Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Meaning in Literature Grades 6-8
Conversations in Literature — Workshop

About Making Meaning in Literature: A Video Library, Grades 6-8

Individual Clip Descriptions

1. Introducing the Envisionment-Building Classroom
2. Building a Literary Community
3. Asking Questions
4. Facilitating Discussion
5. Seminar Discussion
6. Dramatic Tableaux
7. Readers as Individuals
8. The Teacher’s Role in a Literary Community
9. Whole Group Discussions

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Assessment & Reflection

Lesson Builder

Think Aloud

Discussion Guidelines

Sample Stance-Framed Questions

Lesson Builder: Sample Stance-Framed Questions

Being Out and Stepping Into an Envisionment
  • What is the title and what does it suggest? Can I make any predictions based on the title?
  • Who is the author and what do I already know about their writing? What can I expect from this author?
  • What does the book jacket suggest about the story? What predictions can I make about the story based on the illustrations or the teaser on the cover?
  • Who are the characters and what are they like? What can I expect from them in the future?
  • What time period does this take place? What do I already know about this era that can inform my understanding?
  • What is the setting and how is this going to impact the piece?
  • What is the organization of this piece and what does this tell me about the text?
  • What genre is this text and how does that impact what I can expect to encounter in the piece?
  • How is this story similar to something I have already experienced?
  • What do I think may happen next? What do I think the piece may be about?
Being In and Moving Through an Envisionment
  • What isn't being told? What would I like to still know?
  • Who are these characters and are they like anyone I know?
  • How do those people feel about their circumstances?
  • How do I feel about...?
  • What have I experienced in my own life that is similar to this? Different from this?
  • What if the character...?
  • What if it happened this way?
  • What other texts have I read that inform this and in what ways?
  • How have the characters changed over time or across the story?
  • What motivated the characters' behaviors or what led them to their actions?
  • How would you describe the relationships of the characters in the text?
  • How would someone from a different culture or background interpret the story?
  • Do I like these characters? Does what they are doing make sense? Would I have done the same thing in this situation?
  • How is the plot developing?
  • What are the characters like? Are they acting as I expected?
  • How do the characters feel about and relate to each other? How will this affect the story?
  • How do I think the piece might end?
Stepping Out and Rethinking What One Knows
  • How might I react if I were in a similar situation as the character in the text? Was I ever in a similar situation? Do I know anyone who was?
  • What can I learn from the situation in this text?
  • Why did I feel a certain way or act a certain way when I found myself in a situation similar to the one in the text?
  • What were my choices? Did I make the best ones?
  • How else could I have handled it? What should I do now?
  • What did I gain from that decision? Was it the right one?
  • How could I act if I wanted to become a more ______ person?
Stepping Out and Objectifying the Experience
  • Are there any other texts that I have read that can inform my understanding of this piece?
  • Why did the author choose that particular phrase, style, or organizational feature?
  • How does the title relate to the construct of the story?
  • How does the language and voice affect my understanding of the text?
  • How does the author's voice contrast with my own perspective?
  • Why did some of the word choices affect me so deeply?
  • How can my understanding of literary elements (plot, setting, theme, characterization, and so forth) inform my envisionment?
  • How would the piece differ if written, taken place, or read in another era or culture? How would I see things differently if I were from another culture, another era, or another's perspective?
  • How do other interpretations of the text contrast with my own? What are some other ways I can react to the text? Consider other perspectives, such as critical, feminist, or political.



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