Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Engaging With Literature: A Workshop for Teachers, Grades 3-5

About This Workshop

Asking Questions: An Interactive Guide
1. Foundations

2. Looking at Literature

3. Starting Classroom Conversations

4. Classroom Dialogues

5. Using Art and Other Disciplines To Enrich Classroom Conversations

6. Beginning the Year

7. Many Students: Many Voices and Abilities

8. Reacting to Students' Work

9. The Professional Teacher

Site Map

Engaging With Literature
Envisionment Building

Toward Meaningful Reform

In the collaborating classrooms from which these guidelines and strategies were derived, students are given room to work through their ideas in a variety of contexts (whole-class discussion, alone, small groups) and in a variety of activities (reading, writing, and speaking). Developing envisionments, exploring them, talking about them, and refining understandings underlay the very fabric of how the class works.

Although codified interpretations and particular points of view are discussed and considered, they are usually introduced and analyzed only after the students have had an opportunity to explore their own interpretations. Such analysis involves confronting, reexploring and possibly interweaving, refining, or changing their own interpretations. Thus, students are able to react to others' ideas (including established interpretations) through the lens of their own considered understandings as well as the understandings of others — reaching interpretations that continue to be treated conditionally, always subject to further development.

In instructional contexts of this sort, that treat all students as thinkers and provide them with the environment as well as the help to do this, even the most "at-risk" students can engage in thoughtful discussions about literature, develop rich and deep understandings, and enjoy it too.

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