Adventures in American Lit Book Clubs, Part 2: Organizing Prep Work, Learning Activities, and Conversation Structures

In my last blog post, I shared how I used book tasting to help students pick one of five books for our American Lit book club project.  There are many ways teachers may structure book club meetings and assignments---some choose a path that is very open and flexible while others may provide more structure.  I … Continue reading Adventures in American Lit Book Clubs, Part 2: Organizing Prep Work, Learning Activities, and Conversation Structures

Adventures with American Lit Book Clubs, Part 1: Book Tasting

Prior to spring break in late March, I wrestled whether or not to do a whole novel study like the rest of the junior classes or take the plunge with book clubs and give students a choice in book study.  My interest in book clubs dates back to my graduate school days at the University … Continue reading Adventures with American Lit Book Clubs, Part 1: Book Tasting

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

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

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

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

Seesaw: A Space for Sharing, Community Building, Feedback, and Formative Assessment

For the last year, I have been wanting to try Seesaw, but the timing was not right until last week.  Seesaw is a digital portfolio where students can "capture their learning" in any form.  The Seesaw "Learn More" page says that Seesaw "empowers students to independently document what they are learning at school" and that students … Continue reading Seesaw: A Space for Sharing, Community Building, Feedback, and Formative Assessment

Notebook Invitations, Annotation Statements, and Sketchnoting for Introducing and Navigating Challenging Nonfiction

Like many of you, I have found Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" to be a challenging text for students in terms of both content and vocabulary.  Most 11th grade teachers find this be an especially tedious text to teach; several of you on Twitter shared it has been a struggle … Continue reading Notebook Invitations, Annotation Statements, and Sketchnoting for Introducing and Navigating Challenging Nonfiction

Summer Reading: Cultivating Seed Ideas for Growth in 2017-18

Having the opportunity to teach a middle school course dedicated to writing for 6th, 7th, and 8th grader learners in 2016-17 was a roller-coaster of experiences and emotions, but more importantly, it was also a time of questioning and growth for me as a teacher and a learner.   There was a good deal of … Continue reading Summer Reading: Cultivating Seed Ideas for Growth in 2017-18