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Student Mastery

Student Mastery - Previous Revision

When I began teaching 11 years ago, I thought that getting the students the information was of value. Now, I’m more focused on student mastery than coverage of material. I want to get my high school freshmen interested and excited about reading books. While we still do canonical texts, we also read from the New York Times bestseller list as well. I no longer give exams, and do a lot more large and small group discussion of texts. I have incorporated literature circles and Socratic seminar and have begun using a reading rubric.
My other focus is getting students to understand the writing process—editing and revision. For their writing, instead of killing myself trying to develop the ultimate rubric, I’ve begun using the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory’s  6+1 Writing Rubric.
Finally, I have my students submit  the majority of assignments digitally, so we are all doing our part to save the environment.

Naomi McCall
Kamehameha Schools
Maui, Hawaii
11 years teaching

Related Resources..

Teaching Reading in High School English Classes

Author(s): Bonnie O. Ericson

From students who need help with their English-language skills, to students applying to prestigious universities, to students diagnosed with ADHD, to the “average” student reader, teenagers need guidance and encouragement to improve their reading skills. And in this high-tech world that offers kids so many more immediate and insistent distractions and narratives, books often lose the race for attention unless teachers make a point of modeling and explicitly focusing on good reading skills and the joys of reading. This book presents a collection of essays that offer numerous practical teaching ideas for helping students increase their vocabulary and comprehension as well as learn to love the medium of books. Useful ideas revolve around issues such as guided reading, independent reading, making authentic reading-writing connections, literature circles, reading intervention, reading aloud, vocabulary exploration, mentoring, and picture books in high school. Several chapters describe specific programs designed to aid struggling readers, including those who read and write English as a second language.

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