View presentation - Johnston Community School District

Literacy in the Middle
Kathy Paul
Johnston Community School District
Johnston, Iowa
Powerpoint available on JCSD web site:
About Johnston Middle Schools:
 Summit, Grades 6-7
 Johnston Middle (JMS), Grades 8-9
Each grade has about 500 students
Not unusual to have 25% of a grade level in the 90% for
standardized testing, so many students need to be served
Levels of Service
 Personalized Education Plan (PEP)
 Need regular adjustments to curriculum
 Perform 2+ SD above peers
 Often 12-20 students per grade by MS
 Strength Area Reading (SAR)
 Needs are quite consistent
 Perform 1+ SD above peers
 Often 12-25 + students per grade
 General Enrichment (GE)
 Needs are inconsistent
 Work hard and desire enrichment
 Often 25+ students per grade
Extended Learning Program (ELP)
Services for Language Arts:
 Cluster groups of identified students
 Range:
4-8 students with strengths to
Entire section of strengths
• Specific scheduled classes 6-12 weeks long
• Collaboration with ELP teacher for planning and
implementation of differentiation
 Adjustments & extensions to regular curriculum
 Teachers who are trained to work with gifted
 Provides curriculum and instruction at the
appropriate level of challenge
 Considers:
How students learn best
Readiness- grade level appropriateness
Interest- tapping into passion for
What does 6th grade look like?
 Many teachers have cluster groups of
reading (literacy) strength students—usually
4-8 students
 Classroom teachers ideally have training in
differentiation and/or experience with
 RTI time with gifted is part of ELP teacher’s
 Pilot: 6 week classes in 3 literacy areas
6th grade class: Writing Lab
 This class will combine materials used from elementary
ELP through Michael Clay Thompson’s vocabulary,
writing/poetry with forms of writing, such as expository,
persuasive, etc. Texts used will include Word Within the
Word and Poetry, Plato and the Problem of Beauty, both
by Michael Clay Thompson. Students will scaffold their
learning about poetry while increasing their knowledge
of classics-based vocabulary. As a culminating activity,
students will create a personal portfolio of poetry and
writing with companions from their texts.
6th grade class: Law & Order
 This course will provide speaking, listening, and writing
skills related to law-related education. In addition to
reading a previous mock trial case, students will learn
about the advocacy process, including the court system
and trials. Students will observe and critique others in
the roles of lawyers and witnesses. They will gain an
understanding of how to advocate for both sides of an
issue through a trial and will develop direct and crossexam using relevant case materials.
The students will practice speaking skills by taking on the role of a witness
and a lawyer. This will allow more students to have exposure to the Mock Trial
6th grade class: Research & Writing
 Students will utilize non-fiction reading/research skills,
which would allow those interested to participate in the
History Day research experience.
Research Class
 Students will choose a topic of interest related to an
historical theme and will learn about primary and
secondary sources. In addition to reading non-fiction
materials, students will increase their understanding of
relevant information, analysis, and create a related
project to showcase their research.
6th Grade RTI for language arts
Group size varies
Chance to work with more
students for screening
Programming varies
6th grade RTI - Example
 Lost Cities Webquest
 For this activity you will choose your own lost city. Based on
the writing styles and structure we’ve read in our Treasures
text, use this document below to make your choice and
examine a summary of your lost city on Wikipedia. Next, use
the References at the bottom of the Wikipedia page and
research found on AEA’s Search Engines
( to learn the following
 1. Why your city became lost 2. How it was found
3. What methods were used to ‘find’ it.
 Then, create your own diary (Word document, Power Point,
Prezi, etc) showing your experience as an archaeologist
discovering your lost city. Be sure to show the importance of
the setting and culture of the discovered city.
Next week we will be viewing TED videos on a variety of topics. Because this is outside the regular curriculum, I am asking
that the parent/ guardian of each student to grant permission on the topic(s) their student may review. Students will be
asked to view 1 video from each group (for a total of 3 videos) and then complete a main idea / supporting details sheet
for each talk. This activity will support learning of main idea and supporting details from non-fiction sources as well as 21st
Century Skills in discerning quality, content, and bias from Web information sources.
