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How do I grab students' attention while teaching literature?  I'm a new teacher, so I...

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kksanu | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 1, 2009 at 8:20 PM via web

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How do I grab students' attention while teaching literature?  I'm a new teacher, so I need some help.

We will be reading The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 2, 2009 at 5:34 AM (Answer #2)

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Introducing children to literature is a challenging process, but if it is done right, there can be much from which to draw and can set the stage for returning to prereading assumptions during and post reading.  The website below can assist with some basic strategies to open the reading process.  One strategy that can be done is to open with an "anticipation guide," which are a series of statements which evoke a variety of responses from students.  The statements should have relevance to the novel, and are used to open discussions that arise from the novel.  For example, an anticipation guide statement for this book might be, "Women have an easier time in life than men do."  Students can rate their responses on a scale of 1-5, 1 being strongly disagree and leading to 5, which indicates a strong agreement.  Another statement could be something like, "Poverty can be overcome by anyone and everyone."  These statements are intended to start the discussion about the issues which will be brought out in the text.  As you read the text, these statements can be revisited and it would be interesting, once the book is done to see if students have changed their opinions about the statements.  When making anticipation guides, make sure you frame the statements as one that will evoke debate and discussion.  Another prereading activity could be for students to scan the book, examine the covers, and generate a list of questions/ predictions/ assertions they have about the book.  Somewhere in the classroom, write down all of them and keep them up in the classroom.  As you read the book, during class, refer back to this list and answer each question, validate each prediction, or modify the predictions that were off base.  This is another prereading strategy that can be revisited in the phases of during reading and post reading.

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 2, 2009 at 2:44 PM (Answer #3)

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As an English Teacher, one thing that my students pay attention to is my depth of knowledge of a story.  You must PREPARE, PREPARE AND PREPARE.  If you don't know the book that you are teaching, get reading, get analyzing, start developing insights into how you will present the text, how will you make it relevant to their lives.

One of the first things that you learn in teaching is that a good lesson allows the students to make a connection with the material.  Immerse yourself in the book and go to school armed with expertise on the work.

Your students will be impressed with your knowledge, and they will get into the reading if you are excited about it yourself.

After you read the book, use the eNotes study guide on the book, buy the lesson plan and use the creative suggestions that are provided in the really great lesson plans that are available at eNotes.com.

Good Luck!

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hero5 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 2, 2009 at 6:07 PM (Answer #4)

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It is best if you can snag their attention from the very beginning. Try to find or come up with an introductory activity that will give them a lot of great background knowledge. The Midwife's Apprentice is historical fiction and it's history they are probably not familiar with. Many will not even know what a midwife is. Something akin to this activity http://trackstar.4teachers.org/trackstar/ts/viewTrack.do?number=98365 is a lot of fun for kids and gives them a chance to explore without you just feeding them the information. Then, while they read they will see things from that research and get excited and connect to it! I use trackstar.4teachers often with my students and they really enjoy it. There are activities already made that you can use or you can come up with your own. I'm sure there are many other ways to grab their interest but if you can introduce the information to the students before they even see the book - the will enjoy making their own connections.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 3, 2009 at 4:09 PM (Answer #5)

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In reference to Post #2, the anticipatory guide is extremely successful with all types of students.  I use them often with struggling, at-risk students as well as with my AP students.  A key to success with these guides is to leave room on the guide for students to support their "rating" with examples from real-life, other texts, or personal examples.  This not only gets a better discussion going, but it also helps students learn that they must be able to support their opinions logically.

A method that I use to encourage class-wide participation is a grading weight which assigns 33% of the overall grade to students participating orally in the discussion at least once, 33% for a complete, well-supported guide, and 33% for students listening to one another without interrupting, etc. This might sound challenging to keep track of, but as I assist with the discussion, I use a class roster and check off students for listening and participating.

Year after year, my students tell me that this is their favorite and most profitable activity in my classroom.  Below is an example of instructions and then one of the statements from my guide for The Scarlet Letter.

Instructions: Each statement below is connected to ideas discussed in The Scarlet Letter.  Rate each statement by whether you agree or disagree with it.  Use the letters below.  Write at least one example after each statement to support your opinion.

