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Three Books – Same Facts But…

Three books about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Three different authors. Each shape the facts to reveal distinct insight. I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark (Levy, 2016) Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R. B. G. vs. Inequality (Winter, 2017) No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Krull, 2018) Here are two examples of how …Read more

It’s ok to confer about just a word or phrase

Do you have students who blow through texts, getting just the gist, but not really thinking through specific details that might make a difference in their understanding? Recently when I leaned in to confer with a student, he had just read this sentence: Surf lifesaving clubs are Australian institutions dotted along the country’s coastline.¬† This …Read more

Observing for what students are “not saying” during conferences

During conferences, I listen to what students are saying but I also listen for what they are NOT saying. For many students, when you ask them to tell you what they have learned from a complex informational text (or a part of a text), they will talk about content they understood without you. Rarely will …Read more

“Why do we have to annotate?”

“Why can’t I just highlight?” Ever heard that from a student? A few weeks ago I had the honor of teaching a class of 5th grade students with the objective of convincing them that annotating is a powerful way to make sense of a source–I did this by helping them realize the value of annotating …Read more

Sample text set for teaching authors’ purposes

If students are reading multiple sources on a topic, thinking about the purpose of each source can help students remember the content in the source AND notice the similarities and differences between sources. What follows is a sample set of sources (on recycling) for students to explore a set of sources (each with a different …Read more

Less is More – Identifying key words from just a few sentences

Have you ever asked a reader to tell you about what they learned in a short nonfiction book or article and they do one of the following? Give you a few miscellaneous (not related to each other) facts? Talk about the last fact they read? Share facts you discussed during the preview of the source? …Read more

On the power of inquiry charts…my kids surprised me when…

Recently I had the honor of talking with Sara, a teacher in Iowa, whose students have started using inquiry charts. In a nutshell, these charts help students determine what is important and organize their notes as they read-view-listen to multiple sources. (If you’re not familiar with inquiry charts, please check out an article I wrote …Read more

Our students know so little if…

When our students read just one source on a topic, I would argue they still know almost nothing about that topic or issue. I know you know this. It’s not until they read, view, listen to multiple sources on that topic that their understanding is transformed. This is not a new point. My argument is that students should …Read more

It’s about NOTICING when they need to compare/contrast

Lesson plan + set of follow-up sources. It’s not just about teaching students how to compare and contrast. We also need to teach them to¬†notice when they need to ask comparison questions. Below is a description of a series of lessons I had the honor of teaching last week exploring this idea. I’ve also included …Read more