Friday, September 21, 2012

SDAIE Strategy

One SDAIE strategy that I have used in my class thus far was a vocabulary exercise.  We wanted to introduce our students in English 12 to various schools of literary criticism so my CT recommended a strategy in which each critical lens is printed on a sheet of paper (new historicism, Marxist theory, feminist theory, etc.), that sheet is held up in front of the class, the class repeats the name in unison, then a hand gesture is assigned to each as the definition is described.  Students then repeat the name, hand gesture and definition as a class.  At first, I thought this was a bit silly, especially for a class of seniors.  However, during the next class session when we reviewed the terms, I was blown away at how many students remembered the terms, hand gestures and, most importantly, the definitions.  There were even some students who had the term and definition on the tip of their tongues but as soon as they soon they saw the hand gesture, they immediately blurted out the term and what it meant.  They established connections with the movements.  I was impressed at how they retained the information and found it fun to try and remember the gestures along with the meanings.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


This is a photo of one of the air conditioning vents in my classroom.  I took a picture of it because the A/C does not work in our class.  Recently, this has meant opening the windows but there is no breeze, the weather is hot and humid, and when 41 kids are piled into a tiny room, it is very uncomfortable.  I think this is an injustice for the students because a.) ours is only one of a couple rooms without A/C and b.) the students have difficulty focusing and staying on task partly because the heat is so uncomfortably distracting.

Literacy Survey

I used the following questions to get an idea of the reading habits of my 12th grade English students:

1.  What types of material do you read during your free time? (Check all that apply)

___ Newspapers

___ Magazines

___ Fiction

___ Nonfiction

___ Internet articles/news

___ Twitter

___ Facebook

___ Other: _____________________________

2. How much free time do you spend reading for enjoyment per week?

___ Less than an hour     ___1-2 hours      ___ 3-4 hours      ___ 5 hours or more

3. What language do you primarily read in? _______________________

4. How many books have you read this year?

­­___ 1-3

___ 4-6

___ 7 or more

___ None

6. Did you enjoy reading as a child or was it challenging?

                        ___ Yes                                    ___ No

7. What was the first book you remember reading? ___________________________


8. What, if anything, has frustrated you about reading in the past?

9. What reading strategy benefits you most? (Circle One)

          Reading aloud          Silent reading           Both

10.  What type of material would you like to read more of in school?

11.  What can teachers do to make reading more interesting?

Reflection:  The thing that jumped out at me the most was how little reading my students do in their free time.  Many students checked the box that said "Less than an hour" spent reading for enjoyment per week.  Many students also checked "None" for the question about how many books they read this year.  I'm not quite sure how to apply this information in my class yet but it is clear that I need to find a way to get my students more interested in reading.  I might try using more magazine articles and writing that is digestible in small doses.  The more current the material, the more interesting it might be for my students.  There will definitely need to be some experimentation involved to find out how to engage them more as readers.