Reflection: Positive Reinforcement A Literary Tour: The Harlem Renaissance - Section 2: Building Knowledge


Students are frequently offered positive reinforcement for their discussion participation in my classroom, and I know it makes a difference to my classroom's climate.  I see shy students puff up a little bit when they get kudos, and all students are more willing to ATTEMPT to work through tough texts when they're getting random, slightly linguistically-outdated compliments from me.  (I've never let a "groovy" slip, but I'm keenly aware of letting a "dude!" slip into my lexicon before!)  Especially when we're modeling an activity that students will be asked to complete on their own in a few minutes, it's critical that they all leave the group activity with the sense that they can, in fact, achieve their group's objective.  That's why I am particularly in love with this John Green video, which offers the typical Green-ified historical context in a way that kids enjoy digesting, but also includes his interpretation of the two poems we work through in this lesson section.  Students can get tired of hearing me praise them and agreeing with their stellar insights, but they do NOT get tired of having their hard-fought interpretations of these two poems perfectly align with John Green's own interpretation.  It was tremendous to watch students beam with pride as John confirmed everything that they had pulled out of these poems, and I could definitely see that pride and confidence translate into the small-group portion of today's lesson plan.

On a related sidebar, I think I now understand how every parent feels when they've told their kid something a million times, but the first time the kid ever really "hears" it is when someone else tells it to them.  (Sorry, Mom!)  Ultimately, I'm stoked that they got the boost they needed, whether it was from me or John Green, but it does make me wish I was as snazzy and cool as him!  :)   

  What's Better Positive Reinforcement than Having John Green AGREE with You?!
  Positive Reinforcement: What's Better Positive Reinforcement than Having John Green AGREE with You?!
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A Literary Tour: The Harlem Renaissance

Unit 8: A Renewed Focus on Modernism
Lesson 3 of 4

Objective: SWBAT evaluate author choices and Modernist themes in prose and analyze poetry for figurative language, symbols, tone, and social connection to the Harlem Renaissance in small groups.

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