Teaching English in Middle and Secondary Schools / Edition 5

Teaching English in Middle and Secondary Schools / Edition 5

by Rhoda Maxwell, Mary Meiser, Katherine S. McKnight

Ideal for pre-service and new teachers, this book shows what it’s really like to step before a classroom of grade six to 12 students and make English language arts approachable and real. Presenting a constructivist approach that asks, “How can my students best learn?” and emphasizing reflective practice as the means to make the concepts clear,

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Ideal for pre-service and new teachers, this book shows what it’s really like to step before a classroom of grade six to 12 students and make English language arts approachable and real. Presenting a constructivist approach that asks, “How can my students best learn?” and emphasizing reflective practice as the means to make the concepts clear, Teaching English in Middle and Secondary Schools, 5/e is filled with actual sample lessons plus classroom ideas and instructional strategies that give readers opportunities to explore what they are learning and see how theory and research relate to practice.

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Meet the Author

Katherine McKnight is an associate professor and associate department chair of secondary education at National-Louis University. She also serves as an onsite professional development consultant for the National Council of Teachers of English. She began her career as a literacy educator over 20 years ago and taught high school English for over ten years. Her recent books have focused on using improvisation in the classroom, teaching writing in grades 6-12, and teaching the classics in the inclusive classroom.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Becoming an English Teacher

Drawn to Teaching

What Makes an Effective English Teacher?

Understanding Adolescents

Adolescent Traits

Development Stages of Adolescents

Students at Risk

Varying Sources of Student Alienation

Motivating students to learn

What Teachers Can Do

Helping Students to Learn

Setting up the Classroom To Motivate Students

What do I do When I Don’t Have My Own Classroom

Building Classroom Communities

Chapter 2: The Theoretical and Pedagogical Foundations of Teaching English

A Philosophy Shaping What We Do and When We Do It

Developing Classroom Curriculum

From Goals to Outcomes

Textbooks, Trade Books, and Software

Developing Classroom Teaching Plans

Variables Within Our Grasp

Planning Well: Principles and Practice

Instructional Unit: “In Constant Search of Perfection: Benjamin Franklin”

Questions For the Benjamin Franklin Unit: Analysis and Decision-Making

Chapter 3: Language: Teaching About Spelling, Grammar, Mechanics, and Vocabulary

The Importance of Language Study

Language Characteristics

Acquiring Our Native Language

Acquiring English as a Second Language

Non-Native Speakers of English

Understanding ELL students’ errors

Recognizing and Working with “Smart Errors”

Errors and Grades

General Suggestions and Guidelines for Teaching English Language Learners in the English Language Arts Classroom

Classroom Language and English Language Learners

Grouping Students

Using Peer Partners

Ensuring Effective Learning

Providing experience with Written Language

Language Variation: American Dialects

Understanding Linguistic Diversity in Our Schools

Dialect, Identity, and Linguistic Competence

African American English

Native American Language

Hispanic English

Achievement Among Minority Students

Language, Culture, and Identity: Julie of the Wolves

What does a contemporary look like when students are learning about Literature?

