Monday, October 15, 2012

Common Core: Contextualization Using Informational Text

The reading of informational text will become an integral part of all content area subjects when common core standards are rolled out.  Students will need to learn how to interact with it by making sense of the context.  This act of contextualization must be taught, but it is a skill that will carry over throughout all their classes regardless of the content.  It is a skill that will carry them through college or turn them into successful members of the work force. 

So what does it look like in a classroom?  Here is a 9th grade history class analyzing the lives of Gandhi and Ho Chi Minh and how their philosophies changed the world.  Notice how the teach lays the groundwork with activating prior knowledge.  She takes the complex and finds ways to relate it their lives by asking them what they might feel or do if the school imposed a mandatory school day that went from 8-5 with 5 hours of homework every night.  Students then started to share their resentment at such a scenario and then how they would react to it. 

With that foundation of resistance now laid, the teacher moves into the lesson.  She has the students read a recap of her lecture (she set them up to experience success with the reading first) with a partner.  This is a Think-Pair-Share.  Students read and discuss their insights with the person next to them.  Teacher calls on non-volunteers (accountability).

To provide further support, she had a great graphic organizer shaped like a donut with the outer section being the BIG C (what was going on in the time period each man lived in) and the center circle being the LITTLE C (specifics about the historical figures themselves).  With this setup, students are now ready to read the actual historical document and answer questions with a partner.

The final checkup is an exit slip out the door.


When lessons are delivered in such a way, no one is left behind:)


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