Question Detail

Too focused on comprehension- not enough on skill?

Apr 13, 2013 2:13pm

I'm really struggling. This is my third year teaching and I am really trying to make sure that I am teaching the SKILL instead of the novel. Ex I am teaching Night and I spend great amounts of time trying to make sure they understand the historical, and the sequencing of the plot- that I am fairly confident that the upper thinking skills are not being addressed. My state has adopted the CC however it isn't implemented yet- so Im examining the standards on my own. But im struggling b/c my students aren't readers (trying to change that) and Im trying to get them to examine and compare but I spend more time going over what happened in the last 6 pages along with the vocabulary to comprehend what happened in the last 6 pages. guidance? suggestions?

  • English Language Arts
  • 9-12


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    • Apr 21, 2013 5:54am

      I can understand the tendency to want to teach everything we know about the novel to make sure students can understand everything, but in a way, that might be a disservice to them. What if, for example, students were not told that The Great Gatsby has any link to the American dream, and what if students did not see that or even came up with their own interpretation. Are students the worse off for it? There is such a great tendency to lecture and explain and sometimes students can get lost in the process. Send me a note and I will send you activities that I do with any type of story or novel we go over. That way, try to sit back and play the role of facilitator and engaged, and you will find that you end up teaching more to them without them realizing it.

      • Jun 6, 2013 9:04pm

        Do a lot of front-loading (teach the historical information before you read - keep referring to it as you read). Also, do a pre-reading activity before each reading chunk. You might do a quick-write based on a particular idea, symbol, or theme for the upcoming reading. If you make the pre-reading activity connect to their lives (ask them about a similar kind of incident they may have experienced or to describe a particularly eye-opening incident with a parent) If you prepare the students for the main ideas they will encounter in the reading, they are able to "get it" better.

        It may also help to pose one or two essential questions for the unit. What do you want your students to think about as they read about these people and their experiences?