Slice of Life Cobbles

EndlessallisonRomeAdventure

 

Her feet hurt.

For hours she walked upon volcanic basalt cubes, the cobblestone streets of ancient Rome. One foot carefully placed, then another. Step by step in shoes without support in the arch or ankle, she tread through the tiny alleyways winding in ancient patterns to the places most of us only dream or read about: the Colosseum and the Pantheon.

The cobblestones cover the streets in the ancient city of Rome. They are cubes of basalt, a hard volcanic rock. The basalt cubes lay spaced atop the earth below, fitting together loosely to allow them to form to the earth. Settling into the ground, the cubes are uneven in height, creating a difficult terrain, much less friendly than the soft earth on the mountains of home in Washington State, where the wet earth would cushion her step beneath the tall firs.

The well-worn cobbles, two-thousand years old, welcome travelers; their unevenness forces them to notice the rugged roadway, and to notice each step of their adventure through the winding streets. Just as the firs of home have beckoned her towards the next bend in the narrow path,  the rows of cobbles now seem to say, “You’re almost there. Look ahead– look around the corner; there’s more to see. You can do it.”

The adventure itself eases her pain as she stops for a chocolate frappe and chats with locals. She steps back onto the cobbles, joins the troupe of travelers, and turns the corner to discover a new destination ahead, which will be followed by more.

Her feet quicken.

South_east_view_of_the_Pantheon_from_Piazza_Minerva,_2006

Public Domain Image: South_east_view_of_the_Pantheon_from_Piazza_Minerva

Life in Italy: Sampietrini

About the Roman Cobbles BBC


classroomsliceoflife

Writing Strategy:

Layering

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.2.B
Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

Layer each idea one upon another.

Example:

For hours she walked upon volcanic basalt cubes, the cobblestone streets of ancient Rome. One foot carefully placed, then another. Step by step in shoes without support in the arch or ankle, she tread through the tiny alleyways winding in ancient patterns to the places most of us only dream or read about.

walk — ON cobblestone streets—  BY foot — EACH step –WILL tread — THROUGH alleyways —  TO places

Alliteration:  — repeated beginning consonant sounds –

s – Step by step in shoes without support

c – cobblestones cover

d- discover a new destination

Strong Verbs:  walk, tread, creating, welcomes, beckoned, steps, joins

#140WC Kid EdCamp Thinking

#140WC #CCSS Reading

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Reading. Some kids still struggle. Our classrooms, by age, are filled with students who read at different levels and for different interests. How do teachers meet those needs, and teach to the high standards of the Common Core State standards?

A Resource for Lessons and Texts: ReadWorks.org

readworksOne help for teachers is ReadWorks.org. This free site for K-8 provides thousands of nonfiction passages and literary connections paired with Common Core structured questions. Structured means they are aligned to the Common Core, and are presented to build student understand and gradually release responsibility to the student to be able to answer deeper questions. Kindergarten students provide text/image responses and allow for draw and text responses. The lessons are built on I-We-Me format: teach modeling, guided practice, and student independence.

Lessons are organized according by standards and in units based on Skill and Strategies, Comprehension, Novel Study [5 and 6], and Reading Passages. In Reading Passages, the search allows for specific criteria: key words, grade level, lexile level, domain, text type, and skill/strategy.

readworkssearch

The articles are engaging to students, and I am able to find several lessons that allow for differentiation and skill progression as we read through and discuss the passages.

Vocabulary Adaptation

My students read the passage first with partners, and circle any “interesting” words. They write the words on scraps of paper, and I collect them. We discuss each word, first looking at context to figure out what it might mean, and then I fill in information the student need to understand the text. This helps build vocabulary and understanding of the text.

Questioning the Topic for Main Idea Adaptation

Next partners write questions the text will answer in a shared Google Doc. We discuss the questions and choose or revise one to write the best question that the reading passage answers, which becomes our focus for finding the main idea and supporting evidence. We refer to the question throughout the rest of the lesson provided by ReadWorks. It provides a final reflection for students when they discover they are able to write and explain their own questions.

Conclusion

I’m so glad to have discovered this resource: ReadWorks.org.  It’s free. It’s all aligned to the Common Core State Standards [and many other state standards]. As I dig deeper into the Common Core, a resource like this is invaluable.

Have you tried  ReadWorks.org ? What are your resources?

WC: 397

Join the #140WC Challenge

#140WC Knowing Stops Learning

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Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. For his birthday he’s getting himself a Toshiba Chromebook for me to use. That’s how special he is.

