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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Gonna get more dramatic?

I had my conversation with Dr. Roy, our consultant, and Ms. Jaramillo (Ms. J to all of us) over what they saw in my classroom yesterday.

One thing Dr. Roy told me is that I love my subject, and I want my students to love it. So, he said I need to look for ways to invite them in.

Ms. J said that I ought to borrow the techniques I use when I announce the school football games. I need to put myself "on stage" so to speak.

So my students should expect me to be a bit more of a performer in the classroom. (Though probably not as much as the guy above.

Any suggestions on how to pull this off?

1 comment:

My Writing and Editing Coach said...

As a student of reading and writing, you were able to transfer what you read and wrote into other contexts such as the human experience, historical events, and the power of language. Some teaching and learning strategies invite students into those contexts that were probably more natural for you, but unnatural for them. One strategy is to use literature that speaks to the students (For example, African-American males respond to material written by and about African-American males and YA literature often bridges the gap between reluctant learner and participatory learner). Still most curricula guides expect that some classic literature be taught, but how is a student in 2012 prepared to comprehend Jane Austen's worldview without some serious frontloading; therefore, Smagorinsky et al have suggested pre-reading activities that include Anticipation Guides, nonfiction articles, role play, film snippets, etc., followed by lively discussions. For Cold Mountain, I assigned each student an element of the novel, especially allusions, for pre-reading research and reports to the whole. Another strategy, Reader Responses, enlighten teachers about what their students need and know. While becoming a player on a stage, as the authorities suggest, may be appropriate occasionally, the true goal is to help students activate imagination and understanding so that they become proficient and effective readers without an actor acting before them. Google for pre-reading activities, book talks, and reader responses, then mix it up, using one technique for one story and another for a different story. Also, teach them some of the patterns (literary archetypes, literary themes, and professional patterns) so that they can apply those to new works. Finally, read aloud to your students now and then. Let them hear the language as it was meant to be heard. And forgive me if I have listed things you already know and use.