Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Meaning in Literature Grades 6-8
Conversations in Literature — Workshop

About Making Meaning in Literature: A Workshop for Teachers, Grades 6-8

Individual Workshop Descriptions

1. Introducing our Literary Community
2. Encouraging Discussion
3. Going Further in Discussion
4. Diversity in Texts
5. Student Diversity
6. Literature, Art, and Other Disciplines
7. Assessment
8. Planning and Professional Development
9. Starting in September...

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Interrelationships Between Literature and Other Arts and Disciplines


Key Points

Learning Objectives

Background Reading

Homework Assignment

Classroom Connection
Ongoing Activity

Additional Reading


"One of the problems with integrating literature [and] other domains is the belief that there has to be some grandiose formal plan. And there does not. It can be very impromptu."
Dorothy Franklin
7th Grade Teacher, DeWitt Clinton Elementary School
Chicago, Illinois

Across the country, teachers are offering students doorways into literature via the visual arts, dramatic activities, and music. In addition, increasing dissatisfaction with curricular fragmentation is leading teachers to discover ways to make connections across subject areas. Teachers and students alike find such integration effective in a number of ways.

Asking students to think about their literary experiences in a variety of forms leads to fresh insights and new understandings of a text. Encouraging them to represent those understandings in a variety of forms offers access to representations that might not be available verbally and offers less-verbal students alternative ways to demonstrate knowledge.

Connecting the study of literature to subjects across the curriculum enriches both subject areas. Such connections reinforce related concepts across disciplines, provide fuller understandings by revisiting concepts or topics from different disciplinary perspectives, give students more coherent learning experiences, and lead them to coordinate the tools used in different disciplines when tackling complex problems.

Offering students the opportunity to read historical fiction, topical poetry and essays, or even nonfiction works such as diaries and letters, often enables students to imagine the human concerns behind historical events. Connections between literature and math or science expand student understandings of both areas while broadening habits of mind. Students who experience a range of such connections learn to establish relationships between and among seemingly contrary ways of defining and explaining the world.

For a complete guide to the workshop session activities, download and print our Support Materials.



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