you are a classroom or preservice teacher, teacher educator,
content leader, department chair, or administrator, the materials
below can assist you in implementing the practices presented
in the video clip.
Many teachers like to use popcorn reading (metaphorically
named for the way students pop in and out) when they want
to hear from a number of students, without reverting to the
row-by-row (or around the circle) tedium of round robin reading.
Without naming anyone specific, a teacher invites students
to begin reading. When that person finishes, another student
is expected to follow, again without explicit direction from
the teacher. The process continues until everyone has taken
a turn. With popcorn reading, students have the responsibility
of participation coupled with the choice of when to do so.
In addition, attention to the readings is enhanced when students
are prompted to listen to peers for the opportunity to link
their contributions to what has come before. Popcorn reading
can be used with any text-even with students' own writing.
Quick writes have many names (journal jottings, freewriting)
and multiple uses. Briefly, quick writes afford students the
opportunity to pause momentarily during reading or discussion
and record their thoughts and feelings in writing. Teachers
can then ask students to share their writings, confident that
every member of the group has had the opportunity to grapple
with the issue at hand and has something to offer.
Responding Visually to Literature
Many language arts teachers have come intuitively to use visual
activities to support their literature instruction. Non-verbal
activities provide an opportunity for students to develop
and display their growing understanding and enjoyment of the
literature in informal ways as they develop visual representations
of their thinking.
his preface to Phyllis Whitin's Sketching Stories, Stretching
Minds: Responding Visually to Literature (for the complete
citation, see "Additional Resources" in the Library
Guide), Jerome Harste reminds us that "literacy is much
more than reading and writing" (x). He tells us that
literacy is "the process by which we mediate the world"
which "means to create sign systems mathematics,
art, music, dance, language" which "act as
lenses that permit us better to understand ourselves and our
we take what we know from one sign system and represent it
in another as when we take a written text and represent
it graphically we are using transmediation, a process
that "is both natural and basic to literacy" (x).
Such transmediation has enormous value in the classroom. As
students resee, they rethink. Rethinking, they understand
in fresh ways, and their pleasure grows with their developing
less able readers, the very act of focusing on a brief passage
or scene and doing what more skilled readers seem to do invisibly
helps them develop the visualization powers to process texts
effectively. Not only are they developing their understanding
of a specific text, they are expanding their skill as readers.
Using Overheads in Discussion
Give each group an overhead transparency and a pen and ask
them to record the results of their discussion for sharing
with the class. Then, when it is time to report out, they
can use the overhead to guide their contributions. This strategy
has several benefits. First, the overheads can be saved, and
referred to again days or weeks later to remind students of
observations made earlier. Second, the use of a prop offers
support for students who may be anxious about standing and
speaking in front of the group. Finally, the use of the technology
itself has a grown-up appeal that students respond to positively.
When ordering materials, be sure to get clear transparencies
that can be written on. Those intended for copy machines or
printers don't always receive ink well. Also, overhead pens
come in a number of colors and students like to choose a color
to represent their group. The transparencies can be rinsed
off after use and reused for years.
Using Webbing To Keep Track of Student Discussions
Often it is difficult to remember who said what during a lively
discussion. Even harder when teachers have multiple
sections of the same subject is remembering which class
or which group raised which issues. Following Mr. Hoonan's
example, teachers can web the content of a discussion to create
a concrete record of what topics were raised in each group.
Assessment and Evaluation: Some
The terms assessment and evaluation are often
used as synonyms. Distinguishing between them can be helpful
as you plan instruction. Assessment means looking at what
students can do in order to determine what they need to learn
to do next. That is, assessment, whether of individual students
or an entire group, is done in order to inform instruction.
Typically assessment is holistic, often recorded simply as
"credit" or "no credit."
occurs after a concept or skill has been taught and practiced
and is typically scaled, indicating the level of achievement
or degree of competence a student has attained.
Using Personal Writing
To Extend Literary Envisionments
Look here for suggested ways to help students respond
to their reading.
Sketch to Stretch
Based on ideas developed by Phyllis Whitin and presented in
her book Sketching Stories, Stretching Minds: Responding
Visually to Literature, the basic premise behind Sketch
to Stretch is that creating a visual based on a literary work
stretches student thinking, helping them to see the text in
new ways. Visit the Sketch to Stretch page for ways
to use this in the classroom.
Save the Last Word for the Artist
After a student (or a group) has completed a visual representation
from the literature, it is shared with the class. In Save
the Last Word for the Artist, the visual is displayed
so everyone can see it, and the class is invited to comment
on what they see and their understandings of how the visual
connects to the text. When the group has finished, the artist
is invited to offer his or her thoughts, validating what the
group has said and suggesting other possible interpretations.
Often the artist will be surprised that the group found things
about the work that were there, but were not consciously intended.
As you begin to plan literature experiences for your students,
consider offering text pairings, so that students have a rich
palette of text background and reading experiences to draw
upon in their literary conversations. While Mr. Hoonan has
chosen to link the texts in this lesson thematically, you
may wish to offer students other works by the same authors.
If you do, some texts that may complement the ones used in
this classroom lesson plan include:
by Edward Bloor
Two Moons, Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech
Rising, The Music of Dolphins, A Time of Angels by Karen
Natural, Backstage Fright, Nightmare Mountain, The Richest
Kids in Town by Peg Kehret
To Fear, The Falcon, The Primrose Way, A Place To Call Home
by Jackie French Koller
Angels, Somewhere in the Darkness, The Glory Field, Shadow
of the Red Moon by Walter Dean Myers
Fire Pony, Max the Mighty, The Last Book in the Universe
by Rodman Philbrick
School Is Falling Down, There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom,
Dogs Don't Tell Jokes by Louis Sachar
Magee, Wringer, Crash by Jerry Spinelli
in Cadillac Light, Mister and Me, When Zachary Beaver Came
to Town by Kimberly Willis-Holt
Believer, The Mozart Season, Probably Still Nick Swansen
by Virginia Euwer Wolfe