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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Individual Clip Descriptions

Video Clip 1. Introducing the Envisionment-Building Classroom
Running time: 18:55

In this clip, noted researcher Dr. Judith Langer lists and explains the hallmarks of an envisionment-building classroom — places where students work at their highest abilities to interact with literature. Her comments are illustrated by classroom examples. Dr. Langer serves as chief content expert for this and other libraries and workshops in the Envisioning Literature series.

Video Clip 2. Building a Literary Community
Running time: 18:55

This video clip brings its audience to Houston, Texas and Joe Bernhart's diverse seventh grade language arts classroom, where students work in small groups with a variety of contemporary young adult literature. Through example, Mr. Bernhart demonstrates how he works with the groups, encouraging them to go further in their understanding of the text.

Video Clip 3. Asking Questions
Running time: 18:55

Ana Hernandez' seventh grade gifted and talented language arts class in Miami, Florida is the focus of this clip. There, Ms. Hernandez directs students to pose their own questions as they read Sharon Draper's Tears of a Tiger, discussing major issues of the text and living in it as they consider the actions of the characters involved.

Video Clip 4. Facilitating Discussion
Running time: 18:55

In this clip, the audience visits Tanya Schnabl's sixth grade language arts class in rural Sherburne, New York as they interact with Among the Hidden, Margaret Peterson Haddix's futuristic text. Ms. Schnabl encourages students to discuss the text on many levels, demonstrating one way a teacher can help students move forward from first impressions of a text to digest its lessons and make them their own.

Video Clip 5. Seminar Discussion
Running time: 18:55

Dorothy Franklin's seventh grade language arts classroom in the heart of urban Chicago, Illinois is featured in this clip. A seminar discussion in this diverse classroom focuses on Langston Hughes' short story, "Passing." Ms. Franklin encourages her students to take on the perspective of the characters they meet in the text, with some surprising and satisfying results.

Video Clip 6. Dramatic Tableaux
Running time: 18:55

This clip features the seventh grade Berlin, Maryland classroom of Dr. Jan Currence, where she and her students interact with Christopher Paul Curtis' The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963: A Novel. Dr. Currence first models and then engages students in tableaux activities, in which students draw on their experience with the text to bring it to life for others.

Video Clip 7. Readers as Individuals
Running time: 18:55

A visit to Flora Tyler's sixth grade language arts class in Las Cruces, New Mexico shows how one teacher works to monitor and work with students who are each reading a different literary text, using models offered by writing and reading workshop techniques.

Video Clip 8. The Teacher's Role in a Literary Community
Running time: 18:55

Barry Hoonan's multi-grade language arts class on Bainbridge Island in Washington is featured in this video clip. His fifth and sixth grade students look at a variety of contemporary young adult fiction grouped under the theme, "Life isn't Fair." Texts include Drawing Lessons by Tracey Mack, Freak the Mighty by R. W. Philbrick, and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. Students meet in small groups to focus on each text, while Mr. Hoonan demonstrates one way teachers can tactfully and effectively integrate themselves into these discussions to help students go further in their understanding of the text.

Video Clip 9. Whole-Group Discussion
Running time: 18:55

A visit to Linda Rief's eighth grade language arts class in Durham, New Hampshire gives audience members a chance to participate along with the literary community Ms. Rief has established there as they work with Lois Lowry's The Giver. Here, the class works as a group to look closely into the text and see the ways in which its themes relate to their current lives.

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