Pre-conference day . . . a day to get the conference up and running. For some a day to visit, vacation, or view some local attractions.
For others, a day of learning! Day 1 of #ILA15 in St. Louis with @LitLearnAct. A MARVELOUS day of learning! Institute 09 – Reading with Rigor: Interpreting Complex Texts Using Annotation and Close Reading Strategies wth Dana Johansen and Sonja Cherry-Paul, the authors of this Heinemann text.
What is rigor?
There are many definitions of rigor and the dictionary ones are not conducive to joyous literacy learning. We created posters among our table groups of our own definitions of rigor. This view of rigor extends the possibilities for our students.
What are some common myths about “rigor”?
1. Rigor means increasing homework for the students.
2. Rigor means students should do more and more work.
3. Rigor is for some students but definitely not for ALL students.
4. With rigor, students should be able to do the learning without any supports or scaffolds.
5. The more resources you have and use, the more rigor increases for students.
6. No need to worry about rigor; the standards cover it.
7. Rigor is an addition to the curriculum. So of course, you are going to have to take a favorite unit out of your school year.
8. A teacher who is teaching with rigor will be a “Mean” teacher.
Of course, none of those myths are true according to Barbara Blackman in this resource.
How many of those have you heard?
How many of those do you believe?
Stop, pause and have a moment of reflection. How does this match your current knowledge and your thinking?
So just how do we keep the “FUN” and yet learn?
Listen carefully to what the girl says in this video. Do you have any doubt about what she does and does not know?
She does say, “This is really hard.” But she also says, “It’s so fun!”
Is that what your students are saying?
Are you sure?
We spent some time on the three components of text complexity. There are three components of text complexity and the basic triangle has been included here before. It’s not just lexile levels and there are many “mis-matches” listed in that post that happen when ONLY lexiles are used to determine who should read any text. Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer, also explores lexile mis-matches in “Guess My Lexile”. Both Dana and Sonja encouraged everyone to consider all three elements at the same time when evaluating texts in order to truly find texts that will raise the thinking of the readers and not just promote reading through the text mindlessly. To think about:
How are wordless picture books rated on text complexity?
( 🙂 That’s something that I have put on my list to research but it won’t happen during this conference!)
Where and how do we find complex texts?
Drum Roll, please . . .
There is NO magic list of complex text.
There is NO magic list of complex text.
There is NO magic list of complex text.
Text selection should depend on the students, their needs, the strategies they know, the strategies they need, their data, and their interests! Text selection should not be the same, year after year, after year, after year, after year!
How much text should be used for a “Close Read”?
This has been answered previously; but only as much text as is needed. An entire text is NOT read closely. Doug Fisher’s beliefs in a range from three paragraphs to three pages was shared. NOT a whole book! Only pick the part of a text that is worthy, be strategic, because you are going to read that text over and over and over and over! You may have to trick the students into rereading by changing the purpose and the questions. The questions you raise should drive them back into the text and be so interesting that the students want to answer them. For over forty years we have had data that tells us that rereading improves comprehension.
The session title included annotation so the next section in the day’s learning was not a favorite of mine. I love the simplicity of “Know/Wonder” charts because I don’t need to xerox story pages in order to WRITE on the texts. (Know/Wonder source – What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making by Vicki Vinton and Dorothy Barnhouse)The CCSS say to “read closely” but the word annotation is not in the standards. It is one way to read closely. However, if a list of “codes” is handed to students and they mindlessly mark up the text, the students are missing the benefit of “listening to the text” and “writing to explain their thinking”! That’s where the power is – not in pages that are bleeding highlighting or have complicated annotated code that students cannot and do not talk about! Goals for annotation: Mark only the most important sections. Write down your thinking IN WORDS!”
Texts that we used for annotations:
“Casey at the Bat”
“How to Paint “a Donkey” by Naomi Shihab Nye
“Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou
La Luna 2011 Pixar
A Nation’s Hope: Joe Louis by Matt de la Pena
I appreciated the practice with texts. “Walking the talk” as adults for those tasks that we ask students to do is always important to me. All of these included conversations about “What makes this complex text?”
And then we moved to Text Dependent Questions. These are huge in the Publishers’ Criteria. However, if you have a “Word” version of the ELA standards, search for the phrase “Text Dependent Questions” and see what your results are!
“No one can analyze or interpret texts without bringing themselves to the text.”
In this section, we worked with “Last Kiss” by Ralph Fletcher and had great conversations about whether a question that required inferencing beyond the words of the text was a “Text Dependent Question”. At this stage it really makes sense to think about a variety of questions that are well balanced at the different DOK levels!!!
Quiz (If you know the text “Last Kiss”)
“If you were to interview Ralph’s mom, what question would you ask in order to find out how his mom feels about the dad not kissing Ralph good night anymore as a part of the bedtime ritual?”
What are you thinking?
Literary Elements include many areas for instruction. We spent some time on symbols and talking about how patterns of repetition by an author could lead the reader to symbols. We looked at symbols in the “Last Kiss” and then discussed what they meant and how we gathered evidence to support our views. (Symbols: jellyfish, fireflies, handshake, “the kiss”, absence of the kiss)
Cartoons (do our students REALLY understand them?) . . . Many students don’t really see the humor so they might be great sources of short text to practice on with students. Depending on the age of your students, you might look to “Calvin and Hobbes” to see how students explain what is really happening in the cartoon strip.
We also spent some time on the pitfalls or challenges of Nonfiction. We explored an immigration text set that included a picture, first person recollection, and immigration statistics from the Library of Congress. .
Specific Challenges from a Black and White Picture:
- Not in color
- Can’t zoom in or out to examine specific details
- What is this about?
- Main idea?
- Need background knowledge
- Is the title helpful?
- Steerage passengers taking it easy on ocean liner . . . or is that a “sad” version of humor!
Do the challenges increase or decrease when additional source documents are added? What do you think?
Who should be generating the questions?
What do the standards say?
It is possible to teach toward the ambitious new goals of the Common Core Standards.
Teachers and students need to use knowledge to sort, question, reank, synthesize, interpret, and to apply knowledge.
Teachers need to continue to READ complex texts collaboratively and share their thinking and the puzzles that remain.
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Interesting information. Stephanie Harvey talked about leveling in her session also. My school district uses Fountas and Pinnell levels which seem to take more into account than Lexile levels but even so the reader brings so much to text levels.
My Bright Blue House
Leveling is such a complicated issue. The key is remembering that the levels help us move students through more complex text; the levels are not to “Name” the readers as “Ds” for example. I love the TC lingo where students work in text bands – typically across 3 levels at a time so some are STRETCH, some are just right, and some are easy to practice!
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