Teacher resources and professional development 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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Envisioning


About This Video Clip

Featured Texts

Classroom Snapshot

Classroom Lesson Plan

Professional Reflection

Teacher Tools
Additional Resources


Featured Texts

The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
Ten-year-old Kenny and his 13-year-old brother Byron have typical sibling rivalry. When Byron tries his parents' patience for the last time, they decide to bring him to Birmingham, Alabama to spend the summer with his grandmother. This Flint, Michigan family encounters Birmingham at its most turbulent time, the burning of the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church with four young girls inside.

Forged by Fire by Sharon Mills Draper
Teenager Gerald Nickelby faces many challenges in this companion novel to Tears of a Tiger. Here, Gerald stays with his aunt while his mother serves a prison sentence for child neglect. On his ninth birthday, his mother reclaims him and Gerald must risk a great deal to save his half-sister, Angel, from his abusive stepfather.

Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Mills Draper
Andy Jackson drives under the influence and crashes his car, killing the star player of the basketball team and his best friend, Robert Washington. Andy must find a way to deal with his grief, guilt, and pain.

The Skin I'm In by Sharon Flake
Maleeka is a 13-year-old African American with low self-esteem. Being ridiculed for having a dark complexion makes matters worse until she meets Miss Saunders, a teacher at her school. Miss Saunders has her own challenges with her rare skin condition.

Julie of the Wolves by Julie Craighead George
Miyax is a 13-year-old Eskimo orphan who is unhappily married. She runs away from her home, hoping to reach her pen pal in San Francisco. During her journey through the Alaskan tundra, she battles survival and an inner struggle of self-identity. Is she Miyax of the Eskimo people or a modern teenager named Julie?

Gaucho by Gloria Gonzalez
Poor 11-year-old Gaucho works a variety of odd jobs to make money. When running an errand for a shady character named Blanco, he finds himself in the middle of a shootout.

Heaven by Angela Johnson
Fourteen-year-old Marley lives in a small Ohio town named Heaven. Here she grows up in a warm African American family, where she has good friends and strong community ties. Suddenly, she finds out she is adopted.

Necessary Roughness by Marie G. Lee
Korean Chan Kim and his twin sister Young grow up in a diverse Los Angeles neighborhood. The Kims move to a small Minnesota community to save a failing family store. Chan and Young face cultural conflicts at their new school.

Letters From a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs by Mary E. Lyons
Based on the true story of Harriet Ann Jacobs, Letters from a Slave Girl reveals, through fictional letters, the challenges African American women endured during slavery. Jacobs hid in her grandmother's ceiling for seven years, and eventually escaped to the North, where she became active in the abolition movement.

Somewhere in the Darkness by Walter Dean Meyers
Fifteen-year-old Jimmy's father Crab has been in prison for the past nine years for killing a man in an armed robbery. Crab escapes from prison in order to clear his name and shows up in Jimmy's life again, claiming he made parole and has a job in Chicago.

Mr. Bernhart selected contemporary young adult literature, featuring mostly ethnic teen protagonists facing real-life conflicts. It is Mr. Bernhart's hope that students will recognize themselves and the world around them in the texts they read. You can access additional resources related to this video clip's texts in the Additional Resources section.

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