On January 9th, we (Liz and I) led a workshop at the University of the Pacific in Stockton on creating critical thinkers through the study of literature.
The workshop was based on our book, and focused on the following:
- The rationale for using quality literature (fiction, poetry, drama, and literary nonfiction) in the middle and high school English classroom.
- Strategies and activities for introducing and implementing close reading, using George Saunders’ short story “Sticks” and the lyrics of Billie Holliday’s “Gloomy Sunday” as examples.
- Increasing the quantity and quality of rigorous student writing.
We will be conducting a similar workshop at the 2017 CATE (California Assoc. of Teachers of English) Conference, February 17-19 in Santa Clara, CA.
The following are some testimonials from our wonderful participants:
“Very engaging! I wish more teachers would attend! As an administrator, it is enlightening to see solutions to bringing critical thinking to the classroom through literature.”
“So many great things in this workshop. I want to try everything TOMORROW!!! Thank you so much!”
“Extremely informative and useful. I found and will implement at least three strategies (close reading, on-demand writing) that I will use right away. Thank you!”
“This information needs to be shared with our curriculum director!”
“Thank you for all of the methods that I can use in the classroom. As a new teacher with no experience, this information is extremely helpful.”
“Really effective and simple strategies. As a first year teacher, I would strongly urge my undergraduate peers to check out this presentation and the Method to the Madness book.”
“Informative and entertaining, with plenty that will be useful in the classroom.”
“Thank you. Workshop went by quickly and had great, engaging, purposeful information.”
“We were offered many examples/useful samples of student work and activities. We can use this material in the classroom for planning—especially how to increase writing.”
“Y’all are amazing.”