Monday, July 20, 2015

Tools for Scaffolding Your First Lesson + Secondary ELA Blog Hop

Truth--I'm going into my 8th year of teaching, and I STILL get nervous butterflies in my gut when I think about those first two or three days of each new school year. Will this ever go away!!?? Or the better question might be: Do my students feel the same? Just like doing  policy reviews and professional development recaps a week before school starts seems to calm my nerves, I feel that students greatly benefit from a reviews and recaps in a scaffolding format those first few days as well. Here are my favorite scaffolding tools to help ease students into rigorous learning:

1. Using songs to review literary devices and grammar rules. I started using a song a week last year to do our daily grammar practice, and the students really loved it. For some reason songs seem less intimidating than scary grammar workbook sentences. All I did was pick out a song a week (with student input) and make a sentence out of the lyrics. Then, we took about 5 minutes a day to do grammar work with the sentence (label parts of speech, combining sentences, etc) and on Friday Fun Day we looked at a literary device and did our interpretation of the lyrics. For scaffolding purposes, this is a great warm up to do before adding in hard core grammar test questions that you will see on standardized tests. As a bonus, you can play the song to serve as a timer. When the song is finished, they grammar work should be finished also! 

2. Using children's books to teach literature concepts. I love, love, love scaffolding with children's books in the secondary classroom! Students appreciate the nostalgia, and it really helps when you are reviewing or introducing a new concept. For example, I love using The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss to teach satire. Here are some great lists for other concepts as well:

Books to Teach Literary Terms 

3. Using cartoons, picture book covers, or magazine covers to teach close reading. I really liked Making Meaning with Melissa's idea and example of using cartoons to scaffold close reading, so I updated this post to include yet another fantastic tool for scaffolding! 

4. Combining all of the above plus a short story and informational text to add rigor. Using all of the strategies above will ease students into their first real lesson, but if you can find a way to match themes in a song, children's book, short story, and informational text, then you will have a highly dynamic lesson. For instance with my Comparison of "Lamb to the Slaughter" and Revolting Rhymes "Little Red Riding Hood" both by Roald Dahl, I have students close read an easy children's text then apply those same skills to the short story "Lamb to the Slaughter" which has a similar theme as Dahl's take on "Little Red Riding Hood". Then, I up the scaffold one more time by adding in an informational text. By using easy, medium, and high level texts, students feel more and more comfortable with each step on the ladder of learning. 

For a concrete example of how I match themes, check out this Prezi I made which serves as precursor to the lesson above. I play on the theme of "Little Red Riding Hood" and use 3 interpretations of the story (fairy tale, song, poem) before tying it into the "Lamb to the Slaughter" short story and informational text comparison. 

For a chance to win this complete lesson as well as 11 other amazing lessons and a $25 TpT gift card, be sure to enter this giveaway and visit the other blogs in this hop!!! You only need to enter the giveaway once even though you will see it on other blog posts as well. Good luck! 

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Please hop on over to read all about first lessons from the other bloggers!

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