Posts tagged English
Posts tagged English
So when I finally get my own classroom, I know what I’m showing on the first day.
How and Why We Read: Crash Course English Literature #1 (by crashcourse)
It is essential that pupils have the opportunity to interact and engage with texts and move beyond literal comprehension. They need to consider questions that require them to deduce, infer, justify and evaluate.
Literal questions: repeating directly, or in own words what the text says. e.g. Can you tell me what happened when/where/who? What are the main points in this non fiction text?
Inferential questions: reading between the lines, drawing out conclusions which are based on, but go beyond, the information given in the text. e.g. Will Robbie stay or leave and what makes you think this?
Deductive questions: drawing conclusions from the information given throughout the text. e.g. Explain … using two or more points to justify this. Where does it imply that?
Justification: finding evidence in the text to justify responses. e.g. What in the text makes you say that?
Evaluative questions: making critical judgements relating to the text. e.g. Is this a successful piece of persuasive writing? What makes you think that? Does this passage succeed in creating suspense? Why/How?
Discussion questions and statement prompts
What makes you think that?
What do you think?
What words give you that impression?
How do you feel about…?
Can you explain why…?
Do you agree with …’s opinion?
Do you like the bit where…?
I wonder if…
Is there anything that puzzles you?
I’m not sure what I think about… I wonder what the writer intended…
This bit reminds me of…
I would hate to have that happen to me - would you?
I like the way the writer has…
Are there any patterns you notice (e.g. familiar story structure, images)
I wonder why the writer has decided to…
Prior knowledge activation
Activation of prior knowledge can develop children’s understanding by helping them see links between what they already know and new information they are encountering.
Brainstorming around the title, chapter heading, picture on the front cover (these can be written, oral or drawn)
Word association chain around key word in title or an image in the text
Ask for memories around key word in title or an artefact (this reminds me of … it makes me think of)
Filling in a mind-mapping, concept mapping or other grids/proforma (e.g. the first column of a KWL grid).
The children read the text a section at a time as they do so the teacher encourages them to explain what is happening, predict what will happen next, predict how it will end, revise their earlier predications in the light of new evidence found in the text. This can be oral, or children could make written predictions/revisions in a reading journal.
Constructing images (visualising, drawing, drama)
During and after reading children can sketch what they see, undertake freeze frames of key moments in a story and make models based on the text .e.g. creating the Borrowers living room in design and technology sessions.
Model skim reading a text. Then encourage skim reading or rereading and ask for oral summaries
Go through a text paragraph by paragraph highlighting the key sentence/sentences in each
Children can be asked to write brief summaries at the end of each chapter outlining key events and further insights into character and plot
Talk to Author or characters
A text is provided (with wide margins). Questions to the author are written in the margin, for example ‘Who was this? Why did this happen?’ The teacher models the process initially and then the children try
A reading journal provides pupils with an opportunity to reflect upon and respond to text; it also provides teachers with useful information about pupils’ thinking processes and comprehension as they interact with text. It also offers opportunities to develop a written response to a text.
Format of reading journals may vary. It may depend on age and experience of pupils or the approach of the teacher.
A journal could include:
A set of personal goals for reading
A list of texts read with commencements dates
Thoughts or feelings, recorded in response to reading
Drawings of setting, characters or events
Phrases or words that have excited or puzzled the reader
Suggested changes the reader would have made if they had been the author
Comments on characters illustrations, diagrams, layout or language used
Glossary of technical terms with their meanings
It is important that both teachers and children understand the purpose of journals. They can be shared in whole class time or group time. Journal work can also provide purposeful homework activities.
Story maps or story charts
Children draw a ‘map’/chart of the events in a story.
Recognising the structure of non-fiction texts and then mapping the content in different ways. Draw a diagram, grid, flow chart etc to show information e.g. life cycle of a butterfly.
Imaging how a character might feel; identifying with a character, charting the development of a character over time in a longer text. There are many strategies that require children to make explicit response to and knowledge of a character. These include:
Feeling graphs or maps showing how emotions develop throughout the story
TV interviews. Compile a list of questions to ask if you were to interview the character
Drawing characters and surrounding the drawing with phrases from the text
Writing thought bubbles for characters at key moments in the text when they don’t actually speak
Relationship grid with each character listed along the top and down the side. Each cell represents a relationship to be explored
Speculating on actions and motives e.g. asking why did, what if?
Character emotions register. This involves creating a 5-point emotions scale with pupils for the possible range of reactions at certain specific points in the story (for example from ‘mildly irritated’ to ‘incandescent with rage’). Pupils then rate characters on the scale.
