Tag Archives: teaching

Video Lesson: The Tech Guide

I had a few people ask how I make the video lessons, so I thought I might do an extra post to answer that question.  First, I have just completed my Master’s in Educational Technology, and that was a great idea to really learn to use the technology out there and to really see the benefits of students using technology EFFECTIVELY.  But in order to see the students using technology effectively to produce academic gains, there are a few steps the teacher must take.  The most important, however, is intentionally planning for growth instead of edutainment.  The second is management and ensuring the students are doing what they are supposed to be doing while on the device.  I know… But I have a strategy for that.

MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUE: No one likes a dirty belly button.

  1. Clean the belly button.  We use iPads, and class starts by taking the device off airplane mode (quicker charging and holds battery longer as the power cell in the device begins to die) and cleaning the belly button. What this means is that the students double-click the home key to reveal all open apps and windows.  Students must then close everything except what I tell them to use.
  2. At any point in the lesson, randomly double-click the belly button to see what is opened.  If anything other than what I have instructed is opened, I screen shot and email it to myself. If it is just off task, I give one warning and then contact the parent the second time. I ask for parent email, and then for any additional offenses, I include the parent.  The third time, I involve administration because clearly I’m not good enough to make the behavioral change in the student.  If it violates school policy, I send the screen shot directly to administration and enter a disciplinary referral.  If the only thing open is what I have directed, students sometimes get a piece of candy or just a positive phone call home.

MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUE: Use apps that monitor student activity for you.

  1. Try Nearpod.  There is a free version that allows for LIVE implementation of the lesson.  This means that the students must progress in the lesson as you push them through the slides.  Student assessment can be built into the presentation, making it totally awesome. Finally, you can actually show student responses (with or without giving student names) to the class for feedback.  All data is tracked, and you get a PDF analysis of student work individually and as a class. If you use the purchased version, Nearpod lessons can be launched in HOMEWORK so students progress at their own rates.  This is great for leading PLE instruction.  Join Nearpod by visiting https://app.nearpod.com/#/market?view=npInit.
  2. Try Zaption. This has a cost, but I think it is totally worth it.   Basically, you create videos and post them.  Then, you build a Zaption lesson with assessment built into the video you have created. Or, you can use a video someone else has created.  I’m convinced this is worth the cost, but you can get a free two month trial by visiting http://zapt.io/ruem93kaf.



  1.  Have the lesson.  To make instruction clear, I still use PowerPoint to start everything. In each PowerPoint, I include the notes of what I want to be sure to say.  Instead of adding animations that advance on my click, I add a new slide for each part.  For example, if the slide has 4 bullets, I make four slides so the first has the first bullet, the second has the first and second bullet, and so on.  This helps with the video elements.
  2. Buy the “ExplainEverything” app.  I cannot put to words how valuable this has been.  There are others out there, and I’ve used several.  But this is the best five bucks you can spend. Promise.
  3. Transfer the PPT into a PDF and email it to yourself. (Trust me, easiest this way.)


USING NEARPOD FROM THIS POINT: While you can import videos into Nearpod, you can’t stop the video to add the assessments.  So, for implementing this tool, you would combine the lesson with videos through the interactions menu in Nearpod. Sounds confusion, but I promise that playing around with the program will be helpful.

  1. Open Nearpod and click to create a new Nearpod.  When open, click to import your Powerpoint or JPG files. Each slide will import as its own page. (Note, importing from jpg will reduce file size and keep fonts and spacings.  With PPT, sometimes that gets messed up.)
  2. With the slides imported, begin adding activities and assessments for the students.
  3. Save the file and publish it for students to begin learning.
  4. Once published, you will want to share it when you are ready to use it.  For LIVE mode, you are in control.  For HOMEWORK, just give the students the pin or send them an email for them to use at the appropriate time.
  5. As a part of my degree, I had to create instructional guides.  One of the guides I created was Nearpod, and you can find it by visiting https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guide-to-Nearpod-in-Class-2079687.



