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 Workshop for Teachers, Grades 6-8

Individual Workshop Descriptions

1. Introducing our Literary Community
2. Encouraging Discussion
3. Going Further in Discussion
4. Diversity in Texts
5. Student Diversity
6. Literature, Art, and Other Disciplines
7. Assessment
8. Planning and Professional Development
9. Starting in September...




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Student Diversity


Introduction

Key Points

Learning Objectives

Background Reading

Homework Assignment

Classroom Connection
Ongoing Activity

Additional Reading


Introduction

"... You find strength within the classroom, not based simply on the commonalties... Those are there, but the strength comes through the differences... the different stories you have to tell, the different things [you] can learn from one another and about one another and then celebrate..."
Jan Currence
7th Grade Teacher, Stephen Decatur Middle School
Berlin, Maryland

As anybody with the opportunity to know identical twins well might attest, external appearances can be deceiving. Closer scrutiny forces superficial similarities aside, and each twin presents a wide range of differences when compared with his or her sibling. So it is in our schools. Even in locations where similarities of ethnicity and geographic background create classroom populations that look homogenous, closer acquaintance invariably reveals an abundance of diversities not readily apparent to the casual eye. Even though every human being on the planet shares 99.9% of his or her DNA with every other human, different cultural or economic backgrounds, ability levels, physical or emotional challenges, interests, and life experiences generate the multiple perspectives that typify our complex society and enrich our interactions with one another.

Certainly the many different points-of-view students bring to the classroom present a number of challenges for teachers. How can both curriculum and instruction be designed and presented to meet the needs of such diverse populations? In full-inclusion classrooms, how can teachers ensure that every student will be able to participate fully in the instructional experiences offered? What support will students need to help them understand, accept, and appreciate the multiple perspectives they encounter, both within the classroom and in their larger society?

These are the issues examined by the teachers in Workshop 5. As you are invited into their classrooms, you will note that although the diversity of their students is readily apparent in some cases, in others, while less visible, it is no less real.

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For a complete guide to the workshop session activities, download and print our Support Materials.

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