Presentation from 2012 NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Annual Convention Session: Facilitating Choice Within Curriculum Constraints
Presenters: Sarah Andersen, Jillian Heise, Danielle Kulawiak, & Mindi Rench
NCTE 2012 Facilitating Choice Within Curriculum Constraints
Facilitating Choice Within Curriculum Constraints Two middle school & two high school teachersshare their methods for student choice in reading
Our Understandings• 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)• Allow choice = meet these requirements (Allington, 2005)
Every Child, Every Day (Allington and Gabriel, 2012)From Six Elements for Every Child• Books: Choice, accuracy, understanding• Talk: with peers about reading• Listens: fluent adult read aloud• Writes: personally meaningful topics
Research-Based Recommendations forEffective Adolescent Literacy InstructionResearch on the practices of highly effective adolescent literacy teachers reveals a number of common qualities. These qualities, in order of importance, include the following:1) teaching with approaches that foster critical thinking, questioning, student decision-making, and independent learning;2) addressing the diverse needs of adolescents whose literacy abilities vary considerably;3) possessing personal characteristics such as caring about students, being creative and collaborative, and loving to read and write;4) developing a solid knowledge about and commitment to literacy instruction;5) using significant quality and quantity of literacy activities including hands-on, scaffolding, minilessons, discussions, group work, student choice, ample feedback, and multiple forms of expression;6) participating in ongoing professional development;7) developing quality relationships with students; and8) managing the classroom effectively (NCTE Adolescent Literacy Policy Research Brief, 2007)
What do the Common CoreState Standards Say?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.A focus on results rather than means (CCSS ELA page 4):Teachers are thus free to provide students with whatever tools and knowledge their professional judgment and experience identify as most helpful for meeting the goals set out in the Standards.
What do the Common CoreState Standards Say?Text complexity and the growth of comprehension (CCSS ELA p.8):Whatever they are reading, students must also show a steadily growing ability to discern more from and make fuller use of text, including making an increasing number of connections among ideas and between texts, considering a wider range of textual evidence, and becoming more sensitive to inconsistencies, ambiguities, and poor reasoning in texts.Distribution of types of reading (CCSS ELA page 5): 8th grade 45% Literary & 55% Informational 12th grade 30% Literary & 70% InformationalThe 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.
Individual Choice & Text Sets in place of the Whole Class Novel Jillian Heise, 7th & 8th grade Language ArtsIndian Community School of Milwaukee, WI
With one book, how many students benefit? Teacher-chosen book who does real reading? These 6 already read These 4 arent ready the book. for this level of textThese 7 yet. These 2 arearent at all interested &interested at the rightin this topic. ability level for this book.These 5are ready These 4for more would havecomplex chosen thetext. book on their own.
Which do you like better? Which motivates you to read more?Why would it be any different for your students?
Choice vs.One Whole Class NovelWhich would entice you to want to read? Mythology-related book choices
Text Sets = Guided Choice Theme/Topic/Genre or Form Mystery WWII / Holocaust Graphic Novels Dystopian Novels in Verse
Why it worksMeets students needs • Interest/Background Knowledge • Skill Level • Teacher Trust in Student • Affective Domain
Individual ChoiceStudents choose based on interest, ability, & recommendations. *adapted the 40 Book Challenge (Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer)
Choice leads to… engagement & motivation equaling more time spent in real reading
What am I really teaching?I teach reading; I dont teach booksWhat is the curriculum? the book or the skillWhat is my goal? think like I do or think for self answering questions or critical thinkinggiving same answer as all or giving support for own answer
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• Share Favorites• Discussions with Classmates o Students still talk about what theyve read § Same book groups § Different book groups
How to get a commonexperience with textWhat 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
How do students find thebooks? Create, build, organize, and curate a classroom library
What the students sayabout having a choice"This year I learned so much about myself when I read books. It has made me a lot more interested in book genres that I never even knew existed. My perspective has changed of books this year. I enjoy them so much more than I used to.""There was never a time this year that I read a book I wasnt 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."
What more students sayabout having a choice"This year I found great books I like that I really connected with.""I did relate to so many books this year. Theyre not just for losers. Books made me glad to say that I read a lot this year.""Next year Ill 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.""Finding books that I liked resulted in reading more at home & in school, therefore improving my reading habits."
Thematic Connections:Pairing YA Novels withClassic Texts Sarah Andersen, Clio High School
BackgroundIn 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.Since 2010, theres been enough interest to fill three classes per year!
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 UnitBefore reading To Kill a Mockingbird, students were informed that theyd be reading a YA novel that thematically connects with the classic.
Introducing the Unit (cont.)Our goal is to help our 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 NovelsSince were working with a variety of novels, the students sampled each of them with a book pass.
