Reflection: Accountability Research Reading Strategies & Modernism with "The Turtle" - Section 4: Application


For this lesson section, I used Actively Learn as a way of keeping students engaged during our lesson, while also incorporating some high-level Speaking & Listening Skills from the Common Core.  I first discovered Actively Learn when I was seeking out a solution to inattentive reading and individual engagement in texts.  Since then, I have been tremendously happy with the reviews of the platform from my students.  They see their comprehension improving, and I see the same thing.  They are more prepared for discussion, more authentically read assignments, and are enjoying their activities more.  When I built the module for "The Turtle," it was with the intention of giving it to students to work through again as homework.  As the time to assign this drew near, however, I just couldn't do it!  I LOVE this story, and I LOVE the way I hear my students collectively gasp when the man in the truck swerves to hit the turtle.  I love making them really REALIZE what "fierce, humorous eyes" look like, and I love that Mr. Wohlers has had artwork made for him by students that morph his face and the face of a turtle together because of this story.  I just couldn't give that up.  More importantly, I couldn't give up the inspiration that spreads across the classroom when they begin to put together the allegory.  It's truly infectious, in the very best way. 

That said, snow days have really cut back on my time to work through my argumentative research paper, which is always due at the end of third quarter.  Time is at a premium, like I'm sure it is for many teachers this year and every year.  Once I started thinking about this Actively Learn module, I decided that doing it IN class would be a great way to ensure that students are on track with the reading.  It's almost like a pre-made Poll Everywhere, but it takes the extra work out of it for the teacher during class.  I also realized that my pictures and comments could be useful to class discussion as well and save me time, since I wouldn't have to take seconds to show pictures--they would just be embedded.  Furthermore, I could really see how students are using these features and model how they SHOULD be thinking about these additional resources.

The most important realization about this Actively Learn module, however, is the idea that using it in class allows me to keep the same high-level discussions that we typically have while in class and extend it to home.  This was one of the features that drew me to the platform, but in my time-conscious planning, I realized it will also allow me to start a reading assignment in class and then simply assign the rest of the pre-made module to my classes for homework!  The module works on the same high-level thinking skills in the Speaking & Listening Strand and it's paired with the Reading Literature skills explicitly in the module.  That degree of flexibility will allow me to continue with the high-level skills and expectations for my students, but in a time-conscious, customizable, way.  I think this is something I will continue doing to help counteract some of the scheduling problems that tend to occur in the spring, like athletic events, testing, assemblies, and awards ceremonies!

  Adding Flexibility to Address Speaking & Listening Standards
  Accountability: Adding Flexibility to Address Speaking & Listening Standards
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Research Reading Strategies & Modernism with "The Turtle"

Unit 6: Multitasking with Modernism & Research Skills
Lesson 1 of 9

Objective: SWBAT reflect on reading habits and evaluate author choices and allegory in an excerpt from Steinbeck through class discussion focusing on personification.

Big Idea: Get reflective with data-driven discussion on reading strategies for research & an investigation of allegory with a fierce Modernist turtle!

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