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Home:Curriculum Showcase:High School Features:Charles Dickens Collaboration

High School - Charles Dickens Collaboration

The Curriculum Showcase celebrates thoughtful, well designed lessons that are being taught in District 95.  Here we are showcasing what is being taught, how it exemplifies our District 95 mission, and how it ties the curriculum objectives to active learning. Read the summary below the slideshow to learn more.

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Leslie Kuczek, June Lingle, Sheila Wells, Megan Bajor

Grade Level, Content Area
4th & 10th Grades, English Language Arts

Mission statement traits addressed
• Mission statement traits Pursue and engage in learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom
• Actively listen
• Work well with others to achieve goals
• Display positive interpersonal and problem-solving skills
• Offer and accept constructive feedback
• Provide service to others
• Explore individual and community connections which impact society

Local or state objectives addressed
4th grade
1.C.2b Make and support inferences and form interpretations about main themes and topics.
2.B.2a Respond to literary material by making inferences, drawing conclusions and comparing it to their own experience, prior knowledge and other texts.
2.B.2b Identify and explain themes that have been explored in literature from different societies and eras.
4.B.2b Use speaking skills and procedures to participate in group discussions.
10th Grade
2.A.4b Explain relationships between and among literary elements including character, plot, setting, theme, conflict and resolution and their influence on the effectiveness of the literary piece.
4.B.4b Use group discussion skills to assume leadership and participant roles within an assigned project or to reach a group goal.


A group of fourth grade Sarah Adams teachers, Mrs. Wells, Mrs. Lingle, and Mrs. Kuczek and high school teacher, Mrs. Bajor, took advantage of being a part of a unit district earlier this year with a cross grade level collaboration. Both groups, the fourth grade and honors sophomore English classes, were studying and discussing the themes of the works of Charles Dickens.  Each class also researched and read nonfiction pieces about the author during the author study.   Mrs. Wells described the activity, “We were reading A Christmas Carol and the sophomores were reading A Tale of Two Cities.  We invited one class of honors sophomores to visit our reading class. Mrs. Bajor notified me that all 57 of her students wanted to participate in our discussion of Charles Dickens and his literature.”

When the high school students came to the elementary school, the fourth graders each had a sophomore buddy.  Together they shared ideas and identified text-to-text and text-to-world connections. The older students helped the fourth grade students revise and edit their writing.  “The dialogue between all the students was wonderful.  The students all talked about the different versions of A Christmas Carol they had experienced such as stage, movie, or book.  It was a great cross curricular project.  This was the first time I attempted to work with the high school students,” said Mrs. Wells.  Students demonstrated their understanding of the literature through writing.  Each child recorded his/her thoughts about what they believed Charles Dickens wanted the reader to learn from his novel. 
Mrs. Bajor and Mrs. Wells noted that the students recognized that the terminology both grade levels used was similar; they had a common vocabulary to talk about literature. The sophomores took the information they had learned in class, applied it in their conversations, and assumed a mentoring role with the younger students. They helped the younger students learn how to have conversations about literature and how to compare and contrast the various productions of the piece of literature. “They were able to be mentors. My kids loved it. Everyone was completely focused,” said Mrs. Bajor.
“It was a fabulous experience for the teachers and students.   We hope to continue this activity next year,” said Sheila Wells.  Mrs. Bajor added, “We have the best kids in our classes in Lake Zurich. I expect the best and they give me exactly what I expect.”


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