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What Is FIT Teaching™?
Register for the FIT Teaching Summer Academy
The FIT Teaching (Framework for Intentional and Targeted Teaching™) tool kit is based on the work of Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey.
The four essential elements of the FIT Teaching™ methodology provide teachers with the tools and skills they need to help ensure high-quality teaching and learning in every classroom.The Four Elements of FIT Teaching1. School and Classroom Culture
School culture—the actions, traditions, symbols, ceremonies, stories, and rituals that reflect the school's mission—is as important to the academic success of each student as the explicit academic curriculum of a school.
An effective school operationalizes its mission by integrating academic outcomes with a positive school culture.2. Establishing Purpose
It is critically important to intentionally plan for and design instruction that provides students with a clear understanding and vision ofWhat they will learn, know, and understand after the instruction.What specific content, oral and written language skills, and social skills they will learn.How the lesson is relevant to other learning.3. Gradual Release of Responsibility
Intentionally designing and delivering scaffolded and guided instructional practices (i.e., focused instruction, guided instruction, collaborative learning, and independent learning) maximizes students' learning.4. Formative and Summative Assessments
Descriptive and actionable feedback and classroom data should inform targeted future instruction. The approaches are feed up, feedback, feed forward, and check for understanding.
by Amanda Wall
A text set is a group of texts that share a common theme. Text sets are frequently found in elementary school classrooms, and they can also be a great resource in the middle grades, across the content areas. In my own middle school classroom, I found that text sets encouraged students to explore different aspects of a topic using resources that differed in genre, format and complexity.
As a teacher educator, I now work with middle grades preservice teachers in my Literature and Writing course to design text sets for their future classrooms. These university students plan to teach a variety of content areas, so our outlook is not limited to English Language Arts. In this article we’re going to share our process and some examples that might inspire other teachers, novice or experienced, to put together text sets of their own. (Thanks to Mia Holtzman-Burdette, Mary Parton and Demetrianna Sanders for their contributions here.)Organizing a Text Set
The first step was to understand the goal behind a text set—to assemble a set of texts to explore a common theme. Two ways to organize text sets are by general themes or by an anchor text, a text that frames the text set. We organized text sets around anchor texts. By the time the preservice teachers were ready to design their text sets, we had read some selections and highlights from young adolescent literary works such as Little Women, Huckleberry Finn, The Outsiders and The Catcher in the Rye and excerpts from the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Harry Potter series. We also formed two book groups, one around a young adolescent novel and the other around a book set in Georgia, where we live.Designing a Text Set
To design the text set, each person thought about a theme in the anchor text to explore. In this way, different people designed different text sets around a common anchor text. Next, each preservice teacher began to put a text set together. These requirements framed the assignment:The text set needed to include 6-8 texts, including the anchor text.The text set had to include both narrative and informational genres.The text set had to include both print and digital texts.The text set needed to include texts of varying complexity.
The completed text set was presented in a box, basket, or similar container, much as a teacher might have in a classroom. The preservice teachers included an original synopsis of each text that connected it to the anchor text and was written to engage students. To meet my course requirements, they also wrote explanatory papers which detailed the rationale for the text set, the research processes they used to find and select texts, a complete bibliography for the text set, a description of how they might teach the text set, and a sample assignment built around the text set.
Their sample assignments were designed to (1) require students to read multiple texts in the text set; (2) offer students choice; and (3) promote higher-order thinking about the texts and the anchor text.Resources for Texts
To help preservice teachers find appropriate texts, I shared these links at the beginning of the assignment:Lexile Framework Find A BookScholastic Book WizardNewbery Medal BooksYALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Best of the BestYALSA Nonfiction Award
In addition to these resources, preservice teachers also located texts in other ways. Many spoke with teachers for ideas. Many used the search features available through the university library or the public library. Some searched general sites such as Goodreads or Amazon to find suggestions. Other preservice teachers remembered books or articles they had read previously, whether on their own or in classes, and sometimes included those texts.
