Using Technology in Language Arts

Sample Curricula for ELA and Tech

Teaching The Whale Rider

It's a girl's coming of age novel about the relationship of a people to their history, culture, and place. Several details specific to the Maori make it a great jumping off point for Pacifc Islander students and for immigrants of any ethnicity. Unlike the movie, you spend more time with the narrator (her uncle) and his insights into what it means to be a brown person in and out of a world of white people. Discussion points and themes include Pacific Islander culture, myth, mixing genres, defining family, feminism, tradition, and more.

Use this Quote list for Readers' Theater and prompts. Cut these into individual strips. Make groups responsible for reading, analyzing (I used a point-evidence-analysis organizer to help them to collect quotes), and presenting their portions of the novel.
Four-part take-home exam
This assessment verifies student understanding and analysis of the novel, emphasizing the sections from the above quote list.

Compare it to Sherman Alexie's novels and stories about American Indians. (ex, The 100% True Story of a Part-time Indian).

The novel The Whale Rider
The novel which inspired the award-winning movie
Poetry is everywhere
Poetry is everywhere

Poetry Lessons

Here are some poems and associated work I've had students study. When they ask "why do we bother with poetry?" I tell them reading and writing poetry sharpens your ability to produce vibrant and succinct language. Students need to do both.

Poems Packet
Poetry Organizer/Worksheet
Poetry writing exercise, with rubric and peer review.

The Outsiders

S.E. Hinton's novel remains a popular teaching choice because young readers continue to connect with its characters. Activities and projects help them make the characters seem more real, teaching characterization.

Who Would You Choose?
This worksheet can be adapted to any "ensemble cast" piece of fiction. Students check off the boxes based on which characters they would choose to join them in a range of activities. I have them invent their own activities for extra credit.
This is not mine, but I have used it in the past and intend to adapt it in the future. Giving students a choice of creative ways to achieve allows them to express different modalities.

The Outsiders
Greasers stick together in The Outsiders