  1. Open the email on the device with Explain Everything.  When it is open, click to open in “ExplainEverything” app. Each slide will import as its own video page.
  2. Begin recording your speech for each of the slides.  I recommend allowing record to run for one second BEFORE you start talking and 2 seconds AFTER you stop.  This helps with signaling for revisions if you need to record over what you have and for giving time to import the activity in Zaption.
  3. Once you have recorded everything, hold down the play button until the big yellow play button appears.  Push the big play button and verify you like the video.
  4. Save the file and export it to your youtube channel. (Don’t have one? Just visit youtube and create one.  This is also free and easy.)
  5. Once the video has exported, ExplainEverything will ask if you want to share. Click yes and select to share by email. This is great for giving a backup link to the video.  Once in your email, copy the link.
  6. In Zaption, click New Lesson.  From here, paste the link to your video.  Alas, you’re now ready to add the assessment parts.

(By the way, I get nothing from having you use any of this. I’m just going with my personal favorites from my own practices and my own data of what seems to works best with my students.)


Hope this all helps! If you have any comments, questions, or ideas, please let me know!

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Huswifery – A Brain Break with a Poetic Discussion

So far we have spent a solid two days on everything we have read. There is no way we can legitimately cover all of the biggies from American Literature in one tiny little semester. Such a tragedy in trying to narrow through the texts to find the biggest bang for the bucks. As an added bonus, if we skip too much time we have to teach students about the historical gaps because they don’t have the background needed to really comprehend the literature and the affect of the literature without a idea of the historical standpoint. Of course, I’m not sure I would have had all I needed to know either at that point in my educational journey, but at least we had a year to get through the curriculum.

Alas, if a module is 4 1/2 weeks, we are only a week behind. That can be justified since we did a Common Core Workshop during the first week to really take time to introduce expectations to the students (materials are free at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/American-Literature-Common-Core-Workshop-Reading-Info-Text-and-Writing-Task-844323; the blog entry is found at http://kirkscorner4commoncore.com/2013/08/24/english-iii-hybrid-tn-eocccss-course-what-is-it-to-be-american/).

So, we decided the students needed a break with a short task which could be accomplished in one day’s lesson. As an added bonus, we needed another practice with Accountable Talk stems. Huswifery, as old as it may be, provided exactly what we needed. What, then, did I do to prepare and how did it go?

First, I read the text and made notes. In my notes I noticed I was paraphrasing each part, so that became the reading skill for the students. This lesson was based on Accountable Talk, so I only needed to provide a quick reading support to build content knowledge and then scaffold a discussion. Just in case the conversation lulled, I knew I needed to have some discussion questions. Since I also want students to build critical thinking and self-directed, high-level questioning, I wanted them to created questions as well.

At first, students read the poem and took notes on what it made them think of and what they thought it was about. Next, I had them watch a video with a few images and the text of the poem. Here lies one thing I would change: If I were to do it again, between the individual reading and the video I would have the students share out with a shoulder partner to build knowledge and confidence. But the imagery served the purpose just as well. (You can find the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIod7xpO7jc.) After reading, paraphrasing the first stanza was modeled. Then, students were asked to summarize the paraphrase to get the main idea of the text. As a “We Do” the class was guided through the paraphrase process through questioning before completing the stanza summary. Students independently paraphrased and summarized the final stanza. To verify their thinking, I had students share out their ideas and then synthesize the point of the poem as a whole. From here, each student was given a post-it to create a short answer question pertaining to the text.

I collected all post-its and secretly pulled out the weak ones and added in a few I prepared in advance. All students were then given a post-it to start the discussion. I put Accountable Talk Stems on the board and set a timer for thirty minutes. From there, we had a great conversation about the text. A few students were taking notes on the poem, and I need to find a way to make more students do that.

After our discussion, we reviewed the process of close reading and paraphrasing/summarizing stanzas only to lead into a short answer writing question pertaining to the poem: What does Huswifery tell you about life during the time period? Apply what you know from previous readings to this response.