Choosing the Novels(cont.)We had a limited budget, which resulted in fewer quantities of each title.After the book pass, each student rated his/her top 3 choices.I went through their choices, tallied them, and assigned books accordingly.
Teaching the Unit• Majority of the class period was spent reading because of limited resources.• 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!
Spine PoemsI learned about spine poetry through Twitter, courtesy of Donalyn Miller, Paul W. Hankins, and Travis Jonker.A spine poem is created using the titles on the spines of novels.Students were asked to work w/their book groups to create spine poems based on a topic, character, issue, etc. from their choice novel.
Spine Poems (cont.)The spine poems served as an alternative assessment to show understanding and comprehension. Students wrote explanations for each spine poem.This was one of the most engaging reading activities Ive done in class. My students loved it & created more poems than required!
Final AssessmentPart of their group work involved finding examples 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."
Understanding by Design and Differentiation of Reading InstructionDanielle Kulawiak, Mount Olive High School
Background•Our district curriculum focuses mainly on teaching skills using excerpts from longer texts; focusing primarily on older texts that have lost their punch.•How do we foster a love of reading while also sending the message that it is not necessary to read a book in its entirety?•How to give the students choice but also fulfill the requirements of a prescriptive curriculum.
UbD•McTighe/Wiggins•Understanding by Design –Backwards design (begin with the end in mind) –SWUT vs. SWBAT –Skills vs. content•Use common texts to introduce skills, use student selected texts to apply and demonstrate mastery of those skills.
Developing Life Long Readers•The majority of my students claim to dislike reading and do it as infrequently as possible.•I believe that if we can match a student with the right book, he or she will learn that reading can be fun, not simply a chore.
What is More Important?•Is it more important that all my students read the same book or that I give them the skills necessary to tackle any reading, from newspapers to novels?•“Assessment becomes responsive when students are given appropriate options for demonstrating knowledge, skill, and understanding. In other words, allow some choices—but always with the intent of collecting needed evidence based on goals.” (Tomlinson and McTighe)
Reading Workshop•If I want to develop students who will become life long readers and who will be able to independently navigate texts, I need to give them a chance to apply their skills.•Reading workshop and independent reading projects allow me to do this.
Structure of ReadingWorkshop•Teacher uses SRI data and conversations with students to help guide students to books that would be a good fit.•Students submit a selection sheet that includes the title, author, synopsis, why they chose that book, and parent/guardian approval.•Students are allowed to change their minds after the first session of reading workshop.•Class starts with a mini-lesson and then students have time to read•Students have during and after reading assignments to showcase understanding of the skills practiced.
Independent ReadingProjectThe reading workshop sessions culminate in the Independent Reading Project.Example Unit: FictionEssential Question: How do authors use fictional characters and situations to help readers make sense of the real world?Example Unit: Autobiography/MemoirEssential Question: What can we learn about ourselves by reading about others?
What happens if they onlywant to read Hunger Games?Directing Students to MoreSophisticated TextsMindi Rench, Literacy Coach, Northbrook Junior High, Northbrook, Illinois
Whats the deal with textcomplexity?With new emphasis on the Common Core State Standards, teachers are expected to have students reading more complex texts at earlier ages.In Appendix A, we see this graphic:
The Danger of LexilesIf we stuck just to Lexiles, students in high school would be discouraged from reading:• Night by Elie Wiesel (570 L)• Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (630 L)• The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1070L)• A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (730L)
What about reading level? o Reading levels are a guide to appropriate text, and have their uses when grouping students for small group instruction. o Not everything a student reads should be on their grade level. Students should be able to (and be encouraged to) read widely across texts!
Think About Ideas!When considering text complexity, consider the big ideas in a book....What are the struggles the characters face?How intertwined are the relationships?How mature are the themes?
Think About "Ladders"Teri Lesesne talks about ReadingLadders when considering textcomplexity. As students findbooks they enjoy, suggest they readUP a ladder!For example....Students who enjoyed Hatchet by Gary Paulsen because of the adventure and survival might also like Take Me to The River by Will Hobbs or First Descent by Pam Withers. Both are adventure/survival stories, but are a bit more complex and ladder with Hatchet.
Another Ladder:Dystopian:• Among The Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix• City of Ember by Jeanne Du Prau• The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins• The Giver by Lois Lowry• 1984 by George Orwell
How Do I Suggest ALadder? o Ask: “What was the last thing you read that you really liked? What was it that you liked?” o Use that as your starting point to find “read alikes” that will get the reader going. o Dont limit yourself to topic ladders. Think authors, themes, word plays, formats, etc.
