Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • SL:  Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
  • 8:  8th Grade
  • 1a: 
    Engage effectively in a range of collaborative
    discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacherled)
    with diverse partners on grade 8 topics,
    texts, and issues, building on others'\x80\x99 ideas and
    expressing their own clearly.

    a. Come to discussions prepared, having read
    or researched material under study; explicitly
    draw on that preparation by referring to
    evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe
    and reflect on ideas under discussion.

    b. Follow rules for collegial discussions and
    decision-making, track progress toward
    specific goals and deadlines, and define
    individual roles as needed.

    c. Pose questions that connect the ideas of
    several speakers and respond to others'
    questions and comments with relevant
    evidence, observations, and ideas.

    d. Acknowledge new information expressed
    by others, and, when warranted, qualify or
    justify their own views in light of the evidence

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

English and Black History: Reading "Roll of Thunder"
Lesson Objective: Students examine elements of the American Civil Rights Movement
Grades 6-8 / ELA / History

Thought starters

  1. What types of questions does Ms. Marquis pose to guide students in analyzing Roll of Thunder?
  2. How does "micro-teaching" by students make the lesson more meaningful?
  3. Notice that students complete additional research to prepare for "micro-teaching"?
I teach older kids, but it is good to see that students in the U.K. are dealing with this novel.
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This is another great lesson on cultural identity. Only this time, the teacher is expressing the importance of cultural identity through a certain perspective. I think it's a great lesson for those teaching language arts or a particular novel throughout the school year.
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I do applaud this teacher's goal of getting students to not only comprehend the novel itself, but to also expand that literary comprehension to include application to real-world situations and perhaps even learning about personal growth and accountability based on critical analysis of characters and plot. However, I would like to comment on the importance of creating a responsible and student-responsive environment when dealing with such sensitive socio-cultural topics. The language in this book carries some very offensive connotations to people, and is not, just as this teacher positions it as, simply "rude". This discrepancy is a good example of why, when such inherently personal perceptions and emotions can be exposed with such literature, it is critical to take this into account, especially when dealing with children. Their self-esteem, self-perception, and social awareness are developing. I have always been concerned with the learning environment created to support the type of academic experience intended with this novel and with the more recent climate of today, that concern is perhaps even more warranted. If the teacher does not take the necessary steps to ensure the language and situations exposed in this novel are not only evaluated critically but with appropriate sensitivity in regards to our collective culture, then the negative aspects of the words and deeds the student reads about may just remain such, and the opportunity for that personal growth and accountability I aforementioned is lost. Therefore my stance is that if you cannot or do not ensure that those critical steps needed to scaffold towards a responsible and responsive environment are taken for this particular novel, and those like it, then the central message you are intending for students to hear may only fall on deaf ears.
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Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

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