There is a new digital divide on the horizon. It is not based around who has devices and who does not, but instead the new digital divide will be based around students who know how to effectively find and curate information and those who do not.
Here I have 'Scooped' a framework for a mini-unit on introducing and using text sets in an English classroom. I serves as a good starting point, as it has included Standards covered, considerations for resources and preparation, as well as the layout/sequence of instruction.
However, as is the case with most pre-written lessons and curriculum I have encountered, there also appears to be the potential for gaps in instruction if the lesson sequence were followed without proper modification.
Most pre-written lesson plans and units I have encountered seem to make certain assumptions about students arriving to the lesson with certain competencies which many students I have encountered do not possess.
For example, the second lesson outlines the process of students beginning to add to the basis teacher-created text-sets by searching out materials on their own. However, this is reduced to a single step, with huge assumptions made about the capacities of the student. The step is as follows:
Share the initial resources you've gathered with students and invite them to participate in the collecting. Free time to explore and collect resources in the library as well as using Internet resources is ideal during this class session.
Such a breezy description of this process does not properly acknowledge the many complex and discrete skills that are all lumped into a single step. I have listed below a short list of skills and protocols that, off the top of my head, I quickly realize as student would need in order to succesfully complete this task:
-How to move from assigned seat into group seating for text-set groups.
-How to obtain text sets and distribute texts in an orderly and equitable manner
-How to take note of what specific aspects of a text make it a interesting and useful.
-Expectations and Protocols for text-collection 'free time'
-How to use prior knowledge to guide research focus
-How to use questions about the topic to create guiding research questions
-Understanding the advantages and disadvantages for Internet vs. library-based reserahc, and which form of research might be better suited to specific topics
-How to use key words and phrases to conduct internet research
-How to evaluate both print and electronic sources for reliability
-How to use the Dewey decimal system to find texts on specific topics
-How to use an index to navigate through large books in order to evaluate relevance.
So, as we see, what may have been a 5-day mini-unit for Kathy Egawa's class in Seattle may actually need an entire month dedicated in another classroom in order to acheive similar results. It all deends on the capacities that the students bring to the table, and what skills or protocols may need to be pre-taught, as well as the objectives that make the most sense for your classroom and your curriculum.
The above list is in no way comprehensive, but it does give an idea of the additional analysis necessary for adapting a pre-written lesson for your own students, which is why knowing what they can and can't yet accomplish is of utmost importance.
This is a website that links to a paper detailing strategies and justificatons for using multiple texts to examine topics in all content areas. However, the author of this work, Cynthia Shanahan sees the use of intertextuality as a valuable end unto itself, rather than a method of ensuring a diverse array of access points.
When it some to the role of intertextuality in the English classroom, Shanahan says the following:
In English, critics make comparisons across texts and engage in lively debate of what texts mean given the different perspectives they take. Students need to understand different perspectives to engage in the processes of interpretation honored by experts in the field. In fact, the knowledge of different perspectives is central to the making of informed written arguments, an essential part of the English curriculum.
In addition, Shanahan outlines major points to consider when relying on mutiple texts in curricular planning. The bullet points are as follows:
-Choose texts that will invite critical thought
-Find out about the source and context of each book
-Engage students in discussing the role of experts
-Define the purpose for reading as deciding what to believe
-Help students gain disciplinary knowledge
-Use discussion as mediator
-Teach students strategies fo comparing and contrasting ideas
-Expand students' reading
Shanahan cites research as well as personal experience to elucidate her understanding of each of these points.
Furthermore, in looking at these points for consideration, we ae reminded that utilizing multiple texts is not merely a scaffold to support the struggliing reader, but also a challenge for the proficient one: a good reminder that true differentiation caters to all ends of the academic spectrum.
"Selection of 13 outstanding children’s book illustrators who created their artistic interpretations of the literacy campaign message: Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life. The result is a spectacular collection of art, and each piece is accompanied by free supplemental resources that meet the Common Core State Standards"
Linda Dougherty's insight:
13 wonderful stories to share with elementary classes.
Ready to get students excited about writing? Then check out Scholastic’s Story Starters, a virtual Willy Wonka type machine that randomly generates writing prompts. Yep, from general fiction to adventure, fantasy, and science fiction, this fun interactive is sure to provide students with some writing inspiration.