How Do I Know WhatBooks to Suggest?Theres only one way.....You have to READ! A Lot!Find out what to read by checking out Goodreads, Twitter, and the Centurions on Facebook, or ask your school librarian for recommendations!
Allowing students choices meansthey have access to books.Richard Allington states:• Higher-achieving schools have more books in classroom library collections than are found in lower-achieving schools.• Classrooms with a larger supply of books have kids who read more frequently.• Classrooms with a larger supply of books usually have more kids reading books they could read successfully.
Allowing students choices meansthey have access to books.Allington goes on to recommend that classrooms have at least 500 books, split evenly between fiction and nonfiction and about equally between books that are on or nearly at grade level and books that are below grade level.
Where do I start? o Build your classroom library. § Use the Scholastic Book Club to get free/cheap books. Also, check out their warehouse sale. § Go to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store to find books. § Look for teacher discounts at bookstores o Share your reading life with your students. Talk about the books you love (and even those that you dont). Talk about where you get reading ideas. Talk about how you make time to read.
Books that Hook AdolescentsMiddle School § 13 Reasons Why (Asher)§ The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Angleberger) § Tommy Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading (Greenwald)§ The Unwanteds (McMann) § Perfect Chemistry (Elkeles)§ Runner (Deuker) § Divergent (Roth)§ Percy Jackson & the Olympians (Riordan) § Clarity (Harrington)§ The Hunger Games (Collins) § Legend (Lu)§ The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Alexie) § The Rangers Apprentice series (Flanagan)§ I Am Number Four (Lore) § The Alex Rider series (Horowitz)§ The One and Only Ivan (Applegate) § Gordon Korman books§ Wonder (Palacio) § The Fourth Stall (Rylander)§ I Heart You, You Haunt Me (Schroeder) § Sidekicks (Santant)§ Speak (Halse Anderson) § Zita the Spacegirl (Hatke)§ What My Mother Doesnt Know (Sones) § Amulet series (Kibuiski§ Smile and Drama (Telgemeier) § Stargirl (Spinelli)§ The 39 Clues series § Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (Kinney)§ Mike Lupica sports books § Among the Hidden series (Haddix)§ Kate Messner books § The Maze Runner (Dashner)§ Out of My Mind (Draper) § The Last Thing I Remember (Klavan)
Books that Hook AdolescentsHigh School§ 13 Reasons Why (Asher) § Jumping Off Swings (Knowles)§ Perfect Chemistry (Elkeles) § Before I Fall & Delirium (Oliver)§ Divergent (Roth) § House of Night series (Cast & Cast)§ The Mockingbirds (Whitney) § Tell Me a Secret (Cupula)§ Clarity (Harrington) § Refresh Refresh (Percy)§ Legend (Lu) § Anna Dressed in Blood (Blake)§ Crank (and other Ellen Hopkins books) § Catching Jordan (Kenneally)§ Living Dead Girl (Scott) § Unwind (Shusterman)§ Twisted (Halse Anderson) § Hold Still (LaCour)§ Hush, Hush (Fitzpatrick) § Variant (Wells)§ Page by Paige (Gulledge) § Blue is for Nightmares series (Stolarz)§ Right Behind You (Giles) § Gym Candy (Deuker)§ Purple Heart (McCormick) § Crackback (Coy)§ Swim the Fly (Calame) § Breathing Underwater (Flinn)§ The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Hodkin) § Hex Hall series (Hawkins)§ THE DUFF (Keplinger) § Cracked Up to Be (Summers)§ The Warrior Heir trilogy (Williams Chima) § Sweethearts & How to Save a Life (Zarr)§ Stupid Fast (Herbach) § Twenty Boy Summer (Ockler)§ Wake trilogy (McMann) § The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Chbosky)§ Paranoid Park (Nelson)
Next Steps forImplementing in Your Room• Build your classroom • Read. A lot. (Learn titles and themes and which books will library connect with which students)• Work with your • Be a model reader (students need to see you as an librarian to get books authority and see your reading life) into kids hands • Be a book talker• Find related themes (think of it as being an advertiser) & books for novels • Do read alouds (Be the fluent example & share good you currently teach books that students might miss)• Start small-choose • Be a book pusher one unit to try it (never miss an opportunity to recommend a book to a student)
Following Up & Contacting Us SlideShare: www.slideshare.net/mindi_rTwitterJillian - @heisereadsMindi - @mindi_r BlogsSarah - @yaloveblog Jillian - www.heisereads.comDanielle - @mymercurialmuse Mindi - http://nextbestbook.blogspot.comEmail Sarah - www.yaloveblog.comJillian - firstname.lastname@example.org Danielle - www.mymercurialmusings.comMindi - email@example.comSarah - firstname.lastname@example.orgDanielle - email@example.com