Monday, November 22, 2010

easy to say

I am definitely having difficulty in keeping up with my scheduled teaching of the magnificent seven. It's easy to say as an English teacher I work with "the 7" all of time. However, it takes more time to explicitly teach it. And therein lies my problem, I cannot seem to find time for the "I do, we do, you do" of it all. As this is my first year teaching 11th and 12th grade it has been a chore studying and planning for these classes and adding the 7 on top of that. However, as I am pressing through it, I do see it getting easier.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marginalia and "The Odyssey"

As we are just embarking on the incredible journey Odysseus faced returning home from Troy, marginalia has again saved the day. First I gave the students the first stanza of the Invocation to the Muse in ancient Greek (they were puzzled). I then had the translation available, which still puzzled them. Through think alouds and various questioning techniques they made notes to keep in their textbooks (as we cannot write in them). For homework they are tackling the next three stanzas on their own. Hopefully this will help the students wade through the elevated language of "The Odyssey"

ABC Graffiti and MOD loved by teachers

ABC Graffiti was a big hit during my PDA presentation, and has been put to use by teachers. A former student who was visiting my room saw a graffiti that my students were working on and said "We did one of those in driver ed. It was fun." The teacher's themselves had fun guessing the Mystery Word of the Day and said they were thinking of ones to use in class.

My students had mixed feelings about ABC Graffiti though. Some would get upset if they could not find words for each letter. But all attempted to do so and had fun in the process, so I will definitely use it again to introduce a new unit.

Monday, November 15, 2010

mystery word of the day

I tried approaching vocabulary using the mystery word of the day as we learned in the SURN workshop this summer. My students enjoyed this activity and it created a friendly competition between classes.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Magnificent 7

We created a version of the magnificent 7 bookmark for students using our school colors. One side is for fiction and the other side in for nonfiction. Students can refer to their book marks as they read. It is a nice reminder about what they should attend to as they read.


We are considering purchasing ereaders for the reading improvement classes. I'm excited about the possibilities. I think it will prove very helpful in increasing interest in reading among the struggling readers. Has anyone else used these in their classroom? I especially like the "read to me" feature.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Clip Art Activities!

One area our school is focused on in terms of learning is using non-representations. One non-linguistic representation activity my English 11 team really enjoys using is clip-art. We give students different pictures associated with the piece of literature, and the students extract quotes from the literature related to the pictures. This activity has worked especially well with pieces of literature such as "To His Excellency, General Washington" and The Crucible.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


One of my favorite reading strategies is visualizing. Students create a storyboard by illustrating the most important event from the chapter. We are currently reading an adapted version of A Tale of Two Cities. On each storyboard, students summarize the story, find the word of the day in the chapter, write out the sentence where the word was used and find a quote to support their illustration. We complied all over our storyboards into a summarizing book. When we are finished with the novel students will have the complete book summarized and illustrated. It will prove very helpful when they need to review for the test. They constantly refer back to their visualzing books. Instead of asking me about an event, word or character, they become more independent and refer to their own work for the answer. They can quickly locate the item on the storyborad or re-read their summaries. Here they can see the vocabulary word in context and answer their own questions.