Materials Review 2 for 11th grade/English III

Materials Review 2 for 11th grade/English III

  • Maggie Dillon
  • YouTube.Com
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream”

I would use this video in a unit on Southern Literature for an 11th grade English III class. This video helps to achieve the following Common Core State Standards:

  1. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.5: Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
  2. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.3:Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.

Students will benefit from this video because it is crucial to view things as they were intended; plays are meant to be watched on stage, speeches are meant to be listened to from an audience. Listening to Dr. King speak his own words is imperative because he himself conveys so much more power and meaning than simply reading the words ever could. Along with more aesthetic reasons, children learn by example. Seeing someone, especially as amazing a speaker as Dr. King, speak professionally teaches them how to do so their selves. Speaking and being able to clearly communicate your meaning is an important skill every person should have and that is not a skill most people are just born with – it must be taught to the great majority of us. Along with practice, the best way to learn speaking skills is to see good examples to model after. As well as gaining valuable public speaking information, students will be analyzing the “effectiveness of structure…including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging” and the “word choice, points of emphasis, and tone” throughout the work.

As a result of implementing this material, Students should…..

  • Know: more about the civil rights movement and the stance of Dr. King & his followers regarding the status of black Americans during the 60s, that Dr. King is an appropriate model for speaking and delivering speeches
  • Understand: how word choice, tone, and delivery affect the over all message and reception of that message by the audience (on paper or out loud), how a good speech seamlessly flows from one topic to the next by finding similarities or differences between the two
  • Do: be able to pick out specific features of a speech that make it particularly effective, meaningful, or poignant, more clearly and beautifully transition from one topic to the next in their writing

Materials Review 1 for 11th grade/English III

I would use this in my unit on Southern Literature for an 11th grade English III class. This media resource helps to achieve the following Common Core State Standards:

  1. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7:Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in a different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem. 
  2. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5: Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphic, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings. reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

In order to facilitate learning, I’d distribute the link to this collection to my students on a day we can be in a computer lab. Each student would be allowed to peruse the albums about the Civil War, looking at the pictures and reading the information that goes along with them. As they go along, I’d like students to journal about their findings; facts, reactions to the photos, questions, links, other information they found, and other initial responses they may have as they go through the collections. While doing this, students are getting more writing practice, learning about a time in American History (11th Grade is American Literature and US History) which will be valuable to their upcoming experiences with the texts in the Southern Literature unit. I would use this collection of materials in my class because I think it’d be a nice introductory activity to the Civil War portion of the Southern Literature unit. Students would be able to get a feel for what the time period was like, how people lived, what the war was like, how the economy was, the state of the American people and countless other insights to the setting of the literary works we will be exploring.
As a result of implementing this material, Students should…..

  • Know: More facts about the Civil War, how people lived, dressed, ate, fought, traveled, communicated, and any other general facts/information about the time period.
  • Understand: How the Civil War period differs from our own time, how physical and political environment of the time period may have influenced the writers and texts we will read
  • Do: Apply this knowledge to better understand the literature we read in class, write a one page summary about what they learned and their reactions to this information.



“Making Reading Relevant for Adolescents” 3-2-1 Summary

Thomas Bean’s “Making Reading Relevant for Adolescents.” 


  • 3 Main ideas that positively and lastingly impact student learning.

  1. “Recreational reading can help adolescents achieve in school but teachers must provide students with books that address the curriculum and meet their needs and interests.”
               When teachers show students that books aren’t a torture device they open up a life long skill and hopefully hobby. When students start to explore reading on their own time they probably don’t realize that they’re still learning and growing. They can bring ideas they read about into the classroom across disciplines. Besides finding a new interest, students are building knowledge and skills they can use in and out of the school setting. As they read, they get faster, learn new words, getting better at comprehension, are exposed to many ideas and perspectives, and even get a more natural sense for spelling and grammar which will help with writing skills.
  2. “Time spent reading correlates with academic success, vocabulary development, standardized test performance, attitudes towards additional reading and the development of a world knowledge.”
    This quote reiterates a lot of what I said above. Basically, when kids develop a love for reading, they’re doing everyone a favor. Teachers will see better results in school work and test scores, students will be learning many new things and possibly new gaining new interests, and the world gains more knowledgable and responsible citizens. 

