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Creating Meaningful Text Sets


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Title: Creating Meaningful Text Sets

Creating Meaningful Text Sets
  • Morgan Dunton
  • English Language Arts Specialist

Goals for today
  • Explore the various components of building useful
    text sets.
  • Understand the multiple factors which inform or
    influence decisions about texts including
  • Text type
  • Learning standards
  • Complexity
  • Cognitive demand
  • Transfer of learning
  • Proficiency

  • This cover of Time Magazine from May 11, 2015
    inspired me to create a text set within a unit of
    study as part of a module.
  • What are the connections?

A text set is
  • A collection of texts related by topic, theme,
    style, line of inquiry or other unifying element
  • The set is anchored by a rich, complex,
    grade-level text, hence, the anchor text
  • The anchor text is the focus of close reading
    with appropriate, differentiated instructional
  • Other texts in the set support the instruction of
    the anchor text by providing stretch texts,
    practice texts, or opportunity to learn a
    critical strategy

Critical Consideration Alignment to Standards
  • Are there individual or clusters of standards
    that are the priority purpose for instruction?
  • Are there any individual or clusters of standards
    not sufficiently represented in your curriculum,
    instruction, and assessment system?

Instructional Shifts
  • Staircase of complexity
  • Instruction with both literary and informational
  • Text-based questions
  • Evidence-based responses
  • Development of academic vocabulary

Critical factors to consider
  • Close the gap
  • Text types
  • Text complexities
  • Take a deep dive
  • Support understanding of complex texts
  • Climb the cognitive demand ladder
  • Foster independence and transfer
  • Create regular practices that lead to
    proficiency strategies applied independently in
    a variety of contexts

Closing the Gap
  • Am I providing students the opportunity to engage
    with a variety of text types?
  • Genres Do my students understand the qualities
    of a variety of literary styles and forms?
  • Modes Am I providing instruction for accessing
    fiction, nonfiction, and a variety of
    informational texts in a variety of formats,
    digital as well as print?
  • Models/Mentor Texts Are my students analyzing
    the style of writing that I will eventually want
    them to write?

Closing the Gap
  • Am I supporting students as they develop fluency
    and attempt to grow with stretch texts?
  • Student-level (practice) texts Am I providing
    students the opportunity to independently read
    and analyze texts at their reading level?
  • Grade-level (instructional) texts Am I
    providing instructional opportunities to support
    all students reading texts on grade level?
  • Stretch-level texts Am I providing
    instructional opportunities to support all
    students developing fluency with texts above
    their reading level?

Taking The Deep Dive Reading Closely
  • Consistent close reading practices will help
    students gain independence with complex texts
  • Helps students build stamina and persistence
  • Develops facility with vocabulary strategies
  • Encourages critical thinking practices
  • Fosters engagement with short texts or segments
    of longer texts to analyze authors purpose, how
    ideas are conveyed, key details, arguments and
    supporting evidence.
  • Do your texts provide sufficient opportunity for

Fostering Independence Getting to Transfer
  • Qualities of independence
  • Student knows how to engage with a particular
    text without prompting from a teacher
  • Student can form questions and responses relative
    to any text regardless of complexity or cognitive
  • Student demonstrates facility with a variety of
    appropriate strategies when encountering unknown
  • Students demonstrate the ability to make meaning
    of new or conflicting information, synthesizing
    without prompting

Begin with a gap analysis
  • What does your data suggest about student
    performance with
  • Literary text
  • Informational text
  • DOK level performance?
  • Selected response items
  • Constructed response items

Building a text set
  • More gap analysis
  • What are the anchor texts in your curriculum?
  • May be a novel, a text book, or any text that is
    the foundation of a unit
  • Have you completed a complexity roadmap for your
    anchor texts?
  • Roadmap (aka placemat) is an organizer for
    identifying elements of complexity, alignment to
    standards, and priority instructional strategies
  • Have you conducted an analysis of texts by grade,
    department, school, or district?

Building a Text Set
  • Where are your gaps?
  • Type, complexity, instruction?
  • What is your plan for filling the gaps?
  • What are your anchor texts?
  • Can you build a set for each?
  • Do you have an overarching theme or essential
    question for all anchor texts?
  • How can you fill an instructional need with a
    related text?
  • Have you identified a pathway to transfer?