S =  Support (You agree with the statement.)

Q = Qualify (You agree but can also think of situations when the statement is untrue.)

R =  Refute   (You disagree with the statement.)

 

1. _____ Punishment has a positive effect on the recipient.

Proof: ___________________________________

___________________________________

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surajverma8 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted August 7, 2009 at 12:17 AM (Answer #6)

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Literature is very interesting thing for a person who is full of emotions and practical wisdom because literature reflects the true picture of contemporary society.I also teach literature in higher secondry classes. Some students can not understand my means to say so i use some aphoristic languages and try to change their moods with jokes and entertainment.I try to feel the student as a part of that story and poems so that they can feel it deeply and consider it with much enthusiasm.

Itry to use some emotional  statements which soothes them as a tonic to understand the literature deeply.

 These are some tips which helps me to teach my students properly.

And last but not least, a thing which is important to quote is that there is the variations in the mentality of students in various countries.so there is not any definite  tips for it,but enforcing student to feel as a character in the story or a poem is the suitable medium to teach literature deeply.

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charcunning | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted August 8, 2009 at 7:05 AM (Answer #7)

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First off, if you do not find the literature fascinating, neither will they! Pick things that are high quality but that are also very interesting.

Students come with so little prior knowledge. I basically teach a history lesson before each book we read! This helps them be grounded in the story and not lost--if they don't get the setting, they misunderstand half the conflicts and character actions!

Also, remember that they can draw about the book, find songs that relate to the book, write poems, build things...they can do ANYTHING; they don't just have to sit and write.

 

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 10, 2009 at 9:16 PM (Answer #8)

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One really short and simple, but very effective, method I sometimes used to first introduce a piece of literature was to write a list on the board that reflects the content of what my students would be reading. I would do this at the beginning of class, without any explanation. This got their interest at once. (What was I doing?) As the words went up on the board, their interest would grow, but I wouldn't answer any questions as I kept writing.

For Macbeth, for instance, I might write a list like this one.

Murder

Blood

Betrayal

Blood

Suicide

Witches

Greed

Insanity

Blood

By the time I finished, interest was established, and I would move on to another general introductory activity that required their participation before handing out the texts.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted August 14, 2009 at 8:11 AM (Answer #9)

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Everyone has such wonderful suggestions! One strategy I find most successful is to connect to something in the lives of the students.  Whatever we read, there is some connection to a movie, a song, a situation the students have experienced, a current event, or something that the students have some knowledge and understanding of.  This is what most of us call "scaffolding," a term used by Vygotsky, one of my favorites. When we use what the students already know, we can make connections to go beyond what they know to what they need to know. 

Since a classroom is a  collection of individuals with different knowlege and experiences, scaffolding is  more complex than finding one way to connect.  There may be a dozen ways of making that connection to something in a student's life.  While I do not hold pop culture very dear in my personal life, I find that having some knowledge of it goes a long way to making these connections for students.  What stars do they care about?  What music do they listen to? What movies are they seeing?  What neighborhoods do they live in? What in their cultures might help them to see the relevance of what they read? 

Good luck to you.  I hope you find good ways to carry out your mission. 

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 15, 2009 at 5:39 PM (Answer #10)

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My absolute favorite way to grab students' attention in the mainstream of literature is by using modern movie clips (incredibly short ones, that is) to illustrate a point.  I just LOVE to do this.  In my experience, nothing gets kids talking about literature at home more than this method.  In fact, on parent night, I give the parents a sample "class" by using a clip and a piece of literature to illustrate my point.  And THEN I beg them to listen to their kids when they come home talking about movie clips and the literature related to them!  : )  But I'm going to admit that I am generally a motivator, in that I do well with students who NEED to be motivated (and not ones that already are).  I therefore prefer lower-level students for this reason.