So how did the answers turn out? I think I need to do a short lesson on how to formulate a constructed response this week. Oh… And we are going to focus on support and elaboration for the writing aspect.

If you replicate this process, please let me know how it goes for you!

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Of Plymouth Plantation… and the inner city attention span

plymouth 1

As we gear up for the new week, the students gear down because they cannot be less interested in Of Plymouth Plantation. Well, they do have one question they seek to answer: What is Americanism? What does it mean to be American? So as they formulate their ideas, we study American Literature. And, this week, we transition from Pilgrims and an active, benevolent God to Sinners and an Angry God. Boy… I can feel the good vibes now!

Since the students completed the Common Core Workshop successfully, I feel confident in their ability to closely read a text, and, thanks to my intense written feedback, the quality of their text-evidence in response to TDQs has increased tremendously. In fact, for many of them, the reading guide worksheet isn’t enough room and they are writing their answers on another page.

The first step in planning this lesson was to think about anticipated difficulties. Thanks to the first sentence, I didn’t have to think very hard. The Puritan Plain Style might have been easy to Puritans, but thanks to the evolutionary writing style of a few hundred years’ writings, those complex sentences even gave me a headache! I began planning with the idea that if the students could break down the complicated structures of the key parts of the paragraphs (or sections), maybe they could understand enough to work through answering some of the text-dependent questions. However… I needed to model this one for the students too.

Thus, a reading guide was created and designed to focus on breaking down complex sentences in terms of 1. Who? What? 2. Action. Then, I divided the excerpts into major sections and created TDQs for those sections. This made the reading guide look long (5 pages), but I wanted each section to have a visual separation from the other sections and then I needed to add some pretty visuals to keep the students happy. You’d be surprised how happy a different font, cute clip art, or shaded boxes can make the students when they are looking at a complex text they wouldn’t have been interested in otherwise.

From there, I created a reading quiz modeled after the FEW samples of multiple choice PARCC questions that have been released. This is a pretty important step because my students are used to teachers giving completion credit rather than accuracy credit. Also, apparently in some classes if most of the students don’t do the work the teacher makes it extra credit for those who did it and does not penalize those who don’t do it. To combat that, mean as it may be, I have the homework for grading and the reading quiz for grading. Students can retake any reading quiz after scoring a perfect score on the homework if they so desire, but this technique has shown students I’m serious about them completing some work outside of class. After all, my job is to prepare them for college.

If you are interested, you may find this lesson plan bundle at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Common-Core-Of-Plymouth-Plantation-Lesson-Plan-Reading-Guide-PPT-with-KEY-844835

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English III Hybrid TN EOC/CCSS Course: What is it to be American?

cc workshop 1

Ah. The hybrid year. Last year we piloted all that is Common Core while being assess by the TN EOC. Alas, this year we implement Common Core while being assessed by both the TN EOC (with a few supposedly dropped SPIs) and PARCC. Add in that the PARCC assessments are on a yearlong plan while our course is a semester and you have a world of differentiation and 80 hour work weeks. But me… I honestly did not get into teaching to get rich. I got into teaching so I could make a difference and do my part to make the world a better place. So I’ll take it: 80 hour work weeks, Common Core, EOCs, TRIPOD, TVAAS, and whatever else you throw at me. But I’m going to help my students get it even if there is no 15-16 year old of the inner city volunteering to read these texts.

So what’s the spin for buy in? Well, the essential question becomes “What does it mean to be an American?” Now, this isn’t so far fetched – we are American and they call out their freedoms on a regular basis. So I tied in a personal stake: I know a true American.

1. After the boring syllabus review and all that jazz, we watched a video to spark a conversation. (Find this video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75Ku4RhZwC0&list=UUTCWtGoGyBSUHzI9dTw3Q1w) Students felt a connection because I’m not the only teacher at the school with a loved one who died in a very public service-related situation, and they saw those families. Then, we invited them to bring in the picture of anyone they knew who was willing to defend what it meant to be American. From there, a living bulletin board was created.

