All posts by leeandlowbooks

Unpacking the Common Core Standards Horizontally: Informational Text

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about the importance of looking at the standards horizontally as well as vertically, and in this final installment in the series, I’m going to do just that as I walk you through what effective close reading questioning can look like, unpacking one strand at a time using texts of varying complexities.  Last up:

READING STANDARDS FOR INFORMATIONAL TEXT K-3, Craft and Structure, Strand 5

LIVING-IN-AN-IGLOO

In Kindergarten, the strand reads:  Identify the front cover, back cover, and title page of a book.

Example text:  Living in an Igloo by Jan Reynolds

genre: informational text

Strand-specific questions:

  • Point to the front cover of the book.  What information can you find on the front cover of the book?  Why is that information important?
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Unpacking the Common Core Standards, Part 3: Thinking Horizontally

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking talked the importance of looking at the standards horizontally as well as vertically, and in today’s post, I’m going to do just that as I walk you through what effective close reading questioning can look like, unpacking one strand at a time using texts of varying complexities.  On the docket for today:

Reading Standards for Literature K-3, Craft and Structure, Strand 4

Pencil-Talk-And-Other-School-Poems cover

In Kindergarten, the strand reads:  Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.

Example text: Pencil Talk and Other School Poems by Anastasia Suen & illustrated by Susie Lee Jin

genre: poetry

Strand-specific questions:

  • Look at the poem “Pencil Talk.” Which words were tricky for you to sound out?  Did you come across any words where you weren’t sure what they meant?***What does the word scratch mean? Bonus:  What does the poet mean when she writes “Pencils can talk…but we can’t!
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Unpacking the Common Core Standards, Part 2: Thinking Horizontally

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.  

Last week, I talked about the importance of looking at the standards horizontally as well as vertically, and over the next few weeks, I’m going to do just that as I walk you through what effective close reading questioning can look like, unpacking one strand at a time using texts of varying complexities.  Next up:

Reading Standards for Literature K-3, Craft and Structure, Strand 6

Unpacking the Common Core Standards

In Kindergarten, the strand reads:  With prompting and support, name the author and illustrator of a story and define the role of each in telling the story.

Example text:  Elizabeti’s Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen and illustrated by Christy Hale

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Unpacking the Common Core Standards, Part 1: Thinking Horizontally

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.  

For many educators across the country, this has been our first full year of adapting our instruction to meet the rigor of the new Common Core standards.  One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received lately regarding planning under the new standards is a simple concept that can be a bit challenging to apply:  think horizontally.

It’s so easy to become fixated on the standards *only* for the grade we’re teaching, but thinking horizontally through the strands allows for so much room for "It's so easy to become fixated on the standards only for the grade we're teaching, but thinking horizontally through the strands allows for so much room for differentiation."differentiation.  Most students have only had the benefit of one year of instruction under the new standards, and may not have yet mastered the skills that the Common Core envisions as prerequisites.  For example, the Common Core is written as if this year’s third grader has been receiving Common Core-level instruction since Kindergarten and has mastered all the standards leading up to third grade.  Chances are, this hypothetical third grader probably hasn’t, and may need further instruction around some of the skills and strategies found in the standards. An effective way to fill in the gaps is to work horizontally through the standards using increasingly complex text.

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Why use thematic text sets?

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.  This is the fourth in a series of posts on thematic text sets.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing some examples of thematic text sets, or groups of books that cover one topic and span multiple genres and multiple reading levels. Many of the coaches and administrators I’ve met with have been really excited by the prospect of planning this way, but have been (understandably) a bit overwhelmed, too.

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Compiling Rigorous Thematic Text Sets: Books About Immigration

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.  This is the third in a series of posts on thematic text sets.

One aspect of the Common Core that I get asked questions about all the time is thematic text sets. What are they? How do you know which books to use? What types of texts should you be pairing together?

Fear not! I’ve compiled some examples of text sets that cover one topic and span multiple genres and reading levels. Some of the titles you may already have in your classroom library, and others I think you’ll enjoy discovering. In my last two posts, I compiled books about the moon and books about Kenya. Today we look at books about immigration:

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Compiling Rigorous Thematic Text Sets: Books About Kenya

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.  This is the second in a series of posts on thematic text sets.

One aspect of the Common Core that I get asked questions about all the time is thematic text sets. What are they? How do you know which books to use? What types of texts should you be pairing together?

Fear not! I’ve compiled some examples of text sets that cover one topic and span multiple genres and reading levels. Some of the titles you may already have in your classroom library, and others I think you’ll enjoy discovering. In my first post, I compiled books about the moon. Today we look at books about Kenya:

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Compiling Rigorous Thematic Text Sets

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

One aspect of the Common Core that I get asked questions about all the time is thematic text sets.  What are they?  How do you know which books to use?  What types of texts should you be pairing together?

Fear not!  I’ve compiled some examples of text sets that cover one topic and span multiple genres and reading levels and over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing these sets with you.  Some of the titles you may already have in your classroom library, and others I think you’ll enjoy discovering.

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UPDATE: A More Multicultural Appendix B

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of meeting with a literacy expert who was SUPER involved with the creation of the Common Core Standards (!!!!!), and she gave me some important feedback about the Appendix B supplement  I posted last week. To refresh your memory, what we’ve done is compiled a supplement to Appendix B that includes both contemporary literature and authors/characters of color, and that also meets the criteria (complexity, quality, range) used by the authors of the Common Core. We were lucky enough to have this literacy expert take a look at our supplement, and she gave some great suggestions:

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A More Diverse Appendix B

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

When the Common Core Standards were created, the authors included a list of titles in Appendix B that exemplified the level of text complexity (found in Appendix A) and inherent quality for reading materials at each grade level.  This list was intended as a comparative tool, as a way for teachers and administrators to measure current libraries against country-wide expectations for rigorous literature and informational text.  Since its publication, this list, and the titles included and omitted, have created quite a bit of controversy.

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