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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pathways to the Common Core - Chapter 5

I know that you were expecting this post last night.  However, I seemed to have more important plans.  I worked at school a little, picked up the girls, made dinner, cleaned up dinner, put away some laundry, did homework with the girls, did bedtime, read books, and then sat down at about 8:45 last night to rest for a bit and see what I still needed to do for the night.  You can probably anticipate what happened next. . . . .yep, out like a light!  That's pretty scary since yesterday was only Monday!!

Anywho, here is chapter 5!

Chapter 5
Reading Informational Texts

As you know, the anchor standards for reading fiction and non-fiction are exactly the same.  So, much of what was said from chapter 4 about fiction was restated in this chapter about non-fiction.  So I will be brief about the first part of the chapter.

Anchor Standard 1:  Read Closely and Make Logical Inferences - You should be able to teach someone everything that you have learned so far from the text.

Anchor Standard 2:  Read to Determine Central Ideas and Themes - You should be able to ask and answer, " What is this passage/article/text starting to be about?"  You may have more than one idea or theme emerging as you read.  Most texts do have more than one theme or idea.

Anchor Standard 3:  Read to Analyze How Individual, Events, and Ideas Develop and Interact Over the Course of a Text - To do this work, readers need to think about the sequence of the text, relationships, connections, and cause and effect.

This might be a good place to tell you about an article that the authors of the book kept referring to.  It is called "Shoot-Out" by Guy Martin.  It was originally published in The New Yorker magazine in 2009.  The authors of "Pathways" take you through the standards with that article.  It is about a game that some high school students are playing where teams assassinate one another with water pistols until one team or one person is left.  You're intrigued right?  So was I!  It would be a great article to use for staff development on teaching about the standards and how to understand them.

Moving on!

Anchor Standard 4:  Read to Interpret the Language Used in the Text - To do this work, a reader should be thinking about words and choice.  Do some words seem more important than others?  Do some words seem symbolic in some way?  The authors gave two great examples here.  One:  Lincoln's Gettysburg Address uses words like conceived, dedicated, consecrate.  These words take on almost a biblical tone and even a sense of destiny.  The other example that was King's "I Have a Dream" speech.  King talks about America writing a "bad check."  This referral to money takes on a business tone.  Civil rights is just good business or will pay off for America in the end.

Anchor Standard 5:  Read to Analyze the Structure of a Text - To do this work, you look to see if the text can be broken down into parts.  What does each part do?  How does it contribute to the whole?

Anchor Standard 6:  Read to Assess the Author's Point of View and How It Shapes the Text - To do this work, think about the word choice, the language and how the tone of the text shapes what the author is trying to say.  Guy Martin in the article "Shoot-Out" was portraying with his words that students are now ready for the big world.  By planning ahead, seeking alternatives, making strategies in the game, this shows that students will be ready for life after high school.
****Keep in mind, that this is not the time to agree or disagree with the author.  This is the time to analyze what their point of view is and how well they substantiated that point of view.

Anchor Standards 7-9:  Read to Integrate Knowledge and Ideas and Think Across Informational Texts - To do this work, you need to have a text that is somehow related to the first text that has been read.  In our example "Shoot-Out" the authors suggested a YouTube video entitled "The Great Office War," or having the kids play "Call of Duty:  Modern Warfare 2."  It does not always have to be a text.

The next part of the chapter laid out the pathways that we can use to get students ready to do this kind of reading work with non-fiction texts.
1.)  Students need to read more non-fiction texts.
2.)  Students need to be reading non-fiction texts that are at their just-right level (most are tooooooo hard)!
3.)  Students need to be engaged in reading non-fiction texts in more appropriate ways (not just fact gathering that disrupts the flow of reading therefore decreasing volume of non-fiction texts read).
4.)  Students need to have choice in their non-fiction reading.
5.)  Classrooms need more high-interest non-fiction.
6.)  Teachers need to infuse more non-fiction reading into content areas.
7.)  Teachers need to make sure readers are properly matched to the non-fiction they are reading. (Fountas and Pinnell is good)  I am saying it and the authors say it!!
8.)  Teachers need to continually move students up the level of text complexity as they are ready for it.

There you have it ladies and gentlemen!  Sounds simple right?!  One thing that I am very excited about is something that was just given to the Reading Specialists in our district yesterday.  These kits are great for non-fiction reading!

We have had these for a few years.  They are great to model comprehension strategies for students.  They make a primary toolkit as well.  But that is not what I am excited about.  We just got the toolkit texts that go with this kit.  You can now purchase all of them together, but we got the kits so long ago that the extra texts did not come with them.  They have a book for K-1, 2-3, 4-5, and 6-7.  They are filled with engaging non-fiction texts.  They also come on a CD so you can show them on your Smart Board!  Here is a peak at one.

No, I don't work for Heinemann, I just love Stephanie Harvey and all the work she has done with comprehension!

Okay, it is 10:32 here in the burbs of the Windy City (more like stifling hot city)!  I am all for bed!  Next week, chapters 6 AND 7!

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