2. We built in a Common Core Workshop using Prothero’s “Introduction” from his text “The American Bible.” We actually used only an excerpt, but the idea worked very well to introduce students to the power of words. We spent a week with this text, thoroughly modeling the process of close reading, text-dependent questions, and the dreaded writing task. In all, the point was modeling the process, and I gave a tremendous amount of written feedback to each student for every single question. Amazingly the students thought they would get credit if they just wrote something in the answer slots. Amazing. Apparently some teachers do that so often the students expect it as the norm and were genuinely surprised by their grades and the feedback. They could not believe I read, scored, and responded to every single question for every single student. Once I realized they were not used to teachers carefully reading and grading, I intentionally went overboard in providing feedback. I plan to do this intensively for a bit here – as long as I can practically keep it up – until I have them well trained. I can understand having some completion grades, but these guys make it seem as if that was all they ever had for “practice” category work. Unreal.

You can find the PPT and student documents at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/American-Literature-Common-Core-Workshop-Reading-Info-Text-and-Writing-Task-844323

Interestingly, I found where someone has posted the Introduction for free on scribed. You may access that file at http://www.scribd.com/doc/95184410/American-Bible-Intro-Excerpt.

And with that, it was time to begin the textbook selections.

Welcome to Module 1: Early America to 1800.

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English III: Early American Origin Myths

Native myths 1

Our class text is Prentice Hall’s Literature: The American Experience edition. After having outdated texts for a rather long time, it is exciting to have texts which are actually designed with Common Core in mind. Unfortunately, there is just not enough time in the semester to read and discuss every text, so we have to sort of pick and choose the highlights of each period which make it into the 18 weeks.

{Now, if you are interested in the outline, you can find the outline of the course modules in my TPT store at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Stephanie-Kirk-11}

Alas, the first experience our students had with the text was Native American Origin Myths. We spent a total of two days on this task, spending about 75 minutes a day. We are just coming out of an entire week on an informational text in which we painfully modeled every detail of close reading, answering text-dependent questions with evidence, and completion of a writing task, so I wanted to do something to make the lesson as engaging as possible.

Myths covered:
1. On Turtle’s Back
2. When Grizzlies Walked Upright
3. Navajo Origin Myth
4. Cherokee Origin of Fire (not in the textbook but included because this is used for modeling)

What do I want students to know and be able to do at the end of the lesson?
1. Explain the point of an origin myth.
2. Retell the origin myth.
3. Know what archetype is, identify it in text, and compare it across multiple texts.
4. Know what theme is, identify it in text, and compare it across multiple texts.

How will we get there?
We started out the lesson by reviewing common skills of archetypes, theme, and traits of origin myths. Fortunately I built the PPT in a way that if a student could tell me what it was I didn’t have to go in detail about it, but when they couldn’t remember archetypes I had that built in as well. Overplanning for anticipated difficulties is ALWAYS a good practice because it is better to have a plan for if something does not work than to allow instruction to fall apart because the students just didn’t have the knowledge you thought they should have coming into the lesson.
Anyway, I knew having the students all read every myth was going to be dreadful and boring, and there was no way to make sure that fit in the pacing. So I modified and divided the class in three groups to study an origin myth, draft it as a play, perform it, and discuss archetypes and themes across multiple texts. Students also were assigned homework to complete the reading guide and text-dependent questions, and students were held accountable for this with the included reading quiz for the second day.
Before reading I did a short story preview and vocabulary preview activity in which students reviewed the material and told me what they thought about the selection. This is such a change from when the teacher used to tell the students all about what they were going to read before reading it. By doing a story preview in this manner, curiosity increased and I think buy in and participation was enhanced.
While day one was mostly skills and notes to intro the period, we did have time for every student to complete his/her first reading of the text. The way I assigned the texts was in looking at the student lexile with some thought into the text lexile and the layers of complexity of the story. I printed the reading guides and wrote the students’ names on the page. Students were not given any sign of who their group might be until the second day. To round out the first part of the lesson, I had a canned closer of using a post-it note to create a Facebook status or Tweet based on the assigned story. To review the skill itself, I had students use an index card to write a note to an absent classmate to explain the skills reviewed/learned for the day. As I type this it occurs to me I should do that every day and post the best summary as a sort of learning wall in the room. I’ll get on that Monday.
Back to the lesson… students were to complete the next reading of the text and answer the text-dependent questions on the reading guide. To help them remember and hold them accountable I sent a Remind101 message to all parents and students in the class.
On day two, I reviewed what we had done and where we were going to go next. I created a model of exactly what I expected them to do using a new myth. Considering skills I had them tell me what the elements of drama were and what goes on a script. I showed them the myth and my script. Then I used students to help me act out the skit for the class. This was great because it allowed me to show my expectations and it allowed us to discuss the role of performer and observer in the room. I gave the students time and materials, and then they produced a script and acted out the plays. After each presentation, I used questioning to get the students to think through the patterns, characters, and symbols which repeated throughout multiple texts. As an exit ticket, I had the students use constructed response and text evidence from each myth to argue a theme in all texts.

