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Templates & Lessons

June 23, 2022

My Favorite Pear Deck Lesson: Interactive Parallelism

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Jackie Stevens

As an ELA teacher, I love watching my students’ reactions as they read a pivotal moment in literature. I love digging into media literacy with them as they analyze persuasive techniques. I love when the first sentence of a student’s short story hooks me. It may come as a surprise, then, that my favorite lesson is about teaching a grammar skill — parallelism!

Teaching parallelism interactively with Pear Deck

For years, I did a poor job of teaching parallelism, and the skill was part of a self-contained 9th grade grammar unit. However, I recently discovered the best way to teach grammar is by having my students’ perform reading and writing exercises. That’s why this lesson is now part of the essay-writing process.

As I created the lesson, I wanted students to progress in their understanding of parallelism and eventually be able to write parallel sentences — specifically for their essay thesis statements. Therefore, the lesson begins with some examples and a definition of parallelism. Then, students identify if sentences correctly use parallel structure with the Pear Deck Multiple Choice question type.

Next, the scaffolded lesson asks students to rewrite sentences to make them parallel. Students ultimately end up writing their own sentences using parallelism and respond with the Pear Deck Text question type.

To add interest to the lesson, I use the Unsplash Images from the Google Slides Add-on to incorporate high-quality, freely-usable photos. Most images relate to the sentence example on that slide. However, for my personal enjoyment, I add an image with parallel lines to all of the slides that do not contain an example sentence. I always point this out to my students, who don’t seem to be as impressed as I am with it!

Leveraging instant feedback

In addition to Multiple Choice and Text slides that help me check on students’ current level of understanding, the Pear Deck Website slide allows me to embed a Quill.org practice lesson directly into my presentation. Quill’s lessons provide immediate feedback to students, which is a perfect addition to a Pear Deck lesson in which I also provide feedback. This means students won’t mistakingly practice skills incorrectly — instead, they are “coached up” throughout the lesson. Therefore, students are able to make significant progress in a relatively short period of time.

Although grammar isn’t the most scintillating topic in the ELA classroom, students respond very well to this lesson. The Pear Deck responses are then displayed for the class, so students can receive instant feedback on their performance. This builds confidence while also correcting any errors immediately.

Personalizing lessons to each student

When students begin writing their own parallel sentences, I’ll ask them to write about themselves. What does their morning routine look like? Who’s their best friend? Trust me — every student wants their sentence about their best friend shown to the class.

Working together as a class

As we review them, we decide as a class if the sentence follows parallel structure, or if it needs some editing. Since Pear Deck displays the responses anonymously, we can have honest critiques about not-so-perfect sentences without calling out the student who wrote it.

As the lesson concludes, students self-assess their understanding of parallelism with a Pear Deck Draggable slide. Because the lesson contains so many opportunities for practice, feedback, and revision, students are able to accurately identify their level of knowledge.

Making important connections

This lesson helps students make connections between parallelism and essay writing. Using this skill, they are then able to write their own thesis statements with parallel structure. Plus, they are also better able to edit each other’s writing for parallelism throughout their essays.

With Pear Deck, practice makes perfect

The ability to gather student evidence with Multiple Choice and Text question types, provide feedback by displaying responses anonymously, and embed practice opportunities with Website slides make this Parallelism Pear Deck my favorite lesson!

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Jackie Stevens

Teacher and Instructional Coach

Mora High School

Dr. Stevens is an English teacher, instructional coach, and district staff development coordinator at Mora High School in Mora, Minnesota.

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