Teaching K–12 Transdisciplinary Literacy: A Comprehensive Instructional Framework for Learning and Leading [1 ed.] 0367643847, 9780367643843

Accessible and comprehensive, this text introduces a transdisciplinary framework for literacy instruction in grades K–12

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Teaching K–12 Transdisciplinary Literacy: A Comprehensive Instructional Framework for Learning and Leading [1 ed.]
 0367643847, 9780367643843

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Table of Contents
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Prelude
Interlude: Understanding Rationales and Dispositions
1 Curating the K–12 Transdisciplinary Learning Environment
Conditions for Learning
Demonstration
Responsibility
Approximation
Response
Immersion
Expectation
Engagement
Use/Employment
Flow Theory and Instructional Coherence
Intentional and Coherent Instruction
Vigor and Vigilance
Summary
2 Understanding an Integrated Model of Transdisciplinary Literacy Learning as a Process
The Graphophonic Working System
The Schematic Working System
The Semantic Working System
The Pragmatic Working System
The Lexical Working System
The Syntactic Working System
Teaching for Confluency and Close Critical Reading
Teaching for Reciprocity of Reading and Writing
Teaching for Transdisciplinarity
Transactional Nature of Learning
Summary
3 Co-Triangulating to Inform K–12 Instruction
Collecting Artifacts
Participant Observations
Non-participant Observations
Taking Inventory of Reading Behaviors
Analyzing Writing for Instruction
Teaching for Strategic Activity Based On Assessment
Summary
Interlude: Defining K–12 Instructional Practices
4 Using Considerate and Inconsiderate Multimodal Texts
Understanding Text Complexity for K–12 Literacy Instruction
Triadic Analysis of Text Complexity
Student-centered Considerations
Qualitative Analysis of Texts
Lexile Measures
The Role of Leveled Texts
The Role of Decodable Texts
The Role of Text Sets
Recommended Steps for Curating a Text Set
Orienting Students to Texts or Lessons
Summary
5 Defining Grades 9–12 Instructional Practices Within a K–12 Literacy Framework
Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades 9–12
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades 9–12
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades 9–12
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Shared/Choral Reading in Grades 9–12
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Readers’ Theater 9–12
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades 9–12
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction 9–12
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group 9–12
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing 9–12
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing 9–12
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice
Description
Summary
6 Defining Grades 6–8 Instructional Practices Within a K–12 Literacy Framework
Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades 6–8
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades 6–8
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades 6–8
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Shared/Choral Reading in Grades 6–8
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Readers Theater in Grades 6–8
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades 6–8
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction in Grades 6–8
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group in Grades 6–8
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing—Teacher Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing—Teacher or Student Co-Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice
Description
Summary
7 Defining Grades 3–5 Instructional Practices Within a K–12 Literacy Framework
Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades 3–5
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades 3–5
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades 3–5
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Shared/Choral Reading in Grades 3–5
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Readers’ Theater in Grades 3–5
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades 3–5
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction Grades 3–5
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group Grades 3–5
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing—Teacher Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing—Teacher or Student Co-Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice
Description
Summary
8 Defining Grades K–2 Instructional Practices Within a K–12 Literacy Framework
Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades K–2
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades K–2
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades K–2
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Shared/Choral Reading in Grades K–2
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Readers’ Theater Grades K–2
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades K–2
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction Grades K–2
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group Grades K–2
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing—Teacher Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice
Description
Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing—Teacher or Student Co-Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud
Supportive Rationale/Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice
Description
Summary
Interlude: Building a Foundation for Implementation
9 Developing a Literacy Leadership Team to Refine and Sustain a K–12 Transdisciplinary Literacy Framework for Instruction
Developing a Common Language
Literacy Leadership Team Self-Assessment Survey
Defining the Ground Rules
Setting the Ground Rules
Assembling a Working System to Support Change
Developing Common Goals
Understanding Literacy Learning as a Process
Professional Learning Community of Practice
Professional Growth
Identifying Members
Elementary Transdisciplinary Literacy Leadership Team (PK–5)
Secondary Transdisciplinary Literacy Leadership Team (6–12)
Assembling a Working System to Promote Forward Shifts
Using Assessment to Guide Investigation and Inform Instruction
Using Evaluation to Inform Practice
Executing an Action Plan
Reflecting On the Action Plan
Summary
10 Transdisciplinary Literacy Coaching On a Continuum of Professional Learning
Facilitating a Workshop
Providing an Observation Lesson
Co-teaching in an Observation Classroom
Conferring, Observing, Debriefing (Aka “The Coaching Cycle”)
Facilitating an MTSS or Transdisciplinary Literacy Leadership Team
Facilitating Action Research
Summary
11 Engaging in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, Response to Intervention/Instruction, and Professional Learning Communities of Practice in a K–12 Transdisciplinary Literacy Framework
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
Response to Intervention/Instruction
Professional Learning Communities of Practice
Summary
Epilogue: Lessons Learned
References
Index

Citation preview

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Teaching K–​12 Transdisciplinary Literacy Accessible and comprehensive, this text introduces a transdisciplinary framework for literacy instruction in grades K–​12. This cutting-​edge volume addresses the need for literacy instruction that crosses disciplines to provide students with a skillset that is not constrained or siloed, but rather knowledge that students can apply to existing and emerging fields. The text begins with a clear, theoretical understanding of literacy instruction, delves into practical aspects of select instructional practices by grade level, and expands to the creation of schoolwide Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support to ensure a continuous improvement system. The authors’ inviting and innovative approach walks through real-​world pathways for meaningful and inclusive literacy practices at distinct grade levels and includes authentic examples that show what the successful implementation of a K–​12 transdisciplinary framework looks like. Covering key topics such as MTSS, RtI, Professional Communities of Practice, national and state standards, this book supports pre-​service ELA teachers, literacy coaches, reading specialists, and administrators, and is ideal for courses in literacy instruction and content area literacy. Enrique A. Puig, Ed.D., is Director of the Morgridge International Reading Center at the University of Central Florida, USA. Kathy S. Froelich, Ph.D., is Clinical Associate, at the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University, USA, retired.

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Teaching K–​12 Transdisciplinary Literacy A Comprehensive Instructional Framework for Learning and Leading

Enrique A. Puig and Kathy S. Froelich

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First published 2022 by Routledge 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2022 Enrique A. Puig and Kathy S. Froelich The right of Enrique A. Puig and Kathy S. Froelich to be identified as authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-​in-​Publication Data Names: Puig, Enrique A., 1956– author. | Froelich, Kathy S., author. Title: Teaching K–12 transdisciplinary literacy: a comprehensive instructional framework for learning and leading / Enrique A. Puig, Kathy S. Froelich ; foreword by Brian Cambourne. Description: New York, N.Y.: Routledge, 2022. | Includes bibliographical references. Identifiers: LCCN 2021013559 (print) | LCCN 2021013560 (ebook) | ISBN 9780367643843 (hardback) | ISBN 9780367638641 (paperback) | ISBN 9781003124276 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Literacy–Study and teaching. | Language arts–Correlation with content subjects. Classification: LCC LC149 .P95 2022 (print) | LCC LC149 (ebook) | DDC 372.6–dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021013559 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021013560 ISBN: 9780367643843 (hbk) ISBN: 9780367638641 (pbk) ISBN: 9781003124276 (ebk) DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276 Typeset in Optima by Newgen Publishing UK

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With respect, admiration, and affection, we dedicate this book to Aurora Martínez Ramos. Her faith in us and her passion for literacy, has sustained us since 2006. She understands what it takes to produce this kind of text at a time when an abundance of education is in demand to solve real world issues.

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Contents

Foreword by Brian L. Cambourne  Acknowledgments  Prelude 

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Interlude: Understanding Rationales and Dispositions 

1

1

Curating the K–​12 Transdisciplinary Learning Environment  Conditions for Learning  Flow Theory and Instructional Coherence  Intentional and Coherent Instruction  Vigor and Vigilance  Summary 

3 12 20 23 24 24

2

Understanding an Integrated Model of Transdisciplinary Literacy Learning as a Process  The Graphophonic Working System  The Schematic Working System  The Semantic Working System  The Pragmatic Working System  The Lexical Working System  The Syntactic Working System  Teaching for Confluency and Close Critical Reading  Teaching for Reciprocity of Reading and Writing  Teaching for Transdisciplinarity  Transactional Nature of Learning  Summary 

26 27 28 28 29 30 30 34 39 40 42 45

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Contents

3

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5

Co-​triangulating to Inform K–​12 Instruction  Collecting Artifacts  Participant Observations  Non-​participant Observations  Taking Inventory of Reading Behaviors  Analyzing Writing for Instruction  Teaching for Strategic Activity Based on Assessment  Summary 

47 50 50 52 53 57 64 67

Interlude: Defining K–​12 Instructional Practices 

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Using Considerate and Inconsiderate Multimodal Texts  Understanding Text Complexity for K–​12 Literacy Instruction  Triadic Analysis of Text Complexity  Student-​centered Considerations  Qualitative Analysis of Texts  Lexile Measures  The Role of Leveled Texts  The Role of Decodable Texts  The Role of Text Sets  Recommended Steps for Curating a Text Set  Orienting Students to Texts or Lessons  Summary 

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Defining Grades 9–​12 Instructional Practices within a K–​12 Literacy Framework  Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades 9–​12  Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades 9–​12  Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades 9–​12  Instructional Practice: Shared/​Choral Reading in Grades 9–​12  Instructional Practice: Readers’ Theater 9–​12  Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades 9–​12  Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction 9–​12  Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group 9–​12  Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing 9–​12  viii

73 74 75 76 80 82 83 84 86 88 90 91 93 96 98 101 104 106 108 111 114

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Contents

Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing 9–​12  Summary  6

7

Defining Grades 6–​8 Instructional Practices within a K–​12 Literacy Framework  Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades 6–​8  Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades 6–​8  Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades 6–​8  Instructional Practice: Shared/​Choral Reading in Grades 6–​8  Instructional Practice: Readers Theater in Grades 6–​8  Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades 6–​8  Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction in Grades 6–​8  Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group in Grades 6–​8  Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing—​Teacher Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud  Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing—​Teacher or Student Co-​composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud  Summary  Defining Grades 3–​5 Instructional Practices within a K–​12 Literacy Framework  Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades 3–​5  Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades 3–​5  Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades 3–​5  Instructional Practice: Shared/​Choral Reading in Grades 3–​5  Instructional Practice: Readers’ Theater in Grades 3–​5  Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades 3–​5  Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction Grades 3–​5  Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group Grades 3–​5  Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing—​Teacher Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud 

116 119 121 123 125 128 131 133 136 138 141 144 146 149 150 152 154 157 160 162 164 167 170 172 ix

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Contents

Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing—​Teacher or Student Co-​composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud  Summary  8

Defining Grades K–​2 Instructional Practices within a K–​12 Literacy Framework  Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades K–​2  Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades K–​2  Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades K–​2  Instructional Practice: Shared/​Choral Reading in Grades K–​2  Instructional Practice: Readers’ Theater Grades K–​2  Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades K–​2  Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction Grades K–​2  Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group Grades K–​2  Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing—​Teacher Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud  Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing—​Teacher or Student Co-​composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud  Summary 

Interlude: Building a Foundation for Implementation  9

Developing a Literacy Leadership Team to Refine and Sustain a K–​12 Transdisciplinary Literacy Framework for Instruction  Developing a Common Language  Literacy Leadership Team Self-​Assessment Survey  Defining the Ground Rules  Setting the Ground Rules  Assembling a Working System to Support Change  Developing Common Goals 

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179 181 183 186 189 191 194 196 199 202

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210 212 216 216 217 218 218

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Contents

Understanding Literacy Learning as a Process  Professional Learning Community of Practice  Professional Growth  Identifying Members  Elementary Transdisciplinary Literacy Leadership Team (PK–​5)  Secondary Transdisciplinary Literacy Leadership Team (6–​12)  Assembling a Working System to Promote Forward Shifts  Using Assessment to Guide Investigation and Inform Instruction  Using Evaluation to Inform Practice  Executing an Action Plan  Reflecting on the Action Plan  Summary  10

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Transdisciplinary Literacy Coaching on a Continuum of Professional Learning  Facilitating a Workshop  Providing an Observation Lesson  Co-​teaching in an Observation Classroom  Conferring, Observing, Debriefing (aka “the Coaching Cycle”)  Facilitating an MTSS or Transdisciplinary Literacy Leadership Team  Facilitating Action Research  Summary  Engaging in Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support, Response to Intervention/​Instruction, and Professional Learning Communities of Practice in a K–​12 Transdisciplinary Literacy Framework  Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support  Response to Intervention/​Instruction  Professional Learning Communities of Practice  Summary 

218 219 219 219 220 220 221 224 228 230 232 234 236 242 244 246 248 250 251 253

255 256 263 266 267

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Contents

Epilogue: Lessons Learned  References  Glossary  Index 

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269 273 283 286

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Foreword

Starting with the carefully crafted watchwords of anticipation to the Prelude, Interludes, and Epilogue, Puig and Froelich have created an elegant professional narrative that introduces a transdisciplinary framework for instruction grounded in sound theory and research on literacy learning over time. I believe that the format, content, and scaffolds assembled in this text is dramatically different from the traditional genre of books on learning and teaching. The text encourages and persuades teachers and teacher leaders to explore and examine their own and others’ transdisciplinary literacy behaviors in ways that induce deeper understanding of the complexity of transdisciplinary literacy learning to solve real-​world issues. The learning theory known as Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning was developed with the help of a range of brilliant classroom practitioners such as Jan Turnbull, Andrea Butler, Hazel Brown, and many others, all who showed me how theory could be turned into practice. In this text, Puig and Froelich take my theoretical ideas on Conditions of Learning into curating a coherent and intentional K–​12 learning environment for students, teachers, and teacher leaders. Many have taken the Conditions of Learning and applied it to working with a wide variety of age groups in school. Not only have Puig and Froelich proposed applying the Conditions of Learning across grade levels and disciplines from kindergarten to adolescents, but they have also applied them to working with adults in coaching situations. They interpret my ideas accurately, and they extend them in ways that make sense.

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Foreword

What makes this book so dramatically different from the traditional genre of books on literacy learning and teaching? Its format, structure, and content are significantly different from the format, structure, and content of previous texts which present, explain, and justify theories of literacy learning in silo-​isation. By silo-​isation I mean the tendency of groups of literacy specialists (school-​based practitioner scholars and university-​based research scholars) within complex domains of inquiry or knowledge to promote their own specialism as the answer to the ills of literacy learning and teaching. Silo-​isation entails the slicing of complex knowledge domains along lines of specialization. This in turn creates knowledge silos which comprise clusters of like-​minded teachers and teacher leaders sharing a common cause. Those who inhabit those silos believe that dividing experience and phenomena into increasingly smaller parts enhances understanding of the complex whole. Thus, we have teachers who teach, teacher leaders that foster, and researchers that promote that we teach phonics or fluency or vocabulary or comprehension as slices. These well intended teacher-​colleagues, teacher leaders, and researchers obviously expect that by putting all these slices of the whole together again, either conceptually or experimentally, the whole system will become comprehensible and replicable. The current state of literacy learning and instruction shows that this is a fallacy of the first order. The literacy profession’s tradition of breaking the complex act of literacy learning into parts and studying these parts has not improved its understanding of the complex system that needs to be continuously assembled and disassembled over time. Nor can it ever hope to, because reductionism not only distorts the system, it also eventually destroys it. Puig and Froelich obviously believe that the ever-​increasing confusion which silo-​isation has created around literacy learning and teaching can only be eliminated by boundary-​crossing teachers and teacher leaders who are prepared to cross conventional borders of pedagogical concern in order to address real-​world issues within and outside of the classroom learning environment. This is what Puig and Froelich, with this text, have done. First, they ask the reader to focus on transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction with the end in mind from a design-​thinking mindset that begins with empathizing. They accomplish this by asking teachers and teacher leaders to consider investigating instructional practices from high school

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Foreword

to middle grades to primary grades versus traditional temporal schemes that usually takes us from primary grades to high school grades. Second, they share a personal window of learning into their varied experiences and changing understandings over time through their use of the Prelude, Interludes, and Epilogue, drawing you into real-​world issues in education. Finally, the text itself is divided into three sections that promote having a theoretical understanding of literacy learning and instruction to an almost recipe-​like section on select instructional practices by grade level to creating working schoolwide Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support to ensure a continuous improvement system on the basis that “school” is a place of learning for all—​students, teachers, and teacher-​leaders. A primary feature that sets this text apart from its predecessors is the way it leads readers through the complexities of transdisciplinary literacy learning by gently challenging and nudging them to construct a viable, coherent theory that explains the phenomena of literacy learning and provides a basis for an evidence-​based, scientifically derived pedagogy for teaching. The contributions of John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky, Marie Clay, Louise Rosenblatt, Albert Bandura, Grace Fernald, Frank Smith, Mikhail Csíkszentmihályi, and many others are mindfully interwoven throughout the text and clearly illustrate how their different theoretical perspectives converge into a coherent explanatory theory or rationale of “how literacy learning works and how people make transdisciplinary sense.” Some of the most compelling scientific work of the twenty-​first century has been done by researchers who seek inspiration and partnership across disciplines and national borders. I am hopeful that this text will disrupt the status quo and serve as a springboard toward a movement to rework learning and teaching using the tools and perspectives from a wide range of disciplines. Furthermore, it may stimulate a new generation of teachers and teacher leaders to accept the text’s challenge to study transdisciplinary literacy learning across grade levels coherently and to marvel at the universal ability of humans to think symbolically and to learn and create language easily in all its complex forms. Together, with informed teachers and teacher leaders who come to understand that all students can become literate as easily as they learned to talk, they can construct exciting and effective pedagogy based on the understanding of literacy shared in this text.

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Foreword

If I were a district superintendent, curriculum leader, or principal looking for a model to develop some PD for the schools I was responsible for, I would seek to get this book into everyone’s hands. I found myself saying, “Yeah, yeah” and nodding my head vigorously as I read. Brian L. Cambourne Principal Fellow University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

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Acknowledgments

First and foremost, we have to acknowledge Routledge/​Taylor & Francis Group and our editor Karen Adler for her kindness, guidance, patience, and her belief in the project. We would also like to acknowledge the following teacher-​colleagues and teacher leaders for expanding our knowledge of transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction over a period of many years, which assisted us in writing this text: Susan Elliot-​Johns at Nipissing University for being our ESC; Terri Beeler, in Houston, TX; Denise N. Morgan at Kent State; C.C. Bates at Clemson; Robin Griffith at Texas Christian University; Jennifer Manak at Rollins College; and Katie Button and Dean J.P. Mendez at Texas Tech University for being gentle and critical friends and colleagues; Karen L. Ladinsky, friend and morning therapist; Gay Su Pinnell, emerita at the Ohio State University for being a muse, friend, and colleague in addition to a constant source of inspiration and knowledge; Diane E. Deford emerita at the University of South Carolina who to date remains the quintessential renaissance woman and model for a literacy coach; Mary Ann Poparad at National Louis University for her powerful coaching language; Sarah Mahurt, Janine Schuster, and Nilaja Taylor, and the many teacher-​colleagues and teacher leaders on St. Croix; Superintendent Michael Grego, Michael Feeney, Holly Slaughter, and Connie Dierking in Pinellas County, Florida; and Assistant Superintendent Laura Kingsley and Lisa Fisher in Sarasota County, Florida; Mary Ann Colbert in Palm Beach County Schools for helping us reimagine multisensory instruction; Sandra L. Robinson for her encouragement, faith, and foresight; Darliny Katz and Christine Harris at BridgePrep Academy; Nancy Chartier, Mike Friis, and all the teacher-​colleagues and literacy coaches in Green Bay

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Acknowledgments

Public Schools, Wisconsin; Principal Chad Harnisch in Sauk Prairie School District and all our mentor teachers in Rice Lake, Wisconsin; Principal Seth Daub, Ellice Richards, Virginia Milam, Loisann Murphy, Eliza Campbell, Ashley Blackmon, Abbey LeTang, Jessica Armstrong, and Kirstie Friend in Orange County Public Schools, Florida; John and Carrie Morgridge, for their generosity in supporting UCF in creating the Morgridge International Reading Center; to our colleagues at UCF—​Mary E. Little, Vicky Zygouris-​ Coe, Elsie L. Olan, Nicole Damico, Vicki Kelchner, Laurie Campbell, Su Gao, Jeanette Garcia, Susan Kelly, and Andrea Gelfuso; Michael Petty, Mary Ann Clark, Mellissa Alonso, Laurie Lee, and Kevin Smith and many others with the Florida Literacy Association and Florida Literacy Coach Association. We additionally want to express a special acknowledgment to all the school-​based practitioner scholars from across the United States and other countries who over time have invited us into their classrooms and schools and have made us better learners. A very special thank you to Dean Pamela (Sissi) Carroll at the University of Central Florida for her warm, caring, and ongoing words of encouragement to pursue this project. We continue to acknowledge with the utmost respect and admiration the work of Brian Cambourne and the late Marie M. Clay for their extraordinary research, passion, and endeavors. Their work endures and transcends disciplines. Through their presence, work, and powerful words, they have changed the face of education so that we continue to learn as global citizens in a transdisciplinary literate world to solve real-​world issues.

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Prelude

watchwords (plural noun) Words or phrases expressing a core aim or belief. Learning, teaching, and leading are critical watchwords in education today. Ample literature documents the importance of coherence or flow (Fullan & Quinn, 2016; Fountas & Pinnell, 2017) in professional learning and its impact on student learning (Hattie, 2009). In our work with teachers and teacher leaders we have found that when schools do not have a coherent literacy framework that considers student learning from kindergarten through 12th grade, instruction, as well as learning and leading, unravels from grade level to grade level. When this occurs, instruction, teacher leaders, and the work of literacy leadership teams tend to be all over the road and nearly impossible to sustain and expand success; never mind guide in the right direction (Pennell, 2020). Hence, this broadening chasm may be one of the causes of why we see standardized test scores drop from elementary to middle school, and further from middle school to high school. In order for professional learning experiences to have long-​ lasting and intense effects on student learning, consideration needs to be given to the implementation of a coherent K–​12 literacy framework that support teachers in supporting students intentionally and imaginatively over time. Additionally, we have found that to amplify the implementation of a coherent K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework, the work of high-​quality teacher leaders in conjunction with a knowledgeable literacy leadership team is invaluable. Utilizing teacher leaders and a literacy leadership team without a coherent K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework in place is the equivalent to a road trip without GPS or map. You will move and go somewhere, but no one will xix

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Prelude

know where they are going or how long it will take to get there. As teachers, teacher leaders, and active members of numerous literacy leadership teams over time, we have found that in order for instructional support to be intentional and coherent, a K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework had to be in place. Within a multi-​tier systems of support model, the same principle applies to the form and function of a literacy leadership team involved in solution-​seeking endeavors to tackle adaptive challenges that they have identified (Froelich & Puig, 2010). Consequently, we embarked on Teaching K–​12 Transdisciplinary Literacy: A Comprehensive Instructional Framework for Learning and Leading to support teacher leaders, teachers and school systems seriously engaged in implementing a model that considers the full K–​12 spectrum of students’ literacy learning and instruction. We use the term “literacy” to mean transdisciplinary literacy rather than simply acts of reading and writing as we target a more global citizenship. Moreover, instruction in this text refers to the multiple tiers of intentional and coherent interactions among teacher leaders, teachers, and students. When our interests are in educating global learners with an eye on the 22nd century, we have found the terms “systematic and explicit” inadequate. Consequently, we have evolved to using the terms “intentional and coherent.” “Intentional” implies thought and “coherent” adheres to our beliefs that true learning occurs from known to unknown. Teaching K–​12 Transdisciplinary Literacy: A Comprehensive Instructional Framework for Learning and Leading presents a core of illustrative extensively researched instructional practices tempered by years of common sense teaching experiences in tandem with the experiences of many mentor and distance teachers. It is intended to fill the void in school reform models that utilize a collaborative leadership model supported by knowledgeable teacher leaders as lead learners in an era of core standards and high-​stakes testing. Although this text can definitely stand alone to support all instructional leaders in implementing appropriate instructional practices, especially within Multi-​Tier Systems of Support and Response to Intervention/​ Instruction (RtI2), it is intended as a companion volume to other texts to accelerate forward shifts for everyone in a school system—​from teacher leaders to teacher-​colleagues actively involved in curating multisensory learning environments grounded in the science of literacy learning and common sense. Within the context of Multi-​ Tier Systems of Support, Response to Intervention/​Instruction, and Professional Learning Community of Practice xx

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Model, this text provides school and university professionals at all levels with specific, almost recipe-​like, step-​by-​step directions for implementing specific instructional practices for teachers to implement, literacy leadership teams to consider, and teacher leaders to investigate and refine with mentor-​colleagues. Of course, it goes without saying that the implementation of any instructional practice should always be informed by assessment and evaluation that considers students’ and teachers’ strengths and needs (Puig & Froelich, 2011). This can only be determined by utilizing static and dynamic assessments (Dixon-​Krauss, 1996). Static assessments generally provide a number that indicates a student’s academic standing in comparison to other students. Dynamic assessments, on the other hand, provide a window into how students are processing information. Based on years of personal teaching experience, one type of assessment to the exclusion of the other can be detrimental. Used in combination, they can be a powerful instrument in amplifying instruction to support students in accelerating their learning. This is particularly useful for working with the approximately 20% of students for which universal core instruction in a Multi-​tier Systems of Support and RtI2 model is insufficient. Simultaneously grounded in Vygotskian theory, we believe that the multisensory instructional practices proposed by such giants in our field as Grace Fernald, Silvia Ashton Warner, Don Holdaway, Hilda Taba, Donald Graves, Brian Cambourne, Marie Clay, and many other exemplary distance teachers, can be revisited, re-​envisioned, and updated to support all educators towards teaching third millennium students. Although we suspect that third millennium students will be far more technologically savvy than the previous generation of students we have taught, they still need intentional and coherent transdisciplinary multisensory literacy instruction that primes a mental feedforward mechanism to predict and anticipate and prompts a response mechanism to promote mindful independent learners that are self-​regulating, self-​directing, and self-​monitoring (Clay, 2015). Respice finem (keep the end in mind). Polya (1945) reminds us to “look at the end. Remember your aim. Do not forget your goal. Think of what you are desiring to obtain. Do not lose sight of what is required. Keep in mind what you are working for.” Heeding Polya’s advice, we organized our conversation in this text with the end in mind. Consequently, our conversation on specific instructional practices for transdisciplinary literacy instruction starts in grades 12–​9; proceeding to grades 6–​8; moving on to grades 3–​5; and highlighting the critical and foundational instruction that takes place xxi

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in grades K–​2 rather than the usual reverse order to focus and highlight the importance of teaching for career and college readiness to nurture global citizenship. Curating present-​day multisensory learning environments may include computers, electronic interactive white boards, downloadable books, virtual realities, augmented realities and more; but truly powerful instruction occurs with a vigilant, vigorous, sensitive, and insightful teacher supported by mentor-​colleagues to make informed decisions (Puig & Froelich, 2011). Teaching K–​12 Transdisciplinary Literacy: A Comprehensive Instructional Framework for Learning and Leading is written for teacher leaders, teachers, schools, and school systems to educate (not just school) and cultivate third millennium students who not only think outside of the box, but who design boxes to think outside themselves and serve as springboards for others. Employing ethnographic research methodologies, the text is divided into three primary sections that cover respectively a theoretical foundation into how students learn, evidence-​based practical application into how teacher-​colleagues teach, and a support system to ensure continuous improvement to promote a shared vision. The journey into the text starts with a pathway that begins with Chapter 1 addressing what it will take to curate a transdisciplinary multisensory K–​ 12 learning environment followed by Chapter 2 that delves into our current understanding of an integrated model of transdisciplinary literacy learning as a process. We consider Chapter 2 the backbone of this entire body of work. Deconstructing it and reconstructing it will be critical. In Chapter 3 we review and stress the importance of co-​triangulating data to truly inform instruction and professional learning. With the theoretical groundwork in place, we move on to Chapter 4 to investigate the use of considerate and inconsiderate text to support learning across the disciplines. Chapter 5 begins by painting a picture of adolescent high school learners followed by a series of recommended age appropriate instructional practices. Chapter 6 addresses the dispositions and behaviors of middle school adolescents in addition to recommended age appropriate instructional practices. Strolling on to Chapter 7, we illustrate what upper elementary or intermediate grade adolescent learners are like and provide some age appropriate instructional practices for this particular age group. In Chapter 8, we describe young learners in the primary elementary grades and some age appropriate instructional practices to ensure that fail-​free joyful learning is taking place. xxii

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As you continue to wade through the final section of the text, Chapter 9 addresses building a foundation for implementation by revisiting the role and function of a literacy leadership team. Then in Chapter 10, we look at literacy coaching on a continuum of professional learning to support teacher-​ colleagues and teacher leaders to improve instruction. In Chapter 11, we define and flesh out the role of Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support along with Response to Intervention/​Instruction and Professional Learning Communities of Practice. Although we conclude with an Epilogue sharing lessons learned, we hope that this metaphorical end of the pathway leads you to many other paths untaken. The end of the book is meant to send you into many other journeys.

