The task of nurturing the authentic voices of students within our classrooms can be one of the most important undertakings of teachers at all levels. Activities focusing on the listening, viewing, and reading interests of students can enhance their written and spoken communication skills as well as support social and emotional learning while encouraging the use of instructor provided analytical tools across various disciplines. The activity, “This Speaks To Me” allows students to share what they see, hear, and feel while developing writing, listening, and critical thinking skills. Finally, through practice and discussion participants can decide if “This Speaks To Me” can be a tool to use in their classrooms as well as how it might be adapted across age levels and abilities.
The interactive workshop will provide participants with research and strategies to implement engaging and meaningful speaking and writing strategies using tier two or high level vocabulary. The purpose of embedding tier two vocabulary into the speaking literacy is to improve student communication skills, especially written communications. Based on research, students write how they talk, and do not advance their verbal vocabulary after third grade. With more exposure, especially to students form low-income families, students can gain a repertoire of specific words to used on a daily basis, where they can identify more words and its synonyms in literature, increasing comprehension and reading/writing stamina.
In an attempt to bolster enrollment and lower stress for both students and teachers, we have designed an AP Language and Composition class using a writing workshop model empowering students to explore topics that matter to them. Our AP Language and Composition pass rate exceeds 95%, and our enrollment in the course continues to grow each year. The course is designed to help students analyze everything from social media posts to peer-reviewed academic journals in an authentic, yet rigorous manner. Students complete nearly all work within the class period which helps to minimize student stress while maximizing time for in-class conferencing with the teacher. This session will focus on sharing ideas and strategies to help high achieving students who are often extremely busy and stressed find joy in researching, analyzing, and writing about issues they care about.