Posted by: waldropcv | June 4, 2010

Materials Review #2

1.  Name of Site:

2.  Link to Resources:

3.  Source:

  • A play telling the story of Prometheus and Pandora
  • The story of David and Goliath
  • A short biography of George Lucas
  • The George Lucas Education Foundation
  • Star Wars Episode IV (Part I, other parts are linked in YouTube page)

4.  Identify the teaching topic of the materials–be specific. Identify the population of the    students (grade, course):

  • The students to whom this would be taught would be in 9th-12th grade.   These materials are meant to give the students an understanding of the concept of a hero, and the classic battle between good and evil.

5.  Give a brief description of how the materials would be used:

  • After reading the two tales of Prometheus and Pandora and David and Goliath, students would discuss their ideas on good and evil.  Also would discuss other examples in literature, movies and television that reflect themes of good vs. evil.
  • After the discussion, each student would bring in an example of a hero to them.  Five different “heroes” would be selected and the students split up into five groups where each group would research and present the life and career of their respective hero.
  • After viewing Star Wars (preferably in class, but that may take up too much time), students would be asked to research the life of George Lucas (using the two links provided, as well as other sources).  The conflict between good and evil as represented by Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader would be discussed in class.  The class would then be divided into groups where each would create some artistic representation of the relationship between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
  • And lastly students would be asked to write a paper on their preferred topic.  The relationship between good and evil, and the idea of a hero as represented by Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Star Wars, or a paper on if they think George Lucas should be considered a hero, and on what he has contributed to society.

6.  Explain why you would use this material with your students. How will the material help your students learn the topic?

  • This material would be presented in the middle of a science fiction unit.  The use of film can greatly help students understand the themes that are common throughout science fiction literature.  After viewing this classic of the science fiction genre, and reading other science fiction literature, the students would write their own short science fiction work.
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Posted by: waldropcv | June 4, 2010

Materials Review #1

1.  Name of Site:

2.  Link to Resources:

3.  Source:

  • Literary Terms for Science Fiction
  • Directions and Concepts in Science Fiction
  • Science Fiction Reading Guide
  • Discerning Differences in Tone

4.  Identify the teaching topic of the materials—be specific. Identify the population of the students (grade, course):

  • The students for this lesson would be in 9th-12th grade.  This lesson would identify common literary devices in science fiction and their thematic elements, and gives a brief history as to the development of science fiction as a genre.

5.  Give a brief description of how the materials would be used:

  • Using the Literary Terms for Science Fiction handout, students would define common terms and themes in science fiction works.
  • Using the Directions and Concepts in Science Fiction handout, students would become more familiar with the themes, attitudes, and concepts of prominent science fiction authors.
  • With the Science Fiction Reading Guide, students would read the four selected works (Chapters 3-5 of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder”, Arthur C. Clarke’s “If I Forget Thee, O Earth”, and Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”)  and then answer the questions provided by the reading guide.
  • Students would then write a short essay on the differences in tone between these four authors using the Discerning Differences in Tone handout.

6.  Explain why you would use this material with your students. How will the material help your students learn the topic?

  • This would be used to open a science fiction unit.  This way, students would be able to use short readings and short stories to get them acquainted with the feel and style of science fiction and its writers.

The first article, Pirates in Historical Fiction and Nonfiction: A Twin-Text Unit of Study, is interesting in its use of two completely different books (both fiction and nonfiction) to look at pireates to get the same lesson across.  It’s kind of funny how I mentioned this same idea in my autobiography, but with Indiana Jones (waaaay cooler than pirates…).  I remember doing the KWL charts that the article mentions when I was in elementary school too, I think those can be really helpful for many younger students.  But at the grade level I plan on teaching (11th/12th) many of these methods would not be as useful.

Swashbuckling Adventures on the High Seas: Classroom Activities for a Unit on Pirates reminds me of the article by Vacca that we read for the last unit.  I believe that these authors use this lesson as a social studies lesson, however it incorporates many of the things Vacca mentioned in his article.  Activities like these are some of the most beneficial to students to further their literacy and reading skills.  It is also very helpful to have the handouts printed out for teachers so that the teachers reading this article can get an idea of how to present this material to their students.

This article seems to have more importance to people in the English education major (like me!) as it criticizes many teachers do not groom students into developing readers.  Many teachers assume that at a point around seventh grade, the students have learned to read how they are going to read and that they need no more help to become literate (or at least better readers).  But that doesn’t seem to be the case at all.  A study showing that more than fifty percent of students from the thirty five largest cities in the United States entering high school read at a sixth grade level or below.  Teachers, especially English teachers, cannot stop developing students’ reading skills ever.  The skill to read is something that is always changing and becoming more advanced.  Most people need developing in their literacy skills throughout their entire life.  As the term literacy does not only apply to reading books, but it also applies to understanding and using the ever-evolving technology around us.

