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How do you engage middle and secondary learners? With the premise that learners need to be doing the cognitive work in the classroom, learning sequences should be open-ended, collaborative, and accessible to all. Several cross-curricular examples are provided.

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  1. 1. Engaging Adolescents Quesnel Middle and Senior Years Faye Brownlie quesnel.engaging
  2. 2. Who is doing the cognitive work in your class?
  3. 3. Features of High-Engagement Learning Environments •  available supply of appropriately difficult texts •  opAons that allow students more control over the texts to be read and the work to be accomplished •  the collaboraAve nature of much of the work •  the opportunity to discuss what was read and wriDen •  the meaningfulness of the acAviAes •  Allington & Johnston, 2002; Presley, 2002; Wigfield, 1997; Almasi & McKeown, 1996; Turner, 1995
  4. 4. Background knowledge has a greater impact on being able to read a text than anything else. -Doug Fisher, Richard Allington
  5. 5. •  Universal Design for Learning •  Backwards Design •  Low floor, high ceiling
  6. 6. Grade 9 Science – Starleigh Grass & Mindy Casselman Electricity •  The Challenge: •  Many of the students are disengaged and dislike ‘book learning’. They acquire more knowledge, concept and skill when they are acAve, collaboraAve and reading in chunks. •  Starleigh and Mindy in It’s All about Thinking (Math and Science), 2011.
  7. 7. Essential Question •  If we understand how materials hold and transfer electric charge, can we store and move electric charge using common materials?
  8. 8. •  Individually, brainstorm what you can recall about the characterisAcs of an atom. •  Meet in groups of 3 to add to and revise your list. •  Compare this list to the master list. •  …(word derivaAons, label an atom…) •  Exit slip: 2 characterisAcs you want to remember about atoms.
  9. 9. The Atom •  All maDer is made of atoms. •  Atoms have electrons, neutrons, and protons. Electrons move, protons and neutrons do not move. •  Atoms have negaAve and posiAve charges. •  Electrons have a negaAve charge; protons have a posiAve charge. •  Protons and neutrons are located at the centre of the atom, in the nucleus. •  Electrons orbit around the outside of the nucleus, in energy “shells.” •  An object can be negaAvely or posiAvely charged, depending on the raAo of protons and neutrons.
  10. 10. Choice Novels & Literature Circles Entry points for digging deeper and developing empathy. Dave Giesbrecht, Richmond Nancy Sharkey, Librarian
  11. 11. Learning Outcomes •  KNOW –  I can analyze ficAon for common elements and explain how they help to develop the story and message of the novel. •  DO –  I can prepare for and parAcipate in small group discussions to develop •  My understanding of the novel •  My ability to communicate my thinking •  UNDERSTAND –  I can demonstrate and deepen my understanding of •  The novel I read its context •  The issues facing children in other parts of the world •  Empathy – what it is and how it is developed
  12. 12. Guiding Questions •  How is the world where the story is set different from your world? •  How do human development issues affect the characters and society in your novel and how does this relate to the world? •  How do discussions circles help you develop your thinking?
  13. 13. “The danger of a single story”
  14. 14. The Plan: starting •  Introduced and selected books. •  Modeled the types of thinking to use while reading with a shared text, “Thank You Ma’am” by Langston Hughes. Created group placemats: – ConnecAons – QuesAons – Conclusions – Judgments
  15. 15. ConnecAons QuesAons Conclusions Judgments Thank You, Ma’am – Langston Hughes
  16. 16. The Plan: working in groups •  Students worked twice a week for 3 weeks. •  Groups created their own reading plan. •  Arer each 20 minute literature discussion, students completed one of: – Hot Seat – Double Entry Journal – CSI (colour, symbol, image – Making Thinking Visible – Richart)
  17. 17. Final Assessments •  Reading response based on a quesAon generated by the group and a personal response/recommendaAon of the novel. •  Group presentaAon on context of the novel and how this impacts their character. –  Research on real world context of novel –  Chose 3 most significant factors from the sesng that affected characters and their quality of life •  Ongoing feedback and addiAonal instrucAon based on conversaAons, observaAons, and products created during the 3 weeks.
  18. 18. Test Prep – Socials 11 Canada in the 1930’s with Melanie Mattson •  People Search – 12 boxes •  Students made notes for each quesAon •  Coached and listened to see if there were any challenging areas •  2 quesAons were most challenging •  Melanie explained her ‘answer’ to each, using a Ameline and associaAons •  2 addiAonal areas to study –  With a concept map –  With a chart
  19. 19. Canada in the 1930’s People Search Find someone who: …can describe 3 differences between life in the city and life in rural Canada during the Great Depression …can paint a vivid picture with words of relief camps …can tell the story of the beginning of the labour movement in Canada …understands the difference between totalitarism, socialism, communism, and fascism in the 1930’s
  20. 20. Test Prep – Math 10 Measurement with Jennifer Paziuk •  People Search •  Inside/Outside Circle

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How do you engage middle and secondary learners? With the premise that learners need to be doing the cognitive work in the classroom, learning sequences should be open-ended, collaborative, and accessible to all. Several cross-curricular examples are provided.


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