Upcoming Events

Fall Pictures

Time: 8:20 PM – 9:50 PM
Location: Berrien High School, 500 Smith Ave, Nashville, GA 31639, USA
Aug 25
Close
Mrs. Amy Warren » Posts

Posts

Cross-Curricular Learning through

Janisse Ray’s Ecology of a Cracker Childhood

Cross-curricular connections seems to be a buzzword in education circles.  Research has demonstrated that cross-curricular activities make learning more relevant to students.  9th grade students at Berrien High School experienced a cross-curricular connection between English and Science.  Students in Mrs. Amy Warren’s 9th Grade Literature and Composition class had the opportunity to read excerpts from Janisse Ray’s Ecology of a Cracker Childhood--a creative, non-fiction novel that connects stories of the author’s childhood in South Georgia with the ecology of the area.  They then wrote a narrative about their own experiences growing up in the South Georgia region.  Students were also exposed to Janisse Ray’s book in Mrs. Kelly’s Moore 9th Grade Biology course at the start of their Ecology Unit.  Students read excerpts from the book about the flora and fauna in the longleaf pine ecosystem.  They were then asked to write a small passage about one of three areas of ecology: 1) adaptations of the longleaf pine to fire or other plants that live in the forest, 2) characteristics of animals that are endemic to the longleaf pine ecosystem, or 3) conservation issues in the longleaf pine ecosystem.  Students in both courses were exposed to reading excerpts from a novel, writing a narrative, and the ecology behind one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.  Students’ work and creativity are on display outside each classroom door.  

 English

9th Grade Literature and Composition Standards addressed in the assignment:

ELAGSE9-10W3:  Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

ELAGSE9-10W4:  Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

ELAGSE9-10W5:  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

ELAGSE9-10W6:  Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.

 

Assignment Description:

For this assignment, students will access their own life experiences and family stories to create a personal narrative. A personal narrative tells a true story about someone’s life. We read excerpts from Janisse Ray’s Ecology of a Cracker Childhood where she blended her experiences with stories from her family. She also captured a sense of place—an idea that our identity is somehow shaped by the stories we are told, or the places we live. She also incorporated chapters of non-fiction like how long-leaf pines are a part of our region’s ecology and identity. You might choose to add small chunks of information like this to your essay. In this assignment, you should use Ray’s book as a model for ideas. Your narrative might be very different, but practice going back to her book for inspiration.

Assignment Objectives:

  •    The topic of personal narrative can engage students in both reading and writing, especially if those activities act as a bridge between school and family.
  •    Students learn to adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  •    Students practice a variety of narrative technique like imagery and dialogue.
  •    Students learn to work collaboratively by peer reviewing each other's work.
  •    Students practice synthesizing information and writing by assembling their notes into a personal narrative.

 

 Science

9th Biology Standards addressed:

SB5. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to assess the interdependence of all organisms on one another and their environment.

  1. Plan and carry out investigations and analyze data to support explanations about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems. (Clarification statement: Factors include population size, carrying capacity, response to limiting factors, and keystone species.)
  2. Develop and use models to analyze the cycling of matter and flow of energy within ecosystems through the processes of photosynthesis and respiration.  Arranging components of a food web according to energy flow. Comparing the quantity of energy in the steps of an energy pyramid.  Explaining the need for cycling of major biochemical elements (C, O, N, P, and H).
  3. Construct an argument to predict the impact of environmental change on the stability of an ecosystem.
  4. Design a solution to reduce the impact of a human activity on the environment. (Clarification statement: Human activities may include chemical use, natural resources consumption, introduction of non-native species, greenhouse gas production.)
  5. Construct explanations that predict an organism’s ability to survive within changing environmental limits (e.g., temperature, pH, drought, fire).

 

Longleaf Pine Assignment:

9th Biology Standards addressed

 

SB5. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to assess the interdependence of all organisms on one another and their environment.

  1. Plan and carry out investigations and analyze data to support explanations about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems. (Clarification statement: Factors include population size, carrying capacity, response to limiting factors, and keystone species.)
  2. Develop and use models to analyze the cycling of matter and flow of energy within ecosystems through the processes of photosynthesis and respiration.  Arranging components of a food web according to energy flow. Comparing the quantity of energy in the steps of an energy pyramid. Explaining the need for cycling of major biochemical elements (C, O, N, P, and H).
  3. Construct an argument to predict the impact of environmental change on the stability of an ecosystem.
  4. Design a solution to reduce the impact of a human activity on the environment. (Clarification statement: Human activities may include chemical use, natural resources consumption, introduction of non-native species, greenhouse gas production.)
  5. Construct explanations that predict an organism’s ability to survive within changing environmental limits (e.g., temperature, pH, drought, fire).

 

Longleaf Pine Assignment:

 

Each block will be assigned a different writing aspect of the longleaf pine community.  Your job is to research the topic and write in YOUR OWN WORDS a brief explanation of the chosen topic.  Your job is not to copy and paste from the web, you will need to read the information and summarize what your task is asking you to do.  Be sure to reference the sources where you found the information.

 

Length requirement: at least a paragraph

 

You will need to type your response and include your name.  The best written responses will be displayed outside on the door.

 

2nd block: you will be researching and writing about adaptations of the longleaf pine and other plants in the community in response to fire.  Remember adaptations are traits that organisms develop to better help the survive in a particular environment. Choose a particular plant (wiregrass, liatris, pitcher plant, etc) or focus on the longleaf pine.  What adaptations does the plant have that allows them to survive in fire.

 

3rd block: you will be researching and writing about adaptations of animals in the longleaf pine ecosystem.  Pick a particular animal and describe their habitat, specific features or traits they have that allows them to live in this fire tolerant environment.  Describe the population of the animal (most of this animals are threatened and a few are endangered) List any behaviors or physical traits the animal may have or do.

 

4th block: you will be researching and writing about conservation issues in the longleaf pine ecosystem.  Write about what is being done to protect and preserve this critical habitat. Find statistics about how much longleaf pine forests are left.

Pictured are 9th Grade Narrative Writing Contest Winners Bruce Ford (left), Harley Tuttle (center), and McKenzie McLean (right). They worked together to write and illustrate an “Out of this World” story.

 

Students worked in small groups using Google documents to collaborate in writing and illustrating creative narratives. They wrote original—suspenseful—stories as part of a larger narrative unit examining narrative strategies like imagery, action, dialogue and plot. As part of the unit, students analyzed how writers like Arthur C. Clark (“If I Forget Thee Oh Earth…” and 2001 Space Odyssey) and H.G. Wells (War of the Worlds), use narrative strategies like action and dialogue to create suspense. Students had the opportunity to share their “Out of this World” stories by displaying them on the wall for other students to read.