Christina DiZebba (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Literacy at I.S. 289 follows the workshop model. There are two parts to our work together: Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop. In both strands the class begins with a mini-lesson on a strategy the students can use in their on-going reading and writing work. The bulk of class time is spent engaged in this work.
In eighth grade we explore the power of literacy, asking ourselves, “What do we want to make visible in our reading, writing and talk?” Students are encouraged to look critically at their worlds and search for ways that they can imagine and facilitate change - change in themselves, in their peer groups, in their communities.
In order to pursue these goals, 8th graders pay attention to the specific. Whether we are reading closely to develop more sophisticated understandings in nonfiction and interpretations in fiction, or learning how to use image, metaphor and anecdote to convey compelling ideas in poetry and essay, we are learning to use the specific as a way of expressing ideas in effective and powerful ways.
Writing Units of Study Include: Mentorship Study (genre choices: memoir, essay, poetry), Journey of Thought Essay, Poetry, Open Genre Craft Study, Writing for Standardized Tests, Writing for Social Action
Reading Units of Study Include: Skinny Books/ Big Ideas, Developing Independent Courses of Study, Poetry Analysis, Close Reading of Short Texts, Fantasy to Dystopia Book Clubs, Critical Reading
Assessment/Evaluation: A student’s work in literacy class is assessed in a variety of ways. Reading is graded using unit rubrics to assess: students’ partner and group talk about texts; writing about reading; and reading strategies demonstrated in one-on-one conferences with the teacher. In writing, notebooks, drafting and published pieces are graded using rubrics that outline criteria for meeting eighth grade exit standards.