Congratulations to Anna J. Small Roseboro, the California Association of Teachers of English 2009 Distinguished Service Award winner. In our profession, so much is required in order to be everything our students deserve. The demands are great; this is no career for the uncommitted. Teaching well takes diligence, knowledge, passion, energy, flexibility, and skill. More »
PATTERNING LEADS TO ORIGINALITY
What a delight to see you at the PATTERNS session at CATE 2015 in San Jose. Click link to view the slides from that presentation. Speaking and Writing from Patterns-CATE 2015
Please do me a favor. Will you send me assignments you create as you adapt what we shared and also samples of student work in response to those assignments?
What Questions Can Help One Decide?
Students sometimes wonder what questions they should be asking about a text. Tell them about Five W’s and H questions. Invite students to adapt questions to the text, but be sure to ask at least one for each of the six words.
Who wrote this text? Who seems to be the audience?
What are the author’s credentials, experience, and education? What does author seem to believe about the audience? What seems to be the message of this text? What kinds of arguments, evidence and or appeals does the author use to get his/her point across? What bias seems present in this text?
When was text published? Has something on this topic been published more recently or by a more credible writer? When in the reading did the author draw me in or turn me off?
Where was this text published? Is the publisher/source reputable?
Why should this text be believed? Why would this text be worth reading or sharing
How does the author use language, organization, sources to develop the topic, create the characters, make this text engaging, entertaining, believable?
How can I use similar strategies to make my own writing better?
Midyear – A Good Time to Start Anew?
Are you a new teacher? A veteran in the classroom? Or a student teacher just starting to plan for and work with students on your own?
Wondering how to get off to a good start in the middle of the school year? Yes, the beginning of the new semester can be great time to start all over again – even if you’re teaching a full year course. Sounds paradoxical, huh? Think about it.
You’ve had a full semester with most of your students and you now know more about them as individual learners and also as groups of learners. Why not start fresh, planning ways to adapt your spring lessons to what you’ve learned about this particular group of energetic youngsters? How are you progressing on plans to meet Common Core State Standards or whatever curriculum goals you’re charged to meet by the end of the school year?
Consider developing a reflection/projection lesson. You could set aside a class period the opening day of the new semester and ask the students to reflect on what they’ve learned so far and what they can learn by the end of the school year.
There’s no need to leave those as open-ended questions. Instead, you can provide students with a list of department grade level objectives and ask the students to rate themselves on a scale of 1-6 on how close they are to reaching those objectives. Then, write a couple realistic strategies for maintaining, raising those rating or setting goals for reaching the remainder of the objectives for their grade level. Keep them encouraged by reminding them they have the rest of the year to reach those goals, improve their skills and expand their learning.
You may use your school standards for your course instead. Pulling this lesson together will refresh your memory, too. It’ll remind you of what you have accomplished and what you still can aim to accomplish before year’s end.
See a sample a self-reflection you could adapt for your students. Here’s a link to one of the Semester I Self-Reflection forms I’ve used. If you’ve never had your students take a “How Do I Learn?” quiz, consider administering one of the on-line versions. Very insightful and enlightening. Here’s one.
What’s Your Learning Style? This on line quiz can help reveal how individual students learn, providing teachers valuable information for planning more engaging and effective lessons.
Lots of websites offer lessons to celebrate and commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contributions to our nation and society as a whole. One key way to validate his legacy is to ensure our young people see the value in education. I’m so glad so many of you do just that. Need a few fresh ideas?
Here’s a link to a site to help you quickly review events in life of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a follow-up quiz in several versions. Can lead to discussions and connections to what you’re reading/studying right now.
Here’s a link toFloCabulary for lesson on finding literary devices in his “I Have a Dream Speech“.
Writing About the Holidays
The holiday season, for many, extends from November through February. Families will be celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and the New Year. Writing about holidays is a wonderful way to share cultures in words, pictures, and music. Yes, holidays also can be an emotionally difficult time for your students. So, being sensitive to these emotions, you can design lessons for which students can write about real or imagined celebrations. You know your students and can adapt the lesson to fit the setting in which you teach.
Now is a time to plan writing assignments that draw on their real or imagined experiences with family and friends. This is a great time to tap into their creativity in writing sensory images – literally and figuratively. The assignment can be published on your class website or shared with other classrooms across the nation. Remember, to confirm new sites with your administrator before launching a class site for your students.
I’d recommend beginning the assignment before the holiday breaks and picking it up when the students return. Starting prior to break will encourage them to be alert and maybe even journal while away school. Hey, I’m the eternal optimist. This linked assignment “Holiday Memory” can get you started.
Kick it up a notch and ask students to include x number of figurative images, too – metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole, synesthesia, etc. How about onomatopoeia, assonance, and consonance too.
Adding, substituting figurative images usually works well during a revision step. You could ask students to circle the images already used, and then experiment with ways to substitute or expand with figurative images, more concrete nouns, or vivid verbs. When students have a goal, they usually meet it.