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Interlude Understanding Rationales and Dispositions

The interlude for each section of this text provides a narrative of our professional journey and is intended to provide context to our current understanding. In this first section, we describe literacy learning as a process from a complex perspective. We subscribe to Marie Clay’s (2015) thinking that unless we understand literacy learning as a process, our teaching will be hit or miss; and it is the process we need to change (Clay, 1987). Interestingly, no one wants instruction to ever be hit or miss. We cannot imagine teacher leaders wanting instruction that is hit or miss either. Yet, most professional learning opportunities provided to teacher-​colleagues and teacher leaders seldom, if ever, address “how” students are learning or processing information. We plow forward with what Freire (1973) has called the “banking” model, where we continue to deposit information into students’ and colleagues’ heads. Most professional learning opportunities that we have experienced generally focus on how to implement distinct instructional practices using a particular set of published materials. In other words, most professional learning opportunities, with the best of intentions mind you, focus on what we do to the students, ignoring how the students are processing the input we are providing. Rarely are teacher-​colleagues given the time to reflect as a genuine professional learning community of practice on how students are processing information and how do we interact (notice we did not say “react”) with what is occurring. Again, with the best of intentions, we have sat on many misguided “data” meetings with teacher-​colleagues and teacher leaders where the entire focus of the meeting (under the guise of a professional learning community

DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-1

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Understanding Rationales and Dispositions

to improve instruction) was dedicated to reporting student scores and not what students were actually doing. As of the completion of this text, we have yet to see that simply reporting student scores improves learning and instruction. Nor does it do much to inform teacher leaders as to the kind and quality of professional learning opportunities truly needed to amplify student learning. The language we use professionally is critical as well. Are meetings being called “professional learning communities”? Are professional conversations taking place around “student learning” or “student achievement”? Our point here is that we firmly believe in the Vygotskian theory that language is a tool for thinking and if we do not update our language how will we “upgrade” our thinking and change our behavior to refocus on improving learning and instruction? In the next three chapters, we share our evolving and current understanding of learning and teaching grounded in our experiences as classroom practitioner-​ scholars and university research-​ scholars. We encourage you to read and reread critically with colleagues to unfold the rationales and dispositions using the watchwords at the beginning of each chapter to prompt the necessary professional conversations that need to take place to improve instruction. We prefer the term “unfold” instead of “unpack”. When most of us “unpack”, we put things away. Our intent for writing this text was never for it to be put away, but rather, unfolded and critically revisited over and over; wrinkles and all.

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Curating the K–​12 Transdisciplinary Learning Environment

cu-​rat-​ing (verb) To take charge of or organize; to pull together, sift through and select for presentation. Present-​day schools echo the paradigm of the Industrial Age with schedules, physical facilities, and rigid margins among administration, grade levels, content areas, classrooms, and student-​teacher relationships. Curating a transdisciplinary multisensory learning environment goes beyond rigor and relevance and requires vigor and vigilance to develop an intentional and coherent K–​12 framework to support the professional learning of teacher-​ colleagues to improve literacy learning and instruction. Currently, society demands multisensory learning environments that support people, places, and ideas, and are fluid in their organization of space, time, and technologies. A positive relationship among these factors promotes robust professional learning communities of practice grounded in respect, trust, and collaboration among students, teacher-​ colleagues, teacher leaders, and families. In constructing such learning environments, we come closer to the vision John Dewey (1980) expressed over 100 years ago: to make each one of our schools an embryonic community life, active with the types of occupations that reflect the life of the larger society, and permeated throughout with the spirit of art, history, and science. When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a little community saturating him with spirit of service and providing him with the instruments of effective

DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-2

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The Transdisciplinary Learning Environment

self-​direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely, and harmonious. With his words, Dewey has set the standard for families and school systems. Traditionally, a learning environment conjures up mental pictures of a school, a classroom, a library—​everything in perfect rows facing a focal area; generally, the teacher. Although learning may take place in such physical locations, we need to consider that a learning environment can be a blended space with face-​to-​face or virtual and online interactions. A useful way to think about transdisciplinary literacy learning environments is as elegant and graceful structures that facilitate conditions for learning—​ structures that buttress individual learning needs based on strengths and scaffolds positive social-​ emotional interaction for effective and efficient learning. Learning environments are the structures, mechanisms, and communities that arouse curiosity, wonder, and instill awe among students and teacher-​ colleagues. In other words, these structures serve to motivate, interest, and engage all learners. We use the term learners broadly to include all levels of educators and the students they impact. We use great educators are great students first as our guiding mantra throughout this text and have a strong belief that schools have to be a place of learning for all who are in it if positive forward shifts are to occur (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988). Learning must be grounded in social collaboration to promote formal and informal learning. Or what Vygotsky (1992) has called scientific and spontaneous learning. Although we are addressing the need to curate a multisensory learning environment in this chapter, we do not want to lose sight of the importance of such multi-​tiered systems of support as: understanding literacy learning as a process; using static and dynamic assessments to inform practice; using narrative (literature) and non-​narrative (informational) texts; investigating instructional practices; and putting in place systems for ongoing professional learning. While understanding that these multi-​tiered systems of support will be discussed separately, it is important to remember that each topic or issue is a critical component for curating a multisensory learning environment and a coherent K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction. Intentional and coherent learning occurs when these structures are aesthetically and seamlessly integrated into a consistent whole in which each structure is dependent on and supports the other. It is 4

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worth emphasizing too, that these support structures are valuable not as ends, but as means to a greater goal—​to nurture students, and the teacher-​colleagues that teach them, emotionally, socially, physically, and academically. Transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction has to be intimately intertwined with social, emotional, and physical health. Therefore, a multisensory learning environment must deal with the multifaceted and interconnected learning needs of students while at the same time capitalizing on their strengths. Our experiences have taught us that if real acceleration in learning is to occur, we have to take the learners’ strengths into account (Dweck, 2016). The prevalent viewpoint of assessing needs, remediating deficits, and solution seeking as the best routes to learning and teaching is no longer adequate for current learners (Csíkszentmihályi & Schneider, 2001; Schreiner & Anderson, 2005). Acceleration in learning will be hindered if we only look at students’ needs or deficits. At first glance, a multisensory learning environment may seem to be one of several support structures in a coherent K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework (see Figure 1.1), but in fact it takes multi-​tiered systems of support to ensure coherent transdisciplinary instruction and learning over time. We have learned from the popular systematic and explicit approach to instruction. We now need to move on to an intentional and coherent approach to instruction. Curating a transdisciplinary multisensory learning environment is an aligned and synergistic framework of overlapping scaffolds that: 1. Creates professional learning opportunities, where teacher support and the physical environment is employed to scaffold literacy learning and instruction. 2. Supports professional learning communities of practice, RtI2, and lesson study that enable teacher-​ colleagues to collaborate, construct, and execute an array of lessons that coherently support student learning across disciplines as they progress through grade levels. 3. Motivates and engages students to learn across disciplines in relevant contexts with vigor and vigilance. 4. Provides access to quality culturally sensitive and age-​appropriate off-​ line and on-​line resources. 5. Includes designated areas for large group, small group, and individual learning.

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Grade 1–​Grade 2 15 minutes

Grade 3–​Grade 5 15 minutes

Grade 6–Grade 12 10–​20 minutes

Options: • Interactive read aloud • Shared reading theater

Options: • Interactive read aloud • Shared reading

Options: • Collaborative read aloud • Shared reading

• Interactive or shared writing

• Interactive or shared writing

• Transdisciplinary word study • Interactive spelling instruction • Phonics focus lesson • Handwriting (print)/​ Keyboarding • Interactive vocab. instruction

• Transdisciplinary word study • Interactive spelling instruction • Phonics focus lesson • Handwriting (print)/​ Keyboarding • Interactive vocab. instruction

• Modeled or collaborative writing • Interactive edit • Transdisciplinary word study

Options: • Collaborative read aloud • Choral reading or readers’ theater • Modeled or collaborative writing • Interactive edit • Transdisciplinary word study

• Poetry sharing/​response • Handwriting (cursive)/​ Keyboarding • Interactive vocab. instruction

• Poetry sharing/​response • Test reading and writing • Interactive vocab. instruction

Comprehension Instruction and Meaningful Practice Kindergarten to Grade 1 45 minutes

Grade 1–​Grade 2 45 minutes

Grade 3–​Grade 5 45 minutes

Grade 6–Grade 12 40–​70 minutes

Options: • Guided reading (phased in K as appropriate second semester)

Options: • Guided reading (small group instruction)

Options: • Guiding readers (small group Instruction/​learning discussion)

Options: • Guiding learners (smell group or individual text dependent conversations)

Figure 1.1  K–​12 Transdisciplinary Literacy Framework for Comprehensive Instruction

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Kindergarten to Grade 1 15 minutes

The Transdisciplinary Learning Environment

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Word Study

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• Independent literacy work at workstations (gradually increasing to project-​ centered activities in grade 2, second semester.) • Sharing (minimum 5–​10 minutes)

• Independent project-​centered activities utilizing resource stations (computer stations, art station, writing station, etc.)

• Sharing (minimum 5–​10 minutes)

• Sharing (minimum 5–​10 minutes) Note: Minutes are approximations based on general elementary, middle, and high school schedules. List of instructional practices is illustrative, not exhaustive.

Integrated Writing Instruction Kindergarten–​Grade 1 30–​60 minutes

Grade 1–​Grade 2 30–​60 minutes

Grade 3–​Grade 5 30–​60 minutes

Options: • Focus lesson • Independent writing and conferring with teacher • Interactive writing –​small group or whole group • Sharing (minimum 5–​10 minutes)

Options: • Focus lesson • Independent writing and conferring with teacher • Interactive writing –​small group or whole group • Sharing (minimum 5–​10 minutes)

Options: • Focus lesson/​writer talks • Independent writing and conferring with teacher • Investigations (content area projects) • Sharing (minimum 5–​10 minutes)

Figure 1.1  Continued

Puig & Froelich, 2021

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• Project-​centered activities utilizing resource stations (computer stations, art station, writing station, etc.)

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• Independent literacy work at workstations (computer station, listening station, writing station, art station, ABC station, etc.) • Sharing (minimum 5–​10 minutes)

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The Transdisciplinary Learning Environment

6. Supports extended community and international involvement in learning, both face-​to-​face and online; and 7. Is founded on implementing conditions for learning. Informed by research and grounded in common sense life-​long learning, this transdisciplinary multisensory environment promotes learning specifically aimed at the strengths, needs, interests, and desires of the student and the teacher-​colleagues that facilitate the learning. It is designed to promote intentional and coherent, rather than just systematic and explicit, learning and instruction. Such learning and instruction offer literacy learning and instruction across core disciplines (language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and the arts). The most effective learning environments today are more flexible, colorful, purposeful, and engaging than their 20th-​ century counterparts; they are differentiated, personalized, and targeted to students’ sensual learning (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or tactile). Although we are addressing a coherent K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework to improve literacy learning and instruction, the physical environment in which learning takes place cannot be ignored. Students may no longer sit in rows of chairs bolted to the floor. Students’ work may be on display. Technologies may be present, such as an interactive white board, electronic tablets, or a few computers; not to mention other personal electronic devices. While the building alone does not constitute a school, the qualities of where we learn affect the quality of how we learn. Learning spaces are changing and will not all look the same. The industrial era’s assembly line approach to school design does not complement today’s multifaceted educational needs. Schools and other places of learning need to reflect our current understanding of how people learn in preparation for career, college, global citizenship, and a productive life. Designing for flexibility is key. Learning spaces must adapt to whatever changes the future may hold since no one can predict accurately how educational technologies and teaching modalities will evolve. To achieve this flexibility, multisensory learning environments need to be designed with furniture that can easily be reconfigured for different learning opportunities. From furniture arrangement to curriculum content, the school of the future has to nurture the imagination by inspiring wonder, awe, and curiosity with an intentional focus promoting culturally responsive socio-​ emotional interactions.

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The Transdisciplinary Learning Environment

Students today need to be immersed in an information-​ intensive multisensory learning environment that will help them imagine, create, experiment, comprehend, estimate, calculate, and communicate. For a while now, a print-​ rich learning environment has been insufficient since the Internet opened our eyes to a world beyond our immediate lived experiences. Teacher-​colleagues need to critically access tools and resources to share and create knowledge and instructional practices with other professionals and interact with expert colleagues in their field. Teacher leaders need access to these same tools and resources to manage the complexities of coherent K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction—​ from student records and performance data, to personnel management and facilities operations. An infrastructure, designed for flexibility and growth, can facilitate these connections. The essential goal of technologies, as it is with all systems for learning, is to support learners’ relationships to each other and their work. In planning any complex task, infrastructure design must be approached with one eye on today’s practical realities, the other on tomorrow’s opportunities, and an imagination for what is possible. No longer is thinking outside the box sufficient. Our learning and teaching have to focus on supporting learners in designing and creating boxes that will serve as springboards for curiosity and the imagination to create what is possible. A transdisciplinary multisensory learning environment combines physical and technological infrastructures to seamlessly support learning within a coherent K–​ 12 literacy framework to support all learners over time. Combining face-​to-​face with online learning is essential for schools today, but savvy educators know achieving such a goal takes vigor and vigilance over time. It is definitely a planner’s project rather than a quick fix with all the bells and whistles of available electronic technologies and games. The flexible spaces that enable effective learning and shared opportunities, creative scheduling that promotes continuous learning, technologies that support collaboration among the school community and the outside world are the scaffolds within a system of learning that are valuable as long as they effectively support culturally responsive human interactions on which learning depends. John Dewey long ago conceived of schools as miniature communities that imitated the social relations and activities of the larger society in which they were set. However, schools have been separated by disciplinary silos where classrooms are separated from

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The Transdisciplinary Learning Environment

other classrooms, teacher-​ colleagues are separated from other teacher-​ colleagues, and schools are separated from the outside world. Constructive and productive associations within and outside a school enable it to carry out the work more effectively and efficiently. When people are engaged through collaborative arrangements, their effect is multiplied. We believe that knowledge is socially constructed (Vygotsky, 1978). A true professional learning community of practice seeped in a positive culture is more likely to nurture innovation and excellence. A true professional learning community of practice cannot be scheduled or given a label. Keep in mind that professional learning communities of practice evolve over time and involve all stakeholders in an environment where learners are free to take risks and productive failures are learning opportunities. If we are to move forward, we have to realize that a regularly scheduled and mandated “meeting” does not constitute a professional learning community—​never has! There is no single model that will fit all schools. Each school must create its own matrix of teaching talents, instructional approaches, and effective distributive leadership to meet the unique learning strengths and needs of its students and teacher-​colleagues. One common element, though, unites all effective professional learning community of practice: a commitment on the part of every member to the learning of everyone, students, parents, teacher-​colleagues, and teacher leaders alike (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988). A climate of respect and trust among students, teacher-​colleagues, teacher leaders, and families is essential to an effective school. Trust and respect also imply a commitment to the idea that every student, parent, teacher, and administrator deserves and wants to learn, and that every member of the school community is dedicated to everyone’s (students, teacher-​ colleagues, parents, teacher leaders) success. Career-​or college-​minded global citizens need to think critically and creatively, embrace diversity and ambiguity, and construct as well as consume information. They need to be resourceful and self-​reliant, while also skilled at collaboration. Collaboration is a skill learned in kindergarten. We know that tools are only as effective as the tool users. In addition to sophisticated physical structures and technologies, there has to be support for literacy learning and instruction for teacher-​colleagues as well as students. Schools need to be redesigned to reach beyond the traditional classrooms many of us experienced when we were young. The transdisciplinary multisensory

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The Transdisciplinary Learning Environment

learning environments must incorporate a productive mix of technologies, learning orientations, and virtual and real-​life relationships. Making all this happen requires vigor and vigilance; no longer is rigor and relevance sufficient. Schools, like teacher-​colleagues and students, need both support and challenges to thrive and grow. For schools, adaptive challenges are plentiful through accountabilities and responsibilities. The quality of student learning in any educational setting depends greatly on the quality of learning among the teacher-​ colleagues themselves (Hattie, 2009; Darling-​Hammond, Wei, Andree, Richardson & Orphanos, 2009). Teacher-​colleagues and administrators must be given access to the knowledge and tools that support professional learning over time. They must also be offered time to learn, ownership of their learning, and respectful responses to nurture the collegial conversations that foster professional learning communities of practice. Ongoing professional learning demands revising our language. We have learned to update our language away from the term “feedback” and prefer to use the term “response”. Usually, the term feedback has mechanistic and behaviorist connotations that always positions one person over another. At the helm of course, and we believe this wholeheartedly, is effective teacher leadership at all levels; leadership that provides for opportunities to share expertise and emerging promising practices with colleagues inside and outside their professional learning community. Again, in our ongoing learning we said emerging promising practices, not best practices. Experienced teacher-​colleagues are well aware that best practices are relevant to a particular group of students and seldom apply to all. What may be “best” for one may not be best for another. Another scaffold to have in place in multi-​tier systems of support is to ensure that conditions for learning are in place across the board for all stakeholders. This means that conditions for learning are in place for teacher leaders, teacher-​colleagues, students, and community. In the next section, we will review the work of Brian Cambourne (1988) on conditions “of” learning and how they can serve as a framework for thinking about conditions “for” learning to improve K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction in a coherent framework for instruction. In our work with elementary, middle, and high schools we have found that the conditions for learning are the foundation, catalyst, conduit, and common denominator for K–​12 coherent instruction across disciplines.

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Conditions for Learning Regardless of the discipline, language is a tool for thinking (Vygotsky, 1978). Consequently, transdisciplinary literacy learning is grounded in oral language. In the 1980s, Brian Cambourne conducted a study on the origin of literacy and oral language development. In his study, he found that certain conditions needed to be in place, at a universal level, for oral language learning to occur. When these conditions of learning are present, he posited, students will be more likely to be involved in the process of learning. The works of many other educational anthropologists, including Cambourne, have had a great deal of influence on our learning and teaching with students. Cambourne (1988) found that there are eight universal conditions of learning that are in place during oral language learning. As mentioned earlier, although his work is originally on the conditions “of” learning, we refer to them as conditions “for” learning from a teacher’s perspective and use them as a guide to create supportive coherent K–​12 learning environments. The eight conditions of learning that Cambourne found are: immersion, demonstration, approximation, response, responsibility, engagement, use, and expectation. When learning is taking place, these eight conditions occur concurrently, but we will address each one individually with the understanding that learning occurs when they are all in place in what Cambourne refers to as a synergistic network. Cambourne (2007) places the condition of engagement at the core of learning. It has been our experience that engagement progresses within the learner’s Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1978) or instructional zones where learners can take on a task with the support of a more knowledgeable other. Concluding from the work of Tharp and Gallimore (1988), we feel that within the condition of engagement there are four levels taking learners from subject-​centered learning to solution-​seeking learning with complex sublevels existing within each. As a framework for thinking when learning is taking place, the first level of engagement appears to exist at a social plane with interaction among learners and more knowledgeable others. At the second level of engagement, learners are consciously self-​ regulating. As the learner progresses through the levels of engagement that we have identified, the learning behavior becomes “fossilized” (Vygotsky, 1978) or automatic. The fourth level of engagement occurs when the learner understands what they have learned and what they still do not know. The 12

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fourth level is where learning is recursive, and the learner returns to the first level with new learning occurring. By considering the conditions for learning, you can then begin to look at the learning environment. These conditions can form a solid foundation for creating a supportive multisensory learning environment. In the next few paragraphs, we will go into a brief but detailed account of each condition. There is no specific order for the conditions. When genuine learning is taking place, the conditions occur simultaneously. Also keep in mind that conditions for learning are not to be developed into a checklist of classroom activities, but rather it is a “synergistic network” to frame our thinking when organizing a multisensory learning environment. Cambourne’s conditions for learning are the nexus to construct an intentional and coherent K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for multisensory instruction. Demonstration Although each condition is dependent and builds on each other, the condition of demonstration is one that nearly every single one of us refers to as one manner of learning something. Ask any group how they learned something and nearly everyone will mention that they observed someone involved in what they attempted to learn. For example, think about how you learned to ride a bicycle, drive a car, knit, or skate. In almost every situation we observed someone engaged in the activity that made it look simple, so simple in fact, that we felt we could learn to do it too. Through multiple exposures to an activity, we acquired not only a sense that we could achieve the activity, but we also began to recognize the value of engaging in the activity. The benefit of engaging in the activity could be for any number of reasons: for entertainment, to further another activity, to support a sense of independence, or to assist us in helping others just to mention a few. Let us take driving a car as an example. After many demonstrations in the society we live in, driving a car provides us with the independence to go to the theatre, grocery shopping, visit relatives and friends. All of these activities are what Cambourne (1988) refers to as contextually relevant. We are reminded by Cambourne that demonstrations have to be continuously repeated and that there is no defined length of time that each demonstration should last. This understanding is key when curating a multisensory learning environment. These two caveats should have a tremendous impact 13

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on literacy learning and instruction. By taking a look at ourselves first, we will realize that the demonstrations that we observed were always demonstrations of an entire or whole activity. Shifting gears, turning on the windshield wipers, or braking by itself were never demonstrated as isolated activities but rather functions of the entire or whole concept of driving a car. This concept should have incredible impact on the function of a teacher in supporting students in making accelerated progress. Responsibility Teacher-​ colleagues should be viewed as “lead-​ learners” by showing students that they accept full responsibility for their learning. Both teacher-​ colleagues and students need to show that they are self-​monitoring, self-​ regulating, and self-​directed. The condition of responsibility in learning highlights the importance of the learner being in the metaphorical driver’s seat. No one can learn for someone else, but everyone can learn from someone else or from others. The condition of responsibility in learning manifests itself when learners are willing to make decisions about their learning and more knowledgeable others trust that learners will be involved in the demonstrations provided. There are some behaviors that promote responsibility in learning. Responsibility is encouraged in classrooms and schools when learners are asked to try something before asking for help. When help is required it is offered in a collaborative solution-​seeking spirit. Schools and classrooms that offer choice in an information-​ intensive learning environment are encouraging learners to take responsibility for their learning and promoting self-​efficacy (Bandura, 1998). It is a primary responsibility of a teacher to constantly be checking themselves so that class decisions are generated by collaborative solution-​ seeking rather than didactic decision-​making. Didactic decision-​making removes the element of responsibility from the learner and places it on the teacher or more knowledgeable other. Something to think about—​if the teacher is doing all the work, who is doing all the learning? Approximation Most teacher-​colleagues and parents are familiar with approximation as a condition in learning. The infant that begins to coo and make sounds 14

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is approximating the oral language she or he is exposed to through multiple demonstrations provided by other siblings, children, and adults. The kindergartener that simulates writing letters by making squiggles on paper is approximating writing based on many demonstrations they have encountered. Many of us have met young children who approximate reading a story by holding a book and pretending (or approximating) to read. As adult learners, when we predict and anticipate we are approximating an outcome based on our current level of knowledge or lived experiences. Cambourne (1988) tells us that when we think of learning as a form of hypothesis testing, approximations are paramount in order to process information. Approximations are necessary for learners to develop a feed-​ forward mechanism that functions to make learning efficient (Johnston, 1997). A feed-​forward mechanism is our in-​the-​head ability to predict and anticipate. Approximations are predictions and anticipation that initiate information processing. Without approximations, information processing is halted, and sophisticated processing and learning becomes an impossibility (Greene, 1995). Consequently, learning environments should be set up for learners to feel free to approximate in order to jump-​start information processing. Part of a teacher’s charge is to ensure that the multisensory learning environment is set up for all learners (children and adults) to approximate, learn, and grow. Setting up an environment where learners are free to take risks is critical. Without approximations being accepted, the likelihood of forward shifts in learning will not occur. We have to accept that making mistakes is part of learning. Students will make mistakes in their learning and teacher-​colleagues will make mistakes in implementing instructional practices. Response Learning does not take place in isolation. Most learning is accompanied or prompted by responses from others during the process of learning. In Cambourne’s (1988) work the term response is used rather than the mechanistic term feedback. Feedback generally indicates a one-​sided point of view irrespective of the learner. Historically, education has focused on providing corrective feedback. In providing “corrective” feedback we are diminishing the importance of approximations and taking the responsibility 15

