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Readers make leaders!
Mindy Volk

Students in Aimee Cogdill’s 1st period are annotating a text and discussing vocabulary.

Tennessee’s education standards aim to prepare students for college and career readiness.  Part of these standards require students to focus on unfamiliar vocabulary and using context clues rather than solely consulting a dictionary for a word’s meaning.  Students are also required to analyze why certain vocabulary words are used by authors and how those words tie into the story’s meaning.

Students in Aimee Cogdill’s 1st period are annotating a text and discussing vocabulary.

Students in Aimee Cogdill’s 1st period are reading “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou.  This text is part of Unit 3 in JCHS’s new SAVVAS textbooks for 10th grade.  This unit’s focus is what it means to be free.  “Caged Bird” allows students to focus on two standards: 

  • 9-10.L.KL.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • 9-10.L.VAU.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on 9th-10th grade-level text by choosing flexibly from a range of strategies. 
    • a. Use context as a clue to the meaning of a word or a phrase. b. Use common grade-appropriate morphological elements as clues to the meaning of a word or a phrase.

During this lesson, Mrs. Cogdill had students highlight unfamiliar vocabulary words using the SAVVAS online highlighting tool.  The majority of students highlighted the word “trill”.  They discussed the word and its meaning based on the context of the sentence.  They then discussed why Maya Angelou chose the word “trill” for this poem and how it ties to the overall theme of the poem.  Mrs. Cogdill asked guiding questions, and students answered but lead their own discussions.  

Students also receive more one-on-one attention from Mrs. Cogdill. It is exciting to see students engaging and discussing a text aloud with classmates!

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