I’m a Mac person; we both are. But I am reading so much about schools that are embracing the Chromebook movement to integrate the tools kids use and will need to know how to use as part of their daily work and play now and in the future.

The ISTE Technology Standards and our Washington State Technology Standards as well as the Common Core State Standards all emphasize two things for being College and Career Ready:  thinking and collaboration.

For kids whose technology is carried in their pockets, they also need to learn to use that technology as a tool for their lives, more than simple connecting. Many kids do — but many don’t. Technology allows us to read many views, research and take notes, analyze data, and synthesize it all into a media-rich consideration of the topics about which we choose to learn — or is expected by our employers. Schools, to be relevant, need to provide the tools and projects that enable students to think and collaborate, consider and share, create and curate.

As a user of Google Apps and as part of a Google Apps school, I need to understand this operating system called Chrome.  It’s good to be versatile. It’s good to learn more. I’ve seen  the cost benefits, and I know what tools these devices can bring for the students.

Open minds allow for critical and creative solutions. I can’t let what I know and use already prevent me from discovering and using other tools that my students may find and apply just as well.

What about you? Has what you already know prevented your learning and solving?

WC: 291

#140WC Assessment

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This week, our School Improvement Planning Team discussed possible Common Core State Standard formative assessments that would provide the data needed to inform further instruction.

We discussed NWEA MAPS and the time it takes to test; digging into the data to inform instruction takes more time. We moved to Khan Academy, but that is not aligned to CCSS but does provide immediate feedback to students and teachers for where to go next. And there’s Edmodo Snapshot which, like Khan Academy, allows for teacher choice in assessment and immediate feedback for students and teachers; it is also aligned with the CCSS.

I”m also trying Actively Learn: immediate feedback aligned with CCSS because teachers choose the questions to embed. NewsLEA may also offer such an effective format.

Which brings us to a great post by Tracy Watanabe on Google Forms: assessments created by teachers to document CCSS progress.

Instruction is informed by the assessment of student work based on the objectives selected by the teacher. Students are informed by the constructive feedback [what’s on track; what’s still to learn] from peers and the teacher. Assessment data that is that close to instruction and immediate would provide best the road map for learning success.

What assessment tools does your district — or do you — include for your formative assessments?


Image Source: Formative Assessment License AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by Ken Whytock

WC 227

CCSS Reading Nonfiction

A review so far:

How does CCSS break down the processes of reading as thinking? As I read Pathways to the Common Core, I am able to unpack the power of these standards.

The CCSS categories for both literary and informational reading are:

  • Key Ideas and Details — What is the meaning across the whole text?
  • Craft and Structure — How does the author create meaning across the text?
  • Integrate Knowledge and Ideas — Compare how authors create meaning in different texts?

Most importantly, the CCSS expect that students look for more than one idea or theme, backing their ideas up with evidence stated and inferred across the text(s). Conversations are key — in journals, in class discussions, in book clubs, with partners. Students start with understanding what the text says, then move to how the author crafted the text for us to glean that meaning, and finally compare one text to another to discern the patterns of themes and perspectives across texts to become engaged and critical readers. For informational texts, nonfiction, students must not be just gathering facts, but rather thinking about the meaning, assumptions, biases, and reasoning presented by the author through the details and the structure of the text. Students look for the perspective of the truth the text presents, sorting out and evaluating the author’s claims and reasoning to form one’s own opinions. The CCSS expect us to read to think.

What does reading to understand nonfiction look like?

Key Ideas and details — What does the text say and infer? What is the text about?

1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

Focus: Read closely to understand exactly what the text says and infers. Read enough of the text to get the main idea, then recite or retell what the main idea is. Soon the details will need to be categorized, sorted for understanding the big idea.

2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Focus: As readers continue, we ask the same question as we did our stories, “What is this article starting to be about?” Our gist strategy from ReadWriteThink helps us develop the central idea of nonfiction texts. We then support our ideas with the details. The strategy helps students focus on the big idea and discover vocabulary that succinctly explains the ideas as they work through their retelling and sorting of information for Standard 1.  This standard moves us through the text, understanding how one part of the text adds to the next.  Students need to look for different ideas, not just one. In nonfiction of a complex nature, cause/effect, sequence, problem/solution include big ideas that lead to understanding a topic. Everything returns to the evidence within the text as the reader moves through it, which leads to Standard 3.

3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Focus: Return to the parts of the text to analyze ideas, relationships, events, people: How does the evidence (cause/effect, sequence, problem/solution) connect?

Craft and Structure — How did the author, through language and structure choices, promote a point of view?

