A Closer Look at Text Complexity and Using Rich Nonfiction

The Melton Elementary staff reviewed evidence describing why all students should be working with complex texts and rich nonfiction. This included looking at the MetaMetrics study on Lexiles and Dr. Tim Shanahan’s review of the ACT study, “Reading Between the Lines.” This was followed by an overview of Core Knowledge and how it connects to the aforementioned. You can see what was shared by downloading the PowerPoint (here) and clicking through some of the hyperlinks.

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OSP Review of Core Knowledge Implementation

The Office of School Performance reviewed the current implementation of Core Knowledge. The 15-minute presentation focused on current supports and conditions for success. You can review the PowerPoint that was shared here.

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Diagnosing Breakdowns in Comprehension

It a video discussion for Reading Rockets, panelists Isabel Beck, Nanci Bell, and Sharon Walpole discuss the components for reading comprehension and share strategies to promote student learning with this outcome. At minute 3:27, Dr. Walpole explains where breakdowns in comprehension typically occur. They include

  1. A child’s knowledge of the world is inconsistent with what the author expects a reader to know.
  2. A child’s vocabulary knowledge is inconsistent with the word choices an author has made for a text.
  3. The syntactic demands are great and
  4. A child lacks strategies to work through complex text.

At minute 10:27 Dr. Warpole suggests helping with these breakdowns by a) making sure students know how to decode easily and well b) teach concept knowledge and c) build vocabularies. Dr. Beck, at minute 21:22 later substantiates the claim that vocabulary instruction is “essential” and that the youngest students should be working with “big words.”

You can watch the video through the link here.

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Session 3 of Core Task implementation Project

Session 3 of the Core Task implementation Project continued to take well-vetted instructional materials through the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle. The session allowed for opportunities to reflect with peers, share ideas and resources, and have conversations around “focus” students. Teachers reviewed the In Common writing resource and watched a lesson demonstration from kindergarten teacher Angela Bibby.

The session also included a video (linked in the PowerPoint) of Dr. Timothy Shanahan, former President of the International Reading Association, sharing the limitations of single factor tests—i.e. standardized reading tests.

Session 3 PowerPoint Grades K-2/3 (here)

Session 3 PowerPoint Grades 3-5 (here)

In Common—lessons and examples of writing in three genres in K-12 (here)

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110 Core Knowledge Teacher Created Supplements Added to 63000resources.com

If you are implementing Core Knowledge, consider visiting the Core Knowledge section, from the ELA tab, at www.63000resources.com. These are the resources currently in the Edmodo group but feedback, from Core Task implementation Project sessions, consistently included a request to find a more user-friendly way to navigate the materials.

The supplements include graphic organizers, vocabulary documents, flipcharts, PowerPoints, notebooks, and lesson ideas. A HUGE thank you to all the teachers who shared resources.

CK Materials

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10 Websites, with Free resources, to Assist with CCSS Implementation

If you are looking for help with the implementation of Common Core, the websites listed below will help. Most include free curricular resources, well matched to the CCSS, that any educator can opt into and/or they can be used to assist with your Common Core efforts

  1. www.projecttahoe.org. Awesome. Period. A terrific set of free social studies and history resources including close reads, document based questions, and discussion tasks.
  2. www.readworks.org. All the resources are free and you can get a feel for how many were constructed by clicking here. In short, the Annotated Question Sets provide professional learning on a process to scaffold students through a text.
  3. If you want to keep the classroom discussion going in the home, consider texting parents through www.remind.com. (Jessie Beck teacher Jolene Hamilton gets credit for directing me to this resource.)
  4. www.education4500.com has learning for the secondary educator matched to the instructional shifts.
  5. www.nonfictionminute.com provides great texts around important historical topics. The authors have found subjects that are engaging and informative. Read this piece about Hard Tack to be sold.
  6. www.textproject.org has a number really helpful resources to assist with implementation. Consider looking over Talking Points, texts aimed at getting kids engaged in discussion, and FYI for Kids, high quality magazine articles for students, when you visit.
  7. www.achievethecore.org. Too obvious? Close reading exemplars, mini-assessments, professional development modules, fluency packets… and nothing has a copyright.
  8. www.studyjams.com has free videos to build content knowledge for students. (Thanks Katy Scherr for sharing this one with us!)
  9. www.edmodo.com. Specifically, we support eight Edmodo groups to assist with literacy implementation with topics on close reading, professional development, early learning, leadership, formative writing and the instructional shifts. Angela Orr and Katie Anderson support two other groups with social studies/history close reading exemplars and units. You can find all of our Edmodo groups here and our Core Knowledge group here.
  10. www.63000resources.com. The companion website to this one where all of the blog entries go to be reasonably well organized.
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Literacy Unit Project, Session 3

Third through fifth grade teachers continued to make progress on developing literacy units, mapped to essential understandings, that stretch across all three grades. Those EUs have been finalized and include:

  • How does conflict and compromise shape culture?
  • How does setting influences the culture?
  • Why do some values, points of view and ideas change over time?
  • How do recurring patterns of interactions help to make predictions and understanding our world?

Session 3 focused on professional learning from Robert Pondiscio (video here and here) who emphasizes building knowledge coherently to increase reading comprehension. This was followed by exploring the finalized Literacy Unit Template and populating it with vetted resources. You can review all of the session materials in the links below.

Session 3 PowerPoint

Literacy Design Template

Science Statement

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