For the last few school years, I’ve shared this poem with each of my English classes. In these last few years of teaching English Language Arts & Reading, I’ve learned a whole lot that I didn’t know before. I’ve learned that some of us have voices in our heads, and some of us don’t:
And, I use this poem to find out who has a voice, and who doesn’t in my classes. I tell my classes that I might be the only teacher that ever hopes they have the voices in their head. Why? Because reading is easier and makes infinitely more sense if you have a reading voice in your head.
And, for the kiddos who don’t, I spend the year helping them develop theirs. I read passages, books, and poems aloud to them to model my reading voice and teach their brains how a good one sounds. I let them whisper read their independent reading and work because if they don’t have voices in their head, they can use their real one.
This week we’ve been examining elements of story telling with the purpose of identifying patterns that play out across genres. So far this week, we’ve looked at songs, poems, news articles, short stories, scripts, and shorts (film). And it’s only Wednesday!
10 minutes of independent reading to start the class.
Today this poem was their Quick Write.
We took notes on conflict (internal/ external/ Man vs. (person vs.) _____)
I introduced our first annotation strategy (thoughts– just writing whatever you are thinking on the text) and read aloud a quick short story: Boar Out There
Students identified the conflict in the passage, found text evidence, and categorized the type of conflict (internal/ external & person vs.___)
The text had a simple conflict. We ended class with the short “The Present“, and students worked to identify the many conflicts between/ among all of the different characters as an exit ticket.
Here’s my current unit plan overview:
- students will explore the elements of story-telling across genres (fiction, biography, autobiography, memoir, personal narrative, narrative poetry, drama and more)
- students will use the elements of story-telling in their own reflective writing
- students will explore historical and personal stories to answer the question: What does it mean to be an American?