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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Key Points

Learning Objectives

Background Reading

Homework Assignment

Classroom Connection
Ongoing Activity

Additional Reading


"You set the stage and then you get off the stage. You let the kids just talk to each other because... that's the kind of discussion you want. [You] want them responding in the most natural way for them. 'What are your questions? What did you notice? What did you see? What surprises you? What seems significant to you?' But you have to take them through that process at the beginning of the year... and you hear many more of their voices as the year progresses."
Linda Rief
8th Grade Teacher, Oyster River Middle School
Durham, New Hampshire

The adage "Well begun is half done" is particularly applicable to the classroom. The relationships and routines teachers establish at the beginning of the school year resonate throughout the months that follow. Wise teachers think carefully about what is important in their classrooms, and how they can convey those values from the first moments students enter the classroom. The physical arrangement of the room and its contents send powerful messages to an incoming class. The earliest experiences teachers offer their students can provide memorable starting points for what is to follow. The envisionment-building teachers you will meet in this video are particularly aware of the impact of first impressions. The experiences they design for the first weeks of school serve to develop important relationships — between the teacher and the students, between the students and the teacher, among the students themselves. Additionally, they are introducing students to the values and the processes of their particular classroom. Students are learning to speak respectfully to one another, to listen to different points of view, to make connections to a wide range of literary texts, and to share their developing understandings with one another. They are taking the first steps toward enjoying a lifetime as thoughtful readers of literature.

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



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