Following Directions

Last summer we went to Maine to attend L.L. Bean's one day course for beginners in clay pigeon shooting with shotguns.  I bagged a few.  Shot is much more forgiving than a bullet would be--you only need to get within a few feet.  We were told and shown how to hold the rifle.  You do not want the butt away from your body--you want to absorb all the kick safely.  But in the excitement, I forgot.  Greenhorn that I was, I held the gun away from myself , which meant that the rifle butt now became a battering ram aimed at my upper arm.  See the result of NOT FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS. The photo shows the contusion after a day or two; it began as a small bruise the size of a quarter. Ah, the beauty of nature.

National Great Books Curriculum - Research Guide to the Great Books - Shakespeare on the Web

From Evernote:

National Great Books Curriculum - Research Guide to the Great Books - Shakespeare on the Web

Clipped from:
Shakespeare on the Web
Compiled by Prof. Mike Petersen

Introductory/General Sites:

Surfing with the Bard is an introduction to Shakespeare for students. Included are sections on the poetry and unusual word arrangements, omissions and unusual words, a Shakespeare glossary, an interesting method of thoroughly understanding the plays through the use of a reading log (including a sample), another section that discusses and lists Shakespeare’s plays on film and which gives students advice on how to watch these films, and a final section that provides links to links to links. Also in this last section is a link to the next website, Shakespeare High’s Cafeteria.

Literature Circles: How to Study Novels in a Group Setting

From Evernote:

Literature Circles: How to Study Novels in a Group Setting

Clipped from:

What is a "Literature Circle"?

I'm sure at some point in your educational upbringing you were subjected to the torturous practice of reading a novel aloud in class. Either you had to listen to your peers read aloud like a robot, or better yet you had to listen to your English teacher read aloud who didn't attempt to hide his/her own boredom with the novel they have been teaching for thirty years! Literature Circles are an excellent way to spice up the way you teach and analyze novels by encouraging students to actively discuss and break down the literary works.

Assign Groups

Many teachers shy away from group work, because they feel it creates classroom management issues. This could be the case if your group work is not organized, but if you follow the Literature Circle steps below, you will find this to be your most pleasant group work experience! Having smaller, teacher-selected groups also help control the mayhem. You need to comb your roster and create groups of students that not only work well together, but who will also complement the other’s learning styles. Especially at the middle school level, it is essential that teachers assign the groups if you want Literature Circles to be successful in your classroom.

Assign Jobs

Doesn’t everyone function more efficiently when they understand their role in a group? Predetermine the “jobs” that each group member must perform. If you type “Literature Circles” into google, you will find tons of suggestions on how to set up a literature circle and different responsibilities to assign to each member. I usually assign a discussion director, vocabulary guru, illustrator, and summarizer for groups of four. After reading the assigned text, this is what each group member is responsible for completing in their Literature Circles:

  • Discussion Director – this group leader is in charge of formulating questions to discuss at the end of the reading. While the discussion director is reading the text, they jot down possible topics the group can discuss as a whole. The discussion director should formulate three or four questions to share with the group.
  • Vocabulary Guru – The guru identifies words that might cause other readers difficulty while they read the text. Selecting five to ten words (depending on the length of the assigned reading), the group will formulate definitions for the words by analyzing them within the context of the sentence.
  • Illustrator – The illustrator draws one or two symbolic pictures that represent the events occurring in the reading. As a group, students discuss the drawings and decipher the illustrator’s deeper meaning behind the drawings.
  • Summarizer – In one or two paragraphs, the Summarizer will do exactly what its job title entails – summarizes what they read. The group reviews the summary and adjusts or adds any details it sees fit.

Hold Groups Accountable

In order for any type of group work activity to be productive, you must hold students accountable for their activities. You can grade them based on participation, or print up individual job sheets that the groups fill out during each session and turn in for a grade. If students know that their job will be graded, they will actually do it according to your specifications. Group work is futile and pointless if you do not maintain some sort of accountability.

Bloom's Taxonmy of Educational Objectives


From Bloom, et al., 1956

As teachers we tend to ask questions in the "knowledge" category 80% to 90% of the time. These questions are not bad, but using them all the time is. Try to utilize higher order level of questions. These questions require much more "brain power" and a more extensive and elaborate answer. Below are the six question categories as defined by Bloom.

    • remembering;
    • memorizing;
    • recognizing;
    • recalling identification and
    • recall of information
      • Who, what, when, where, how ...?
      • Describe
    • interpreting;
    • translating from one medium to another;
    • describing in one's own words;
    • organization and selection of facts and ideas
      • Retell...
    • problem solving;
    • applying information to produce some result;
    • use of facts, rules and principles
      • How example of...?
      • How is...related to...?
      • Why is...significant?
    • subdividing something to show how it is put together;
    • finding the underlying structure of a communication;
    • identifying motives;
    • separation of a whole into component parts
      • What are the parts or features of...?
      • Classify...according to...
      • Outline/diagram...
      • How with...?
      • What evidence can you list for...?
    • creating a unique, original product that may be in verbal form or may be a physical object;
    • combination of ideas to form a new whole
      • What would you predict/infer from...?
      • What ideas can you add to...?
      • How would you create/design a new...?
      • What might happen if you combined...?
      • What solutions would you suggest for...?
    • making value decisions about issues;
    • resolving controversies or differences of opinion;
    • development of opinions, judgements or decisions
      • Do you agree...?
      • What do you think about...?
      • What is the most important...?
      • Place the following in order of priority...
      • How would you decide about...?
      • What criteria would you use to assess...?

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Jerry Cerny,