Tag Archives: What Readers Really Do

#Digilit Sunday: Function


digilit

Twitter connections are so fabulous. Via Twitter today I found out that the focus of #Digilit Sunday was function.  Check out Margaret’s post here. The part of “function” that I have been thinking about a lot lately is “executive function”.

executivefunction2

It’s close to the end of this school year, but how can students still be increasing their own level of executive function?  Isn’t this where deep learning and even transfer live? Isn’t this the whole point of moving beyond “surface learning”?

visible-learning-for-literacy-John-Hattie-Fisher-Frey-slide-460x400

Fisher, Frey, and Hattie

And of course, the most important factor in executive function, in my opinion, is that a student has had plenty of opportunities to “do the work”? How do teachers ensure that students are doing the organizing and the self-talk?  They must “say less so readers can do more” and demonstate over and over that they really can do the work with panache and  confidence!

work

Burkins and Yaris

For me, the connections from this post all began years ago during TCRWP Writing Institute with a conversation between Allison Jackson and myself about this book.  That conversation grew into a book study, Twitter chats and actually meeting the authors. Completely life-changing . . .

wrrd

Vicki Vinton and Dorothy Barnhouse

The function of learning is that students do the hard work of making meaning. That students actually dig into surface, deep and transfer learning.  That teachers are like the conductors on the train.  Recognizing the signs, making them visually and verbally apparent, but that ultimately students are really the ones who need to be in charge of their learning. And that learning should always, always, always be JOYFUL!

Unfortunately, this Mark Twain quote may still be true:

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

-Mark Twain

But I can learn in spite of or even despite my education!

Is learning the FUNCTION of your work?

How do we know?

 

#SOL15: Literacy Superheroes


Halloween Celebrations are over.  November, still warm and toasty, is here.

Did you see a few superheroes?

I spent some time this last week with a few of my superheroes.

teacher

Real life superheroes.  Authors who inspire!  Authors who dare to challenge my thinking. Authors who want a better world for our students.  And authors who understand that in order for students to really be life-long learners, the teachers have to step back and trust that inquiry is one avenue that unites students and teachers in real-world learning.

Who is one of my super heroes?

vicki vinton

Vicki Vinton, co-author of What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making, is definitely one.  Have you read her book?  If you haven’t read it,

WHY NOT?

wrrd

Additional evidence of my esteem would be in these blog posts:  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Those nine posts share thoughts from the last year that include Vicki, other rock star literacy educators and many other bloggers as well. It has been an amazing year of learning and I’ve been blessed to have many opportunities to learn along side students, teachers, literacy rock stars and superheroes!

This book was eagerly awaited as Vicki wrote about it on her blog here and here.

The book is a celebration of the 13 belief statements and the 68 study group members who went to Italy in October of 2012 to study the preschools in the town of Reggio Emilia. And as the authors say, “We hope these essays inspire you to move beyond discussion and into action.”

Essay One is “Centering the Child” by Sir Ken Robinson.

Essay Two is “How Reggio Ruined Me for Anything Less than Inquiry-Driven Learning by Vicki Vinton.

Essay Four is “Engagement: A Hub of Human Development by Peter Hohnston and Gay Ivey.

Essay Five is “With an Air of Expectancy” by Katherine Bomer.

Essay Six is “What Price Beauty?  A Call for Aesthetic Education” by co-editor Ellin Oliver Keene.

Essay Eight is “The Journey of a Single Hour: Exploring the Rich Promise of an Immediate Release of Responsibility by Katie Wood Ray.

Essays I have yet to read include those by: Deborah Meier, Matt Glover, Kathy Collins and Thomas Newkirk.

Backstories and Essays you can access:

Sir Ken Robinson – “Centering the Child Part 2

The Story of the Front Cover and Frontispiece

Jeremy Greensmith – “On Teaching the Scaffold

Alfie Kohn – “To Change What We Do, Consider What We Believe” [This essay is adapted from the Foreword to The Teacher You Want to Be, edited by Matt Glover and Ellin Oliver Keene (Heinemann, 2015)]

Heidi Mills – “On Beliefs that Matter

What will my actions be?