Chapter Four: Oral Language: The Neglected Language Arts

Basic Principles

Teacher Talk, Student Talk

Talk and Cultural Differences

Talk and Gender Equity

Listening: Not the Same as Hearing

Speaking: More than Just Talk

Improving Discussion Questions

Personal Response, Small Group, Large Group

Student Responsibility in Classroom Discussion

Talking About Literature

Building Class Cohesion through Stories

Instructional Unit

Instructional Unit

Speaking formally: Teaching “The” Speech

Informal Classroom Drama

Evaluating Oral Language Activities

The Contemporary English language classroom: Oral Language

Chapter 5: Teaching Writing

Background of Teaching Composition

Research on Writing

Writing Process

Stages in the Writing Process

Discovery Stage

Drafting Stage

Revising Stage

Editing Stage

Publishing Student Writing

Classroom Climate

The Teacher’s Role

Improving Writing Skills

Understanding and Improving Sentence Structure

Specific Areas to Address in Mini-Lessons

Understanding and Improving Punctuations


Quotation Marks


Daily Oral Language

Improving Spelling and Vocabulary


Writing For a Variety of Purposes

Types of Writing Assignments

Journal Writing

Personal Response Journals

Writing Short Stories

Round Robin Stories

Developing Characters

Story Strips

Personal Narratives and Writing Stories

Writing Poetry

Five Liners

Diamond shape Poem

Concrete poem

Preposition poem

Mood Poems

Found Poems

Bio poem

Terse verse

Exploring an Instructional Unit

Family Pressures

Writing in our Everyday Lives

Teaching Persuasion

Teaching Classifying

Lifelong Skills

The Contemporary English Classroom: Writing

Chapter 6: Writing and Evaluating Research Papers

Research Writing in the Context of Composition

A Method of Teaching Students How to Write Longer Papers

Preliminary Work

Selecting Topics

Prior Knowledge

Developing Questions

The I-Search Paper

Locating Sources

Evaluating Quality on the Net

The Internet as a Reference Source

Taking Notes on References

Guidelines for the Research Process

Developing Plans for Including Longer Papers

Instructional Unit

Research Skills/Debate

A Research Assignment for a Paper on Careers

A Process to Teaching the Importance of Sources

Creating a Research Assignment

Additional Resources for Teaching Research

The Contemporary English Classroom: Writing and Evaluating Research Papers

Chapter 7: Selecting Literature

Objectives For Teaching Literature

Canonical Literature

Balancing Literature Selections

Making Choices

Organizing Literature Study

Instructional Unit

Mexican Culture

Organizing Around A Theme

Reading Levels

Young Adult Literature

World Literature

Thematic Approach

Studying One Culture

Literature By Women

Multicultural Literature

Native American Literature

Hispanic Literature

African American Literature

Asian American Literature

Readers and Literature

Recommended Books By or About People Of Color

Selections for a Unit on Family Relationships

Selections for Coming of Age or Developing a Sense of Self

Selections for a Theme of Courage

Selections for a Unit Focusing on Women and Women Writers


Stereotypes: The Root of Aggressive Behavior

The Contemporary English Classroom: Selecting Literature

Chapter 8: Teaching Literature

Reading Literature

Background of Literature Study

Focus of Literary Study

Reader Response Theory

Implementing the Response Theory

Using Factual Information

Writing Responses

Using Responses

Other Ways in Which to Respond to Literature

Literature circles


Formal Analyses

Prereading Activities

Reading Activities

Teaching Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet

Small Group Work

Writing Assignments Given to Students

Teaching Short Stories

Short Stories Activities

Teaching Poetry

Activities for Teaching Poetry

Poetry Resources

Teaching Language in Literature Study

Vocabulary Study in Reading


Words in Context

Testing Vocabulary

Sharing Books

Book Talks

Interest Grouping

Student Critiques

Reading in Class

The Contemporary English Classroom: Teaching Literature

Chapter 9: Media Literacy: Technology, Media, and the Language Arts

What is Media Literacy?

Forms of Media for Literacy Learning


Magazines and Print Media




Videos and DVDs

Video Games

Creating Media Literacy

What’s a “Wiki” and How Can It Be Used in a Classroom?

What is a “Ning” and How Can I Use it in the Classroom?

What is a “Blog” and How Can I Use it in the Classroom?


The Contemporary English Classrooom: Media Literacy

Chapter 10: Evaluating English Language Arts

Evaluating English Language Arts

State and District Writing Assignments

Authentic Assessment

Purpose of Evaluation

Evaluating Literature

Constructing Tests

Writing Test Questions

Evaluating Writing

Evaluation by Levels

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Methods of Evaluation

Impression Grading

Holistic Grading

Analytic Scales


Self Evaluation

Evaluation of Oral Language

Evaluation of Units

Portfolio Evaluation

Content of Portfolios

Evaluating Portfolios

Biographies: Evaluating a Student Paper

The Future of Assessment

The Contemporary English Classroom: Teaching Literature

Chapter 11: Developing Units

Units as a Tool for Integrating the English Language Arts

Organizing Around a Theme

Beginning to Plan

Teaching and Learning in Groups

Including Writing Activities

Components of a Unit

Important Points to Remember

Units Developed Around One Major Literature Selection

Instructional Unit: Finding My Voice

Instructional Unit: To Kill A Mockingbird

Instructional Unit: The Scarlet Letter

Developing Writing Activities for More Than One Novel

Instructional Unit: Four-Week Literature Unit

A Literature Unit with Multigenres of Literature

Instructional Unit: Families in Literature

Selecting Books

Comprehensive Thematic Units

Instructional Unit: Heroes

Instructional Unit: Heroism

Reading List

Interdisciplinary Units

Instructional Unit: Tracing One’s Roots

Instructional Unit: Historical Homes

Instructional Unit: Literature of Conflict: Societal and Personal

Developing your own instructional unit

The Contemporary English Classroom: Unit Planning

Chapter 12: Your Starting Role: Student Teaching and Beyond

The Community, the School District, the School

You and Your Cooperating Teacher: The CT

You and Your University Supervisor

The School Universe

Your Colleagues

Changes, Planned and Otherwise

Temporary Chaos: Schedules

Just Chaos

Teachers Workloads

Daily Challenges

The Kids

Classroom Management

Curriculum and Instruction

Assigning Work

Planning for Absentees

The Extra-Curriculars

Working With Parents

Preparing For Conferences

Talking with Parents and Guardians

Sharing with Students

Making the Most of Student Teaching

Thoughts, Advice, and Support From a Vet

Final Thoughts

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