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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Envisioning


Introduction

Key Points

Learning Objectives

Background Reading

Homework Assignment

Classroom Connection
Ongoing Activity

Additional Reading


Introduction

"I think literature's job is to help kids find their way and see their way in books. It's hopefully illuminating the challenges that we have as people in this world."
Barry Hoonan
5th and 6th Grades Teacher, The Odyssey School
Bainbridge Island, Washington

Orchestrating meaningful literature discussions is a delicate dance. Teachers must artfully push the conversation along, while at the same time, not intrude on students' unique perspectives and interpretations. In this scenario, the teacher is not the point from which all conversation flows, but a knowledgeable member of the literary community, modeling risk-taking and dynamic approaches to examining texts. Teachers need to be keen observers of the discussion dynamics, knowing when to end conversations, when to start new ones, and when to encourage students to further develop their ideas.

Much planning is involved in facilitating a successful literature discussion. Teachers contemplate issues and concerns that are raised in a text by preparing thought-provoking questions before a class meeting. Teachers consider ways they can help students make connections to other texts and to their own lives. Teachers plan for inviting multiple viewpoints and time to explore others' perspectives.

In Workshop 3, teachers explore ways to help their students dig deeper in the literature, consider possibilities they may not have explored on their own, and experience a vibrant, meaningful discussion.

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

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