MRA2014 Facilitating Choice Within Curriculum Constraints Presentation

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Information about MRA2014 Facilitating Choice Within Curriculum Constraints Presentation

Published on March 14, 2014

Author: mrsheise



Slideshow from "Facilitating Choice Within Curriculum Constraints" session by Jillian Heise & Sarah Andersen at the Michigan Reading Association Convention, March 15, 2014

Facilitating Choice Within Curriculum Constraints Methods for incorporating student choice in reading within the ELA classroom Sarah Andersen, 10th & 12th grade English teacher, Fenton High School, MI Jillian Heise, 7th/8th grade language arts, Indian Community School of Milwaukee, WI

Why Choice Reading? ● More reading = improved skills, increased vocabulary, & higher test scores (Allington, 2001; Krashen 2001 and Stanovich, 2000 as cited in Allington, 2002; Nippold et al., 2005) ● Move from teacher-chosen 4 books/year, to students actively reading more at own level. Less "stuff" & more real reading every day. (Allington, 2001; Ivey & Broaddus, 2001; Miller, 2009; Worthy, Turner, & Moorman, 1998) ● As students grade level, reading attitude . Need engagement & interest to motivation. (Turner, 1995 as cited in Allington, 2002; McKenna, Kear, and Ellsworth, 1995; Pitcher et al., 2007; Guthrie et al., 2006)

Know the Standards Guiding your Curriculum What the Common Core State Standards say about what to read and who decides: ● Through reading...students are expected to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspective. ● At a curricular or instructional level, within and across grade levels, texts need to be selected around topics or themes that generate knowledge and allow students to study those topics or themes in depth. (CCSS ELA page 58) ● The standards appropriately defer the many remaining decisions about what and how to teach to states, districts, and schools (using their professional judgment and experience).

Distribution of Types of Reading (CCSS) “The percentages on the table reflect the sum of student reading, not just reading in ELA settings. Teachers of senior English classes, for example, are not required to devote 70 percent of reading to informational texts. Rather, 70 percent of student reading across the grade should be informational.” (CCSS ELA page 5)

Text Complexity & Growth of Comprehension Text complexity “consists of three equally important parts” Whatever they are reading, students must also show a steadily growing ability to discern more from and make fuller use of text. (CCSS ELA p.8 & Appendix A)

Why & How I Stopped Using the Whole Class Novel to Teach Reading… & What I Replaced it With Jillian Heise, 7th & 8th grade Language Arts Indian Community School of Milwaukee, WI

What motivates you to read? Reading books you're told to read? Reading books you choose to read? Why would it be any different for your students?

Why Choice Works Meets student needs (Engagement is key) ● Interest/Background Knowledge ● Skill Level ● Teacher Trust in Student ● Affective Domain

With one book, how many students benefit? Teacher-chosen book who does real reading? These 7 aren't at all interested in this topic. These 4 aren't ready for this level of text yet. These 4 would have chosen the book on their own. These 5 are ready for more complex text. These 6 already read the book. These 2 are interested & at the right ability level for this book. © Jillian Heise @heisereads

Looking for a common experience with text? What was your purpose for the whole class novel? Did all students access & benefit from the text? Can you meet that same purpose in a new way? Try a Read Aloud

What am I really teaching? I teach reading; I don't teach books. What is the curriculum? The book or The skill What is my goal? Think like I do or Think for self Answering specific teacher questions or Critical thinking Giving same answer as all or Support for own answer

How many books are your students reading each year? = engagement + motivation more time spent reading

Alternatives to the Whole Class Novel Can a one-size fits all book meet my goals & my students’ needs? Which would entice you to want to read? {Mythology}

Text Sets = Guided Choice Theme/Topic/Genre or Form {Mystery} {WWII / Holocaust} {Dystopian} [Graphic Novels] [Novels in Verse] (Consider aligning with CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.#.9)

Individual Choice Students choose based on interest, ability, & recommendations. Reading skills taught should transfer to any text being read. *Consider adapting the 40 Book Challenge (Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer)

What to do with the books READ Get rid of the "stuff" and let them read! ● Confer with Teacher ● Respond in Writing ● Big Questions ● Book Talks ● Discussions with Classmates ○ Book Clubs let students talk about their reading ■ Same book groups ■ Different book groups

How do students find books? The Classroom Library Book Talks Book Passes Browsing Shelves Themed Displays Personal Recommendations

What My Students Say About Having a Choice "Next year I'll keep looking for books that interest me. I think all readers should have a voice in reading like I had a chance to this year." "There was never a time this year that I read a book I wasn't interested in. It inspires me to continue reading this summer and throughout my time at the high school." "Reading the books I like actually got me to read for fun. I would only read because I had to, but then when I started reading books I liked, I would read just because I wanted to & it was interesting." “Why am I reading more this year? Because you have good books and let us read what we want to and we get to read in class everyday."

