Monday, July 30, 2007

Teaching Demonstration

Title of the book: Blue Pastures
Author: Mary Oliver
Publishing Information: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1995
ISBN: 0-15-600215-9
Suggested Grade Level: High School

Goal: Students will increase their skills in rhetorical analysis of non-fiction prose.

Objectives: Students will:
recognize, explain the purpose of and analzye the effectiveness of various rhetorical devices and techniques

discover and explain the author's purpose in writing

clearly analyze and explain the rhetorical devices used by the author to achieve her purpose

complete a rhetorical analysis timed writing based on the AP prompt for this excerpt from Mary Oliver's book, Blue Pastures.

Have Fun!

Rather than TEKS, I base my AP lessons on the AP Curricular Requirements. Here are some of the requirements included in this lesson:

The course teaches and requires students to write in several forms (e.g., narrative, expository, analytical, and argumentative essays) about a variety of subjects.

The course requires students to write in informal contexts (e.g., imitation exercises, journal keeping, collaborative writing, and in-class responses) designed to help them become increasingly aware of themselves as writers and of the techniques employed by the writers they read.

The course requires expository, analytical, and argumentative writing assignments that are based on readings representing a wide variety of prose styles and genres.

The course requires nonfiction readings (e.g., essays, journalism, political writing, science writing, nature writing, autobiographies/biographies, diaries, history, criticism) that are selected to give students opportunities to identify and explain an author's use of rhetorical strategies and techniques.

The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback that help the students develop these skills:

A wide-ranging vocabulary used appropriately and effectively

A variety of sentence structures, including appropriate use of subordination and coordination

Logical organization, enhanced by specific techniques to increase coherence, such as repetition, transitions, and emphasis

A balance of generalization and specific, illustrative detail

An effective use of rhetoric, including controlling tone, establishing and maintaining voice, and achieving appropriate emphasis through diction and sentence structure

Research supporting this lesson:

Bloom, Adi. (2007). Skip to my lou, my darlin'. Times Educational Supplement, 6/8/2007, 4740, 15.

Coleman, Jennifer. (2005). Ready, set, motivate. Library Media Connection, March 2005, 30-32.

McCoach, Betsy, and Siegle, Del. (2005). Making a difference: Motivating gifted students who are not achieving. Teaching Exceptional Children, 38, 22-27.

Kitano, Margie K., and Lewis, Rena B. (2005). Resilience and coping: Implications for gifted children and youth at risk. Roeper Review, 27, 200-2005.

Reis, Sally M., and Renzulli, Joseph S. (2004). Current research on the social and emotional development of gifted and talented students: Good news and future possibilities. Psychology in the Schools, 41(1), 119-129.

Students will reorganize themselves into new groups based on the song wordstrips that they receive.

Students will receive a "green sheet" list of terms they must know.

They will analyze each song to determine what rhetorical devices are used.

Students will learn to sing all three songs in a round; this is an analogy to show how authors sometimes incorporate many devices or techniques in one piece.

We will review other rhetorical terms, particularly diction and juxtaposition; both are very important in analyzing this particular piece of prose.

We will review other terms using "wuzzles," which are word puzzles. We will work through one wuzzle worksheet, then each group will create their own wuzzle of a rhetorical term. Groups will share their wuzzle and class members will solve them.

The class will read the "Owls" excerpt together, with the teacher commenting on some rhetorical devices and their importance.

As a group we will determine the author's purpose.

Then, class members will create a didactical journal--one column noting rhetorical devices/techniques, the other explaining their importance/effectiveness. They are working to analyze how the author uses the devices to achieve her purpose.

Once students have completed working together on analyzing Oliver's purpose and how she achieves it, they will write a draft version on the timed writing addressing the AP prompt.

Reading/Writing connection:
students will complete the AP writing prompt

students will participate in whole group and small group discussions of the material

Extension/Service Projects
This unit will be part of our transcendentalists study. Within that framework, students will also read other nature writings--Thoreau, Emerson, Annie Dillard, Rachel Carson, etc.
Students will visit our school's wetlands area, taking time to explore, then return to class to write extensively about their experiences.
We will complete a major project on the wetlands area--much like the Bluebonnet River Legacy project--incorporating technology with our written reflections and reactions. As our AP Environmental Science teacher is retiring this year, we will give her the presentation as a parting gift.


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Jolyn said...

