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A classroom of unruly students treat their caring and lovely teacher with complete disrespect. They throw spitballs during story-time and refuse to sit in their seats during math. They take advantage of their teacher's good nature until she disappears and they are faced with a vile substitute. Near her wits' end, Miss Nelson doesn't come to school one day. Instead, the kids have a vile substitute--the nasty Viola Swamp--who loads the boys and girls with homework and never gives them a story hour. By the time Miss Nelson finally returns, the children are so grateful they behave well. But now Viola Swamp is missing.....
Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion
by Taryn Hargrove
Miss Nelson is Missing discusses many philosophical themes which include identity, repect, fear, power, and deception. The question sets encourage children to explore: what is respect and who deserves respect; what is fear and what are we afraid of; what is it to have power and do people need power; and whether it is ok to deceive. In the story, the teacher, Miss Nelson, has trouble controlling her classroom. To get the children to behave she disguises herself and comes in as a strict substitute teacher. The students do not misbehave in the presence of the substitute. When Miss Nelson returns back to the classroom the children are so thankful for having her back and they behave in a positive manner.
Respect is one of the first themes mentioned in the story. Respect is of great importance in everyday life. As children we are taught to respect teachers, parents, elders, school rules, family and cultural traditions, and other people's feelings and rights. It is hard to specify what respect is. These questions help students to explore what is involved in respecting others and oneself. The discussion will bring up the issue of whether we respect someone because of their title or position. Do we respect people like our teachers because we are told to even if how we were brought up does not agree with their actions or beliefs? These questions also ask if showing respect just means doing the appropriate action or if intent must be known to determine if an action is respectful (this ties into the fear question). They also bring up the issue if respect is a right or an honor.
Fear is another theme in the story. The children are encouraged to discuss what they are afraid of and why, and also how they are able to overcome that fear. Discussing the theme of fear among children may lead to an interesting conversation about whether one action done out of fear is different than doing the same action out of respect. Do children respect who they are told to respect because they are afraid of what will happen if they are disrespectful? Iis it still respect if the behavior is out of fear? The discussion will also include whether or not we can tell if someone is afraid by their appearance and actions. Some children may say that if you are afraid it will always show on the outside and some may say that you can be afraid in the inside and not show it. Some may also say that because you have a reaction to an event your body reacts to the event and causes you to be afraid. This may lead to whether our physical response causes fear or if fear causes our physical response. Is it is better to show that you are afraid or not to show that you are afraid? If you don't show that you are afraid are you still afraid? Is it ok to use one's fear to achieve a good end? Does the end justify the means?
Power is a theme mentioned in the story. Miss Nelson loses control of her class and, therefore, does not have any power over the children. The questions will engage the children in a discussion concerning the meaning of power, whether we need power, and how do you gain and lose power. Power can be given to us and can also be taken away. This topic also asks if we have control over any power that we have and if it is ever better to let others have power over you. Children are always asked to give the power they have to grown ups and it is important to ask them why that is happening. Can power ever be achieved if those that are under it truly don't want it? Do we have power because we are respected? Discussing these questions will give the students some understanding of what it is to have power. The last two themes of identity and deception somewhat tie together in the story. Miss Nelson changes her identity and deceives the children. Identity also ties in with the previous themes of respect and power. Do people change who they are to gain acceptance, respect, and power? Can we change our identity and be the same person or are we different? What defines our identity? Are there essential parts that makes us who we are? If you change everything about yourself are you the same or a new person? Identity ties into deception because Miss Nelson tricks her children into believing something. Is this the same as deception? For example, what if a friend lied to you for your own good? Is it ever ok to not tell the truth or trick someone? Is a trick the same as lying?
2. 8. Swamp and not Ms. 5. Swamp? What is it to have respect for someone? How do you know someone deserves respect? Can you respect yourself? Does obedience for an elder show respect? What types of people are usually disrespected? What actions display respect? Why did the students respect Ms. 4. 6. Nelson? The Meaning of Fear . 3. 1.Miss Nelson in Missing! by James Marshall and Harry Allard Questions for Philosophical Discussion Taryn Hargrove ____________________________________________________ The Nature of Respect The students in Miss Nelson's class did not respect her. How did the students act towards Ms. 7.
