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 Snapshot

Classroom Lesson Plan

Professional Reflection

Teacher Tools
Additional Resources

Teacher Tools

Whether you are a classroom or preservice teacher, teacher educator, content leader, department chair, or administrator, the materials below can assist you in implementing the practices presented in the video clip.

Reader's Theater Resources
Consider using this creative and dramatic approach to literature instruction, where students' interpretations affect their read-alouds, from voice inflection to body language, and the use of props. The possibilities are endless. Visit the following links to learn more about Reader's Theater:

Resources focused on Building a Literary Community
Access these resources produced by the National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement. Information about scaffolding instruction, strategies for improving literary understanding, and including struggling readers is provided. Use these resources as you begin to assess your own classroom success in helping students create envisionments.

  • Improving Literary Understanding Through Classroom Conversation and Effective Literature Instruction Develops Thinking Skills

  • Article: "15 Minutes of Fame" by Dorothy Franklin

    Dorothy Franklin prepared this reflection on participating with her students in this professional development video series. This article was originally published in the November-December, 2001 issue of The Voice, the newsletter of the National Writing Project, and is made available at this site with their permission. For more information about the National Writing Project, please visit their Web site at http://www.writingproject.org/.

  • Resource: "Negotiating Story Structures" (Chapter Three)WITH RIGOR FOR ALL: TEACHING THE CLASSICS TO CONTEMPORARY STUDENTS [sic] by Carol Jago, Copyright © 2000 by Carol Jago, reprinted by permission of the Publisher, Heinemann, A division of Reed Elsevier Inc., Portsmouth, NH.

    Ms. Franklin cites this article as the inspiration for her seminar rules and participation rubric that she offers as part of her classroom lesson plan.

Text Pairings
As you begin to plan literature experiences for your students, consider offering text pairings, so that students have a rich palette of text background and reading experiences to draw upon in their literary conversations. Some texts that may complement the ones used in this classroom lesson plan include:

  • Short stories:
    "Thank You M'am" by Langston Hughes
    "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker
  • Poetry:
    "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes
    "Mi Madre" by Pat Mora
  • Novels:
    Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
    Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor
    The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Plays:
    A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
    The Piano Lesson by August Wilson
    Fences by August Wilson
  • Non-fiction:
    William and Ellen Craft's slave narrative "Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom" (1860)

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