A Typical Day in Our Class
Every day in Mrs. Lewis's 8th Grade Language Arts class is different, and yet there are set structures and routines that we will use all year long. Sometimes these routines are enjoyed in a whole group setting, and other times different groups of students will be enjoying different activities simultaneously. Our classroom will not always sound quiet- there should be a consistent hum of literacy all the time.
Reading Workshop: This portion of our day is dedicated to developing the strategies and processes that proficient readers use to comprehend and enjoy texts of all genres. We will build independence with strategies of close reading, which includes :
- the analysis of how ideas develop and interact
- the interpretation of words and phrases and how specific word choices shape meaning
- the analysis of the structure of texts
- the assessment of how the point of view shapes a text
- the analysis and comparison of two or more texts use to build knowledge
- the citation of specific textual evidence to justify interpretations and analysis
This will usually take the form of a mini-lesson devoted to a particular strategy followed by opportunities for application. One of our main goals is for each student to be able to describe how to comprehend, not just comprehend.
Reading: Students are expected to have a book to read ALWAYS. This book is to be age appropriate and should match their personal reading level. Books can be brought from home or borrowed from the school library or our classroom library. It should be a book that they personally selected, though I am available to give guidance if needed, and it should provide a continued story or study over several days. In other words, the books should be novels, short stories, or extended nonfiction. Magazines, newspapers, comic books, and websites are not suitable selections for this activity.
Writer's Workshop: Each day, every student will have the opportunity to write. We will enjoy free writing and guided writing. We will write lists, sentences, blurbs, doodles, paragraphs, summaries, stories, cartoons, letters, poetry, texts, hashtags, reactions, observations, songs, short answers, essays...the possibilities are endless. We will choose favorite pieces and revise and refine them. We will craft words and phrases to represent exactly what we mean to say.
Writer's Craft: Two or three times a week, we will examine a sentence from a great published writer. We will discuss what makes the sentence powerful and the grammatical structure the author used in creating it. We will try our hand at imitating the sentence form and structure in our own writing. Students will also be invited to collect the sentences we choose for this portion of our instruction, so start looking for those "golden sentences".
Conversation Workshop: Once or twice a week, small groups of students will meet together to have a planned and formal conversation related to a particular literary idea, current event, school event, or another academic area content subject after we review and address the habits and practices of good conversation.
Novel/Nonfiction Study: Throughout the year, there will be times when we all read a class novel or a nonfiction selection. In addition to enjoying the particular piece of writing, we will connect the novel or nonfiction work with other literary and informational texts, and we will respond to the thematic study with personal writing.
Quote of the Month: The world is filled with nuggets of wisdom, insight, and humor from people from all walks of life. We will frequently choose one nugget to discuss, memorize, and dissect. Students are invited to participate in the selection of appropriate quotes.