However, as Vacca points out, it is not only up to English teachers to develop students’ reading habits and skills.  Graphic organizers are a good way to help the students in this area in areas other than English.  I have used these in many different subjects throughout my schooling.  If teachers continue to use activities such as these then hopefully students will grow into strategic readers in a world where that is becoming more and more important.

Your name: Chris Waldrop

Your Content Area: Secondary English

Name of primary professional organization: NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English)

Web site address: http://www.ncte.org

What journal(s) does the organization publish?: Voices from the Middle, Teaching English in the Two-Year College, Research in the Teaching of English, Language Arts, English Journal, English Education, College English, College Composition and Communication

Give a brief overview of the contents of the web site: They have books that they have published that help with the professional development of English teachers.  There is also a listing of advertised English teacher positions that are available so that unemployed English teachers can find employment.  There are grants and scholarships that are advertised for people planning on going into the field of teaching English.  These are just a few of the things the NCTE offers to its members.

What curriculum resources are available on the web site?: The most helpful and useful resource available for teachers on the NCTE are lesson plans that they offer for many different lessons.  I got a few ideas without even having to join the NCTE.

How much is membership in the organization?  Is there a student membership?: For normal members the cost to join the NCTE is $40 per year.  For students the cost is $20 per year.

When I took English III (11th Grade English) in high school, it was what made me want to be an English teacher.  In that class I read the best and most interesting books I had ever read up to that point.  And I had one of the best teachers I have ever had for that class.  I hope that by understanding and following the NCSCOS for this class I can give a similar experience to my students.

The main focus for this grade level English class is American Literature (which happens to still be my favorite) and using print and non-print text I am to teach the students the following;

To relate the experiences of others to their own

To research the diversity of the American experience

To examine the relationships between past and present

To build increasing sophistication in defining issues and using argument effectively

To create products and presentations which maintain standard conventions of written and oral language.

This can be done using a wide variety of texts, also I would be able to use lyrics to songs which may interest some students who would not normally be as interested in reading books.

The idea of connecting literature read in a class to the students’ own lives is a theme that seems to be constant in nearly every level of a literature/language arts/english class.

Posted by: waldropcv | May 26, 2010

Examining Teachers’ Blogs

I didn’t have to look for a long time at the variuos teachers’ blogs that were linked on the CAROL website before I was amazed at how much technology has become a part of education.  Not just writing a paper on Microsoft Word, but this whole idea of blogging for schoolwork and school related discussions seems to have really taken off while I was looking the other way.  I thought blogs were just things that teenage girls made to say whether they were Team Edward or Team Jacob; apparently not.  There are blogs where second graders are writing poetry.  I am just now for the first time learning how to use a blog, but these second graders are already lightyears ahead of me.  I believe on many of these the students’ parents are expected to stay up to date with what the class is doing by browsing blogs like these.  I know my parents would never in their life be able to figure out how to use/find/browse a blog.  It just goes to show how far technology has come and how important it has become in all aspects of the lives of nearly everyone.

Posted by: waldropcv | May 26, 2010

Chris Waldrop Autobiographical Information

My name is Chris Waldrop.  I was born in Alabama, then I moved to Tennessee, then I moved to Kentucky, then I moved to North Carolina, where I have lived for the past eleven years.  I have one older brother who graduated from UNC Chapel Hill.  I enjoy many things, but listening to and creating music are my favorite activities.  And I LOVE the Star Wars (except for Attack of the Clones) and Indiana Jones (except for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) movies.  And I have made a vow to learn how to do the Thriller dance by the end of this summer.

I first thought about becoming a teacher my sophomore year in high school.  My history teacher was the best teacher I had ever had, and he made teaching seem so fun.  The next year I in my English class, I was required to write a research paper on a profession in which I saw myself being employed.  I decided to write about being a teacher.  In this paper an interview with someone in that profession was also required, so I chose to interview my history teacher from my sophomore year.  After this interview with him, I knew that I wanted to teach high school.  I decided on English, because I figured that I could have the most fun with that subject, while still teaching the students of course.

I believe that English is important because of the connections people can draw between themselves and what they read.  People can more about themselves by reading and reacting to what they read about others.  Also it can make subjects like History more interesting to some students, especially if it takes a factual event and imports some fictional characters and fantastical events (i.e. Indiana Jones).

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