Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5
Engaging With Literature

About This Video Library

Lesson Builder

Hints for Site Leaders
Video Titles:

1. Signposts
About This Video Clip »
Featured Texts »
Classroom Snapshot »
Classroom Lesson Plan »
Professional Reflection »
Teacher Tools
Additional Resources »

2. Voices in the Conversation

3. Starting Out

4. Responding
to Literature

5. Sharing the Text

6. Building Community

7. Book Buddies

8. Finding
Common Ground

9. Discussion

Site Map

1. Signposts

Teacher Tools

Whether you are a classroom or preservice teacher, teacher educator, content leader, department chair, or administrator, the materials below can assist you in implementing the practices presented in the video clip.

Assessment and Evaluation: Some Useful Principles

The terms assessment and evaluation are often used as synonyms. Distinguishing between them can be helpful as you plan instruction. Assessment means looking at what students can do in order to determine what they need to learn to do next. That is, assessment, whether of individual students or an entire group, is done in order to inform instruction. Typically assessment is holistic, often recorded simply as "credit" or "no credit."

Evaluation occurs after a concept or skill has been taught and practiced and is typically a scaled response, indicating the level of achievement or degree of competence a student has attained.

Using a Writer's Notebook To Enhance Literary Envisionment

Teachers often find it useful to have students keep an ongoing record of their responses to literature over a period of time. These records can form the basis for a discussion about a text, or about a student's processes of making meaning. They enable students, teachers, parents, and administrators to observe a student's developing powers as a literary reader. Because they offer teachers a window into student processes, they suggest opportunities for supportive intervention as appropriate. Some teachers ask students to provide special notebooks for such records. However, individual sheets of notebook paper stapled together at regular intervals and filed in the classroom for safekeeping work just as well and are less cumbersome to manage. Teachers with access to appropriate technology sometimes have students submit notebook entries digitally.

Developing Envisionments With Students

Envisionment-building classrooms depend on student questions-authentic questions about the real issues raised by their reading. Those questions become the center of discussions, which help students-individually and as a group-develop their understandings of the literature, and of the world in which they live.

However, many students are afraid to ask questions. Because questions reveal what they don't know or don't understand, students worry that they will look foolish or unprepared if they ask questions. Indeed, in some classrooms, questions are traps. Not having the right answer means nothing but trouble! If students are question-adverse, teachers may have to help them learn to value-and use-questions.

One way is to help students become aware of how they develop their understandings of the literature. As they develop a conscious recognition of how their perceptions of a literary piece change, develop, and grow throughout their reading and during discussion, they will begin to recognize the role questions have in that process.

Teachers can help students become aware of their developing envisionments by asking questions such as the following:

  • What do you know now that you didn't know before?
  • What do you think will happen (next..? because of? to?)?
  • Now that we've talked a bit, how has your thinking changed? What made it change? Why has it stayed the same?
  • When you first read the title of this piece, what did you think it would be about? Were you right? How did the title help you understand how to begin? (Or how did it get in the way of your initial understandings?)

    Text Pairings

    As you plan literature experiences for your students, consider offering text pairings. Some teachers like to introduce students to a number of books by the same author. Others try to find books with similarities in theme or content. Books that have received awards and appear to be developing into contemporary classics are also favored choices. No list of suggestions can be complete or can address every criterion. However, each program in this library offers suggestions for additional texts that complement those around which the lessons are centered.

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