This being said, here's just one example:  When I teach Poe's concept of "single effect" I show a clip from one of my favorite horror movies called Paperhouse.  It's a G-rated clip that shows a girl drawing a picture of a house, being made fun of in class, having an epileptic fit, and then running toward the house she drew.  Freaky!  Then we do an involved comparison activity to find if Poe would consider the clip as an example of single effect.  The general consensus is always "no" because of the laughter in the classroom.  Very true.

Another example follows my mini-unit on Uncle Tom's Cabin.  I always show the short play from The King and I and do a really fun chart activity comparing and contrasting the two versions.  SO much fun!  However, the general way that I teach novels is by showing short clips of the chapters we read in the midst of the unit.  I really don't like showing whole movies at all.  (The kids hate that.)  ; )

Finally, another method of enhancing student interest is by having one or two major literary "events" per year.  During my Transcendentalism unit, I always have the kids memorize their absolute favorite quote that proclaims who they are (preferably from literature).  Then I schedule a day to take them outside into nature, have them run to the top of the highest hill I can find, and have them scream the quote out at the top of their lungs!  Transcendentalism at its finest!  Always something to remember:  becoming one with nature that way.  : )  My second "event" is a real "speakeasy" party after reading The Great Gatsby.  I give students extra credit for dressing up as flappers and gangsters, . . . and I truly teach them the Charleston and the Tango while they sip wine (Cheerwine, of course) and beer (root beer, of course), with a dance contest at the end of class.  My profile picture is the photo of me as a flapper at one of these shindigs.  : )

Good luck to you in this endeavor, for I believe that making the literature of the ages interesting to kids today is the true art of our craft!  : )

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appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 17, 2009 at 4:32 PM (Answer #11)

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My absolute favorite way to grab students' attention in the mainstream of literature is by using modern movie clips (incredibly short ones, that is) to illustrate a point.  I just LOVE to do this.  In my experience, nothing gets kids talking about literature at home more than this method.  In fact, on parent night, I give the parents a sample "class" by using a clip and a piece of literature to illustrate my point.  And THEN I beg them to listen to their kids when they come home talking about movie clips and the literature related to them!  : )  But I'm going to admit that I am generally a motivator, in that I do well with students who NEED to be motivated (and not ones that already are).  I therefore prefer lower-level students for this reason.

This being said, here's just one example:  When I teach Poe's concept of "single effect" I show a clip from one of my favorite horror movies called Paperhouse.  It's a G-rated clip that shows a girl drawing a picture of a house, being made fun of in class, having an epileptic fit, and then running toward the house she drew.  Freaky!  Then we do an involved comparison activity to find if Poe would consider the clip as an example of single effect.  The general consensus is always "no" because of the laughter in the classroom.  Very true.

Another example follows my mini-unit on Uncle Tom's Cabin.  I always show the short play from The King and I and do a really fun chart activity comparing and contrasting the two versions.  SO much fun!  However, the general way that I teach novels is by showing short clips of the chapters we read in the midst of the unit.  I really don't like showing whole movies at all.  (The kids hate that.)  ; )

Finally, another method of enhancing student interest is by having one or two major literary "events" per year.  During my Transcendentalism unit, I always have the kids memorize their absolute favorite quote that proclaims who they are (preferably from literature).  Then I schedule a day to take them outside into nature, have them run to the top of the highest hill I can find, and have them scream the quote out at the top of their lungs!  Transcendentalism at its finest!  Always something to remember:  becoming one with nature that way.  : )  My second "event" is a real "speakeasy" party after reading The Great Gatsby.  I give students extra credit for dressing up as flappers and gangsters, . . . and I truly teach them the Charleston and the Tango while they sip wine (Cheerwine, of course) and beer (root beer, of course), with a dance contest at the end of class.  My profile picture is the photo of me as a flapper at one of these shindigs.  : )

Good luck to you in this endeavor, for I believe that making the literature of the ages interesting to kids today is the true art of our craft!  : )

 

It's great to hear that you use the film "Paperhouse" for your classes! I think this film is one of very few excellent examples on film of contemporary Gothic. Not only does the main character create a structure out of her own imagination, but a friend who seems also to be a possible love interest.

 

I also like the idea of events using costumes, dance, and fod and drink. I have found engaging students' five sense is an excellent way to get them interested in literature. Now if only there was a way to use this approach in teaching Composition!