4. does that mean you are respected? 6. What is it to have power? 3. Nelson has very little power over her students. 2. 7. How do you lose power? 9. How does it feel to be powerful? . How do you gain power? 8. 9. 8. 1. Swamp? Is fear different from respect? Are you more obedient to someone you fear? What are we afraid of? How do you know someone is afraid? Can someone be afraid and not show any signs of being afraid? Is it better to show that you are afraid or not to show that you are afraid? The Meaning of Power Ms. If you have power. Did the children respect Ms. Did Miss Nelson loose power over the class because the children did not fear her? 2. If someone has power. Do people need power? 4. do you need to respect them? 5. Do we need people to have power? 7. Swamp because they were afraid of her? Why did Ms. Swamp? Would you be afraid of Ms. 1. 5.The children in Miss Nelson's class feared Ms. Swamp. 6. How does it feel to be powerless? 10. 3. Nelson's class fear Ms.
Nelson changes her identity and comes in as Ms. 5. 5. Would you change who you are to gain more acceptance or respect? Is Ms. 1. Swamp.The Idea of Identity Ms. 2. Nelson still the same person after she changes her identity? Does someone's identity define who they are? What defines a person? What is your identity? 6. 2. Is someone the same person if they alter/change their identity? The Meaning of Deception 1. 4. 3. 3. 4. Does Ms. Nelson deceive her class by changing her identity? Is it okay to lie? Is it okay to lie if it is for a good cause? Is tricking someone into believing something the same as lying? How would you feel if your best friend lied to you but it was for your own good? .
it is implied that Miss Viola Swamp was Miss Nelson in disguise. Miss Nelson is Back After Miss Nelson informs the class that she will be absent for a week. However. Once order is reestablished by Miss Swamp. "Now we can really act up. Blandsworth say "HMMM". However. At the end of the book. After many days of tyranny under Miss Swamp. Their fears are momentarily relieved when Mr. shows up. The next day Blandsworth dresses up as a witch saying he's Miss Viola Swamp. the "real" Miss Viola Swamp substitutes for her class the next day. Coach Swamp applies her trademark discipline to the team and they start getting better. Miss Nelson returns to class and the children rejoice. alternatively. After an especially rowdy day in Miss Nelson's class. the Smedley Tornadoes. They hadn't scored even a single point" (Allard. Blandsworth into thinking that his services as a substitute teacher are no longer necessary." yells one of the students (Allard. before they get the chance to make mischief. 8). "hadn't won a game all year. Blandsworth gives extremely boring lectures and so the students plan a scheme to disguise themselves as Miss Nelson in an attempt to lead Mr. This works in the morning. in three children's picture books by Harry Allard and James Marshall. Swamp is a strict disciplinarian and gives the students significantly more school work than Miss Nelson ever did. entitled Miss Nelson is Missing!. her sister was posing as Miss Nelson while Miss Nelson posed as Coach Swamp). Miss Nelson Has a Field Day The Horace B Smedley School football team. Miss Nelson is Back. . substitutes. Miss Nelson returns to class. The contrast between the two teachers is so great that the students actively go looking for Miss Nelson and make unlikely conjectures about what may have happened to her. Definition: A flat character is a minor character in a work of fiction who does not undergo substantial change or growth in the course of a story. 6-7). however after Miss Nelson finds out about the scheme. At the end of the story. Mr. Miss Viola Swamp. Miss Nelson is Missing! Miss Nelson is a grade-school teacher whose students constantly take advantage of her nice nature. Blandsworth. the Tornadoes beat the opposing team "seventy-seven to three. her students discover that she is not coming to school the next day. the school principal. and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day. who as a rule should be round.Miss Viola Swamp" is styled as "the meanest substitute teacher in the whole world"." flat characters play a supporting role to the main character." But then at the very end it is revealed that Miss Nelson's sister actually was Coach Swamp in disguise (or. but everybody doesn't fall for it and Blandsworth says "Oh Rats! How can they tell?" But then Coach Swamp comes back and tortures the team. the class fears that they will again have Miss Viola Swamp as their substitute. she and Mr. Also referred to as "two-dimensional characters" or "static characters. a substitute. When Miss Nelson overhears some of her students complain about the team at Lulu's ice cream parlor.
