative, content, and semiotic analysis. Although the practice of arts-based research tends toward vibrant reiteration between activities of information collection, interpretation, and representation, for the purposes of discussion, we will address each of these activities of research both separately and in relation to other activities.

  • Information Collection [e.g., field-notes (poetry notes, heart-notes), observations (sketches, photos), recorded interviews (trans/scripts), archives (collages)]
  • Interpretation (e.g., interpretivist, constructivist, feminist, aesthetic and critical approaches)
  • Re (presentation) Narrative (e.g., ethnographic poetry, drama and fiction, as well as readers theater and other scripts), visual arts (e.g., painting, interactive computer technology, photography, and film), as well as dance and other explorations of embodied knowledge.

LLED 7504

Theatre for Reflective Practice in the Language, Literacy, and TESOL Classroom


This course will immerse participants in creative approaches to communicative teaching and learning in diverse communities.  Students in this course will read “Teachers Act Up!” (Teachers College Press, 2010) and learn a repertoire of theatre exercises that are useful for teaching “embodied” language and content instruction.  No theatre experience required. Students will also acquire strategies to promote communicative practices that also serve as educational advocacy.  Our primary goal will be to learn to work creatively and dialogically within language classrooms and educational institutions, to “rehearse revolution” (Augusto Boal), and further the democratic goals of public schooling.


LLED 7506

Teaching Literature in Spanish for the K-12 Foreign Language Classroom

3 hours. Repeatable for maximum 6 hours credit.


A survey of Spanish children’s literature from Pre-K to young adult for K-12 Spanish foreign language educators. Works studied cover representative texts from a range of Spanish speaking countries that can be used with Spanish foreign language learners at various levels in United States classroom contexts.

Course Description:

This course is designed for teachers of Spanish as a foreign language in grades K-12 to provide a review of the existing Spanish children’s literature (pre-K through young adult). The selected works cover  nursery rhymes and illustrated books for the youngest children to small theatrical and historical texts – texts authentically respresentative of a variety of Spanish-speaking countries that can be used with students of different levels of Spanish in the context of classrooms in the United States. Participants in this course will discuss Spanish children’s literature in relation to teaching and learning strategies for acquiring a second or foreign language.

Course Objectives:

  • Stimulate creative and critical practice through collaboration between Spanish as a foreign language teachers
  • Provide Spanish as a foreign language teachers with an opportunity to discuss children’s literature and pedagogical practices in Spanish and to share the lesson plans that each participant will develop.
  • Encourage creative practices for developing literacy in a foreign language through the use of songs, movement, group work, reading clubs or reading circles, creative writing groups, and/or dramatic interpretations of literature
  • Widen understanding of authentic practices for studying literacy, literature, and youth culture in the Spanish-speaking world
  • Increase mastery of the Spanish language

LLED 8650

Translingual Memoir

Course Description

This course is designed for advanced graduate students in Language and Literacy Education to nurture scholarship that braids together personal reflection/narrative with scholarly and empirical understanding.

We will collaborate in the writing process around issues concerning the teaching and learning of English and global languages.  We will work together in various configurations—as a group, in pairs and in one-on-one consultations—to produce the best research, reflections, and writing in our field. The course schedule takes shape based on the individual needs of members in the group.

Course Design & Goals

  • I have one goal for this course—that all of us find our way to writing academic work that engages the core of ourselves, that invites readers into the complexities of learning about our “subjects” and how our academic study is intimately related to our complicated human experiences.
  • Assignments will be consist of reading core memoir texts; writing and presenting responsively regarding what those texts teach us about hybrid scholARTistry and translingual memoir; generating our own memoir scholarship and responding critically and considerately to emergent peer work.
  • Each student will create a working list of goals for each month in the term.
  • Our goal will be to each read at least 5 book length memoirs as well as numerous essay length memoirs and writing about memoir.
  • Ideally you will produce a publishable article length example of translingual or ethnographic memoir that you can submit for publication or conference presentation.


One response to “Courses I Teach

  1. Mercedes Pellitero August 14, 2019 at 6:55 am

    My name is Mercedes Pellitero, a Spanish teacher for many years in high schools and Universities in Italy and Spain. I am writing to inform you that I have published on Amazon a practical Course for the improvement of Spanish through theatrical texts, “Practicar el Español con el teatro“, addressed to high school and univesity students: I am convinced that theatrical texts are an effective means of language learning.

    The Course consists of twelve chapters corresponding to twelve classic Spanish theater authors of the XVII-XX centuries plus an additional appendix with summary exercises.
    The book is available at the following Amazon link:

    The course is also available as 13 digital books inscribed in the series “Perfeccionamiento del Español con textos teatrales”. Each ebook is dedicated to an author, plus an additional ebook with summary exercises.
    The Google Link is:

    and the Apple link :

    The free introduction to the course is also available there.

    If you want to browse a chapter of the book I can send it as an ebook to a Google email (example xxxx@gmail.com).

    I remain at your disposal for any question related to the Course.

    Best Regard

    Mercedes Pellitero


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