Dear Sherry,
The candy definitely revived us from the dementors attack! We needed it for your lesson which was stimulating. It keeps me ever mindful of what I expect my kids to be able to do. I do it for their benefit because it makes them better thinkers. I enjoyed your lesson immensely.
Lens 1: Describing affect for teachers and learners. Although your lesson was as complex we analyzed, I felt invigorated. I love to pick out the pieces and argue them in my mind. Getting it down on paper was difficult, but it was worth it.
Lens 2: Articulating best practice.
Real Audiences, Real Purposes
Grammar and Mechanics in Context
A Classroom of Shared Learning
Lens 3: The Texas language arts standards and benchmarks.
§110.44. English III (One Credit).
Lens 4: Extensions and adaptations. I will be able to take back your strategies for remembering devices. I will be able to take this lesson on close reading and timed writing back to my kids and help them better prepare for the work ahead of them.
Lens 5: Questions arisen. What other pieces could I use with my PreAP students?
Again, thank you for you quick wit and engaging lesson. The connections to the songs were interesting.

Sessamalie said...

August 1, 2007

Dear Sherry,

What a difficult lesson! It brought me back to my mind-bending days as an AP student. Timed writings, literary analysis, reading books that didn’t all have happy endings… Yikes! I started to sweat just a little when we had to respond to “Owls.” Still, you were definitely doing a lot of things right. Your presentation stands up quite well against the scrutiny of the Five Lenses.

Lens 1: Describing affect for teachers and learners. I liked how you had us group ourselves by the various children’s songs. They were ones that most of us were familiar with. It put us at ease before we had to tackle such a challenge as literary analysis.

Lens 2: Articulating best practice. Thank you for employing some of the “best practices” in your lesson. I especially liked how you grouped us, how you reviewed the definition of the literary elements, and how you analyzed the piece orally before we had to write our response. You definitely built background knowledge adequate enough to equip us for responding on our own in writing.

Lens 3: The Texas language arts standards and benchmarks. You substantiated your lesson content with the AP standards and research support.

Lens 4: Extensions and adaptations. Whew! I think I might use some of your literary element projects in teaching my ESL students. Forgive me, but I don’t dare give them a prompt like we had today.

Lens 5: Questions arisen. None at all, Sherry Baby… Well done!!! ;)

Thank you!

Leslie Hancock

Writers Rock! said...

Dear Sherry

Lens 1: Describing affect for teachers and learners.
You did a great job getting everyone comfortable with a very difficult subject. The candy correlating to the rhetorical devices was such a great idea, that I am definitely going to borrow the idea from you. The candy also made it fun.

Lens 2: Articulating best practice.
You chose rhetorical devices to discuss that were easy to recognize in the text, so that everyone could see what the effects are. The text was pretty difficult, so it was good that you ploughed through it with the class first. I think you gave everyone an appreciation of what a tough subject this is for kids to grasp.
lens 3: The Texas language arts standards and benchmarks.
AP standards listed. Thank you.

Lens 4: Extensions and adaptations.
I took pretty copious notes, so I will definitely use this in my classroom I appreciate something I can just pick up and use.

Lens 5: Questions arisen
I am glad you said you wouldn’t necessarily grade the first couple of ones, although I remember Steve Olson saying the kids generally do pretty well on the rhetorical analyses that they have either discussed in class or as a group. What do you think about that? Is that your experience also?

It was a terrific lesson. You are very knowledgeable and you taught the rhetorical elements and analysis very effectively! A real winner!


Writing Unplugged said...


Dear Sherry,

Lens 1: Describing affect for teachers and learners.
I like how you bring movement into the class and changed the dynamic by having us sit in different groups. The atmosphere was pleasant the use of food –especially chocolate- is always a plus on creating a positive affect!

Lens 2: Articulating best practice.
You were able to incorporate teaching best practices by keeping the students actively engaged and intrinsically motivated. You kept all learners engaged because we had to pay attention and listen for the different kinds of rhetorical devices. I was able to learn many new things and would enjoy to learn more about them in the future, very complex and interesting!

Lens 3: The Texas language arts standards and benchmarks
AP Curriculum standards were posted that correlate to the TEKS

Lens 4: Extensions and adaptations.
I love ideas of getting the children authentic and hands on experiences hence producing authentic writing. Also, the integration of technology in a River Legacy type project will be something students will definitely enjoy.

Lens 5: Questions arisen
Where can I sign up to learn more about rhetorical devices? I really enjoyed the challenge, it made me HOT (higher order thinking).