All in all, this was a fun lesson with the students. It was hard letting go of control but the bottom line was that this lesson was probably the first time since I can’t remember when that I didn’t feel I was the hardest working person in the room. I built in character and team building, behavior expectations, and tiered accountability. If I had it to do over again, I would have revised pacing to include a more thorough discussion of theme of each myth and had some sort of reporting out format for the groups to engage the audience in talking about archetypes and themes rather than having to lead it myself. But, judging by the output, the students are good with being able to give a theme. Finding the evidence is something I need to build in future lessons for additional modeling and practice.

From American Literature Module 1: Beginnings to 1800 as featured in my English III course. The text referenced is Prentice Hall’s Literature: American Experience Edition.
If you are interested, these documents can be found at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Native-American-Myths-Prentice-Halls-Literature-American-Lit-EDITABLEKEYS-843374

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GRRRR! Grammar!

Growing up on a farm in the south one might think I had picked up the southern drawl of you’uns and y’alls. In reality, we girls were trained in the manner of Eliza Doolittle and, combined with my own personal disgust of tobacco spitting old ladies at church, people often assume I’m a transplanted northerner until the southern temper spikes its head. Anyway the point is I heard grammar correctly and had it drilled into my head so much that I honestly accidentally found myself correcting even my own mother. I’m not sure I even understood why certain elements were correct until Dr. Overholt drilled it into my head in the glorious days of Maryville College. I say all of that to say society owes it to our future to speak in a manner which is grammatically correct. In the urban setting, agreement and comma usage is the hardest thing to teach. It isn’t all the fault of the student because it is all they hear so them it doesn’t have the nails on the chalkboard effect.
This rant is brought to you by our testing data. We use Standards-Based Grading, so we have 5-6 questions per objective and track mastery in the manner the state does on the EOC. We tested parts of speech, agreement, and comma usage. Apparently, I suck at teaching these elements this year. But with every problem MUST come a solution.
For years, I have successfully used a mini-grammar lesson combined with the Caught ‘Ya system, but this year we were asked to use the textbook for instruction. In testing, these are the worst grammar results I have seen in at least five years. The problem with the textbook method is that if I know I’m in the comma chapter and the problem is a comma, I can probably get it right. But given a sentence with unknown problems, students tend to miss it. It is like looking at specific skills independently does not allow students to see how grammatical structures play together and function as one in sentences. And throw in the problems of text-message-ese and spoken dialect… So I’m looking for a new idea. Suggestions?
The grammar text book (which I have NEVER been a fan of) does not seem to be sticking long-term with our students, but the Caught ‘Ya model is going well. We are going to continue with CY, but we are going to add back the grammar instruction of a program called Daily Grammar Practice from DGP Publishing. In this model, students use the same sentence or passage and make different corrections each day. A good colleague (and excellent teacher) used this model in 8th grade and felt it was successful so we are going to try a few weeks with the 8th grade book to see about getting the money for the 9th grade books next year. I’m not opposed to purchasing it on my own if it works. In the midst of the start up, I created a few files which you are welcome to try if you are interested.