4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Focus: After and while determining the big ideas, begin to determine how the author’s use of words and phrases, images and media, create the point of views about the topics? Which words are most important? How do these words and phrases affect our understanding of the author’s point of view? How do they create a tone?

5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

Focus: While analyzing the language, consider the structure of the text — through paragraphs and sections — how does the way the information is presented (building on the language) affect our understanding of the author’s perspective? How does each part work to build this perspective?

6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Focus: What perspectives are presented throughout the text?  How does the author’s style help us understand the perspective(s)? How does each part support or move us from one perspective to another? How do choices in words, tone of language, and the way the text is structured help us to understand the author’s point of view?

The evidence moves us through the standards, from language (4) to structure (5) to analyzing the point of view (6).

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas — Analyze different texts for content information, validity of argument and claims, compare how texts develop the content and claims.

7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Focus: Compare articles, digital information, audio, video, primary texts on the same topic to evaluate how the information is presented and reasoned.

8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Focus: Analyze how the author persuaded you: evaluate claims and reasoning, logic and supportive evidence. Look for logic, relevance, and validity. Follow the author’s claims to evaluate their validity.

9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Focus: Compare how the authors persuaded you: evaluate claims and reasoning, logic and supportive evidence. Look for logic, relevance, and validity. Follow the authors’ claims to evaluate the validity of the information.

How do I prepare for reading and teaching nonfiction?

The CCSS obviously moves us away from a listing of facts and into the domain of thinking critically: we read to understand concepts, generalize ideas, and analyze arguments. Students need to be matched with readable texts, and they need strategies for asking thoughtful questions that go beyond the 5ws and move into generalization, perspective, and author’s choice in language and text structure. Readers will need to compare arguments, analyzing the logic, validity, and relevance of claims. They will need to look for the ideas, the details of which will support their analysis.

This year our classroom magazine is Scholastic Scope, which supports the CCSS and provides articles of nonfiction that present arguments for students to analyze. Resources are provided for more reading to compare the content and arguments. The Reading and Writing Project provides a list of digital texts for science, pop culture, and social studies. And I have discovered ProCon.org, with pro/con arguments of forty-three themed ideas, including resources for teachers.

As we move into nonfiction, I’ll add more to this reflection. For now, what framework do you use to develop critical thinking and analysis of nonfiction?

CCSS Reading Literature

How does CCSS break down the processes of reading as thinking? As I read Pathways to the Common Core, I am able to unpack the power of these standards.

The CCSS categories for both literary and informational reading are:

  • Key Ideas and Details — What is the meaning across the whole text?
  • Craft and Structure — How does the author create meaning across the text?
  • Integrate Knowledge and Ideas — Compare how authors create meaning in different texts?

Most importantly, the CCSS expect that students look for more than one idea or theme, backing their ideas up with evidence stated and inferred across the text(s). Conversations are key — in journals, in class discussions, in book clubs, with partners. Students start with understanding what the text says, then move to how the author crafted the text for us to glean that meaning, and finally compare one text to another to discern the patterns of themes and perspectives across texts to become engaged and critical readers.

How do we read literature to meet CCSS 2-9, the rungs of the literary ladder?

First, Standards 2, 3–

Key Ideas and details

2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

For literature, students will examine character motivation and cause/effect; they will look for logical consequences of the events. Why? For RL2 students analyze the details to support a variety of themes. For RL3, students ask, “What evidence throughout the story supports this?”

RL1 asks us to retell the story, inferring the meaning as we read.

RL2 begins with the question, “What is this story about?” to move to more embedded meanings as the story unfolds.

RL3 focuses on character interactions and reactions in events across the story, making connections that support or change their initial ideas about theme and character motivation based on what the text says. We ask, “What in the story makes us think that?”

RL1 2, 3 expect students to comprehend, infer, and synthesize. Next, Craft and Structure asks students to analyze HOW the author presents the story — the choice of words, phrases to create meaning, mood, and tone across the story to share a point of view of the author or the characters that have molded the content and developed a style.  Readers must consider meanings of words and reasons for those choices; they must analyze the events and images created as choice to help us understand a point of view or theme.

Craft and Structure

4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

RL4: Consider the language choices — what words are important and what do we notice about them? Why did the author choose these?

RL5: Consider sentences and paragraphs across the story — how to they build on the theme? How do these choices guide us towards the themes and character understanding? What evidence supports your ideas about the mood, tone, character, events?

RL6: Throughout the story, how does the author create a character’s point of view? his own? or shape your (reader) point of view? How do the differences in points of view create suspense? humor? themes?