I really enjoyed your presentation and appreciate the fact that you took the time to put it together. I really learned a lot from you.


Sugey Villarreal

teach to inspire said...

Dear Sherry,
If I believed in reincarnation and had the opportunity for another life (not as an animal, but a person) I would take your class to become a well rounded literate individual. There were many terms I was not familiar with, so this lesson was a learning experience. You go the extra mile by making connections between tangible items and vocabulary (great strategy).
Lens 1: Describing affect for teachers and learners.
You appear to be down to Earth and attempt to bring current issues, authors, and make the connections to the lives of the students. Therefore, making the lessons more meaningful to students’ experiences.
Lens 2: Articulating best practice
Evidenced through engagement throughout the lesson. Valuing students input and allowing students to make connections are Best Practices.
Lens 3: The Texas language arts standards and benchmarks.
You posted AP goals and objectives which flow with TEKS
Lens 4: Extensions and adaptations.
Posted on in your lesson.
Lens 5: Questions arisen.
How diverse is your AP class? Do you incorporate multicultural pieces of text into this class?
Thanks for the learning experience!
Christina Hernandez

remy1 said...

August 1, 2007

Dear Sherry,

Lens 1: Describing affect for teachers and learners.
Your opening the class with songs was so much fun! You made your students feel very comfortable and wanting to get involve in the lesson with your bribing of candy.

Lens 2: Articulating best practice.
Your AP students are blessed. You really do a lot to help them with their AP test. You empower them with their writing.

Lens 3: The Texas language arts standards and benchmarks.
I’m not familiar with the AP standards. Are they like the TEKS?

Lens 4: Extensions and adaptations.
I can’t even imagine doing this lesson with ESL students. However, I would use a simplified excerpt of a story and go over more familiar literary elements to use with my ESL students.

Lens 5: Questions arisen.
Do you enjoy teaching this AP class? Do you have any ESL students in your AP class?

Sherry, I enjoyed your lesson, and I had fun! It was also an excellent lesson for the high school level teachers that are in our group.


Janelle said...

1 August 2007

Dear Sherry,
Lens 1: Wow! So that’s why I’m not an AP teacher. I do appreciate your introduction to a very different type of writing. I would love to see what your students do once they have all these devices under their belts. What would that look like? I love your concrete examples of what symbols might stand for certain devices, like the juxtaposition. I would have loved to hear more about your lesson where they create their own symbol for the devices... I know so little time.
Lens 2:
connecting to student experiences/ interests (candy & songs)
connecting to their school community
appealing to diverse learning styles: musical, kinesthetic, etc.

Lens 3: Yes. Nice work on including those standards. I appreciated that you chose the ones most important to you all.
Lens 4:
I love the idea of a multi-modal projects. Would that impact the discussion of these devices? Would these devices need to be revisited in a multi-media arena?
Thank you for considering the interdisciplinary potential of this lesson.
Lens 5:
You list so many articles, but why is this literature important to you and your teaching? How did it shape, affirm, or challenge your way of teaching?
How could you also include technology in this lesson? To create wuzzles, perhaps?
Do you think having the purpose already spelled out or students somehow detracts from their writing or do you think it helps to add focus?
I so enjoyed the trip into AP world. I feel like you’ve tempted us with mentioning your other ideas. I would love to hear more.

RBoyd said...

Dear Sherry,

I loved the chocolate! Way to get our attention.

Lens 1: I found your lesson very thought provoking requiring the students to reflect upon prior knowledge. I like the connection to the songs.

Lens 2: “Best practices” I like that you went over the story with the students and discussed and reviewed some elements before sending us to make our response. Good role modeling. I felt that you really focused on the elements and connected them to how it makes our own writing better.

Lens 3 =)

Lens 4: I will definitely be using your technique of using candy to represent the literary devices. My fourth graders will really pick up on it!!!

Lens 5: No questions at this time.

Even at the fourth grade level I attempt to teach them how to think on the critical level, it is a difficult task. You have given me more insight. Great job.


pat huster said...

Dear Sherry,

Great lesson on the use of rhetorical devices!

Lens 1—Affect
Even though this was a lesson that was way above my head, you helped put me at ease with your delivery. It is clear to me that you do this for your students as well.