1. DGP Publishing Web Site: http://www.dgppublishing.com/reading.htm
2. FREE DGP Student Notes Handouts: I gave these out to students and them modeled going through each step of the sentence and consulting the page. My plan is to have them use this page on the test at first, but I will use the scaled noted system where next Monday students only have one page on which to write notes. Each week I will decrease the amount of space on which to write notes for use on the test until ultimately there are not notes. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Daily-Grammar-Practice-DGP-Notes
3. FREE DGP Student Notes Flashcards: Whatever it takes, right? I know some of the students will not use these, but for those who are interested they will be helpful.
Monday – http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Daily-Grammar-Practice-DGP-Monday-Notes-Key-Vocab-Flashcards
Tuesday – http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Daily-Grammar-Practice-DGP-Tuesday-Notes-Key-Vocab-Flashcards
Wednesday – http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Daily-Grammar-Practice-DGP-Wednesday-Notes-Key-Vocab-Flashcards

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Day 1: How do I read a poem?

Students really struggle with making meaning of poetry. With a lack of prior knowledge and limited analytical and critical thinking skills, poetry is a difficult concept. In keeping with the scaffolding of the gradual release model, I decided to break down the process and add one step with each chunk of the lesson.
1. Preview the text of the poem by looking at the title, picture, caption, or other text features. This is actually a school-wide strategy, but I really believe it has been helpful in reading prose, so why not give it a try?
2. Read the poem for literal language. Students will read the poem and then paraphrase every few lines to track the surface level meaning of the poem. Have students complete SOAPS on the text of the poem.
3. Read the poem for figurative meaning. Students reread the poem and look for possible figurative meaning including symbols, tone, and mood.
4. Annotate the poem while looking specifically for the figurative language. Try to list the example, provide the name of the specific device, and jot down the possible meaning of the vocabulary used.
5. Annotate the poem with a different color and look specifically at the sound devices. Try to list the example, provide the name of the specific device, and jot down the way it affects the poem.
6. Notice the form of the poem. What is it?
7. Review the title and your notes. What is likely to be the theme of the poem? How do you know?

Between each step, I will model and teach key vocabulary to help increase understanding. Also, by building on the steps of the lesson the students will be practicing each step regularly to help internalize the process.

So how did the first day go? With the first day, we were able to get through the preview of the text and both literal and figurative meanings of selected poems. This was done in more of a discussion manner with a few very general stems to get the students thinking. Without having to look for specific devices, students were able to get to a deeper meaning and justify their thoughts even if it was different from what I was looking for.

Next, we took notes over figurative language including simile, metaphor, paradox, apostrophe, personification, hyperbole, pun, and idiom. Not only did the students take notes of the definitions, we looked specifically at examples of each and tried to verbalize the function of the device and the impact it had on meaning. Assessing this on the exit ticket shows that students can find meaning and back it with other parts of the poem if they know what the device is. However, if given a line and asked to identify the figurative language, they look for “like” and “as” to mark simile and the very obvious elements, but they do not recognize more complex examples or examples which are not in direct proximity. We will have time to work on this.

For tomorrow, I’m going to reteach figurative language in the context of the poem and then move into sound devices. Right now, I’m looking to model with “Rose in Concrete” which I had them complete individually. This will be great to go over the figurative language but I can also use it to model finding sound devices and tracking the effect they have on the text as well.

Ideas? Love to hear them.

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Poetry: Teaching the Figurative Language

poetry trading 1Our goal here is to move from knowing to recognizing and identifying to analyzing. So I guess I have my work cut out for me.

What’s first?

Chunking the material is going to be vital to success, but I also need to figure out a way for students to memorize the vocabulary for the unit. For that, I will use the Poetry Trading Cards. Next, I want to divide the unit into teaching figurative language one day, sound devices another, and form on another. This will give time to focus on specific skills and, ideally, I will be able to use the same poems to link each set of vocabulary skills in order to reteach while adding in the new steps.