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lindseymal | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 18, 2009 at 3:23 PM (Answer #12)

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The key to engaging students is peak their interest. Find a way to connect the theme, characters or story line with current events or other things (music, movies) that the students can relate. Real life applications.

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staceygarza071308 | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 19, 2009 at 8:21 AM (Answer #13)

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Tapping in to students' prior knowledge and background experience can be an essential part of grabbing their interest during instruction.  Last year I read the novel The House on Mango Street with my students during the first six weeks of school.  Because most of my students are Hispanic, I was able to draw on much of their own experience with their own culture to interest them in the novel. This proved quite successful, as it was written from the point of view of Esperanza, a character much like my students themselves.  The students were so interested in the novel that I could not get them to put it down!  Using prior knowledge and background experience is essential, and my experience with my own students just served to underscore how important it is.

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appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 19, 2009 at 9:17 PM (Answer #14)

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The key to engaging students is peak their interest. Find a way to connect the theme, characters or story line with current events or other things (music, movies) that the students can relate. Real life applications.

I think you mean 'pique' their interest...yes?

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softballchick127 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 20, 2009 at 11:52 AM (Answer #15)

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Do hands on activities, I konw that I loved/still love to do hands on activities!

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monicaruntu | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 20, 2009 at 11:55 AM (Answer #16)

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How do I grab students' attention while teaching literature?  I'm a new teacher, so I need some help.

We will be reading The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman.

I am going to tell you some tips that make all my lessons ( either literature, or grammar) very challenging for my students: try to have more activities prepared than necessary as you never know how fast they can work; keep them busy: if they don't have time for chatting or getting bored, they won't even hear the bell; use interactive work strategies- goup work is very appreciated ( I usually challenge 2 big groups and I reward the winners); use some funny videos as warm- ups; smile a lot; give them concise instructions; try to have eye contact with all students; move around the classrom; have a firm voice when you give them instructions; music sometimes keeps them attentive;use many visual aids; be creative all the time !!!TRY TO REMEMBER YOU WERE A STUDENT, TOO !!!

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mindysue | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 21, 2009 at 2:57 PM (Answer #17)

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How do I grab students' attention while teaching literature?  I'm a new teacher, so I need some help.

We will be reading The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman.

I am an elementary teacher who uses technology, plays, etc. to bring books alive!  My high school sons are turned off by reading because the teacher teaches to the top 2% (usually girls) who "love" reading and usually the instructor creates their lesson plans around that love.  You need to get the rest of the class on board by creating alternative kinds of lesson plans.  My son loved a book when he had to make an adversitement for it or when he had to write a script and create a costume for one of the characters.  High school teacher should get together with elementary teachers, we have to reinvent the wheel every day!

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kathiebar6 | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:47 AM (Answer #18)

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One thing kids love to do is talk about themselves.  I found that tying the story line in with a real life experience gets them involved in the story more.  Listen carefully to what the students are saying and then have them write how their experiences relate with the story.  Maybe a short dialogue with people that they know as the main characters substituting for the characters in the story.  With experience you will find your own way.  It will come to you as you go along. . .there will be many 'lightbulb moments' that will inspire you and remind you of just why you chose to become a teacher.  Keep on truckin'.

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scarlettohara | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 25, 2009 at 9:55 PM (Answer #19)

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You have to get into it yourself. If you're passionate about the piece, then most of the kids will, too. Also, try to summarize, in layman's terms, what it is that they read and how it applies to modern life and possibly some of their lives. I've ALWAYS found these few simple rules work like charms.

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ksduncan | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 26, 2009 at 7:51 AM (Answer #20)

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How do I grab students' attention while teaching literature?  I'm a new teacher, so I need some help.

We will be reading The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman.