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of learning from the learner. By providing a generative response we are honoring and extending the learner’s approximations to encourage forward shifts and the development of a self-​extending system (Clay, 2015). We equate feedback to a transmission model of learning that focuses on memorization of content and response to a transformational model of learning that promotes critical thinking. It will be up to the teacher to weigh the benefits of feedback and response in relation to the identified significant theme or concern. Responses in learning are based on the dance between the learner and the more knowledgeable other. Providing a response is dependent on the learner’s experiences and the experiences of the more knowledgeable other to promote independence. A response is generally made respectfully and sensitively to a learner’s approximations. The issue of response is critical for teacher-​colleagues to promote critical thinking with students. Commonly, responses at school focus on acknowledging, celebrating, or collaboratively seeking solutions based on a demonstration provided by either students or teacher-​colleagues. In other words, most responses fall into three broad categories. They focus on knowledge or skill level, stretching the learner’s understanding, or guiding toward a specific resource. Immersion When we were learning to speak, we were surrounded by oral language regardless of the heritage language spoken at home. From the day we were born, we were immersed in oral language with people talking to us, about us, and around us. Consequently, because we were immersed in this oral language, learning to speak was easily facilitated. Taking our cue from oral language learning, we need to immerse our students in a transdisciplinary information-​intensive multisensory learning environment where thinking, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing is coherent and intentional. By immersing everyone in a transdisciplinary information-​ intensive multisensory environment we are utilizing disciplinary knowledge and appreciating the available technology that our students are growing and comfortable with in their everyday lives. In addressing immersion as a condition for learning, we prefer to use the term information-​intensive learning environment rather than the popularly used print-​rich or literacy-​rich environment. It seems to us that in order to 16

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prepare students for career, college, and global citizenship, print alone will not suffice. The task of the teacher is to consider and plan how to create a multisensory information-​intensive environment where all involved will benefit. Creating an information-​intensive learning environment means providing on-​line and off-​line materials for students. In elementary classrooms (K–​5), this might include work-​boards, interactive white boards, electronic tablets, word walls/​theme charts, computers, books/​ebooks (narrative and non-​ narrative), and dictionaries/​thesauruses. In secondary classrooms (6–​12), an information-​intensive environment may include class agendas, content area textbooks/​ebooks, affix charts, interactive white boards, electronic tablets, computers, books/​ebooks (narrative and non-​narrative), primary sources, and reference materials. In separating the grades to highlight the impact of creating an information-​intensive environment, we are bringing to the forefront the need for adjusting the multisensory learning environment between a pedagogical perspective and a hebegogical perspective (Booth and Rowsell, 2002). At the school level, consideration needs to be given as to how the school is addressing the creation of a multisensory information-​intensive learning environment for everyone involved. Immersion at the school level investigates strengths and needs to include updating technologies, community involvement, providing professional magazines and books/​ebooks across core content areas, looking at professional learning opportunities, and creating an environment where everyone feels free to take risks. Too many times we have seen middle and high school students immersed inappropriately in a learning environment where elementary instructional practices are, although well intended, ineffectively used with adolescents. Expectation Expectation needs to be considered from the perspective of all stakeholders—​ the students, the parents, the community, the teacher-​ colleagues, the literacy coach, the literacy leadership team, and the principal. If the expectation among all involved in a school is not congruent, forward shifts will be impeded. Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) addressed the importance of expectation in their study and revealed the importance of expectation in learning. Additionally, expectation is interrelated to self-​ esteem in learners (Cambourne, 1988) and self-​efficacy (Bandura, 1998). 17

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The idea of truly knowing students and colleagues supports our notion of what we expect. Consequently, our expectations have a powerful influence on learners’ emotions, learning, and memory when processing information (Rushton, Eitelgeorge & Zickafoose, 2003) provided we assess and reflect on the learners’ strengths and needs. When our expectations are too low, a this too shall pass attitude and apathy is likely to manifest in learners. Skillful teacher-​colleagues know that these emotions are counterproductive to learning. When our expectations are too high, learners may develop a defeatist attitude prompted by assignments, texts, and projects that are too demanding to accomplish. Once again, these emotions are counterproductive to learning. Therefore, striking a perfect balance on our expectations becomes a critical point for consideration for teacher-​colleagues, literacy coaches, and literacy leadership teams when we consider that emotions are generally accepted as a gateway to long-​term memory (Caine & Caine, 1994; Lyons, 2003). Our expectations should be grounded on our developing understanding of students’ Zones of Mesial Development (Puig, 2019), Zones of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1978), and Zones of Distal Development (Moll, 2014; Spear-​Ellinwood, 2011). The plural “zones” is used to imply that learners have multiple zones of development across core disciplines. Through mindful and intentional assessments and evaluations, teacher-​ colleagues can develop a theory or rationale of students’ strengths—​what they can learn and/​or do independently and needs, and what they cannot absolutely do or learn or what they can do or learn with the support of a more knowledgeable other. Engagement A crucial condition for learning is what Frank Smith (1981) calls “engagement”. Cambourne (1988) found that there are four principles for true engagement to take place. The first principle is that the learner believes that if they delve into a learning situation, they will be successful. Think of it this way, why would we attempt to do something that we knew for a fact we would fail if we attempted to do it? This principle highlights the point that one factor that needs to be in place for learners to be engaged is the idea that if they attempt to do something, they expect to be successful. There has to be a sense of self-​efficacy in place to be engaged (Bandura, 1998). No one wants to attempt something they know they will fail. 18

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The teacher should always keep this expectation in mind when executing a plan that will directly impact students. Teacher-​colleagues also need to feel that if they implement a new instructional practice, they will be successful in promoting learning in their classrooms. Understanding the purpose and the benefit in an activity or learning situation is a second principle identified by Cambourne. It is understanding “what’s in it for me”. Without this sense of purpose or clear understanding of benefits, learners are not likely to be engaged. Interestingly, most professional learning opportunities we have had focused on understanding the features of an instructional practice. Seldom were we actually told the grounding theory and benefit—​the whys. Hence, it is up to the teacher to ensure that students understand the importance of acquiring high levels of multiple literacies (ways of communicating) where features and benefits are highlighted. Technologies and multimedia are changing the way we communicate. These multiple literacies have to be considered if we want to engage students. Cambourne’s third principle of engagement is the idea that if I attempt to learn something there will not be any negative impact during the process of learning. In other words, to ensure engagement by a learner, the learner needs to feel safe to take risks. When a teacher plans for a lesson, consideration should be given to ensure that all involved understand that everyone is safe to take risks in attempting new learning. Here we have found that maintaining a good sense of humor and celebrating half-​rights or productive failures is critical. The fourth principle of engagement according to Cambourne is the concept that the learner respects and admires the person providing the demonstrations. Think of your own teaching experiences, the students that are usually engaged during your demonstrations are the ones that respect and admire you as a teacher and as a person. Think of yourself. Most of us are engaged in learning when the demonstrations provided are by someone we respect or admire. Even if we do not agree with the person providing the demonstrations, we are respectfully engaged because of our respect and admiration for that person or their work. Cambourne’s four principles of engagement are key points to consider as a teacher or teacher leader to ensure that all participants are engaged in all demonstrations. These principles should prompt you to think that learners need to be convinced that they are liked, and respected, special attention should be given to the kinds of demonstrations provided, and a certain level of awareness of the principles of engagement should be in place. 19

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Use/​Employment Research in neuroscience tells us that practice assists us in taking information into long-​term memory (Jensen, 1998; Wolfe, 2001; Lyons, 2003). Gladwell (2008) claims that the key to success in any field is a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of about 10,000 hours. The concept of use is not new in society or education. We have all grown up in school with use or practice incorporated into nearly all aspects of our schooling. Although not necessarily the most effective instructional practice, many of us remember writing spelling words over and over, memorizing multiplication facts by repeating them to ourselves or to a classmate, committing the information into long-​term memory for further use in the future in other learning enterprises (or not). Considering the concept of use, we believe that effective instructional practices bands practice with social interaction in order for new learning to take place. Cambourne has stated that new learning is a by-​product of social interaction and personal reflection. This concept is further validated by Vygotsky (1978) and Caine and Caine (1997) when they claim that learning is amplified through socialization with others. We have reviewed Cambourne’s conditions for learning as they apply to our work with students and in some cases colleagues. This information alone is still insufficient for us to make truly informed decisions regarding instruction based on assessment and the professional learning opportunities that need to be in place to improve instruction. To increase the likelihood of improving transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction we have to understand the confluence of the conditions for learning and the concept of instructional coherence. In the next section we will share some of our insights from research, theory, and experience regarding engaging students and maintaining instructional coherence during transdisciplinary literate enterprises.

Flow Theory and Instructional Coherence It is in the confluence of all conditions of learning where learners experience what Csíkszentmihályi (1996) calls flow. To experience “flow” means that the learner is highly skilled yet is challenged during a task. To engage students and support them in experiencing flow, the confluence of the conditions of learning and instructional coherence 20

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describes the relationship among the elements of multi-​tiered systems of support that consider curriculum content, instruction, assessment, and core standards that teacher-​colleagues fashion and use to teach students. In creating instructional coherence, teacher-​colleagues intentionally bring the elements together with a focus on student learning from grade level to grade level. Instructional coherence leads to improved learning environments for learners as teacher-​ colleagues make their instructional decisions by using both formal and informal assessments to gauge students’ strengths and needs. Historically we assess students’ needs or deficits with static assessments such as End Of Course exams and standardized tests. Yet, to truly teach for acceleration within students’ Zones of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1978) we have to use dynamic assessments that help us determine students’ Zones of Mesial Development (Puig, 2019) and Zones of Distal Development (Moll, 2014; Spear-​Elliwood, 2011). Only when we assess students’ strengths and needs can we teach with instructional coherence to engage students in a state of “flow”. Csíkszentmihályi (1996) defines flow as “the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it”. Think of a time when you were watching a movie or reading a book and you were so engaged that you lost track of time. Or a time when you were so engaged in an enjoyable activity that you did not mind some minor challenges. That is “flow”! According to Csíkszentmihályi, when we are in a state of flow, we feel energized by success. Think of the implications for creating a multisensory learning environment. As teacher-​colleagues our daily task is to create conditions for learning for all stakeholders to experience flow. Csíkszentmihályi’s research found that the finished product was less important than the process of doing the work itself. External rewards were less important than intrinsic pleasure. His research, which has tremendous implications for coherent instruction and creating an effective and efficient multisensory learning environment, revealed the following factors to experience flow: •

A challenging activity that requires skills: An activity that is too difficult will produce counterproductive anxiety; an activity that is too easy will produce counterproductive boredom. 21

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• • • • •

Clear goals and response: Immediate responses allow the learner to know they have succeeded. Concentration on a task: While thoroughly immersed in an enjoyable activity there is no room for negativity. A sense of control: Being in control is not as important as the personal sense of exercising control on a challenging task. Loss of self-​consciousness: Being totally immersed in an activity. Transformation of time: Losing track of time.

In the late 1980s Csíkszentmihályi and several colleagues found that flow was the strongest predictor of personal engagement and how far the student progressed in school. The researchers recommended three key concepts with potential for promoting coherent instruction and flow in the classroom: 1. Professional learning—​ Effective teacher-​ colleagues are those who continue to nurture their interest in their subjects and share their enthusiasm. 2. Using assessment to inform instruction—​Dynamic assessments help to focus on students’ strengths rather than just their needs. 3. Teach within the Zones of Proximal Development—​Teaching needs to focus on what students need to learn next with support. We have found that effective and efficient teacher-​colleagues are forever cognizant of setting up conditions for learning, providing coherent instruction informed by assessment, and have a desire for all students to experience a sense of flow in their classrooms. In all cases, for this to occur, transdisciplinary multisensory instruction has to be intentional and coherent at all levels. Moreover, we have found that without a guiding framework for coherent and intentional instruction, teaching and coaching by teacher leaders is misguided. In other words, at the school level, classroom level, small group level, and individual level, a succinct and clear framework for intentional and coherent instruction should be de rigueur. Of course, this requires vigor and vigilance on the teacher’s part. In the next section, we will review the importance of intentional and coherent transdisciplinary multisensory instruction in supporting critical and creative learners over instruction that is

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emphatically systematic and explicit as we prepare students for global citizenship, career, and college.

Intentional and Coherent Instruction Intentional and coherent instruction is respectful of the individual as a learner. Intentional and coherent instruction does not hold learners accountable under a pantopticon of assessments; rather it teaches learners to be accountable. By giving learners a transdisciplinary multisensory environment to develop their own understandings, it respects the learner as a self-​regulating, self-​directing, self-​monitoring individual capable of a lot more than superficial mastery of curriculum content. Assisting students to become critical and creative thinkers means establishing a collaborative association. Scaffolding critical and creative students means becoming more critical and creative ourselves. Teacher-​colleagues who take an intentional and coherent stance toward supporting student learning are critical and creative thinkers themselves. Just as critical and creative learners take risks and are self-​accountable, so too must be their teacher-​colleagues, if their collaborative association is to prove effective. We find that the following five principles assist teacher-​colleagues in focusing on coherent and intentional instruction in supporting students in becoming global citizens that are career and college ready. 1. Teacher-​colleagues must attend not only to the curriculum content, but to teach students to learn how to learn and become self-​accountable. 2. Every moment with students needs to be viewed as an opportunity for assessing students’ learning orientation. 3. Instruction has to be guided by static and dynamic assessment. Static or summative assessments tell you where they are, but dynamic or formative assessments tell you where they need to go next. 4. Instruction has to focus on core standards with a purpose that students understand so they can monitor their progress. 5. Instruction needs to promote questioning to instill awe and wonder. Students will be engaged when instruction focuses on tasks they perceive as relevant with explicit benefits to them (Crouch & Cambourne, 2020).

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Vigor and Vigilance For so long we have heard that we need to teach with rigor and relevance. We certainly don’t disagree with that, but the time has come to place the oxygen mask over ourselves first in the unlikely event of an emergency landing. Rigor by definition means strictness, severity, or harshness and relevance means pertinent. They define how teacher-​colleagues need to teach but not necessarily how they should be. We argue that if your goal is to support and scaffold learners in becoming critical and creative global citizens that are career and college ready by the time they leave high school, it is going to take a vigorous, knowledgeable, and vigilant teacher. It is going to take vigor and vigilance! By vigor and vigilance, we mean vitality, intensity, energy and active strength or force grounded in mindful alertness and care. Furthermore, if students are ever going to experience a state of flow in a transdisciplinary multisensory learning environment, we are going to need vigorous and vigilant teacher-​colleagues strongly supported by a coherent and intentional K–​12 instructional framework for instruction that teacher-​ colleagues and teacher leaders can stand behind to improve instruction. The overarching questions now are: How do we support strong, vital, intense, energetic, and mindfully vigilant teacher-​colleagues in supporting strong, vital, intense, energetic, and mindfully vigilant student learners? What professional learning opportunities need to be in place? What assessments will inform instruction when it is the process we need to change? We can start by focusing on coherence in education and a good place to begin is by considering a K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework of instruction where learners, and the teacher-​colleagues that support them, can take and add to their funds of knowledge from year to year rather than stepping back every August to acquire incoherent new language, rituals, and routines from year to year.

Summary In this chapter we have walked you through our current understanding or funds of knowledge of what it is going to take to curate a transdisciplinary multisensory learning environment to support critical and creative global citizens who will be career and college ready. Specific and general ideas were presented as frameworks for thinking about our task of teaching 24

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students. Using the Vygotskian perspective that language is a tool for thinking, we presented some wording to update our language (more to come) and upgrade our thinking as a profession. For forward shifts to occur in education, we need to drop the terminology of “classroom”, “professional development”, “systematic and explicit”, “rigor and relevance”, and engage in grand conversations with colleagues that use the words “multisensory learning environment”, “professional learning”, “intentional and coherent instruction”, “transdisciplinarity”, and “teach with vigor and vigilance”. Of course, words alone, although powerful, will not get the work done. Yet to get the work done we also have to have a common language and understanding of literacy learning as a process along with a repertoire of instructional practices to bring our understandings to life in coherent multi-​tier systems of support that cater to all students, including students with unique abilities. In Chapter 2, we will look at understanding an integrated model of transdisciplinary literacy learning as a process to enable us to interpret data and inform instruction more effectively and efficiently. This understanding is paramount for forward shifts in professional learning to occur to improve transdisciplinary literacy instruction and learning for students.

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Understanding an Integrated Model of Transdisciplinary Literacy Learning as a Process in-​te-​grat-​ing (verb) Combining critical elements together to form a whole.

Keeping in mind that we feel strongly that language is a tool for thinking, we address literacy learning as a process and not “the literacy learning process”. By addressing it as “the literacy learning process” the implication is that there is a single process. Years of experience with students and teacher-​ colleagues has taught us that there is no single process that is identical to someone else’s when engaging in literate enterprises. This is a critical point for teacher-​colleagues and teacher leaders to understand in order to inform instruction appropriately. As you read through the book, you will notice the repetitive nature of developing a common language and understanding literacy as a process and its impact on analyzing data. This data helps us make powerfully informed decisions to amplify instruction and assist students in accelerating learning by looking at strengths and needs, not just needs. As such, our repetition of words and phrases is intentional so that we increase the likelihood that the language is internalized as a tool for thinking. In order for us to re-​assemble or re-​member those working systems into what we generally refer to as the act of reading, we are going to temporarily detour from presenting an integrated model of literacy learning as a process, so that we can talk about the different in-​the-​head working systems. Although there are many in-​the-​head working systems, contemporary literature addresses six broad categories of cognitive working systems (Keene, 2008). Those six working systems are: the graphophonic working system, the schematic working system, the semantic working system, the pragmatic 26

DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-3

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working system, the lexical working system, and the syntactic working system. In other words, we are talking about our knowledge of phonics, background information, meaning, purpose, vocabulary, and grammar. In the next few paragraphs, we will explain each working system individually and then move on to how these working systems impact the reciprocal act of processing in writing (Clay, 2015; Fountas & Pinnell, 2017) and how this information should impact our instruction across content areas.

The Graphophonic Working System The graphophonic working system is our in-​the-​head working knowledge of sounds and the written symbols associated with them. Your graphophonic working system is what assists you in decoding printed symbols at multiple levels or strata simultaneously. Truly bilingual learners have two graphophonic working systems, while trilingual learners have three and so on. Monolinguals from different parts of a country might have a different graphophonic working system than a contemporary from another part of the same country. A person from New York certainly has a different sound system than does someone from Alabama. For most educators, the graphophonic working system comes to fruition when listening to students read and thinking of the reader’s knowledge of letters and sounds. Regardless of whether the reader is a first grader or a senior in high school, six or 16 years old, all readers rely on the graphophonic working system at different degrees when constructing meaning from print. This is in conjunction with other language working systems. When readers rely solely on the graphophonic working system they become disabled in developing a defensible interpretation of what they are reading and virtually negating the potential to engage in text-​dependent conversations. Decoding or sounding out alone will not get a learner closer to the meaning. If we rely solely on the graphophonic working system, it will not help a reader when identical-​ looking words have different pronunciations or definitions. Take the word “content”; depending on how you pronounce it, it can mean satisfied or subject matter. In order to know how to pronounce it, a reader needs to bring in other working systems to construct meaning to determine if it is a noun or an adverb. Furthermore, in order to engage in text-​dependent conversations, readers have to assemble and be able to disassemble a variety of working systems on the run. 27

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To understand the assembling of sounds and letters as a graphophonic working system while observing a reader, a teacher needs to reflect and question what awareness the reader has of the relationship between sounds and letters. Only by questioning and reflecting on behavioral evidence can teacher-​colleagues scaffold instruction for students to make accelerated forward shifts in literacy learning.

The Schematic Working System Our schematic working system consists of all our funds of knowledge (Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez, 1992), background knowledge and prior experiences, along with connections we bring to all literate enterprises across content areas. It is our schematic working system that enables us to anticipate and predict how a story might end and why. It is our schematic working system that enables us to comprehend a concept by adding to and expanding to understanding of a scheme. Our schematic working system is what keeps us on the edge of our seats in theaters or craving for more after finishing a great book. It is our schematic working system that makes us “binge watch” a particular series on television It is this working system that aids us in reading into and beyond a text. Critical close reading (rereading for clarification) and thinking cannot take place without relying on the schematic working system.

The Semantic Working System The semantic working system is a conglomerate of information that helps us decide what makes sense beyond simply making meaning. Making sense implies using habits of mind. Habits of mind means adopting an outlook toward acting rationally when engaged in a solution-​seeking activity when the answers are not transparent. It is the essence of becoming disciplinary literate and ultimately transdisciplinary literate. Making meaning requires finding significance and importance. In an efficient and effective semantic working system, making sense and making meaning are not mutually exclusive. It is not isolated incidents of identifying the central theme, sequencing, or cause and effect for example, but rather the combination of all those and many other in-​the-​head strategic activities that aid in formulating a whole.

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Our semantic working system is the system that enables us to remember what a story, movie, or event is about, absent of superfluous details. Ask a friend or a colleague to tell you about their favorite book, show, or movie. More than likely, they will share their feelings about it and give you the gist of the storyline without going into all the details. Details are revealed in a text-​dependent conversation when specific examples are used to highlight a point. Engaging text-​dependent conversations prompts questions from the listener. That is the semantic working system functioning effectively. Teaching students to summarize is one way that we help them to develop a semantic working system and remember. Although considered low-​level thinking, remembering is a key mental function to enable learning.

The Pragmatic Working System The role of the reader and the task has to be considered when considering text complexity. This concept is further explained in Chapter 4. The pragmatic working system is our ability to understand the author’s intent or purpose when reading or having a sense of audience when writing. Without a pragmatic working system in place, close reading of complex text is virtually impossible. Of course, the concept of complex texts is relative to the reader. It is our ability to pick up a computer magazine or an encyclopedia with the understanding that the authors of these documents wrote them with the purpose of informing us. That is not to say that Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, or Zora Neale Hurston did not write with the purpose of informing us on some social level as well. We can be informed on a technical assistance level or a humanistic level. Think about everything you have read today. Most of what we read on a daily basis is for information—​non-​narrative texts. The Internet, emails, the newspaper, magazines, reports, and this book are written to inform, and we read them to be informed even though the quality of the information can vary greatly. On the other hand, cartoon strips, romance novels, and horror thrillers are usually written to entertain and arouse emotions. A healthy diet of both is always recommended to feed our intellects, hearts, and imagination. It is our pragmatic working system that allows us to determine not only the author’s purpose but our purpose for reading a particular type of text. Depending on the reader, informational texts can be read for entertainment. Louise Rosenblatt (1994) stated that any reading can be for 29

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“efferent” or “aesthetic” reasons. What one person reads for information another one may read for pleasure.

The Lexical Working System The lexical working system is our knowledge of words. It includes our ability to use the many features unique to our language, from prefixes, suffixes, Greek origins, Latin origins, and words from foreign languages. For example, we all understand that the prefix “anti” means against and the suffix “ism” means a belief. With that working knowledge we are able to define “antidisestablishmentarianism”. It is our lexical working system that instantly kicks in to break the word apart and reassemble it in nano-​ seconds in order for us to understand it (anti-​dis-​establish-​ment-​arian-​ism) beginning with the base word “establish”. It is our lexical working system that enables us to break apart a word that looks like almost the entire English alphabet and make sense of it. Now think of the words “matinee” or “champagne” or “Josette”. What is the country of origin of those words? Nearly everyone will recognize them as having a French origin. That is your lexical working system working for you. Notice too, that it was our lexical working system assembled with our graphophonic working system in combination with other working systems that had us reading the “ee” in matinee and the “agne” in champagne as a long “a” vowel sound. One working system functioning alone is insufficient to construct correct pronunciation and ultimately meaning. We are constantly assembling and disassembling working systems to construct meaning. Essentially, the lexical working system can be defined as the sum of your in-​the-​head knowledge of impressive (listening, viewing, reading) and expressive (speaking, writing) language. As we progress in our explanations, we want to revisit the concept that all these in-​the-​head working systems are assembled and disassembled effortlessly by proficient transdisciplinary learners as we read a variety of texts for information or entertainment.

The Syntactic Working System During any literate enterprise we assemble and disassemble a syntactic working system. The syntactic working system is our understanding of the 30

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structure of language. It is knowing that language is rule-​governed and phrased in a certain predictable pattern in order for us to communicate and understand ourselves as well as each other. Our understanding of noun-​ verb agreement is an example of our syntactic working system or that “an” precedes words that begin with vowel sounds and “a” precedes words that begin with a consonant. With young students, the syntactic working system develops early on because of its strong relation to oral language (Clay, 2015). We have briefly elaborated on six working systems that readers assemble and disassemble to construct meaning. The question now becomes, what happens to all that information when we read increasingly complex text? It is what we do with all those working systems that culminates in what we call reading as a process or learning as a process. Please note that this is definitely an oversimplified explanation. The recursive process we are referring to starts with thinking by predicting and anticipating (a feedforward mechanism) (Clay, 2015; Johnston, 1997), followed by executing an action (physically engaging in a literate activity), rethinking and searching further as difficulty arises, and adjusting by attempting to self-​correct by rereading at different levels (letter level, word level, phrase level, sentence level, and meaning level) and for different purposes when something isn’t quite right. Figure 2.1 provides a graphic representation of this model. Utilizing this process with a variety of strategic activities assists us in processing information to sustain and expand learning. We have chosen a mobius (Figure 2.2) to illustrate this process to highlight the in and out, back and forth recursive nature of learning as we engage in strategic activities to sustain and expand learning (Fountas & Pinnell, 2006). As Figure 2.2 illustrates, the assembling of working systems to sustain learning propels the learner to assemble working systems that in turn expand our understanding in a recursive pattern. Simultaneously, assembling working systems to expand our learning aids learners in assembling working systems to sustain their learning. It is complex! Figure 2.3 lists a variety of in-​the-​head strategic activities that proficient learners use to sustain their reading and expand meaning from print. The list is meant to be illustrative and is certainly not exhaustive. Many other strategic activities exist that many of us employ to make sense and construct meaning. This type of theoretical conversation has the potential to be quite heady and esoteric, but it is a conversation that teacher leaders and 31

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Literacy Learning as a Process A model of learning as a process – reading, writing, math, science, social studies Context

Thinking

Executing

Graphophonic working system

Context

Context

Pragmatic working system

Lexical working system

Semantic working system

Schematic working system

Context

Context

Syntactic working system

Adjusting

context

Rethinking

Figure 2.1  Learning as a Process

teacher-​colleagues need to have over time to make in-​roads in improving literacy learning and instruction (Pennell, 2020; Puig & Froelich, 2011). Conversations at this level of rationale are necessary when using static and dynamic assessments to inform instruction in order to scaffold students through increasing levels of text complexity. Only through having these conversations can teacher leaders and teacher-​colleagues begin to develop a common language to enable all involved to implement and defend the instructional practices used in classrooms and consider new ones. Agreeing or disagreeing is not the point. Talking is! Moreover, these types of conversations are foundational for creating genuine professional learning communities of practice over time. In this section we have discussed the concept of an integrated model of literacy learning as a process and the theoretical in-​the-​head working systems that learners assemble and disassemble to sustain their learning and to expand learning across disciplines. With this understanding, we now need to consider what this looks like over time in the learning environment? Although

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Figure 2.2  Literacy as a Process

Literacy Learning as a Process

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Literacy as a process: a framework for guiding learners

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Literacy Learning as a Process

Strategic Activities to Sustain Learning Decoding Segmenting words Blending words Checking (monitoring) Predicting Anticipating Fluency Integrating Flexibility Phrasing Word recognition Rereading Self-​correcting Searching Strategic Behaviors to Sustain Reading One-​to-​one matching Cross-​checking Locating known and unknown words Directionality (L-​R, Rp-​Lp, etc.)

