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Using Discoveries in the Classroom: Tips, Techniques, Activities

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  1. This collection provides many unique opportunities to incorporate contemporary essays, short stories, and poems into the secondary curriculum.  The range of topics covered in these pieces, as well as the diverse perspectives represented by these authors, together make this collection a rich source of literature and literary analysis for high school students and their teachers.

  2. This first lesson in Adam Witte's series of lesson plans devoted to Eula Biss' "Time and Distance Overcome" invites students to consider Thomas Edison's view of the telephone as a technology that brings humanity closer together.  The lesson allows students to develop a stance toward this technology which will both further and complicate their reading of Biss' essay, which presents the history of telephone technology in light of the telephone pole's use during the early decades of the twentieth century in the practice of lynching.  The lesson corresponds with Common Core standards for writing, speaking, and listening in grades 9-10.

  3. This second lesson in Adam Witte's series of lesson plans devoted to Eula Biss' essay "Time and Distance Overcome" provides students with some of the historical background necessary for a more nuanced understanding of race relations during the early part of the twentieth century.  The lesson invites students to synthesize a range of audio, visual, and textual documents that discuss the history of lynching in the U.S. in order that students read Biss' essay with a greater sense of historical context.  The lesson corresponds with Common Core standards for reading informational texts in grades 9-10 and includes a collection of resources for teaching about the historical dimensions of the essay.

  4. This third lesson in Adam Witte's series of lesson plans devoted to Eula Biss' "Time and Distance Overcome" delves into the symbolism used by the author in this powerful essay.  The attention to a close reading of the text and to the collaborative study of the author's rhetorical devices make this lesson a strong example of how to meet Common Core standards for reading informational texts at the 9-10 grade levels.  

  5. This two-lesson sequence by Adam Witte invites students into the close reading and annotation of the text of Eula Biss' "Time and Distance Overcome."  The lessons focus on how authors use rhetorical strategies and literary devices to construct particular kinds of readers with particular kinds of textual interpretations.  Through collaborative interpretive work, these lessons help students meet Common Core standards in grades 9-10 for reading informational text, for speaking and listening, and for knowledge of language.

  6. This sixth lesson by Adam Witte uses Eula Biss' "Time and Distance Overcome" to facilitate students' understanding of how an author's language influences a reader's emotional reaction to a text.  By inviting students to consider the role of language in the creation and maintenance of interpersonal relationships, Witte provides students the opportunity to interrogate their own language practices and to make more conscious choices about the language they use every day.  The lesson prepares students to meet Common Core standards in grades 9-10 for reading informational text and for speaking and listening.

  7. This lesson by Adam Witte invites students to formulate a working definition of poetry as they consider Donald Platt's found poem "Nonetheless."  By comparing the poem to works of art in other media, students gain a better understanding of the rhetorical strategies used by poets to communicate ideas about difficult subjects.  This lesson corresponds with Common Core standards in grades 9-10 for reading literature.

  8. In this second of two lessons devoted to Donald Platt's found poem "Nonetheless," Adam Witte gives students the opportunity to write their own poetry using Platt's technique.  Through the selection and compilation of text, students experiment with poetic form.  Their subsequent discussions help clarify and complicate what students know about poetry and about how language works in the poetic genre.  This lesson helps students meet Common Core standards in grades 9-10 for writing, speaking, and listening.