The following post is written by Sandra Bergantz, a 5th grade teacher in the Boston Public Schools. Sandra worked in Washoe last year and attended the Title Core Task Project trainings in May. She is using the Basal Alignment Project (BAP) resources and the close reading strategy with her students at William Blackstone Elementary School.
The Common Core shift is well underway in Boston Public Schools and accompanying this shift is the Close Reading instructional approach. As a former teacher of the Washoe County School District, I had attended seminars regarding the close read approach, observed them in action and performed them myself.
When I was asked by my 5th grade team here in Boston if I would be willing to design a unit of instruction with close reading, I was eager to get started. I felt confident that I could supply my colleagues with the knowledge they would need in order to support their students during this approach to reading complex text. After examining text after text, researching how to write text dependent questions and moments of feeling defeated by the intense planning I had just taken on, I was reminded of the Core Task Project I had used while working in WCSD and the Basal Alignment Project (BAP).
I dug a little deeper into what my district had to offer, and found that they too had been working to align our reading curriculum to meet the Common Core. This meant they had designed eleven BAP lessons! You can imagine the relief I felt knowing all the hard work had already been done for me. My team and I use these resources to further enrich our understanding of the Close Read process, design our step-by-step instruction and to prepare our students for success. In fact, we analyzed each Close Read and unpacked the standards to identify what skills our students would need in order to successfully conquer the type of text and questions they would encounter.
After performing my first Close Read in Boston, I can say that it was victorious! Ultimately, I am incredibly grateful for all the effort that has been put forth to create resources that teachers from across the states can access.
Thank you Sandra for sharing your experience with our community.