This Video Clip
like kids to write their own questions because
more involved. If I always come up with the questions
wouldn't get to what is important to them."
Tanya Schnabl, Teacher
Sherburne-Earlville Middle School
Sherburne, New York
are at the center of classroom discussion for Tanya Schnabl's
students. Because they are learning how to make connections
and inferences independently, Ms. Schnabl supports and models
the process for them. She asks students to prepare for discussion
by writing questions on sticky notes while reading. She uses
these questions to center the discussion and poses her own
to help students connect personal experience with the practical
and ethical dilemmas presented by the text.
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Schnabl believes that integrating subject areas makes learning
meaningful for students and tries to find ways to connect
themes from science and history with their reading. She contextualized
Among the Hidden within a class theme centered on the
tensions between government limits and personal freedoms by
helping the class understand and explore the implications
of China's "one child" policy. She used discussion
to help students decide if they would be for or against a
two-child policy in the United States. They each then created
a poster defining and supporting their positions. Displayed
around the room, these posters provided visual links between
their positions and the situation in the book.
students read and discussed the novel, Ms. Schnabl introduced
them to Jeffrey McDaniel's poem "The Quiet World."
This poem presents a world in which the government has limited
the speech of each citizen to "exactly one hundred/and
sixty-seven words per day." In small groups, the class
examined the ways in which the poem related to the novel,
and then reported their observations to the class as a whole.
As a culminating activity, the students wrote their own poems
based on the 167-word rule and shared them with their classmates.
role of the teacher is that of facilitator. In addition to
organizing and supporting discussion directly, Ms. Schnabl's
presentation of outside materials that link to the novel at
hand helps students expand their understandings of the issues
involved and the impact of (often seemingly reasonable) government
edicts on human lives.
resources that can help you use this clip for teacher professional
development, preservice education, administrative and English/language
arts content meetings, parent conferences, and back-to-school
events, visit our Support
Materials page. There you will find PDF files of our library
guide, classroom lesson plan, student activity sheets, and
other Teacher Tools.