Archive for the ‘Standard 3.B’ Category

Standard 3.B

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

“Create learning environments that promote critical and higher order thinking skills, foster the acquisition of deep knowledge, and provide connections beyond the classrooms to promote substantive conversation and clear structured writing among teachers and learners regarding subject matter acquisition.”


As a college student transitioning from student to teacher, I found it difficult at the beginning of my teaching to think in the “high school” mindset. In brainstorming discussion questions, I immediately found myself trying to dig deep into literary analysis, like we had in my collegiate literature courses. I had to remind myself that most of my students were not cognitively prepared to immediately jump into deep discussion. However, instead of refraining these questions altogether, I realized that I would have to work with students in order to get them to the point of being able to analyze literature.


During our short story mini-unit, toward the beginning of the marking period, I created 3-level reading guides for students to fill out after reading each short story. These guides started with literal questions: answers to which can directly be found in the literature. From there, the worksheets asked interpretive questions (asking students to make their own inferences about certain aspects of the piece) and applied questions (asking students to apply themes from the piece to their lives). After reading these worksheets, I saw that many students were able to make some deep connections to the literature. Had I asked interpretive and applied questions right off the bat, I do not think that students would have been able to make as deep of connections.


For our assessment for the Inherit the Wind unit, I asked students to do a take-home quiz, for which they needed to answer three of four questions. These questions were thematic in nature, and helped to tie together some of the discussions we had had in class over the unit. By this point in the semester, students had participated in numerous analytical discussions, as well as written persuasive papers, and so I felt as though they were ready to dive into their own literary analysis. The quizzes turned out really well, and I discovered that many students were able to come up with analyses that I had not thought of yet! I would definitely do such an assignment in the future, although I would realize in assigning it that 10th graders would need several days of out-of-class time to complete the assignment.


As a whole, I think that it is vital that teachers ask deep, meaningful questions of their students, and that expectations for comprehensive learning should be set high. However, we as teachers need to provide students with the tools and positive feedback to be able to meet these expectations.



          3-level reading guides:

Hair” worksheet

“It Can’t Be Helped” worksheet

“Through the Tunnel” worksheet

“Typhoid Fever” worksheet


          Inherit the Wind take-home quiz