  3. “Quite time for extended reading and time for talking about books are both crucial elements in incorporating young adult novels into the classroom.”
                     I think many teachers make the mistake of not giving students reading time in class. I know it takes up a lot of valuable class time, but how can we expect kids to want to read if they never have time to do so? Many kids have responsibilities after school like ball practice, cleaning and other chores, taking care of family members, jobs, volunteer work, and of course homework. With schedules like that it’s very plausible to think that a kid doesn’t have much time for reading, and if they did, they’d probably just want to spend it with friends or simply relaxing. In a class that is so focused around reading, students deserve at least one day during the week to read in class for a half hour or so. 


  • 2 specific points that are critical to establishing positive student engagement on the learning process.

  1. “Students said that time to read and captivating material that reflected and suited their interests were important elements for motivating them to read, but that they did not view the classroom as a source of good reading materials.”
               I think this is a big problem! A class centered around reading and writing and kids don’t think they can find good books from classrooms? It’s always been my plan to have a class bookshelf with many options to choose from. Though I believe the classics are very important, I definitely believe that YA literature has a significant place in the classroom. The classics are classics for a reason but it isn’t because they’re easy for a fifteen year old to relate to. Students an see parallels to their own lives through YA lit that they usually cannot find in texts that may be hundreds of years old so, naturally these books would be a little more interesting or at least easier to understand. So many teachers are frustrated by the feeling that their students never really “get it” and I believe that’s because often times they simply don’t get it. How can we ask 9th graders to have an in-depth discussion about Shakespearean sonnets if they can’t understand the language much less what’s actually happening in the text.
  2. “Literature response journals give students a foundation for discussing novels that are connected to content area concepts or are a part of a sustained reading program.”
    I am a huge fan of student journals. It gives kids time to interact with the ideas they’re absorbing and record them before they’ve heard anyone else’s opinions. When I was in school, I often had 9286543 things going on in my head at any given time, which could make focusing a difficult task. When I had time to write down my thoughts and reactions about what I was reading or doing it made that a much easier thing to do. I could flesh out my ideas more on paper. It always seemed like as soon as I started writing, ideas would come flooding through my brain faster than I could write them down. 
  • 1 most important aspect that surprised me related to teaching and learning.

  1. “Recreational reading among adolescents is in decline with serious consequences for the development of a literate citizenry.”
                This is such a shocking fact to me because I’ve always been such an avid reader. From the time I learned to read, I’ve blazed through just about anything I could get my hands on, in or out of school. Reading is such an easy pleasure and I’ve never really understand anyone who couldn’t enjoy a good book or magazine. 

FQR Reading Strategy

I chose the FQR method to review for this post. (

Basically students are given (or create their own) FQR chart to fill out as they read.

F – Facts. Students record the facts from what they’re reading. It should be explained to them that every single fact in a text isn’t important enough to record. For example, you wouldn’t write down “The sky is blue.” as a fact because it’s common knowledge that doesn’t need analyzing.

Q – Questions. Next, students record questions they have pertaining to these facts. This could be anything from why, when, and how, to things of deeper significance, like questioning meanings or symbols or the validity of the facts they’ve written down.

R – Response. Finally, students write down their own reactions to the F & Q columns. They could give answers to the questions they asked or emotional responses the facts/questions elicited, how they came to terms with the F/Q, or a variety of other options.

I believe this strategy would be easily implemented in my future English class as well as across other disciplines and grade levels. Students are interacting with the text in at least 3 ways and are made to do more than just blindly swallow any information they’re given. Students are allowed to focus on what they believe is important about a text justify those opinions. This could be a great discussion starting tool. You could have students fill out this chart then switch with a partner and discuss why they agree/disagree with the facts they believed to be important.

[Re]Imagining Content-Area Literacy

Reimagining_MaggieDillon  (Word Document)

Reimagining_MaggieDillon (PDF File)


This is my graphic organizer for the first two chapters of our text. (Activity 1A from Unit 2.)


Maggie & NCTE

Content Area: English, Secondary Education

Organization: National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)


Published Journal: NCTE publishes 12 different journals, three of which are geared towards the secondary level.

