- Select the vocabulary words from the novel/drama/chapter book.
- Give the students the words and definitions before they start reading. I have a workshop on this.
- 10 words per week ahead of their reading. Practice them each day. Repetition. When they see the word in the text, they’ll yell out, “Dr. Louis, that’s one of our words!” And you’ll nod like it is a surprise to everyone!
- Think of the many themes in the first work. See Analytical Response to Literature guide, 4th edition for “Discovering Theme.”
- Essays – find nonfiction (current and historical events) that relate to the theme. (Create an expository prompt.)
- Short Story — find a short story that goes with your centerpiece.
- Poetry — find a poem that goes with your centerpiece.
- Tuesday night is Film Night with Family. I like to do this to get the families involved, but some of our kids don’t have this option, unfortunately, so this must be optional, or you can have an AFTER SCHOOL film presentation. Each week that you are reading the work, select a theme and find a companion film or documentary (Ken Burns’s new Civil War documentary is coming out in September. For those of you teaching novels with an African-American focus, consider novels with African-American themes (e.g., Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird; Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry).
- What grammar, mechanics, usage, syntax are your studying? In the above texts (“texts” include film), find places where you can teach the grammar;
- Pull sentences from the various texts that demonstrate the conventions you are teaching;
- For your JSWP Shaping Sheet, tell the students they must highlight or circle/underline the rules you are studying; and
- Grammar Mondays — Grammar tutoring — English department — Each week, one teacher takes a convention and presents it for tutoring. Anyone can come, and everyone who comes gets extra credit. Rotate the responsibility.
Integrate all of these while you are reading your novel, drama, chapter book.
Finally, create a syllabus — your menu — to send home, showing the parents what you will be doing with this novel, drama, chapter book as the centerpiece. Dates, Prompts, etc.
Everyone wins! It’s a hearty meal!
Keep reading and writing!Warm regards,