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9th grade English for a small group


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Does anyone have a favorite English curriculum for a small group?  My rising 9th grader *really* wants to do English/Lit with 3 friends.  All are book lovers and good writers.  They all have the 5 paragraph essay down pat and are ready for meatier material.   I'd like to just implement a curriculum rather than invent one if possible.  I know they need to learn how to cite various works in both MLA and Chicago style, maybe APA too.  I'd like to do some poetry and a few classics.  I'll also pick some more 'fun' books they can just read and discuss and not have to analyze.  I am looking at IEW level C and EIW 10th grade, but haven't used either one.  Any other suggestions? 

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I've used Lightning Lit, Memoria Press, and Excellence in Literature in the co-op setting successfully, although I almost always end up dropping or adding a book. (MP guides are stand-alone anyhow, but they do have some poetry collections).

The only IEW I've taught is "Windows to the World", and that was pretty successful for around 8th or 9th grade.

We also used the old "American Reads" anthologies (and one from Holt) for a couple of levels along with some Glencoe study guides for a selection of full-length books. The Glencoe guides pace out to a section a week. Sometimes there are good writing prompts and sometimes I would find ones online.

We also did Rhetoric Alive at co-op. That was good.

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WttW would be great with a small group! Lots of meaty short stories to discuss together and it is a great way to introduce lit analysis for those who have a traditional essay mastered. You could do that for one semester and then apply the techniques used to longer works of lit the 2nd semester. I like EiL also, but I've never taught a group, just my own kids.

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Windows to the World was going to be my suggestion, too, along with the idea also mentioned above of then selecting a few longer works + individual lit. guides (for your assistance, lol). 😄 

For your poetry, you might consider doing a unit out of Art of Poetry, or use the short, but very practical, How To Read a Poem (Runyan).

For classics, you might shoot for a variety of genres and do a Glencoe Lit. Library guide, or Garlic Press Discovering Lit. guide, or other meaty guide. Some fairly typical "classics" done in 9th grade (just for some ideas) -- many are shorter, so as to better fit in with doing WttW, if you go that route:

- The Outsiders (Hinton) -- 1967; realistic; coming of age, gangs
- To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee) -- 1960; realistic; coming of age; social structures and racism in 1930s Deep South
- Jane Eyre (Bronte) -- 1800s; realistic; coming of age, class structure, in a repressed era
- The Old Man and the Sea (Heminway) -- 1967; survival/adventure, with an existential worldview
- A Christmas Carol (Dickens) -- 1843 -- or other Charles Dickens work
- Frankenstein (Shelley) -- 1818; sci-fi, which raises questions of ethics and responsibility
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson) -- 1886; speculative/gothic/mystery
- Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury) -- 1953; sci-fi
- The Hobbit (Tolkien) -- 1937; fantasy adventure-quest
- The Book Thief (Zusak) -- 2005; historical setting, with a speculative/fantastical element
- possibly a work of nonfiction, memoir/autobiograph, and from a different "voice" or perspective, such as:
      • I Am Malala (Yousafzai)
      • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Kamkwamba)
      • American-Born Chinese (Yang)
      • Persepolis (Satrapi)

Great idea to do some "fun" books  they can just read and discuss and not have to analyze -- maybe have each student suggest a work, so 1 "fun" work is done per quarter, and everyone got to suggest a book/do a book they really wanted. 😄 

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Thanks!  I just ordered Window to the World!   I sent an email to the girls telling them that they can suggest a couple of favorite books or the group to read and discuss -- book club style.  I may order IEW level C to review myself for writing ideas.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Shelydon said:

Thanks!  I just ordered Window to the World!   I sent an email to the girls telling them that they can suggest a couple of favorite books or the group to read and discuss -- book club style.  I may order IEW level C to review myself for writing ideas.

WttW has a unit that specifically teaches writing the literary analysis essay, and it has some writing assignments throughout the program for writing about several of the short stories, so you may not need anything else for writing, at least to start with. 😄 

What a fun way to do English this next year! I hope you all have a great time. 😄 

Edited by Lori D.
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1 hour ago, Lori D. said:

WttW has a unit that specifically teaches writing the literary analysis essay, and it has some writing assignments throughout the program for writing about several of the short stories, so you may not need anything else for writing, at least to start with. 😄 

What a fun way to do English this next year! I hope you all have a great time. 😄 

Thanks!  I'll review it when it arrives and see if I need to add.   My DD begged to talk about books with friends, so this was my solution.  I just feel like I need to be more thoughtful that I would be if I was just teaching my own child.

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21 minutes ago, Shelydon said:

Has anyone use The Power is in Your Hands by Sharon Watson?  I liked her Jump In middle school book.

Yes. I like the teaching in it, but it definitely has specific conservative world view. I guess preview to make sure it works for you.

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Just found this thread. Does the Windows to the World book include short stories, or do you find them online?  How many short stories?

