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Critical thinking across multiple texts – Part I

In a 7th grade social studies class I visited a few weeks ago, the students used an evolving definition of “honorable” as a lens for reading multiple texts on warriors – ancient and modern. In the image below, the blue text was our original definition. As the students engaged in discussions about what it means …Read more

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Easier Main Ideas – Think Traits of Historical Figures

I’ve been thinking about how we can help students identifying multiple main/central ideas in a text. Traditionally we’ve focused on identifying one main idea, but beginning in 5th grade (and continuing in 6th and 7th), the Common Core Standards for Reading Informational Texts expect students to be able to “determine two or more main ideas …Read more

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Close Reading Lesson with Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine

All Aboard! Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine by Monica Kulling (2013) Recently I had the pleasure of teaching demonstration lessons in several third grade classes. In one class, the students were immersed in a unit of study with the essential question “How can learning help us grow?” The text for the lesson was All Aboard! Elijah …Read more

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Close Reading 2nd Grade Text – Tricky Details for Students

As we ask transitional level readers to engage in close reading, let’s be aware of tricky details. Below I share my analysis of one informational text that is very similar to other texts we use in our classrooms. A few weeks ago, I taught several second grade “close reading” lessons with informational texts from the …Read more

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Lesson: Teaching Term Perseverant Through… Part 2

Lesson Experience – Even when definitions of vocabulary words are carefully planned for discussion during close reading, these definitions can be problematic… In a blog entry from last December about a lesson experience, I discussed the needs of a specific group of 6th graders I worked with in an urban school. Many seemed to lack …Read more

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Museums as Nonfiction Sources with Central Ideas

¬† I’ve always found field trips frustrating. The students are very excited, but most of the learning is superficial. But what if we treated field trip locations as nonfiction texts that have central ideas? What if, while on a field trip to a museum, we did the kind of thinking we do to make sense …Read more

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Powerful Vocabulary to Explain Powerful Nonfiction

Making sense of nonfiction narratives related to history is easier if students recognize themes or central ideas the authors are revealing AND have a strong grasp on vocabulary they can use to help them describe these themes. Imagine how understanding and using words like perseverance, courage, tenacity, and despair¬†can lift the level of access to …Read more

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