The Vertical Vision: A Recipe for Success is a four-part webinar series that provides teachers with a practical and effective approach to teaching novel and drama selections while integrating vocabulary, grammar/syntax, and writing strategies. Teachers attending this webinar use their Scope and Sequence to create the various components. However, once it is in place, the results are phenomenal!
Over the next several weeks, we will cover the following components:
• Part I: Core Literature Selections
• Part II: Vocabulary that Accompanies the Core Literature
• Part III: Grammar/Syntax that Accompanies the Literature and the Vocabulary
• Part IV: Writing that Accompanies the Literature, Vocabulary, and Grammar/Syntax
PART I: CORE LITERATURE
The entire system revolves around the core literature that your students read. So, we begin with development of that reading. And no one can do it better than a department of English teachers, supported by the administration of a school.
A Word to the Wise. My experience has brought many great successes and many hard lessons. I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you some wisdom from one of my trusted sage advisors who was an English teacher and Department Chair at both junior high and high school levels and the ELA secondary coordinator for an entire district:
“Promulgated reading lists have personal and political implications that could engender emotional (and legal) responses from parents and school boards and even students. I wish that the reading lists and decisions related to the content of these lists were within the purview and authority of the teacher; however, this is not the case. (1) Reading lists must have appropriate administrative approval prior to any dissemination. (2) Even if an approved reading list already exists, any alterations and/or prioritization of titles/works need appropriate administrative approval. (3) Reading lists must be carefully proofed for content, as well as accuracy of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc.” Jo Ann Patton, Ph.D.
Pay special heed to her advice, and I’ll give you two more guiding thoughts: (1) Never assign a literary work that you haven’t already read. Do not assume that because a colleague of yours is using it in his/her classroom, or because it was a Pulitzer Prize winner, that it is also acceptable in a classroom of teenagers. (2) Regarding texts with sensitive material (e.g., gender, language, race, religion), be sure to have alternate titles available, just in case concerns arise. For example, a parent is upset about your assigning Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato (1978) to the twelfth grade Advanced Placement® English students because of the profanity used by the soldiers. Don’t argue and say something like, “Well, a soldier is probably not going to say, ‘Good Gravy’ when he gets shot in the leg by a sniper.” Simply say, “No problem, I have an alternate title. Let’s consider having your son/daughter read Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front (1929). It, too, has been listed on the AP Lit test in the past, and both pieces are set in war eras and have some crossover themes.”
Keep reading and writing!