a helpful policeman. Round Characters (dynamic character): they have more fully developed personalities. We expect the protagonists and antagonists to be rounded individuals who express a range of emotion and change throughout the narrative. usually toward greater maturity.http://www2. static characters or stereotypes): they have no depth and no change. a strict teacher.tw/~emchen/CLit/study_elements. This is a supporting character and usually made to shine the protagonist. interactive book) Characters 1) Types of Characters: Protagonist (hero): the central figure with whom we usually sympathize or identify Antagonist (villain): the figure who opposes the protagonist and creates the conflict Foil Character: the figure whose personality traits are the opposite of the main character’s. and an evil stepmother.edu. Most supporting characters are portrayed in this way. we only see one side or aspect of them. 3) The ways characters are revealed: What the narrator says about the character What the other characters say about the character What the character says about himself or herself What the character actually does Setting .nkfust.htm The Elements of Literature Characters Conflict Setting Theme Narrative Point of View Style Plot Tone *Story Example: Goldilocks and the three bears (video. for example. 2) The ways characters are portrayed: Flat Characters (stock.
usually found in historical fiction.1) The setting refers to the time. The setting helps to establish the mood of a story. This narrative point of view allows for a very personal touch in the story telling. Backdrop Setting: the setting is vague and general. and showing relationships. the narrator uses "I" to refer to himself/herself): the narrator is a character in the story. the protagonist. often." Narrative Point of View Internal Narrator (First-person Narrator. The omniscient narrator can show the thoughts and experiences of any character in the story. which helps to convey a universal. Omniscient Narrator (multiple points of view. suggesting causes. This type of setting is often found in folktales and simply sets the stage and the mood. and the general environment and circumstances that prevail in a narrative. but not necessarily. Plot 1) The plot of a story is a series of interconnected events in which every occurrence has a specific purpose. the geographical locations. the narrator is "all-knowing"): the narrator is not a character in the story but knows everything about the story. 2) Four types of plot structure: . without being confined by the protagonist’s educational or language restrictions. 2) Two types of setting: Integral Setting: the setting is fully described in both time and place. Limited Narrator (External Subjective Narrator. This type of narrative permits the narrator to quickly build a close bond between the protagonist and the reader. A plot is all about establishing connections. It permits the writer the broadest scope. timeless tale. the 3rd person point of view): the narrator is not a character in the story but looks at things only through the eyes of a single character. "long ago in a cottage in the deep woods" and "once upon a time there was a great land that had an Emperor. For example.
and concludes with a denouement (a wrapping up of loose ends). usually of chapter length. It permits authors to begin the story in the midst of the action but later fill in the background for full understanding of the present events. the nature of their existence. Episodic plots work best when the writer wishes to explore the personalities of the characters. then follows the rising action through to a climax (the peak of the action and turning point). A Dramatic or Progressive Plot: This is a chronological structure which first establishes the setting and conflict. . but it consists of a series of loosely related incidents. A Parallel Plot: The writer weaves two or more dramatic plots that are usually linked by a common character and a similar theme. tied together by a common theme and/or characters. Flashbacks can occur more than once and in different parts of a story. An Episodic Plot: This is also a chronological structure. A Flashback: This structure conveys information about events that occurred earlier. and the flavor of an era.
underlying idea of a piece of literature. The conflict provides the excitement and makes possible the growth and development of the protagonist’s character. It is woven subtly into the fabric of the story rather than being lectured or preached by the author. Style . such as adjustment to society.Conflict 1) Common types of conflicts: The Protagonist against Another The Protagonist against Society The Protagonist against Nature The Protagonist against Self 2) A single story may contain more than one type of conflict. Theme 1) The theme is the main. love and friendship. 2) Among the frequently found thematic issues in children’s literature are the problems of growing up and maturing. and finding one's place in the world. achieving one’s identity. although one often predominates.
not to the reader. Humor tends to be age specific. satirical. 4) Dialogue: the words spoken by the characters. Prose has rhythm just as poetry does. Children especially enjoy dialogue as a realistic and convincing way of defining character. One prerequisite is that the victim must seem to deserve the fate or the harm must not be critical. and swift action. usually to each other. agitated. and the varied length of sentences. Humor is elusive. Longer sentences work best when explanations and descriptions are needed.1) Word Choice 2) Sentence Length and Construction Short sentences best convey suspense. Children prefer a balance between exposition and dialogue. zealous. the use of repetition with a slight variation of patterns. Ten Types of humor most common in children’s books (Kappas. The tone can be serious. humorous. passionate. didactic. caustic/sarcastic. We laugh at the tension resulting from something out of the ordinary. 2) Humor: Incongruity is the foundation of humor. 1967): Exaggeration Incongruity . sentimental. warm. sensitive. Its rhythm can be produced by the juxtaposition of sounds. and so on. tension. Tone 1) Tone refers to the author’s mood and manner of expression in a work of literature. indifferent. poignant. 3) Exposition: the narrator’s passages that provide background information and/or introduce characters to help readers understand the events of a story. Humor can be either sympathetic or negative.