I’m still mulling that over.  The last few weeks have really caused me to think about my beliefs. How do others know what I value?  They can see it here in my blog posts as well as on Twitter.  “I loved the alignment of beliefs and practices – as in, ‘If we say we believe this, we must therefore do that . . .'”(Vicki Vinton, p. 20)  Crosschecking, constantly!  Do my beliefs match my actions?

Which essay is your favorite?  

With whom are you sharing the essays?

*I think 2015 is the year of the great books . . . new Mindset, Reading Nonfiction (Notice and Note) . . . my TBR stack is NOT getting any shorter!

slice

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

Focus: #TCRWP, Books, and Professional Reading


NYC

It’s real!

I’m in NYC!

So excited to be back, with friends, literally from around the country, to learn, live and celebrate writing this week! (Can you guess my favorite punctuation?)

The Saturday before #TCRWP Writing Institute found several “slicers” meeting up at Bank Street Bookstore.  Our goal, Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) and I, was to meet Sally Donnelly (@SallyDonnelly1), a fellow slicer up from the Washington, DC area.  We had met Sally, oh so briefly at the March Saturday reunion, and were interested in longer conversations.  We all found ourselves purchasing Cynthia Lord’s A Handful of Stars that had been highly recommended by fellow traveler Allison Jackson (@azajacks). (sidenote:  What’s up with the @?  Those are twitter names to follow.  If you aren’t following these three, why not?  Oh, not on Twitter; well, why not?  You should be!)

a handful of stars

Amazing book.  A dog balancing a blueberry on his nose should “hook” you right into this book!  Bank Street Bookstore was also the site of an amazng toddler read aloud with parents, toddlers and accompanying strollers filling the aisles.  And that’s all I have to say about that topic because of another book that I purchased that I will be gifting soon. (Hint – book is by Jimmy Fallon; yes topic connected to the new addition to my family.)

We adjourned to the Silver Moon Bakery and cafe for some coffee and much, much, much conversation.  Sally is returning to a third grade classroom after years as a reading specialist.  We had advice about techonolgy, blogging, professional books (Good to Great: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters by Mary Howard) and fellow bloggers for additional advice.

Good to Great Teaching cover

My one little word is “Focus” so I am thinking about my own professional reading for this summer.  This book and my all time favorite What Readers Really Do are my re-reads for this summer along with Colleen Cruz’s, The Unstoppable Writing Teacher,  and Jennifer Serravello’s, The Reading Strategies Book,  as my two new books.  Only four – but rich, savory texts that will feed my soul and brain for the year to come.

what readers

the unstoppable writing teacher

the reading strategies  book

What professional reading will you FOCUS on this summer?

#SOL14 Friends + Family = Framily


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

During a weekend of exhilarating conversations and sessions at #NCTE14, someone mentioned the word “Framily” based on our personal and professional relationships.

So what does this really mean?
So what does this look like?

Friday

On Friday, it looked like this after our presentation . . .

2014-11-21 17.17.05

 

 

 

 

and we also had to capture this sign that was posted saying our session was full!

2014-11-21 17.37.05

The conversation continued and our “Framily” grew at Aloft . . .

NCTE-14-drinks-with-friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday

Saturday evening our “Slicer Dinner” also provided more conversation and a larger group of “Framily”.

Sol dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the fun continued out on the beach at National Harbor.

Do you know the story of this art work?

National Harbor beach

How many “Slicers” can you name in these pictures?

How did your “Framily” grow as a result of #NCTE14?

 

 

 

 

 

#NCTE14: First-timer Report


What a day!

What a day!

What a day!

I cannot even count the number of times that I heard, “Oh, Fran! I follow you on twitter!” Thanks, all, for helping me out!  It’s truly a pleasure to “meet face to face” and sometimes I can manage to locate folks all by myself!

Obviously, I am not matching names and faces very well. Also not very quickly. I already tweeted out that I would be more successful (if you all enabled me) and posted your pictures daily so I could just match the clothes for the day with the pictures.  Or a second option would be to have name tags with shorter strings so they would be in closer proximity to the faces of the wearer.  Too often the name tags become hidden under layers of clothing.

