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Tearing Down the Walls. Presented by Josie Stratton June 25, 2011 . a. k. a. . Our Emily Strattonian Leader of the Stratt Pack The Lady in the Purple Suit JStratt. My Professional Life. 17 years teaching experience 12 years at Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology

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Tearing down the walls

Tearing Down the Walls

Presented by

Josie Stratton

June 25, 2011

A k a
a. k. a.

Our Emily


Leader of the Stratt Pack

The Lady in the Purple Suit


My professional life
My Professional Life

  • 17 years teaching experience

  • 12 years at Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology

  • English Department Chairperson

  • National Honor Society Sponsor

  • Bachelor of Arts in English from University of South Carolina

  • Master's in Reading and Literacy from USC

  • National Board Certified

  • Certified Reading Specialist

  • Member South Carolina Teachers of Excellence

  • Mentor trained through SCERRA

  • SAFE-T Certified Evaluator

  • 2011 Darlington County A+ Award

  • 2009 South Carolina Honor Roll Teacher

  • 2008 Darlington County District Teacher of the Year

  • 2003 and 2008 Mayo High School Teacher of the Year

  • 2003 Darlington County Honor Roll Teacher

  • 2006 Darlington County Making A Difference Award

  • 2000 and 2005 Time Warner Cable Star Teacher Award


This unit implements multi-cultural, interdisciplinary approaches between ELA and social studies that incorporate higher-order thinking skills, multiple intelligences, and strands from the South Carolina ELA Standards.


  • recognize thematic connections among the artistic genres of poetry, song, film, and art as they relate to barriers and effective communication

  • articulate specific components of each work which contribute to its meaning (i.e. poetic devices, visual effects, musical instruments)

  • engage specific criteria for evaluation, analysis, and critique of each work

What to expect
What to Expect

  • Participate in standards-based strategies

  • Discuss developing units

  • Develop concept lessons

  • Analyze connection scaffolding strategies among standards and summative and formative assessments

Why i do what i do
Why I Do What I Do

“Teachers need to go beyond encouraging responses from student readers and push them to understand exactly what the author has done with words and sentences, syntax, and diction that elicited such a response in them as readers.” (Carol Jago, With Rigor for ALL)

What i believe
What I Believe

  • Meaning does not reside in the written word, but is created when the text and reader come together at a particular time under certain circumstances to make new meaning. (Rosenblatt)

What i believe1
What I Believe

  • Every student brings Funds of Knowledge to the classroom; teachers should embrace these and use them as starting points for learning. (Moll)

  • Learners constantly go in and out of their Zones of Proximal Developments and switch roles as teacher and learner. (Vygotsky)

What i believe2
What I Believe

  • Students learn best when given a Gradual Release of Responsibility. (Pearson and Gallagher)


  • Atwell’s In the Middle (1998) was the Bible in my classroom the first six years of my career.

  • In 2001 Allen’s Yellow Brick Roads(2000) became the turn-to for all of my classroom and student needs.

  • Recently I have added the following:

    • Serafini’sLessons in Comprehension: Explicit Instruction in the Reading Workshop (2004).

    • Calkins’s The Art of Teaching Writing (1994).

    • Harvey & Daniels’s Comprehension + Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action (2009)

Bloom s

  • Understanding: Constructing meaning from oral, written, and graphic messages through interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.

  • Analyzing: Breaking material into constituent parts, determining how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose through differentiating, organizing, and attributing.

  • Evaluating: Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing.

  • (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001, pp. 67-68)

Processes specified bloom s verbs
Processes Specified Bloom’s Verbs










  • Interpret

  • Summarize

  • Predict

  • Understand

It s all about them
It’s All About Them

“What are you doing in here that makes a g*****n difference in my life?” (Eva in Freedom Writers)

How do i know it is best practice
How Do I Know It Is Best Practice

I observed my students accept a gay student who had been an outcast, and I listened to another student explain that even though he didn’t think he was prejudice, he realized that anything he did that might incite someone else’s prejudices was wrong.

Activate background knowledge
Activate Background Knowledge

  • Choose a picture from those on your table.

  • Write on Post-it’s a caption that contains your comments and thoughts about the wall in the picture you chose.

  • Write at least one question about the picture, either in the caption or on another Post-it.

  • Share your thoughts in their groups before placing the pictures on the board with your captions underneath.

Word study barrier
Word Study: Barrier

Use the Word Questioninggraphic organizer to brainstorm and examine the various aspects and perspectives of “barrier.” Students may begin by simply looking up the definition in the dictionary, but then they should move into examining all connotations and examples of the word through the prompts on the organizer.

Expert groups
Expert Groups

  • Sign up for expert groups.

  • Use Experts On graphic organizer to record and respond to research. Through use of Internet and other outside resources, groups should become “experts” on the following topics:

  • Actual walls in history (i.e. Great Wall of China, Berlin Wall and what they represented physically, psychologically, and politically).

  • Be sure to explain the wall’s purpose.

Thinking tracks
Thinking Tracks

Animals leave tracks in the snow after a storm. When we wake up in the morning after a snowfall, we can tell who has been there from the fresh tracks, even though the animal has long gone. We need to see kids’ thinking even if they are no longer reading. Readers need to leave tracks in the margins, just as animals do in the snow or on the beach.

The power of one
The Power of One

Humankind erects and maintains real and symbolic barriers to protect and defend opposing stances, beliefs, and territories. The resulting lack of communication reinforces those barriers, often to detrimental effects. Writers, movie directors, and artists frequently explore this motif.


While annotating texts, students mark the pages of the book, passage, or poem as they read. Students note what they think is important, what they think a passage means, and what ideas and questions that passage raises.


Some readers mark up the text extensively, while others mark only the parts they consider most significant or problematic. The mere act of marking the page as they read makes it more likely that students will read closely and attentively.


When students read for meaning, their annotations should reflect their efforts to understand what they are reading, as well as their reactions to the text – including questions the reading raises, new ideas it suggests, and reactions students have to it.

What do the images make you think or wonder about?

What can you learn from the images?

Discussion of the elements of the song that contribute to its effect may include the following:

- rhythm


-sound devices)

- tone of the music

-diction of the lyrics

Compare and contrast walls
Compare and Contrast Walls

  • How does the visual representation relate to the song?

  • In what ways does the movie either mirror or differ thematically from the song?

  • Does the movie’s interpretation enhance or detract from the audience’s appreciation and interpretation of the song?

  • Journal: What are the connections, similarities, and/or differences between Pink Floyd’s artistic wall and Berlin’s historical wall?

Compare and contrast walls 2
Compare and Contrast Walls 2

  • What are the reasons for the walls?

  • Is the wall figurative or metaphorical?

  • What does each wall divide?

  • How and with what does each wall divide?

  • What are the effects of each wall?

  • What barriers in communication do the speakers, audience, and/or characters encounter?

  • Evaluate the respective artistic merits of each work.

Walls barriers and isolationism in art or film
Walls, Barriers and Isolationism in Art or Film

V for Vendetta

  • What is symbolic of Parliament blowing up?

  • What does Evey mean when she responds that V was her father, mother, brother, you, and me?

  • What is significant about the crowd wearing masks that are all like the mask V wore?

What s going on
What’s Going On?

What is significant about the blindfolds?

Tearing Down the Walls

Journal: What is an issue, problem, concern that you have that is the result of barriers that were created or perhaps even created barriers?


of One

Journal: What social, economic, emotional, or other symbolic barriers exist in your school or community? What are the effects of such barriers?

In the end
In the End

They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.