So... if the K-12 folks don't figure out how important we are in the VERY near future, it looks like we could become valuable assets to corporations trying to manage their data. Probably pays more anyway...
However, this quote also resonates with me...
"Information Architecture is an emerging discipline with roots in librarianship; consulting firms offer their experience of creating web sites, intranets, and other interactive elements in order to improve their efficiency and usability."
Keith’s latest research on the impact of school libraries and librarians is being pursued on several fronts: a major, federally-funded, statewide study in Pennsylvania; and a Colorado replication of a national study that documents the impact of the Great Recession and its aftermath on school library staffing and thereby on students’ reading scores. - See more at: http://keithcurrylance.com/school-library-impact-studies/#sthash.XODVRigp.dpuf
“ 4 Phases of Inquiry-Based Learning: A Guide For Teachers 1. Interaction Big Idea: Dive into engaging, relevant, and credible media forms to identify a “need” or opportunity for inquiry The first phase of inquiry-based learning is...”
Via Susan Grigsby @sksgrigsby
Project RAISSE stands for Reading Assistance Initiative for Secondary School Educators. At first glance, this would seem to be a goldmine of resources. However, the organization is organized by the University of South Carolina, and is dedicated mainly to improving schools in South Carolina. Therefore, the major focus of the website seems to be connecting South Carolina educators to professional development networks and opportunities. Unless you are planning on spending significant time in South Carolina, the majority of this website is not created for you.
However, there is one section of this website that I think could be helpful to many teachers, and was very helpful to me as I develop my understanding of the creation and usage of text sets in an english classroom. Under the tab labeled "Content Area Articles / Picture Books / YA" there are several links to 'text set documents.' These are pdf documents with summaries and analysis of texts at a variety of levels and drawing from a variety of genres centered around a historical or thematic focus. The lists of text sets are as follows:
Colonial and Revolutionary America
Contemporary United Kingdom
Elections and Voting
In the pdf document deicated to the text set for 'Heroes,' the teacher who created the document described his reasoning for seeking out these texts. He wanted to effectively and engagingly examine the text Beowulf in his class, and wanted to allow his students to use other texts to access the themes. Considering how ubiquitous the theme of heroism is in literature, there is a good chance this list could be use to complement other texts as well. A brief skim of the CCSS website led me to beleive such a list could easily be used to complement some of the exemplar texts according to the Common Core Consortium:
Homer. The Odyssey (Grade 9-10)
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451 (Grade 9-10)
Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockinbird (Grade 9-10)
de Cervantes, Miguel. Don Quixote (Grade 11-CCR)
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet (Grade 11-CCR)
Eliot, T.S. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock (Grade 11-CCR)
These are just texts that I immediatey saw a need to complement with a Heroism text set, but I'm sure the theme of heroism could be worked into most works of literature.
However, one immediate and pragmatic application that I saw to these text sets is something very specific to New York State: the English/Language Arts Regents Critical Lens Essay.
In the Critical Lens Essay, students are presented with a quote. The students are then asked to write an essay in which they:
1) interpret the quote
2) agree or disagree with the quote
3) use evidence from TWO texts to support their stance
While the quotes are often difficult to interpret, common themes in these quotes continue to reappear. Three of the most common themes are: control, courage and heroism. A text set based around these themes in an indepenant reading library could do wonder to prepare students for this essay.
In my experience, most students who achieve success on this essay draw their evidence from one text they examined in class that year (most likely chosen for its ability to relate to critical-lens-type themes) as well as a text they read independantly. An independant reading rogram which incorporates the identification of theme has done wonders to prepare students for the Critical Lens component of the Regents. I believe these text set pdf documents can be a resource in developing such a program.
Kids are always thinking. Kids always want to know more. Kids are curious. Text sets provide students with the avenue to act on their curiosity and to develop background knowledge that can be used immediately with another ...
Attention teacher librarians! This is going on my "have to do" list. Even though many media platforms have connections built into place, there are a few that I would like to cook up the recipe to have them "talk" to each other.
Part of a new editorial partnership, this page features a weekly selection from the Teaching Channel, a nonprofit organization that provides high-quality videos on inspiring and effective teaching practices.
Linda Dougherty's insight:
Suggestion for professional development: Use one of these videos to start a discussion online using Edmodo, My Big Campus, Schoology, etc. among teachers. Librarians can curate this collection for the library's digital collection.