Scaffolding and Organizing Jigsaw Discussions

I've been experimenting this semester with different ways of encouraging meaningful academic talk between and among students.  I think giving students opportunities to engage in meaning making for themselves is important at all levels, and after reading Cris Tovani's wonderful No More Telling as Teaching, I have been more intentional about ways to help students … Continue reading Scaffolding and Organizing Jigsaw Discussions

Introducing Students to Ralph Waldo Emerson with Gallery Walks, Notebook Time, and Speed Dating Discussions

We are coming down the home stretch of the semester in a fast and furious manner.  Because time is limited, I am being selective in the pieces of literature I want my juniors to read as we explore the key transcendentalist writers in American literature.  I first introduced students to Emerson with a gallery walk … Continue reading Introducing Students to Ralph Waldo Emerson with Gallery Walks, Notebook Time, and Speed Dating Discussions

Fun with Text Structure: Paragraph Scramble Competition

About a month ago, I wrote about some rather sophisticated work my honors 12th ELA students did with deconstructing mentor texts.  However, not all students are ready to take on such a task.  How might you scaffold those learners and give them the experience but on a smaller scale and in a way that is … Continue reading Fun with Text Structure: Paragraph Scramble Competition

Notebook Time: From Individual Writing to Think Tank Collaboration and Sharing

We are wading into our next unit and looking at a variety of essential questions across different time periods and genres in my 11th English Language Arts classes.  To set us up for work we'll be doing with some selections from Thomas Paine in the next few days, last week we began with our latest … Continue reading Notebook Time: From Individual Writing to Think Tank Collaboration and Sharing

Introducing Early American Literature Time Period Background Information with Writer’s Notebooks, Doors of Wonder, and Station Rotations

If you teach a high school course that has traditionally leaned toward a survey type course of a particular canon of literature, you know that getting students interested in the background information can sometimes be a challenge. After only a few days with my students, I knew that a traditional lecture or time period overview … Continue reading Introducing Early American Literature Time Period Background Information with Writer’s Notebooks, Doors of Wonder, and Station Rotations

Igniting Inquiry with Writer’s Notebooks, Conversations, Reading Stations, and See-Think-Wonder

This week (Tuesday and Wednesday) we have kicked off our first unit of study (early American literature) and the overarching question for our course, "What is an American?"  We will take an inquiry stance on this big question and think about the range of possibilities through the lenses of texts we read from the canon … Continue reading Igniting Inquiry with Writer’s Notebooks, Conversations, Reading Stations, and See-Think-Wonder