What a fabulous first full day for the NCTE14 Conference!

The day started early with coffee and a fire alarm in the hotel (and yep, no teachers followed the directions and left the building) but it was ONLY a false alarm.

The sessions ended with our presentation at 4 pm.  What a privilege to be on a panel chaired by Vicki Vinton with rock stars:  Julieanne Harmatz (CA) and my two new friends Mary Lee Hahn and Steve Peterson (met them both face to face yesterday for the first time).  Our session was full with 65 participants who laughed and cheered with us.  What a fun time as we shared a variety of “What Ifs?” based on the “Know and Wonder” charts in What Readers Really Do by Vicki Vinton and Dorothy Barnhouse.

what readers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So for three of us it was a really big “first day” of many “first times”.

  • First time to meet.
  • First time to attend #NCTE14.
  • First time to present at #NCTE14.

But yet our evening was reminiscent of earlier times.  Remember this photo from summer #TCRWP Reading Institute? Six of seven were present again tonight!

day 3 tcrwpWho was missing at this evening’s Loft gathering? 

Ryan

Who were some of the new faces?

  • Clare and Tammy
  • Jan and Kim
  • Mary Lee  and husband AJ
  • Steve
  • Melanie
  • Mary E

The community of friends continues to grow and our lives are enriched by the stories shared by each new addition.  What validation of the need to continue to meet face to face to share our learning and our lives!

Schedule Recap
  • 7 – 8  First Timer’s Breakfast
  • 8-9:15 General Session    Marian Wright Edelman – “OUTSTANDING”     Panel:  Rudine Sims Bishop, Christopher Myers, Matt de la Pena, Mitali Perkins, Ruchsana Khan
  • 9:30 – 10:45    A.06  “Revising the Story:  Reluctant Readers Overcoming Shame” with Justin Stygles, Kara DiBartolo, Melissa Guerrette, and Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Lisel Shurtliff who both overcame predicted obstacles on their path as they became published authors.   Shaming reluctant readers could result in students being bodily present but mentally absent.
  • 11 – 12:15   B.16  “The Nerdy Book Club: Shaping Reading Identity through Community, Story and Choice”     Great titles and recognition of authors and teachers!
  • 12:30 – 1:45  C.13 “What the Common Core Forgot:  Community, Collaboration, and Social Justice” with Harvey Daniels, Sara Ahmed, Nancy Steineke, and Steven Zemelman
  • 2:30 – 3:45  D.05  “Developing Strong Literacy Practices in Content-Area Instruction to Support Reading and Writing Development and Deep Content Knowledge” with Amanda Hartman, Celena Larkey, Emily Butler Smith, and Anna Gratz Cockerille
  • and of course our session from 4 – 5:15 under #teacherswonder E.09 It’s Not Just for the Kids: Stories of Waht Can Happen When Teachers Embrace Curiosity, Openness, Creativity, and Wonder in the Teaching of Reading.

The equivalence of seven sessions.  No wonder I am exhausted!

Did you attend any of these sessions?
Where did you have “new learning”?

 

#SOL14: Writing Techniques and Goals


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

Are you one of the 18 “slicers” who will be dining together this Saturday night at #NCTE14?  If not, check out the slicing posts and become a regular slicer so you will be ready next year!

 

*  *  *

What’s important in writing?  One answer is,

“Teach the writer, not the writing!” 

For additional information, go to this post!)

So in writing (narratives, informational, arguments), what transfers (#OLW14)?

Is it the hook, the organization, the voice, or the purpose?

               You decide!

share learning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goals for Professional Development:

I can identify writer’s techniques and goals in order to READ like an author for deeper understanding!

I can use those techniques and goals to dig deeper into the elements of the written genres under review.

I can use author “language” to increase my knowledge of writing techniques and choose quality texts to share with students.

In order to stimulate thinking, create conversations, and pay attention to commonalities and similarities, I chose to introduce writing techniques and goals for informational, argument, and narrative all in the same session.

A.  Informational Texts and Writing Techniques and Goals

Back in July, 2014, I wrote this post about how we used “goals” to look for examples in mentor texts.  Take a minute to reread that post here.

