DIY Classroom: Modeling Academic ELA Discussions


One of the strengths of StudySync®, a media-rich, core ELA platform for grades 6-12, are the built-in peer modeling videos that are incorporated into each lesson, called StudySync® TV episodes. These videos model academic discussion and support the speaking and listening skills addressed in the Common Core State Standards. But did you know you can easily recreate these modeling exercises in your classroom?

For the second year in a row, StudySync teachers were challenged to have their students create their own StudySync TV episodes as part of the MySyncTV Contest. Students could select any literary work in the StudySync library that does not already have a StudySync TV episode.

Katharine Hertz, a National Board Certified Teacher from Geneva, IL, and her high school students participated this year, and took home the Top Production Award in the High School category. We asked Hertz to share her winning tips for successful implementation of modeling in her classroom:

  1. Provide an introduction. Hertz suggests “using StudySync TV lessons in your instruction throughout the school year, and decide at what point it would be good to have students mimic those lessons as part of your instruction.”
  2. Keep it relevant. “Tailor the instruction to the needs of your course,” says Hertz. “Read through the MySyncTV Unit’s Instructional Path [available with every StudySync subscription], but pick and choose which lessons best fit your students and curriculum.”
  3. Let the students drive topic selection. Hertz suggests allowing the students to “propose their own prompts using the ‘prompt proposal’ assignment in the Instructional Path; then asking them to choose their own groups based on the prompt they are interested in discussing.” As Hertz points out, this gives students “some ability to work with who they want to,” while keeping the project focused more on the “curricular topics to be explored.”
  4. Provide basic parameters. Hertz provided basic parameters, including discussion goals and length of production. However, she suggests waiting to “hand out the rubrics after [students]have a bit of time to begin the creative process.”
  5. Create a sense of ownership. Hertz’s last tip is also her most important. “Give kids time and space to create and really own the project from idea and prompt creation to video production,” she says. By allowing them to own the creative process from start to finish, Hertz was able to “really watch them soar with the application of their learning of both skill and content.”

Watch Geneva High School’s winning submission and see the full list of awards.

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Posts from the McGraw-Hill Education Social Media & Content team.

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