Group 1: Humanity and the World
Kent Larson: Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city
Anthony Atala: Growing new organs
Group 2: Conservation of the Planet
David Gallo on life in the deep oceans
Group 3: Man and Machine
Vijay Kumar: Robots that fly ... and cooperate
Shyam Sankar: The rise of human-computer cooperation
Johnny Lee demos Wii Remote hacks
7th Grade Reading ELP
• Classroom Cluster Groups
• Collaboration with teachers
• Extended Studies Programming
7th grade Menu of Programming
Classes: 6-12 weeks during
exploratory times
Publish It! - 6 week course
 Students will prepare and polish a piece of writing.
Various sources for publication will be explored, with
the goal of creating a final piece worthy of publication.
Challenge Reading: 6 week course
 Students will enjoy choosing and reading challenging
literature as they participate in literature circles, book
reviews, and response groups. Affective needs will be
addressed through discussion of literature and response.
Research Part I: 6 week class
 Students will learn how to
research a topic and analyze
information. Critical use of the
Internet will be explored.
Students will learn about topic
selection, the use of primary
sources, and advanced notetaking skills. They will outline
and develop a research topic of
their own choice or they may
select a topic for the National
History Day competition.
Research Part II- 6 week class
 This course is a continuation of Research Part 1 where in
students continue their research in order to produce an
extended research project which will be entered into
the National History Day competition. This class offers
the use of college libraries, instruction in the
annotation of bibliographies using 10 or more sources,
and a final project such as an exhibit, multi-media
project, research paper, or dramatic performance.
Students taking this course are expected to compete in
National History Day competitions.
Mock Trial- Law Related Ed. – 12 weeks
 This course involves rigorous curriculum in the law, as
well as speaking and writing skills. Students will learn
about the law and how it applies to our society by
studying a specific legal case. The class will culminate
in a mock trial performance. Students are expected to
work with attorneys on Tuesday evenings. Individual
student participation levels will vary. Students will be
witnesses, lawyers, timers, or alternates.
Collaboration with classroom
teachers -7th gr. Example:
 Poetry Literary Analysis: Using Elements of Literature
 Students are asked to write literary analysis essays .
This type of assignment encourages you to think about
how and why a poem, short story, novel, or play was
written. To successfully analyze literature, you’ll need
to remember that authors make specific choices for
particular reasons. Your project needs to point out the
author’s choices and attempt to explain their
 Another way to look at a literary analysis is to consider
a piece of literature from your own perspective. Rather
than thinking about the author’s intentions, you can
develop an argument based on any five combinations of
terms listed below. You’ll just need to use the original
text to defend and explain your argument.
7th grade collaboration
 From the Outside Looking In – Window Activity
still left around you and be happy. - Anne Frank
Think of all the beauty
 Task: Your group will create a window into the world of your story. This will
be a great visual glimpse at the world that your character grows up in and
will provide context and insight into their story.
 Requirements: Your window should be neat, creative and
colorful. It should be unique to your group’s understanding of
the story and should be clear enough that people who haven’t
read the story can understand it also.
 Your window should have enough detail that it is clear which
story it belongs to. You do not need to have people in your
window; focus on the setting.
 Make sure your window is authentic looking; that is, has a
window frame, curtains (if your character would have curtains),
and other details that make it realistic and unique.
 Add symbolism to your window. Remember, this window is like
the eyes that your character uses to look out at the world…how
would they view it? Bright and sunny? Cloudy? A swirl of
confusion? Make it representative of your protagonist and their
 Creativity: Story should be creative and unique. Small
details make each window individual to its group.
 Neatness: The window is neat and clear, and easily
understandable. The image is distinguishable and logical.
 Theme: The window provides a deeper insight into the world
of the protagonist. It goes beyond a superficial
representation of the character’s world, as well as their
feelings and perceptions.
 Group work: Group should work cooperatively together, and
it should be apparent that all group members contributed to
the outcome.
 Written Description: The group provides a written rationale
for their project that describes the theme and thought
process behind their window.
8th grade cluster classes
 Minimum of 6 Strength Area/PEP students clustered
 Two teachers with PEP/SA students/average students
 Other staff have clusters of GE in groups of 3-8
 Teachers have common plan
 Modifications to curriculum
8th grade modifications
 Extensions in text
 Pace
 Student Choice
 Spelling and vocabulary
 Content- literature/ readings
 Poetry- analysis and original
8th grade cluster class: Example
of week:
 Monday: Vocab, Poem of the Week, *Read Chapter 8 and
complete theme T-chart, Work on Poem and Vocab
Tuesday: Analysis of 7-8, *Read Chapter 9, Ingredient
Activity, Work on Poem and Vocab
Wednesday: Chapters 10-11 *Begin Billiards Flow Chart,
Work on Poem and Vocab
Thursday: Analysis of Ch. 9-10 *Read Ch. 12, Finish
Billiards Flow Chart
Friday: Collect vocab, Poetry Contest, Analysis of Ch.
