Friday, November 21, 2008

Vocabulary Trifold and Essay Adaptation

At the last NUA site visit, Cohort 5 members learned the vocabulary tri-fold strategy. Here are the strategy steps:

  1. Teachers create a list of words from the text that are somewhat familiar to the students but that need some elaboration for full mastery.
  2. Students select a vocabulary word from the list of words provided by the teacher.
  3. Students take a piece of paper and fold it hot dog (i.e. landscape) style. Then they fold the paper in thirds to create a brochure/booklet.
  4. On the front page of the booklet, the student writes the vocabulary word. (panel 1)
  5. Opening the booklet, the student writes a sentence defining the word on the left-most panel. (panel 2) If students need to look up their words in the dictionary, they cannot simply copy the dictionary definition here. Students need to make their own personal meaning and their own sentence.
  6. In the middle inside panel (panel 3), students draw a visual of the word and write a first person sentence using the word. This first person sentence makes the word culturally relevant to the student.
  7. On the right-most panel (panel 4) students write down as many forms of the word as they can to demonstrate their knowledge of morphology.
  8. On the two panels that would appear on the back of the brochure when opened up, students write synonyms on one panel (panel 5) and antonyms on the other panel (panel 6).
  9. Once students have finished their vocabulary tri-folds, they move around the room until the music stops. Then they pick a partner, and the partners take turns teaching each other the word.
  10. The teacher allows for several rounds of mixing it up during the music and teaching vocabulary words when the music stops.
Writing Adaptation

The English 10 teachers at that NUA site visit liked the kinesthetic appeal of the vocabulary tri-fold strategy and wanted to try it with essay instruction, so we adapted the panels to reflect the parts of an essay. As synthesis after instruction on each part of the essay, students wrote a few key ideas about that topic on the appropriate panel of their essay tri-fold.

Here's how we adapted the panels for a literary analysis essay on The Odyssey:

  1. Essay topic and title
  2. Introduction with attention-getter and The Odyssey by Homer (so they remembered to include that)
  3. Thesis statement
  4. Body Paragraph structure including transition, topic sentence, 2 PIEs (point, illustration, explanation), and recap sentence.
  5. Conclusion with circling back to attention-getter and a reason for the reader to care about the topic.
  6. Modern Language Association (MLA) essay formatting, works cited, and in-text citation information.

The students ended essay week with a visual that we called "essay in your pocket."

One student emailed his English 10 teacher, Rachel Tholen, and had this to say about the tri-fold, pocket essay.
"I really like the way you're approaching this paper. I found the little "5 Paragraph Essay" booklet helpful, and also just the sort of "I'll hold your hand" approach, because myself, along with many other of my classmates are... well basically clueless when it comes to essay formatting. Okay, not clueless, just not very well educated. So, to sum things up, thanks."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Paraphrase Passport for Reading

The protocol for the paraphrase passport strategy is as follows:

  1. Students pair up A and B, and they sit shoulder to shoulder, not facing each other.
  2. A reads to B for 30 seconds with both students looking at the text.
  3. Then B puts the text face down and paraphrases to A what was read.
  4. For the next 30 seconds B reads to A (starting where the partnership left off), followed by A's paraphrase.
  5. Rotations continue until the students finish reading the text.

Many teachers at last week's site visit were skeptical of the strategy because of the noise that might happen in the room and because the teachers felt comprehension would go down because students do not read at the same pace. However, Beth Neary tried the paraphrase passport reading strategy in her small, AP Spanish Literature class, and she sent this report.

Positives – 9 students want to do it many more times this year!
· If you missed part of the reading, your partner recaps/explains it to you
· It is a fun way to read
· It keeps you focused while reading as you have to keep switching roles
· “I know a lot more because we read it two times” – translated by Beth Neary

Negatives – 1 student did not like it that much, but was fine if we do it again
· It takes longer to read
· It loses a bit of the excitement as you have to keep stopping

Suggestions from students:
· Give 2 minutes to read and one minute to recap (I think that’d change due to the difficulty of the reading), but the short 1-2 minute periods were actually more effective than Beth thought they’d be.

Observations by Beth:
· The students were really into it and wanted to continue the whole hour to finish the story.
· While they recapped, Beth heard them actively analyzing. Examples heard: “I bet the apron represents the lower class.” “I bet the seƱora will do something crazy.” “He’s definitely criticizing class struggles – Neary’s going to make us write an essay on that.”

Basically, the observation Beth had was that the strategy helped students cue into what was important in the reading. Beth was quite surprised. She liked it!

Multi-flow Map for Character Change

Kristin Benson's student teacher Sean did a great culminating activity for The Crucible using the multi-flow map to uncover the central conflict for each of the main characters in the play. He assigned groups to focus on one main character like Abigail, John Proctor, Rev. Hale, Rev. Parris. Then kids were asked to find a quote from the beginning of the text as a cause, a quote from the end of the play as an effect and to write a paragraph of explanation summarizing their understanding of each quote. Then as the last step, kids filled in the central conflict for their character. He phrased it like this on his model map, “What causes your character to go from this person at the beginning to this person at the end?” The end products really yielded some higher level thinking.