Sarah Andersen, Fenton High School Thematic Connections: Pairing YA Novels with Classic Texts

Background In 2009 I wrote the curriculum for a Young Adult Literature elective. Students read three novels as a class & choose three novels to read for a choice project.

Proposing My Idea ● YA Lit offers choice & high interest reading. ● Freshmen discover a (new/renewed) love of reading through SSR. ● Proposed incorporating a YA thematic unit to the English 9 curriculum because of the success of YA Lit & SSR.

Creating the Unit ● With administrative support, I worked with my department to create a unit that connects thematically with To Kill a Mockingbird. ● We decided to branch out beyond racism and also include topics such as maturity, homosexuality, religious prejudice, etc.

The Novels ● The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie ● A Light at the End of the Tunnel: Stories of Muslim Teens by Sumaiya Beshir ● Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupula

The Novels (cont.) ● Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg ● Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork ● Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Introducing the Unit Before reading To Kill a Mockingbird, students were informed that they'd be reading a YA novel that thematically connects with the classic.

Introducing the Unit (cont.) The goal is to help students build stronger connections with To Kill a Mockingbird and develop a deeper understanding of the story. Before beginning, the students are prepared to work individually and collaboratively, with less direct teacher instruction.

Choosing the Novels Since there are a variety of novels, the students sampled each of them with a book pass.

Teaching the Unit ● Majority of the class period was spent reading. ● The other part of class time was spent working collaboratively with their book groups. ● We wanted the groups to feel like book clubs.

Teaching the Unit (cont.) Harvey Daniels' Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles proved to be an invaluable resource. ● The students responded well to his mini- lesson ideas and engaged in thoughtful discussions. ● Many days they came into class already discussing their books!

Final Assessment Part of their group work involved finding examples/quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird and their choice novel to use as support in their final assessment. The students wrote an essay comparing their YA choice novel to the classic. This was done as a timed essay test.

Student Responses ● Tyler: “My favorite books I’ve read this year are A Long Way Gone and Out of the Pocket. Both of these books I got to choose to read and I liked them very much. They both interested me and weren’t hard to read. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a reader. If I get to pick the book, I will most likely enjoy the book. However, if I get forced to read a book there isn’t a good chance that I will enjoy it too much or finish it.” ● Jake: "I have learned that if you have a good book, reading is great. I may not be an avid reader, but I read a little more now. Being able to choose my book made a big difference."

More Unit Ideas Classic & YA pairing Mentor text choice unit for memoir writing

New District, New Opportunities ● Looking for areas of opportunity for choice reading. ● Starting with extra credit to “test the waters.” ○ The Stranger by Albert Camus & how society affects the individual ● Beginning conversations w/department & admin

Encouraging Choice Start recommending books and guiding students toward books they might like ● “What do you like to do (outside of school)?” ● “What’s the last book you read that you really liked?” In order to do this, you have to know books! Use your reading, PLN, librarian, Twitter, etc.

Build a Culture of Literacy

Know Books...Especially Ones That Hook Adolescents

Next Steps for Implementing in Your Room ● Build your classroom library to provide access. ● Start reading. Then start recommending books to students. ● Give your kids time in class to read. ● Find related themes & books for novels you currently teach. ● Start small-choose one unit to try it (perhaps a genre unit). ● Read. A lot. (Learn titles and themes and which books will connect with which students) ● Be a model reader (students need to see you as an authority and see your reading life) ● Be a book talker (think of it as being an advertiser) ● Do read alouds (Be the fluent example & share good books that students might miss) ● Be a book pusher (never miss an opportunity to recommend a book to a student)

Following Up & Contacting Us Twitter Jillian - @heisereads Sarah - @yaloveblog Blogs Email

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