Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Intro to Argumentation

Teaching argumentation is HARD!!!!!! Although all teenagers are masters at it, it's hard to explain how to organize their arguing using the terms outlined in the Common Core. I've read textbooks, theories, websites, searched for anchor charts, etc. and finally think I've got a handle on the basics. I decided they needed to have basic reference pages in their Interactive Notebooks for this and then we'll build on it from there.

The easiest way for me to present it to them was to create a PowerPoint presentation. Unfortunately, I can't get it to move into Google Presentations so I've just saved it as a PDF for viewing on the web.

As I showed the PowerPoint, I had them draw pages in their Interactive Notebooks.

This is just the beginning!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Why do GOOD readers identify the MAIN IDEA??

After going through The 3 Types of Questions and discussing how to use the different types of questions with expository, fiction, and poetry, I wanted to make sure they understand the importance of identifying the main idea. It's critical to every type of reading they do in any class. I found this great anchor chart on Pinterest, recreated it for my room, and had the students copy it into their notebooks. I really dealt with a lot of whining and complaining about "not liking to color" or "I can't draw very well" etc...but I made them do it anyway. I told them if I handed them a piece of paper to glue in their notebooks, they'd do it without even looking at it. If I had them just write it all down, they'd kind of remember it. But...if I have them make it "pretty" or "cute" and spend time with it by drawing it and coloring it, they will remember it MUCH better! They still whined but I still made them do it! ;)

On a side note, I am really excited about my valance over the big window in my room. I ordered a spring-bar rod online for my daughter and son-in-law's apartment and then they decided not to use it. It would have cost almost as much to ship it back as I spent on it so I decided to use it in my room. I love the multi-colored chevron fabric and it really brightens things up!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The 3 Types of Questions

With the focus on interpreting meaning, main idea, theme, etc. found in the Common Core, I wanted to help give the kids a reference to what they need to do for each type of reading they may be asked to do. I found this great chart on Pinterest but can't find it again! Fortunately, I printed it out so I could recreate it as an Anchor Chart for them to copy into their binders.

At the beginning of class, I explained the different types of reading: newspaper, magazines, fiction, novels, short stories, poetry, etc. I used my own personal experiences with each of them to help them understand how I would read them differently. I used "ABSTRACT IDEA OR ISSUE," "IMPLICIT," and "EXPLICIT" to get them familiar with the terms. Then I gave them time to recreate the page in their Interactive Notebooks. (They worked so hard on this page!! Not a peep!)

I've searched the internet to find examples of each of the types of reading/questions with the theme of Heroes. I printed them out and then, as a class, we'll read them and answer the questions to help make meaning. For this first time through, I'm just going to focus on the author's MAIN IDEA...what is he/she trying to get us (the reader) to understand?

We started with the article, "A Helping Hand" from the TeenInk website. This is clearly an EXPLICIT piece so I had them underline/circle the "Who? What? Where?...etc" information. Then I had them write the main idea in one to two sentences on the back of the paper.

The next piece was a short story called, "The Hero Without a Name" I found on the Wattpad website. (I assume this is teen writing as well.) We read through it and then looked for answers to the IMPLICIT questions and had them write down the main idea.

The last piece is a poem called "Paul's Wife" by Robert Frost. I love Frost's writing and find it easier to interpret than other poets' writing is. I've explained to the classes that I have a hard time reading/interpreting poetry because it is so ABSTRACT; it can mean many different things depending on personal background. (I looked for some poetry written by teens but found them too easy to interpret which defeated the focus on ABSTRACT. If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know!!)

We're going to be spending a couple of days with these examples making sure they understand them. I'm also going to give them the handout for "Reading With Your Pen" so they've got a reference for the different ways they can interact with the text (instead of standard study guides, etc.). So good!! :)

Getting Started...

As I mentioned, I am planning to use the Interactive Notebooks a lot more this year. I'm also using a lot of the same pages as last year. So, in the interest of time, I'm just going to refer back to those posts to show what we did as a class.

I had such great success with the "Heroes" theme last year, I'm going to be doing it again. You can refer back to that HERE. Some of the YouTube videos I used last year are gone so I substituted some that are similar. You can use whatever ones you choose to make your point.