  •  English Journal- This is a journal for English teachers that includes ideas, how people are implementing technology in their classrooms, ideas and research about how to effectively teach literature and writing. This would be helpful when planning lessons or writing rationales for lessons I’ve made.
  • English Leadership Quarterly– This journal is for people in leadership positions, such as department chairs or supervisors, and includes articles on English education that might be helpful to those people.
  • Classroom Notes Plus- (Published from 1983-2011, but all are still available to members of the organization) This journal was a collection of ideas and lesson plans for middle through high school students. This could be really helpful if I get stuck on lesson plans or need some activities to fit into a unit.

This site has nearly everything a teacher could dream of; lesson plans, resources, journals, seminars, other organizations, online courses and sooo much more than that. There are tons of lesson plans designed to align with the Common Core and even lessons for Banned Books. I love that it also includes places where teachers can apply for grants for money that is always hard to find.

One year of NCTE membership will set you back $50 but the membership also gives you really big discounts on their journals. (Regular price of the English Journal is $75, but the member price is only $25!) Student memberships are $25.




CATAPULT on Common Core & Essential Standards


C – I think Bloom’s taxonomy aligns very nicely with the CCSS and ES. His hierarchy follows the way that the CCSS/ES scaffold what students should learn at each level – each piece is built upon from the level below it, so you must master each piece before moving to the next target.

A – As a teacher, my job is to teach students both the written and the hidden curriculum. I’ve read articles about the “hidden curriculum” that discuss how school is a vehicle for students to be socialized in a way that they know when to speak up and when not to, when to agree and when not to, and the like. However, in my opinion, the hidden curriculum that we teach students is how they can be literate and successful adults with the knowledge they get in school. I will attempt to support student learning by making a teachable moment out of nearly anything. From this approach I hope that students will realize that most things have many sides and usually aren’t as simple as black and white.

T – CCSS/ES are a much more specific guide as to what teachers should be focusing on in class. Bloom’s taxonomy simply outlines they way that thinking and thinking skills actually work. Bloom’s taxonomy can survive without the CCSS/ES, but the opposite isn’t quite true because of the way that the standards are scaffolded, they rely heavily on the taxonomy.

A – I think the best way to engage students is to allow them to drive their own learning in some ways. I think allowing students choice of what to read or write is important – and that tells them that you actually care what they have to say about a variety of things rather than just what will be on the end of semester tests. This also encourages them to do more of their own learning outside of the classroom. If they know what questions to ask and where to look for information they’re interested in outside of school, they are much more likely to seek out that knowledge.

P – I think a definition of literacy isn’t as complex as we tend to make it out to be. Simply put, I think literacy means being able to understand what is put in front of you in a multitude of ways, literal, figuratively, symbolically, and any other way. This definition also leaves room for things like art, music, and film to fit into this meaning of literacy.

U – I don’t think there’s much to be done in the way of meshing these two ideas because they are already so intertwined in my area. There is no literacy without text (text meaning writing, movies, advertisements, music, or any number of other things) and what’s the point of texts without someone to be literate in them? As far as I am concerned, they are nearly useless without the other.

L – I think visuals are incredibly important to the learning process. From Venn diagrams to illustrations done by students while they’re reading, they’re simply another way to help students solidify the content which you are teaching. For example, when teaching a unit on Southern Literature, I could show student’s a map of the journey that Huck Finn and Jim take down the river in order to show them just how extensive their trek was.

T – I don’t think I have a “new” idea of what literacy means to me but have just expanded the one I already has. Literacy is cross-discipline as well as applicable in nearly every area of life – not just in the classroom or, more specifically, the English classroom. 

English I – Maggie Dillon (Common Core/Essential Standards Review)

How do the Common Core Literacy Standards apply to your content discipline? I think it would be easier to explain how they aren’t related, seeing as I am an English major. The literacy standards focus on students working with different genres and levels of texts to achieve mastery. Many of the goals in the literacy standards are just basic goals for any high school English class and they include things like evaluating arguments, using textual evidence to support opinions, and making inferences.

