Girl, 7th Grade, "Is Your Father Single," "Maybe" and "The Secret Letter" & Louise Rosenblatt: First All-Class Discussion Board
Whole class discussion boards will work this way:
THIS WEEK’S SCENARIO: The two short stories included in this weeks reading come from a list of short-stories for middle-schoolers. I have used these two stories with rising 8th and 9th graders. Long before the 80s, when Reader Response theory was all the rage, Louise Rosenblatt was training teachers to think about the role reading played in the lives of students. She wrote Literature as Exploration in the 1930s, but it still resonates today—in some ways because we don’t think enough about what she is saying when we pick and teach texts. In addition to these two texts, you can consider any or all of the four Moth Story hour stories ("Is Your Dad Single," "Maybe," and "The Secret Letter").
You are teaching a class of 30 8th graders at Whitman Middle School. Here is a class picture. The class you are teaching is majority white. There are two students who identify as African-American. Just over ½ of the class are young women. None of the students are first generation American, but a few students have grandparents who immigrated, mostly from Ireland. More likely, the majority of students have great-grandparents or great-great grandparents that came from to the US during the great migration in the late 1800s—Italy and Ireland mainly. Your classroom is well-equipped. Students have ipads for use in the classroom and all of the students have internet access at home as well as at school. You maintain a teaching website where parents can check assignments. The parents at Whitman are, more or less, invested in their children’s education and pay attention to what is going on in the classroom. You have 7 students on IEPs ranging from high-functioning spectrum to ADHD mix. Two student are on IEP for cognitive processing problems.
You may elect to focus on one text over another, as long as you think about what Rosenblatt says about reading in your post.
7/13/2018 11:54:12 am
In Rosenblatt's text, "The Literary Experience", she says that "the child must have attained the physical and intellectual capacity to perform this highly complex operation, the act of reading" (Rosenblatt 25). I think the Moth Story hour stories would be a good place to start in the classroom, especially for the students who are on IEPs. These Moth stories are being read aloud to the student, so they just have t focus on listening to what is going on, instead of having to worry about reading the words on the page and comprehending what is going on in the story. The students do not need to worry about their book handling skills or identifying words when reading this text because all they need to do is listen to what is being told to them to understand the text. "Is Your Dad Single?", "Maybe", and "The Secret Letter" are all texts that 8th graders can connect to. I think the Moth story, "Is Your Dad Single", would be a good story for 8th graders to read because in this generation, divorce is not an uncommon thing and it is somewhat common that two families who live in the same town end up becoming one after a divorce. I would use this text in my classroom in two ways: 1. For students who's parents have gotten divorced and remarried, how are your experiences similar to or different than Erin's experience of her dad getting remarried?; 2. For students who's parents have not gotten divorced or remarried, how would your feelings be similar to or different than Erin's? The problem with this text is that I personally believe that it would work better solely for students who have experienced divorce. For those who have not, parents may get very upset that their teacher is asking them to put themselves in a vulnerable situation that may not be occurring at home. For students who have experienced divorce, I feel as though this would be a good text because students take their experiences and build meaning from these experiences. So, it would be good to know if they have had similar experiences and that is why they connected to this text. I think the Moth story "Maybe", could connect to all students at the 8th grade level. Jessica uses this Moth story to tell a time where she was humiliated and how she shifted from feeling like she was invisible to wishing she was invisible. The teacher could use this story in the following way with her students: Think about a time where you were humiliated or embarrassed by something. Explain this event in a few sentences and connect your feelings to Jessica's feelings at the end of the Moth story. I think this is an important text because humiliation and students making fun of other students is something that happens very often at the 8th grade level. This would allow students to share their own stories of humiliation to show that nobody is alone in their feelings and that everybody has a day gone wrong and it is important to build people up after those things happen, not make them feel isolated to the world. "The Secret Letter" would be a good text for our upcoming generations. As our world is evolving, so are relationships. Paola was afraid to tell her mom that she had a girlfriend because she was afraid about how she may react. This text is important to teach because of when her stepdad says "it's about time" when she tells them she has a girlfriend. I think our generation needs to be open and honest about who they love or have feelings for, despite what gender they may be or they may be attracted to. This is something that is evolving in our world today, however, I think this would be a debatable topic for some parents because of their own personal beliefs. Lastly, "7th Grade" is a good text to either read silently or outlaid in the classroom because it talks abut Victor and what he does to try and get Teresa's attention. This is something that connects to 8th graders very well and the teacher could ask the following: Name a time when you tried to do something out of your comfort zone just to impress another person. Did this make you feel positively or negatively about yourself and how did the outcome of your situation compare to the outcome of Victor's situation.
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