Showing posts with the label expository

What I Teach the Week Before Thanksgiving

  The weeks before a break always seem like the longest.  The kids are restless, I'm restless, and we all understand that all we're really doing is biding our time until that last bell before break.   Thanksgiving is a different type of beast altogether though.  My district gives an entire week, the first real break since school started, and we know that right around the corner is Christmas.  It is hard to focus, let alone get 150 students to focus.  But one thing I've learned in all my years of teaching is that the best catalyst for engaging students is to tell them they don't know something that they think they know.    Enter my week before Thanksgiving unit.  Each day is about dismissing the beliefs that they think they have about Thanksgiving.  They look at encyclopedia entries, primary source documents, secondary source documents, speeches, and even listen to a podcast to get the right story, the truer story, surrounding Thanksgiving... and not just from the perspe

Trump vs. Obama: Analyzing Rhetoric

We can’t have enough lessons over speeches or the rhetoric within those speeches. There is no end to it. The least we can do is have fun. So… I created a lesson, analyzing Trump’s victory speech and Obama’s victory speech. I wanted to give students a look at a speech that is heavy in rhetoric versus one that is… well, not so heavy in rhetoric. Anywho… if you’re interested… here is the lesson plan. Trump vs. Obama Rhetorical Analysis Things You Will Need to Teach This Lesson: ·        Lesson Plan ·        Rhetoric PowerPoint (included) ·        Student Handouts: Analyzing the Rhetoric Within a Speech (x2), Trump Victory Speech, Obama Victory Speech, Trump vs. Obama Grading Handout, Rhetorical Analysis Rubric (included in this pdf) ·        Answer Keys Before the Lesson: ·        Please review the lesson plan and PowerPoint.  Delete anything that isn’t applicable to you.  Add things that are.  Make this lesson your own. ·        Print the student handouts and review the answer keys.

Incorporating Infographics into the ELA Classroom: Writing an Essay

In Texas we have this handy dandy standard: (11)  Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Procedural Texts. Students understand how to glean and use information in procedural texts and documents. Students are expected to: (A)  evaluate text for the clarity of its graphics and its visual appeal; and (B)  synthesize information from multiple graphical sources to draw conclusions about the ideas presented (e.g., maps, charts, schematics). and it has been left so open-ended that it be interpreted any number of ways.  I know that in class we're always evaluating images and maps.  They will come up eventually, so I will not have to worry about hitting the standard that way.  But I don't think I'll have another opportunity to go over an infographic. And even if I do, infographics are fun. So what better way to kill two birds with one stone: handle the standard while also gauging what the kids know and where I need to focus when it comes to essay writing. I lov

3 Videos to Use During the Holidays in the ELA Class

Yes, I know it’s March.  But I just found my PowerPoint and so I’m sharing now. 1. History vs. Christopher Columbus by Alex Gendler Why do we still celebrate this holiday?  This animated TED ED talk goes into what’s not taught in elementary school about Columbus.  Cliff Notes: he was a bad dude. 2. Can Art Amend History? By Titus Kaphar So I teach a lesson about the first Thanksgiving.  Days 1-3 delve into the English version of the holiday and what most people believe about Thanksgiving.  Days 4 and 5 discuss the Native American perspective, which isn’t discussed enough.  This TED asks the question: Can we learn about the unpleasantness of our history through art?  Is it more palatable to digest that way?  Super entertaining talk. 3. Black Friday: An Accident of History by Hank Green Not technically a TED Talk, but it’s good.  Hank Green talks about Black Friday and its origins.  We all get a little preachy about the meaning of Christmas (vs. the commerc

Using Hashtags to Retain Information

Last week I mentioned hashtag summaries and then realized that I had never mentioned them before.  Sounds about right... Anywho... #hastagsummaries have changed my life: they're quick, they're fun, they're creative.  And I've had quite a few kids tell me that this is the easiest way for them to retain information when it comes to those long boring essays that they have to read for the state.  So #winwin.  Here's the process: Whenever we have a nonfiction article, I have the student's number the paragraphs. Read the paragraph. Come up with a cute, clever #hastag that summarizes the paragraph in a way the student would remember.           For example, we were reading an article about the 1920s.  Here's the paragraph: Women were delighted by the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave them, at long last, the right to vote.  Feeling emancipated and in rising demand on the labor market, young, urban and fashionable flappers joined men

An Introduction to Gender Stereotypes

I'm not going to get on my high horse about what happened to  That isn't what this post is about.  It is, however, a post about one of their articles that I've been teaching for a while. The 6 weeks before STAAR become STAAR prep.  Therefore, all of the units that we work on become debatable thematic units.  The first one I usually tackle is gender stereotypes.  For some reason,  it is super engaging (more than I thought it would be) and the kids enjoy tackling an issue that is very much applicable to them.  However, they don't understand that gender norms are a fluid thing.  The things that we have come to associate with a particular gender aren't the things that have always been associated with that gender. Back on track... ... I start my unit off with an article from Cracked called  5 Gender Stereotypes That Used to be the Exact Opposite  as an introduction to the above idea.  It does have bad words in it (I print out an edited version for m