Critical Thinking through Interdisciplinary Literacy Circles
My students need several sets of books to improve literacy through structured and relevant literature circles centered around their social studies content.
"We teach students, not content." A typical day in my ELA classroom is comprised of a student centered classroom where students are reading and responding to rigorous and relevant text. There is purposeful guided dialog and reflection between students around increasingly complex texts.
Our middle school is a Title I school with a population of 70% free and reduced lunch and 85% African American.
Many of our students are low readers that are still lacking many of the critical thinking and problem solving skills to be successful at reading and responding to text within different disciplines. However, many of our students may not have the skills, but over the years I have noticed our students' willingness, eagerness, and desire to want more, and to be exposed to more. I have seen many of our students positively overcome negative racial and academic stereotypes by becoming high achievers.
I want to foster and encourage the positive energy, the high expectations, and the high level of achievement our students are beginning to have for them themselves. I strongly believe in the philosophy of "we teach students, not content." I want to teach students how to become life long learners. I want to start this within my English Language Arts classroom. Increasing the level of rigor and relevance to help students critically think and problem solve is what is necessary for high achievement. I will foster high achievement through literature circles that will be interdisciplinary. I am planning a thematic unit around the social studies unit of Pre- Colonial and Revolutionary War. Students will be exposed to historical fiction texts that take place during the same historical time period they are studying in their social studies class. Using text around this time period will make the content they are studying in their other discipline more relevant.
Students will have relevant thoughts, inquiries, and meaningful discussions around their social studies content with the use of ELA skills that can be applied to any content area.
The process of text annotation, inquiry, and collaboration with their peers are life long skills that lends to critical thinking and problem solving.
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