Well-rounded English Class

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Ms.H, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    Aug 15, 2008

    As I am working on my long term planning for my English classes (middle school and high school), I feel like I am missing something as far as literature selections. They are very heavy on novels, short stories, plays, and some poetry, which is great, but should I be covering more? I worry that I may be spending an improportionate time on fiction. Does anyone have any ideas for broadening the reading types a bit to include some practical non-fiction reading skills, or does this sound typical? (Obviously, my classes also include grammar/ vocabulary/ spelling/ writing-- my main concern here is just the aspect of what they are reading.)
     
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  3. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    Aug 15, 2008

    I incorporate non-fiction into my classroom by planning with my social studies, science, and math teachers. I try to find articles, editorials, speeches, etc. about topics/time periods they are covering in class.
     
  4. forchange

    forchange Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2008

    This year one way that I plan to incorporate more non-fiction is to have non-fiction texts to go along with some of the fiction we're reading. When we read Night, for instance, we will also be reading a non-fiction book about the Holocaust. Even if you didn't want to or couldn't get additional texts, you could easily get articles related to your fiction reading.

    And, I agree with jsfowler, tying non-fiction reading in with science, social studies, and math is a great idea. It'll make you popular with those teachers!

    My students also do a big research paper and they have to do non-fiction reading (obviously), in order to successfully complete that assignment.
     
  5. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    In California, there has been a big push to incorporate more expository reading and writing, because the Cal States estimate that well over half of incoming freshmen aren't ready for college-level reading and writing. The Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum was developed by a task force and has been approved as a full-year English course; many districts, like mine, break it up and use selected modules over all four years of high school. We go through training to use the ERWC, but...if you go to the link below, you'll find a PDF of that outlines the course and includes the teacher template that describes several strategies for dealing with expository text. This is from three years ago, and the curriculum has been revised a bit, but you'll get the basic idea.
    www.csupomona.edu/~uwc/pdf/KentuckyWorkshopPacket.pdf

    I also pull non-fiction into my novel selections. When we read 1984, I have articles on privacy, freedom of speech, etc.; my students read, analyze, and then discuss the articles in relation to the book. It helps them realize that art and life sometimes aren't that far apart. Don't forget documentary film, too - I show a documentary on North Korea that leaves my kids dumbfounded.
     
  6. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    I am teaching a 7th grade reading class this year and we have just ordered from Scholastic a subcription to Scope magazine. These are for grades 6 - 12. They have a lot of non-fiction reading in them with follow-up activites and writings to go with the articles. I also like the fact that they deal with current events.
     
  7. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I used Scope last year, and I found that it had too many tie-ins to movies and TV for my taste. The New York Times has a teen magazine called New York Times Upfront that I like much better.
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Text structure is one of our state standards so we do a lot of dissecting of non-fiction articles, last year they were mostly science-related, my physics co-worker helped me out. I think the students find it refreshing. My class is still dominated by fiction reading, though.

    Mrs. K, PM with your student's reactions to 1984, if you don't mind (don't want to hijack this thread). I'm thinking of adding it to my Sr. curriculum this year. I haven't read the book since my freshman year of college, but I remember enjoying it.
     
  9. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    Aug 18, 2008

    Thanks a lot, everyone. That PDF looked like a really interesting course, Mrs. K! For those of you who incorperate articles here and there to correspond with your literature, where do you tend to find them?
     
  10. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Sometimes I Google search a particular topic, sometimes I just run across them reading the paper or news magazine. You can also subscribe to izzit.org's email, and they'll send a link to a current event article every day. You can also get a free DVD from them, most of which tend to be about economics, but I did just order one about the causes of the Depression - I may be able to use it when I teach To Kill a Mockingbird. It's only 12 minutes long.
     
  11. sars

    sars New Member

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    One of the things I have found to be quite effective is studying advertising. The students really enjoy looking at some of their favourite ads (print and tv), but we examine them for target audience, language and persuasive techniques. There are heaps of great lesson ideas on the web.

    Another good one is autobiography. As a class you can read one autobiography, or passages from several autobiographies. You can then study the conventions of autobiography and then have them write their own.
     
  12. sars

    sars New Member

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    Aug 18, 2008

    One of the things I have found to be quite effective is studying advertising. The students really enjoy looking at some of their favourite ads (print and tv), but we examine them for target audience, language and persuasive techniques. There are heaps of great lesson ideas on the web.

    Another good one is autobiography. As a class you can read one autobiography, or passages from several autobiographies. You can then study the conventions of autobiography and then have them write their own.
     
  13. crzymtngirl75

    crzymtngirl75 Rookie

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    Mrs. K - thank you for the izzit.org link! I ordered the Stossel video :)

    As far as incorporating non-fiction: I agree with the research project idea. There is a webquest for a research paper I found on real-life mysteries - Atlantis, The Bermuda Triangle, Bigfoot, Crop Circles, Amelia Earhart, Easter Island...
    I plan to use this with a short mystery reading unit.
     
  14. fargo21

    fargo21 Rookie

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    Aug 26, 2008

    i love fiction a thousand times more than non fiction, but i suppose you could incorporate non fiction that relates to the fiction you are reading. that would make it very intteresting and it would put the fiction into perspective. you may even decideed to read the non fiction before the fiction and ask students to compare the works.
     
  15. Finally12

    Finally12 New Member

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    Aug 27, 2008

    I'd love to know what documentary you show. This is my first year in HS and I have to review Animal Farm with my PCP 12th graders, Brave New World with my CP 12th Graders, and To Kill a Mockingbird with my CP 9th Graders. I have ideas that I remember when I was in school, but that was a very long time ago.

    I figured in both classes my ice breaker would be creating their own classroom rules(of course within the guidelines of the school's).
     

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