placing the adult narrator in a superior position. Teacher as a Reflective Practitioner: What classroom activities observed in this workshop program did you find particularly appealing? How might . or social studies. name-calling. 4) Condescending tones: Condescending tones are inappropriate for children's stories. scien ce. A parody implies a degree of sophistication that deconstructs the original story and depicts the characters from a different perspective. make connections. (Many teachers like to do this first thing in the morning or right after lunch as a way of easing the transition back to the classroom. Parodies can demonstrate the vitality of literature and can suggest new ways of interpreting old tales. Surprise Slapstick Absurdity Situational humor Ridicule/satire Defiance Violence Verbal Humor: word play. a moralizing. 3) Parody: A parody is a literary imitation of another piece of literature. didactic.) • Use literature to support instruction in another subject area such as math. Choose a book that you think your students would enjoy. malapropisms (the unintentional misuse of language). Establish a regular time for reading and discussion. but that may be too difficult for them to read independently. When you finish. pausing to share your thinking with your students as you go.) • Think-alouds. or the misinterpretation of language. Model this by choosing a book you haven’t read. Pose questions. usually using exaggeration for comic purpose. Demonstrate the ways you make meaning when reading literature. jokes and puns. For examples. posit predictions. • Read-alouds. Extension: Classroom Connection Student Activities: Try these activities with your students. or cynical tone is not appreciated in children's literature nowadays. (You may wish to record their observations on chart paper to post. ask students to discuss what they noticed you doing. Ask your librarian to help you find appropriate titles. sentimental. Read some aloud.
Starting Classroom Conversations This session concentrates on the basics of good discussions: defining “good” questions. • Effective readers like to discuss their literary experiences with others. • Talking about literature helps students enjoy and appreciate it more fully. • Think-alouds model strategies for making meaning and allow students to integrate them into their own repertoires. the teachers demonstrate the habits and processes that successful readers employ. • Students in envisionment-building classrooms feel comfortable and trust that their views will be respectfully received. • Students may need help learning ways to reflect on their reading and make connections with their own lives. and other issues. • Many envisionment-building teachers find ways to use literature when teaching subjects other than English/language arts. Foundations Meet the eight teachers in the video programs and find out what kinds of literary experiences have had the most meaning for them. • Some students need help learning to make mental images from their reading. showing practical ways to implement the suggestions the teachers discuss. • Often teachers can use their own experiences as readers as a guide when designing ways to help their students become more effective readers.your students respond if you incorporated them into your literature instruction? What support might they need to become successful? Students can make personal connections with literary texts as well as use them to learn about worlds and experiences very different from their own. In a think-aloud. Looking at Literature The teachers in this video program talk about ways in which story affects their lives and the lives of their students. Observe the teachers in their classrooms and see how this love of literature directly informs their work. or a goal before they start to read.and interest-appropriateness. • Teachers in envisionment-building classrooms recognize the importance of giving students choices about what they read Workshop 1. considering age. Go to this unit. Classroom visits punctuate the discussion. text availability. Go to this unit. identifying those who should have an opportunity to ask questions. and explaining the goals . • Effective readers often begin with a plan. • Learning to choose the right book is an important aspect of being an effective reader. Workshop 2. Workshop 3. a purpose. They move on to talk about selecting texts. The group talks about how they have brought a love of literature to their students.
