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 »
Introducing New Units of Study
We know that getting off to a good start makes all the difference in the world. Why not consider some of these ideas for kicking off your next unit of study or the next book you plan to teach. With careful planning, gathering resources, and scheduling use of technology, you and your students can have the time of your lives reading, writing, viewing and talking about fiction, non-fiction, print and digital media on topics that interest you all
and also meet those COMMON CORE STANDARDS or curriculum standards
required by your school, district or state.
Introducing New Units and New Books
at the 2014 National Conference of English Teachers annual convention.
Come Join Me at NCTE and CEL 2014
Looking forward to seeing you in Washington, DC area , November 19-25 for the 2014 National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention at the Gaylord National Harbor in Oxin Hill, MD.
Story As the Landscape of Knowing
November 20-23, 2014 | Gaylord National Resort
Stop by ANDERSON BOOKS‘ Booth 153 for my books on COMMON CORE and MORE.
Please come to sessions where I’m on program.
FRIDAY, November 20
|2:30pm-5:15pm||DE High School Matters – Join me at round table for English Department Leaders – Share ideas and learn about CEL“Introducing New Units and Books” Especially designed for Department Leaders.|
|11:00am-12:15pm||H.23 LEARNING TO LEAD, LEADING TO LEARN: TRANSFORMING LEADERSHIP AND LITERACIES IN A DIVERSE SOCIETY: A SESSION FOR LITERACY LEADERS, DEPARTMENT CHAIRS, AND ADMINISTRATORSJoin me at Table 13 for Conversations with Department Leaders|
SIG.13 MENTORING, MENTORS, AND MENTEES: WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
Monday, CEL Session D2 “Maximizing Meeting and Maintaining Morale”
Conference on English Leadership 2014 “Leading in a Collaborative World”
CEL Conference events.
#2 – Historical Fiction
Teaching or assigning historical fiction can be a rewarding experience for teacher and students. I’ve found it a great way to collaborate with colleagues on cross-content or interdisciplinary assignments. Students have found it a wonderful way to learn about specific historical periods, people and events within the comfort of a familiar text structure of fiction.
This assignment is one designed to assess student recall, interpretation and ability to analyze a work of historical fiction they’ve read for a quarterly book report. Notice there is choice within an element of teacher control. All students are required to respond to the first five questions, then they can choose five or more from the remaining eight prompts. Here are the questions: Historical Fiction Book Report
Depending on the length of your class periods and the skills of your students to work in a time crunch, you may decide to give your students the questions the day before the class meeting. In that case, you probably can be more demanding about the details and citation for page numbers. In most cases, you want the students to think carefully about their reading and the concepts you’ve been teaching, so the in-class assessment may be more on your students’ ability to synthesize, to pull things together rather than on what they can assess rapidly.
If you’re working on an interdisciplinary unit based on a specific historical period, you may decide to tailor this assignment to validate what students are learning in history instead of focusing only on the literary elements of their book. Anyway, here’s a link to the set of question I used for an in-class assessment. See Chapter 9. “Opening the Past Imaginatively: Teaching Historical” of my book TEACHING MIDDLE SCHOOL LANGUAGE ARTS: Incorporating Twenty-First Century Literacies for more ideas for teaching historical fiction in an engaging and effective way,
Depending on the length of your class periods, or the skills of your students to work in a limited time session, you may give the students the questions the day before the class meeting. In that case, you’ll probably be more demanding about the details and citation for page numbers.
More than HALLOWEEN
Learning about and celebrating the cultures of others is a wonderful reason to write. And, October is a great time to start. For many, October is time for Harvest Festivals, an ancient celebration revived in many church and community groups as an alternative to Halloween; or All Saints or All Hallows Day, celebrated in many Catholic and some Protestant communities, and then there’s Halloween. Do your students know how this holiday began? See videos on how that started. Choose one that fits your school setting. Of course, you could have your students write Halloween Acrostic Poems to describe a person, place or event in a piece of text you’re studying together, an observation or personal experience. Or, you could introduce to them unfamiliar with it, the celebration of Day of the Dead.
In some cultures, October is a time to honor family members who have died by remembering them on Dia de los Muertos. I learned the Day of the Dead when teaching in Southern California where many students are of Mexican heritage.. Rather than a scary time, it is a time for recalling and talking about fond memories of our ancestors, especially those recently deceased. I especially appreciated this celebration of remembrance the year my beloved grandmother died. Learning and writing about the recently departed may prove to be a worthwhile , even healing writing activity for you students, too.
Invite students to write about someone they know or about a character in a current or recently read literary work. (Note how these sentence stems guide students to writing a personal essay/memoir, a persuasive paragraph or essay à la CCSS?)
Close reading is a strategy to enhance comprehension by looking closely at brief passages of text and noticing ways authors use language, structure, and style to convey their messages and reveal their attitude (tone) towards the topic of the writing. Teaching middle and high school students to pay attention to language can lead to more efficient reading and more effective writing. Here’s are a couple of on-line sources for short articles.