Friday, 21 September 2012

Common Core Practice | Medical Manga, a Family Grocery and a Restaurant Review

Drum roll, please! I told you earlier this week about The Learning Network's plan to publish a Common Core Practice Feature each Friday, and I'm thrilled to say that it is here!

The series is being done in collaboration with two teachers in New Jersey, Jonathan Olsen and Sarah Gross, and the premiere post includes two argumentative writing tasks and one that is informative. All reference the Common Core Standards that they address.

The one that grabbed my attention is the first, Science: “Manga as Medical Tool,” which refers to a Times news article about Dr. Ian Roberts of London.

To paraphrase from the task description: No pharmaceutical company is willing to devote money to an advertising campaign for a new drug that promotes clotting and should reduce death in trauma patients, so Dr. Roberts has turned to unorthodox means such as cartoons and manga comics to share the information with doctors around the world.

Here is the student task: "Do you think it is a good idea to share research findings through visual media, like manga comics and cartoons? Write a paragraph in which you use information from this article to support your views. Provide at least one example where visual media could be helpful — or harmful — in sharing this kind of information." Students can view the manga comic (the first frame is shown)

and watch the cartoon below before writing. The CRASH-2 comic was created by Dr. Roberts's nephew, and should contribute much to your students' interest in the article!

I want to say "Thank you!" to the writers of this great new feature, so I'm leaving a comment on the post. If you use any of the three tasks proposed this week, I hope you will, too.

Have a fabulous fall weekend! The weather here in Middle Tennessee couldn't be better, and I plan to enjoy it!

Jim Burke & The English Teacher's Companion

Jim Burke is the author of almost twenty books on the art of teaching, including The English Teacher's Companion: A Complete Guide to Classroom, Curriculum, and the Profession. He won the NCTE's Exemplary English Leadership Award in 2000 and was inducted into the California Reading Association's Hall of Fame. Burke serves on the College Board's Advanced Placement Course & Exam Review Commission for the English Literature & Language courses. 

Oh, and he teaches high school English every day. I can't imagine a more connected expert than one who remains in the trenches, where Burke has been for more than 25 years. Today let's take a tour of the FREE resources he offers through his website, English
And here are my favorites:
  • Digital Textbook - From NPR's This I Believe to Time magazine's Pictures of the Week to Peace Corps Stories, these amazing sites allow you to move away from dry textbooks to dynamic resources that you can use to teach your students "how to read an image or how to write about one; how to analyze a website or how to craft a particular type of sentence or organize a paragraph a certain way." Simply fantastic!
  • Tools for Teachers - Templates for notes of every kind, including episodic, hierarchical, and inference. Below is his Vocabulary Squares template, which can be used to "help readers process the word in different ways, all proven useful through...research." It is sophisticated, therefore more useful for high school students than are simpler ones. 

Want to read his blog? Go to Jim Burke: The English Teacher's CompanionYou can also see Mr. Burke's homepage at Burlingame High School. If you're interested in purchasing his books, they are available on his website, as well as on

For those of you who teach secondary reading (including reading in the content area) or English/Language Arts, I hope you'll have fun finding what you can use from the work of the amazing Jim Burke!