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What Is A Classroom Snapshot?

By Author: Arsenalo
Total Articles: 116

The following classroom snapshot illustrates how one teacher used the LTS on identity development outlined above.

Miss Ruiz lowers the lights and turns on the computer projector as she explains to her eleventh-grade English students, "We are about to begin a new unit that focuses on how a person's identity is developed. Since you are all teens, some of the same things may be involved in how your identity is shaped. Let's watch a short movie from YouTube that introduces this important idea." Ruiz and her class watch a four-minute video prepared by students from the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. At the end of the video, Ruiz invites the students to identify the factors that affect identity according to the video. She then divides the class into small groups and challenges her students to discuss whether their experiences are similar or different from those portrayed in the video. As the next three weeks unfold, Ruiz and her students Tag Heuer Replica interact with the picture book My Name Is Jorge I Me llamo Jorge: On Both Sides of the River to further explore the factors that affect a person's identity. The students also read and discuss the short story "Beautiful and Cruel"; read and respond to the poem "We Would Like You to Know"; and listen to and interpret the lyrics from India. Arie's song, "Video." Ruiz also shares excerpts and visual images from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. To weave in popular media, Ruiz shows the movie Freedom Writers to help students consider, discuss, and analyze the various factors that affect one's identity. As Ruiz and her students immerse themselves in this varied collection of texts, she challenges them to identify the people, events, and issues that influence the identity development of the protagonists. She then reminds students to examine whether these same influences are part of their own experiences.

As Ruiz and her students work through the unit, she explains to them that they are building up to their core novel for the unit of study, Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. She sketches a bookshelf on the whiteboard at the front of the classroom and shows the students that The Scarlet Letter is near the top of the bookshelf. Each linked text involving print and nonprint media, each classroom discussion, and each activity they complete in class is helping to build a scaffold to help them read, understand, and enjoy this novel.

Ruiz is concerned about the varied reading levels in her class so she frequently uses literature circles as a way to differentiate instruction while still addressing an essential question. The three literature circle texts that Ruiz uses in this unit are Big Mouth and Ugly Girl, Bad Boy, and Out of the Pocket. The literature circle texts pose options for students to choose a text with a male, female, or gay male protagonist. Because Ruiz knows that students' text choice is strongly related to their reading engagement, text options play a crucial role in hooking the high school readers.

By the time Ruiz distributes copies of The Scarlet Letter, her students are engaged and ready to examine the factors that influence Hester's identity development. Ruiz uses a variety of strategies to help her students through The Scarlet Letter. She reads aloud certain key passages, provides background information to contextualize the story, makes the CD version of the book available for students who prefer to listen to the novel, and provides class time for partner reading of key scenes to ensure that students are reading and understanding the text.

To culminate the unit, Ruiz shows students the text My So-Called Digital Life: 2,000 Teenagers, 300 Cameras, and 30 Days to Document Their World. She explains to the students that they will complete a digital project to demonstrate their understanding of both the literature and the process of identity development. First, each student will use photos, video clips, drawings, songs, poems, and student-written text to highlight the influences on their identities. Next, the Tag Heuer Carrera Replica students will work in partners to create a digital project that illustrates the influences on Hester's identity development. To close the unit, students will share their digital presentations and explain important influences, pivotal people, and critical events that have shaped Hester's and their own lives. Ruiz finds that by using LTS to support and engage her students, they are able to read, comprehend, and connect with core texts from the literary canon.

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