One of the best ways that I have found to get students interested in literature before getting into the heavy reading is by allowing them to make modern day connections with it. As the others responders have suggested, anticipation guides can work very well. The easiest way to develop one is to come up with a list of questions that address central themes and conflicts in the book. Have students fill it out without telling them what it is for, then allow for class discussion. After the students have had this opportunity, explain to them that you are going to read a book that addresses all of these issues. Another activity I have used over the years is journaling. I would pose open-ended questions for students. They did not realize that the questions addressed issues the characters faced until we were into the novel, and then they were able to make connections and relate to the characters. I also think it is essential to provide background information to help the students gain an understanding of the setting, especially if it is a period piece. There may be some documentary videos you can use or articles for them to read. I always spend a ot of time researching online before I begin teaching a new piece. There are tons of resources out there that tecahers have already developed and just waiting for you! 

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naynay15 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 27, 2009 at 5:33 AM (Answer #21)

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just get on their level. be nice and seem that you know what they are going through

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lauraredd | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 28, 2009 at 12:40 PM (Answer #22)

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One way to get students excited about reading a work of literature is to come into the classroom dressed like a character or do something else to increase the novelty of the lesson.  Students are also encouraged by anticipation guides that ask probing questions which get them to consider the insights that the novel will teach before actually reading it.  Showing a clip from a movie that has to do with the novel may backfire, however.  If the novel already has a movie about it, students will then seek out the movie in order to avoid reading the book.  Additionally, students often will beg to see the movie from that moment on every time they are tired or bored with the book.  Showing a movie clip that helps students understand the setting or culture of the novel is a good idea as long as the movie is not the same as the novel.  I do not like to show movies until a student has already taken an exam on the novel or at least until the student has read the entire work.  Most students, especially high school students, will think of watching the movie as a short cut to reading the text.  One last idea for an anticipatory activity would be to take out interesting excerpts from the book and have each student read one.  Then have students pair up and try to make predictions about the book using information from several different excerpts.  This might get them speculating about the theme and characters of the novel. 

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cyndic | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 29, 2009 at 9:50 AM (Answer #23)

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Give the students time to read the story with you, whether you read it to them or take turns reading out loud.  Have the students act out the story, as it is written and then have them rewrite the ending...how they might have written it.  This can lead to writing, reading and acting.  It helps them to really get into the story.

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mlynnmassey | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 30, 2009 at 4:58 PM (Answer #24)

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Bring real life objects that are in the book. For example, a hatchett, flashlight, or anything that is in the story. Also, I have shown pictures of the setting, the landscape. If the story is in the desert, you may show pictures from internet of desert scene or specific animals that may be in the story, too.

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kisha25 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 5, 2009 at 7:54 AM (Answer #25)

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Who are the reinforcements and why are they needed?

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boo52 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 11, 2009 at 11:17 AM (Answer #26)

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You need POP! Youn need to be out there and willing to here there opinions. Allow them to read some parts and just be a chillaxed teacher. You can't be to strict or to easy going. Just have fun with what you're teaching...

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ssengupta | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 13, 2009 at 10:19 AM (Answer #27)

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This happened years ago when I was a starting assistant professor of English, entrusted to teach a course in "Introduction to Literature," to inmates from a New York prison. The syllabus called for Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads (1798)!

When I arrived at the classroom the students were scattered all over the room, sitting on desks, chatting, even smoking. They just took a casual glance at me and went back to whatever they were doing. The more I said, "Excuse me!" "Please pay attention!" the more their noise grew. I was holding a Complete Works of William Wordsworth and panic stricken, looking out the window. Outside was the South Bronx, one of the most dilapidated, bombed out communities in New York City.

Suddenly, I noticed the street sign outside: Lennox Avenue.

I turned my face to the classroom, full of African American and Latino students. In their stony, dark faces, I suddenly saw the face of Langston Hughes and remembered his poem, "Lennox Avenue Mural."

Gathering all my courage, I shouted over the noise of the classroom:

What happens to a dream deferred

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

Feeling like a cinema star and an ass, I engaged the stares of the students. They had all stopped talking. I recited a large section of the rest of the poem and ended by saying, "Gentlemen, this poem is about you!"

From that moment I became their favorite teacher.

Need I turn this episode into a concept about teaching?