Even though each preservice teacher turned in a text set with all texts present, this assignment did not require them to purchase all the texts. They were encouraged to use both the university library and public library to find texts for display.Three Example Text Sets (including one for Math!)
Everyone designed a workable text set that could be successful in a middle grades classroom. Here, we want to highlight three examples. Two examples show how the same anchor text can inspire different text sets in different content areas. The third example is a text set designed for math—yes, math! This example demonstrates how text sets can break out of the language arts box (or basket).
Same Book, Different Text Sets. Two preservice teachers chose R.J. Palacio’s Wonder as their anchor text. This fantastic novel follows Auggie Pullman, who was born with significant facial deformities, through fifth grade – his first year in school after many years of homeschooling. Demetrianna, who plans to teach science and math, focused on the main character’s birth defects and built a text set around genetics and birth disorders. Mia, who plans to teach Language Arts, focused on Auggie’s social experience and crafted a text set around understanding and responding to differences.
As a future teacher of science, Demetrianna focused on the scientific explanations for Auggie’s appearance and other birth defects that people experience. Some of her texts were:Rat by Jan Cheripko
The Lovely Shoes by Susan Shreve
Both these narratives follow other young people who face difficulties as a result of birth defects. Demetrianna also sourced two science books that she could use in excerpts and with annotations.
Mia focused on Auggie’s social experience of being bullied at his new school. She wrote that she “felt passionate about a theme of social acceptance of individuals with physical deformities,” so she generalized from Auggie’s specific experience to the experiences other young people have with bullies. Some of her texts included:The Giver by Lois LowryFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyThe Biggest Nose, a picture book by Mary Caple.
In addition, Mia located a short informational text about genes, Gene Machines. Working from a desire to equip students to respond to bullying, she also found How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies. She imagined her students reading Wonder and the other texts and then enacting a service learning project through The Bully Project.
These two different examples, using Wonder as the anchor text, reflect how one text can inspire a number of themes and topics of further study.
Text Sets in Math. Two preservice teachers designed text sets for their future math classrooms. Both struggled initially to connect literature with math, but they eventually developed great text sets. Mary, for example, started with James Patterson’s Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life. She empathized with main character Rafe Khatchadorian’s struggles to comprehend geometry, and that was the inspiration for the text set. Rather than selecting complicated math textbooks, Mary chose to focus on texts middle school students would find less difficult and more engaging. She selected a few digital texts as well as these books:Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander and Wayne GeehanWhat’s Your Angle, Pythagoras? by Julie EllisEdgar Allen Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems by J. Patrick Lewis
The last book introduced Mary to math poetry. She wrote, “I didn’t even know that math poetry was a thing.” Mary imagined the books in this text set working to give students more points of access to math through interesting stories, poems, and pictures.
These examples show how teachers of different content areas can develop different text sets from the same book, and how teachers from every content area can incorporate text sets into their curricula.Why did we design text sets?
We know it is important for students to read all across the content areas. The Common Core State Standards and our related state performance standards emphasize reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts at all grade levels. These text sets helped my preservice teachers think through the importance of text diversity as they assembled collections that would appeal to readers with a range of interests and ability levels. Although these text sets were designed for middle school classrooms, many include picture books. Some of these picture books are chosen because of their readability and others for the added value of illustrations and other graphics.
Because students read more and more online and via electronic devices, each preservice teacher also selected some appropriate digital texts. One of our course texts was Reading and Writing Genre with Purpose in K-8 Classrooms, which emphasizes the importance of students reading texts in a range of genres. The authors inspired us to include both narrative and informational texts.
The goals of this assignment were to help preservice teachers (1) understand what a text set is and (2) experience putting a text set together. Although the task seemed daunting at first, most preservice teachers were satisfied with their outcomes. The challenges we ran into included:Selecting an anchor text;Deciding on a theme in the anchor text to explore through the text set;Making informed choices about other texts to include.