11-12, Collect Journal Entries, Media Study
* = homework if not finished in class (Please don't forget
to read 20 minutes a day - it'll make you smarter, should
be enjoyable, and will help improve your vocabulary,
and writing!)
Modified Unit of Study
Lesson plan
 DAY 1 Powerpoint
 Life in the 60s Handout, Intro – Middle School Society
 Anticipation Guide
 *Context for Outsiders
 DAY 2
Spot check Context
 Handout books and read Chapter 1
 *Create concept map; questions for Chapter 1-2
 DAY 3 Read Chapter 2
 Complete questions and concept map and hand in during
 *Read Chapter 3
 Lit Circle discussion using questions/ideas
Lit Circles
 Use to teach analysis and deep understanding
 Template created to guide students
Connections, writer’s craft, passages of interest,
open-ended questions
 Sticky notes to mark passages/quotes
 Modeled example for students
 Discussions are rich and thoughtful
Press Conference
 Students become characters from the book. The
“reporters” are ready to ask questions of each
character. Each student has a chance to be a reporter,
as roles switch throughout the class period.
Use of online classroom program
 Moodle or Blackboard or similar program
 Students can discuss online, teacher monitors
 Students are selected to add writings
 Teacher can post assignments & syllabus
 Teacher can share resources with other staff
 Resource materials are available for students, ie how to
create a bibliography
Weekly Poetry Study
My First Three Chest Hairs By Donald
I am looking in the mirror and what do I see?
growing on me!
I would much prefer they grow in pairs,
One’s as solid as an old tree trunk,
junior high punk.
I remember when my chest was bare,
chest hair.
Getting this chest hair makes me proud of it
start to covet.
Now all the other guys will
When I go to the swimming pool,
three hairs look cool.
The girls are gonna think my
What! One more!
I might be a monkey!
Maybe I will become like a big furry bear,
with no hair.
I see myself covered in hair.
Finally, three chest hairs
But no! I have three chest
The others are flimsy like a
But now I can say I have
That makes four!
Wouldn’t that be funky!
But I’d rather be fuzzy wuzzy
Oh my goodness what will I wear?
The Taste of Lemons by Anna
 The taste burns my lips, the juice
 making my tongue
 quiver like the strings on a guitar. My eyes
 water and tears run down
 my face like rain so I squeeze them shut tight.
 I lick the tartness
 away, squeeze every
 drop out until my mouth is
 alive with thetaste of the lttle
 yellow fruit.
Student response
 Re: The Taste of Lemons
 By Nicole - Monday, 24 September 2012, 06:14 PM
 I love your poem! It really describes how it feels to eat
a lemon. I really like the part about your tounge
quivering like guitar strings. I love eating lemons, and
know all those feelings well. Way to capture a
moment’s feeling in a poem. Your words are powerful.
Resources added to Moodle
 Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)
 List of commonly misspelled words
 Lists of classic fiction
 Books students have read & recommend
9th Integrated Language Arts
 Pilot of language clusters for last 3 years
 Used MAP, IA Assessments, teacher recs
 One teacher, 3 sections
 Same standards and benchmarks
 Modifications in pace & content
Course Description
 Cluster Group English is a yearlong course for
eligible students who choose to challenge
themselves. Student learning goals, outlined in our
district Standards and Benchmarks, blend five
literacy strands (reading, writing, listening,
speaking, and viewing). Students may look forward
to authentic writing and competition opportunities
as well as collaborative learning and discussion
over common texts such as Romeo and Juliet, The
Odyssey and various literature titles. Students will
pair contemporary fiction and canonical literature
to explore common themes and character analysis.
Independent reading will encourage students to
select books from the College Bound Reading List.
Course Description continued
 Students will participate in civic discussions with
elected officials as part of a persuasion unit. Students
will extend their analysis of fiction to focus on theme
and symbol through short story. Differentiation in
written analysis would include exposure to a variety of
schools of literary criticism. Formative assessment will
be used to determine students’ current levels of
mastery and to guide extension beyond the regular
English Curriculum. Students will be taught critical
viewing skills to analyze the different directors’ visions
in several versions of Romeo and Juliet, to become
critical consumers of media, and also to introduce them
to documentary film.
