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The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast | ELA

May 16, 2023

Last week I received this email from Shannon, a teacher with questions I think we can all relate to. Here's what she wrote...

"I am in my 8th year of teaching, and while I love aspects of it, I work 10-11 hours a day and am burning out. And, I feel that I'm on an island sometimes at my school—I have to re-teach skills that they should have been taught in earlier years, etc.

I have one foot out of the door of the teaching profession. I find myself awake at night trying to figure out how to do a good job teaching both reading and writing, and getting in all the skills.

How do you do whole class novel units? And teach all the skills? Say, I want to teach Gatsby, and focus on character contrast and figurative language. Is it ok to focus on just a few skills each unit? How do you make sure they get practiced sufficiently, while also making sure to have time for current events/reading informational text stuff? How long do you spend on a unit to make sure you can test them and build background prior? Do you have them write a lot of literary analysis essays?

How do we then factor in teaching all of the types of writing--expository, argument, narrative, while we have to teach all these reading skills?"

Today and next time on the podcast, I'm going to do my best to answer Shannon's questions, because I think they're ones we have all faced as teachers. How on earth are we supposed to cover all. the. things?! And teach them well?

Today we'll look at the big picture - how to plan the year to cover what you want to cover without getting overwhelmed. Next time we'll zoom in on planning a single whole class text unit, and how to make all the decisions that go with it.


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