Reading Writing

Tying It Together

June 15, 2017

Organizing and Adding an Essential Question and Tasks to Text Sets

Once you have selected the texts you will use to build your text set, you will need to organize your books. How and when will you use the books you have selected? Will they be read aloud texts or will the students read some of the books themselves? How many times will you read or reread each book. Will you only pick out certain sections of the text to share? Some of this will be adapted based on your students’ needs and comprehension during the process, but you still need to have a good idea about how you plan to scaffold knowledge building during your lessons.

After you have worked to put your books together and organize how you will best utilize them during lessons, consider how you will tie in the selected texts/media with the enduring theme you picked out earlier during your text set creation.

I enjoyed reading MILNE Library’s tips for this process using Cappiello and Dawes’ book titled Teaching with Text Sets. They consider the following when creating and responding to texts – how will students work with the texts and what will they do with the texts? (Cappiello, 2013). Think back to when you were beginning to assemble your text set. As a reminder, here are a few essential questions to ask yourself and/or issues to consider when putting together a text set:

  • Think about the standards. What are students expected to know and be able to do? This can dictate the topics/themes chosen.
  • What do you (the teacher) want students to know (beyond the standards)?
  • What topics/themes/content will engage and excite students (Cappiello, 2013)?

The essential question and summative task you create will support the overall understanding of your text set, but you cannot get there all at once. Each text you read should have a small, daily instructional task. Ideas here could include a conversation about one text, drawing about what was read, or reviewing a quick graphic organizer page with peers. After several daily instructional tasks, comparing the information from more than one text in a culminating task should occur. Perhaps a small project or a more in depth discussion could accompany a group of the texts- think about comparing and contrasting literature, characters, facts, or themes here. Allow students to be creative in applying their newly acquired knowledge and vocabulary. Lastly, when addressing an essential question we move towards overall comprehension and understanding of the entire unit you assembled for you students’ learning. A comprehensive writing prompt or presentation would be appropriate here. I’ve seen teacher teams use RubiStar to create a free rubric to help evaluate students’ complete learning during their summative task.

Please remember to check out sample text sets on a variety of websites to get a better idea about how the creators put together tasks for students along the way and then tied them all together. Try the Achieve the Core website for starters. The questioning and task part of the text set creation process can take extra time and consideration, so be patient with yourself or your team. Good luck!

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