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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About This Video Clip

Featured Texts

Classroom Snapshots

Classroom Lesson Plan

Professional Reflection

Teacher Tools
Additional Resources

Classroom Snapshots

Schools: Eight different schools
Locations: Various across the United States
No. of Students in Schools: Between 125 and almost 2,000
Teachers: Various
Grades: 6th to 8th
Subject: Language Arts
No. of Students in Classrooms: Between 15 and 32

Schools: The schools in this video library are in geographically diverse locations across the United States. Some, like Joe Bernhart's Houston classroom or Dorothy Franklin's Chicago school, are in urban settings. Some are rural, such as Tanya Schnabl's school in upstate New York and Barry Hoonan's school on Bainbridge Island in Washington state. Others are in suburban locations. A wide variety of classrooms and teachers were chosen to help teachers everywhere see how envisionment-building might apply in their own locations.

Number of Students in Schools: The schools featured in the video library run from the small and intimate (125 students at the Odyssey School on Bainbridge Island) to schools accommodating more than 1,500 students (DeWitt Clinton Elementary School in Chicago with 1,600 and Howard A. Doolin Middle School with 1,980).

Teachers: The teachers reflect the diversity of their profession. Both male and female, they come from a range of racial and cultural backgrounds. Some are just beginning their careers. Others have 15 to 20 years experience (one has nearly 30) with students. All of them believe that every student is capable of learning and that it is their job to help learning happen.

Grades and Subject: All the teachers in this library teach language arts in grades 6-8.

students in the classroomStudents: While some of the students portrayed in these classrooms come from middle class economic backgrounds, a number qualify for free or reduced-price lunch; some children of migrant families at Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces, New Mexico live in shelters or other temporary housing. Students in these classes come with a wide range of reading levels (several teachers have students who read between first grade and college levels in the same classroom). As is perhaps typical of the nation as a whole, most of the schools work with students from diverse ethnic, cultural, and even language backgrounds. The K-6 population of DeWitt Clinton Elementary School in Chicago is primarily first-generation immigrants (Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Russian, or Bosnian) who speak more than 17 different languages. Fifty percent of the students test below grade level in their core subjects. At Stephen Decatur Middle School in Maryland, 30% of the students are minorities drawn from a nearby retirement community, a tourist destination, and a rural town.

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