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The Teen Brain

This week my English 7 Honors classes finished analyzing ¨Nothing Gold Can Stay.¨  This poem appears in The Outsiders.  Before beginning our analysis, I asked students to think about the big question:  Why  do you think S.E. Hinton chose this poem to include in her book?  What connections can you make between the poem and the characters and situations in the novel?  Then we read the poem and students annotated the text with their initial thoughts, observations, and questions.  Next, I showed them a video of the poem  with images in the back

ground and set to music .  They did a bit more annotating after that.  After that, we used a strategy called SIFT.  Much like a sifter used in gold mining, this strategy yields similar results!  Students isolate the golden nuggets of the poem.  Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little, but the students liked the comparison.  They looked at possible symbolism, imagery, figurative language, and theme/tone.  Afterwards, we had an incredible discussion.  Students then posted the answer to the big question on a digital bulletin board called Padlet.

Using SIFT
A students article-He isn't sure what happened
Charting Verbs
Later in the week,  my honors classes read an article and watched a short video about the teen brain.  My college prep students will be doing the same shortly.  What a fascinating topic! 

 As you may know, the new Common Core Standards require that students read more expository texts, learn to trace and evaluate the arguments and claims in a text, and even evaluate whether not the evidence is relevant and sufficient.  I have students engage in a variety of critical reading strategies in order to both understand and analyze what they read.  

We are currently reading The Outsiders.  Reading articles about the teenage brain helps students understand why some of the characters act  as they do, as well as helps them understand their own behavior!  

Students were also asked to bring in an article related to a social issue in the book.  They marked the text before coming to class and got into groups to share their articles.  They went around and rolled the die to determine what question they would answer about their article.  Students chose some fascinating, relevant articles.  Eventually, they will choose a topic to do more research on and write an informational essay about it. 
Questions Students Answered about their Chosen Article

Charting the Text

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