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Learning Challenge Lessons, Secondary English Language Arts

Learning Challenge Lessons, Secondary English Language Arts
20 Lessons to Guide Students Through the Learning Pit

First Edition

with Mark Bollom, Joanne Nugent, and Lorna Pringle

April 2019 | 264 pages | Corwin

Practical strategies for bringing The Learning Challenge to life in your secondary ELA classroom

The Learning Challenge has captured the imaginations of educators, students, and their parents by introducing the idea of  Learning Pit”—a state of cognitive conflict that causes students to think more deeply, critically, and strategically until they discover their “eureka!” moment. 

Now, fans of the The Learning Challenge who want practical examples and ready-to-use lessons for their secondary ELA classrooms need not look any further. This book provides teachers with everything they need to run thoughtful, dialogue-driven challenges so that students engage more deeply with the classics and develop literary skills critical to ELA standards. Students will analyze texts in lessons grounded in cognitive conflicts such as

  • We are all responsible for our own actions, and yet we sometimes act because we are following orders or instructions from others (Lesson 1: Who was responsible for the death of William in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?)
  • To be successful you cannot fail, but most successful people have experienced many failures along the way (Lesson 7: Was Jay Gatsby a success?)
  • Love is impossible to define, and yet everyone knows what love is (Lesson 11: Is Romeo really in love?)

From detailed lesson plans and activities for running Learning Challenges in the classroom, to full-color activity cards that enhance each lesson, this must-have resource offers relevant and timely instructional strategies on topics that interest and engage secondary students.

List of Figures
Index of Concepts
About the Authors
About the Contributors
The Language of Learning
Part I: Setting the Scene
Chapter 1: Preparing to Use the Lesson Ideas
1.0 Introduction  
1.1 The Learning Challenge  
1.2 Learning Intentions  
1.3 High-Quality Dialogue  
1.4 Exploratory Talk  
1.5 Underpinning Values  
Chapter 2: The Lesson Activities
2.0 Overview  
2.1 Mysteries  
2.2 Ranking  
2.3 Sorting and Classifying With Venn Diagrams  
2.4 Opinion Lines  
2.5 Opinion Corners  
2.6 Fortune Lines  
2.7 Living Graphs  
2.8 Concept Lines  
2.9 Odd One Out  
2.10 Concept Target  
2.11 Concept Corners  
2.12 Concept Map  
2.13 Jigsaw Groups  
Part II: The Lesson Ideas
Lesson 1: Who Was Responsible for the Death of William in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?  
Lesson 2: Do We Feel Sympathy for Scrooge in Stave 1 of A Christmas Carol?  
Lesson 3: How Are Dreams Presented in Jane Eyre?  
Lesson 4: Does Heathcliff Become More or Less Monstrous Over the Course of the Novel Wuthering Heights?  
Lesson 5: Does Louisa May Alcott’s Novel Little Women Accept or Challenge Gender Stereotypes?  
Lesson 6: Was Toto Dorothy’s Only True Friend?  
Lesson 7: Which Is the Most Important Symbol in The Great Gatsby?  
Lesson 8: Which Example of Foreshadowing in Of Mice and Men Has the Most Impact on the Reader?  
Lesson 9: Was It Acceptable for Liesel to Steal in The Book Thief?  
Lesson 10: Was Macbeth Really a Tragic Hero?  
Lesson 11: Is Romeo Really In Love?  
Lesson 12: Who Has the Most Power in Romeo and Juliet?  
Lesson 13: Is Tybalt a Villain or a Victim?  
Lesson 14: Is Fame Important?  
Lesson 15: Was Wilfred Owen a Patriot or a Pacifist?  
Lesson 16: Does the Poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ Show Us How to Make the Right Choice?  
Lesson 17: Was the Californian Gold Rush of 1848 the Main Cause of Conflict Between Native and European Americans?  
Lesson 18: Did Anne Frank Experience Happiness?  
Lesson 19: Why Was Winston Churchill’s Speech Effective?  
Lesson 20: What Was the Intent of President Reagan’s Speech at Moscow State University in 1988?  
Photocopiable Masters

Free resources

Lesson: Who Was Responsible for the Death of William in Frankenstein?

Lesson: Who Was Responsible for the Death of William in Frankenstein?

This lesson from Learning Challenge Lessons, Secondary English Language Arts will enhance your students’ knowledge and understanding of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, with focuses on characterisation, responsibility and developments in science.

The potential of this book is paramount; a valuable resource for any secondary language arts classroom.  

Dr. Miriam A. DeCock
Wadena Deer Creek ISD, Wadena, MN

Learning Challenges for ELA Students by Jill Nottingham and James Nottingham provides a fresh, engaging approach to traditional texts, from poetry to classics like Romeo and Juliet and Of Mice and Men. The constructive approach fosters students’ ability to form and support opinions and inferences, supported by text.

Kathleen Swift
Newtown High School Sandy Hook, CT

The lessons included in this text are strong examples that I would recommend to any teacher seeking to guide students through the ‘Learning Pit’ and engages students in critical thinking based upon textual analysis. 

Dr. Audrey L. Harper
Warren County Public Schools, Bowling Green, KY

The authors have provided a pragmatic teacher resource bridging the concepts of Challenging Learning to instructional implementation in context! For some, it will take the guesswork out of creating a lesson that puts students “in the learning pit.” For others, this text will be influential in sparking their creativity for systematic lesson design.

Kevin R. Kirkwood
Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (BOCES), Le Roy, NY
Key features
Teachers will receive:
  • Learning Challenge lessons that are relevant and timely, on topics that interest and engage students
  • Detailed lesson plans and activities for running Learning Challenges in their classroom
  • Full-color activity cards to accompany each lesson

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ISBN: 9781544330525
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