Great instruction does happen by accident. Teachers intentionally select tools, tactics, and techniques to strategically help their students experience success. While we want students to read and write with a purpose, we also want them to read and write on purpose because they have a mission or a goal. They are naturally curious. They want to know more. Here are ideas to support learners as they uncover what’s important about instructional content.
Integrating Textual Evidence
There are only three ways students can embed an author’s ideas into their own writing: direct quote, summarize, or paraphrase.
Most students are already directly quoting the text. The problem is they are quoting everything. I tell students, “If it’s profound, write it down.”
Summarizing a text is an important skill. I like to use Capsule Summary to teach students how to extract the most important information and then condense it in a few words. Just make sure you are using your own words and not your own ideas. A summary is not a reflection of or reaction to a text. You can use summarized text within your reflection or reaction. But a true summary condenses what the author is SAYING.
Paraphrasing a text also means explaining what the author is SAYING. However, a paraphrased may end up being longer than the original text.
Now that students know what the author is SAYING, we want students to recognize what the author is DOING. This helps them to integrate that evidence in a way that makes their writing flow. Share this list of verbs that students can use to think about what the author is doing in the text. Go beyond persuade, inform, and entertain. Writers do so much more. Download the list here.
Transition Action Detail
I love sharing this organizer with teachers and students. Thank you, Steve Peha. It’s great for helping student write narrative stories. But it is also useful for supporting them when they have to summarize a process, a procedure, or anything that is in sequential order.
Feed Up instruction by sharing the rubric with students at the start of a learning episode. Make sure your rubric has these four essential components: (1) task, (2) criteria, (3) performance level indicators, and (4) strong descriptions for each criterion at each performance level. Download this example of a 3rd Grade Rubric for teaching the beginning of narrative writing.
Use a rubric for formative assessment so that students have immediate Feedback and so that you can Feed Forward your lesson based on student performance. Not sure about the difference between Formative and Summative assessment? Click here for a refresher.
Question Formulation Technique
This is a great technique to encourage students to generate questions that matter to them. Here are the basic steps of QFT.
This tool can be used with fiction or nonfiction text. Read more about how I used Probable Passage with a fiction text.
Simply change the categories for a nonfiction text. WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW usually work well.
Have a question not answered here? Please contact me and let me know what’s on your mind.
And remember, K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple and Strategic!