To demonstrate RL 4, 5, 6, readers must notice the author’s choice in craft and structure. If readers have already inferred and synthesized the evidence for meaning, then the task for these standards is to notice HOW the author guided us to those meanings. This is the critical thinking to understand story, the sense of story an author creates — and our students can create in their own writing.

In order to carry the understanding of story (or informative explanations or persuasion) to a deeper level, students need to compare different treatments of similar themes. They need to integrate this critical thinking into patterns of knowledge and craft that will help them whenever they pick up a story (or nonfiction) to enjoy or learn. When students compare stories or texts, they become better at analyzing craft and structure. And of course understanding craft and structure, solidifies the meaning. The CCSS build upon each other.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. (Not applicable to literature)

9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

RL7: Compare movies or scripts, stories and poems.

RL9: Compare characterization and themes in different stories.

Short stories, picture books, and novels can work together to develop conversations and lessons the guide students to comparative thinking. The Global Read Aloud last year (Tuck Everlasting) provided our reading class with common story to which we could compare characters, settings, events, and themes. We’ve already discussed this year how the Natalie Babbitt used May’s Music Box, and that perhaps our story of Ivan this year might have the toy gorilla Not-Tag as a prop that we can refer to later in the story. These standards take time to implement, and the thinking involved must start early in primary classroom discussions.

In order to teach these reading literature standards, students need to read — a lot. They need choice in what they read to become engaged in quality reading. Once students are reading, they will own their understanding and want to share. Book clubs or partner reads provide this. Last year, when we started independent reading in my class, students formed their own partnerships (“Read this book with me; we can talk about it.”) I’m going to promote more of that this year through book talks. And they need to practice the thinking that these standards require. I need to demonstrate and model the strategies and questions, and immediately ask students to do so in their own books, providing feedback to their responses. When we read our short stories or models, I must allow students the chance to find the meaning and the evidence themselves, and to work through the story for the evidence. We’ll need to compare scenes and characters, discover similar language and phrases, consider possible symbolic objects, and work together to develop interpretations. Writing will be important to deepen their engagement with the text so feedback can be provided. Our previous state standards included grade level expectations that required specific teaching of skills, and the CCSS expects that our conversations and teaching include these as students discuss their interpretations of meaning and craft. However the focus will be on thinking and understanding based on text evidence; the skills will appear in that evidence, but it will be the analysis that is the focus — not the skills. Reading will be thinking, because it is.

What will I do this week? How will I create the steps in the ladder needed to think through the story?

We in grades 6 7 8 are participating in the Global Read Aloud. Last week we read facts about gorillas to help us understand how the author may have used that information as we move into the story. We used Post-its to note traits of the main character, Ivan.

Did the students understand the story so far?

Possible questions:

1a What is the story about so far?

1b What episodes in the story support your idea?

2 What do we know about the characters? What dialogue in the story helped us understand the characters?

3 How does the setting affect the characters words and actions?

4a How does Ivan feel about his domain at the beginning of the story? What evidence supports this?

4b How does Ivan feel about his domain now? What evidence supports this?

4c Compare how Bob and Ivan feel about their domains? How do you know? What’s the evidence.

4d How does the author help us understand how Bob and Ivan feel about their domains?

5a What words did the author use to help us understand how the characters (Ivan, Stella, Bob, Julia, Mack)  feel and act?

5b Which words are most important to the story? Why? What other words could the author have used?

Create a wordle based on one of the following questions. When you create your wordle, remember that the number of times you type a word will determine its size. To keep phrases together, use the ~ (Ivan~is~patient). When you create your wordle, choose the best color to represent your ideas. Choose the layout that best displays your ideas. Choose the word arrangement that best presents your meaning. You will be asked to explain your choices — look after the questions below.

Choose one question:

1. What 10 main-idea phrases summarize the story?

2. What 10 pairs of words compare Bob and Ivan’s feelings about their domains so far in the story?

3. What 10 pairs of words to explain the lives of Stella and Ruby?

Create your wordle in a way that helps us all understand your interpretation.

Explain:

Why you chose your words?

Why you chose to enlarge certain words?

Why you chose the arrangement of your words?

Why you chose the colors?

Why you chose the layout (horizontal, vertical, half and half, etc.)?

These five story questions lead us from literal and inferential evidence of meaning to how the author used language to guide us to those meanings. The wordle puts the reader into author mode, choosing the most important words from the story and presenting them in a way that demonstrates their importance.

What questions do you use to frame a story to meet CCSS?