Most preservice teachers were able to make strong connections to relevant content standards, and to let the standards guide some of the selection of texts. It was not too difficult for my students to find appropriate narrative or informational texts. Everyone was able to select texts at a range of lexile levels, although we agreed that some selected texts would require additional supports such as annotations or guiding questions from the teacher.
Several students initially wondered how they could design a text set in math or science, but everyone agreed in the end that it was not as difficult as they had thought once they selected their anchor texts and worked out appropriate themes.
This We Believe, the guiding document of the Association of Middle Level Education (www.amle.org), encourages a middle school curriculum that is challenging, exploratory, integrative, and relevant for young adolescents. More specific to literacy, the Common Core State Standards call on students to read a range of texts of varying genres and increasing complexity across the content areas.
These standards can seem daunting to preservice teachers. A text set assignment like the one described here is one way teacher educators can help prepare our university students to plan curriculum and instruction that helps students make deeper connections.
• Teaching Strategies – Text Sets (Annenberg Learner)
Amanda Wall is an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Georgia Southern University, where she teaches courses in the middle grades program. She taught Language Arts and Latin in grades 5-12 for many years. Her articles for MiddleWeb can be found here.
How Schools and Districts can find their National ID's and how to sign up for the Gallup Student Poll
Lynnette Van Dyke's insight:
How to Register
During a designated polling period in the fall of each year, the Gallup Student Poll will go live via a secure website. Public School students in grades 5 through 12 will complete the survey on a personal computer in a school classroom or computer lab. Completion of the Gallup Student Poll items (core 20 items, demographic items, and potentially one randomly assigned index item) will take students approximately 10 minutes. Consent/assent issues need to be resolved prior to the polling week.
All data will be stored, aggregated, and analyzed (typically at the school and district levels) by Gallup software and professionals. Gallup will share the results with principals and superintendents via an online scorecard on a national reporting day.
District and school administrators will register an account through the Gallup Student Poll Web site by providing the school's National District ID and/or National School ID numbers, as well as general school information. Even if a district as a whole is not participating, individual schools from that district can register and participate.
The survey can be accessed through the Gallup Student Poll Web site immediately after the account has been registered and a field period is chosen.
How Do I Sign Up?
To sign up your district or school for the Gallup Student Poll, you will need to register an account on this Web site. Please note that the first person to register an account is automatically made the Primary Administrative User for the district or school they are registering.
During the registration process, please have your National District ID and/or National School ID available. If you do not know your National ID, please see the instructions below. Select Register Here to begin the registration process.
Once you have registered your account, you may invite other users to register an account, and you may select administration dates for your school or the schools in your district.
Find Your School or District National ID
When you register your school/district on this Web site, you will need to provide your school's National District ID and/or National School ID. These are maintained by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES).
To find your school's or district's National IDs, use the search tools on the NCES Web site at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/schoolsearch.
Note: The NCES Web site indicates the National District ID as NCES District ID, and the National School ID as NCES School ID.
Districts and schools have a choice of dates to administer their survey. For each of the field periods, the survey will be available from Tuesday through Friday during school hours only.
2013 ADMINISTRATION DATES
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 through Friday, November 1, 2013
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The purpose of the Toolkit is to provide educators with a curricular plan and a set of resources needed for using educational data to strengthen instructional practice and improve student achievement. The Toolkit is the result of a collaborative effort among the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and Gartner, Inc. It offers a step-by-step curriculum and a cadre of professional development resources designed for district and school leaders to facilitate their training of other district and school leaders.
Each section of the curriculum contains resources, including videos, case studies, references to reading materials, as well as specifi c teaching tools, that are designed to guide educators at all levels through the process of building a data-rich culture. In addition to videos, case studies, and reading materials, each segment of the training curriculum includes fi ve teaching tools designed to move a classroom, a school, or an entire district through the process of collecting and using meaningful educational data to increase student achievement. These teaching tools include:
• A Facilitator’s Guide that provides the training facilitator(s) with detailed instructions and related resources that are to be used in teaching each segment of the training.