Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
Work: The Fire Next Time, "Sonny's Blues, " and "The Rockpile"
Bo Wu uses an inquiry approach to help students understand three works by James Baldwin. Sparked by their personal interests, the students research topics related to these works and collaborate to produce group Web sites.
To prepare for the lesson, view The Expanding Canon video program 3 – Part II. Online, review the Session 3 theory overview, strategies, information about the authors and literature, resources, and the downloadable print guide. Read James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time, "Sonny's Blues," and "The Rockpile" -- excerpt available in the print guide. Additionally, you may want to explore the following links for information about creating Web sites.
Home Page of Litstudies.com and ThinkQuestNYC.org
The Web site created by Bo Wu and her students.
The Internet in Action
Advice for teachers interested in creating Web sites.
Teachers will need the following supplies:
Standards for the English Language Arts
1. In order to get students thinking about their personal connections to a literary text, Bo Wu asks her students to keep a journal (in a notebook and/or online) of questions or topics that interest them. She prompts them with questions, such as:
2. Wu explains that students will be working in small groups to research James Baldwin on the Internet, and then, as a group, they will choose a focus related to one of the three works and create a Web site about Baldwin. Wu asks her students to generate questions that might help them decide what they are going to research. She suggests they think about what they would like to know about an author that might help them understand his or her works.
3. Wu then divides the student-generated questions into some general topics. She tells her students that they will begin their projects with some research about Baldwin's life and works. She asks students to explain online research techniques, asking questions such as:
4. Students describe their experiences researching James Baldwin's works and discuss what they've learned.
5. Based on their research, students write down a topic connected to James Baldwin that they would like to research, along with an explanation of why they have chosen this topic. Wu encourages students to develop two questions that indicate what they want to learn about the topic.
6. Students share their questions aloud, and the ensuing discussion helps students focus their questions.
7. Students research their questions on the Internet, taking notes, making connections, and summarizing as they find information. Wu asks them to continue this research at home, reminding them that they can use the Internet at the public library. Finally, Wu explains that they will be synthesizing their research with that of other members of their group at the next class.
1. Wu greets her students by reminding them that the class Web site has a summary of what they covered in class previously. She then asks students with similar topics to sit together, pool information, and create a report that represents the interests and research of the group.
2. As a homework assignment, Wu asks the students to read the Baldwin essay or story on which their group has chosen to focus, based on their research. She also asks students to write in their online journal, responding to the reading. Wu provides the students with questions to help focus their responses, such as:
1. Wu begins the class by asking her students to share their journal entries from the night before.
2. Next Wu explains to the class that they are going to start building a Web site about James Baldwin. She tells the students that this Web site is a digital portfolio students can fill with material of their own choosing. Prompting students to generate ideas for information and features they can put on their Web site, she asks questions such as:
3. Wu asks the students to decide within their groups what they want to put on their Web sites.
4. Finally, each group creates a Web site.