and music add depth and dimension to literature. Workshop 6. the teachers talk about the ways in which they nurture themselves as professionals: their mentors and heroes. they offer important suggestions for folding traditional elements of the language arts curriculum. Go to this unit. Classroom visits on the first few days of school show some of their suggestions in action. and communicate expectations to students and families. Go to this unit. communicating these goals with their students. Go to this unit. The teachers share their thoughts on specific ways to set the tone for the year. Workshop 7. Documentary-style footage showcases the myriad ways in which they maintain their professional edge—learning from their students as well as other professionals. Learn how teachers can make everyone feel comfortable contributing to a literary discussion and strategies for involving reluctant participants. Reacting to Students’ Work In this session. reading levels. Beginning the Year The kind of classroom that supports active and engaged readers begins with seeds sown in the first few days of the school year. being a part of. Classroom Dialogues The teachers examine the various roles the teacher plays in class discussions—maintaining a careful balance among leading. Additionally. Go to this unit. The Professional Teacher In this video program. Workshop 9. Many Students: Many Voices and Abilities Each student has an individual perspective to share with the world. Using Art and Other Disciplines To Enrich Classroom Conversations Learn how the arts and other disciplines can enhance individual literary experiences for each student. Workshop 5. you will see various ways to evaluate students. The group also talks about various ways to encourage students as writers. Through classroom footage and group discussion. deciding when to assess and when to evaluate. Workshop 4. providing an atmosphere in the classroom in which each student plays a respected and respectful role in conversations surrounding literature. and offer students alternative ways of expressing their understandings of the text. and suggestions for helping students assess their own work and the work of their peers.for this technique. This session also addresses high-stakes assessments. their activities. language acquisition levels. setting goals as they begin. Go to this unit. and the ways they reach out to their peers as they all grow in their careers. In this session. and tailoring literary experiences to meet students’ needs. use that information to influence strategies. and observing discussion—as well as which topics are better discussed with the whole class and which are better for small groups. such as identifying literary elements. you will learn about ways to celebrate their uniqueness. Go to this unit. into the ongoing class discussion. see how drama. and other personal characteristics allow for the formulation of multiple perspectives that add significantly to a group’s interaction with literature. You will see how background. drawing. Go to this unit. . Workshop 8.
Suggest things for them to see in their minds. contrast. Using an appropriate story.Teaching Tips Fiction Nonfiction Teaching Tips for Fiction Before Reading Help students understand that the illustrations can give information that will help them understand a story. supporting details. Ask students to describe how the artist uses such techniques as symbols. During Reading Help students make connections between the pictures and the text through visualizing while they are reading. have students draw a picture of what happens in the story between one illustration and the next. Facilitate a discussion using the questions from "Picture Analysis. As a pre-reading strategy. Ask them to describe orally for each picture what or who appears in the picture. what messages. etc. paragraph. and characters. allow students to transform their own existing background knowledge into drawings. Tell them to look for ideas as well as things that appear in the pictures. and how the picture makes them feel toward the characters and about what's happening. and point of view to communicates ideas and feelings. and so forth. time periods. Work with the art teacher to help students understand these concepts so they can use them to comprehend what they read. such as the main problem. Have students make connections from one illustration to the next to understand sequence and the progression of events in the story. Include a discussion of students' feelings and senses.) that is illustrated. have them visualize settings. Give students specific key images or words to visualize. Have students pair up to describe to one another what they see in their mind's eye. what is happening. ideas. Discuss how the words and illustration support each other." Before reading a selection. Ask students to look closely at the pictures of a story before reading it and make a list of what they see. placement (composition). or feelings are being shown. What written information is also shown in the picture? Are there things in the picture that are not written in the text? Why? Are there things that are written in the text that are not shown in the picture? Why not? . color. This strategy also works well for nonfiction. Have students find a location in the passage (page. Have students "take a walk" through the pictures and tell what they see as they go along. Connect the imagery to students' personal experiences.
humor. To aid student understand of the story's setting. Discuss the clues they used to make their predictions. After Reading Provide opportunities and instruction for expressing words in pictures and expressing pictures in words. the solution to the problem posed in the story. Then. with class summaries of each scene. et cetera? Then. an important scene in the story. over a few days. Then. o What can I tell about the setting from the illustrations? Where does this story take place? In some make-believe place? In a place that looks familiar? In a city? In the country? In more than one place? When does the story take place? Long ago? Modern times? During what season(s) or time(s) of day? Does it appear to take place all in one day. This activity will help students sort main ideas and events from supporting details. have them play detective to find any clues they missed. provide them with this guideline: If this story were to be made into a short movie. they can use these visual cues to guide them to the appropriate place in the text. letting students illustrate what they think are the key scenes or ideas in each chapter. or longer than that? Why do I think so? Is there anything about the colors used in the illustrations that tells me where or when this story might take place? o o Have students draw a picture of their favorite part of the story. Have them compare/contrast their predictions with what actually occurred. or a message from the story. The pictures they draw can be literal representations or symbolic/conceptual pictures reflecting what they have read. Select an illustration or illustrations from a story and ask students to write a sentence or two predicting what is likely to happen next. Have students draw pictures as they read a chapter book to practice visual note taking. ask them to express their interpretation of the setting using a medium of their choice. Then. have them read the story and write what actually does happen next in the story. To help them decide which scenes or ideas are most important. use the following questions to help them visualize and feel themselves in the setting. as well as the character's physical appearance. Allow time for story painting after each chapter. When students go back to find information. compile the illustrations into a book. . Have them describe similarities and differences between the illustration and how they visualized this part of the passage. which scenes must be included for the story to make sense? Which scenes could be included for added interest. Have students pick out one or more main character(s) from the story and draw the character(s) using the descriptions from the story. Their drawings should reflect how the character acts and feels. Ask students to read a portion of a story that is illustrated.
