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

2. Voices in the

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

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

5. Sharing the Text

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.

Choosing Books for Read-Alouds
A number of considerations might guide a teacher's choice of literature to read aloud to a class. Ms. Bomer uses her knowledge of her students' linguistic and cultural backgrounds as she looks for books her students will enjoy and that offer rich possibilities for conversation. She has had success with the following titles:

Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh
The Dumb Bunnies Go to the Zoo by Sue Denim
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Wild Fox by Cherie Mason
Phoebe the Spy by Judith Berry Griffin
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Conversation Partners
Pairing students is an effective way to support their development as conversationalists as well as enriching their understandings of literature. Additionally, working in partners ensures that all students-even the quiet ones-have an opportunity to share their thinking. After reaching an interesting point in the text, students are asked to jot informal notes about their responses in their writer's notebooks. They then meet with their Conversation Partner, share their ideas, and respond to one another's thinking in ways that lead them to new understandings.

Ms. Bomer works with her students to teach them explicit conversational strategies (e.g., "I agree with what ___ just said, andů" or "I think ___ is right about ____, butů") to use with their partners or when engaged in whole-class discussion. For more information about developing conversational skills, you may wish to explore the Institute for Learning's material on "accountable talk" at http://www.instituteforlearning.org/.

Sketch to Stretch
Based on ideas developed by Phyllis Whitin and presented in her book Sketching Stories, Stretching Minds: Responding Visually to Literature, the basic premise behind Sketch to Stretch is that creating a visual based on a literary work stretches student thinking, helping them to see the text in new ways.

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, occurs as students are engaged in the act of learning in order to inform instruction. Typically assessment is holistic, often recorded simply as "credit" or "no credit." In this video, the notes Ms. Bomer takes as she listens in on the discussions between Conversation Partners are an example of assessment. Not only do the notes help her frame the discussion when the class gathers together again, but they provide a permanent record of what different students are thinking and talking about.

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

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, the following list of texts may help you choose titles to complement the ones used in this lesson plan:

For The Color of My Words
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Circuit: Stories From the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jiminez
An Island Christmas by Lynn Joseph
Coconut Kind of Day: Island Poems by Lynn Joseph
Jump Up Time: A Trinidad Carnival Story by Lynn Joseph
Mermaid's Twin Sister: More Stories From Trinidad by Lynn Joseph
Wave in Her Pocket: Stories from Trinidad by Lynn Joseph
Silent to The Bone by E. L. Konigsburg
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
The Land by Mildred D. Taylor

For Book Clubs
Cougar Canyon by Lucy Jane Bledsoe
Tangerine by Edward Bloor
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
Randall's Wall by Carol Fenner
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Holes by Louis Sachar
Knots in My Yo-Yo String: The Autobiography of a Kid by Jerry Spinelli
Crash by Jerry Spinelli
Fourth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli


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