Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Elizabeth Dutro

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Dutro

Third Advisor

Bridget Dalton

Fourth Advisor

William McGinley

Fifth Advisor

Silvia Nogueron-Liu


The three-article dissertation draws on qualitative data collected through a participant observation research study in a 7th grade classroom. In the study, young people participating in the project developed ideas for their arguments by drawing on short personal narrative writing activities at the start of the unit. In the first article, I make an argument for the use of abstract art as a visual method of representation that invites students to illustrate their affective experience with the writing project in ways that maintain its complex, contrasting and often non-linguistic nature. In the second article, I explore the way this invitation to write about an important moment from their life supported students in choosing arguments with visceral connections and the way this pedagogical shift created research and writing experiences that supported some students in feeling a sense of community with potential readers around this important event. In my final article, a creative writing book for k-12 writing teachers, I enact the practice of reciprocal vulnerability (Dutro, 2009) by sharing aspects of my life in my writing in an effort to support teachers to take up a writing practice that draws on their lives as well.

Available for download on Thursday, May 13, 2021