SL for The Pledge

We’re out of school on a no-electricity day (obviously we have it at my house!) so I wanted to share that I used Scaffolding Literacy this week in my English classes to review the Pledge of Allegiance.

There’s something magic about this technique. The system of telling the kids the answers and then asking them always seems so elementary to me, especially when I use it in English. But the kids love it. They feel like they’re really learning.

Those people who saw me do the Pledge demo at in-service or at conferences might have thought it could be somewhat boring. I was also wondering how it would go over with kids, but once again, the results amazed me. The kids were enthusiastic, and they started to be very confident in answering questions, in a way that they hadn’t been with anything else I’d done. I think that SL is an aid to group bonding, as well as being a tool that helps me get better at teaching.

The kids are anxious to read the text about the Pledge now. They were disappointed that I didn’t have it ready for them right away. Who knew?

Now I’m all fired up to be using it in the Russian classes again. So cool!

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3 responses to “SL for The Pledge

  1. Hi MJ,
    Is SL like Laurie Clarq’s embedded reading? Did you give them a “bare bones” version first, and then add details until you had the full pledge? Or are you talking about a different process?
    Thanks,
    Nancy in Austin

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    • Hi Nancy,
      It’s kind of like Embedded Reading on steroids. If you look at the categories in the lower right sidebar, you will find “Scaffolding Literacy.” Go back to the very earliest ones, and there are a bunch of links with explanations. There’s also a video that shows me using it in Russian class (subtitled).

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      • I just realized that I didn’t really answer this exactly. As part of the lesson, you focus closely in on one little section of text. It could be just one sentence or somewhat longer, depending on what your purpose is. I’ve been lately watching a video of an Australian teacher who seems to me to be using an entire essay with his advanced English class. But with the pledge, we started with the meaning and purpose (and even the history) of each phrase. We talked through it, phrase by phrase, after setting it up with a look at the vocabulary in context. It gave me a chance to talk about synonyms for “pledge,” for the word “liege” in the middle of “allegiance,” and what “public” is doing in the middle of “Republic.” In fact, the more times I repeat it with students, the more I find in that simple promise.

        But…like TPRS, SL is a process. Taking out one of the pieces to do on its own is not effective in the same way. I keep having to remember that and continue our study of those phrases.

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