“Universal design for learning (UDL) is a set of principles for designing curriculum that provides all individuals with equal opportunities to learn. UDL is designed to serve all learners, regardless of ability, disability, age, gender, or cultural and linguistic background” (TEAL Centre, p. 1). The graphic novel is ideally-suited for integrating the intersecting principles of UDL, and, as such, serves as a highly democratizing force/form in the ELA classroom: the images on each page provide important visual and contextual cues for students who struggle with reading comprehension, and the complex interplay between image and text requires a different kind of reading which will both stimulate and challenge even the strongest of readers.
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The Work Oriented Training Path (WOTP) program is designed to help prepare students for life outside of the classroom. It also has an academic component which needs to be evaluated. As usual, reading and production tasks came naturally to me and were completed with success, but when it came to talk I was at a loss. How do I prepare students for conversations outside of the classroom, inside the classroom? This is what inspired the “Coffee Klatch”. Approximately once a week, we gather around tables and we talk. There are no prompts, assigned topics, assigned seats, or technology of any kind; we simply re-create what the typical break room would look like, and practice the art of conversation.
The world is a scary place. War, racism, nukes… Trump! So why teach horror? Why challenge students to think about, and confront the dark parts of our humanity? Why dwell on that which hides in the shadows and the monstrous? Here are five reasons why you should explore the ghost with the most, groovy ghouls and creepy crawlers in your curriculum.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. We have all heard the echo of finality in this cautionary nursery rhyme. Some of us still have trouble getting past the image of the king’s horses (of course…with their delicate hooves!). And then there’s the king’s men jockeying for position and failing to put Humpty together again. Poor Humpty. But Dan Santat imagined that there was more. Humpty somehow gets the help he needs and, with bandages on his cracked shell and insecurity lines on his brow, strives to find his mojo and get back up.
While searching for resources online about using picture books in the secondary classroom, I came across another teacher’s YouTube playlist of stop-motion animation films that his students made from picture books. I watched nearly all of the short films they made and was inspired! These kids clearly called on several skills and were able to put together some pretty amazing productions.
The fictional Wolf Creek is a tight-knit Adirondack mountain community that serves a maximum security prison. Kate Messner’s latest novel is based on the 2015 prison breakout where two inmates escaped The Clinton County Correctional Facility and attempted to make their way to Canada. The narrative is accessible to many readers because of the variety of text types. The book is sometimes funny and at other times serious, but it is always engaging since the voices of the young people of Wolf Creek tell a story that is very much close to home.
Librarians and ELA teachers from the English Montreal School Board frequently collaborate to create initiatives that engage students and boost ELA competencies. Here are a few examples from the 2017-18 school year: Summer Reading Podcasts, Human Library, Fake News Detection, Le Combat des Livres NDG Reads.