Strategic Activities to Expand Learning Making connections Text to self Text to text Text to world Inferring Summarizing Synthesizing Analyzing Critiquing Questioning Clarifying Visualizing Evaluating

Note: Proficient readers use strategic activities to sustain reading and expand meaning fluidly before, during, and after reading. This list is illustrative, not exhaustive.

Figure 2.3  Strategic Activities to Sustain and Expand Learning

informal teacher observation is an incredible resource to inform instruction, we have to reiterate that the only good data is data that documents change over time. Understanding teaching for confluency and close critical reading that will aid career and college readiness will impact the instructional practices that a teacher will eventually decide to implement based on documented data that focuses on students’ strengths and needs.

Teaching for Confluency and Close Critical Reading Up to this point in the chapter we have addressed conditions for learning and an integrated model of literacy learning as a process. All this 34

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information would certainly account for nothing if we did not address the impact and relationship it has to learning and instruction, specifically teaching for confluency and close critical reading. Confluency is a portmanteau for confluent and fluency. We define confluency as in-​the-​ head working systems flowing, running, blending together to construct meaning and make sense. Teaching for confluency goes beyond accuracy, pacing, and prosody. When we talk about teaching for confluency, we are referring to intentional and coherent instruction that focuses on teaching students to become critical, independent, and flexible global learners on a trajectory of lifelong learning. In other words, we are focusing our teaching on assisting students to be self-​directed, self-​regulating, and self-​ extending (Clay, 2015). Close critical reading, on the other hand, is an in-​ the-​head strategic activity that proficient transdisciplinary learners employ to enhance their understanding of a text. It is rereading with a specific purpose to support a defensible interpretation. It is digging deeper into a text with a critical lens for understanding. Thus, the big question always arises, how do we know if we are teaching for confluency and close critical reading? Since we define confluency and close critical reading as an in-​the-​ head integration of working systems and strategic activities, it is necessary to teach for requisite skills and strategic activities for students to develop a repertoire of solution-​ seeking behaviors. While working systems and strategic activities in transdisciplinary literate enterprises are generally in-​the-​head, we cannot see them and we cannot teach them directly, we can certainly teach “for” them to take place by using consistent specific language, the conditions for learning we put in place, and the instructional practices we employ within a framework for instruction. Teacher-​ colleagues engage in teaching for confluency when they teach at the students’ instructional levels of learning or Zones of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1978) and account for students’ independent levels of learning or Zones of Mesial Development (Puig, 2019) and unattainable levels of learning or Zones of Distal Development (Moll, 2014; Spear-​Ellinwood, 2011). At their instructional levels (Zones of Proximal Development), students are provided the opportunity to seek solutions within a balance of supports and challenges provided by a more knowledgeable other. Accounting for students’ Zones of Mesial Development, Zones of Proximal Development and Zones of Distal Development, the 35

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teacher who is teaching for confluency plans, organizes, and executes lessons with the understanding that: 1. Materials used need to be at the students’ instructional level (generally material that they can read with 90% to 94% accuracy for K–​2, 91% to 95 % for 3–​5, 92% to 96% for 6–​8, and 93% to 97% for 9–​12). 2. Generative responses are provided rather than corrective feedback. 3. Teaching prompts used consistently across grade levels support internalizing language to promote independent transdisciplinary solution-​ seeking behavior. 4. Reciprocity between literate and numerate enterprises are highlighted across content areas. 5. Materials used that are above the students’ instructional level will require a variety of instructional practices to scaffold instruction (Bruner, 1990). 6. Static and dynamic assessments are on-​ going to document and monitor change over time. 7. Pedagogical and hebegogical instructional practices need to be appropriately employed. Although these are some simple guidelines to gauge whether instruction is aimed at teaching for confluency, simply adhering to those guidelines does not guarantee that teaching for confluency is taking place. Yet, when planning, conscientiously keeping those guidelines on the forefront of thinking will increase the likelihood that teaching for confluency will be promoted. A serious point of consideration for teacher leaders and teacher-​ colleagues is that the seven guidelines apply to all grade levels and all content areas. Since this is critical information for instruction, in the next few paragraphs we will elaborate on each of the seven guidelines. When teaching for confluency, teacher-​colleagues use materials at the students’ instructional level with increasing text complexity over time. When materials used are too difficult or complex, confluency begins to disintegrate, creating dysfluent learners that generally rely solely on the graphophonic working system to simply decode words at the letter level. It is the equivalent of us reading an unfamiliar alphabetic foreign language. We do not want students to walk away thinking that reading is just an act of decoding words on a page. Although decoding words is a powerful strategic 36

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activity when assembled with other working systems, by itself it does not get the learner closer to constructing meaning or generating a defensible interpretation, our definition of comprehension. Without constructing meaning, any act of learning is diminished if non-​existent. For example, if someone asks you to read a medical or highly technical computer journal of which you do not have the background knowledge or vocabulary, you are likely to simply decode words and not comprehend. Due to the lack of background knowledge and critical content vocabulary, you will not be able to construct meaning from the journal or enjoy the reading experience. The exact situation occurs to students in schools when they are asked to read materials that are beyond their cognitive or maturity level. Effective teaching for confluency relies heavily on providing students with materials at levels they can comprehend with assistance, while increasing levels of text complexity are intentionally introduced with vigor by a vigilant teacher. Teaching for confluency means providing generative responses rather than corrective feedback. Corrective feedback tends to remove the responsibility of learning from the student. Confluency is synonymous with proficient and active solution-​seeking behavior. Over time we have chosen to use the phrase “solution-​seeking” rather than “problem-​solving” since it reflects a more positive desirable behavior. Hence, proficient and active solution seeking cannot occur when teacher-​colleagues remove the responsibility of learning by correcting the student and providing the correct answer. On the other hand, when providing a generative response, the responsibility for learning is left with the student, with the teacher prompting the student to utilize what they know to get to the unknown. It is a teaching opportunity to assist students in internalizing the necessary language to develop as a self-​monitoring, self-​regulating, and self-​extending learner. Consequently, consistent teaching prompts used to promote independent solution-​seeking behavior become a critical arsenal for teacher-​colleagues. Armed with knowledge of instructional practices and language, teacher leaders and teacher-​colleagues have the power to make or break a learning moment. Prompted by the work of Tharp and Gallimore (1988), one question that we have learned to ask ourselves when prompting students for confluency is, “Am I intentionally assisting or assessing students’ performance?” The types of consistent prompts or questions we ask students always have the potential to be interpreted as helping or testing. Although at times we do want to ask questions that assess performance, if our goal is to teach for confluency, we need to measure our words carefully to 37

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ensure that our teaching prompts are assisting performance by providing the necessary language for thinking, engaging students in active solution-​ seeking behavior (Johnston, 2004) and creating a critical habit of mind. Realistically, we know that not all materials that students are to be exposed to can be at their instructional level. When that is the case and materials used are above the students’ instructional level, a variety of instructional practices are employed to scaffold instruction (Bruner, 1990). Scaffolding has the potential to create a safe environment for students to ensure a feeling of flow and exposure to new vocabulary over time that will serve students well when independently seeking solutions. Scaffolds in instruction are employed for temporary support. Scaffolds that remain too long may be counterproductive to learning over time. All of us have heard over and over the mantra that assessment should inform instruction. Yet seldom do we hear what type of assessment we should rely on to ensure that we employ powerful instructional practices that are a good match for students. Teacher-​ colleagues that teach for confluency rely on static and dynamic assessments (Dixon-​Krauss, 1996). Static assessments are summative assessments that tell us in general terms what students are learning in relation to other students or what students have learned in a specific content area. They are assessments of learning. This is vital information in order for teacher-​colleagues to gauge their overall teaching and content. Static assessments are state tests, chapter tests, end of course exams and the like. Dynamic assessments refer to formative assessments that hone in on students’ strengths and needs. They are assessments for learning. Static assessments potentially reveal what students have learned and dynamic assessments potentially reveal how students learn. One focuses on outcomes while the other focuses on processes. Therefore, teaching for confluency means relying on static and dynamic assessment to make informed decisions that support student learning across disciplines over time. Conventional wisdom and experience taught us that learning occurs and changes over time. Monitoring and documenting those changes is critical when teaching for confluency. A teacher’s classroom is packed with split-​ second decision-​ making throughout the day. Unfortunately, our human memory can only hold so much for so long before information is replaced with new information. Consequently, when our intention is to teach powerfully, our students’ learning has to be monitored and documented in order for assessment to truly inform instruction. Thus, to 38

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teach for confluency means on-​going monitoring and documenting our students’ strengths and needs. Ultimately, we want to support and nurture students in becoming strategic learners. Many times, instructional practices are adopted because they appear to work with a particular age group. Many instructional practices that work with primary grade students do not work well with intermediate or secondary grade students. For example, prescribed centers or workstations or even rotations are not appropriate for intermediate or secondary students that need to build stamina and endurance in preparation for career and college; never mind high stakes tests. From a hebegogical perspective, project-​centered learning environments where resource stations are available are far more appropriate and respectful of intermediate and secondary students. The goal is not to make it easy. Rather, the goal is to make it easy to learn. Only by teaching students how to learn can we ensure that we are supporting students in becoming self-​extending learners (Dewey, 1933). The language we use and the instructional practices we employ certainly impacts whether or not we accomplish that goal (Johnston, 2004).

Teaching for Reciprocity of Reading and Writing We have reviewed an integrated model of literacy learning as a process, highlighting various working systems employed by learners to tackle increasing text complexity in preparation for career and college. Although not identical, reading and writing are certainly mutually supportive of each other. We read and reread to generate ideas in writing and improve our writing. On the other hand, we write to communicate, to remember and to clarify our thinking (Bodrova & Leong, 2007). Effective and efficient teacher-​colleagues incorporate various instructional practices that immerse students in an information-​ intensive environment and engage them in transdisciplinary literate enterprises that rely on the reciprocity of reading and writing across content areas. Regretfully, we have witnessed many classroom programs, school-​level initiatives, and district-​level initiatives that do not take advantage of the reciprocal nature of reading and writing across content areas, potentially increasing the likelihood of forcing students into becoming learning disabled by well-​intentioned initiatives (Clay, 1987). Programs, as we define it, are 39

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not just a series of published materials by a particular publishing company, but rather a series or framework of instructional practices used to support and promote learning. Effective programs, whether as we have defined it or a published series of materials, provide teacher leaders and teacher-​ colleagues a variety of opportunities to observe, assess, and evaluate how well students are learning. It has been our experience that it is only through a well-​organized series of transdisciplinary literacy experiences that we can truly make a judgment call on how students are learning. Well organized programs allow us to collect static and dynamic assessments. Vigilant teacher leaders and teacher-​colleagues take advantage of the reciprocal nature of reading and writing to promote literate enterprises across content areas in all grade levels. We highly recommend that instruction should always be aimed at keeping the reciprocal nature of reading and writing at the forefront to economize on teacher-​colleagues’ time and intentionally amplify instruction for students to promote accelerated learning, particularly for low-​progress students that need to catch up to their peers. Think of the reciprocity of reading and writing as getting two for one. In today’s activity-​packed school schedules, a single instructional practice can be used to scaffold learning in a content area by utilizing and highlighting the benefit of reading to writing and writing to reading when providing a focus-​lesson to students. Most schooling deals with learning from print. Teaching for reciprocity between reading and writing enterprises economizes students’ cognitive load by always highlighting how one supports the other. The reciprocity between reading and writing couches strategic activities across content areas as students construct meaning and make sense of curriculum content. For teacher leaders and teacher-​colleagues, this means that our overt conversations during learning moments need to coherently and intentionally focus on how one activity supports another and the benefit to the student.

Teaching for Transdisciplinarity Overall, the processes discussed in this chapter are essentially the process of thinking by predicting and anticipating (a feedforward mechanism) (Clay, 2015; Johnston, 1997), followed by executing an action (physically engaging in a transdisciplinary literate activity), rethinking and searching (reading/​viewing closely) further at difficulty, and adjusting by attempting to 40

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self-​correct by rereading at different levels (letter level, word level, phrase level, sentence level, or meaning level) and for different purposes when something isn’t quite right. These strategic activities also apply to other content areas, not just to reading and writing. Figure 2.4 illustrates specific disciplinary language and the nuanced interrelationship of these dynamic strategic activities across content areas. This chart compares the strategic activities learners may use across the disciplines to support teacher-​ colleagues in teaching by analogy. For example, if a student self-​corrects in one discipline that strategic activity can be reemployed in another discipline. Teaching for transdisciplinarity is teaching for reemployment of

THINKING (predicting and anticipating) Reading: Writing: Math: Science:

Forming meaningful predictions Forming/​composing meaningful text Forming meaningful estimations Forming meaningful hypotheses

TAKING ACTION (confirming or rejecting) Reading: Checking meaningful predictions Writing: Constructing meaningful text Math: Constructing meaningful equations Science: Constructing meaningful experiments RETHINKING (searching further or reading/​viewing closely) Reading: Re-​visioning/​searching further to maintain meaning Writing: Re-​visioning to maintain or elaborate text intentions Math: Re-​visioning to match estimation Science: Re-​visioning hypotheses based on results/​ experiment ADJUSTING (self-​correcting) Reading: Self-​correcting to maintain meaning Writing: Self-​correcting/​editing to maintain text intentions or outcomes Math: Self-​correcting to align with estimation Science: Self-​correcting/​adjusting to form a meaningful conclusion Figure 2.4  Transdisciplinary Literacy Learning as a Process Note: Social studies and the arts incorporates the language arts, mathematics, and sciences.

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strategic activity across disciplines. Within each strategic activity there are varying levels of understanding and layers of sophistication. Different levels of thinking, executing, rethinking, and adjusting are what make a process unique to each individual. Because of that uniqueness, it is difficult to say that there is one process. We use knowledge from a variety of disciplines to make it through the day. Think of a day in your life. You use your knowledge from language arts, mathematics, science, arts, and social studies every single day. Proficient learners are transdisciplinary literate. They use disciplinary knowledge to serve their personal needs. The goal of teaching for transdisciplinarity is to foster in students the ability to seek solutions using a variety of disciplinary knowledge to create new knowledge to tackle real-​world issues. From an instructional perspective, teacher-​colleagues promote the necessary language students need to form critical habits of mind across disciplines. By providing the necessary language to students, they will be better equipped to read, write, listen, speak, think critically and function in a manner that is meaningful for solution-​seeking real-​world and life issues.

Transactional Nature of Learning Comprehending or developing a defensible interpretation occurs in the transaction between learners, texts, and contexts (Rosenblatt, 1994, 1995, 2005). The transactional nature of learning considers a relationship between the learner and the text. Rosenblatt (1994) uses the term transaction over interaction since, according to her, the term interaction invokes a mental picture of separate objects confronting one another but staying fundamentally unaffected, and therefore is an insufficient and misrepresenting term for the conjointly influential development of a relationship between learner and text. The transactional nature of learning considers that texts consist of words until a learner uses them to imagine or create mental models drawing on past experiences (Probst, 1988; Rosenblatt, 1994). In other words, texts in the absence of an imaginative learner are just words until the learner transforms them. The transactional nature of learning acknowledges the importance of the role of the learner and the learner’s task to construct mental models. Consequently, since a defensible interpretation relies not on the text alone but on the learners’ ability to decode and encode texts, consideration must be given to the learner’s task and the construction of mental models. Every 42

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act of learning is a re-​creation grounded on a variety of contextual factors (Probst, 1988; Rosenblatt, 1994). The learner’s schematic working system during the act of learning is relevant and foundational in comprehending. The transactional nature of learning prompts the proficient learner to become metacognitive about their contributions to texts (Probst, 1988). Proficient learners approach texts from either an efferent or aesthetic stance (Rosenblatt, 1995). When learning, learners have to decide what stance to take and the decision is critical to constructing meaning. Rosenblatt (1995) defines an efferent stance as one where the learner has made the decision that their primary goal is to draw information. They are not as concerned with the romance and elegance of the language as they are with the precision and straightforward manner of the language. On the other hand, learners taking an aesthetic stance approach can have a fulfilling intellectual and sensuous experience. Where the learner stands on a continuum between an aesthetic stance and an efferent stance will influence the interpretation. Regardless of the author’s intent, a learner has the prerogative of approaching a text from either stance. It is the learner, after choosing a stance, who will ultimately decide what details in the text to pay attention to and which ones to ignore. The transactional nature of learning highlights the fact that comprehending is dependent on several factors including the decoding and encoding ability of the learner rather than in the text, along with background knowledge and vocabulary. In other words, comprehending is dependent on the funds of knowledge (Moll et al., 1992) that a learner brings to a text. Consequently, any text is open to interpretation from a variety of perspectives, even among the same learner learning the same curriculum content at a different time (Probst, 1988; Rosenblatt, 1994). Although the ability to learn effectively and efficiently is important, the transactional nature of learning asserts that comprehension is the transaction between a learner and the text in a given task. The underlying belief at the foundation of the transactional nature of learning acknowledges the fundamental responsibility is on the learner. This is why we cannot teach comprehension and we prefer to use the preposition “for”—​we teach for comprehension. Comprehension, developing a defensible interpretation, cannot be taught; although conditions may be put in place for a defensible interpretation to develop (Cambourne, 1988; Rosenblatt, 1994; Rushton, Eitelgeorge & Zickafoose, 2003). Eventually, it is to be constructed by the learner engaged with texts and engaging in conversations with other learners (Rosenblatt, 1994; Vygotsky, 1978). 43

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A learner’s ability to learn from text does not develop in a linear fashion. However, not only do learners need opportunities to be challenged and stretch their thinking, but they also need to experience flow in the context of learning. Such elements as motivation, interests, background knowledge, and experiences must also be considered. Experience has taught us that when learners are interested in a subject, they are more willing to take on more complex learning initiatives that promote forward shifts. Considering the learner and task is critical when teaching for forward shifts. Although scaffolding instruction is vital and necessary, instruction must move toward decreasing scaffolding and increasing independence, with the goal of students becoming self-​regulating, self-​directing, and self-​monitoring learners across content areas. In construction and as in teaching, scaffolds are temporary structures to assist building or learning. Ultimately, how learners process information is grounded in what the learner brings, what the text demands and what the context provides. It is all founded on the conditions for learning that are in place. Although these conditions for learning are relatively universal, implementing them may vary slightly based on the community, society, history, economics, gender, religion, current politics, and culture in which the learning occurs. Yet, we have found that the conditions for learning are the common denominator when looking at instructional coherence within a school and school system. Figure 2.5, as complex as it looks, illustrates our current understanding of the synergistic networks within multi-​tiered systems that need to be considered to organize and design instruction for holistic coherent learning to occur across the content areas in a multisensory learning environment with a goal of preparing students for career, college, and global citizenship. The environment, culture, history, society, economics, gender, religion, and politics play a role in how we learn and what we learn. We started our conversation in this chapter with the conditions for learning and in-​the-​head working systems that learners need to have in place to process information efficiently and effectively (Figure 2.1). The conversation continued with what it takes to sustain and expand literacy learning (Figure 2.2). When planning lessons, we do not necessarily think of all this at once, but it certainly does frame our thinking and explains why we teach what we teach and impacts how we teach. 44

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Figure 2.5  Integrated Model for Transdisciplinary Literacy Learning and Teaching

Summary Understanding an integrated model of transdisciplinary literacy learning as a process is the backbone of a K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework focused on coherent and intentional instruction to support students towards college, career, and global citizenship. The concepts presented in this chapter have to be revisited over and over by teacher leaders and teacher-​colleagues who work with students on a daily basis. It is only in the interaction with students that the theories or rationales presented in this chapter come to life and make sense to improve instruction. Our rendition of an integrated model for transdisciplinary literacy learning and teaching addresses the in-​the-​head processing that needs 45

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to occur across content areas in addition to the external conditions that need to be in place to impact the learning. Our integrated model for transdisciplinary literacy learning and teaching is a comprehensive model constructed through a socio-​historical and cultural lens. The interpretation and reinterpretation of our model, Figure 2.5, along with many professional conversations will be necessary to improve transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction for learners with an eye on the 22nd Century. Teaching for coherence with intentionality is a hallmark of our K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework which means recognizing elements that support a multisensory learning environment. One of those critical elements is being able to look at dynamic and static assessments to make informed decisions for instruction. In Chapter 3 we will discuss the concept of co-​triangulation of data through an ethnographic lens to make those informed decisions using dynamic assessments for instruction and static assessments of learning.

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Co-​triangulating to Inform K–​12 Instruction

tri-​an-​gu-​lat-​ing (verb) Cross-​checking sources of information to arrive at a more accurate conclusion. Understanding an integrated model of transdisciplinary literacy learning as a process is a first step towards improving K–​ 12 literacy learning and instruction. Keep in mind that we are defining literacy broadly as transdisciplinary. Consequently, the instructional practices included in our K–​12 literacy framework may be implemented across all content area to promote reciprocity of learning. Regardless of the context, the next step should be what and how to observe students in a learning environment. We will begin by reviewing the concept of triangulating data to improve learning and teaching environments and then proceed to introducing “co-​ triangulating” data to learning and teaching in a coherent and integrated K–​ 12 literacy framework to support learning beyond mercurial core standards. This is a structure for organizing your thinking when planning to implement a coherent K–​12 literacy framework across grade levels in a school and across schools in a district. When you are triangulating observations/​assessments, you are critically crosschecking your observations with two or more sources of information (Rhodes & Shanklin, 1993). Borrowing from the concept of ethnographic researchers (Heath, 1983; Spradley, 1980), when triangulating your observations, you enter an observatory situation from three vantage points or perspectives: participant observations, non-​ participant observations, DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-4

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Co-triangulating to Inform K–12 Instruction

and artifact collecting to assess strengths and needs. The most effective and efficient learning and teaching environments are those that teachers enter as participant observers, non-​participant observers, and artifact collector. From hours of interviews, field notes, and classroom observations, effective and efficient teachers are proficient ethnographers of the learning environment they create. Participant observations in a learning environment involves interaction between the teacher and the students as a form of assessment. Non-​participant observations involve what you see and hear with ideally no interaction among teacher and students. Artifacts are any tangible items collected such as field notes, student samples, and texts (print, visual, or audio) used in the learning environment. Our definition of text is any form of auditory and/​or visual input that requires making meaning. We elaborate more on defining text in Chapter 4. Figure 3.1 is a graphic representing the co-​triangulation of information at the school level, the student/​teacher learning environment level, and at the student level to improve instruction coherently. In a coherent K–​12 literacy framework, participant observations, non-​participant observations, and artifacts need to be collected and triangulated at the school level, student/​ teacher learning environment level, and student level and then

SCHOOL

CLASS

IMPROVE INSTRUCTION

STUDENT

Figure 3.1  Co-​triangulation of Information 48

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Co-triangulating to Inform K–12 Instruction

co-​triangulated among all three to acquire a more accurate picture of strengths and needs to improve learning and instruction for all—​students, teachers, and teacher leaders. Notice we listed “strengths” first. The concept of triangulation is not new, but seldom actually used to create and support a learning environment. In effective learning environments, teachers constantly are triangulating observations to make professional, informed, intentional, and efficient decisions with vigor and vigilance. Good teaching means teaching beyond core standards with vigor and vigilance. No longer, or actually ever, has systematic and explicit instruction been enough. Teaching is a complex act and distilling it to systematic and explicit or a simplistic model of gradual release such as I do, you do, we do is misguided at best. Teachers participate with students in the learning and teaching context of the learning environment. During an interactive read aloud or a shared reading, for example, teachers are interacting with students and simultaneously making implicit formative observations or assessments. In independent reading, a teacher usually roves the room and observes students reading without interacting. Although we have found that effective teachers engage students in brief text-​dependent conversations, not 20 questions, during independent reading time. Overall, though, the teacher is involved in making non-​participant observations. When interaction does take place, the observational lens is switched to participant observer and assessment is taken to a more informative and formative level. Sometimes student work or artifacts are used to mediate the interaction. Writing samples, spelling tests, oral reading records, digital presentations, chapter tests, and rubrics are examples of artifacts as a product of the learning environment. Artifacts are tangible items, tangible results of teacher and student output. The combination of explicit participant observations, implicit non-​participant observations and explicit artifacts aids teachers in using data to guide instruction when it is dated and documented over time. Even text selection for a variety of disciplines and instructional practices is grounded on a triangulation model where qualitative, quantitative, and reader and task are crosschecked, compared, and contrasted to determine text complexity and appropriateness. At the learning environment level and student level, triangulating the data helps teachers develop a truer picture of the students’ strengths and needs. Again, notice we listed “strengths” first. Effective and efficient teaching means designing a learning environment by collecting data that will support amplifying instruction with the purpose of accelerating student 49

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learning. Acceleration of student transdisciplinary learning is dependent on the teacher using the students’ strengths to scaffold and differentiate instruction through a variety of instructional practices, materials, and teacher talk. In the next few sections, we will elaborate on collecting artifacts, participant observations, and non-​participant observations.

Collecting Artifacts The importance of using artifacts in teaching and the importance of collecting artifacts to inform our teaching cannot be stressed enough to determine students’ strengths and needs. At the same time that teachers are collecting artifacts they are also demonstrating a professional behavior that is critical for all teachers; to collect artifacts that will help make informed decisions about learning and teaching. These artifacts also serve to make concrete statements about intentional teaching that is taking place in the learning environment. Likewise, it may lead the way to highlight what still needs to be included so that all students are engaging in an active information-​intensive learning environment. We prefer to use the term information-​ intensive learning environment since focusing on a print-​ rich environment is insufficient when preparing transdisciplinary literate students for global citizenship. In a digital world our classrooms should go beyond just print. Artifacts are usually the easiest and most readily available of the three observational lenses teachers use tacitly. They are concrete examples of student performance. What is considered an artifact of learning for teaching? Many things may be included in this category. Artifacts are generally tangible items shared, used, or produced in a learning environment. The user or producer of the artifacts may be the teacher or the student. Narrative and non-​narrative texts on a gradient of text complexity and dated field notes are examples of artifacts that may be used to show change over time in transdisciplinary learning.

