English: what do you teach in the Spring semester?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Linguist92021, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 7, 2013

    Because I work in alternative ed, we have a lot of freedom in curriculum. But I know in 'regular' schools there are usually set things to cover.

    When I was student teaching 8th grade, my master teacher said in the spring they always cover poetry.That's not they always do, but it's included in the Spring, not in the fall.

    I use Common Core standards.
    So far we have been focusing basically on reading and a lot of writing.

    This is what I was thinking so far:
    in January, for 3 weeks:
    (not completely decided yet): 1 year goal, maybe 5 year goals. I like this because thinking about 1 year goals right at the beginning of the new year is very fitting.
    (not completely decided yet):writing business letters. This would be beneficial to the students' real life in the future. (my P always says we want our students to be better employable, be able to advocate for themselves and to be more empathetic)

    in February / March:
    (pretty much decided): in February start with the Harlem Renaissance, covering the historical part of it, reading some stories and then going into poetry from this era's poets. Then work with other poems, not from this era.

    I will probably have 1 week left from March, and then 3 weeks in April before Spring break.

    I plan in doing a movie (of course it's a lesson with lots of work) right before Spring break, so I will still have about 2 weeks that needs lessons.

    May: I have no idea. What am I missing? Do more writing? Reading?
    I noticed I haven't included any grammar, should I do that before the movie?
    We also haven't done much persuasive writing (we did a little in September), shold I focus on that in May? That way I would have done the 2 main writing standards, narrative and persuasive.

    Any suggestions? What are you teaching? This is high school, but I'm also open to ideas from middle school.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Dec 7, 2013

    I just finished teaching a persuasive writing unit and found the students got a LOT out of it. Start with different kinds of speeches, one that really uses a lot of emotion and another that uses a lot of logic (we used MLK and Shirley Chisholm).

    We then read a persuasive essay written from Student Ink about the need for greater consequences for bullying. That was the intentional choice because we knew a lot of our students were bullied. You might find another student example that fits the interests of your population.

    Once we read and analyzed it, we moved on to the writing stage. We supplied a list of 100 topics, each of which could be argued from the opposite side. Then, I chose a variant on one of the topics, again on bullying, but this time how online schools can be an alternative for bullied students. We then used that topic and modeled an outline as a class so the students could complete theirs using the example. We spent the next week working on modeling the introduction, body paragraphs, and closing paragraph. Students then had the chance to read their completed essays aloud in class for peer review before turning them in for a grade. It has been the writing assignment with the highest amount of participation and best student effort into the final product.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I used to teach persuasive writing so I have a lot of materials for that. When I used to teach in the hall, we had a certain curriculum we had to follow. Part of it was kind of lame (teaching 3 !!! vocabulary words / week), but also had to cover 1 topic and had the students write a persuasive paragraph (about 5 sentences). In my opinion, that was almost like nothing, but I do have all the material for the topics, and they're really good for high school and my student population.
    We did a little of that this year, but in the spring I will have them do at least 1 essay, maybe 2.

    So I definitely have lessons for that, I'm just wondering what else do I need to include besides what I listed above?
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Dec 7, 2013

    The main thing is making sure they know WHY they're learning this skill. Hey, you can get someone to see life through your point of view! Hey, you might be able to get your way!
     
  6. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I finish the year with my seniors by reading The Kite Runner. They really enjoy it, and there's a lot to discuss about redemption and forgiveness.
     
  7. Ms.SLS

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    Dec 8, 2013

    What grade is this?

    For freshman, I normally do non-fiction/research right after Christmas, then poetry, then Romeo and Juliet at the end.

    For older kids, I normally again do research after Christmas, and depending on the grade level probably a historical period unit, and finish the year with a novel and resume/college application/cover letter project.
     
  8. mrsenglish

    mrsenglish Rookie

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    Dec 9, 2013

    Freshman: Return from break with a new independent novel project, Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet), mythology, poetry, research
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 15, 2013

    Thank you for all the suggestions! After reading the responses, and talking to other teachers, I realized that everyone is doing different things, so mine should be ok.
    1. We can't do research. We have such a hard time with the students being on the internet, they always want to visit sites they're not supposed to. We have a program that blocks websites (I can set it to anything I want, I can create a list of allowed websites), and even then, a couple of students are smart enough to get around it. So their research would be very limited (on a couple of websites), which loses the sprit of research or they'd be off task.
    2. Shakespeare and any of the other classics would be way too intimidating for them. Someone told me she taught Romeo and Juliet's 'dumbed downá version and the kids loved it. I don't like the term, but I get it. Eventually I would like to get to the point where the kids could read Romeo and Juliet's real version, but we may never get there. A lower level one would however probably interest them, and without being intimidated.

    3. We will do a unit on: resume, cover letter, thank you letter, resignation letter, mock interview, etc.
    I got a local rep. from a job-assistance agency come and do a presentation for my 2 electives class. This is a Career Exploration's class, mostly with freshmen / sophomores. We called in all the juniors and seniors to watch, because this program was geared towards them. Well, I found out most of them had no clue what a cover letter is, definitely didn't have experience or knowledge or everything else, and a few knew / had a resume.
    So I will spend about a month on this with my English 3 classes probably in May.
    4. I will include a couple f weeks of grammar before any writing unit, or maybe before and after.

    I'm overall please with how everything turned out this year. everything we planned, we've done. I didn't have to change plans or even directions, I'm especially happy with this quarter. We did 2 writing projects (one major one) and finishing up the novel, which was a very good choice, they're all into it.

    I think I just need to follow my intuition and logic - I think I'm getting to know my students more, and learned a lot this year.
    - they actually like and are able to write, even though they'd deny it. Reading short, small novels are better. Changing units often is also better. We read this novel for the whole month of November, then wrote for one week, then 2 weeks of reading. They're only hanging in there because they know we have 2 chapters left. Even though they love it, they're ready for a change. (which will be Christmas break)
     

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