What do we actually do in PD?  We use combinations of National Geographic’s Wolves and Seymour Simon’s Wolves to play bingo with the entire card (3 x 4 array) using the techniques side.  The small rectangular post it covers the technique and allows one to add the page number for the location of the technique in the text. The deliberate use of two texts on the exact same topic where each one has a different style and purpose creates fun conversation for teachers.  Then we wrap up with a “Know/Wonder”(source: What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton)  chart to summarize our findings and consider which book would best meet which goals as well as a myriad of reasons why/where/when we would choose which text. (More subtle, less reliance on text features? Find another book where an author has written like Seymour Simon’s Wolves!)  Result = fabulous conversations around common literary techniques and goals using the same “naming words” across all grade levels.

Process:  Everyone looked at both books with a bit more structure (12 cards each) and less independence for this first round.  Goal = identify the techniques and name those that “surprised” the reader.

wolves goals overview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 B. Argument / Opinion Writing Techniques and Goals

In this activity, teachers look at one column of the “techniques for writing arguments” page for texts that had recently been read in class, either by the teacher or by fellow students.  Again, we use a “Know/Wonder” chart to summarize our learnings from this section.

Process:  Each partner group had one of the “I Wanna . . .” series by Karen Kaufman Orloff and illustrated by David Catrow with either the vertical Column A, B, or C from the Argument Techniques cards  to look for specific techniques with room to “jot” evidence for “Know/Wonder” chart. Each partner group has only 4 technique cards to look at books in a “series” by the same author. Goal = discuss patterns the author uses across her series and consider how this information can inform readers AND writers.

2014-11-10 09.59.00

 

C. Narrative Text Techniques and Goals

In this activity, teachers look at just three of the “techniques for writing narratives” and the narrative “goals page” in order to consider how the authors used dialogue, actions and inner thoughts to achieve their narrative writing goals.  Each participant jots down page numbers and goals on a response sheet and then discusses what they notice in their books.  Whole group debrief is through the continuation of the “Know/Wonder” chart.

Process:  Each partner group had a different narrative. Each group chose one technique they wanted to explore and then following a “write-around”, the book and notes were passed on to the next partner group.  Each group had time to analyze two books. Goal = Readers and writers will recognize that techniques look very different when considering differences in authors’ styles, audience, and purposes for writing.

2014-11-10 10.12.10

As a reader, when do I name those techniques in order to increase my understanding?  As a writer, when do I “try out” those techniques in my own writing?  As a teacher, how does knowledge inform my deliberate choices for Read Aloud texts?

Were there “absolute right answers” for these three types of text reviews?  No!  The focus was conversations among the teachers about the techniques to deepen understanding first and then book selection will continue to be future work. The three different ways to use the techniques were just a beginning point!  Also consider the following three anchor reading standards dealing with “craft and structure” that allow the reader to make sense of “reading”:

Craft and Structure:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4   Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.5   Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6   Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
What writing techniques and goals do you point out in Read Alouds?  How do you use your knowledge of “author’s craft” to help you select your Read Alouds?

Newspapers: Are they biased / unbiased?


You may have an answer for that question in the title.  But do you know for sure?  Definitely?  Unequivocally?  How did you research this issue?

The possibilities for bias in text are endless because text is all around us.  Literally and loosely, text is the scenery around us whether it is print or not.  The texts that comprise our daily lives may include a variety of print or non-print sources including electronic emails, blogs, newspapers, magazines and books.  I want to focus on one of those – the writing found in news sources, typically in newspapers and how we can help students examine that question as they continue to build their reading skills for life.

Standards Addressed:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6  –  Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9  –  Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.5  –  Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
One event. Three articles. Three different stories.  

How do you know whether the news is being reported or if the news is being shaped by the authors and publishers?  Let’s investigate further!

To begin, we will just look at the pictures from the three stories:

la-afp-getty-obama-meets-with-leaders-of-honduras-20140725

U.S. President Obama disembarks from Air Force One as he arrives at Los Angeles International Airportfox pic

What do you know?  What do you wonder?  