or not sure. Have students form small groups to share their drawings and discuss similarities and differences in each other's drawings. A variation on this activity would be to select pictures from the book to be read and from other books. Choose some pictures that students would expect to see in the book. Select five to 10 pictures from a book the class will be reading. not in the book. As a class. review the drawings and discuss ideas students appear to have comprehended. Work closely with the art teacher to provide students with opportunities to learn creative thinking processes and artistic methods they can use to express their ideas. Ask students to cite the reasons for their decisions. focusing on what they learned that led them to o o o . After reading. conduct a guided imagery activity about the topic to prepare students for the reading (see the "Guided Imagery" lesson plan). o Ask students to draw a picture of what they already know about the topic to be studied. As a group. Have students draw pictures to improve their understanding of a report. Assign students to read an entire passage without any pictures. o o o o Prior to reading an informational book or passage. Have students practice communicating ideas to others visually. and ask them to illustrate specific parts. Have students read the book to confirm their choices. ask students to rearrange the pictures into the correct categories and discuss their reasons for moving them. Ask students to modify or make a new drawing based on what they read. This process will help students understand how illustrators communicate their ideas to the reader. The purpose of this activity is to help students create their own mental images so they have a fuller understanding of the information. o Show students the pictures and ask them which ones they think would be in a book titled [title of book]. as well as others that may be less obvious. Reconvene the small groups and ask students to compare and contrast their first and second drawings. have students sort the pictures into three categories: in the book. Teaching Tips for Nonfiction Help students use images and visual imagery to improve reading comprehension. as well as those they may have not comprehended adequately. Follow-up with a wholeclass discussion.
Activities for Non-Fiction Books The following activities can be used with non-fiction books (see suggested titles below) in order to foster research skills in students of all grades. and note historical dates. discuss the global ideas shown in all the graphics and the relationships among them. charts. Video program #4. Encourage students to refer back to the reading assignment. Visualizing. o Before reading. discuss its importance. Ask them to highlight important action words. Then. associate important events with above mentioned dates and choose a focus for their time line. grids. o o Have students read both texts. If students choose to act. Step #2: Ask students to great a time line where they note dates chronologically. and then complete the diagram with information that is unique for each selection. and explain how it relates to the global idea. charts. Students can practice the visualizing strategy using the interactive student section of this Web site. things you plan to compare and contrast. encourage them to stage a scene in which them act in role . have students look at each individual graphic. o Guide students to create and use Venn diagrams. Direct them use the list of words and phrases to fill in the center (similarities) first. read the caption. and other graphics in the order they appear in the report.make their changes. maps. introduces this strategy and provides examples of teacher modeling and questioning techniques for use with visualization lessons. Acting/Writing in Role Step #1: Ask students to read a non-fiction book (see suggestions below) and take what they feel is important from the text. o Select two related texts and create a list of words and phrases that convey important information from each one. o As a class. Assist students in using pictures to conceptualize ideas in a report. or other graphic organizers to understand commonalities and differences between two related texts. Step #3: Have students choose an interesting individual to emulate through acting or writing in role. have students view pictures. that is. titles and events. Ask students to make a Venn diagram representing both readings.