Building a Text Set
  • A strong text set
  • Builds student knowledge about a topic
  • Makes a meaningful connection to the anchor text
  • Includes texts that are authentic, rich, and
    worthy of study
  • Presents a range of text types (literary and
    informational) and formats (print, digital)
  • Offers text complexity levels that support
    student achievement of the grade-level complexity
    demands of Maines learning standards

Building a Text Set
  • A weak text set
  • Includes texts that are not related or are only
    superficially connected
  • Is limited to textbook passages
  • Focuses exclusively on one genre or format
    (unless the set is a genre study)
  • Provides texts of erratic complexity without
    supporting a staircase of grade-level complexity

Building a Text Set
  • Build on a solid foundation what
    should/must/will remain?
  • Mind the gaps determine what is missing and map
    your plan for filling those gaps
  • Ie. You noticed that all of your existing anchor
    texts fall in the low end of the grade band of
    complexity so you want to update your curriculum
    by including more texts at the upper end of the
    complexity band

Building a Text Set
  • Identify your anchor text
  • Review the complexity roadmap
  • Develop an essential question to explore across
    the entire set
  • Determine a line of inquiry (a set of text-based
    questions)for the text
  • Identify texts that potentially close the gaps
    and provide opportunity to explore the essential

Building a Text Set
  • When examining texts for potential inclusion
  • Does the text make a meaningful contribution to
    the body of knowledge connected to the anchor
  • Is the text worthy of student time and attention?
  • Does the text contribute to a range and balance
    of text types and formats in the overall set?

Building a Text Set
  • Once you have selected the titles to include
  • Identify focus instructional areas (i.e. a
    chapter or section of the text that might be
    especially challenging or that is a critical
    connection to the anchor text)
  • Determine a few activities you can do with the
    text that align to grade level learning
  • Develop a culminating activity to assess learning
    across the set

Phenomenon Organization
  • Essential Question How are legacies created?
  • Line of Inquiry
  • What is the connection between the deaths of
    three public figures in the 1960s and the
    current state of race relations in America?
  • What legacy did the Kennedy brothers and Dr. King
    leave? Who is responsible for creating and
    carrying on those legacies?
  • What power is there in words? Has audience
    impact changed through time and technology?

Sample Text Set
  • Anchor the Robert F Kennedy speech announcing
    the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. is a worthy
    text because it
  • Is historically significant
  • Is well written with attention to rhetorical
  • references history (brother, Aeschylus)
  • Foreshadows Kennedys death a few weeks later
  • Provides opportunity to teach language standards
    at the grade band

Related Texts
  • Eulogies/death announcements genre studies
  • Ted Kennedy speech provides opportunity to study
    rhetorical style
  • JFK study includes eulogy by a Catholic Cardinal
    and the chief justice to contrast ecumenical and
    secular style
  • Civil Rights pillars in history
  • Letter from Birmingham Jail addressed to clergy
    (ecumenical call) April 1963
  • Article about JFKs path to civil rights provides
    context for MLK study June 1963

Related Texts
  • Website Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice
    and Human Rights
  • Through modern technology, students can explore
    the legacy of RFK
  • Current Events self-directed exploration
  • Baltimore, St. Louis, Charlotte, elsewhere

Text Sets
  • What is courage?
  • https//
  • How do you know from the images (as opposed to
    the words) that the assembled men are moved by
  • Explain how both Scout (Jean Louise Finch) and
    Robert Kennedy demonstrated courage in the face
    hostility and potential violence.

Text Sets
  • How Does One Show Respect?
  • Father is passing
  • https//
  • Fear the mom
  • https//
  • Explain how both video clips depict acts of
    respect and what that means to the larger society

What to do with a text set?
  • Does the text set lend itself to clustering
  • What culminating activity would benefit students
    and provide an opportunity to achieve transfer?
  • How can this set of texts provide a bridge to
  • Does the text set provide inspiration to explore
    various lines of inquiry?

The Text Set
  • What we already
  • do
  • have
  • know
  • Something we
  • dont do
  • need
  • want to know

Building a Text Set
  • The texts you use will define
  • the parameters of your instruction.

What you are doing after the session?