Participant Observations Our definition of participant observation in teaching is when a teacher is in a learning environment interacting with the students while noticing and noting learning behaviors over time and inferring what those behaviors 50

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may indicate to how students are processing information. We extend this definition, when teaching, to include having similar or shared experiences as the person being taught. For example, if a teacher is guiding learners, it makes for a far more powerful lesson if the teacher shares a similar or common experience with the students in the group, then a teacher models as a true lead-​learner what good learners do. The power in teaching is highly correlated to the degree that the teacher considers herself or himself to be a learner. We have come to realize that powerful teaching occurs when instruction is delivered by teachers who define themselves as passionate students first. What does this mean for the teacher? It means that if the teacher is to become an effective instructor, they must, as has been stated before, teach, and interact with students on a daily basis on a variety of instructional levels. Crouch and Cambourne (2020) tells us that students are more likely to be engaged when the demonstrations are provided by someone they respect and admire. Consequently, the teacher must have a high level of credibility and trust with the students she or he is working with to develop a collaborative co-​learning relationship, a reciprocal apprenticeship of sorts. Many of us have been in situations where “teachers” have told us how to learn a particular subject better or how to improve a certain skill and the question always arises as to the teacher’s personal use of the subject matter or skill. Students often ask themselves (especially high schoolers) questions about the person that is teaching them. Students need to know that the teacher standing in front of them is relevant and mirrors their learning experiences. For the record, relevance in this case has nothing to do with the teacher’s age but rather with the teacher’s knowledge and experience. We have found that good teachers are good students first that question and critique with a sound criterion. So, what do participant observations look, feel, and sound like during a lesson? It may look and sound like as simple as, “You know I had a similar experience when…” or “I understand, because I had a similar experience when…” Figure 3.2 illustrates some activities and comments that may be used to promote dialogue, during a lesson, under the lens of participant observations. The look should be professional. The feel should be comfortable, and the sound should be warm and sincere. There are not too many of us that do not appreciate stories of successes, half-​successes, and challenges. Remember engagement may take place when the learner feels they can do it, and if they attempt it, they will succeed and if they do 51

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not succeed the teacher will be there to help out (Crouch & Cambourne, 2020). Think of the times we have shared personal stories with students. Don’t they love those windows into the person that is responsible for their education? A major benefit of participant observations is that they generally tend to level the playing field for building relationships and trust. We need to remember that trust develops at a snail’s pace over time (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012) and relationship building is a critical aspect of effective and efficient transdisciplinary teaching where collaboration and creativity are desired to nurture an imagination that is necessary for critical thinking.

Non-​participant Observations The third lens that makes a lesson effective and efficient is non-​participant observations. We are talking about triangulating or crosschecking our observations through different lenses to improve literacy learning and instruction across grade levels and content areas—​transdisciplinary. In a learning/​teaching situation, non-​participant observations occur when the teacher observes but does not interact with the students in the learning environment. For example, a teacher in a learning environment observes and documents only observable behaviors with little or no interaction. Then during the lesson, the teacher can raise honest and sincere questions based on the field notes from the learning environment. The honest and sincere questions are derived by the “novice,” the teacher, and can only be answered by the “expert,” in this case the student/​s being observed. The constant role reversal between novice and expert aids in developing trust. That concept changes our perspective on the role each must take. It allows the students to take the “expert” stance, all the while, not diminishing the teacher’s status. Think about a time when you were part of some incredible learning and teaching. Didn’t that teacher make an impact on your learning and later in your teaching? Powerful demonstrations stay with us for quite a while until they are replaced by more relevant ones. Who is the real teacher in that situation? Additionally, think about the message that is being sent regarding the power of a teacher modeling a network of strategic activities on a daily basis, or when you are formally going to be coaching students or colleagues, even friends and relatives informally? Of course, in an effective and efficient transdisciplinary learning environment reading and writing behaviors have to be inventoried to inform 52

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instruction not only in language arts (which includes reading) classrooms but across all disciplines. In the next sections, we will offer a few ideas to inventory those behaviors beginning with reading.

Taking Inventory of Reading Behaviors Taking inventory of reading behaviors is a documented form of non-​ participant observation where teachers observe and listen to students reading aloud narrative and non-​narrative texts with minimal to no interaction while jotting down some quick notes. Running records (Clay, 2013), reading records, retrospective miscue analysis (Goodman, Watson & Burke, 2005), teacher-​created assessments and informal reading inventories are all ways of documenting reading behaviors over time to guide K–​12 instruction (Clay, 2002; Goodman et al., 2005; Brozo & Afflerbach, 2011) across disciplines. Content area colleagues always grimace when we suggest that they listen to their students reading texts they are requiring in their discipline. Yet, if a student cannot read a text in your discipline, wouldn’t you want to know? During the observation/​assessment teachers take notes to only document what they see and hear students doing while reading. Some oral reading behaviors that are good to document over time are: word substitutions or errors, rereading, self-​correcting, searching further at difficulty, rereading with a purpose for clarification (reading closely), phrasing, repetition, pausing, and confluency (here we do not just mean words correct per minute but rather the confluence of all in-​the-​head working systems—​ graphophonic, syntactic, semantic, lexical, pragmatic, and schematic—​to produce a prosodic and phrased reading while comprehending). All the while keeping in mind that proficient readers (think of yourself) are not accurate readers. With older students or more sophisticated learners, following the observation/​assessment, teachers shift from a non-​participant observer to a participant observer with a brief text-​dependent conversation with the student to help make a more informed decision on how students are interpreting the text and processing information. Although text-​dependent conversations can certainly take place with younger readers, the conversation with older students is far more critical since so much processing takes place in-​the-​ head before they verbalize the printed text. 53

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While this type of formative dynamic assessment for learning is idiosyncratic from teacher to teacher, many in the field of literacy instruction have found that the type of information gleaned from the observation is invaluable to guiding instruction not just in language arts but across content areas as well (Clay, 2015; Fountas & Pinnell, 2017; Brozo & Afflerbach, 2011). Moreover, the clearer the understanding a teacher has of literacy learning as a process, the more effective the analysis will be to assist students based on their strengths. We cannot stress enough the importance of creating professional textual evidence by noting, dating, and documenting all observations. In the process of creating textual evidence, you will start to notice patterns of behaviors over time to support students’ literacy learning. We have found the following questions help tremendously in guiding our thinking and creating textual evidence when we are analyzing students’ reading behaviors and planning for instruction. 1. What surface working system/​s (graphophonic, syntactic, lexical) do you infer the student is assembling at difficulty? Deep working system/​s (pragmatic, schematic, semantic)? 2. What strategic activity/​ies do you infer the student is employing based on observable behavior? 3. What surface working system/​s do you infer the student is not assembling at difficulty? Deep working system/​s? 4. What strategic activity/​ ies do you think the student needs to be employing based on textual evidence? 5. Based on available information, what is a possible focus-​lesson for this learner? 6. Based on the focus-​lesson, what are some verbal prompts to use to support the student at difficulty or buttress their strengths? 7. Based on the focus-​lesson, what are some verbal prompts to use to support the student in understanding the reciprocity of reading and writing across disciplines? Figure 3.2 provides a generic template that we have used and shared with many colleagues for documentation and reflection. We created this generic record of reading behavior based on our current understanding of literacy learning as a process and with the support of many practicing mentor-​teachers in the field. We are including it simply as an example to

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Co-triangulating to Inform K–12 Instruction RECORD OF READING BEHAVIOR Name:

Title:

Level:

Teacher:

School:

Seen

Grade: 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Unseen

Date:

/

/

Calculations RW E

Error rate

Timed reading

= 1 : ________

Running words:_________

Accuracy

__________%

Beginning time:_________

S/C rate

(E + SC) SC

Ending time:_________

Level:

= 1 : ________

Words correct per minute _________

Independent Instructional Challenging

Genre type:

fiction non-fiction

historical fiction magazine

fairy tale basal

Competencies (circle predominant behaviors) At an unknown word: Makes no attempt Appeals Predicts using: Meaning Pragmatic system After an error: Ignores Self-corrects using: Makes connections:

Rereads Structure Schematic system

Appeals Meaning Pragmatic system To self To another text To world

folklore newspaper

Rereads Structure Schematic system

legend myth other ____________

Reads on Visual Lexical/Orthographic system Attempts s/c Visual Lexical/Orthographic system

(Does it remind you of an experience you’ve had?) (Does it remind you of another story?) (Does it remind you of something going on in the world?)

Understanding from retelling/questioning: (oral or written) (Tell me about the story and/or tell me more) 1. Random responses: may be related to story (text); may give title. 2. Retelling reveals beginning awareness of event sequence. 3. Using story elements (character, setting, plot, inferences) and/or genre structure to retell (beg., mid., end). 4. Story elements/genre structure clear in accurate retelling: refers to interactions between story elements. 5. Uses all story elements/genre structure and inferences to capture key themes; points out interrelationships. 6. Generates an opinion supported by story elements. Fluency evaluation: 1. Very little fluency; all word by word reading with some long pauses between words. 2. Mostly word by word reading with some phrasing (expressive interpretation). 3. A mixture of word by word reading and fluent, phrased reading (expressive interpretation). 4. Reads primarily in larger, meaningful phrases; fluent, phrased reading with few word by word slow downs.

Figure 3.2  Record of Reading Behavior   

guide our thinking when we listen to students read aloud to determine their strengths and needs regardless of the disciplinary text at hand. Our record of reading behaviors form guides our attention to consider the students’ strengths and needs beyond surface item knowledge such as phonics and asks us to consider the students’ background knowledge along with the intertextual connections they make. Over time, when used consistently

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Record of oral reading behaviors:

meaning: structure: visual: pragmatic cues: schematic cues: lexical cues:

Does it make sense? Does is sound right? Is it grammatically correct? Is it visually similar? Does it make sense with the authors intent? Does it make sense using prior knowledge? Is it visually similar using known meaning of spelling patterns (morphological knowledge)?

Figure 3.3  Record of Oral Reading Behavior

(at least once a day—​think of it as a vitamin), you will begin to reflect on students’ reading differently every time you hear a student read aloud in any content area. Although you will be tempted to simply listen and make mental notes, we have found from personal teaching experience that so many events occur during the school day that our mental notes are easily 56

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blurred or quickly forgotten. This blurriness occurs even more at the middle and high school since teachers at those levels interact with a larger variety and number of students. Consequently, noting, dating, and documenting our observations is a critical practice to improve instruction and students’ transdisciplinary literacy learning K–​12. The Record of Reading Behavior in Figures 3.2 and 3.3 has the potential to refine your understanding of what is going on with a student when reading while using an oral retelling on a 6-​point scale and accounting for fluency on a 4-​point scale (Pinnell et al., 1995). The combination of assessing sources of information used and neglected, oral retelling, and fluency makes for a powerful formative assessment instrument to improve learning and instruction across content areas. It is an investment of a few minutes that will have a dramatic impact on students’ learning and your instruction.

Analyzing Writing for Instruction In conjunction with an inventory of reading behaviors, we cannot highlight enough the importance of collecting writing samples across content areas to better instruct students. Although writing as a process is a little different than reading as a process, each support the development of each other (Clay, 2015). Teaching students to write supports their comprehension, confluency, and decoding skills. Augmenting how much students write increases how well they read. For younger students, writing is evidence of their developing phonemic awareness. For older students, writing provides a window into what students are paying attention to when they read. Although analyzing student writing can certainly be done without the aid of a rubric, we have found that using a rubric to analyze writing kept our focus on the writer and what was important. Over time in collaboration with many mentor-​teachers we developed two rubrics, a primary and a secondary 4-​points writing rubrics based on our current understanding of writing and particular requirements by the district and state for assessment. Figures 3.4 and 3.5 are examples of the rubrics we developed and used in the past in collaboration with mentor-​teachers. We are not presenting these as exemplars of valid and reliable writing rubrics but as evidence of what can be accomplished in a professional learning community of practice when colleagues collaborate to analyze writing. 57

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Although it is overlooked often, in An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement (2002), Marie Clay presents a primary writing rubric that looks at language level, message quality, and directional principles. The rubric that she presented inspired us to look at children’s writing through a different lens to achieve a more holistic picture of students’ literacy strengths and needs. Although Clay’s rubric provided the seed for design, we had to adapt it to fulfill our school and community need. Again, due to district and state assessments we added “phonemic awareness” and with the help of many kindergarten and first grade teachers fleshed out the indicators. Under language level we decided to give credit for conventionally spelled words only. Initially we gave credit for temporary spelling, but we soon found out that what one rater accepted as temporary spelling varied too greatly from another rater’s. Consequently, for the sake of inter-​rater reliability and consistency we decided to give credit for conventionally spelled words only. Do not forget, we are not using these rubrics to rate writers. We are using these rubrics to inventory/​assess their strengths and needs. We also took Clay’s recommendation that to use such a rubric collecting and scoring multiple samples would be more effective (Clay, 2002). We settled on three samples. Within three consecutive days, the primary grade teachers collected and analyzed the prompted writing using the rubric. Inter-​rater reliability improved over time as we scored, talked, and analyzed the samples together. This activity solidified our professional learning community of practice with everyone taking collective responsibility for teaching writing in all content areas across grade levels. To further improve our analysis, the group realized that it would probably be best if we asked the students to write to a prompt, even kindergartners! Each grade level assigned themselves to generate 12 prompts to be used consistently for assessment purposes only throughout the academic year, three prompts per grading period. In kindergarten and first grade the prompts started with “Write or draw about…” In kindergarten through second grade, the prompts were administered untimed. We found that by the end of kindergarten, most kindergarteners were writing in complete sentences with a mix of temporary and conventional spelling both in urban and rural settings. The kindergarten students’ writing samples along with their corresponding rubrics (and reading records) were placed in their portfolios and moved on with them into first grade, providing the first grade teachers with a treasure trove of time-​saving dynamic data to inform instruction

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from day one coherently. This provided much needed coherence in literacy instruction to support accelerating literacy learning across grade levels and disciplines. Additionally, the principal was provided an on-​ going report every grading period with the total scores of the students to monitor progress. This was particularly helpful to demonstrate improving literacy learning among low-​progress students that is seldom detected by more standardized static assessments. It was not necessary to create time-​ consuming and potentially (although well intended) demeaning color-​coded “data walls” with student outcomes that contradicts current literature on social-​emotional learning. As a professional learning community of practice supported and guided by a quality literacy coach, we did find that the primary rubric served its purpose as long as the students were reading at or below first grade or approximately at a “level I” based on Fountas and Pinnell’s (2017) gradient of text complexity. By the time students were reading texts at “level I” (approximately end of 1st grade level) they were scoring 4’s which we found did not provide us with a lot of useful information to guide instruction that would support students in accelerating their literacy learning. The K–​2 rubric at this point did not account for students’ strengths and needs within their Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1992). We also found that for older students (grades 3–​12) that were reading at a “level I” or below, the K–​2 rubric was not appropriate to analyze their writing. Older low-​progress students’ language was too sophisticated for the K–​2 rubric to be used effectively to inform instruction. Teachers in the intermediate and secondary grades followed their primary grades colleagues and created a four (originally six) trait rubric influenced by the work of Spandel and Stiggins (1997) and state writing assessment. The 3–​12 writing rubric looks at development of ideas, organization, clarity of language, knowledge of language and conventions, support, and voice (Figure 3.5). In the rubric, development of ideas refers to how the writer details and supports a main idea or central theme. Organization refers to a coherent introduction and a logical progression of ideas. Knowledge of language and conventions refer to punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and variation in sentence structure. Support refers to the quality and quantity of details used to explain, clarify, or define and depends on specificity, extent, and thoroughness. Voice addresses the use of rich, colorful, precise language that engages

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the reader. Voice is that je ne sais quoi that lets readers know the writer’s personality, purpose and alerts the senses to a particular genre, style, and tone. Although current standards may look only at development of ideas, organization, clarity of language, knowledge of language and conventions, we found that it was important to add support and voice to the rubric. Sadly, but realistically, conventional wisdom dictates that if it is not assessed it is not likely to be taught and, we argue, what is writing without voice? We agree completely with Donald Graves (1983) when he says, To ignore voice is to present the process as a lifeless, mechanical act. Divorcing voice from process is like omitting salt from stew, love from sex, or sun from gardening. Teachers who attend to voice listen to the person in the piece and observe how that person uses process components. Of course, writing in the intermediate (3–​5) and secondary (6–​12) grades could not be collected and scored effectively and efficiently in three consecutive days. Consequently, after 12 prompts were developed per grade level, students were asked to write to a prompt for 45 minutes once a week for three consecutive weeks. This provided teachers with enough time in between writing to score, analyze, and discuss each student’s sample. Just like the primary teachers, inter-​rater reliability improved over time to the degree that the scores being assigned nearly matched with 100 percent accuracy the scores that students were receiving from the state writing test. Because reading records and writing rubrics are dynamic assessments, effective implementation is totally dependent on vigorous and vigilant teachers and teacher leaders. At this point we have to take a moment and discuss our reasoning for using prompts in writing. Although we certainly do not intend to imply that prompted writing is all students should do, for the sake of uniformity of assessment, writing to a prompt was necessary. In collaboration with our mentor-​teachers we went back and forth on this issue and finally came to the consensus that it would be impractical to assess and analyze different writing topics from different students when our goal was instructional coherence across grade levels and disciplines. We do want to go on record that the prompted writing was only used for

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assessment to inform instruction and not a routine instructional practice of test preparation. The dynamic data gathered from the rubrics assisted us in providing instruction to the writers on writing narrative and non-​ narrative text grounded in textual evidence when necessary. It also served to inform, not guide, our instruction in reading and in teaching for reciprocity. In the upper grade levels (3–​12), the administrations of “A–​F” grades are a concern because of communities, districts and states/​province mandate and serve to monitor student progress to report to parents. Over time the 3–​12 writing rubric (Figure 3.3) evolved to include a matrix that converted the writing scores into “A” through “F” grades. This rubric was eventually used to score and grade all students’ writing. We think this is a good spot to point out again that we are presenting these rubrics as examples and not exemplars. We also cannot stress enough that the professional conversations that took place to establish inter-​rater reliability also served to ground a professional learning community of practice. It gave us a common language to address learning and teaching. To maintain coherence in assessment, as a professional learning community of practice we made the decision to keep both rubrics at 4 points and reported total average scores documented to the tenth place. For example, regardless of the grade level, all students’ score was reported as 4.0 or 3.2 or 2.4 or 3.1 rather than a 4 or a 3 or a 2. Initially, we had made the decision to report the scores as whole numbers, but quickly realized that although many of the low-​progress students were making progress, whole number scores such as a 2 or a 3, did not reflect the incremental progress they were making. So, a low-​progress student that scored a 1.3 during the first grading period might show progress by scoring a 1.8 by the second grading period. Additionally, writing scores reported by the state department to our school were reported to the tenth place as well. When the intent is to create independent, flexible, and strategic learners a singular assessment is insufficient. Co-​ triangulating and evaluating assessments will provide a truer picture of students’ strengths and needs to inform instruction. In order to teach for strategic activities, a variety of reading and writing assessments need to be in place that highlight students’ strengths and indicate needs. The writing rubrics and oral reading record are but two of many dynamic assessments that can be used.

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Co-triangulating to Inform K–12 Instruction Student name:

Grade:

School:

K-2* Expanded scoring rubric for narrative and non-narrative writing Directions: Record the highest number for the best description. Recorders do not agree how to score temporary spelling and so for a reliable measuring instrument, only conventional spelling for scoring language level is recommended. Date:

Date:

1. Alphabetical (letters only) 2. Word (any conventionally spelled word for program evaluation) 3. Word group (any two word phrase, conventionally spelled for program evaluation) 4. Paragraphed story, two themes (conventionally spelled for program evaluation)

Date:

Language level:

Score:

Message quality: 1. Has a concept of signs (uses letters, invents letters, uses punctuation, pictures) 2. Has a concept that a message is conveyed 3. Repetitive use of sentence patterns, such as “I like...” 4. Successful composition Score:

Directional principles: 1. No evidence of directional knowledge 2. Part of the directional pattern is known: start top left, or move left to right, or return down left 3. Correct directional pattern with lapses in spacing 4. Correct directional pattern and spaces between words

Score:

Phonemic awareness: 1. No evidence of phonemic awareness 2. Developing phonemic awareness; records initial sounds 3. Transitional awareness; records beginning and ending sounds in decodable words 4. Advanced awareness; records nearly all sounds of decodable words in order Score:

NOTE: To rate/score writing, take three writing samples for consecutive days or three successive weeks. Record the number for the best description of the writing sample. Sometimes what children learn falls outside the limits of the analysis categories used. * Use for students reading at or below a level H (Guided reading). Comments:

Adapted from M. Clay’s, An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, 2002

Total average score:

Figure 3.4  K–​2 Expanded Scoring Rubric for Narrative and Non-​Narrative Writing

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Co-triangulating to Inform K–12 Instruction Student name:

Grade:

School:

3-12* Expanded scoring rubric for narrative and non-narrative writing Date:

1. Limited reasoning, details, text-based evidence and description. 2. Somewhat appropriate reasoning, details, text-based, and description. 3. Largely appropriate reasoning, details, text-based, and description. 4. Consistently clear and convincing reasoning, details, text-based evidence, and description.

Date:

Date:

Development of ideas:

Score:

Organization: 1. Limited coherence, clarity; progression of ideas unclear. 2. Some coherence, clarity, and includes an introduction, conclusion, and logically grouped ideas. 3. Adequate coherence; includes an introduction, conclusion and logical progression. 4. Purposeful coherence; includes a strong introduction, conclusion, and a logical progression.

Score:

Clarity of language: 1. Limited descriptive words and phrases, sensory details, and transitional devices. 2. Some precise descriptive words and phrases, sensory details, and transitional devices. 3. Mostly precise descriptive words and phrases, sensory details, and transitional devices. 4. Precise descriptive words and phrases, sensory details, and transitional devices. Score:

Knowledge of language and conventions: 1. Large number of errors; communication is impaired. 2. Moderate number of errors; inconsistent knowledge of punctuation and capitalization. 3. Few errors; commonly used words are usually spelled correctly, meaning is clear. 4. Almost no errors in grammar and spelling; meaning is clear. Score:

Support: 1. Few supporting ideas; no details or examples. 2. Moderate use of supporting ideas; details and examples not developed. 3. Adequate supporting ideas; contains some specifics and details. 4. Elaborated supporting idea; sample details and examples. Score:

Voice: 1. Does not reach out to audience or to anticipate interests and needs. 2. Moments here and there amuse, surprise, or move the reader. 3. Tone and flavor fit the topic, purpose, and audience well. 4. Clearly and insightfully reaches and holds the reader’s attention. Score:

NOTE: To rate/score writing, take three writing samples for consecutive days or three successive weeks. Record the number for the best description of the writing sample. *K-2 use for students reading at or above level I (Guided reading). 8

7

6

Total average score:

Points

24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9

5

Grade

100 98 96 94 93 91 89 88 86 84 83 81 79 78 76 74 73 71 69 68 66 64 63 61 59

4

3

2

1

0

Figure 3.5  3–​12 Expanded Scoring Rubric for Narrative and Non-​Narrative Writing 

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Teaching for Strategic Activity Based on Assessment In a K–​12 integrated model of literacy instruction dynamic assessment is critical. Even more important is having a clear understanding of literacy learning as a process in order to analyze student data more effectively. In the previous two sections we shared a record of oral reading behaviors and a writing rubric for narrative and non-​narrative texts. Both of these dynamic instruments in combination with your school, district, and state static assessments should give you ample information to support students’ literacy learning not only in reading/​language arts but across content areas as well. Armed with information on students’ strengths and needs, you can now proceed to teach for a network of strategic activity to promote independent and flexible learning behaviors. When we talk about teaching for a network of strategic activity, we are referring to intentional teaching that focuses on teaching students to become critical, independent, and flexible learners. In other words, we are focusing our teaching on assisting students to be self-​directed, self-​ regulating, and self-​extending (Clay, 2015). We engage in teaching for a network of strategic activity when we teach at the students’ instructional level or within their Zones of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1978). At their instructional levels, students are provided the opportunity to seek solutions within a balance of supports and challenges. The teacher who is teaching for a network of strategic activity, regardless of the content area, plans lessons with the understanding that: 1. Materials used need to be at the students’ instructional level (generally material that they can read with 90% to 94% accuracy for K–​2, 91% to 95 % for 3–​5, 92% to 96% for 6–​8, and 93% to 97% for 9–​12). 2. Generative responses are provided rather than corrective feedback. 3. Teaching prompts used consistently promote independent solution-​ seeking behavior. 4. Reciprocity between reading and writing enterprises are highlighted across content areas. 5. If materials used are above the students’ instructional level, a variety of instructional practices are employed to scaffold instruction (Bruner, 1990). 64

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6. Static and dynamic assessments are used to guide instruction. 7. Assessment is on-​going to document and monitor change over time. Although these are some simple guidelines to gauge whether instruction is aimed at teaching for a network of strategic activity, simply adhering to those guidelines does not guarantee that teaching for strategic activity is taking place. Yet, conscientiously keeping those guidelines on the forefront of thinking when planning will increase the likelihood that teaching for strategic activity is employed. A serious point of consideration for instruction in a K–​12 integrated literacy model is that the seven guidelines apply to teachers at all grade levels and all content areas. Since this is critical information in multi-​tier systems of support for instruction, in the next few paragraphs we will elaborate on each of the guidelines. When teaching for strategic activities teacher-​colleagues use materials at the students’ Zone of Proximal Development or “next” zone of development. Understanding the concept of teaching in the students’ “next” zone of development is critical in order to teach beyond core standards. When materials used are too difficult, strategic activities begin to disintegrate with learners generally relying solely on the graphophonic working system to simply decode words at the letter level and we do not want students to walk away thinking that reading is just an act of decoding words. Although decoding words can be a powerful strategic activity when assembled with other working systems, by itself it does not get the reader/​learner closer to constructing meaning or generating a defensible interpretation, our definition of comprehension. Without constructing meaning any act of learning is diminished if non-​existent. For example, if someone asks you to read a medical or highly technical computer journal of which you do not have the background knowledge or vocabulary, you are likely to simply decode words and not comprehend. Due to the lack of background knowledge and critical content vocabulary it will be a challenge to construct meaning from the journal. The exact situation occurs to students in school when they are asked to read materials that are beyond their cognitive or maturity level. Effective teaching for a network of strategic activity relies heavily on providing students with materials at levels they can comprehend with assistance or independently with an eye on increasing text complexity. When teaching for a network of strategic activity, teachers provide generative responses rather than corrective feedback which tends to remove the responsibility of learning from the student. Strategic activity is synonymous 65

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with active solution-​seeking behavior. Over time we have chosen to use the phrase “solution seeking” rather than “problem solving” since it reflects a more positive desirable behavior. Hence, active solution seeking cannot occur when teachers remove the responsibility of learning by correcting the student and providing the correct answer. On the other hand, when providing a generative response, the responsibility for learning is left with the student, with the teacher prompting the student to utilize what they know to get to the unknown. Consequently, the teaching prompts used to promote independent solution-​seeking behavior become a critical arsenal for teachers. Armed with knowledge of instructional practices and language, teachers have the power to make or break a learning environment. Prompted by the work of Tharp and Gallimore (1988), one question that we have learned to ask ourselves over time when prompting students for strategic activity is, “Am I intentionally assisting or assessing students’ performance?” The types of prompts or questions we ask students always have the potential to be interpreted as helping or testing. Although at times we do want to ask questions that assess performance, if our goal is to teach for strategic activity, we need to measure our words carefully to ensure that our prompts are assisting performance by engaging students in active solution-​seeking behavior (Johnston, 2004). Most schooling deals with learning from print. Teaching for reciprocity between reading and writing enterprises economizes students’ cognitive load by always highlighting how one supports the other. The reciprocity between reading and writing couches strategic activities across content areas as students construct meaning. For teachers, this means that our overt conversations during learning moments need to intentionally focus on how one activity supports another and the benefit to the student. Realistically, we know that not all materials that students are to be exposed to can be at their instructional level. When that is the case and materials used are above the students’ instructional level, a variety of instructional practices are employed to scaffold instruction (Bruner, 1990). By scaffolding instruction, we are referring to the previously mentioned model of learning and instruction that focuses on I-​do-​you-​look, I-​do-​ you-​help, You-​do-​I-​help, and You-​do-​I-​look. This gradual release model of executive control creates a safe environment for students to ensure engagement and exposure to new vocabulary over time that will serve students well when independently seeking solutions. 66

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All of us have heard over and over the mantra that assessment should guide instruction. Yet seldom do we hear what type of assessment we should rely on to ensure that we employ powerful instructional practices that are a good match for students. Teachers that teach for strategic activity rely on static and dynamic assessments (Dixon-​Krauss, 1996). Static assessments are summative assessments that tell us in general terms what students are learning in relation to other students or what students are learning in a specific content area. They are assessments of learning. This is vital information in order for teachers to gauge their overall teaching and content. Static assessments are state tests, chapter tests, and the like. Dynamic assessments refer to formative assessments that hone in on students’ strengths and needs. They are assessments for learning. Static assessments potentially reveal what students have learned and dynamic assessments potentially reveal how students learn. One focuses on outcomes while the other focuses on process. Therefore, teaching for strategic activity means relying on static and dynamic assessment to make informed decisions that support student learning. Conventional wisdom and experience teach us that learning occurs and changes over time. Monitoring and documenting those changes is critical when teaching for strategic activity. A teacher’s classroom is packed with split-​ second decision-​ making throughout the day. Unfortunately, our human memory can only hold so much for so long before information is replaced with new information. Consequently, when our intention is to teach powerfully, our students’ learning has to be monitored and documented in order for assessment to truly guide instruction. Thus, to teach for strategic activity means on-​going monitoring and documenting our students’ strengths and needs. Ultimately, we want to support and nurture students in becoming strategic learners. The goal is not to make it easy. Rather, the goal is to make it easy to learn. Only by teaching students how to learn can we ensure that we are supporting students in becoming self-​extending learners that will be career and/​or college ready. The language we use and the instructional practices we employ certainly impacts whether or not we accomplish that goal.