How do the two sets of standards interact and what does this mean for you, the teacher? Basically, the CCSS are standards of what students need to learn while the ES are how they should learn them. They are very intertwined and have many of the same goals/objectives that are essential to an English classroom. For teachers this can be both good and bad because while the two are in sync, having both in place can be very restrictive. I feel that teachers know the way to teach something to their students better than someone in Raleigh who has never spent a moment with any of the children in the class who the teacher would know personally.

Which terms in the Literacy Standards are surprising to you?
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8 Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.9 Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.

I was really surprised at these two goals because they seem way above a 9th grade level. I understand that they are important historical documents that students should be familiar with in order to be an informed citizen. However, I don’t think it is necessary for a 14 year-old to have to analyze the archaic language in the Constitution or legal jargon in Supreme Court cases. I also believe that this standard is a lot closer to the history discipline than the English classroom.

Web Link Tools – Maggie

I chose to review the webtool Diigo for this assignment. Diigo is basically the same thing as Zotero but I wanted to see if there were any big differences. This is a tool that allows you to bookmark, tag, and share the things you find online for later use or for others to see. Basically, you save a webpage to Diigo and can come back to it later. You can add sticky notes to a page or highlight and save only certain paragraphs or graphics. You can then add tags to help you (or others) find what you were looking for quickly, sortof like how you can tag someone in a picture on Facebook and have it show up on their profile. These tags could be quite helpful if you’re doing research and searching for items; you could come to this site and find that someone else was working on something similar and use some of their sources or articles. I liked that Diigo wasn’t just a website, but an actual tool that you can add on to your browser so, you can use it without having to switch between other tabs or windows. I think probably the best aspect of this tool is the group function. You can allow people access to your files and notes which would be great for a group of people working on a project together. You can even change the settings to send you email alerts when someone adds something new or makes comments.

As a future educator, I think this could be a really great tool with students, if you have the ample time to explain to them how the tool works. It is quite intuitive, but I could see it being a bit of trouble for students to get the hang of just because there are so many options and features. I could really see this coming in handy for students who are working on research projects or team projects. I could easily hold a conference with students and ask them to bring up their Diigo bookmarks to look through what they’ve done so far and try to lead them in a specific direction.

Review of Teachers’ Blogs

For this review, I read through three blogs and skimmed a few others. The two main blogs I worked with were –  and .

One is a class blog for a high school English class and the other is for a group of first graders. The high school English class was a little more relevant to me seeing as this is what I will be teaching but I also enjoyed the one for younger students, though they were quite different.

The high school blog was more of a post for assignments and things from class. Mrs. Rivers posted documents, assignments, instructions, links to other English related blogs, vocabulary lists and other things on her blog. There was a section for parents that I felt was both polite and necessary – it opened up the classroom to the parents so they could see what their kids were doing all day instead of relying on their child to relay what happened (we’ve all given the “nothing” answer to our parents when they ask what we did today!). I really liked the whole tab that was dedicated to research writing. It included steps and other resources to help students along when doing research writing, which can be very difficult! I also thought it was a nice idea to add suggested books to her blog because, after all, it is an English class! This was also the section where her class members posted their topics for the research project they were starting in class.

The first grade blog was also really interesting. This blog was more about the daily happenings of their class and what kind of things they were working on. It looks like every kid in the class has an iPad to use through the school, so it makes sense that they would use them to do work! I love the way she incorperates technology with such young kids. We live in a technological world so I believe it is very important for students to be literate in every sense of the word, not just with books and writing! Also, each of her students has their own blog where they post text and pictures of the things they are learning in class. They even posed a challenge to other classrooms – How fast could they put on all their snow gear and be ready to walk outside? I thought this was a really good way to connect with classrooms all over the world, and they have! Each of the response videos was uploaded for their page and I’m sure the kids enjoyed watching people from all over the place interact with them.

Over all, I definitely think that class blogs are a helpful tool. I constantly check asuLearn on my smartphone or tablet to see when things are due or what I need to finish up that day, and blogs work in the same way. I certainly plan on having a class blog for my students, much like the one Mrs. Rivers has, that is a place where they can find things they need from class and even post work instead of wasting paper!

Teaching for Understanding

What does it mean to be literate in your discipline?