The author’s chair - Child takes on role of the author, answering questions about the book and justifying what ‘they’ have written
Draw strip cartoon/story board identifying 4/5 main points from story or information
Highlight words, phrases which link together to build a picture of character or mood, or setting and so on
Write a blurb for the book
Identify facts and opinion and consider how they are woven together - highlight facts in red, opinion in blue
Reading for multiple meanings
Rank characters according to criteria e.g. most powerful to least powerful, kindest to meanest.
‘The roles we play’. In an outline character shape pupils record all the different roles they play in a story - e.g. daughter, friend
Identify and discuss any differences or additional information to be found between text and illustrations
Give the text only or pictures only from a multi-layered picture book and ask children to tell the story/read the prose story before reading the complete book. Discuss any changes in their perceptions and responses. Any changes?
Retell a scene from the point of view of a minor character within it
Justify the actions of a ‘villain’.
Problem solving. Stop at the point where a character faces a problem or dilemma. List alternative suggestions from the group. Consider the consequences of each suggestion. Arrive at a group decision
Looking for/challenging a consistent point of view
Genre Exchange - ask children to transpose something from one written genre they have just read into another written genre
Criteria rating certain scenes at a crucial point - mostly likely to happen/least likely to happen, mostly likely to be true, least likely to be true
Story comparison charts. Several versions of a story are read (e.g. Cinderella tales) and a comparative chart is completed
Relating texts to person experiences
Say what they would have done at certain points in the story
Chose the funniest, scariest, most interesting moment from a story or information book. Justify their choice
Response journals (ongoing throughout the reading of long books)
Relate to other books by same author or on same topic, read by the group or individual. Discuss similarities or differences.
The teacher provides a list of words relating to the book/topic. The meanings of the words are then discussed before reading.
Building banks of new/interesting words
As children read they mark or note on post-it notes or in vocabulary journals any new words/words they are unsure of. After reading the group discusses ways of working out the meaning.
Why did the author decide to use the word whispered instead of said - or raced instead of ran? Discuss and record choices of words made by the author.
Making dictionaries and glossaries
Children can find words whose meanings are unclear e.g. technical words, dialect words, slang and so on. They then investigate the meanings and create text specific dictionaries or glossaries.
How do you teach grammar? Is there something fun or different you do with grammar, or do you stick to worksheets? Do you find other methods of teaching grammar as effective as basic notes, worksheets and tests? Does the effectiveness of each technique vary by grade?
pronunciation | in-ka-‘les-snt
Despite the fact that each of the answers will make sense to anyone familiar with text-ese, the correct answer on the Pearon’s test is clearly d). So, are the answers a) through c) actually wrong? Who gets to decide what “standard English” is anyway?
The whole thing reminds me of the controversies over African American Vernacular English, better known as “ebonics,” in the 1990s. The idea that some people “talk right” and some people do not is an excellent way to justify prejudice. Perhaps an employer largely chooses not to hire black people, not because they’re black, of course, but because they don’t “talk right.” Is the outcome significantly different? And who decides what “talking right” sounds like anyway? Well, the people who have the power to do so… and they typically side with themselves.
So, is text-ese wrong? Only according to those who are making the rules (and Pearson’s tests). And what do you want to bet that those young people who are taught to differentiate between the kind of English they are allowed to use in texts and the kind they are allowed to use in “proper” communication are class privileged, on average? And disproportionately white, accordingly?
“STANDARD ENGLISH” AND SOCIAL POWER by Lisa Wade
I try to stress code switching to my students and they’re like, “what?”
pronunciation | ‘noc-tU-er-E
My good friend #hithertokat asked me about my experience as a high school writing center tutor.
How students were selected and trained
How it was run
How it was utilized within the school
And I thought it would be important to add:
How the student-tutors were evaluated
Student-tutors were recruited through a couple of ways. The official requirement/prerequisite was to have completed two one-semester courses entitled Advanced Composition A and B, a junior level writing course sequence. However, I was recruited (and many of my cohort) because we completed AP English Literature as juniors and had no where challenging to go in the curriculum. The AP English teacher also mentored the writing tutors and had us all apply.
We were trained the first six weeks or so of the semester, during which time the centers were closed. Since we were all seniors, our first assignment was to write and edit a college essay. We started with a first draft contributed by a previous tutor. We learned about making sure we understood the point of a piece. Or the thesis, in a persuasive essay. We learned about using specific, telling details as opposed to generalizations. Or evidence. We learned about structure, which was of course more than the five paragraph essay. And finally we learned about originality — no cliches, no plagiarism, etc. This was drummed into our heads as the acronym PESO.