I looked at the Amazon description and while I could see contents couldn't get a full read on their approach. It looked like a how to reach lit from a Christian perspective. Is this more for the teacher or student?  And would it exclude discussing other worldviews?

 

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2 hours ago, provenance61 said:

Just found this thread. Does the Windows to the World book include short stories, or do you find them online?  How many short stories?

I looked at the Amazon description and while I could see contents couldn't get a full read on their approach. It looked like a how to reach lit from a Christian perspective. Is this more for the teacher or student?  And would it exclude discussing other worldviews?

 

I would look at the IEW site instead for more detail https://iew.com/shop/products/windows-world-introduction-literary-analysis-teacherstudent-combo

 

Since you are the teacher, you can discuss any worldview you wish at anytime.  I am not sure about the short story piece.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, provenance61 said:

Just found this thread. Does the Windows to the World book include short stories, or do you find them online?  How many short stories?

I looked at the Amazon description and while I could see contents couldn't get a full read on their approach. It looked like a how to reach lit from a Christian perspective. Is this more for the teacher or student?  And would it exclude discussing other worldviews?

 

Windows to the World includes the complete 6 short stories in the student book.

There is a student book and a teacher guide. The student book is written to the student, and a lot of the program can be done solo by the student, but you would definitely want to participate to some extent as the parent-teacher for discussion of the works, and to provide guidance with the exercises and writing assignments. The teacher guide provides some additional information, some teaching ideas, and scheduling info.

You can see 10 sample pages of the student book, and 11 sample pages of the teacher book <---at these links (the Christian Book website).

While the author is a Christian, the bulk of the program is not religious or writing from a strongly Christian worldview -- the first 6 units of the program are about how/why to annotate and what to look for in annotating, and then how to use your annotations to guide you into thinking about what to write (thesis statement) for a literary analysis essay, and to use examples (which you probably annotated) from the work in support of your thesis. The unit on writing the literary analysis essay is one of the clearest step-by-step "how to" explanations I've seen, and she includes a sort of "thesis statement generator" to help the student think about what to write for a literary analysis essay. None of that is Christian-based -- it is all straight-up literary analysis info.

The remainder of the program covers 8-10 of the most frequently used literary devices, and has the student working with those devices, not only in the short stories, but also with excerpts or poems included in the program. The unit on theme is where the program discusses worldview, and how those 2 ideas are very similar; there is a short (several pages) explanation of Christian worldview, which you could skip if not interested.

The only other "Christian" thing I can remember from the program is that the unit on allusion (referencing of another work) discusses Biblical allusions and has the student analyze a poem with Biblical allusions. Again, you could skip that, BUT, since SO much Western literature contains Biblical allusions, images, and themes, it's very worthwhile to get familiar with the handful of VERY frequently used Biblical allusions.

No, WttW does not exclude discussing other worldviews, because it really isn't teaching worldview -- it's teaching how to dig deeper into any type of literature to see what is there, through the tools of annotation and literary devices.

Edited by Lori D.
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  • 1 month later...

I picked up WttW as well ast The Power is in Your Hands and Illuminating Literature both by Sharon Watson.

I definitely like WttW better, however, the author recommends or assumes you will be watching the Teacher the Classics DVDS.  So, I'll start on those soon.  I was hoping for something super easy and open and go, with almost no prep time, but it looks like this will be very prep intensive.  If I hadn't already committed and if my DD was not so excited, I would totally back out.  I feel like WttW assumes I have more background in teaching English.  For example, the first activity is "Introduce the concept and purpose of annotating". Hmmmmm..... I have never annotated a book in my life.  I was never taught what or how to annotate (couple of college degrees, AP English all through high school). 

So, just an update for someone checking this thread for their own small group.  I may spending a little time looking for something more concrete this week.  I just look at Lesson 4 and the instruction is "Teach conflict, structure and plot device."  LOL.  I have no idea how to do that.  I need something that is offers totally hand holding here.

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1 hour ago, Shelydon said:

I picked up WttW as well ast The Power is in Your Hands and Illuminating Literature both by Sharon Watson.

I definitely like WttW better, however, the author recommends or assumes you will be watching the Teacher the Classics DVDS.  So, I'll start on those soon.  I was hoping for something super easy and open and go, with almost no prep time, but it looks like this will be very prep intensive.  If I hadn't already committed and if my DD was not so excited, I would totally back out.  I feel like WttW assumes I have more background in teaching English.  For example, the first activity is "Introduce the concept and purpose of annotating". Hmmmmm..... I have never annotated a book in my life.  I was never taught what or how to annotate (couple of college degrees, AP English all through high school). 

So, just an update for someone checking this thread for their own small group.  I may spending a little time looking for something more concrete this week.  I just look at Lesson 4 and the instruction is "Teach conflict, structure and plot device."  LOL.  I have no idea how to do that.  I need something that is offers totally hand holding here.

Not sure if you also looked at the Student book for WttW, but I think a lot of the "teaching" is in the student book. If I did it, I would teach or reinforce what's in the student book.

