Remembering Mama: “A Dandelion for My Mother”–Poetry as Solace

Four years ago today, I lost my beloved mother to stage four pancreatic cancer.  She was my best friend, my confidant, my cheerleader, and my heroine.  As always, I find poetry a source of solace, and today I discovered one of the most gorgeous poems I've ever read that is fitting for today as I … Continue reading Remembering Mama: “A Dandelion for My Mother”–Poetry as Solace

Creative Formative Assessments of Independent/Choice Reading

As we were winding down our final week before spring break last week, I wanted to give my juniors a way to compose a creative product as a formative assessment of their independent/choice reading.  Students could create the product over: A book they recently finished A current read of an entire book (great for students … Continue reading Creative Formative Assessments of Independent/Choice Reading

Supporting Student Book Clubs with Scaffolding Structures: Senior Book Club Meetings 2 and 3

Earlier this month, I shared the "glows" and "grows" of our first 12th ELA student book club meeting.   Building on the glows and grows of that meeting, I wanted to share some learning tools and structures I incorporated into the second book club meeting to help support student talk. Support/Scaffold Structure 1:  Kickoff Quotes To … Continue reading Supporting Student Book Clubs with Scaffolding Structures: Senior Book Club Meetings 2 and 3

Deconstructing Argumentative Texts from the Wild: From Small Group Analysis to Making Our Thinking Public with Our Peers

  At the end of February, we began a gentle entry into a study of argumentative writing.  Though seniors have theoretically had instruction in this kind of writing the previous three years, it is part of our 12th ELA district ELA standards, and more importantly, I know a focal point of entry level English courses … Continue reading Deconstructing Argumentative Texts from the Wild: From Small Group Analysis to Making Our Thinking Public with Our Peers

Annotations + Rhetorical Analysis + Document Camera= Learning with Joy and Relevance

Last week, my juniors read "Gettysburg Address" (Tuesday for A day classes; Wednesday for B day classes) and then Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?"  (Thursday for A day classes and Friday for B day classes).  I paired the texts back to back so that students could analyze the use of rhetorical devices in each … Continue reading Annotations + Rhetorical Analysis + Document Camera= Learning with Joy and Relevance

Supporting Student Conversations About Books: Senior Book Club Meeting #1

Student book clubs are a concept dear to my heart.  I've sponsored them in an after school context, I took a graduate class at UGA on book clubs, and I even did an action research project on student book clubs in my graduate studies at UGA.  The graduate book club class--once known as ELAN 7700 … Continue reading Supporting Student Conversations About Books: Senior Book Club Meeting #1

Engage All Students in Quick But Meaningful Review with Everyone Up!

This is time of year  when many educators look at the calendar and begin to feel panic (or fully embrace the panic?) as they realize how quickly the remainder of the school year is slipping away.  I am most decidedly one of those teachers!  I need to finish our unit of study by the third … Continue reading Engage All Students in Quick But Meaningful Review with Everyone Up!

Book Tasting: A Recipe for Designing Student Book Clubs in Language Arts Classes

I've done many variations of book tasting activities over the years, but this past Wednesday (February 21) I did one that did not involve as much planning and was structured differently.  However, as simple as this format was, I think it was one of the most effective variations I've tried. I began by working on … Continue reading Book Tasting: A Recipe for Designing Student Book Clubs in Language Arts Classes

Before and After Reading Macbeth: From Write-Around to a Post-It Note Gallery Walk Around Provocative Statements

In early January, my seniors participated in a write-around as a modified anticipation guide to introduce themes of Macbeth with a series of 10 provocative statements.  At the end of the write-around, students received a copy of all 10 statements and were asked to do some written reflections on those statements.  We finished Macbeth last … Continue reading Before and After Reading Macbeth: From Write-Around to a Post-It Note Gallery Walk Around Provocative Statements

Visual Notetaking and Analysis of Poetry with Sketchnoting

Throughout this school year, I have been using sketchnoting as a medium for helping students craft visual notes and share their closer reading of a text.  Whether sketchnoting smaller chunks of a text or lengthier excerpts, I usually provide students some scaffolding for thinking about their sketchnote designs by giving them steps or talking points … Continue reading Visual Notetaking and Analysis of Poetry with Sketchnoting