Michael Clay Thompson

Michael Clay Thompson

Michael is the author of more than seventy books about language arts. He is the Past President of the Indiana Association for the Gifted, and he served two terms on the Board of Directors of NAGC, the National Association for the Gifted.


Interdisciplinary Vocabulary with Latin and Greek Stems

If children are to have high achievement in the academic work that their future holds for them, they must have a foundation in the rigorous vocabulary that is dominant in the academic world. This means, especially, that children must know the Latin and Greek prefixes and roots that form the foundation of the English language, especially in STEM content. These prefixes and roots are a central element of every subject, from mathematics to science to history, and they offer teachers a practical way to increase achievement in all subjects.

The Poetry of Prose

Poetic techniques are important not only for understanding poetry but also for reading great prose. Great novelists tend also to write poetry and to use poetic techniques in their novels. Poetry is therefore a training ground for great writing and great reading. This session will provide participants with an introduction to the terms of technical poetics and an array of examples of how these techniques are present in great prose, allowing teachers to show students the poetic elements of writing that had been hidden.

Using the MLA Method to Teach Academic Writing

The research paper method developed by the Modern Language Association, MLA, is used by more middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities than any other. This means, among other things, that the method itself is knowledge, used by scholars around the world. Teachers of mid-elementary through high school children can employ the MLA method as a strategy for teaching advanced, interdisciplinary academic writing to their students. This session will review the MLA standards and the classroom strategies that make them effective. It will also revisit the research paper method, updating traditional steps in light of computer technology.

Four-Level Literature Trilogies

A strong literature program not only exposes students to literary themes and stories, it also builds the strong foundation of vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, and writing that makes students stronger in every subject. This presentation will provide a practical strategy for cumulative literature trilogies, with multiple options for high-level evaluation. Teachers will receive a differentiated approach for presenting literature to children. They will learn methods for teaching cumulatively and for emphasizing exciting Socratic essay questions that identify common themes and similar characters, taking literature to a higher order of thinking than simple novels in isolation can do.

Introduction to Four-Level Grammar Analysis

This intensive session is for teachers who are new to Michael Thompson’s four level analysis method of grammar instruction and would like an introductory overview. Four-level analysis gives teachers a practical way to compact grammar instruction and launch it early in the year, so that grammar can be used throughout the year as a way of thinking about language, resulting in more effective writing and vocabulary usage. Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of how four-level analysis gives students a clear, understandable approach to grammar that makes real application possible.