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Student Focus: Josh

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 2 months ago

Discussion of Student Focus: Josh


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Comments (4)

Anonymous said

at 11:50 am on Jun 9, 2008

I couldn't agree more: student choice--in reading selections and writing topics--is an essential ingredient in motivating students. The tricky part for me--in a non-elective regular English class--is finding a balance between student-selected and teacher-selected reading and writing. I think (I hope I'm remembering these numbers correctly) Harvey Daniels recommends the 80/20 rule: 80% student selected texts, 20% teacher selected texts. Could we apply this same rule to writing? Could the 20% prepare students for those timed writings (on the AP, the ACT, the SAT, the benchmarks...)we can't ignore?

Anonymous said

at 7:19 am on Jun 15, 2008

With the 80/20 rule, will our students be prepared to read the texts required in college? This sounds rational for creating life-long readers...which should one of our ultimate goals! Maybe college has changed more than I realize?

Anonymous said

at 2:40 pm on Jun 15, 2008

I think there are many ways to manipulate choice in the classroom and not stray completely from the curriculum. I teach American Literature, so my hands are tied on some of the things that I must expose my students to, but that doesn't mean I have to make each student read every word. While we discuss and study in-depth each literary period, the characteristics and the basis for the writings included, I have often let my students ‘choose’ which texts they want to read (they choose one of the three or four included in the textbook). I give them a brief synopsis of each of the choices and the students make their choices; I then group students according to their selections. It becomes the group's responsibility to study that piece (become the 'experts'). Fishbowls are great for this activity. All students are exposed to the literature, yet they feel they had a choice. The idea of teaching students to read like writers will increase both their writing and interpretive skills.
I plan to be much more open with my students choosing the direction of their writing. It is easy to get tied to the analysis of literature, but why can't they choose something from the text that they can relate to their own lives? Aren't we always trying to make connections to present day when reading literature from the past, in order to make it relevant to students? Can we take it one step further: make it relevant, and then let the students make it personal? I think about Gatsby alone…a required reading, but there are so many ideas in the text that could be relevant to my students’ lives (love, death through violence, abuse of drugs and alcohol, misconceptions of others, divorce, excessive living, physical, emotional abuse, the effects of rumors, crime, consequences of actions,etc.). I think that making it personal will prompt them to invest more of themselves in reading and understanding the novel. At least that is my hope!

Anonymous said

at 7:56 am on Jun 20, 2008

I would encourage you to look at Tom Romano's web site at Miami University where he has posted multi-genre projects based on novels. Certainly those students went for deep connections to literature... what I question is students having to do that writing based on a novel we choose. Tom lets them choose. Some of my students are absolutely repulsed by Gatsby because people live in such excess and these students struggle daily to have food in the house... one of my seniors did her multi-genre project on Nineteen Minutes which she has read on her own three times. She had a lot to say.. so the writing was good. I know the MG on Gatsby was a joke to my son because he just didn't are about the book. It's tricky, that's for sure.

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