Striving Readers Course: Blogging to Support 21st Century Learning, Digital Literacies, and Common Core.
In today's middle school writing classroom, the pressures to achieve state and national standards are overwhelming for students and teachers alike. Many classrooms focus so completely on writing the perfect essay that the fun of writing wanes. In this workshop, participants will examine two common essay types?informative and persuasive?as they are approached in several non-traditional ways. To complement these alternative ways of teaching these two essay types, this workshop will also re-examine the writing process, writing motivation for teachers and students, and formative evaluation methods for writing progress. The end result of this work is a final lesson plan for an informative or persuasive essay that utilizes a creative approach in its instruction. It is the overall goal of this workshop to rekindle motivation and creativity in middle school writing instruction to help teachers and students have some fun on their journey toward the perfect essay.
All students have the capacity to be good writers and writers learn to write by writing. These are basic tenets of this workshop during which participants will learn instructional strategies to teach students in the upper elementary grades how to write narrative and informational text. Participants will explore how to teach their students about the traits of good writing through mini-lessons and writing conferences and how to use established criteria to evaluate writing. They will recognize that writing is a process and consider how to organize instruction to guide students through the stages. Participants will go through the instructional cycle from writing prompt to revision as they create their final projects.
This workshop will help middle school teachers learn about comprehension strategies that students need to apply in order to comprehend a variety of text types. Participants will explore the challenges students commonly experience with different types of text, strategies employed by successful readers, and instructional approaches to support students in developing reading comprehension strategies. Throughout the workshop, participants will gather ideas about designing a lesson plan that focuses on developing students' use of comprehension strategies. Participants will leave this workshop with many new strategies and resources for fostering the reading comprehension of their students.
This workshop will expand participants? understanding of vocabulary development and instructional techniques that are effective in helping students in grades six through eight expand their vocabularies. Participants will learn how to assess students? vocabulary knowledge and select words from a text that are most useful for instruction, including those with high-frequency Greek and Latin word parts. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to explore online resources for vocabulary development and assess their own current vocabulary teaching strategies. This workshop is designed to help teachers and other educators learn new ways to extend the vocabularies of middle school students.
In this workshop, participants will examine best practices for direct vocabulary instruction in order to build the breadth and depth of students? vocabulary for both comprehension and written expression in grades three through five. Participants will learn the importance of creating a word-conscious learning environment that encourages motivation and interest in learning new words. Participants will learn how to model and encourage independent word-learning strategies that students can apply while engaging in wide and varied reading. They will also explore the value of instructing students to infer the meaning of words from context and word parts. For their final project, participants will incorporate components of a balanced vocabulary program by designing a vocabulary lesson based on a classroom text?either fiction or non-fiction.