Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Working with Text

All of the students in Connected Classrooms work on a year long inquiry project. Students choose their topics at the beginning of the year, and spend Fridays focusing on their projects. The three teachers share the lead on lessons that guide students through the inquiry process and help them sift through the information they find. Lessons range from choosing topics, asking guiding questions about their topics, research methodologies, and analyzing their findings.

Students are at that time of year where they have completed the majority of their research and are beginning to synthesize and organize their information. Many students have compiled vast amounts of research and many have used online articles and text as their primary research avenue. As much of what they find is quite academic, sorting and processing text like this can be a daunting task. Much of the text is far beyond grade level, and it can be overwhelming to make sense of.

Aislinn and I have focused a few recent lessons on working with text, and have led activities that offer students strategies to use when dealing with difficult, academic text.

On Tuesday, I led a lesson using an AVID text marking strategy, where students read an article together as a class, and during each reading, students utilized a different text marking tool. Initially, they highlighted main ideas, followed by writing connections and questions on the margins and all over the page. During the videoconference, students from all three sites shared the information they found most valuable, what connections they made, and what questions the text left them with.

Today’s Aislinn’s lesson focused on a different strategy that could help student in dealing with the text they may encounter during the inquiry research project. Aislinn had students work on utilizing text features to organize information, and recognizing how they could transfer their knowledge of text features when processing their research.

Here are a few examples of students working with text in preparation for their inquiry projects:

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