Making the material accessible is another problem. In teaching story elements, I realized students could identify plot elements when reading short stories by Walter D. Myers and Sharon Flake, but the skills were almost non-existent in looking at classical literature. I’m anticipating the same challenges in poetry, so I’m going to do it like I have before and use some of the edited versions of Billboard hits.

Room display is going to be the poetry word wall I created. After the introduction, I can have the students create posters for each of the elements.

So… off to pick poems and put together a new unit! Ideas? Suggestions? I’m waiting.

1. Poetry Word Wall can be found at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Poetry-Informational-Posters-Basic-Skills-Fig-Lang-Form-Sound
2. Essential Vocabulary Trading Cards can be found at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Essential-Vocabulary-Trading-Cards-Activity-Bundle-Poetry-Edition

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Twelve Angry Pigs

With so much success accessing prior knowledge of drama, I have decided we can effectively use one play to go over dramatic elements and then review plot a little. This sets us up to move into poetry, a section which typically takes a bit longer than one might expect, relatively quickly. I’m jumping ahead there though.

For 12 Angry Pigs, I started out by using the Common-Core story preview task I have talked about before. Hopefully, by the end of the semester, the students will be able to preview following my steps but without me guiding them. After previewing the text, I gave a short bio on the author, Wade Bradford, and we started reading. To pick roles, I had cards made for each pig. Students picked their role based on the pig they liked the best, and we then set the classroom up as a jury room with the desks in the center. The first time, students were instructed to just read. Since it is short, we were able to reread for questions and discussion. It was nice having the ability to take the time to do that because it allowed us to do more critical thinking and analysis of the text.

At the close of the section, I gave students a short cloze-style quiz. This mini-unit was more memorization that anything else, but the students did well on the quiz. We will revisit a few of these concepts in a few weeks when we prepared for the unit exam. All of our unit exams are cumulative, and the students will have a short play to read and interpret on their own for the real test of the knowledge.

And we will bring drama back around in the weeks following the EOC to look at Romeo and Juliet so I’m feeling pretty confident about this set of skills.

Now… to prepare for poetry.

1. Drama and Archetype with Twelve Angry Pigs can be found at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Drama-and-Archetype-Twelve-Angry-Pigs-with-keys-adaptable-doc-and-ppt.
pigs 1

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Introduction to Drama

In my experience, students do well with most skills pertaining to drama. They recognize the visual form of a script and the importance of stage directions. For that reason, I use this as a moment for plot reteaching.
To make sure the students are familiar with elements of drama, I start with having students look at the prose and drama version of a text. We then use observation to compare the two literary forms. The students loved “Thank You M’am” (Hughes) so I rewrote it as a play. This allows reteaching of plot because they created plot maps and characterization of TYM and can pull from those experiences. Plus, it is relatively quick to read dramatically, so it fits in the same day as the Intro to Drama lesson.
My power points are generally set up to be able to skip information or go deeper when needed, and I have given images to help student visualize theaters and types of discourse. I admit it has become one of the lessons I enjoy much more than many others because the students really get into it.
With the new text, I had the students complete C-notes and we used that as a starting point. In all, pacing worked out perfectly. Our Exit Tickets showed students were able to at least define all major elements pertaining to drama with only minor confusion between soliloquy and monologue. Here’s the trick to that: Soliloquy = Solo on stage. Monologue = dialogue for the mono.
For content, we will read two short plays: Bloody Mary and 12 Angry Pigs. (Where is Romeo and Juliet? We actually save that one for the two weeks of school after the EOC. This works because we are in an area with much gang activity, and we use the Jedi mind trick of intentional ink colorations to get students interested. Works EVERY time.) Under the PARCC Model Content, our extended reading is To Kill a Mockingbird. 12 Angry Pigs goes well thematically, but Bloody Mary is just fun.

To be more user-friendly, I have decided to list these items individually and with a bundle. For now, here is the introduction. drama 1
1. Introduction to Drama: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Introduction-to-Drama-Elements-of-a-Play-Adaptable-doc-and-ppt

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