Course outline- Semester 1
 Unit One: Dealing with life changing events
 Major Texts:
9/11 (Documentary), Jules and Gedeon Naudet, and
James Hanlon
Literature Circle options:
Hiroshima, John Hersey
Goodbye to Manzinar, Jeanne W. Houston
The Pigman and Me, Paul Zindel
Diary of a Young Girl, Ann Frank
The Story of My Life, Helen Keller
Other selected short stories, articles, and texts
 Unit Two: The Odyssey
 Major Texts:
Selections from The Odyssey, Homer
Selected poems and stories, historical information
 Unit Three: Argument and Persuasion
 Major Texts:
Various persuasive articles, editorials, and fiction
Websites pertaining to a policy for student
 Trip to Iowa Legislature, interviews with policy makers
 * This unit contains the district writing assessment
Semester final
 Pick Your Final Exam!
 As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making
the best choices, by making the most of the talents we've been given. - Mary Lou
 Task: You will be finding an issue that appeals to you, and developing an ad
campaign to convince me (a wealthy entrepreneur) to donate large amounts of
money to your cause.
 Step 1: Pick a cause. This should be something that you care about and have
some background knowledge. The purpose of this assignment is not to practice
researching, and that should not be consuming your time.
 Step 2: Pick an ad campaign. Would you prefer a poster/visual? A commercial? A
written grant application? How will you be best able to get your message across?
You can pick whichever medium you find to be most effective. The only rule is
that you must use Logos, Ethos, AND Pathos effectively to persuade me.
Step 3: You will write a rationale explaining your process, strengths, struggles,
and creative and persuasive decisions. This must be turned in when you share
your project with the class.
Step 4: You will be sharing your project with the class. If your project is a formal
presentation, then that is what you will do; if it is not, you will be informally
sharing your process and outcomes with your peers.
Written Rationale for Final
 On a typed sheet of paper, you need to respond formally to the following
questions. To effectively answer all of these, your response will be AT
LEAST one page long, double-spaced.
 What median did you decide to use? What reasons did you have for
choosing it?
 What process did you use to create your product? What parts of the
process were the hardest? What parts were the easiest?
 How did you incorporate logos, ethos, and pathos into this project?
 Why did you pick the organization that you did? Do you have a
connection to it, or just an interest?
 What did you learn while doing this project?
 This piece should be in MLA format, with no errors in grammar,
punctuation, spelling, etc. Have it ready to turn in on the day that you
share with the class.
Spring Semester outline
 Romeo and Juliet
 Lit Circles with written analysis
 Debate
 Non-fiction writing
 History Day research option
History Day Research
Final Exam Second Semester
 Finding a New Perspective
 Final Part A
 Task: This year, we have learned about perspective –
finding new perspectives on life changing events, seeing
things from new perspectives, and trying to get others
to see things from our perspective. You now have the
chance to creatively apply the idea of perspective to
something that you have read over the course of the
Here’s how it works:
You will pick a novel, non-fiction work, or poem that you have read at some point this
year (either for class or on your own). Then you will find a way to present that in a new
form. The idea here is that you will keep the same characters, theme, message, and
ideas, but present them in a new format. Sample formats that you can use:
Comic book
Narrative (if it’s not already)
Piece of artwork
Oral Interpretation
PowerPoint or Prezi
Anything else (as approved)
 Once you have completed the creation portion of this
assignment, you will construct a two-page (double
spaced) reflection on your creation. This reflection is
due with your project and should include the following:
 Summary of original work
 Description of your creation
 Symbolism and theme in original story AND
 Symbolism and theme in your creation
 Thoughts on your creative decisions during this process
Show & Tell: final presentation
 After completing your
creation and your
reflection, you will
informally share your
project with the class.
This will be a time for your
peers to ask you questions
about your work, as well as
time for you to elaborate
on your process (things you
struggled with, things you
were especially proud of,
Customize for your district!
 Discuss with other teachers,
administrators and parents
 Don’t forget student input!
 Look at all options
 Pilot programs can be a good start
 Begin with one grade
 Add modifications over time
[email protected]
 On Johnston web site,” ABOUT US” tab
 DEPARTMENTS- Academic Services- ELP

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