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Engaging Every Student

September 1, 2021

Incorporate ELA into Any Subject with Pear Deck

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Victoria Thompson

Victoria Thompson headshot and title

I have always been a STEM educator, but have also consistently worked ELA (English Language Arts) into all of my lessons, activities, and content. From vocabulary to close reads to concept maps to literary analysis, my math and science classrooms consistently used ELA not just as a vehicle for content, but as a vehicle for critical thinking. I am a firm believer that literacy is every educator’s responsibility, not just that of the ELA or humanities teachers. We can all play a part in making sure that our students have strong literacy skills.

As I head into World Literacy Day in my role as a STEM coach, I am constantly thinking of ways for students to engage with ELA content in the classrooms of the teachers at my school. I’ve found that Pear Deck is a useful tool for incorporating ELA into your content, regardless of whether you teach ELA or not.

Here are my tips for getting started with ELA and Pear Deck:

When you’re thinking about creating an entirely new lesson, start with your learning goals.
What standards would you like to cover, and what are the learning goals you’d like your students to achieve? When you are working with any edtech platform, it’s important to make sure that your learning goals are integrated into the tool. Pear Deck has a wonderful balance of both: You can conduct your lesson in a way that suits your students and their pathway for learning.

Whenever I create an ELA lesson from scratch, I start with my learning goals. For example, if I want my students to be able to identify vocabulary words, I will build out a vocabulary template beginning with what we might know or understand about certain words. Or if I want my students to be able to compare and contrast different topics or concepts within a text (e.g., “How does the setting of the story impact the conflict? How does the setting of the story enhance the conflict?”), I may want to begin with a Venn diagram template.

A slide reads Compare: King Lear and Richard III

Check out the pre-made ELA templates.If I am trying to create a lesson in a pinch or if I need some inspiration, I immediately go to pre-made templates for ELA. These are fantastic. I’m a big fan of illustrating the setting (for getting students to draw what they think the setting looks like), the “drag the dots” template for bell ringers and exit tickets (e.g., “drag the dots to the adverbs”), character point of view (for comparing and contrasting different character perspectives), and more. Once you select a template, you can begin crafting your lessons.

A slide that reads "Drag the dots to the nouns"

For discussions and literary analysis, consider the critical thinking templates. Critical thinking is a huge part of whole class discussion, and it’s also an integral part of any classroom. I have used the critical thinking templates in large class discussions on literature and points of view. These templates include reflecting on questions, interpreting information, drawing conclusions, and explaining thinking.

A slide that reads "Make connections"

Don’t forget to take a look at the Orchard.
Did you know that Pear Deck has a comprehensive collection of pre-made templates called the Orchard? The Orchard contains dozens of lessons that have been created in collaboration with educators, and it is such a great source of inspiration. All the templates are fully editable, so feel free to adapt any slide to the subject at hand!

To use Pear Deck for your own lessons, get your copy of these templates for ELA and Critical Thinking. Browse the Pear Deck Orchard for more free, ready-to-teach templates!

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Victoria Thompson

STEM Integration Transformation Coach

Technology Access Foundation

Victoria is a STEM Integration Transformation Coach at Technology Access Foundation — a nonprofit leader redefining STEM education in public schools — a consultant for Ignite EdTech, and a learning specialist for NCCE.

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