Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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the expanding canon teaching multicultural literature
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Reader Response: Pat Mora and James Welch Reader Response: Keith Gilyard and Mourning Dove Inquiry: Rudolfo Anaya and James Baldwin Inquiry: Tomás Rivera and Esmeralda Santiago Cultural Studies: Ishmael Reed and Graciela Limón Cultural Studies: N. Scott Momaday and Russell Leong Critical Pedagogy: Octavia E. Butler and Ruthanne Lum McCunn Critical Pedagogy: Abiodun Oyewole and Lawson Fusao Inada
Theory Overview Lesson Plans Teaching Strategies Authors and Literary Works Resources
Session 3 Inquiry: Rudolfo Anaya and Esmeralda Santiago - Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1
Lesson Plan 2


REFLECTION - Interactive Forum

Explore two poems using four approaches.


Share your views on the discussion

Download the Session 3 Guide

Author: James Baldwin
Work: The Fire Next Time, "Sonny's Blues, " and "The Rockpile"

Bo Wu uses an inquiry approach to help students understand three works by James Baldwin. Sparked by their personal interests, the students research topics related to these works and collaborate to produce group Web sites.

To prepare for the lesson, view The Expanding Canon video program 3 – Part II. Online, review the Session 3 theory overview, strategies, information about the authors and literature, resources, and the downloadable print guide. Read James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time, "Sonny's Blues," and "The Rockpile" -- excerpt available in the print guide. Additionally, you may want to explore the following links for information about creating Web sites.

Home Page of Litstudies.com and ThinkQuestNYC.org
The Web site created by Bo Wu and her students.

The Internet in Action
Advice for teachers interested in creating Web sites.

Teachers will need the following supplies:
  • board and/or chart paper
  • computers
  • copies of The Fire Next Time, "Sonny's Blues," "The Rockpile"

Standards for the English Language Arts


Day 1
1. In order to get students thinking about their personal connections to a literary text, Bo Wu asks her students to keep a journal (in a notebook and/or online) of questions or topics that interest them. She prompts them with questions, such as:
  • What aspects of the text most spoke to you?
  • How have you responded to the reading?

2. Wu explains that students will be working in small groups to research James Baldwin on the Internet, and then, as a group, they will choose a focus related to one of the three works and create a Web site about Baldwin. Wu asks her students to generate questions that might help them decide what they are going to research. She suggests they think about what they would like to know about an author that might help them understand his or her works.

3. Wu then divides the student-generated questions into some general topics. She tells her students that they will begin their projects with some research about Baldwin's life and works. She asks students to explain online research techniques, asking questions such as:
  • What key words would you put in the search box to find information about Baldwin or his works?
  • What other words can you use to search

4. Students describe their experiences researching James Baldwin's works and discuss what they've learned.

5. Based on their research, students write down a topic connected to James Baldwin that they would like to research, along with an explanation of why they have chosen this topic. Wu encourages students to develop two questions that indicate what they want to learn about the topic.

6. Students share their questions aloud, and the ensuing discussion helps students focus their questions.

7. Students research their questions on the Internet, taking notes, making connections, and summarizing as they find information. Wu asks them to continue this research at home, reminding them that they can use the Internet at the public library. Finally, Wu explains that they will be synthesizing their research with that of other members of their group at the next class.

Day 2
1. Wu greets her students by reminding them that the class Web site has a summary of what they covered in class previously. She then asks students with similar topics to sit together, pool information, and create a report that represents the interests and research of the group.

2. As a homework assignment, Wu asks the students to read the Baldwin essay or story on which their group has chosen to focus, based on their research. She also asks students to write in their online journal, responding to the reading. Wu provides the students with questions to help focus their responses, such as:
  • What don't I understand about the work?
  • Which of the work's topics or issues would I like to explore further?

Day 3
1. Wu begins the class by asking her students to share their journal entries from the night before.

2. Next Wu explains to the class that they are going to start building a Web site about James Baldwin. She tells the students that this Web site is a digital portfolio students can fill with material of their own choosing. Prompting students to generate ideas for information and features they can put on their Web site, she asks questions such as:
  • Who is the audience for your Web site?
  • What kind of material will you provide for this audience?

3. Wu asks the students to decide within their groups what they want to put on their Web sites.

4. Finally, each group creates a Web site.

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