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teaching with informational texts

Would a clearer purpose help?

If your students struggle with determining what’s important or they think “it’s all important!” make sure they have a clear purpose for reading. A purpose stated as a question is even better. Questions like “What is the author’s point of view? What are details in the sources that make me think so?” or “How did …Read more

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Predictions are not “right” or “wrong”

Recently I watched 60 Seesaw videos of fifth grade students reflecting on a THIEVES lesson. I’d posed these questions for reflection: “Were your predictions on track? How were they helpful (or not) to you as a reader?” What I noticed was that many students commented about whether their predictions were “right” or “wrong.” This made …Read more

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Using THIEVES + Seesaw for Student Reflections

Are the Seesaw videos you need to watch piling up? While Seesaw seems to be an easy space for students to upload videos for a variety of purposes, as the teacher who has to watch them, these can pile up. So how can we use Seesaw as a reflection tool versus just a repository for …Read more

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Sport Climbing: Three Sources + Cheat Sheet

What kind of sport climbing are you interested in? Speed climbing? Lead climbing? Or bouldering? There are some great sources on this hot topic–I chose a video and two articles that compliment each other (i.e., they have similar main ideas but each contributes interesting supporting details). And of course, there’s a cheat sheet, too. You …Read more

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Padlet with Sets of High Interest Sources

The pandemic provides an excellent opportunity for many of our students to read A LOT nonfiction and to read W I D E L Y on a lot of topics of interest. The benefits are numerous–more background knowledge, better comprehension, bigger vocabulary, and the development of a love for what reading offers. There are even …Read more

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Insect Superfood: Two Sources + Cheat Notes

Entomophagy is the human consumption of insects as food. While we were in Mexico last summer, my husband and I tried avocado toast with crickets at La Gruta, a restaurant near Teotihuacán, Mexico. There tasty! This week’s sources for remote learning (during COVID-19 pandemic) are on this high interest topic. Geared towards 2nd-5th grade. I’ve included …Read more

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Driverless Cars: Three Sources + Cheat Notes

This text set includes two articles and a video on this HOT TOPIC! See further below for cheat notes on similar details in the sources. Probably most appropriate for 4th-7th grades. Source 1 VIDEO “Why don’t we have self-driving cars yet?” by Business Insider This is about five minutes. The details I suggest using begin …Read more

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Conferring Tip #2: Assess Fluency

Truth #1 – When a student is reading nonfiction, their rate may slow down when they are making sense of harder parts and speed up when they are making sense of easier parts. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL! It means they are attempting to monitor for meaning making!!!! Truth #2 – A student may never read as …Read more

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Conferring Tip #1: When readers get stuck on a word, teach for cross-checking.

Our students may need a reminder to use multiple sources of information to figure out a word – meaning cues (context & pic clues), visual cues (the letters in a word), and syntax cues (how the language sounds). They may need to learn to ask questions like: Does that make sense? Does that look right? …Read more

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Helpful Predictions vs. Not

“That’s not enough,” I said. The students’ mouths dropped open. The look on their faces said “Whaaat???” We’d just watched the first dozen seconds of the San Diego Zoo video “Baby Elephants.” I’d paused the video and asked them to make a prediction. “Based on the introduction, what do you think you’ll be learning about …Read more

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