Summary Assessment and meaningful evaluation go hand in hand in order to implement a coherent K–​ 12 framework for instruction. In this chapter 67

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we addressed the idea of triangulating assessments from an ethnographic perspective by collecting participant observations/​ assessments, non-​ participant observations/​assessments, and artifacts. Artifacts in this case are dynamic documented (and dated!) inventories of students’ reading behaviors and documented analyses of students’ writing. By combining such dynamic assessments with required district, state or province static assessments, instruction can be grounded on students’ strengths to address their needs efficiently and effectively. This broad spectrum perspective on assessment also enables educators to focus on teaching for strategic activity rather than simply low-​level domain-​specific item knowledge. In Chapter 4 we will review the concept and impact of using considerate and inconsiderate texts in an increasing gradient of text complexity. We will also discuss the implications of intertextuality through text sets and genres across content areas to support student learning over time across disciplines.

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We used the watchwords curating, integrating, and triangulating to puzzle and guide our thinking through what it will take to inform and improve instruction. Our current understanding of what it is going to take to curate transdisciplinary literacy learning environments to support critical and creative global citizens that will be career and college ready was reviewed in Chapter 1. Specific and general ideas were presented as frameworks for thinking about the task of teaching global transdisciplinary literate students. Using the Vygotskian perspective that language is a tool for thinking, we presented some wording to update our language (more to come) and upgrade our thinking as a profession. For starters, in this day and age, we need to drop the terminology of classroom, professional development, systematic and explicit, rigor and relevance and engage in many conversations with colleagues that use the watch words learning environment, professional learning, intentional and coherent instruction, and teach with vigor and vigilance. Of course, words alone, although powerful, will not get the work done. Yet to get the work done we also have to have a common understanding of literacy learning as a process and a repertoire of instructional practices to bring our understandings to life in a coherent multi-​tiered system of support models that cater to all students. We argue that understanding an integrated model of literacy learning as a process is the backbone of a K–​12 literacy framework focused on coherent instruction to support students towards college, career, and citizenship. The concepts presented in Chapter 2 have to be revisited over and over with colleagues who work with students on a daily basis. It is only in the interaction with students that the theories presented in this chapter come to life and make sense to improve instruction. Our rendition

DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-5

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of an integrated model for transdisciplinary literacy learning and teaching addresses the in-​the-​head processing that needs to occur across content areas in addition to the external conditions that need to be in place to impact the learning. Teaching for coherence in a K–​12 literacy framework means recognizing elements that support a learning environment. One of those critical elements is being able to look at dynamic and static assessments to make informed decisions for instruction. As we completed this text during a pandemic, no one will argue that data should inform decision making. In Chapter 3 we reviewed the concept of triangulating data to improve learning and teaching environments and then proceed to introducing “co-​triangulating” data to learning and teaching in a coherent and intentional K–​12 literacy framework to support learning beyond core standards. This is a structure for teacher leaders and teachers to organize their thinking when planning to implement a coherent K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework across grade levels in a school and across schools in a district. Additionally, assessment and meaningful evaluation go hand in hand in order to implement a coherent K–​12 framework for instruction. We addressed the idea of triangulating assessments from an ethnographic perspective by collecting participant observations/​ assessments, non-​ participant observations/​ assessments, and artifacts. Artifacts in this case are dynamic documented (and dated!) inventories of students’ reading behaviors and documented analyses of students’ writing. By combining such dynamic assessments with required district, state or province static assessments, instruction can be grounded on students’ strengths to address their needs efficiently and effectively. This broad spectrum perspective on assessment also enables educators to focus on teaching for strategic activity rather than simply low-​level domain-​specific item knowledge. In the next section, four out of the five chapters are purposefully redundant to ensure professional relevancy. As former elementary, middle school, and high school (and university) instructors, we know our elementary teacher-​colleagues are not likely to read the chapters on instructional practices for grades 6–​12 and, conversely, our middle school and high school teacher-​colleagues would not wander into the chapters addressing K–​5 instructional practices. Spoiler alert! Most of the instructional practices are the same. The common or uncommon denominator that will impact your interpretation and influence your implementation are the students and grade level you teach. 70

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Using Considerate and Inconsiderate Multimodal Texts

con-​sid-​er-​ing (verb) Careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt, showing careful thought. Laying the groundwork for implementing a K–​ 12 comprehensive transdisciplinary literacy framework that includes language arts, mathematics, sciences, social studies, and the arts takes time, dedication, and collaborative planning on multiple levels. It demands curating a variety of resources and sources for professional learning and instruction. Additionally, it requires taking a thorough and critical look at the curriculum content, materials, and texts for considerateness or inconsiderateness across core content areas. Considerate texts are comprehensible and coherent, enabling learners to process information efficiently and effectively (Kantor, Anderson & Armbruster, 1983). Inconsiderate texts, on the other hand, require extensive background knowledge, vocabulary, and strategic activity beyond the reach of a learner. Regardless of the transdisciplinary literacy framework, or grade level being implemented in a learning environment, the selection of multimodal texts can make or break any disciplinary learning experience. Whether you are six or 16 years of age, multimodal texts (audio, video, digital, or print) have the potential to elate or frustrate students across core content areas. When the text is too easy, learners become complacent and eventually bored. When the text is too challenging, learners become frustrated and the will to go on is impeded. The goal here is to find

DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-6

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multimodal texts where students can experience what Csíkszentmihályi (1996) refers to as flow. According to Csíkszentmihályi, learners experience flow when there is a high degree of balance between skill and challenge. When skill is too low and challenge is high, anxiety is created, and most learners shut down. Yet on the flip side, when skill is too high and challenge is low, boredom is created. Consequently, the selection of appropriate multimodal texts requires astute and critical professional judgment to create a supportive and nurturing learning environment where learners’ funds of knowledge are recognized as strengths and can be utilized to prompt critical inquiry. Employing ethnographic methodologies, we engaged in hours of classroom observations with field notes, focus groups, interviews/​discussions, and years of classroom teaching experience ourselves, and we have found that to create and curate K–​12 learning environments where learners are likely to experience the feeling of flow, educators need to have a clear understanding of: 1. Literacy learning as a process. 2. Students’ strengths (funds of knowledge) and needs (curricular demands). 3. Text supports and challenges. 4. Developmentally and age appropriate curriculum content, materials, and processes, and 5. Dynamic formative assessments in addition to static summative assessments. These five points of consideration are addressed in the previous chapters and we highly recommend revisiting them with colleagues over time. In this chapter we would like to focus specifically on understanding what makes multimodal texts considerate or inconsiderate for use at a time when grade level core standards may be causing educators to place students in inconsiderate texts that will frustrate rather than elate and actually impede learning over time. In addition to reviewing what makes a text considerate or inconsiderate, we will also be addressing the role of leveled texts, decodable texts, creating multimodal text sets as a viable instructional solution to potentially making inconsiderate texts considerate for students, and orienting students to texts.

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Understanding Text Complexity for K–​12 Literacy Instruction The current high-​stakes testing, and standards-​based impetus in education is to escalate text complexity as an instructional practice to increase students’ learning potential. Although on the surface this may sound reasonable, we, and many colleagues with literacy instruction expertise, will argue that there is a potential danger in moving students up through a gradient, or staircase, of text complexity without considering the students’ strengths as they are placed in more challenging and possibly inconsiderate texts. In actuality, at any grade level, true scaffolding of instruction cannot occur unless teachers clearly know students’ strengths, motivations, and interests. Scaffolding instruction grounded in what students do not know is parallel to setting a physical scaffold to build a structure on soft sand. It will not sustain. It will topple over. Reflecting on the practice of moving students into more complex texts certainly has its merits and it also demands that we consider the genealogy of the practice. Like asking students to engage in a close reading (essentially rereading with a specific purpose), the idea of increasing text complexity is not a new concept. In the 1830s, William Holmes McGuffey created leveled texts to support instruction. Years later in the 1950s, G. Spache (1953) devised the Spache Readability formula to estimate the grade level of a text using sentence length and number of unfamiliar words to determine the readability of texts in the primary grades. Then in the 1960s Edward Fry developed the Fry Readability Formula (Frye, 1968). This formula determined readability through high school and was validated with materials from elementary and secondary schools in addition to the results of other readability formulas; later extending it through college levels. Then in the 1980s with the advent of Reading Recovery® in the United States, the idea of leveled texts was reintroduced where multiple factors were used, including the reader’s abilities and background knowledge, to determine what makes a text considerate or inconsiderate. Moving forward on our timeline of determining text complexity, Fountas and Pinnell (2006) introduced a leveling system on a gradient that considered ten characteristics: genre, text structure, content, themes, language and literary devices, sentence complexity, vocabulary, words, illustrations, and book and print features. Over time Fountas and Pinnell (2017) extended their

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gradient of text complexity to include texts from kindergarten to eighth grade. Interestingly, a present-​day online search for readability and text complexity will produce over 199,000,000 hits on the topic. Not surprisingly, readability and the notion of text complexity have gone viral and marketable. The current trend to determine whether a text is considerate or inconsiderate relies on teachers and teacher leaders adopting a model for a triadic analysis of text complexity by considering: 1. looking closely at the reader’s strengths and needs in light of the demands of the text; 2. qualitative factors (e.g. genre, text structure, content, themes, language, sentence complexity, vocabulary, words, illustrations, and text features); and 3. quantitative factors (e.g. sentence length, syllable count, and number of unfamiliar words). A triadic analysis of text complexity goes beyond a leveling system or readability formula. Of the three factors for analysis, the most taxing (but not impossible) is understanding the learner’s strengths (funds of knowledge) and needs (curricular demands) in relation to the supports and challenges of the text. The task necessitates a leveled analysis that requires educators to have a clear understanding of literacy learning as a process and the qualitative elements of a given text. Figure 4.1 provides a quick reference outlined model identifying elements for a qualitative, quantitative, and student-​centered considerations to make a better-​informed decision of what may make a text considerate or inconsiderate to a learner.

Triadic Analysis of Text Complexity The examples provided in Figure 4.1 are illustrative and not an exhaustive list of factors to consider under the main headings of student-​centered considerations, qualitative analysis, and quantitative analysis. Even under the recommendations for student-​centered considerations, all three levels of analysis must be utilized to make an informed decision. Moreover, only by triangulating an analysis of student-​centered considerations, qualitative elements, and quantitative elements can teachers and teacher leaders determine the considerateness of a text to a learner to increase the likelihood of the learner engaging, experiencing confluency, and ultimately comprehending, constructing a defensible interpretation.

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Student-​centered considerations Level 1 Surface analysis—​Considers the graphophonic and lexical requirements of the learner. Level 2 Medial analysis—​Considers the syntactic and semantic requirements of the learner. Level 3 Deep analysis—​Considers the schematic and pragmatic requirements of the learner. Qualitative Analysis of Text • Genre •  Text structures • Content • Themes • Language •  Sentence complexity • Vocabulary • Words • Illustrations •  Text features Quantitative Analysis of Text •  Sentence length •  Word frequency •  Number of sentences •  Number of words •  Number of syllables •  Number of pages Figure 4.1  Triadic Analysis Guide of Text Complexity

Student-​centered Considerations When we are assessing the learner’s strengths and needs to determine considerateness or inconsiderateness of a text, the analysis starts by assessing how the reader processes print or information in general. From Chapter 2, we need to consider what sources of information in the text, what in-​the-​ head working systems are they using and neglecting (graphophonic, lexical, semantic, syntactic, pragmatic, or schematic) and what strategic activities (i.e., predicting and anticipating, monitoring, searching further at difficulty, self-​correcting) are they employing and disregarding to make sense?

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Once we have determined the students’ strengths and needs, then we need to ask ourselves—​what are we actually asking the student to do with this particular text? This general question should help us ascertain the task and provide us with coherent, intentional, and accountable academic language to share with students to make a text more accessible. At any grade level, surface analysis requires that we consider the phonics and vocabulary knowledge required of the learner to be able to construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct meaning. A medial analysis asks educators to consider the grammatical and extended vocabulary knowledge requirement on the reading. Finally, a deep analysis asks educators to revisit the students’ background knowledge and sense of purpose. Reflecting on the following questions will help in your analysis of student-​centered considerations: 1. What is the student supposed to do with the information from the text? 2. What background knowledge is required of the student to make sense of the text? 3. Will the student be asked to engage in a conversation or a written response after the reading and why? Will it be—​ to remember, to inform, or to entertain? 4. What will the student learn from this text to use in other core disciplines? Content or process? 5. Does the student clearly understand the purpose and benefit of engaging with this particular text?

Qualitative Analysis of Texts A second factor in a triadic model of analysis of text complexity is taking a careful look at the different attributes of the text. For this analysis we adapted Fountas and Pinnell’s (2017) work to review ten qualitative attributes of texts through a multimodal transdisciplinary lens. 1. Genre: A genre is a category usually identified by form, content, and style. The difference between form, style, and genre is that genre is a predominant type, however, form and style can be considered an aspect of a genre or even of a specific writer’s voice. Genres allow us to classify various types of literature, music, film, and other art forms into groups. Beyond the conventional genres of prose, poetry,

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and drama in literature, there are also many subgenres ranging from fiction to nonfiction. For example, genres in film may include drama, comedy, romantic comedy, science fiction, and animation to name a few. While genres in music may include country, classical hip hop, and jazz. The list in literature and the arts goes on with countless genres and subgenres categorizing content in numerous ways based on a variety of attributes and styles. Since most learners, at various levels of literacy learning, develop a preference for a particular genre, recognizing and identifying a genre is critical when teaching for transdisciplinary literacy learning and curating diverse learning environments with conditions for learning that will pique curiosity and engage students. 2. Text Structure: Most texts are written to either inform, entertain, or to persuade. Text structure refers to how the text is organized. An awareness of text structure helps learners question (predict and anticipate) and monitor (detect and confirm or reject) their understanding of a given text. Consequently, regardless of the core content area, to achieve their goal, authors use one or more of the following text structures: description, sequence/​ chronological order, cause/​ effect, compare/​contrast, problem/​solution, classification, and definition. Text structures are another source of information for readers within an in-​ the-​head pragmatic working system. An awareness of text structures helps learners determine the author’s purpose—​to inform, to entertain, to persuade, or a combination. Understanding text structure supports students in becoming critical global consumers of information and provides models for creating and communicating new knowledge across disciplines. 3. Content: Content is the significant information of a publication. Content is what is tested in most static assessments. It is both information and communication that includes relevancy, usefulness, and how it is presented. Content is an important factor when teaching for transdisciplinary literacy learning. It is the essential information students need to be able to construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct knowledge across core disciplines in order to become transdisciplinary global citizens consuming and producing information. When assessing texts for content considerateness or inconsiderateness, we need to question age appropriateness, developmental appropriateness, and

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cultural sensitivity of the content. Many times, when colleagues use the word “curriculum” they mean content. 4. Themes: These are the underlying messages or “big ideas”. Themes generally transcend cultural barriers and are universal in nature regardless of geographic location. They are central ideas about the human condition and are ways to connect concepts across all disciplines. They may be overt or discrete, complicated, and conceptual. Multimodal texts (i.e., audio, visual, digital, or print) may have multiple transdisciplinary themes and subthemes. Some broad spectrum transdisciplinary themes to consider may include change, conflict, order, power, patterns, structure, systems, and relationships. Think about how these themes are addressed in core academic disciplines such as mathematics, science, arts, language arts, and social studies. Like content, when assessing a text for thematic considerateness or inconsiderateness, age appropriateness, developmental appropriateness, and cultural sensitivity has to be considered. 5. Language: The language utilized by authors across disciplines can be supportive or challenging to a student. Familiarity with an author’s language use is critical in constructing an understanding and being able to monitor your understanding of a given text regardless of the mode. Written language is different than spoken language and disciplinary language differs somewhat across core content areas. In language arts we may say that students “predict and anticipate”; while in science we would say that students “hypothesize”, and in mathematics they “estimate”. Additionally, the actual language used in a text needs to be analyzed for age appropriateness, developmental appropriateness, and cultural sensitivity. Keep in mind that what may be appropriate in one community, may not be in another. The context within which a text is being read is another critical point to consider. The language author’s use is always purposeful for the intent of the text. The memorability of language is increased when repetition, rhyme, and rhythm are employed. Just think how easily we recall and remember popular songs—​rhyme, rhythm, and repetition. 6. Sentence Complexity: Meaning is mapped onto the syntax of language. Usually texts with simpler, more natural sentences are easier to process. The operative word here is usually not always. Declarative, exclamatory, and interrogative sentences with embedded and conjoined clauses increases text complexity and difficulty. Phrasing within sentences can 78

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make sentences simple or complex to a reader. Our oral sentence structure does not always reflect book language, much less the language of poetry. The use of metaphorical language in a sentence can clarify a point to a learner or muddy conceptual understandings. 7. Vocabulary: Vocabulary refers to words and their meanings. The more known vocabulary words in a text, the easier a text will be (generally). An individual’s vocabulary is the in-​the-​head working system of words and morphemes that they understand. As learners become more sophisticated their morphemic knowledge becomes another factor for consideration. Learners’ morphemic knowledge is their knowledge of prefixes, suffixes, base words, root words, in addition to Greek and Latin derivatives. Proficient transdisciplinary learners use their morphemic knowledge to construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct new words by going beyond letter by letter analysis. 8. Words: This category refers to recognizing and solving the printed words in the text. The challenge in a text partly depends on the number and the difficulty of the words that the learner must solve by recognizing them or decoding them. We use the term “decoding” broadly to mean working on words using whatever means to make meaning. Keeping in mind that “decodable” is totally relevant to the learner. Having a great many of the same high-​frequency words makes a text more accessible to learners. A text with many words and consequently pages may be quite intimidating to a student. Whereas a text with few or fewer words and pages may be inviting to a student. Do not be misled by the words themselves though. For example, E.E. Cummings’ poem “May I feel said he”, can easily be read or word-​called by any proficient first grade reader because of Cummings’ use of many basic high-​frequency sight words (i.e., I, said, come, you, and love) and many easily decodable words (e.g., he, it, if, but, she, go, and stop). Yet, the sensual poem is about an active sexual relationship between a married man and a woman. 9. Illustrations: Drawings, paintings, or photographs accompany the text and add meaning and enjoyment. In factual or disciplinary texts, illustrations also include graphics that provide a great deal of information that readers must integrate with the text. Purposeful illustrations are an integral part of a high-​quality text. Increasingly, fiction texts include a range of graphics, including labels, headings, subheadings, sidebars, photos and legends, charts, and graphs. Across grade levels, 79

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texts may include graphic texts that communicate information or a story in a sequence of pictures and words. 10. Text Features: Book and print features are the physical aspects of the text—​what readers cope with, in terms of length, size, and layout. Book and print features also include reference tools like the table of contents, glossary, pronunciation guides, indexes, sidebars, and a variety of graphic features in graphic texts that communicate how the text is read to support the reader. At this point, we do have to throw in the caveat that just because a text is determined to be inconsiderate does not mean that it cannot be used for instruction. When a text is determined to be inconsiderate for a learner or group of learners, the teacher needs to decide on the level of support necessary for students to understand the content. It may mean that the text should be used within the instructional context of an interactive read aloud or a shared reading instead of a specific guided practice situation. The main purpose for determining whether a text is considerate or inconsiderate is not to keep or discard it but rather to decide how to use it to increase students’ growing repertoire of vocabulary and content knowledge.

Lexile Measures Lexile measures are quantitative elements of text complexity, such as word frequency, vocabulary, and sentence length, which are characteristically measured by computer software. The Lexile concept contrasts from other readability formulas in that it measures both text complexity and students’ reading ability on the same developmental scale, with the intention of predicting students’ comprehension on specific texts. Lexile measures do not reflect factors such as age appropriateness, interest, or prior knowledge. A Lexile reader measure characterizes a student’s reading ability on the Lexile scale. A Lexile text measure denotes a text’s difficulty level on the Lexile scale. Used together, they are intended to support teachers and students in selecting texts at an appropriate level. Although Figure 4.2 illustrates a correlation to other leveling systems, there is no direct relationship between a specific Lexile measure and a specific grade level. In any K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy learning environment, there will always be a variety of unique literacy abilities. 80

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Grade level

Basal level

Kindergarten

Readiness

Grade 1

Pre Primer 1 PP 2 PP 3 Primer 1–​1 1–​2 2–​1

Grade 2

2–​2 Grade 3

Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12

3–​1 3–​2 4–​1 4–​2 5–​1 5–​2 6–​1 6–​2 7–​1 7–​2 8–​1 8–​2 9 10 11 12

Approximate Lexile Levels

100–​153 154–​207 208–​261 262–​315 316–​369 370–​419 420–​466 467–​513 514–​560 559–​605 606–​652 653–​699 700–​790 791–​839 840–​888 889–​937 938–​980 981–​1010 1011–​1040 1041–​1070 1071–​1100 1101–​1030 1031–​1155 1056–​1132 1133–​1305 1306–​1354 1355+

Guided Reading Reading level Recovery® (F & P) level A B C/​D D E F G H I/​J J K L M N O P Q R/​S S T/​U U V/​W W X/​Y Y Z

1 2 3&4 5&6 7&8 9 & 10 11 & 12 13 & 14 15 & 16 17 & 18 20

Figure 4.2  Approximate Surface Text Complexity K–​12 Grade Bands Note: All text gradients are fallible. The text complexity grade bands described above are illustrative and approximate to facilitate learning and teaching. Each is meant to be a guidepost and should be considered only provisional. Ultimately, teachers’ professional judgment, experience, and knowledge of their students and content plays a vital role in what makes a text considerate or inconsiderate in an integrated transdisciplinary literacy model for classroom instruction and curriculum content planning.

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The Role of Leveled Texts A quick glance into any schoolbook catalog reveals a variety of books labeled within a specific leveling system, usually from kindergarten to eighth grade. The levels are there to serve as a tool to support teachers in selecting texts that are considerate to promote students’ literacy learning over time. Unfortunately, we have seen leveled texts misused as a technology of domination to control what students read and reward students’ reading habits or abilities. Figure 4.2 provides a quick reference guide to approximate grade level texts with a dynamic provisional conversion table showing grade level, basal reading series levels, approximate Lexile levels, Fountas & Pinnell guided reading levels, and specific Reading Recovery® levels for the primary grades. Within a K–​12 integrated transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction across core content area, leveled texts are never intended to be used to level classroom libraries, designate book boxes from which students can choose a text to read, create intimidating classroom multi-​colored data walls where students are labeled with a text level, or used to label students. Leveled texts should be used as a tool by highly vigilant teachers during guided instructional practice where keeping students on the outer edge of their learning is critical for literacy learning most likely to occur. Highly vigilant teachers and teacher leaders are colleagues who make informed decisions for instruction based on static summative assessments and dynamic formative assessments that highlight students’ strengths and needs over time with the pedagogical content knowledge that we are always learning to read. Highly vigilant teachers and teacher leaders reject the limiting and dichotomous view of learning to read and reading to learn. Leveled texts are another scaffold for instruction to support students’ growth over time from where they are and what they know, to where they need to be and what they need to know. All instructional scaffolds, as any scaffold, are only as good as the foundation they rest upon. Understanding students’ strengths and using it to scaffold new learning is a definition of good instruction. Instructional scaffolds are ineffective when used within a deficit model of instruction that relies solely on static summative assessments to guide instruction discounting critical teacher decision making. When matched to students’ strengths and needs, leveled texts are building blocks to support teachers in constructing, deconstructing, and reconstructing those 82

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scaffolds. We also need to remember that all scaffolds are temporary. They go up when needed and come down when they are not. A scaffold that remains in place too long may become an impediment to future learning and potentially disabling learners (Clay, 2015).