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roxanna88 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 14, 2009 at 4:21 AM (Answer #28)

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As a student I would like a teacher to express his personal opinion about a certain book and what the book inspired to him.Keep it short and simple ..use simple words to express your opinions and give them something to think about..an assignment of some sort,for example to write and ending of the book in their own perspective.Many teachers present a book in such graphic terms that the student lose interest quickly.The teacher's high or low interest in the book is transmited to the students.The fillm adaptations of some books can be discussed during the class because many students watch the films before reading the books.

Best of luck!

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dkgarran | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 14, 2009 at 5:00 PM (Answer #29)

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You might consider asking students to create an "action figure" from the novel. They would need to provide attractive packaging which indicate that they've read and understand the book, an action figure which should be handmade, and a few "accessories" which would reflect objects that are of importance to the character.

You can also ask students to create a billboard or poster to advertise the novel to potential readers.

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missrita415 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 18, 2009 at 10:49 AM (Answer #30)

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The critical element is in the preparation. Reading the material and making notes. In my experience, students seem to relate better to the things that are closer to dealing with on a daily basis. Even with the classics, there are elements within the literature that related closely to the way we live life today. So by preparing lessons that align with the curriculum and one's on creativity, you can create a balance and present material and learning that will be exciting and rewarding for students. Also relaying to students that there is an abundance of things to be learned through reading and discussing literature.

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mh41602 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 29, 2009 at 4:42 PM (Answer #31)

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  Children enjoy reading about characters.  Put up a tent in your room and a bunch of picture books inside. Pretend that the tent is a time machine. Go into the tent and when you come out, come out with some costume on or with some type of souvenier from where you have been. It should be something relating to one of the books inside the tent. Once you have done this, show the kids how excited you are about where you just came from. Because most kids are skeptics at first until they try it themselves, they will not believe you. Let someone else try it. They love this and will want to go inside and read a book and come out with something from where they have been. Writing is fun for them too. If they can be the characters they read about, its much more fun. I once taught in a fourth grade class where I had a few different book centers. One of the centers had names of characters, and the students had to find out which book that character came from and then write something about them. If they did this, they would earn a play dollar for perform a task that this character would perform in the book. For example, if the character was a farmer, the student would have to go to our class garden and plant a new flower, water it and take care of it every day. It was their job.

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oblada | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 3, 2009 at 6:31 PM (Answer #32)

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I always enjoyed skits that the students create to relate the topics of literature as much as possible as it applies to their daily lives, just an added technique to the many wonderful suggestions mentioned here. Some sort of modern day version of the reading. (they especially love using video equipment). As mentioned earlier historical background and integrating curriculumn is essential.

Have fun!

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mahles32 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 3, 2009 at 9:57 PM (Answer #33)

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find out what the students like to watch on tv or listen to on the radio. Find out what interests them. Some groups might really enjoy reading plays aloud because its like a movie, while others might find that silly and childish. I think really its all about relating to what your students find important. There is an essay called "How to make students hate reading" or something close to that. Its good it might help you find a way to really get your students interested in literature. good luck!

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kelticlinkin | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 4, 2009 at 9:52 AM (Answer #34)

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In response to #8, we often do something similar called "Bringing Words to Life" to prepare students for some of the words they may come across in the upcoming story they may not be familiar with. Each word is discussed with real-life conceptual explanations of the words definition introduced. Students can then be asked to "act out" each of the words in front of the class while the class determines which word they are tyring to act out. The purpose of this is try and garner student interest prior to even discussing the book or story.

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nmenglishteacher | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 5, 2009 at 6:12 AM (Answer #35)

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Before starting any assignment whatsoever, make sure your students know what you will expect from them by the end of the assigment.  For example, if you will be having them answer essay questions, discuss the questions BEFORE the reading.  Also, they must be able to make a connection with the literature and their own life, otherwise you have lost them before you ever start! 

If you do not have rigid curriculum requirements, let the class choose what you are reading.  They are more likely to take interest if they feel they had a part in choosing it.

Good luck - teaching is the most rewarding thing you will ever do!!

