The labor intensity to which Nancy Sharma refers in this week’s “Good News from the Front Lines” is two-fold: setting up the system and following through with it. In the spring prior to the next school year, Nancy and I and other vertical team members spent many days after school designing this vertical approach to teaching ELA, and our district language arts coordinator, Dr. Jo Ann Patton, and our high school instructional principal, Dr. Ann Clingman, were invited and at least one of them attended as our administrative support. This time together was invaluable, and we grew closer as a team of professionals. We laughed and giggled. We also debated. But we became a well-oiled machine, and the students realized that the English department was a team. The meetings lasted one hour, and we created the system that was implemented the following year.
[In a flipped classroom,] [s]hort video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions. The video lecture is often seen as the key ingredient in the flipped approach, such lectures being either created by the instructor and posted online or selected from an online repository. While a prerecorded lecture could certainly be a podcast or other audio format, the ease with which video can be accessed and viewed today has made it so ubiquitous that the flipped model has come to be identified with it. The notion of a flipped classroom draws on such concepts as active learning, student engagement, hybrid course design, and course podcasting. The value of a flipped class is in the repurposing of class time into a workshop where students can inquire about lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another in hands-on activities. During class sessions, instructors function as coaches or advisers, encouraging students in individual inquiry and collaborative effort. (February 2012)
- With the approval and support of an administrator, each level creates a fall and spring semester list of PARAGRAPH TOPICS which connects themes of literature to life experiences.
- This assignment assists ELA teachers to assign non-fiction prompts (expository and/or argumentation) while still working through the literature.
- Each Wednesday, the students submit a one-, two-, or three-chunk paragraph.
- The students must include and highlight in the paragraph one sentence that has the same construction as that week’s grammar lesson.
- If the students can include a vocabulary word from that week in the paragraph, without the vocabulary word sounding contrived, they would receive a star on their paragraph and a big smile from Dr. Louis!
- Example: One of the weeks during a unit on Romanticism, we’re reading Wuthering Heights as our core piece and interjecting poetry. We read “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1834) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The paragraph prompt for that week: Write a two-chunk descriptive paragraph (2+:1) about a vacation gone awry!
- Worth seventy points. The Grammar Sentences on Tuesdays are worth thirty points. Let’s recap their weekly grades for HOAC:
- three sentences – 30 points
- paragraph – 70 points
- quiz – 100 points or 200 points
- The special instructions may include the number of chunks and ratio required per paragraph.
The following list is a sample from Nancy Sharma’s English IV AP course. Because these students are senior AP students, she does not require a certain number of chunks or a ratio although she does have a requirement for a minimum number of sentences. I have inserted a couple of ideas for teachers who would like to include chunking and ratio instructions.
Ms. Sharma’s Rules:
On Wednesday of each week, you will turn in a single paragraph of quality befitting a high school senior.
- It should have a controlling topic sentence and supporting details.
- It should have a variety of sentence types with no more than two simple sentences.
- It should end gracefully.
- It should follow proper MLA manuscript form.
- It should have a MINIMUM of eight to twelve sentences. (Deborah’s note: at least two – three chunks is what Nancy is wanting.)
- It must include at least one sentence which conforms to the grammatical requirements of the week.
- It must be on time (not even one minute late).
- It must be grammatically and stylistically sound.
|Week||Suggestions Only||Due Date||Special Instructions|
|2||two chunks; 2+:1||Aug. 31||What is a goal you have, an obstacle which challenges that goal, and your solution for overcoming that obstacle?|
|3||Sept. 7||What is your opinion of fate?|
|4||two chunks; (a) 2+:1; (b) 1:2+||Sept. 14||(a) Have you experienced a restlessness in your life? Explain the sensation and analyze the experience. OR (b) How does Siddhartha reflect parents of today?|
|5||two chunks; (a) 1:2+; (b) 2+:1||Sept. 21||(a) How does Siddhartha’s descent into desire reflect your own private lives and/or the consumptive nature of our society? OR (b) As a senior in high school, what wisdom have you gained in your life?|
|6||End of Six Weeks||No Paragraph Due||Siddhartha Essay Due.|
|7||Oct. 5||Think about someone who just doesn’t fit in; explain the causes. Please do not use actual names and avoid hurtful descriptions of identifiable peers and/or persons in the school community.|
|8||Oct. 12||How would Heathcliff fit in at _______________ (write your high school name in blank)?|
|9||Oct. 19||Discuss your knowledge and understanding of revenge and its effects on a person’s life?|
|10||Oct. 26||Write about a time when you were governed by your impulsive enthusiasm, not by reflection or ideals of civility. (Remember, PG-13)|
|11||Nov. 2||Write about a time when you were governed by reflection or ideals of civility, not by your impulsive enthusiam.|
|12||End of Six-Weeks||No Paragraph Due||Wuthering Heights Essay Due.|
|13||Nov. 16||The three witches are sometimes called “instruments of darkness.” What instruments of darkness are found in our society, and how do we combat them?|
|14||Last day before Thanksgiving Holiday||Nov. 22||Have you or someone you know experienced blind ambition? Explain.|
|15||Nov. 30||What do you think about one of these sayings, “Behind every great man is a great woman” or “behind every great woman is a great man?’|
|16||two or three chunks; 1:2+||Dec. 7||Shakespeare considered evil a force beyond human understanding. Do you think Shakespeare also saw the forces of evil as stronger than the forces of good? Explain.|
|17||two chunks; 1:2+||Dec. 14||Think of a modern character, real or fictional, whose downfall — like Macbeth’s — came after an attempt to gain great power. How is this modern figure like Macbeth, and how different?|
|18||End of Semester||Dec. 21||The Tragedy of Macbeth Essay Due.|
Please contact me with questions or comments! Keep reading and writing!