(Questions from What Readers Really Do:  Teaching the Process of Meaning Making by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton)

Hold onto those thoughts as you look at the titles.  (And the titles are NOT listed in the same order as the pictures!)

Titles

“Obama tells Central American leaders most children will go home”

“GOP lawmakers fight plan to bring more illegal immigrant children to military bases”

“White House pursuing plan to expand immigrant rights”

What do you know?  What do you wonder?

What theories are you now ready to begin building?

The sources in alphabetical order are:  Fox News, LA Times, and Reuters

Which sources go with which pictures and article titles?  Are you already considering revising your theory?  That process of continually questioning and researching based on what you know and wonder allows a reader to demonstrate flexible thinking.  Thinking really is one essential by-product of the “act of reading and understanding printed messages.”

What words/phrases do you notice in the opening paragraphs of the article covering the same event – news about immigrant children on this date?  Read and jot notes about those words.

Opening paragraphs in the LA Times:

 “Even as President Obama grapples with the crisis of immigrant children arriving at the Southwest border, White House officials are laying the groundwork for a large-scale expansion of immigrant rights that would come by executive action within weeks.

Officials signaled strongly Friday that Obama’s move would shield from deportation large numbers of immigrants living in the country illegally, as advocacy groups have demanded.” (LA Times, 7/26/14)

 

The same story from Reuters begins this way:

“President Barack Obama urged the leaders of three Central American countries on Friday to work with him to stem the flow of child migrants who have surged across the U.S. border and warned that most of them would not be allowed to stay.

In a White House meeting with the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Obama had a tough-love message: his administration had compassion for the children, but not many would qualify for humanitarian relief or refugee status. Many of the migrants have fled poverty and crime at home.” (Reuters, 7/26/14)

 

And the third story from Fox News begins with:

“Republican lawmakers are challenging the Obama administration over a newly announced plan to expand the use of U.S. military bases to house illegal immigrant children, warning that it will put a strain on troops and threaten military readiness.

The Pentagon confirmed this week that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services to house an additional 5,000 minors at DOD facilities.”

 

Do you notice any patterns?  What are you wondering about at this time?

There are many ways to continue reading these articles.  The length is conducive to having each student read all three, but a student may only be an “expert” on the actual writing techniques used in one or two of the articles.  Do remember that it is sometimes easier to analyze two articles through simultaneous comparing and contrasting rather than just one article by itself.

 

I was wondering about the “experts” and the sources of quotes within the articles.  Who does each author use?

LA Times:

“Obama said last month that because Congress had failed to act on comprehensive immigration reform, he would take executive action to ‘fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own.'”

“When the decision is announced, it will ‘increase the angry reactions from Republicans,’ Peiffer said.” (White House senior advisor – two other quotes as well)

 

Reuters:

“‘There may be some narrow circumstances in which there is a humanitarian or refugee status that a family might be eligible for,’ Obama said after talks with the leaders. ‘But I think it’s important to recognize that that would not necessarily accommodate a large number.'” (plus two more quotes by President Obama

President Juan Orland Hernandez of Honduras,  “’They have rights, and we want them to be respected,’ he said.”

“‘The idea here is that in order to deter them from making that dangerous journey, we’d set up a system in coordination with these host countries to allow those claims to be filed in that country without them having to make that dangerous journey,’ said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.”

 

Fox News:

paraphrased information (no quotes in article)”The Pentagon confirmed that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel . . . request from Dept. of Health and Human Services. . . ”

Direct quote – “Donelle Harder, a spokeswoman for Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told FoxNews.com.”

“Alabama lawmakers . . . ‘ongoing talks’ . . .  . . . “Alabama GOP Reps. Martha Roby and Mike Rogers ” . . . . ‘The housing, feeding and caring of immigration detainees would severely compromise the critical mission at Maxwell-Gunter,’ they wrote.” (also a second quote)

“Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., said the request poses a very real threat to U.S. military readiness,’ noting the base is the ‘primary artillery training center for troops before deployment.'” (second quote also)

 

What might instruction/inquiry look like at this point?  

