Thursday, January 19, 2012

What standards are we creating for?

We're creating text sets for history and social studies standards for grades 2, 3, 4 and 6. 

Click each grade level for a link to a PDF file for each grade level so you can see what we do in Virginia and what we're creating for.

Grade 2

Grade 3  Grade 3 is the first year that students are assessed and questions from any of the previous years (K-2) can be included in the test.

Grade 4 (which, in our county, is Virginia History)

Grade 6 (in our county is US History until 1865)

Click here for a link to all the History and Social Sciences Standards of Learning (SOLs)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How do you create text sets?

Ok, so now you know what a text set is.  But, how do you create them?  Its not as easy as just pulling a bunch of books together; to create thoughtful, purposeful text sets (to create thoughtful, purposeful learning) actually takes some work.  Some basic steps (summarized and paraphrased from Maria Nichol's Expanding Comprehension Through Multigenre Text Sets, 2009) are:
              1.  Determine the goal or standard that you are working with
              2.  Using a backward design, plan the unit with the end in mind.  What is it that you want the students to come away with knowing?  How will they be assessed on this?
3.  Decide what literacy standards you are going to try to integrate (for example, in Virginia, Reading SOL 4.5 states that "The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of nonfiction" by using text organizers, formulating questions, explaining author's purpose, making inferences, drawing conclusions, summarizing and distinguishing between cause and effect.)  This would be a perfect standard to integrate in with a science or social studies text set.
4.  Turning those standards you chose into inquiry questions 
5.  Finally, now you can work on selecting your sources of information.
6.  But, you still need to plan the progression of lessons, guided practice and independent work/inquiry.

Now, you're probably scared and thinking, "Text sets sound hard.  I don't want to do this."  Sure, they sound hard, but they really aren't.  Plus, the are so beneficial to student learning.  Its something you should really consider doing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What is a text set?

If you've stumbled across our blog, you may be asking yourself, "What in the world is a text set?" 

The simple answer is a text set is a group of books about a central topic. 

To take that a little farther, a text set is using multiple sources to construct a better meaning of a topic.  Because many text books are too complex for many of our readers to understand and work with, pulling in other sources of information (books, newspaper articles, magazine clippings, etc).  They really help bring together lots of sources of information to allow a for a deeper understanding of the topic.

For more information about text sets, check out Maria Nichol's book Expanding Comprehension with Multigenre Text Sets (Scholastic, 2009)