Building Thematic Units from Bookroom Offerings


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Surrey Teachers Convention 2014

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Building Thematic Units from Bookroom Offerings

  1. 1. Building Thematic Units from Bookroom Offerings Surrey Teachers Association Convention 2014 Presented by: Jonathan Vervaet & Cori Penner
  2. 2. Enduring Understandings are the “big ideas” of the curriculum. They are more than goals for a unit or grade; they are the rationale for engaging in discipline.
  3. 3. Enduring Understandings: From ELA Curriculum - A good thinker uses interpretations, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation to deepen and enhance understanding. - Meaning making is a constructive and creative process; the quest for meaning is never complete. - We need to reflect on, monitor, and regulate our own learning in order to improve.
  4. 4. Essential Questions “The best questions serve not only to promote understanding of the content... they also spark connections and promote transfer of ideas.” - Wiggins and McTighe
  5. 5. An Essential Question will be successful if it meets two criteria: If it is phrased in a way to be interesting or compelling to students. If it gets after enduring understandings from the discipline(s) being studied.
  6. 6. When we organize our curriculum conceptually around enduring understandings and/or inquiry questions, we create a context for learning about ideas, concepts, and interpretive literacy processes students need to become accomplished readers, writers, and thinkers.
  7. 7. In our session we will cover: • Possible Themes to Develop Units Around • Essential Questions to Promote Thinking • Recommended Texts / Novels
  8. 8. What themes do you already introduce your students to in your English classes?
  9. 9. • Some themes: • Holocaust • Humanity / Man • Tolerance • Tales of Terror • Dystopia • Vampires • Aboriginal Education – Residential Schools • Truth and Reconciliation • Happiness • Justice and Morality • Identity • Personal Struggles (Substance Abuse, Anorexia etc.) • Survival • The American Dream • Heroes • Journey • Rejection of Society
  10. 10. • Some themes: • Power and Authority – Mob Mentality • Relationships • Revolution / Change in Society • Relationship with Technology • Social Media • Body Image • Existence • Death and the After Life • The Dead and the Undead • The Power of Language / Word Choice • Justice and Morality • Finding One’s Voice • Expression • Spoken Word – Empowerment • Moving Beyond Generational Guilt
  11. 11. What essential questions could you ask students to help them begin to think about or engage in each of these themes?
  12. 12. Is the American dream poisonous? Is human nature inherently dark? Are humans good or evil? Man is a wolf to his fellow man… What makes a good story? Is there a ‘canon’ of literature? Will endure? What makes works of literature / music endure? What makes us who we are?
  13. 13. What is impact of absence? How does belief / non belief in an afterlife effect the way you live? What makes a complete / full life? How does the inevitability of death change the way one lives? What is at the root of a contributing member of society? What is the impact of empowerment? What are the underlying powers in society? What makes humans do inhumane things?
  14. 14. Contact Information Jonathan Vervaet Email: Twitter: @jonathanvervaet Cori Penner Email: Twitter: @CoriPenner