Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision-making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.
Acknowledge new information expressed by others, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views in light of the evidence presented.
In this lesson, students will analyze the symbols and imagery present in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Rain in Summer" to determine its tone and theme. Formative assessment checks are included in the form of student handouts with text-based questions and charts. Students will also write a mini-essay as a summative assessment in which they will develop a claim about the poem's theme, providing text-based examples as support.
This two-day lesson, "A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words: From Image to Detailed Narrative," by Traci Gardner, is provided by ReadWriteThink.org, a website developed by the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, with support from the Verizon Foundation.
In the lesson, students view an image that tells a story and brainstorm the possible event or situation the image illustrates. Each student then writes a narrative from the point of view of one of the characters, revealing the character's thoughts/feelings and the events that led up to the image or the events that will follow.
Students will conduct a close reading of the myth "Apollo and Daphne" as told by Thomas Bulfinch. Students will use a variety of strategies to learn new vocabulary from the myth, paraphrase complex sentences, and analyze lines in the story that propel action, reveal details about a character, or provoke a decision. As the summative assessment for the lesson, students will work in groups to create a short dramatization of an assigned section of the myth. Also as part of this lesson, students will view some wonderful artwork inspired by this myth and explore why myths are still relevant in our culture.
In this third lesson of a three-part unit, students will explore structure and its affect on theme in poetry. Using pairs of poems about the Holocaust, students will use graphic organizers and rubrics to help them organize their observations into a comparison/contrast essay and Socratic Seminar contributions. The summative assessment for the three-lesson unit is a final draft of an essay (drafted in Part I of the unit) about what separates poetry from prose.
In this lesson students will use T.S. Eliot's "Macavity" to analyze the power of word choice and figurative language devices in creating coherent and purposefully written descriptions. They will cite text evidence to show how specific lines of the poem impact and drive the description of the character, who happens to be a cat. They will collaborate and discuss the impact of these lines and word choices and then finally write their own coherent and purposefully written descriptions, utilizing the figurative language devices they have identified and analyzed.
Students will be studying the narrative poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and discussing how a “poem can tell a story.” Students will focus upon citing evidence to support central ideas found in the poem and then using those inferences to complete a comparison/contrast essay. Part of this study will include watching a 4 minute clip from the movie The Blind Side in which Tim McGraw’s character explains the meaning of the poem in terms of a football game between rivals LSU and Ole Miss. Students will be asked to compare and contrast the poem’s meaning in terms of battle in war and battle on the football field, determine how these two situations are similar and different, and finally be asked to explain if the football analogy was helpful in aiding the understanding of the story the poem tells.
The three-part unit, of which this lesson is the first, examines the poet's ability to marry form and theme using poetic devices in order to create verse that cuts to the heart of some of humanity's most profound experiences. This first lesson is an exploration of a broad range of poetic and sound devices, and a detailed analysis of how these devices are at work in Shakespeare's Sonnet 71. The lesson culminates in small group review sessions where students apply their learning about poetic terms to revising their own written musings on what distinguishes poetry from prose.
The goal of this two to three day exemplar is to give students the opportunity to explore the point of view of a man who survived slavery. By reading and rereading the passage closely, combined with classroom discussion about it, students will explore the various beliefs and points of view Douglass experienced as he became increasingly aware of the unfairness of his life. Students will need to consider the emotional context of words and how diction (word choice) affects an author's message. When combined with writing about the passage and teacher feedback, students will form a deeper understanding of how slavery affected those involved.
In this lesson, students will analyze a rich literary nonfiction text illustrating the rescue of British soldiers at Dunkirk in 1940. Through use of repeated readings, text dependent questions, class discussion, and two writing tasks, students will examine the miraculous nature of what happened at Dunkirk and how shared human values played a part in the outcome of this event. This lesson was designed originally for use in a middle school Social Studies curriculum, where teaching students to go beneath a surface understanding of historical events is at a premium. Although this exemplar was designed to be used in a middle school Social Studies curriculum, it is appropriate for use in an ELA class as well.
This twelve-minute video from Teaching Channel features dance teacher Brooke Charlebois demonstrating how to use cooperative groups to structure the expression of creative movement and choreographic forms to convey global issues. The video briefly focuses on how embedded dance allows students to demonstrate their understanding of concepts in math, science, history, geography and language.
The goal of the exemplar from Student Achievement Partner web resources is to give students practice in reading and writing about poetry. The poem makes connections to World War I as students closely analyze the poet's depiction of war. Students explore complex text through a) re-reading, paraphrasing, and discussing ideas, (b) achieving an accurate basic understanding of the stanzas of the poem, (c) achieving an accurate interpretive understanding of the piece, and (d) building a coherent piece of writing that both constructs and communicates solid understanding of the poem.
This resource from Teaching Tolerance focuses on Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise." It begins with a discussion of figurative language and the power of words and moves into a discussion of overcoming hardships.
This web resource is a step-by-step guide to using Literature Circles in the classroom. While a specific lesson plan is not included, it is a clear guide for anyone wishing to incorporate this discussion strategy in the classroom.
Freak the Mighty is the story of a friendship between Max, who is big for his age and has learning disabilities, and Kevin, who is a genius, but is short and unable to walk on his own. In this unit, students explore how expectations for students with disabilities are influenced by appearances, behaviors, and stereotypes as they cite textual evidence that supports an analysis of what the text says, determine/analyze the text's theme, and engage effectively in collaborative small-group discussions.
"Explore reading strategies using the think-aloud process as students investigate connections between the life and writings of Edgar Allan Poe. The unit, which begins with an in-depth exploration of "The Raven," then moves students from a full-class reading of the poem to small-group readings of Poe's short stories ("The Black Cat," "Hop-Frog," "Masque of the Red Death," and "The Fall of the House of Usher"). The unit concludes with individual projects that explore the readings in more detail. Students have the opportunity to choose among the following [three] activities: write a narrative in Poe's style; design a sales brochure for the House of Usher; ...or investigate the author further by exploring biographical and background information in more detail. The lesson includes options for both students who need direct instruction and those who can explore with less structure."
Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence
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