 

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laurenkate2488 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted October 8, 2009 at 7:03 PM (Answer #36)

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If you are doing reading in class their is nothing more boring than the teacher reading or even worse, students reading individually. I will tell you it's a fact that probably only about 20% of students will actually read and intake what they learn if they're reading it to themselves in class. It may sound childish but "pop-corn" reading is very interactive! This is when a student will just pick up reading from where another stops. This way each student only has to read as much as they want to but the class will be kept interested. Also, students are more likely to listen to their classmates than you and if no one begins to read after the previous person has finished reading, someone who may not be very talkative may feel compelled to restart the reading. I found in my years in middle school this really helped me to be more open to reading in front of the class

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kimfuji | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted October 13, 2009 at 12:21 AM (Answer #37)

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I've been teaching for over 20 years; and I think it's good to compare what's happening inthe novel, short story or poem to something that is happening in the news. I think that the students need to see that the subjects in the stories are like people in our everyday lives. Especially I like to speak regular everyday English when I teach Shakespeare or older styles of English so that they can see what is really going on. I want them to notice the action and how all people's basic emotions and reactions are the same.

If we get them engaged in literature the world would be a better place. When they get angry they could write an "Angry Poem" or an "Angry Story" and publish it to tell the world what they think of, instead of acting out in some unacceptable angry way in the world.

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schoolbaby14 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 19, 2009 at 3:01 PM (Answer #38)

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As a student myself i would like to say, try teaching in a fun and exiting way then they will be less likely to get bored.

 

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mrromantic | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted October 26, 2009 at 11:00 AM (Answer #39)

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Well, I'm a student. ummm...at our school teachers try and relate to us. they talk just like us. they and make us more intresting by putting us as characters and letting us state our opioin. Which make the students here more intresting in the class and learn a lot better.

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sfstudent | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted October 27, 2009 at 4:13 AM (Answer #40)

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try to start up your lesson or warm up the students with literature, like worksheets, word searches or using a quiz and ask some relevant questions to the topic that is going to be started.

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tiasophia | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 29, 2009 at 3:45 PM (Answer #41)

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I'm a 9th grade student and I think that wat grabs my attention is using visual things and get the kids interested in the story by telling them facts about the story or movie or subject. that's wat grabs my attention

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selena-hoe | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 5, 2009 at 8:17 PM (Answer #42)

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If you know a student is not paying attention keep talking normal about what ever you are talking about and just say their name and keep talking (ex. the ctudents name can be bob: so when you add the 6 to the 11 and get 17 and multiply BOB that by 4 you get 68!) or walk by them and just stand next to them, look at them and talk untill they notice your there.

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jonishaw | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 5, 2009 at 11:00 PM (Answer #43)

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Unfortunately, Bob only heard the last part of your question or statement, so he has no idea what the answer is. If a student isn't paying attention, you really do need to get his/her attention before you discuss something important. Preface it with, "Okay students  - listen very carefully. Bob, when you add..."

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 6, 2010 at 2:26 PM (Answer #44)

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I have a freakish interest in novel artwork--you know, the art on covers of classic books.  (I have 22 different editions/covers for The Scarlet Letter, for example.)  I nearly always start a lit unit by showing them all the book covers and asking them what they expect to read about, who the novel is being marketed to, and what seems to be the key element to watch for in the work based on what they've seen.  They're generally chomping at the bit to see what their book cover design is going to be by the time we've finished.  Works for me, anyway.

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ravinderrana | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted September 26, 2011 at 2:08 PM (Answer #46)

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Literature teaching isn't as easy as it appears for the simple reason, 'What attracts you might turn them off". It is therefore required to bring in examples from life to draw parallels.

The teacher must focus not on explaining the chapter first, but making the children understand the fact as to what they are supposed to learn from a particular text. It is to be followed by group discussions related to the topic but not directly on the content matter.

Once you find the receptive antennaes working, slowly bring in the text. Make sure, too much of explanation at times induces sleepiness, particularly with senior children whose aim is to leave literature and take up other subjects. 

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soldiergirl | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:05 PM (Answer #47)

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try to break up your teaching style with some sort of film and comparisons to everyday life.

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