I might begin to model comparing specific words and phrases that were used in the articles and also begin to discuss the sources. Which words/phrases seem to be the most simple form of reporting (without opinions/emotions) in comparison to words or phrases that seem to have been chosen for their emotional nuances?  What could those comparisons look like?

Paint chips, a visual way to show the progression of vocabulary words, could be used.  Students in 1:1 districts could simply create these using a chart and add color gradations to the boxes.  Or students could consider how to use “shapes” to show the different layers of word meanings / nuances or  phrases and words that explicitly provide evidence of the biases and or point of view of the reporters/publishers. Words could then be added as text boxes inside each color.

Screenshot 2014-08-03 07.20.46

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For additional discussion or to see an explanation of this vocabulary activity, see Sarah Brown Wessling, 2010 Teacher of the Year, at the Teaching Channel here.

 

If you have not yet googled the articles, here is the link to each one where all advertisements have been stripped courtesy of the readability app (with more information here):

Fox News

LA Times 

Reuters

 

So what are some other choices?

If you are a devotee of “Falling in Love with Close Reading” by Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts, you may have been thinking of all the connections between the lenses of text evidence, vocabulary and point of view!  That would be another way to conduct a close reading of these articles in order to see how they were “reported differently”.

Or, if you are interested in adding in some writing, you might have partner groups of students “summarize” their article in two or three sentences while asking them to include evidence that will help them “defend” their summary as “The Best Summary”.

OR you might consider this question – Can you predict how additional topics will be “covered/handled” by Fox News, LA Times and Reuters?  After making your prediction (and writing it down), pick a topic, pull up the three different articles and see if your predictions are accurate!

Or consider where your own local newspaper fits within this “range” or reporting!

 

Does every text that you read contain some bias?  What do you think?  What would you need to do to unequivocally answer that?

 

ImageTuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsey for creating that place for us to work collaboratively.

Reading and Writing Instruction: Paired Mentor Texts


(This is the fourth post about new resources acquired in NYC while attending the 2014 TCRWP June Writing and July Reading Institutes.  See previous posts for  a compare and contrast lesson #CCSS hereStand for Children here, and a book review here.)

Why Paired Mentor Texts?

Pairing mentor texts enables teachers to meet several lesson goals at once. Students who study the true facts behind a story make connections to the text and to history or current events. In addition, finding patterns and contrasts between  two genres can serve to better distinguish them in the students’ minds.

How can we maximize instruction?

Compare and contrast two texts  on the same topic in order to solidify thinking around characteristics or features of the text

Texts:  The Survivor Tree  – two different versions

The Survivor Tree:  A Story of Hope and Healing – 9/11 Commission (Available at the museum)

The Survivor Tree Inspired by a True Story bCheryl Somers Aubin, Illustrated by Sheila Harrington

image

What do you notice from the book covers?  Stop, pause and jot a few notes.

If you were to begin to form a theory about these books, what would it be?

 

Before this summer, I would have jumped right in, read this first page, and had students make note of what the author was saying.

image-1

I might have considered an “inquiry approach”  where I read this page with the book cover completed covered and asked the students: “Which book is this?” with follow up questions like,  “Why do you think so?” or “What is your evidence?”

BUT, it really isn’t about just being able to NAME this genre of text.  Instead it’s about noticing HOW the author used the techniques of the genre to meet his or her writing goals.  And viewing one text at a time is slow because of the lack of comparison and actually limits the amount of text that students are exposed to over the course of a year.

REDO!

New and Improved Plan (thanks to wonderful learning and time to plan):

Let’s look again using the “Know/Wonder” format from Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton’s, What Readers Really Do  Teaching the Process of Meaning Making.  We will begin by putting the first page of both books side by side.  Consider what you know after you read the first page from each book.  What information is the same? What do you still wonder after reading those first pages?

 

YJVNkr0jimage-1

What do I “Know” after reading page one from both books?

Both pages include these specific words:  Gallery pear tree, World Trade Center, plaza, New York City, September 11, story

The first page one specifically says “Survivor Tree” while the second one says “over time, and with great care, she recovered.”

Structurally, the first page one consists of three sentences that are fairly complex.  The second page one has four paragraphs.

