Engaging With Literature: A Workshop for Teachers Grades 3-5
This video workshop shows grades 3–5 teachers how to guide students in becoming effective and engaged readers of literature. The workshop centers on the belief that students have the innate skill to make sense of information they discover in a text—if they are presented with the opportunity and expectation of doing so. Individual programs deal with initiating and maintaining such a classroom community while dealing with numerous pragmatic issues. A print guide and Web site supplement the videos, providing for a complete professional development workshop.
1. Foundations Meet the eight teachers in the video programs and find out what kinds of literary experiences have had the most meaning for them. The group talks about how they have brought a love of literature to their students.
2. Looking at Literature The teachers talk about ways in which story affects their lives and the lives of their students. They move on to talk about selecting texts, considering age- and interest-appropriateness, text availability, and other issues.
3. Starting Classroom Conversations This session concentrates on the basics of good discussions: defining “good” questions, identifying those who should have an opportunity to ask questions, and explaining the goals for this technique. Learn how teachers can make everyone feel comfortable contributing to a literary discussion and strategies for involving reluctant participants.
4. Classroom Dialogues The teachers examine the various roles the teacher plays in class discussions—maintaining a careful balance among leading, being a part of, and observing discussion. Additionally, they offer important suggestions for folding traditional elements of the language arts curriculum, such as identifying literary elements, into the ongoing class discussion.
5. Using Art and Other Disciplines To Enrich Classroom Conversations Learn how the arts and other disciplines can enhance individual literary experiences for each student. Through classroom footage and group discussion, see how drama, drawing, and music add depth and dimension to literature, and offer students alternative ways of expressing their understandings of the text.
6. Beginning the Year The kind of classroom that supports active and engaged readers begins with seeds sown in the first few days of the school year. The teachers share their thoughts on specific ways to set the tone for the year, setting goals as they begin, communicating these goals with their students, and tailoring literary experiences to meet students’ needs.
7. Many Students: Many Voices and Abilities Each student has an individual perspective to share with the world. In this session, you will learn about ways to celebrate their uniqueness, providing an atmosphere in the classroom in which each student plays a respected and respectful role in conversations surrounding literature.
8. Reacting to Students’ Work In this session, you will see various ways to evaluate students, use that information to influence strategies, and communicate expectations to students and families. This session also addresses high-stakes assessments, deciding when to assess and when to evaluate, and suggestions for helping students assess their own work and the work of their peers.
9. The Professional Teacher The teachers talk about the ways in which they nurture themselves as professionals: their mentors and heroes, their activities, and the ways they reach out to their peers as they all grow in their careers.
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