When I say pattern, you say folders! Pattern.....folders....pattern.....folders. Sorry that is the total English, nerdy side of me. Have you heard of pattern folders? I'm not going to pretend I made this idea up because I am a true teacher; we steal everything. If you haven't heard of pattern folders, and you want a detailed description, I strongly suggest watching this video . Otherwise, here is my version: A pattern folder is something students can use to track certain literary elements or topics throughout a piece of literature. For example, when I teach Hamlet, there are four main ideas I want students to pay attention to throughout the play: ambiguity, deceit, elements of a tragic hero, and madness. As my students read the text, they have to find examples in the text of the aforementioned topics. Once they find a piece of evidence that connects to one of those ideas, they write down the pg. #, a specific quote, and they explain how that piece of evidence is connected to the topic. Then the student places the note card into the corresponding pattern folder pocket (see below). You can do this with any piece of literature. Take Fahrenheit 451 (click assignment) for example; in this particular unit, my students focus on literary elements such as satire, symbolism, and books' effects on characters. As they read, when they come across a symbol, they make note of it on a note card and place the card in the pocket labeled symbol. They do this for all three topics.

So what? Why pattern folders? There are many ways students can track literary elements and/or ideas, but I have found this to be one of the most effective ways for students to gather specific evidence in an organized manner. Once my students collect all of the evidence throughout the book, I give them multiple essay prompts to choose from having to do with our areas of focus for our pattern folders. The students get to choose whichever essay prompt they would like to write; the prompts vary from argumentative to explanatory. Check out my essay prompts here. The students are then allowed to use their note cards as evidence for whichever essay topic they choose.

If you are interested in pattern folders, you will need the supplies. Here is a list of what you need:

File Folders
Demco Pockets (low back) 
Index Cards
That's it for today! Keep on stressin' on, teachers:)


Michon Otuafi

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