(written by somoneone who has not yet used WttW with an actual student, but who has been reading through it as a potential curriculum for the future. I'm sure others with more experience will have more to offer 🙂 )

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57 minutes ago, Shelydon said:

... For example, the first activity is "Introduce the concept and purpose of annotating". Hmmmmm..... I have never annotated a book in my life.  I was never taught what or how to annotate (couple of college degrees, AP English all through high school)... 

You might check out this past thread: "How to Read a Book by Adler". There is discussion about the specific chapter on "How to Mark a Book" (annotation), and one poster even linked a pdf of that chapter. So that might be helpful for you as background information on annotating. Further down in that thread, I linked a 1-page pdf document that I use in my Lit. & Writing co-op classes, of "what is annotation" and "what to look for."

Also, check out this past thread, "Why does my DD have lots to say..." (... until I ask her to write it down), about how to go about annotating with Windows to the World. Do read through the whole thread, as the OP shares her fantastic results after getting over the hump of figuring out what the point of annotating is. 😄 

The main thing I tell my students is to not freak out about annotation or feel they have to mark something (or lots of somethings, lol) on every page of the novel). I try to reassure them that annotation is just a tool to help them: by marking things that stood out to you to makes it easier to find again for in-class discussion, and for if wanting to use something as supporting evidence in an essay. Literary analysis is a mental shift for many of my students, from looking for factual information and answers to fill-in-the-blank questions, to taking their time and thinking about what they are reading -- is there something deeper or richer or more than just surface-level plot in here?

Annotation is just a tool that can help you slow down and do "close reading" (or dig deeper, as I like to phrase it). Sometimes we don't know how to get started with using that tool, so giving a little guidance -- ideas of a few possible things to be looking for while reading -- really helps those who are just starting to read, think about, discuss, and analyze the literature.

57 minutes ago, Shelydon said:

... I just look at Lesson 4 and the instruction is "Teach conflict, structure and plot device."  LOL.  I have no idea how to do that.  I need something that is offers totally hand holding here.

The teaching information that explains these things is actually in the student workbook. 😉 The teacher guide is most about scheduling, answer key, and a few other resources.

If you really need some help with how to teach some of the literary elements, PM me, and I'll see if I have any of the lesson materials I've created for my class that might be a match for you. 😉 

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2 hours ago, WTM said:

Not sure if you also looked at the Student book for WttW, but I think a lot of the "teaching" is in the student book. If I did it, I would teach or reinforce what's in the student book.

(written by somoneone who has not yet used WttW with an actual student, but who has been reading through it as a potential curriculum for the future. I'm sure others with more experience will have more to offer 🙂 )

Thanks!  I'll look there as well

2 hours ago, Lori D. said:

You might check out this past thread: "How to Read a Book by Adler". There is discussion about the specific chapter on "How to Mark a Book" (annotation), and one poster even linked a pdf of that chapter. So that might be helpful for you as background information on annotating. Further down in that thread, I linked a 1-page pdf document that I use in my Lit. & Writing co-op classes, of "what is annotation" and "what to look for."

Also, check out this past thread, "Why does my DD have lots to say..." (... until I ask her to write it down), about how to go about annotating with Windows to the World. Do read through the whole thread, as the OP shares her fantastic results after getting over the hump of figuring out what the point of annotating is. 😄 

The main thing I tell my students is to not freak out about annotation or feel they have to mark something (or lots of somethings, lol) on every page of the novel). I try to reassure them that annotation is just a tool to help them: by marking things that stood out to you to makes it easier to find again for in-class discussion, and for if wanting to use something as supporting evidence in an essay. Literary analysis is a mental shift for many of my students, from looking for factual information and answers to fill-in-the-blank questions, to taking their time and thinking about what they are reading -- is there something deeper or richer or more than just surface-level plot in here?

Annotation is just a tool that can help you slow down and do "close reading" (or dig deeper, as I like to phrase it). Sometimes we don't know how to get started with using that tool, so giving a little guidance -- ideas of a few possible things to be looking for while reading -- really helps those who are just starting to read, think about, discuss, and analyze the literature.

The teaching information that explains these things is actually in the student workbook. 😉 The teacher guide is most about scheduling, answer key, and a few other resources.

If you really need some help with how to teach some of the literary elements, PM me, and I'll see if I have any of the lesson materials I've created for my class that might be a match for you. 😉 

Thank you!  I will start digging deeper.  I think I am just old and tired.  🙂  Learning new things to teach them has lost the appeal it once held.

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When the teacher guide says "teach X" I used the corresponding chapter in the student book and read it with them and discussed it. The student book does the teaching for you, and you just reinforce it.

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On 7/10/2021 at 7:27 AM, Momto6inIN said:

When the teacher guide says "teach X" I used the corresponding chapter in the student book and read it with them and discussed it. The student book does the teaching for you, and you just reinforce it.

Thanks!

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