Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us

 

 

Network With Us

Network With Us

Network With Us

Join us on Facebook to get the latest news and updates.

Become a Fan

 

Reading & Language Arts Community

HomeAbout UsCommunity Stories

 

Community Story


Connie Ruzich

Connie Ruzich

 

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

 

 

Sewickley, PA
Professor of English

"To put it simply, I team teach with ReadWriteThink. "

Connie Ruzich's Story
A Community of Mentors for Pre-service Teachers

As a teacher-educator, I mentor pre-service teachers in my courses for typically fifteen weeks. That means that an essential part of my work with teachers of our future is to introduce them to others who can teach them for life. Just as I’ve been supported and encouraged by membership in NCTE, I want my students to develop professional connections with people who can provide ideas, answers, and inspiration. In every course, I encourage pre-service teachers to join the national organization and attend the national convention. And yet, because the convention is frequently too distant or too costly for my students, it is the on-line community that serves as our life-line.

I ask my students to visit the NCTE website, to read and review Position Statements, to debate and apply ideas found in journal articles, and perhaps most practically and transformatively, to view the ReadWriteThink website as their community of mentors. Here are just some of the activities from ReadWriteThink that I’ve used to foster that relationship:

  • Introduce pre-service teachers to an NCTE resource and community they might not know about. Ask students to browse the ReadWriteThink site and to post a classroom blog entry about a specific idea, suggestion, or resource that catches their attention.
  • Give pre-service teachers a sense of options in teaching, freeing them from the “one right answer/one right lesson” approach. Ask students to identify at least three different lessons found on RWT for teaching a concept (such as lessons on the sounds of poetry or the use of punctuation), to briefly describe each lesson, and to then rank the order in which they would be likely to use each lesson, explaining and defending their choices.
  • Encourage pre-service teachers to build bridges across grade levels. Ask students to find a lesson from a grade level different from what they are teaching and to adapt the lesson for their own students, reflecting on the changes and insights gained in this exercise.
  • Support pre-service teachers’ informed and creative uses of technology. Ask students to research the Student Interactives on the RWT website and then to include one in an original lesson plan.

To put it simply, I team teach with ReadWriteThink. Not only do my students learn from a wide variety of diverse mentors, but as a class, we have the rich opportunity to discuss the complexities of borrowing, sampling, and adapting others’ ideas. ReadWriteThink models a critically important truth about excellence in teaching: we are all life-long learners who are continually obligated to credit others for our inspirations and ideas.

 

 

Related Resource

Grades   6 – 12  |  Podcast Episode

Life's Journeys: Help Along the Way

Tap into teen and preteen readers' interest in adolescent-mentor relationships with these recommendations!

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Speaking Poetry: Exploring Sonic Patterns Through Performance

Using their voices as interpretive instruments, students gain a deeper appreciation of the art of poetry as they prepare a recitation of the frequently anthologized poem “Those Winter Sundays.”

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Analyzing Grammar Pet Peeves

By analyzing Dear Abby’s “rant” about bad grammar usage, students become aware that attitudes about race, social class, moral and ethical character, and “proper” language use are intertwined.

 

Grades   1 – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Choosing One Word: Summarizing Shel Silverstein’s “Sick”

Students select what they believe to be the most important word in a text that they have read and justify their choice using examples from the text.

 

Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

Bright Morning: Exploring Character Development in Fiction

Students work as a class to explore a character in a book they have read by identifying traits and finding textual references to support their choices.