 

What do I “Wonder”?

I wonder if both books will actually be about “HOW” the tree survived and the fact that trees can be “resilient”?

Will the first book continue to be more factual and contain more information even though it says it is a story?

Will both books continue to have a lot of similarities in their information that will make it “easy” to compare those stories?

Will the second book read more like a story or narrative with the “tree” as the main character?

Does the use of a watercolor drawing help create the “feeling” of a narrative in the second text?

Which text already seems to have more “narrative” features?

Which one seems to have more informational features?

Why are both authors saying that they are telling a story?

 

Making predictions:

In this new and improved plan, the second stage will actually have us looking at the book covers.  Based on what we have seen on the two different page ones, which book cover goes with which page and why? (Claim and supporting details)  I believe this conversation will have a greater focus on the text and how the authors have begun their stories.  This attention to the author’s craft will help the readers grow in both their reading and writing.

 

Can you already tell which page belongs to which book?  What writing techniques helped you make that decision?
Which plan do you usually use with paired texts?
What other paired mentor texts do you have in your reading and writing instruction?

New York – Then and Now: Compare and Contrast #CCSS Lesson Idea


I believe in the power of bundling the CCSS Anchor Standards so I was quite happy to purchase this book at the New York Public Library while in New York for the #TCRWP Writing and Reading Institutes.

NY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I loved the content immediately as each page had a picture and a text block.  The organization was also easy as each two page spread had the “then” picture on the left page and the “now”picture directly opposite it on the right page. My mind took me straight to compare and contrast with “visuals” and texts.

We will begin with the front cover.  The book will be displayed via the document camera.  Each partner group will also have the picture.  The partners will have some time to study the picture and record the things that they know and those things that they wonder.  After all groups have had time to talk and record their notes, we will record their thoughts on chart paper or on a google doc on the screen.  Students will be well aware of the power of “…and the evidence of that is. . .?” as they listen, question, and challenge each other’s thinking.  Each partner groups will then develop a draft theory about this book and its contents.

Inquiry will continue with this picture (text folded under at first).

liberty then

 

So, here’s the first draft of my plan for grades 3-5.  We are going to use the “Know” and “Wonder” chart idea from What Readers Really Do especially now that I have met both authors, Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton.  We will begin with the picture only.  Then after all partner groups have several “Knows and Wonders” recorded privately, I will read the text under the picture.  Students will be encouraged to study the text as well.  They will add textual evidence in a different color of ink as the partner groups continue to add to their “Know/ Wonder” thinking.   Before the next picture is added, students will be encouraged to consider whether their draft theory is still holding up or whether it needs to be revised.

 

Similarly, picture 3, partners recording “Know and Wonder”

liberty now

After partner groups have recorded their Know and Wonders from the picture, the text below Lady Liberty, and from class discussion, we will continue to explore whether our theories still hold true.

 

Similar process for another pair of pictures  . . .

square then

square now

 

After working with these two pictures, students will pair square so that each set of two partners will be matched up with another set.  As a group of four, they will discuss their “Knows, Wonders” and patterns and theories.

 

On the next day the quad groups will again discuss whether they have additional “knows and wonders” to add, clarify, or restate.  Time will also be allocated to add, clarify or restate patterns and theories as well.  Partners will be encouraged to take a different set of “then” and “now” photos and continue to test their theories and patterns as well as answer questions that have arisen.

 

How will this work align with the CCSS ELA Reading Anchor Standards ?

The following list of CCSS ELA Anchor Standards could possibly be included in this study.

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3
Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9
Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Do you agree with these possible standards? Disagree?  What would you add to this instructional sequence?

#TCRWP: Reading Institute Day 3


Image

 

Day 3 of the Reading Institute ended appropriately with friends from the What Readers Really Do twitter chat including:  one author Vicki Vinton,  Ryan Scala, Julieanne Harmatz, Catherine Flynn, Tara Smith, Colette Bennett  and myself.  Interesting side note that we all Tweet, blog and love to talk literacy and education!!!  (Missing friends Allison Jackson and Steve Peterson)

ImageMust read book!

So what did we learn during Day 3?