comprehension monitoring. as used in Reciprocal Teaching. clarify. (Goldenberg. essays and dramatic skits about their topic. can be effective. summarize. and ask questions for sections of a text. 2006). answering questions. place or issue that is of interest to them. 317) There are specific comprehension strategies that some teachers are now using in the classroom. There are a wide range of reading strategies suggested by reading programs and educators. Portfolio Assignment Step #1: Have the students pick a topic. particularly summarizing. Step #3: Encourage the students to express themselves through visual arts. p. 2000). short stories. asking questions. The technique had positive outcomes. If students choose to write. The Panel also emphasized that a combination of strategies. Step #4: Have the students assemble a portfolio of their written and artistic work. Reading strategies Before the 1980s. encourage them to write a letter or journal entry to express what they think the historical character might have said or felt. graphic organizers. The idea is that students will develop stronger reading comprehension skills on their own if the teacher gives them explicit mental tools for unpacking text (Pressley. There you will find songs. book lists. little comprehension instruction occurred in the United States (National Reading Panel. . Comprehension through discussion involves lessons that are "instructional conversations" that create higher-level thinking opportunities for students.using costumes and props. and cooperative learning. class discussions help students to generate ideas and new questions. the use of strategies like summarizing after each paragraph have come to be seen as effective strategies for building students' comprehension. A great resource for elementary teachers on these specific comprehension strategies is to go to the "Into the Book" website . Step #2: Have the students write poetry. Today. Since then. The purpose of the discussions are to promote critical and aesthetic thinking about text and encourage full classroom involvement. The National Reading Panel identified positive effects only for a subset. and activities to teach these specific strategies. most reading comprehension programs teach students explicit reading strategies using teacher direct instruction with additional student practice. posters. Palinscar and Brown (1984) developed a technique called reciprocal teaching that taught students to predict. According to Vivian Thayer.
For more reading activities. You can use connections with any fiction or non-fiction text that you read. index. it explains that "Prior knowledge is using what you already know to help understand something new. Making a connection is when a student can relate a passage to an experience." Inferring is difficult for students. Teachers should model these types of questions through "thinkalouds" before.e. Dr. Another way of looking at visualization. A good reader interacts with the text in order to develop an understanding of the information before them. which is another way of saying that question-asking is our most important intellectual tool" (Response to Intervention). and evaluation and judging. Putting all of these "tools" together will give your students a toolbox of strategies to help them with reading comprehension. Summarizing is a comprehension strategy that also needs to be taught. testing understanding. Use terms like "mental image" and asking sensory questions will help students become better visualizers. table of contents. Synthesizing is putting the pieces together to see them in a new way (Into the Book).First. etc. and how." To help students comprehend and learn from a specific reading material. Making connections will help students understand what the author's purpose is and what the story is about. titles. teach students about prior knowledge. observable process can be very beneficial to struggling readers. one suggestion is to have your class become book detectives. Summarizing is not telling what is important about the text. headings. Evaluation is about making judgments on what you read and then explaining why you made those judgments (Into the Book). when. Questioning is another strategy that will greatly benefit a student. Into the Book's website explains that inferring means to "figure out what it really means from clues in the text. Visualization is when a student can create a picture or movie in their mind while reading text. For the younger students. why. Some activities to help with evaluating can be as easy as having a small group book talk or having students rate a book.) to help students rate a text. Some good reader strategies are predicting. Neil Postman has said. Students will take what they already know about a subject along with their reflections from the book to create their own interpretation and ideas about a certain text. Explain that detectives use what they already know along with using clues from the book to help "solve" the mystery. A summary might include the answers to who. connecting. Evaluating non-fiction texts can be done by using a criteria checklist (i. invite synthesis or creating. another book. You can not have students summarize any text that you are using the classroom. and after reading a text. is to think about bringing words to life. or other facts about the world. . There are several types of questions that a teacher should focus on: remembering. On one of the posters from the Into the Book website. "All our knowledge results from questions. where. application or solving. during. they can access their prior knowledge on a subject to help them relate to the subject that they are learning at the moment. you can check out these websites: Reading different types of texts requires the use of different reading strategies and approaches. Making reading an active. what.
 Professional development for students and small children The National Reading Panel noted that comprehension strategy instruction is difficult for many teachers. and summarizing. analyzing and critiquing. chunking. double entry journals. talking to the text. interactive reading and note taking guides.inferring. There are many resources and activities educators and instructors of reading can use to help with reading strategies in specific content areas and disciplines. particularly because they were not taught this way and because it is a very cognitively demanding task. They suggested that professional development can increase teachers' willingness to use reading strategies but admitted that much remains to be done in this area. anticipation guides. summarizing. . Some examples are graphic organizers. The directed listening and thinking activity is a technique available to teachers to aid students in learning how to un-read and reading comprehension.