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

Introduction »

Key Points

Learning Objectives »

Background Reading »

Homework »

Classroom Connection »

Teacher Reflection »

Ongoing Activity »

Additional Reading »

8. Reacting to Students' Work

9. The Professional Teacher

Site Map

Workshop 7. Many Students: Many Voices and Abilities

Key Points

BJ Namba works with one of her students in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Diverse student populations bring a richness of experience to the classroom that benefits teachers and students alike.

  • Creating a classroom in which each student knows that his or her voice is accepted and valued is central to envisionment-building instruction.

  • Helping students celebrate their own diversities helps them develop their individual voices, recognize their own perspectives, and understand those perspectives as positions from which they approach literary experiences.

  • It is important that students learn to confront and think about literary interpretations different from their own.

  • A teacher may select literary texts to help students understand their own perspectives or choose titles that expose students to perspectives alien to their own.

  • Teachers working with bilingual children may find themselves walking a fine line between honoring a child's home language and making sure they can navigate the educational process in English.

  • Research suggests that, with comprehension support, students with limited English proficiency can explore ideas, interpretations, and perspectives in response to the content of literary texts.

  • The read-aloud is a central pedagogical strategy for teachers working to include all students in literary experiences.

  • Read-alouds allow students access to titles that might be too difficult for their individual reading levels, and they offer students experience with the sounds and rhythms of the English language.

  • In diverse classrooms, teachers offer students a wide range of literature to suit a wide range of reading levels.

  • Teachers in diverse classrooms find it useful to have students support one another's reading and learning through social reading activities.

  • In a classroom that embraces all voices, students with learning disabilities or physical challenges are often the ones able to make thoughtful and important contributions to classroom discussions.

  • One strategy used by teachers in inclusion classrooms is to present the same materials to all children and then find ways to support each child's approach to them.

  • Looking for what each student does well helps teachers support each individual as a valued contributor to the classroom community.

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