In Brooke Geller’s session we worked on increasing our knowledge of nonfiction, made tools (pictures tomorrow), and began our study of guided reading and book introductions.  The assessment connections have been crucial – if we don’t plan to use the information, what purpose does it serve?  One of Brooke’s specialties is asking guiding questions to make us think about our practices. Examples:  Which students really need the structure and support of guided reading? Which students need more practice reading?  Are your students over taught and under practiced?  At what grade do you end guided reading for most students and move on to other structures with more student ownership?

 

Our Social Studies center work with Kathleen Tolan continued today with a lesson in note-taking (Teach students so this skill transfers across all content areas. Students don’t really want to copy every word, they just lack effective strategies).  This also means that you will be teaching nonfiction text structures in order for students to think about the format of notes that will best match the material / information being studied.  We played a round of “Guess My Text Structure” which we pretty much all failed in terms of speed of response.  The purpose was to provide a bit of “playful practice” with the types of text structures in a given text where students are required to provide evidence of their structure to win.  We ended our session with more center time.  (Still loving the open-ended nature of these tasks!)

 

Closing Workshop with Kelly Hohne – Close Reading of Informational Text

So, close reading AGAIN, Fran?  Really?  Are you kidding me?  There was the Close Reading Blog-a-thon.  And you have all those blog posts:

But stick with me and marvel at the sheer brilliance that I saw in Kelly’s work with us during the closing workshop.

The article we used was Gorillas in Danger  and if you open it up, you can follow along on a second tab or on a split screen.

(Disclaimer:  How I think this went!)

Kelly read the title and the first paragraph. She then asked us to think about that first paragraph.  What did it say?  What were we thinking?  After chatting with a partner, Kelly invited us to study the cover photo.  What impact did that image have on us as readers?  We then went to the word box and  discussed the specific words that had an impact on us from the definition.

Next Kelly reminded us that “beginnings matter” and that we needed to put our ideas from the first paragraph, the cover photo and the definition together as we worked to “see more”.   (Wow – close reading from a Read Aloud first paragraph, photo and definition as we BEGAN reading the article.)

Kelly reread the first paragraph and asked us to think about the visual images that were conveyed by the words.  We talked about “grooming, sleeping, playing” – human-like characteristics, the lush forest and the deliberate word choices by the author to make us more thoughtful.

Kelly then invited us to reread the first paragraph aloud with her (scaffolded – we had heard it twice so we were all successful) and  continued on through the rest of that column.  As we were reading we were to also be thinking about word choice.  We discussed those words that again seemed important to us and were also deliberate choices made by the author.

Debrief:

Kelly did not read the entire article to us and then ask us to reread it in its entirety a second time for vocabulary, a third time for main idea and sequence of events or a fourth time for point of view/stance.  

Instead Kelly carefully chose our entry points: the first paragraph (words), the cover photo, and the definition of “conservation” to begin our “close” reading.  We discussed those separately and then collectively. Then we read orally together. Not only did we have a purpose for rereading (fluency) but also for our lens of language and close reading.

Have you seen those moves before?

We had another go at “turn and talk” about the language in the rest of the text on the first page.  Then Kelly split the auditorium into three parts.  We listened to the second page under our assigned lens which was one of these:

1. language about the gorillas

2. structure

3. language about the conservationists

We ended with even more conversation about the purpose of this article and Natalie Smith’s view of the gorillas.

Kelly pushed us to notice more details in the story with the specific “read aloud” section.  We reread with specific lenses.  We read together.  We used the word choice of the author to help us support the BIG idea of this text. The lens of language paid off and helped us “see more” as well as be something “transferable” so students owned this text and other texts!

What did our language work look like?

Image

What new thinking/learning have you added around the idea of close reading informational text?

Closing Keynote

Jacqueline Woodson (@JackieWoodson)

“Writing about the ordinary can show kids how extraordinary they are.” She knew that she was going to be a writer by the age of 7.  It took her 20 years to be a writer and “get those stickers”. Absolutely. Hysterically. Funny! Inspiring!  and oh, so great to hear her both recite and read her work!

It’s a new day!  What will you be learning today?

 

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