Archive | September, 2012

Common Core Lesson: Providing Evidence

30 Sep

There is a lot of emphasis on students providing textual evidence for answers in the new common core curriculum. This has been the meat of my curriculum and lessons for the last month. It’s surprising to see the shift from prior knowledge and inference skill level questions now back to the basic find it in the text questions. Personally, I think the latter are easier for the students so I’ll welcome the shift. 

Along with the shift to text based question and answers is the shift in complexity of text. Students are being expected to read more complex and higher level texts. Included in the exemplars, and which I did end up teaching last week, is Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. The look on my students’ faces when I told them they would be reading part of a book that I read in college was priceless!

Going along with the narrative theme, I chose an excerpt from An American Childhood by Annie Dillard. I used this excerpt to guide students into providing evidence for claims they make about a character.

Outside of foldable

I used this excerpt and read with students while they completed their sticky notes. We talked about personality traits and focused on Annie, the narrator and author’s, personality. I used the ‘What does it say, what does it mean, why does it matter?” comprehension strategy and had students make a foldable.I find that this keeps them engaged as opposed to just having them write it down on a sheet of paper.

Inside of foldable, not sure why it won’t go the right way…

On the inside flaps, students wrote:

What does it say: They provided an actual quote from the text to support their inference about Annie’s personality. 

What does it mean: They made an inference about Annie;s personality. 

Why does it matter: They extended their thinking to consider why this was important to the plot. 

Students are getting used to providing reasons and evidence for claims they make as they are reading. Hopefully they will continue to get better at this as the year progresses.

Sticky Note Fever!

25 Sep

Wow…haven’t put up one post since school started. Things are going great, but pretty busy and overwhelming. I’ve talked on my blog before about sticky notes and using them to assist with reading comprehension. I did it with my middle school students a couple of years ago, but did not continue with my high school students last year. It worked out really well for the middle school students and allowed for authentic and engaging conversation about the books we were reading, so I decided to start it up again. First off, I asked every student to bring in one pack of stickies. I think I’ll have enough…..

 During the first lesson in order to teach students the different comprehension strategies to use while doing sticky notes, we analyzed each class’s notes to determine which strategy they were doing the most often (prediction, inference, question or connection). 

Each class had a different spattering of strategies used.  The sticky notes will be used to assess student comprehension and use of active reading strategies while reading text in class. That’s all for now….stay tuned for more from the beginning of my year!

Inspirational Quotes for the Classroom

5 Sep
Hope everyone is having a great first few days back. Just wanted to blog a little about how I have been decorating my classroom. I keep finding so many cool things on Pinterest and there’s not enough room on my walls for everything I want to put up! Like I said this is the first year I’ve actually gotten to decorate for real. I like to use quotes from literature since I’m an English teacher. I’ve put up a few and I keep finding other ones I want to use! I also like to put up humorous things to show my students my fun side. Here are some that are in my classroom now:
Harry Potter!

Hanging on the door…haha

Hunger Games! Some students recognized this the first day!

Of course…T Swift


I’m sure I will find tons more…just actually find some from my favorite book To Kill a Mockingbird that I have to put up.  What quotes do you have in your classroom?

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