Text Analysis: Questions & Symbols
12th graders in Maia Goodman's ELA class analyze Song of Solomon through class discussion and an exploration of symbolism. Students begin by writing questions about the text. After getting into small groups, students discuss their questions and decide which questions they would like to bring to the larger group. Maia poses the student-generated questions to the class. In the second part of the lesson, students explore symbolism in the text. Students determine the colors, seasons, and objects…
Soliloquy to Love
High school ELA teacher Sarah Brown Wessling has students work together to compose soliloquies from the perspective of a character in Twelfth Night. On the first day, students collaboratively work together to write a soliloquy to the fictional character of love. Students write their soliloquies together using Google Docs and need to figure out where to place their soliloquies in the act. On the second day, students perform and revise their soliloquies. Audience members fill out online…
Exploring Imagery Through Beowulf
Eighth grade ELA teacher Katie Novak teaches her students about the importance of using descriptive details and sensory language. Katie begins by describing food using ineffective descriptions. As the real food is revealed, students realize why the descriptive details Katie used were ineffective. Then students try using effective descriptive details to describe objects to each other. Finally, students summarize Beowulf using descriptive details and sensory language so that classmates can…
Sharing Common Core Language with Students
Eighth grade ELA teacher Katie Novak uses the Common Core State Standards to communicate her expectations to students. Katie gives each student a copy of the CCSS and refers back to them as she teaches. Katie explicitly uses the language of the Common Core with her students, sharing the importance of teaching students the "how", "what," and "why" of her expectations.
Socratic Seminars: Patience & Practice
Ninth graders in Paige Price's ELA class participate in a Socratic Seminar to discuss the role of poetic language. Paige sets up the Socratic Seminar with an inner and an outer circle. Students partner up so that one student participates in the inner circle discussion while the other partner observes from the outer circle. In the middle of the seminar, the class takes a coaching break. During the break the inner circle partner receives feedback and encouragement from the outer circle…
Arguing the Pros and Cons of Teen Driving
Students in Sean Paris' 8th grade English class use textual evidence to debate the pros and cons of teen driving. Sean begins with a discussion about the age of responsibility. Students then read about teen driving, practice distinguishing fact from opinion, and identify useful textual evidence. Students get into small groups to participate in directed note taking. Finally, students debate teen driving while pulling in textual evidence to support their opinions.
Examining Elements of Persuasive Speeches
Eighth grade English teacher Julie Manley teaches her class how to construct persuasive speeches. She begins by having students brainstorm and quick write about what they already know about argumentative writing, answering the question "What makes an effective persuasive text?" Julie works with her class to identify the elements of effective persuasive texts. While working in groups, students look at a model text through the lens of one argumentative element. Julie facilitates a discussion…
Getting Ready to Write: Citing Textual Evidence
In preparation for writing a magazine article about child labor, students identify and discuss textual evidence. Dawn gives her students three questions to answer as they read an article about child labor. Students selectively highlight to answer the questions as they read. Small groups participate in an All Write Consensus Round Robin to discuss their answers. Finally, students cite textual evidence as they write about child labor.
Vocabulary Paint Chips
High School ELA teacher Sarah Brown Wessling uses paint chips to teach her students about related words. Sarah writes related words and synonyms on the different parts of the paint chips. Students read the paint chips and practice pronouncing the vocabulary words. Sarah creates a competition between two of her classes to see which class can use the vocabulary words the most.