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Hemingway, Orwell and Rand

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Literature Teaching Tips

Teaching Idea

Learning About Adjectives
Anna Panetta, Language Arts Teacher, Grades 3-6: Nutley, NJ

"Make a list of adjectives and ask students to name a noun that goes with the adjective. For example, courageous - captain; timid - puppy; powerful - monarch. If students have trouble with the meaning of a word used as an adjective, encourage them to look for the definition using a dictionary. Tell students that they cannot repeat a noun twice. This activity can be extended to include synonyms that can also be used to describe the noun. In this case, a thesaurus comes in handy."

Teaching Idea

Kids Can Be Dramatic
Janet, 4th Grade Teacher: Florida, NY

"To help students appreciate literature related to drama/plays, etc., have them write their own play(s) as a project that can then be presented to the entire school body. Always start with a model of the genre that you want them to focus on. Ask them to point out the characterisitcs of the genre and create a list that will guide them through the process of writing a play that includes the elements of the genre. This can also be used to have kids act out a story that they are reading; dramatization is very effective in helping students to think about the characters and action of the story which helps in interpretation/comprehension."

Teaching Idea

Be a Collector !
Dick, Veteran Teacher: Branchville, NJ

Provide a collection of literature that is easily accessible to students in the classroom. You can ask parents to send in books that will no longer be used by their children. Ask local book stores to consider donating books for your students to use. Don't forget to add a special recognition in each book that has been donated. Provide a list of resources next to the computer station in your classroom with directions on how to access literature online. You can also brainstorm ideas with students on how to obtain books.

Teaching Idea

Predictable Books
Sarah, Reading Teacher: Morristown, NJ

"To begin reading instruction and to reinforce reading comprehension and writing, introduce books that are repetitive and sttructured so that students can see language patterns that are repeated. This motivates children to read along and anticipate what is going to happen next. Characterisitcs of predictable books include rhythm and rhyme, lots of refrains, sequences that are logical, repeated patterns, and lots of illustrations. Just make sure that when students read along, they aren't reciting memorized text!"

Teaching Idea

Choosing the Best Literature
Jeff, School Principal: Atlanta, Georgia

"Here are some gudelines that you can use to chose materials to use with your students: 1. Does the literature you choose represent people with a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds? 2. Are both sexes represented and are gnederss treated in a nonstereotyped manner? 3. How are elderly and/or people with disabilities represented? 3. Does your collection of literature include both old favorites, new material, poetry, fiction, nonficition on a variety of topics and a range of interests? 4. Is most of your literature selection known for its excellence in authorship and illustration? If you answered yes to all of these questions, you are well on your way to having a collection that is appropriate for classroom use and that will enhance the literature experiences of children!"

Teaching Idea

Using What's Familiar
Barry, Poetry Teacher: Des Moines, Iowa

"Always build on what is familiar to students. If you are going to teach a unit on poetry, ask your students to tell you the words to their favorite songs. This can be done as a whole group instructional event or placing studentss in groups and asking them to reach consensus on three of their favorite songs. Use the words to the songs to show them how they can qualify for poetry by pointing out hte characteristics common to poetry genre, i.e., expressing feelings, ideas/thoughts, creating images, metaphors, etc."

Teaching Idea

Teaching Novels
Karen Davis, 7th. Gr. Reading Teacher

"I dislike written book reports for novels that I teach to my classes. So we do major projects at the end of each novel. My students love the chance to be creative.

Examples: Outsiders by S.E. Hinton; Students publish a newspaper using only information from the story. We discuss all parts of the newspaper before they begin. I have examples of different newspapers in the classroom. The class is divided into two groups, the greasers and the socs. The end product is two newspapers with different points of view, and students learn that they know more about the book than they thought was possible. The newspapers are put on display in our school library. For The Pigman by Paul Zindel the students put the characters on trial for their responsibility in the death of the Pigman, including the Pigman himself. My students love this. They really get into it."

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