Day 23 – All Hail the Mighty Butcher Paper

Here’s what did in preparation for and on Tuesday (11/8):
-We read ch. 4 of Anderson, as well as the section called “The Sentence.”
-Before we started talking about Anderson, Dr. Benko briefly went through her universal feedback on midterms (see the lesson plan for specifics!), and one of the main things she commented on was needing to cite more widely in reflections. Because of this feedback, Dr. Benko let people who wanted to revise their Northside reflections turn those in on Thursday (suggestions from Benko on connecting sources to our Northside work: tensions in Smagorinsky, understanding that the readings can contradict what you saw or what you saw can contradict the readings, etc.).
-We started class by briefly going over what we thought of these sections of Anderson before diving into the questions on the lesson plan – Kaleb liked seeing the errors and the description of the errors, although it took Beth and Liv awhile to read because of the more technical language. Dr. Benko admitted as well that sometimes it’s hard to read lesson plans about teaching, but it’s helpful for us to think about the thinking behind the error and how we can support it in a visual way, but it can also make the process seem kind of tedious.

-Getting into the meat of the chapter, we divided into groups to discuss the questions in the lesson plan.
-For ch. 4, we went over why visual scaffolds are so important (because mechanics are a visual skill), how these kinds of scaffolds relate to other literature we’ve read (think of the arrow of gradual release of responsibility from Benko’s article – eventually, students won’t need the teacher or the wall chart), and the difference between these scaffolds and pre-generated posters (students are actually adding to these scaffolds and have a sense of ownership over them, and they act as living organisms that breathe life into the classroom).
-For “The Sentence,” Anderson’s primary concepts (pseudo concepts, mentor sentences, visual scaffolds) are clearly laid out in this section, and his concepts about teaching grammar fit in with our readings so far through a continuous process of assessment, through giving feedback, and through mentor texts (i.e., mentor sentences for Anderson). For some sentences that might work as mentor sentences, here’s a Huffington Post article with first lines from lots of YA novels – that our students would actually read!
-Liv also wondered how these lessons could be differentiated, and Dr. Benko explained that students who aren’t struggling might only need brief refreshers, whereas students who are struggling would benefit from a full lesson/activity.
-We also discussed what kinds of grammatical concepts we might want to teach to our Northside students, and came up with the following list to add to Julie’s list of concepts (also listed):
Our list:
-commas – when, where, why, splices
-subject/verb
     -agreement within sentence
     -tense shifts within paragraph
-descriptive writing
-audience + choice
     -also knowing when voice is okay
Julie’s list:
-using commas

-effective prewriting
-organizing ideas into paragraphs
-effective introductions and conclusions
-avoiding fragments
-avoiding run-ons
-“matching” verb tense
-code-switching – formal vs. informal voice
-focused writing/addressing the prompt/staying on topic
-effective hooks/getting started
-using correct support for a claim
-integrating quoted information into their own words

Thinking ahead:

-Don’t worry about the Hicks readings on the schedule!
-Come to class Thursday with whether or not you’re working in groups and with your topic preferences chosen.

-Rachel

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