Lens 2—Best Practices
I’m glad you read the passage for us so your listeners know how it should be read. This is hard for students when they come up against material that is difficult. You included a number of the best practices during your lesson: this is what the students will face when they write for the AP exam, you gave students a way to get started with their writing, and students shared what they wrote.

Lens 3—TEKS
As you mentioned, if students can accomplish the AP curricular requirements, they have learned the TEKS.

Lens 4—Extensions and Adaptations
I have introduced some of these devices to my students, but certainly not on this level. I do like the way you have your students create ‘wuzzles’ for the terms. I think I will try this.

Lens 5—Questions
I don’t have any at this time, but I may in the future.

This was a very powerful lesson. Thank you for sharing, and I did enjoy the chocolate.

Pat Huster

Kia said...

Dear Sherry,
Lens 1: Describing affect for teachers and learners. Thank you for letting us see inside the world of an AP English class. I liked the way you started the lesson by getting us up and having us work with the people who had the same piece of song we did. That got our attention. Then the idea to give us candy that matched the literary device was quite clever. I can remember diction and juxtatposition. I can see with a required list like this, how innovation is a cornerstone to having students remember this information and be able to apply it
Lens 2: Articulating best practice. **Real Audiences, Real Purposes, Student Ownership and Responsibility, Getting Students Started, A Classroom of Shared Learning, Evaluation and Assessment

Lens 3: The Texas language arts standards and benchmarks. -- Ditto

Lens 4: Extensions and adaptations- Though this is an AP lesson, the same memorization techniques can be used from PK-12 grade. How? If you want kids to remember the letter “M” have them make smores in the science class or just have them eat marshmallows. Want kids to better understand the countries? Have students eat the cuisine or plan a “party” based on what they learned from that country’s culture. Also, I liked the way you had the students not just learn the terminology, and just look for it in the passage, but they have to write about it and provide examples. By writing about the text, it is like they are teaching it back to you. That should be standard for everyone.

Lens 5: Questions arisen— What are some other memorization strategies you know of ?
GREAT JOB Sherry despite the fire drill!

ginny's world said...

Sherry -
What a fabulous challenging lesson !

Lens 1 -
You have a very good personality for secondary teaching. You move fast, you're no-nonsense, you're staying ahead, and you use humor.

Lens 2 - Articulated Best practices - Regrouping/matching (kinesthetic learning). Finding rhetorical devices in the songs was effective. I always believe that if you can teach these devices first in the context of what they already know, or what is approachable to them, they will grab onto it and be able to apply it to more complex literature.
Besides, it's fun to sing. Your candy activity was brilliant. How could they ever forget connotation or juxtaposition after that? The poem was rich. Finding the devices was challenging and so was the writing activity.

Lens 3 -AP Objectives

Lens 4 - I love your idea of teaching this along with the transcendentalists and going to
the wetlands area, and the science tie-in. This would lend itself so well to teaching across the curriculum

Lens 5 - I don't have any really, I do have a million adaptations
for ESL running through my mind.

Great lesson! I enjoyed it so much !


Kinderbeanie :) said...

August 1, 2007

Dear Sherry,

Wow! What a great lesson. I believe you need to tutor me in my writing before I attempt any more of my professional degree! It was very stimulating and great learning!

The Five Lenses
Lens 1: Describing affect for teachers and learners: I knew what the expectations were and I appreciate the fact that you were able to provide us with the opportunity to share our writing and learning as we worked together. Although it was a very complex lesson for me, I found that the surge of sugar and caffeine helped greatly!

Lens 2: Articulating best practice: There were lots of best practices, including: Academic Rigor and Accountable Talk, Student Accountability and Responsibility, Grammar in Writing, and the preparation for their college work in the future. You taught so that all learners could succeed and tried to make these learning experiences real for all learning styles. Impressive!

Lens 3: TEKS: Nice documentation. Your standards would be far beyond the mastery of the TEKS for your grade level(s). I wish my daughter had been able to experience this level of learning in her AP “life”, it would have helped her be more successful on the AP exam, without a doubt!

Lens 4: Extensions/Adaptations: I love that you have taken some of what you learned this summer and are going to provide the experience for your learners. This would be an awesome project to view and I hope you will share it with us when you finish! Great adaptations. Love the outside experience you already provided and hope to see more educators using this as well.

Lens 5: Questions: How would you post this material? Will there be a culminating “experience” where your learners will share their work? How do you see technology working in your AP classroom next year?

Thank you for sharing your great activity with us. It was very hard, but I loved the challenge!!!