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The Freedom to Choose in Mixed-Ability Classrooms VATE Annual Conference Roanoke, VA October 24, 2008 Katie Dredger, Doctoral Student Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. Who am I?. English Teacher 9th , 10th, 11th, 12th General – AP English, SAT Verbal Preparation

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The Freedom to Choose in Mixed-Ability Classrooms

VATE Annual Conference Roanoke, VA

October 24, 2008

Katie Dredger, Doctoral Student

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom@pbwiki.com

who am i
Who am I?

English Teacher

9th , 10th, 11th, 12th General – AP English, SAT Verbal Preparation

Class Sponsor, Project Graduation, Prom Coordinator

Tuesday Tutoring for At Risk Youth

9th , 10th, 12th English, Cheerleading, Tennis Coach, SGA Sponsor

Middle School Teacher, Student Learning Specialist

Data Mentor

Facilitator of At-Risk Reading Programs

Staff Developer

7th, 8th Reading / Language Arts, Drama Production Sponsor

English Department Chair / AP-SAT Teacher Consultant

AP English Literature and Composition teacher

Standard 10 HSA English teacher

AP English Language and Composition teacher 2003-2004

Remediation Coordinator

Yearbook Sponsor 2004

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

slide3

Who am I?

I am a teacher.

I am a student.

I am an optimist.

I am a writer.

I am a passionate advocate for children.

I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mother.

I am a Virginian on my mother’s side.

"TO BE A VIRGINIAN, by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one's mother's side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from the Almighty God.“ – Thomas Jefferson

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

give me your tired your poor your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
"Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . ."

Why I Choose to Welcome

  • Caleb
  • Nancy
  • Selena
  • Kiki
  • Nina
  • Latisha

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

when teachers drop entrance criteria to advanced classes
When teachers drop entrance criteria to advanced classes . . .

Progression

  • Discuss with department, supervisor, administrator
  • Winter registration, spring: invite students
  • Summer: Reflect on summer reading
  • Fall: Reflect on assessment of summer reading
  • Fall, Winter, Spring, 24/7: Teach who you get
  • Fall, Winter, Spring, 24/7:Collaborate
  • Fall, Winter, Spring, 24/7: Reflect

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

what you believe about inclusion will be transparent in your summer reading assignment
What you believe about inclusion will be transparent in your summer reading assignment.

Summer Reading

  • Motivate kids to read by offering a carrot instead of a stick.
  • Assess summer reading fairly.
  • Give them choices.
  • If they already know it all, why do they need to take your class?

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

teachers can retain rigorous instruction for all
. . . teachers can retain rigorous instruction for all . . .

The 3 R’s

Relationships

Relevance

Rigor

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

by guiding student choices of content product process and affect
. . . by guiding student choices of content, product, process, and affect.

Differentiation

(Teachers need differentiation too!)

  • Content
  • Product
  • Process
  • Affect

You can not do this without knowing your students’ abilities, motivations, goals, thinking styles, and previous learning experiences.

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

not only are formerly marginalized students welcome
Not only are formerly marginalized students welcome . . .

Tried-and-True Journals

timeline of your reading life (xtimeline.com)

personal time allocation (Excel)

comfort with technology

books really read / liked

perception of self as a reader / writer

a day in your life

comfort with literary analysis

being a a stranger in a strange land

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

they find success in the autonomy that is inherent in a classroom that values their decisions
. . . they find success in the autonomy that is inherent in a classroom that values their decisions.

Shakespeare Projects

Before I taught in a welcoming classroom, we marched through:

Beowulf

The Canterbury Tales

Hard Times

Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth

Pride & Prejudice

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Invisible Man (I can explain.)

Blake, Browning, Keats, Donne . . . .

etc., etc. etc., etc. . . .

NOW, I let them choose.

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

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“I will not choose what many men desire, because I will not jump with common spirits ...” William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Shakespeare CHOICES

Mondays –the sage on the stage

Tuesdays – Othello

dramatic interpretations, seminars, film, art, dance

Wednesdays – Hamlet

film, internet sites, paraphrasing games, mock Dr. Phil character analysis, dramatic monologue

Thursdays – King Lear

digital stories, musical interpretation, graphic novel, soliloquy, international film

Fridays – Time to write

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

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“Literature provides the reader with a ... door to walk through forever changed….” There isn’t one text “that does this for every member of every class at the same time.” –Fisher & Ivey

Start small,

but please, consider letting go of some of your favorites.

Teaching English is a constant tension between the content/skills of the discipline and the student.

I choose to err on the side of the student.

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

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References

Allington, Richard L. “Effective Teachers, Effective Instruction.” Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promise into Practice. Eds. Kylene Beers, Linda Reif, and Robert Probst. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2007.

Alvermann, Donna E. and D. Moore. “Secondary School Reading.” Handbook of Reading Research. Eds. R. Barr, et al. Vol. 2. New York: Longman, 1991. 951-83.

Dredger, Katie. “Incorporating Student Choice: Effective Practice and the Courage to Change.” English Journal 98.1 (2008):29-41.

Guthrie, John T. and A. Wigfield. “Engagement and Motivation in Reading.” Handbook of Reading Research Eds. M.L.Kamil, et al. Vol. III. Mahawah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000. 403-22.

Fisher, Douglas, and Gay Ivey. “Farewell to A Farewell to Arms: Deemphasizing the Whole Class Novel.” Phi Delta Kappan88.7 (2007): 494-97.

Kajder, Sara. “Teaching Struggling Readers: Helping Adolescents when the Text Is Rough.” Session delivered with Kylene Beers and Robert Probst. NCTE Annual Convention. New Your. Nov. 2007.

Kohn, Alfie. “Choices for Children: Why and How to Let Students Decide. (Cover Story). Phi Delta Kappan 75.1 (1993): 8.

Kozol, Jonathan. The Shame of a Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. New York: Crown, 2005.

Marvel, J., Lyter, D.M., Strizek, G.A., and B.A. Morton. “Teacher Attrition and Mobility: 2004-2005 Teacher Follow-up Survey.” American Institutes for Research. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2007.

Pirie, Bruce. Reshaping High School English. Urbana: NCTE, 1997.

Tomlinson, Carol. “Deciding to Teach Them All.” Educational Leadership 61.2 (2003): 6-11.

Wheelock, A. Crossing the Tracks: How “Untracking” Can Save America’s Schools. New York: New Press, 1992.

Yonezawa, Susan, and Makeba Jones. “Students Perspectives on Tracking and Detracking.” Theory Into Practice 45.1 (2006): 8.

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

contact information
Contact information:

kdredger@vt.edu

www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com

Katie Dredger ~ www.thewelcomingclassroom.pbwiki.com