Tag Archives: learning support

A Learning Support on the Helping Verbs

These two learning supports on helping verbs have been a staple for for struggling readers and writers in my classroom. They’ll probably turn up again on Mark’s Text Terminal when I post lessons on this area of English usage.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

 

Blog Post 2000!

I started this blog in 2015, mostly because I found serious discourse about students, teaching, learning, and curriculum in the school in which I served at the time left a great deal to be desired. In the first three years I maintained this site, in other words up to July of 2018, I published 1,000 posts. Since last July, I have published 1,000 more. I’m not sure how I did it, but here we are.

What I do know is this: when I feel dissatisfied with the professional environment in which I am working, I tend to use these pages as an outlet for my professional curiosity and, yes, I suppose, ambition. If I am to be honest, I also turn to this blog, as I once did to personal journals, when I am anxious.

Last November, I made the grievous mistake of accepting the position of “literacy interventionist” (I don’t speak or read bureaucratese; if I did, that position title would have been a dead giveaway for what came next) in an utter disaster of a school, the High School of Commerce, in Springfield, Massachusetts. Starting from my first day of work, when the principal who hired me was absent, and had left no word with her subordinates–or anyone, really–that I would arrive, I have been both professionally dissatisfied and anxious: the former because this school is a place where professionalism and engagement are pretty much subordinated to mindless personal ambition; the latter because I am concerned, as I have been similarly concerned in the past when working in troubled schools led by less than competent principals who can destroy a teacher’s career with their own incompetence, that I had inadvertently put my career at risk.

So, you can see why I produced 1,000 posts this year. I am in the last part of my working life, and at this point I just want to work in a school whose administration and faculty doesn’t see children as abstractions, as data points on a graph, to advance their own careers. I became a teacher to help kids, not play power games and office politics.

In any case, here we are at Blog Post 2000. I have a number of documents to post, all from the first third of my career, when I was just figuring out how to assess students’ abilities and design instruction that challenged them, but didn’t frustrate them.

So, for starters, here is a learning support on the kinds of questions that drive research projects.

Next, here is a learning support on writing notecards for research papers. I don’t know if teachers still require students to keep analog note-cards in the real world, but the social studies teacher with whom I taught sophomore global studies in Manhattan at the beginning of this (2018-2019) school year still–to his credit–required them. Whatever you do in your classroom, perhaps this structured note-card blank will help students learn and master this task essential to the craft of research.

This sample outline learning support and this style sheet on using structured outlining blanks, you will notice, are basically the same material. The style sheet accompanies these structured outlining blanks.

Finally, here is a document I call the research paper in miniature. I use this document to show students, in essence, what a research paper is, why the authors of these kinds of papers must cite sources, and even ask them to infer the argument (i.e. the origins of rock and roll are in the blues and other African musical forms) from the paragraph they read. As I write this, I realize that I have a lesson plan to rationalize the research paper in miniature, so I’ll post that as a Weekly Text sometime over the summer when I have a chance to revise it.

That’s it. I emptied out the folder for Blog Post 2000. Now to start working on my next thousand posts.

A Complete Lesson Plan on Using Personal Pronouns in the Nominative Case

OK: here, on a Tuesday morning, is a complete lesson plan on the personal pronoun in the nominative case.

I begin this lesson, after a class change, with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Jargon; and if the lesson, for whatever reason (there are many in classroom, as we teacher know) continues into a second day, here is a second do-now, an Everyday Edit worksheet on Booker T. Washington. Incidentally, if you or your students find Everyday Edits useful or edifying, the good people at Education World offer a yearlong supply of them for the taking.

This scaffolded worksheet on using the personal pronoun in the nominative case is the mainstay of this lesson. Finally, here is a learning support on pronouns and case to help students navigate this area of usage and develop their own understanding–and mastery–of it.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Learning Support on Three Rhetorical Terms: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Several years ago I became interested in the Trivium both as a concept and as a potential framework for a unit, in this case a unit on writing. I actually began developing the unit, put together the first three lessons, and offered it as a special institute class at the high school in which I was serving. Unfortunately, an assistant principal who always bore me some animus for some reason cancelled the course.

When I arrived at the school in which I presently serve (and will soon gladly leave), I noticed that the English teachers required in writing assignments that students use the rhetorical moves of ethos, pathos, and logos to argue their case. Since rhetoric is one of the three subjects in the trivium–logic and grammar are the others–I found this interesting.

Which is why I developed this learning support on ethos, logos, and pathos in case the students in my literacy classroom needed it. Unfortunately, I was never able to use it because I was saddled with, and commanded to use, an elementary school-level scripted remedial literacy curriculum for the high school sophomores under my instruction. Would you be surprised to hear that the students turned up their noses at this material and stopped coming to class?

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Writing Prompt from Edmonton, Alberta

[Here’s a writing prompt from the Great White North.]

“Imagine that your Uncle is a Hollywood film producer and has asked for your ideas for a possible new movie. Because many movies are based on books, he has asked you to tell him about a book you’ve read that you think would make a good movie. Write a letter to your uncle and describe a book that you enjoyed and explain why you think it would make a good movie.

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.

A Learning Support on Aesthetic Criteria for Reviews

A little over a decade ago, I worked for a couple of years in a middle school in the North Bronx. While there, I developed a short unit on writing reviews. Somewhere in along the way, across that ten-year span, I lost the unit (it took me a while, as a slow learner on these things, to master data storage), but somehow hung onto its templates. Those are in a folder awaiting redevelopment; I do think teaching students to write reviews is a good way to guide them to a broader understanding of culture in general, and the elements of culture in particular.

While rummaging around in some old folders, I found this learning support on aesthetic criteria for writing reviews. I remember distinctly that these lists were student generated. I acted only as a Socratic foil by asking questions to clarify terms.

At some point, I’ll get back to writing the unit this document was meant to support, and post its lessons in these pages.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

 

Independent Practice: Clovis

At one point, Clovis had a role to play in the freshman global studies courses I co-taught in New York City; then he disappeared. He represents a number of key elements of early European history, not the least of which is the spread of Christianity into “barbarian” kingdoms.

In any case, I doubt this independent practice worksheet on Clovis has great utility in New York any longer. But perhaps someone, somewhere, might have a student keen to know more about this transitional figure. I’ve had more surprising and unusual requests for reading material than this.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.