The Role of Decodable Texts Within a K–​12 comprehensive transdisciplinary literacy framework for language arts, mathematics, sciences, social studies, and arts, decodable is relative to the learner. A decodable text for a learner in first grade is completely different than a decodable text for a tenth grader. For example, as you are reading and comprehending this text, it is decodable for you. More than likely, this text will not be decodable to a learner in the primary grades. When we define decodable through the lens of comprehensive literacy instruction, it means that students are able to use all sources of information in a text to decode it and make meaning. In a K–​12 comprehensive transdisciplinary framework for instruction, a decodable text goes beyond simply matching sounds to letters. There is no room for the overuse of decodable texts in a K–​ 12 comprehensive transdisciplinary literacy framework. In fact, we have observed many students where the overuse of decodable texts has disabled a learner by narrowing their view of “reading” as simply matching sounds to letter. Generally accepted, decodable texts are a type of text used in beginning literacy instruction that are judiciously sequenced to gradually include words that are consistent with the letter-​sound relationships that a student has been explicitly taught. A small number of high-​frequency words that have more challenging or unexpected spellings, such as “the” and “was”, are also used. In a structured, not comprehensive, literacy program, some colleagues with literacy instruction expertise believe that decodable texts should closely match the sequence of phonics instruction, especially for low-​progress learners. Essentially, decodable texts are leveled readers that utilize contrived vocabulary based primarily on letter-​sound relationship or predictable onsets and rimes matched to programmatic phonics instruction. As in all issues about instruction, appropriately using decodable texts for instruction relies heavily on a vigilant teacher’s understanding of literacy learning as a process in addition to recognizing students’ strengths and needs. Some colleagues with expertise in literacy instruction feel 83

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that decodable texts should be utilized during the beginning stages of literacy learning. We will respectfully add that it depends on the strengths and needs of the individual learner. Due to a strong focus on word-​level reading, we have found that relying heavily on decodable texts for instruction in the earlier stages of literacy learning does not ensure that students, including low-​progress learners, will have the necessary skills to become strategic transdisciplinary learners and critical thinkers. According to the National Reading Panel Report, “very little research has attempted to determine whether the use of decodable books in systematic phonics programs has any influence on the progress that some or all children make in learning to read” (National Reading Panel, 2000, pp. 2–​137). Furthermore, Allington (1997) argued that there was no empirical evidence supporting the use of decodable texts for beginning readers. Consequently, depending on the student, decodable texts can be considerate or inconsiderate to the learner. In the next section, we will discuss in detail text sets as an instructional practice that we find combines the use of considerate and inconsiderate text to support student transdisciplinary literacy learning over time. As we move ahead, we need to understand that within the instructional practice of using text sets, texts may be on-​line, off-​line, narrative, non-​narrative, and non-​alphabetic print (e.g., photographs, film, and graphics).

The Role of Text Sets In a comprehensive K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction, teachers and teacher leaders understand that students need to develop a habit of inquiry before developing a disciplinary habit of mind. The use of text sets is a promising instructional practice developed on comprehension research on the importance of building background knowledge and vocabulary that fosters the development of habits of inquiry (Coombs & Bellingham, 2015; Barone, 2014; Elish-​Piper, Wold & Schwingendorf, 2014; Shanahan, 2013). Text sets are sources of information. They are resources that consist of different reading levels, genres, and media that offer a variety of perspectives on a theme, concept, or topic (Moss, 2011). They may include a variety of print and non-​print genres such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and media such as blogs, maps, photographs, art, 84

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primary-​source documents, audio, and video recordings (Tracy, Menickelli & Scales, 2017). In the K–​12 learning environment, high-​quality multimodal text sets are curated to build vocabulary and knowledge of an academic topic, concept, or theme (Hoch, McCarty, Gurvitz & Sitkoski, 2019). Text sets can provide students fertile grounds to explore understandings, interpretations, and insights of others as they mature and transition from disciplinary to transdisciplinary global learners addressing real-​ world issues (Lintner, 2010; Stenshorn, 2011; Tschida & Buchanan, 2015). Regardless of the organization, effective text sets are usually assembled with attention to text complexity, vocabulary development, content knowledge, and conceptual understandings. Additionally, the focus of effective text sets are generalizable concepts and topics rather than the specific content of any given text. In K–​12 learning environments that utilize text sets, students gain a broad transdisciplinary perspective and in-​depth knowledge of content from reading multiple multimodal texts within the same theme or topic (Dodge & Crutcher, 2015). Research has shown that the use of conceptually coherent text sets is effective in building knowledge and vocabulary, as well as preparing students for new texts on the same topic (Liberman & Looney, 2013). Both background knowledge and disciplinary vocabulary are essential for transdisciplinary literacy learning. Background knowledge allows learners to make inferences by predicting and anticipating, which aids in comprehension, critical thinking, and memory. Studies have also shown that prior knowledge of a topic has a greater impact on reading comprehension than generalized reading ability. Through assessments of students’ strengths and needs we need to recognize and harness the power of prior knowledge to curate text sets that will increase students’ understandings of a given topic or concept across core content areas. One drawback when employing text sets to support student learning is that it takes time and effort to plan an effective text set. To curate or assemble an effective text set, teacher-​colleagues and teacher leaders must consider age appropriateness, cultural responsiveness, text complexity, vocabulary, and content knowledge in the context of a specific community and set of students. Though there are many books and articles available that walk through the process of planning text sets, it is often difficult for teachers and teacher leaders to find the time to engage in this process. Luckily, there are many websites out there that can help. A simple online search with “text 85

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Robust Text Sets

Feeble Text Sets

Build student knowledge about a topic with intentional connection to an anchor text Texts are genuine, fruitful, culturally responsive and worthwhile Range of text types (narrative and non-​narrative) and formats (print and non-​print) Text set presents a variety of diverse viewpoints/​perspectives Text complexity levels support student learning with increasing complexity demands Texts foster curiosity, purpose, and joy in learning Text set includes a range of high interest texts from which students can select

Texts are not related or connected across sets or are superficially connected Only contains commissioned texts or textbook passages Texts are limited to print (online or offline) with limited formats Text set represents limited or narrow viewpoints/​perspectives Text complexity levels are inconsistent with no sequential range of complexity Texts are irrelevant to students and include only prescribed readings Texts are narrowly limited to subject or content that may not interest students

Figure 4.3  Features of Robust and Feeble K–​12 Text Sets

sets for (topic)” will reveal more resources than you will need to get started. Even though an online search is an efficient start to curating a text set, a careful and critical review of all references is a must! As in all online searches, we need to filter through the lens of age appropriateness and cultural responsiveness. We can also never forget the invaluable role that our school’s media/​library specialists can play in supporting the development of text sets. Figure 4.3 provides a quick K–​12 reference guide to reflect on what makes a robust or feeble text set that supports transdisciplinary literacy learning and critical thinking over time.

Recommended Steps for Curating a Text Set Selecting age appropriate and culturally responsive texts for effective teaching is a complex and nuanced process. There is no single process for curating a text set. Teachers and teacher leaders may take a variety of different approaches depending on their community, school, county, state, 86

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or provincial goals and available resources. The following can be used as a basic guide for reflection to curate text sets with age appropriate and cultural responsiveness factors at the forefront: Step 1: Identify an anchor text and develop a powerful essential question. Focusing a text set on a powerful essential question is paramount. The use of an essential question is vitally important in a transdisciplinary literacy learning environment. The essential question focuses the text set and promotes the idea that becoming transdisciplinary literate is about questions, not just answers. An essential question, by design, should promote divergent thinking to solve real-​world issues. It also provides a catalyst for students to collect evidence from multimodal texts to support a defensible argument. Developing essential questions is not easy work. A teacher may first identify an anchor text, from which they formulate a line of inquiry (i.e., essential question) for the set or choose to first identify an essential question and then seek out an anchor text around which to build the set. An important part of this step is that the anchor text needs to be a considerate text that addresses curricular demands and is worthwhile for students. Worthwhile implies that the anchor text is a considerate and relevant text that will arouse a student’s curiosity and imagination. To curate robust text sets that promote transdisciplinary literacy enterprises in language arts, mathematics, social studies, sciences, and the arts, a powerful anchor text and essential question are critical. Step 2: Use a variety of resources to locate other sources of information. After an anchor text has been identified, you can use a variety of online resources and sites to search for other complementary texts. In your search, consider how to include a wide variety of print and non-​print multimodal texts. A well-​rounded text set generally contains a minimum of 8–​10 texts (print and non-​print). Step 3: Evaluate texts for inclusion in the set. In choosing your texts for the set, you will want to consider the features of robust text sets (Figure 4.3). Ask yourself the following reflection questions to determine whether a text should be included or not in the text set: • • •

Does the text support students in making coherent intertextual connections and contribute to their growing vocabulary? Is the text relevant and worthwhile for students? Does the text contribute to a variety of types and formats into the total set? 87

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Does a triadic analysis (see Figure 4.1) of the text place it in the general grade level of the anchor text? A variety of multimodal broad-​spectrum texts will support students’ vocabulary and knowledge building over time.

Step Four: Cultivate, complete, and curate the text set. Continue to cultivate your selections until you are satisfied that you have a variety of diverse multimodal texts that support transdisciplinary student engagement. Then, complete your multimodal text selections and document the text set for use and to share with your professional learning community of practice. In documenting your set, we recommend including the title, author, quantitative measure, source, text type, and brief summary. Text sets provide students the opportunity to become familiar and intimate with a subject and content. Think of a series of texts. Very few people have only read one book in the Harry Potter series or watched only one movie in the Star Wars series. Never mind Indiana Jones. As a matter of fact, many fans eagerly waited patiently for the next book or the next movie in the series and almost went through a grieving process when the last adventure was published. Text sets embrace learners with familiarity and intimacy. They create a conceptual third space where learners are safe to learn. When implementing text sets, shifts will occur over time in teachers’ and students’ understanding of the role and purpose for text sets. As students transition from disciplinary learners to multidisciplinary learners to interdisciplinary learners to transdisciplinary learners, we have observed that over time text set implementation shifts from content or topic based to more global universal themes and from teacher-​selected content to student-​ selected content. In this last section for this chapter, we are going to discuss the importance of orienting students to texts and lessons and provide some guidelines to introduce a new text or lesson.

Orienting Students to Texts or Lessons Think about any inside flap, back cover of a book or film trailer. The sole purpose for those teasers is to arouse your curiosity, to imagine, to question, to fantasize, to think, to the point where you will have to read 88

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the book or watch the movie. The power behind those “teasers” is that it preys on our abilities to predict and anticipate to question. We also understand that there will not be a pop quiz or an exit slip to complete afterwards. Friends tell us about good books and movies, they do not interrogate us, and we in turn ask all the questions. We want to know more. Orienting or introducing students to a text is not a test or an interrogation (Clay, 2015; Fountas & Pinnell, 2017). It does not begin with, “What do you see on the cover?” Orienting students to texts or lesson content may appear as a fairly straightforward and easy instructional task, but in reality it involves various levels of teacher decision-​making grounded in students’ strengths and needs (Briggs & Forbes, 2009; Morgan, Williams, & Bates, 2020). The diamond standard for any text orientation by a teacher is when you have piqued students’ curiosity, and they respond with an abundance of questions. They are propelled into the text or lesson content. At that point, their minds are primed to take on new learning and will more than likely have the stamina and perseverance to engage with the content for an extended period. Not only do students engage and flood the conversation with their questions, but they will also share intertextual connections among personal events, published texts, and global events. Consequently, when documented, orienting students to texts or lesson content can also be a form of dynamic assessment of students’ strengths and needs to help teacher-​colleagues and teacher leaders understand where students are in becoming transdisciplinary literate. Orienting students to text is one way of making inconsiderate texts considerate to enable transdisciplinary literacy learning. A mindful text or lesson introduction will provide students with enough support for a successful encounter with novel texts or curriculum content across core content areas (language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, arts); yet you are also leaving some work for new learning to occur. Although orienting students to a lesson or text can range from an interactive read aloud to self-​introducing a text by skimming or reading the inside flap of a cover, we have found the following guidelines to be helpful in reflecting on the actual introduction of a text, a topic, or content within a K–​12 comprehensive transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction. We have found the reflection guidelines in Figure 4.4 to be helpful reminders for orienting students to text across core disciplines.

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• Tell the central theme or primary concept presented by the text • Describe the genre and tell students the purpose for reading the text (inform, entertain, persuade, etc.) • Use novel and critical vocabulary in the conversation (Tell do not ask) • Ask questions that make personal connections • Do not ask questions about the content of the text or lesson • When possible, share personal connections to other texts and lesson content • Share predictions and anticipation of your first encounter with the text or content • Present focus-​lesson; what you want the student to do strategically to make meaning • Discuss elements of the text or lesson content • “Leave the students with one or two clear questions that will drive them into the text and serve as a continuing impulse to seek meaning when they read” (Holdaway, 1979) • Discuss most illustrations or graphics as needed that students will be exposed to • Remember to keep the introduction conversational rather than a prescribed review or series of “test” questions Figure 4.4  Reflection Guidelines for Orienting K–​12 Students to Text or Lesson Content

Summary We hallmarked this chapter using the watchword “considering” and defining it as careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt, showing careful thought. By being careful to not cause inconvenience or hurt and showing careful thought, teachers and teacher leaders can leverage considerate and inconsiderate texts within a K–​12 comprehensive transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction. Using considerate and inconsiderate texts for instruction requires that teachers and teacher leaders judiciously account for students’ strengths and needs. It is also a call to action for professional learning opportunities for teachers and teacher leaders to invest professional learning time and investigate triadic analysis of complex texts, decodable texts, leveled texts, text sets and orienting students to novel texts or lesson content to improve transdisciplinary learning and instruction within grade levels and across grade levels.

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Defining Grades 9–​12 Instructional Practices within a K–​12 Literacy Framework Re-​flect-​ing (verb) Thinking deeply or carefully about a subject.

Adolescent students are by nature explorers, curious and adventuresome. Their physical and social development become priorities as they strive to define personal gender roles. As learners, they show intense curiosity about the world and themselves, and need moderate amounts of time alone, in order to regroup and reflect on daily experiences. In our teaching experiences with adolescents, we have found that they learn best through interaction and activity rather than by listening, and they seek autonomy and independence, preferring active involvement in learning. Often misunderstood, adolescent students generally: • • • • • • • •

argue to clarify their own thinking and to convince others. exhibit independent, critical thinking. begin thinking about their own thinking (metacognition). forget easily because their minds are so preoccupied with other issues. seek to find causal and correlational relationships. make personal-​social concerns a priority over academic matters. form long-​lasting attitudes about learning; and, fluctuate between desire for regulation and direction and desire for independence.

We find that a key reason adolescent students increasingly fall behind is because they lack disciplinary vocabularies and background DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-7

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knowledge—​ in part due to a lack of prolonged sustained literate enterprises—​ enterprises that provide a wealth of opportunities for understanding the world at large. Many high school students can pronounce the majority of the words they read but have no clear understanding of their meaning or multiple meanings, thus not being able to comprehend the text as a whole. In our combined 70 years of teaching experience, we have seldom come across an adolescent student who did not have a solid letter-​sound correspondence understanding. What we, like many novice and seasoned educators, have noticed with adolescent students is the lack of vocabulary and background knowledge to comprehend increasingly complex text. Much has been written about the increasingly large problem that adolescent high school students have in becoming literate (Alvermann et al., 1996). We know that students that begin their academic lives with limited strategic activities and competencies, rarely catch up without quality intensive help that differs from regular classroom instruction. Many of these students just float through these years, never attempting to gain the all-​ important skills that they will need to be competitive in today’s ultra-​ fast world. In a comprehensive literacy framework for adolescent students, the amount of support provided by the teacher has to be considered. This means that we need to revisit instructional practices and the amount of support that each provides to amplify instruction to promote forward shifts in learning. We have found that the first issue to address is to demonstrate what proficient learners do when engaged in learning. How does the adolescent learner make appropriate decisions about turning the language of core subjects into meaningful information? In an intentional and coherent literacy framework for instruction, writing parallels reading instruction with teacher support applied judiciously. We have found that adolescent students’ independent writing provides us a window into what they are learning and how they are learning it. Students’ writing reflects what they are attending to in their reading. Students’ independent writing is an invaluable form of dynamic assessment to inform teacher decision-​ making and instruction. Consequently, independent writing in core subjects is part of a comprehensive literacy framework. In the next few pages, we give succinct and explicit explanations for each instructional practice mentioned and some listed in our proposed K–​ 12 transdisciplinary literacy framework (Figure 1.1). For each instructional 92

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practice described we provide supportive rationale, description, potential focus lessons, procedures with approximate duration, instructional guideposts, and potential dynamic assessments to guide future instruction. Under each heading are provided sample points to consider for instruction. All of the points under the headings for potential focus lessons, guideposts, and assessments are illustrative and are not meant to be an exhaustive list of teaching points and assessments. As you review these instructional practices, keep in mind that it will be your own professional knowledge of your students’ strengths and needs that will serve you best to amplify and personalize instruction. Over time you will personalize and add to the potential focus lessons, guideposts, and assessments. We do have to emphasize not to focus on employing a single practice. Although you may feel very comfortable employing a given instructional practice over others, fight the urge to over rely on one ignoring others. Instead focus on orchestrating a variety of these practices into a grand symphony for learning in an intentional and coherent framework to support all students across grade levels and core subject areas.

Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades 9–​12 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently Language is a tool for thinking

Description: Including this instructional practice in a literacy program ensures that adolescent students are exposed to the strategic activities that proficient learners use when they are engaging with text across disciplinary content areas. The teacher models the appropriate tone, tenor, and tempo during this literate enterprise. The students discern appropriate fluency while the teacher is modeling. They listen as the teacher shows engaging with text, and how we construct meaning from text. The teacher may from time to time stop and 93

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highlight specific strategic activities such as questioning and predicting to further the students’ literacy experience. It is also a good way to show low-​ progress readers and English Learners what readers do. It can also be used to show secondary students what we do when we engage in various genres such as those in the content areas. When we employ the Read Aloud as an instructional practice, we need to be knowledgeable about the book we choose. Even though we acknowledge that ultimately a Read Aloud is meant to engage students in a sensual experience with text, we need to have a book that is age and developmentally appropriate and one that provides us the opportunity to promote the strategic activities we want students to use flexibly and independently. We often hear from teachers that Read Alouds should not be used after the “elementary” years. We believe this is anything but true. We have found that even with high school students there are still ample opportunities to use this instructional practice, and that given the appropriate crossover text, students of all ages will love to be read to. Think of how many times we have read either a newspaper article or a particular page from a book that we are reading to a friend or colleague. That is a Read Aloud. Of course, the operative words are relevancy and appropriateness. At the high school level, due to scheduling factors (e.g., 52-​minute periods), most effective Read Alouds last approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Potential Focus Lesson (Example): • • •

Clarifying to confirm or reject predictions Summarizing to clarify or remember Self-​questioning to expand meaning

Procedures: • •

• • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students.

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• • •

Explain process and expectations for behavior. Read selection to students. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Examples): •

• • •



• • •





Listen closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Listen to and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

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Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades 9–​12 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Like a Read Aloud, a Think Aloud starts from the premise of modeling what proficient readers do when they engage with text, including discipline-​ centered texts. The difference between the two is that in a traditional Read Aloud the teacher does the reading without explaining any metacognitive activity. The Think Aloud takes a Read Aloud a bit further in that it asks the teacher to engage the listeners by modeling an external self-​conversation at specific points during the reading. In a Think Aloud the teacher may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then reads the text, stopping to predict and anticipate where the author is going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the teacher tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After reading on for a while, she or he again stops to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After reading the designated number of pages, she or he summarizes what has been read by retelling. In a Think Aloud, the teacher shows students what readers do “in their heads” when processing what is being read. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher engages the listeners by verbalizing what they think is going on in the text. As in a traditional Read Aloud, a Think Aloud is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using a Think Aloud; too many interruptions of the story for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the listeners. Thus,

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employing a Think Aloud as an instructional practice, is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most Think Alouds last from 10 to 15 minutes.

Potential Focus Lesson (Sample): • • •

Rereading to search further at difficulty or for clarification Rereading to self-​correct Rereading for phrasing to support fluency

Procedures: • •

• • •

• •



Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for social behavior. While reading text aloud, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading.

NOTE: Be mindful of too many interruptions or teaching points during the reading. Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

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• • •



• • •





Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades 9–​12 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently Language is a tool for thinking

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Description: Like a Read Aloud, a Collaborative Read Aloud starts from the premise of modeling what proficient readers do when they engage with text (Elliot-​Johns & Puig, 2015). The difference between the two is that in a traditional Read Aloud the teacher does the reading. In a Collaborative Read Aloud the teacher or a student does the reading. The Collaborative Read Aloud takes it a bit further in that it asks the person doing the reading (it could be the teacher or a student) to engage the listeners by prompting brief discussions at specific points during the reading. In a Collaborative Read Aloud the teacher or a student may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then reads the text, stopping to predict and anticipate where the author is going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the teacher tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After reading on for a while, she or he again stops to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After reading the designated number of pages, she or he summarizes what has been read by retelling. In a Collaborative Read Aloud, the teacher or student reader shows students what readers do “in their heads” when processing what is being read. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher or the student reader engages the listeners by discussing what they think is going on in the text. As in a traditional Read Aloud, a Collaborative Read Aloud is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using a Collaborative Read Aloud; too many interruptions of the story for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the listeners. Thus, employing a Collaborative Read Aloud as an instructional practice, is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most Collaborative Read Alouds last from 10 to 15 minutes. Potential Focus Lesson (Sample): • • •

Rereading to search further at difficulty or for clarification Rereading to self-​correct Rereading for phrasing to support fluency

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Procedures: • •

• • •

• •



Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for social behavior. While reading text aloud, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading.

NOTE: Be mindful of too many interruptions or teaching points during reading. Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. 100

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• •





Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Shared/​Choral Reading in Grades 9–​12 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others, they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Based on the work of Don Holdaway (1979), Shared Reading has been described as eyes on print with voice support. Shared Reading is about the teacher reading with the students (Mooney, 1990). A Shared Reading lesson with adolescent students sounds and looks very much like a choral reading lesson due to the fact that the majority of the students can “word call” the words aloud. Consequently, the terms are used synonymously when working with adolescent students. The Shared/​ Choral Reading experience is a supportive instructional practice in which the teacher as

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well as the students engage with the text. During the shared/​choral reading adolescent students read aloud with the teacher. The students are expected to participate and are continuously invited to join in. In the high school grades, the teacher may use an enlarged text on an interactive white board or students may have a copy of the reading material and follow aloud as the teacher reads. Where the read aloud experience allows students to hear what readers do when they read, the Shared/​Choral Reading experience encourages students to participate in what readers do by asking them to take on some of the responsibility for reading. It scaffolds the students while they are reading and provides instruction in solution-​seeking strategic activities that the teacher demonstrates implicitly and explicitly without distracting from the message-​getting aspect. Experienced teachers in grades 9–​12 utilize shared/​choral reading to demonstrate and engage students in a specific focus lesson on a strategic activity across core subject areas. Most shared/​choral reading lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Potential Focus Lesson (Example): • • • •

Searching further/​close reading Phrasing and Fluency Vocabulary Acquisition Develop Tone, Tenor and Tempo

Procedures: • •

• • •



Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose an enlarged on-​line or off-​line selection that is above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level or multiple copies of the same text. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme or topic of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for behavior.

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Encourage students to read text aloud with you, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Example): •

• • •



• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

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Instructional Practice: Readers’ Theater 9–​12 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: According to Young and Rasinski (2009), in a Readers’ Theater students are asked to perform a written script repeatedly. It is assisted reading that is focused on delivering meaning to an audience. Since it not the traditional “theater” no acting, props, costumes, or scenery are necessary. Readers must use their voices to carry the meaning. Research has demonstrated the potential of Readers’ Theater to improve reading performance (Griffith & Rasinski, 2004; Martinez, Roser & Strecker, 1998/​ 1999). Moreover, Readers’ Theater has been found to be an engaging and motivational activity for students. Potential Focus Lesson (Sample): • • • • • •

Fluency instruction aimed Prosody and meaning Accuracy and automaticity in word recognition Vocabulary acquisition Phrasing in fluency Develop Tone, Tenor, Tempo

Procedures: • • • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Introduce RT by using prepared scripts. Explain process and expectations for behavior. Teach the basic steps of performance: use highlighters to mark the parts; interpret the part and rehearse expressively.

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• • • • • • •

Use minimal props. Schedule time for practice. Begin with short presentations (for example, do not start with Shakespeare). Teacher prepares copy of marked script with key information (i.e., parts, scene breaks, etc.) Rehearse with the readers providing needed direction on pacing, expression, appropriate volume, and gestures. Perform for an audience. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading that includes reflective conversation about the performance.

Instructional Guideposts (Example): •

• • •



• • •

• •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently. 105

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Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades 9–​12 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Guiding learners as an instructional practice is reading by the students (Mooney, 1990). This is the time when students in the grades 9–​12 are provided texts that they can read with approximately 93% to 97% word accuracy (Froelich & Puig, 2010). During a lesson, teachers engage students and provide support when necessary in the form of a generative response or prompt for the student to employ a strategic activity, such as rereading. Teachers guide the students to be able to understand unfamiliar text through questions that are derived from the basic concepts of the text. The goal is to have the students be successful in their first reading of the text. As learners become more proficient, over time guided learning evolves and may resemble a learning discussion group with teacher support. At the high school, guiding learners puts students who have similar strengths and needs together into a group of 5–​7. Although not as effective, this instructional practice is sometimes conducted with the whole classroom. It is more effective with select students in smaller groups. At the high school level most guided lessons last from 15 to 20 minutes.

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Potential Focus Lesson (Sample): • • • •

Predicting and anticipating (word level, sentence level, text level) Monitoring predictions (word level, sentence level, text level) Searching further/​reading closely for more information (word level, sentence level, text level) Self-​correcting (word level, sentence level, text level)

Procedures: • •









Assess students’ strengths and needs to select a text and focus lesson. Introduce the text—​Provide a central theme of the text and introduce one or two challenging vocabulary words. Generate questions to create a sense of anticipation that prompts students to want to read the text. Before students read the text, remind them of a particular strategic activity they need to be mindful of while reading. Students read the Text—​Distribute texts and ask students to read. The teacher monitors the students as they read to how they are processing information. At difficulty, prompt individual students to seek solutions strategically, prompting for flexibility and independence. Discuss the Text—​After reading the text, prompt the students to discuss what they have read defending their responses with textual evidence. Revisit any challenging vocabulary and use discussion to determine what concepts about the text they understand and are still grappling with. Teach for Strategic activity—​Although teaching for strategic activity occurs throughout the guided lesson, teachers determine what strategic activity needs to be revisited and reinforced after the reading. (Revisiting Chapter 2 in this book is highly recommended.) Word Work—​Depending on the text complexity and the strengths and needs of the students, the teacher may decide that the group (or some members in the group) need additional word study. Using white boards, magnetic letters, or any tactile/​kinesthetic format the teacher interactively helps the students investigate how words work.

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Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• •



• • •

• •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning (Sample): • • •

Anecdotal notes (include date, beginning and ending times) Running records (Clay, 2002) Miscue analysis (Goodman, Watson & Burke 2005)

Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction 9–​12 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: •

Knowledge is socially constructed.

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• •

What a student learns in cooperation with others they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction is a hybrid instructional practice that borrows from shared reading and collaborative writing. During an interactive vocabulary study, the emphasis is on interaction and oral language development with a focus on how words work. It is not a time for worksheets. For example, this kind of study focuses on words with similar origins or backgrounds, not the individual word itself. This kind of instruction helps build the student’s lexical working system (Froelich & Puig, 2010). Interactive vocabulary instruction uses appropriate strategic activities to increase students’ vocabulary. Most interactive vocabulary instruction lasts from 10 to 15 minutes. Potential Focus Lesson (Sample): • • • • •

Crosschecking sources of information Understanding root words Understanding word origins Using affixes, prefixes, and suffixes Using vocabulary in a variety of ways

Instructional Options: •



Storyboards—​ Storyboards are designed to be ways in which the teacher can determine if students are following the threads in a story as well as the sequence of events. After reading three chapters ask the students to tell what has happened in each of the three chapters. The teacher should only edit the students’ work if they have given information that is out of sequence. Themed Word Charts—​As a pre-​reading activity, Themed Word Charts can be built around particular language from a text, content area topic, or a theme study. The teacher posts a large piece of paper to list these words on. Teachers may choose to pre-​teach specific terms. For students in grades 9–​12, the themed word chart serves as a resource for 109

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spelling as well as to have definitions for specific terms. For example, if the class is studying World War II in History, words specific to this era would be posted, such as FLAK, holocaust, nuclear weapons, etc. Semantic Analysis—​ A semantic feature analysis helps students organize concepts and information from a story or a text. Prepare a chart that looks like the one below. Using a “+” or “-​” indicate whether the character has that trait attribute. Bookmarks—​Making a bookmark can be a fun and creative way for the students to show the teacher what they have learned as they are reading a text.