Then we learned about the criticism sandwich. Compliment (as opposed to praise), criticize constructively/offer coaching, compliment. We learned that that makes it easier to hear and accept criticism.
(Grammar was to be the least of our worries as tutors. There was too much content-wise to worry about. To this day, I am not good at grammar editing, but damn if I can edit for content.)
Finally, we learned about True Colors. This is a personality test, based on similar things to Myer-Briggs, that helped us understand ourselves, each other (helping the group dynamic), and our student-clients in the short 15 minute time we have with them (to help us connect with them).
There were also team building exercises, etc. We practiced conferencing with each other, we had conferences with our mentor teachers, we observed each other and just learned.
The writing center was open during lunch four days a week. The fifth day was used as an in-service for the tutors to get more training and work on their own projects. Students could either make an appointment or walk in. Sometimes teachers required their classes to bring their papers to the writing center, or offered extra credit for showing that you wrote a draft and revised it based on the tutoring session. (When there was a class with a requirement, you needed to make an appointment.)
We did everything from freshman personal narratives to five paragraph essays to research papers, literary analysis and college application essays.
It was an expensive class to run, as it took two teachers to supervise a very small group of students (between five and ten). Since it was held during lunch, both teachers needed to take their lunch for union purposes, though they often spent it with us. It got a lot of resistance from the budget makers, but they got resistance right back from parents and students.
The tutors were evaluated thusly on a one semester course:
*We had a creative log book that we had to write in several times weekly.
*We had to read articles in the professional writing center journal and evaluate how they helped our practice as tutors in or log books.
*We had to reflect on our tutoring, particularly difficult conferences, and think about how to improve and our control the situation better the next time. *We had to write an I-search research paper, each leg of which would be conferenced three times.
*We had to have two polished pieces (also at least three peer conferences), ready to be published and attempted to be so — our college essays were the first one, but I also wrote a poem that I read at a poetry slam, submitted something to a literary journal, and the like.
*We had to have a certain number of conferences, and our conference notes and evaluations were reviewed. We were also observed discretely by the mentor teachers from time to time.
This is work I loved doing, and still enjoy. I’d be happy to answer clarifying questions, and expound if necessary. I am pretty sure I have a number of the forms at home, but I am far away from home until mid August. I certainly still have my log!
This sounds really cool. I’d love to start/sponsor a writing center wherever I end up teaching.
The Exclamation Comma. “Just because you’re excited about something doesn’t mean you have to end the sentence.”
Here’s a game I picked up from a really old dusty teacher’s book I found a few years ago.
Make sure every students in the class has three small pieces of paper. On one they should put a name, age and occupation (although they can choose children or animals.) On the second they should put a location. On the third they should put a problem or event, for instance winning an award or accidentally eating a fly.
Put the pieces of paper into three different containers and get the students into groups of 4.
The teacher should pull one piece of paper from each container and discuss if it works as a story.
One student from each group should come and take two pieces of paper from each container, without reading them. They then sit down as a group and see if they can make a scenario out of them. They only have to use three pieces of paper (one from each category) but can incorporate other pieces of paper if the like.
Have a one minute window where if they are really stuck they can swap one piece of paper.
Students then improvise these scenarios, adding extra characters if needed.
They can then be made into either short dramas, or used as a basis for creative writing, using the problem or issue as the climax of the story.
I was busy yesterday working and checking out neighbourhoods I may be moving to next year, so I missed Talk Like Shakespeare Day.
There’s a whole website with instructions on how to talk like Shakespeare here: http://www.talklikeshakespeare.org/
And get this free PDF poster by clicking through to http://www.talklikeshakespeare.org/res/TalkLikeShakespeare_Top10.pdf
I’ll be printing it out big and colourful for my next classroom.
[Picture: Background — a six piece pie style colour split, alternating black and grey. Foreground — a picture of an armadillo. Top text: “ [Professor says argument in paper is thin] ” Bottom text: “ [Day ruined] ”]
[Picture: Background — a six piece pie style colour split, alternating black and grey. Foreground — a picture of an armadillo. Top text: “ Read on your free time ” Bottom text: “ Friends all ask what class it is for ”]
Somehow some people can’t fathom the fact that I might have picked up a book just for the sake of reading it.
Forget that ultimately, Looking for Alaska argues against drinking and driving and vapid sexual relationships. There is sex, alcohol, and cursing in it, and God knows those teenagers knew absolutely nothing about those things before they read this book.
Come on, Knoxville, get your crap together.
Fluency anchor chart.
I actually think this is an excellent, positive way to reinforce good reading skills.