Reading Slaughterhouse Five to Battle Senioritis

Community IN THE (3)

 

What works for me in the English classroom is the novel Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  Something truly transcendent happens to second-semester high school seniors when they read Slaughterhouse-Five.  They begin to see the potential that they possess to act with purpose and conviction in the world.  Many second-semester seniors who have excelled for four years and been accepted to college, those who have in every sense but the physical already matriculated, live in the grips of an odd malaise.  They see high school as infantile, the remaining weeks of their high school career as a series of inevitable and useless events (aside from prom, of course) that will have absolutely no bearing on their prospects for future success or happiness.

As a teacher of second-semester seniors, I share a plight nearly as hapless as theirs.  My lot in life is to find ways to keep them engaged.  Last year, I attempted this by instituting blogging in my classroom.  I knew that I might be on to something when my wife, observing the blog over my shoulder one night, exclaimed, “They’re really writing essays, but they have no idea that they’re doing work!”  As students began to respond to the novel, to me, and most importantly to one another, I discovered the true power of this novel that has held teenagers in its sway for decades. … Read more…

Reading-Writing Reciprocity in the Intermediate Classroom

Teacher: Justin Stygles School:  Guy E. Rowe School (Norway, Maine) Grade:  6th For our maturing writers, classrooms are not truly conducive to real-life writing or curriculum demands so many examples of writing aimed at demonstrating application and understanding of particular writing concepts, developing a student’s craft or voice becomes a challenge. When writing narratives, students … Read more…

Showing-versus-Telling & The Walking Dead

Name: Rebekah O’Dell (@RebekahOdell1) Class: English 9 Standard School: Trinity Episcopal School, Virginia Intro The first twenty minutes of the pilot episode of The Walking Dead is virtually silent. I hadn’t remembered that when, out of desperation and end-of-October exhaustion, I agreed to show the episode to my ninth graders on Halloween. They begged. I was weak. … Read more…

Students Have a Voice, Teach Them to Use It

Teacher: Starr Sackstein, NBTC Class: AP Literature School: World Journalism Prep (Queens, NY)   “I encourage disagreement” is a sign that adorns the wall above my desk. One of my students was enthralled with the saying as soon as words danced off my lips and into the pre-discussion atmosphere of my AP Literature classroom so much that he … Read more…

What Worked: When Teaching Turns to Tech Support

Teacher: Glenn Morgan School: La Jolla High School (California) Grade: 11th Grade American Literature This week, I introduced the Peer Mark assignment, a service offered through turnitin.com, the anti-plagiarism (or, in their parlance, “unoriginal writing prevention) website. We’ve been working with various genres of media writing in my 11th grade Honors American Literature class, and I … Read more…

What Worked: Student-Led Assessment

Teacher: Carla Beard (retired) School: Connersville High School www.webenglishteacher.com The kids weren’t doing their homework, and I had resorted to the age-old stratagem of quick reading quizzes at the beginning of the period to remind them that they were accountable. However, I had run into a snag: students were failing the quizzes even though they … Read more…

What Worked: Teaching Characterization in Difficult Texts

Teacher:  Eric Pollack Class:  12th Grade AP English Literature School:  CheongShim International Academy Time:  50 minutes   Objectives (2): 1)      CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. 2)     CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of … Read more…

Literary CSI: A Close Reading Lesson Plan

Close Reading LEsson Plan

Class: AP Literature and Composition Posted by: Brian Sztabnik School: Miller Place High School   Do we each have literary DNA? Is our writing style unique? Vassar College professor, Don Foster, whose book, Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous, argues that no two people use language in precisely the same way, our identities are … Read more…

A Poetry Lesson Plan with 3-D Art

Posted by: Brian Sztabnik Class: AP Literature and Composition School: Miller Place High School My students are in the midst of a Romantic poetry unit, and I wanted them to understand the importance of re-reading when faced with a difficult poem. To convey that, the students spent the first 10 minutes of class looking at 3-D art. Some … Read more…