English Department Meeting: 1 1/2 hours

Posted on February 12, 2008


Four members of the 7-12 English Department met after school from 3:30 to 5:00. We had a productive meeting, making progress in several areas:

  • Pacing Guides: We discussed how we could best accomplish working on pacing guides–meeting a consecutive four days at the end of this school year or meeting at the beginning or end of each nine weeks. We agreed that meeting throughout the year is much more effective. Focusing on one nine weeks at a time seems to give us a more directed focus, allowing us to better plan for one segment of the curriculum. Lindley said she would talk to Debbie and try to schedule days.
  • Discussion of Deagan article: We all agreed that we needed to do a better job pinpointing specific grammar skills and aligning them across the curriculum. We discussed Deagan’s approach–starting at the phrase and clause level, teaching needed mini-lessons to address parts of speech and punctuation as needed, then requiring students to use and label particular phrases and clauses in their own writing, with students adding more advanced structures each year. We like this approach and think we need to start with our frameworks, identify what phrases and clauses it specifically names, then add to our curriculum specific phrases and clauses the frameworks omit. Hopefully, we’ll be able to work on creating a specific plan in future meetings.
  • Recommended Books: Lindley shared several excellent titles, reminding us that we can request the district to purchase needed class sets (in addition to Lit Lab monies). We need to begin exploring books we might want to order and have our requests ready to submit at the end of this school year. A few of the titles I want to evaluate further include:
  • How To Read Literature Like a Professor:  I haven’t read this yet, but I’ve picked it up several times at Hastings. I’m going to purchase it and read it over the next month.
  •  Voice Lessons: I have this book and it’s excellent. I noticed Nancy Dean, the author, has a newer book titled Discovering Voice. I want to check it out to see which is better. As Lindley said, this would be a great source for bell ringers.
  • Sentence Composing for High School; and the College version: I currently have and use both of these, and they are excellent. I have only one copy of each and have been creating PowerPoints to share Killgallon’s sentence examples and to undertake his activities of unscrambling sentence parts and imitating professional models.

        Lindley noted some of the titles might be appropriate for class sets while others we might want to use for bell ringers or mini-lessons (without purchasing an entire set).

          4.  Vocabulary: Our dept. currently has no aligned vocabulary program. Since we aren’t using textbooks and at the high school level are designing thematic units, we realize there is no consistency or alignment in our teaching of vocabulary. We decided to explore available vocabulary programs and report back at the next meeting. Some programs mentioned included Wordly Wise and AMSCO Publication (can’t remember the title). I’ll begin researching available vocabulary programs.

I’d love to hear recommendations of other worthy titles, especially vocabulary programs.


Posted in: PD 07-08