The teacher asks the students to create one that is based on a theme in the text, specific vocabulary in the text, etc. They design one that represents their understandings about what they have read. •

• • • •

Semantic Mapping—​ Semantic mapping is a visual strategy for vocabulary expansion and extension of knowledge by displaying in categories words related to one another. Semantic mapping builds on students’ prior knowledge or schema. The framework of semantic mapping includes: the concept word, two category examples, and other examples. Open and closed word sorts Crossword puzzles Word searches Poetry

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. 110

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• • •





Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group 9–​12 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: As in the other approaches we have mentioned, we want the students’ experiences to be coherent and intentional. Instead of just asking them to read and report, we want them to have a genuine critical reaction and 111

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evaluative response to texts across content areas. Learning discussion groups allow this to happen. A Learning Discussion Group shares a text or texts with a common theme, topic, or genre. It can take place in whole or small groups and can be either formal or informal. Unlike the traditional study group where the teacher asks directed, prescribed questions, the Learning Discussion Group is prompted to interpret the text at hand and defend their interpretation using textual evidence to support hypertextual and subtextual analyses. Alvermann, et al. (1996), suggests that these types of discussion groups promote a deeper understanding and a broader comprehension of the material being investigated. To develop an effective learning discussion group, the teacher must model the appropriate social behavior the students need to employ to be able to get the most from the discussion. She or he must scaffold this experience so that students can see how to return to the discussion when they get off task, or how to resolve conflicts when members of the group disagree. At all grade levels, the purpose is to be able to respond to text in a personal and dialogical manner, to be able to think critically and creatively about the subject matter, and to highlight intertextual connections. Reading of the text is generally done prior to the learning discussion group meeting. At times, students may read directly from the text to cite evidence or make a point during a discussion. Most learning discussion groups last from 15 to 20 minutes. Potential Focus Lesson (Sample): • • • • • • •

Making connections Summarizing Synthesizing Analyzing Critiquing Clarifying Evaluating

Procedures: • •

Assess students’ strengths and needs to select a text and focus lesson. Introduce the text—​Provide a central theme of the text or section of the text creating a sense of anticipation that prompts students to want to discuss the text. 112

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• •

Discuss the Text—​After reading the text, prompt the students to discuss what they have read defending their responses with textual evidence. Revisit any challenging vocabulary and use discussion to determine what concepts about the text they understand and are still grappling with. Feed-​forward—​Provide a “teaser” concept to encourage students to delve deeper into the text. Encourage self-​reflection and self-​assessment.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• •



• • •

• •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to learning discussion Participation rubric 113

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Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing 9–​12 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: When we read aloud to our students, we are showing them what good readers do with texts –​both familiar and unfamiliar. The same is true for Modeled Writing. When we model writing as a process, we are showing them what writers do to get a message down on paper to entertain, inform, or persuade. Modeling writing calls for the teacher to write in front of students an original piece on the “go”, without a “prepared script” that has been edited for all mistakes. We do this, because students need to see the drafts along the way—​not just the finished product. We have all had experiences where the teacher showed us a writing sample, and then sent us off to “mimic” it. We felt helpless to understand how those perfectly formed words and sentences got on that page. By employing modeled writing as an instructional practice, we show how we choose topics, words, and sentences, how we organize our thoughts, and how we edit for conventions. In modeled writing, we talk out loud about the processes that happen in our heads. We share how we choose certain words, how we ask questions of ourselves about structure, or organization, and how we decide where we go next. Modeled writing is not a time to test students’ editing skills. When modeled writing is utilized as an instructional practice, teachers do not make intentional mistakes for students to hunt and find. We want to model what proficient writers do and proficient writers do not make intentional mistakes. Most modeled writing lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Potential Focus Lesson (Sample): • • •

Topic rehearsal Audience consideration Vocabulary selection 114

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• • • •

Editing Re-​visioning Self-​correcting Rereading for different purposes

Procedures: • •







Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Model composing or brainstorming. Demonstrate selecting a topic that will engage the students and verbalize how you have selected the topic. Discuss what you are going to write. If it is a personal narrative, tell the story. If you plan to respond to a text, discuss some aspect of the text with students. If you are going to write an expository piece demonstrate using organizational tools such as outlines and graphic organizers. Demonstrate constructing your text. Here you are modeling the actual writing on chart paper, white board, or interactive white board. It needs to be an enlarged text that all students can see while you talk through your construction of the text. Reread the text aloud as necessary to ensure clarity to the reader. Rereading is a powerful strategic activity writers employ to ensure a coherent text as a courtesy to the reader. Additionally, rereading as an editing and revising tool can be demonstrated during interactive writing and collaborative writing. While rereading aloud, model text-​ dependent questions writers ask of themselves while constructing a text to edit and revise. For example: • Is my central theme clear? Does it make sense? • Does my vocabulary paint pictures in the readers’ mind? • Should I leave something out or include more information?

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

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• • •



• •

Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to lesson Arts in response to lesson

Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing 9–​12 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: In collaborative writing the teacher or a student may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then writes the text, stopping to think where they are going with 116

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the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the writer tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After writing for a while, the writer may stop to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After writing, the writer provides a summary what has been written. In collaborative writing, the teacher or student writer shows students what writers do “in their heads” when processing what is being written. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher or the student writer engages the observers by discussing what they think about the text. As in a traditional shared writing lesson, a collaborative writing lesson is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using collaborative writing; too many interruptions during the process for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the observers. Thus, employing collaborative writing as an instructional practice, is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most collaborative writing lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Potential Focus Lesson (Sample): • • • • • • •

Topic rehearsal Audience consideration Vocabulary selection Editing Re-​visioning Self-​correcting Rereading for different purposes

Procedures: • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Model composing or brainstorming. Demonstrate selecting a topic that will engage the students and verbalize how you have selected the topic. 117

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Discuss what you are going to write. If it is a personal narrative, tell the story. If you plan to respond to a text, discuss some aspect of the text with students. If you are going to write an expository piece demonstrate using organizational tools such as outlines and graphic organizers. Demonstrate constructing your text. Here you are modeling the actual writing on chart paper, white board, or interactive white board. It needs to be an enlarged text that all students can see while you talk through your construction of the text. Reread the text aloud as necessary to ensure clarity to the reader. Rereading is a powerful strategic activity writers employ to ensure a coherent text as a courtesy to the reader. Additionally, rereading as an editing and revising tool can be demonstrated during communal writing and collaborative writing. While rereading aloud, model text-​ dependent questions writers ask of themselves while constructing a text to edit and revise. For example: • Is my central theme or topic clear? Does it make sense? • Does my vocabulary paint pictures in the reader’s mind? • Should I leave something out or include more information?

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

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Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to lesson Arts in response to lesson

Summary In this chapter we have shared instructional practices for grades 9–​12 that we have found to be effective within a coherent and intentional K–​ 12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction with adolescent students in grades 9–​12. The success of implementation for each instructional practice is grounded and dependent on quality implementation in previous grades along with the formal and documented informal assessments that inventory students’ strengths and needs to inform instruction. This means that in order for teacher colleagues and their students to experience learning success, vertical and horizontal articulation across grade levels and core content areas is necessary to amplify transdisciplinary instruction. Successful implementation of these research proven instructional practices are also enhanced with the support of teacher leaders, such as administrators and instructional literacy coaches in conjunction with a supportive literacy leadership team. We started this chapter with the watchword reflecting. When teaching grades 9–​12, we need to reflect on what students in this particular age group need to learn (content and processes) and what are they bringing to the process—​vocabulary and background. This is the age group that will be transitioning into adulthood and we owe it to these students that we carefully consider and reflect on an intentional and coherent K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy and comprehensive framework for learning as a guiding vision. In the next chapter, we use the watchword enduring to guide us as we delve into a similar set of research-​proven instructional practices that will support incoming middle schoolers from elementary school and engage them as they move onto high school.

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Although we have replicated many of the instructional practices (with subtle nuances) throughout the K–​ 12 transdisciplinary literacy framework, in the next few chapters, each instructional practice is to be viewed through the lens of a select grade level and age group. Accommodations and modifications are always expected to every instructional practice based on the students’ strengths and needs and increasing text complexity across content areas through the grades.

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Defining Grades 6–​8 Instructional Practices within a K–​12 Literacy Framework En-​dur-​ing (verb) Lasting; continuing; durable.

Middle school students grow in different ways and at their own pace. A simple stroll through a middle school will quickly reveal those vast differences in both academic, physical, and emotional maturity. During these years, students become a little less physically coordinated as weight and height occurs rather sporadically and rapidly. As learners, middle school students develop language much more quickly than previous years and use more metaphorical language in addition to a variety of forms such as slang terms and “text” talk. In our teaching experiences with students in this age group, we have found that they are able to memorize information with relative ease and do not take everything at face value. Beginning to develop a worldview, middle school students generally: • • • • • •

Grow rapidly and unevenly, demonstrating early and late maturational forms of development. Most girls and many boys are in puberty. Show concern and curiosity about sex. Develop interpersonal sensitivity that leads to better understanding of the feelings of others. The appeal to conform peaks during this time. Some students experience anxiety, low self-​esteem, and depression.

DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-8

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• • •

Are often self-​conscious and self-​centered as a result of the ongoing effect of egocentric thought. Need a learning environment that is accepting, supportive, and thought-​provoking. Self-​efficacy drives intellectual and social behavior.

Up to this point we have provided a broad explanation of what constitutes a comprehensive transdisciplinary literacy framework or program. As in the previous chapter, in the next few pages we give succinct and explicit explanations for each instructional practice mentioned and some listed in our proposed K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework (Figure 1.1). The instructional practices listed may appear redundant, but we ask that you reread them critically through the lens of this particular age group of students. For each instructional practice described we provide supportive rationale, description, instructional targets, procedures with approximate duration, instructional guideposts, and potential dynamic assessments to guide future instruction. Under each heading are provided sample points to consider for instruction. All of the points under the headings for instructional targets, guideposts, and assessments are illustrative and are not meant to be an exhaustive list of teaching points and assessments. As you review these instructional practices, keep in mind that it will be your own professional knowledge of your students’ strengths and needs that will serve you best to amplify and personalize instruction. As a professional learning community of practice, over time you will personalize and add to the instructional targets, guideposts, and assessments. We do have to emphasize not to focus on employing a single practice. Although you may feel very comfortable employing a given instructional practice over others, fight the urge to over rely on one ignoring others. Instead focus on curating a variety of these practices into a manageable and comfortable professional learning experience in an intentional and coherent framework for instruction to support all students from grade level to grade level across core subject areas. While the instructional practices listed here are nearly identical to the ones listed for grades 9–​12, the constant uncommon denominator are the students and the content to be learned.

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Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades 6–​8 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Including this instructional practice in a literacy program ensures that adolescent students are exposed to the strategic activities that learners use when they are engaging with text. The teacher models the appropriate tone, tenor, and tempo during this literate enterprise. The students are able to discern appropriate fluency while the teacher is modeling. They listen as the teacher shows engaging with text, and how we construct meaning from text. The teacher may from time to time stop and highlight specific strategic activities such as questioning and predicting to further the students’ literacy experience. It is also a good way to show low-​progress readers and English Learners what readers do. It can also be used to show middle and secondary students what we do when we engage in various genres such as those in the content areas. When we employ the Read Aloud as an instructional practice, we need to be knowledgeable about the book we choose. Even though we acknowledge that ultimately a Read Aloud is meant to engage students in a sensual experience with text, we need to have a book that is age and developmentally appropriate and one that provides us the opportunity to promote the strategic activities we want students to use flexibly and independently. We often hear from teachers that Read Alouds should not be used after the “elementary” years. We believe this is anything but true. We have found that even with middle and high school students there are still ample opportunities to use this instructional practice, and that given the appropriate crossover text, students of all ages will love to be read to. Think of how many times we have read either a newspaper article or a particular page from a book that we are reading to a friend or colleague. That is a Read

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Aloud. Of course, the operative words are relevancy and appropriateness. Most Read Alouds last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Example): • • •

Clarifying to confirm or reject predictions Summarizing to clarify or remember Self-​questioning to expand meaning

Procedures: • •

• • • • • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students. Explain process and expectations for behavior. Read selection to students. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Examples): •

• • •



Listen closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. 124

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• • •





Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Listen to and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading to reflect comprehension Arts in response to reading to reflect comprehension

Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades 6–​8 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Like a Read Aloud, a Think Aloud starts from the premise of modeling what proficient readers do when they engage with text. The difference between the two is that in a traditional Read Aloud the teacher does the reading without explaining any metacognitive activity. The Think Aloud takes a Read Aloud a bit further in that it asks the teacher to engage the listeners by modeling an external self-​conversation at specific points during the reading. In a Think Aloud the teacher may start by questioning what the 125

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text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then reads the text, stopping to predict and anticipate where the author is going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the teacher tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After reading on for a while, she or he again stops to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After reading the designated number of pages, she or he summarizes what has been read by retelling. In a Think Aloud, the teacher shows students what readers do “in their heads” when processing what is being read. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher engages the listeners by verbalizing what they think is going on in the text. As in a traditional Read Aloud, a Think Aloud is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using a Think Aloud; too many interruptions of the story for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the listeners. Thus, employing a Think Aloud as an instructional practice is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most Think Alouds last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • •

Rereading to search further at difficulty or for clarification Rereading to self-​correct Rereading for phrasing to support fluency

Procedures: • •

• •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. 126

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• •

• •

Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for social behavior. While reading text aloud, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading. NOTE: Be mindful of too many interruptions or teaching points during reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently. 127

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Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading to reflect comprehension Arts in response to reading to reflect comprehension

Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades 6–​8 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Like a Read Aloud, a Collaborative Read Aloud starts from the premise of modeling what proficient readers do when they engage with text (Elliot-​ Johns & Puig, 2015). The difference between the two is that in a traditional Read Aloud the teacher does the reading. In a Collaborative Read Aloud the teacher or a student does the reading. The Collaborative Read Aloud takes it a bit further in that it asks the person doing the reading (it could be the teacher or a student) to engage the listeners by prompting brief discussions at specific points during the reading. In a Collaborative Read Aloud the teacher or a student may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then reads the text, stopping to predict and anticipate where the author is going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​ narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the teacher tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After reading on for a while, she or he again stops to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After reading the designated

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number of pages, she or he summarizes what has been read by retelling. In a Collaborative Read Aloud, the teacher or student reader shows students what readers do “in their heads” when processing what is being read. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher or the student reader engages the listeners by discussing what they think is going on in the text. As in a traditional Read Aloud, a Collaborative Read Aloud is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using a Collaborative Read Aloud; too many interruptions of the story for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the listeners. Thus, employing a Collaborative Read Aloud as an instructional practice, is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most Collaborative Read Alouds last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • •

Rereading to search further at difficulty or for clarification Rereading to self-​correct Rereading for phrasing to support fluency

Procedures: • •

• • •

• •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for social behavior. While reading text aloud, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading.

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• •

Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading. NOTE: Be mindful of too many interruptions or teaching points during reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading to reflect comprehension Arts in response to reading to reflect comprehension

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Instructional Practice: Shared/​Choral Reading in Grades 6–​8 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others, they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Based on the work of Don Holdaway (1979), Shared Reading has been described as eyes on print with voice support. Shared Reading is about the teacher reading with the students (Mooney, 1990). A Shared Reading lesson with adolescent students sounds and looks very much like a choral reading lesson due to the fact that the majority of the students can “word call” the words aloud. Consequently, the terms are used synonymously when working with adolescent students. The Shared/​Choral Reading experience is a supportive instructional practice in which the teacher as well as the students engage with the text. During the shared/​choral reading adolescent students read aloud with the teacher. The students are expected to participate and are continuously invited to join in. In the middle and high school grades, the teacher may use an enlarged text on an interactive white board or students may have a copy of the reading material and follow along as the teacher reads. Where the Read Aloud experience allows students to hear what readers do when they read, the Shared/​Choral Reading experience encourages students to participate in what readers do by asking them to take on some of the responsibility for reading. It scaffolds the students while they are reading and provides instruction in problem-​solving strategic activities that the teacher demonstrates implicitly and explicitly without distracting from the message-​ getting aspect. Experienced teachers in grades 6–​ 8 utilize shared/​ choral reading to demonstrate and engage students in a specific focus lesson on a strategic

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activity across core subject areas. Most shared/​choral reading lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Example): • • • •

Searching further Phrasing and Fluency Vocabulary Acquisition Develop Tone, Tenor, and Tempo

Procedures: • •

• • •

• •



Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose an enlarged on-​line or off-​line selection that is above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level or multiple copies of the same text. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for behavior. Encourage students to read text aloud with you, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​ questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Example): •



Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

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• •



• • •

• •

Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading to reflect comprehension Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Readers Theater in Grades 6–​8 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

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Description: According to Young and Rasinski (2009), in a Readers’ Theater students are asked to perform a written script repeatedly. It is assisted reading that is focused on delivering meaning to an audience. Since it not the traditional “theater” no acting, props, costumes, or scenery are necessary. Readers must use their voices to carry the meaning. Research has demonstrated the potential of Readers’ Theater to improve reading performance (Griffith & Rasinski, 2004; Martinez, Roser & Strecker, 1998/​ 1999). Moreover, Readers’ Theater has been found to be an engaging and motivational activity for students, including students with unique abilities. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • •

Fluency instruction Prosody and meaning Accuracy and automaticity in word recognition. Vocabulary Acquisition Phrasing in Fluency Develop Tone, Tenor, Tempo

Procedures: • • • • • • • • • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Introduce RT by using prepared scripts. Explain process and expectations for behavior. Teach the basic steps of performance: use highlighters to mark the parts; interpret the part and rehearse expressively. Use minimal props. Schedule time for practice. Begin with short presentations (for example, do not start with Shakespeare). Teacher prepares copy of marked script with key information (i.e., parts, scene breaks, etc.) Rehearse with the readers providing needed direction on pacing, expression, appropriate volume, and gestures. Perform for an audience.

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Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading that includes reflective conversation about the performance.

Instructional Guideposts (Example): •

• • •



• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading to reflect comprehension Arts in response to reading to reflect comprehension

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Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades 6–​8 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Guiding learners as an instructional practice is reading by the students (Mooney, 1990; Fountas & Pinnell, 2017). This is the time when students in the grades 6–​8 are provided texts that they can read with approximately 92% to 96% word accuracy (Froelich & Puig, 2010). During a lesson, teachers engage students and provide support when necessary in the form of a generative response or prompt for the student to employ a strategic activity. Teachers guide the students to be able to understand unfamiliar text through questions that are derived from the basic concepts of the text. The goal is to have the students be successful in their first reading of the text by integrating all available sources of information strategically. As learners become more proficient, over time guided learning evolves and may resemble a learning discussion group with teacher support. At the middle school, guiding learners puts students who have similar strengths and needs together in one group. This instructional practice is sometimes conducted with the whole classroom at this level but usually it is with select students in smaller groups of 5–​7. Most small group-​guided lessons last from 15 to 20 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • •

Predicting and anticipating (word level, sentence level, text level) Monitoring predictions (word level, sentence level, text level) Searching further/​reading closely for more information (word level, sentence level, text level) Self-​correcting (word level, sentence level, text level) 136

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Procedures: • •









Assess students’ strengths and needs to select a text and focus lesson. Introduce the text—​ Provide a central topic or theme of the text and introduce one or two challenging vocabulary words. Generate questions to create a sense of anticipation that prompts students to want to read the text. Before students read the text, remind them of a particular strategic activity they need to be mindful of while reading. Students read the text—​ Distribute texts and ask students to read silently. The teacher reminds the students to ask for help if needed. At difficulty, prompt individual students to seek solutions strategically, prompting for flexibility and independence. Discuss the text—​After reading the text, prompt the students to discuss what they have read defending their responses with textual evidence. Revisit any challenging vocabulary and use discussion to determine what concepts about the text they understand and are still grappling with. Teach for strategic activity—​Although teaching for strategic activity occurs throughout the guided lesson, teachers determine what strategic activity needs to be revisited and reinforced after the reading. (Revisiting Chapter 2 is beneficial.) Word work—​Depending on the text complexity and the strengths and needs of the students, the teacher may decide that the group (or some members in the group) need additional word study. Using white boards, magnetic letters, or any tactile/​kinesthetic format, the teacher interactively helps the students investigate how words work.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central topic or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. 137

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• • •





Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning (Sample): • • •

Anecdotal notes (include date, beginning and ending times) Running records (Clay, 2002) Miscue analysis (Goodman, Watson & Burke 2005)

Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction in Grades 6–​8 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction is a hybrid instructional practice that borrows from shared reading and collaborative writing. During an interactive vocabulary study, the emphasis is on interaction and oral 138

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development with a focus on how words work and what they mean. It is not a time for worksheets. For example, this kind of study focuses on words with similar origins or backgrounds, not the individual word itself. This kind of instruction helps build the student’s lexical working system (Froelich & Puig, 2010). Interactive vocabulary instruction uses appropriate strategic activities to increase students’ vocabulary. Most interactive vocabulary instruction lasts from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • •

Crosschecking sources of information Understanding root words Understanding word origins Using affixes (prefixes and suffixes) Using vocabulary in a variety of ways

Instructional Options: •







Storyboards—​ Storyboards are designed to be ways in which the teacher can determine if students are following the threads in a story as well as the sequence of events. After reading three chapters ask the students to tell what has happened in each of the three chapters. The teacher should only edit the students’ work if they have given information that is out of sequence. Themed Word Charts—​As a pre-​reading activity, Themed Word Charts can be built around particular language from a text, content area topics, or a theme study. The teacher posts a large piece of paper to list these words on. Teachers may choose to pre-​teach specific terms. For students in grades 6–​8, the themed word chart serves as a resource for spelling as well as to have definitions for specific terms. For example, if the class is studying the Second World War in History, words specific to this era would be posted, such as FLAK, holocaust, nuclear weapons, etc. Semantic Analysis—​ A semantic feature analysis helps students organize concepts and information from a story or a text. Prepare a chart that looks like the one below. Using a “+” or “-​” indicate whether the character has that trait attribute. Bookmarks—​Making a bookmark can be a fun and creative way for the students to show the teacher what they have learned as they are 139

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• • • • •

reading along in a text. The teacher asks the students to create one that is based on a theme in the text, specific vocabulary in the text, etc. They design one that represents their understandings about what they have read. Semantic Mapping—​ Semantic mapping is a visual strategy for vocabulary expansion and extension of knowledge by displaying in categories words related to one another. Semantic mapping builds on students’ prior knowledge or schema. The framework of semantic mapping includes: the concept word, two category examples, and other examples. Open and closed word sorts Crossword puzzles Word searches Poetry Creating and adding to disciplinary alphabet book

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. 140

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Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading to reflect comprehension Arts in response to reading to reflect comprehension

Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group in Grades 6–​8 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: As in the other approaches we have mentioned, we want the students’ experiences to be coherent and intentional. Instead of just asking them to read and report, we want them to have a genuine critical reaction and evaluative response to texts across content areas. Learning discussion groups allow this to happen. Usually, a Learning Discussion Group shares a text or texts with a common topic, theme, or genre. It can take place in whole or small groups and can be either formal or informal. Unlike the traditional study group where the teacher asks directed, prescribed questions, the Learning Discussion Group is prompted to interpret the text at hand and defend their interpretation using textual evidence to support hypertextual and subtextual analyses. Alvermann et al. (1996) suggest that these types of

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discussion groups promote a deeper understanding and a broader comprehension of the material being investigated. To develop an effective learning discussion group, the teacher must model the appropriate social behavior the students need to employ to be able to get the most from the discussion. She or he must scaffold this experience so that students can see how to return to the discussion when they get off task, or how to resolve conflicts when members of the group disagree. At all grade levels, the purpose is to be able to respond to text in a personal and dialogical manner, to be able to think critically and creatively about the subject matter, and to highlight intertextual connections. Reading of the text is generally done prior to the learning discussion group meeting. At times, students may read directly from the text to cite evidence or make a point during a discussion. Most learning discussion groups last from 15 to 20 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • • •

Making connections Summarizing Synthesizing Analyzing Critiquing Clarifying Evaluating

Procedures: • •



Assess students’ strengths and needs to select a text and focus lesson. Introduce the text—​Provide a central theme of the text or section of the text, creating a sense of anticipation that prompts students to want to discuss the text. Discuss the text—​After reading the text, prompt the students to discuss what they have read, defending their responses with textual evidence. Revisit any challenging vocabulary and use discussion to determine what concepts about the text they understand and are still grappling with.

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• •

Feed-​forward—​Provide a “teaser” concept to encourage students to delve deeper into the text. Encourage self-​reflection and self-​assessment.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to learning discussion Participation rubric

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Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing—​ Teacher Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: When we read aloud to our students, we are showing them what good readers do with texts—​ both familiar and unfamiliar. The same is true for Modeled Writing. When we do model writing as a process, we are showing them what writers do to get a message down on paper to entertain, inform, or persuade. Modeled Writing calls for the teacher to write in front of students an original piece on the “go”, without a “prepared script” that has been edited for all mistakes. We do this, because students need to see the drafts along the way—​not just the finished product. We have all had experiences where the teacher showed us a writing sample, and then sent us off to “mimic” it. We felt helpless to understand how those perfectly formed words and sentences got on that page. By employing Modeled Writing as an instructional practice, we show how we choose topics, words, and sentences, how we organize our thoughts, and how we edit for conventions. In Modeled Writing, we talk out loud about the processes that happen in our heads. We share how we choose certain words, how we ask questions of ourselves about structure, or organization, and how we decide where we go next. Modeled Writing is not a time for teachers to test students’ editing skills. When Modeled Writing is utilized as an instructional practice, teachers do not make intentional mistakes for students to hunt and find. We want to model what proficient writers do and proficient writers do not make intentional mistakes. Most Modeled Writing lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes.

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Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • • •

Topic rehearsal Audience consideration Vocabulary selection Editing Re-​visioning Self-​correcting Rereading for different purposes

Procedures: • •







Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Model composing or brainstorming. Demonstrate selecting a topic that will engage the students and verbalize how you have selected the topic. Discuss what you are going to write. If it is a personal narrative, tell the story. If you plan to respond to a text, discuss some aspect of the text with students. If you are going to write an expository piece demonstrate using organizational tools such as outlines and graphic organizers. Demonstrate constructing your text. Here you are modeling the actual writing on chart paper, white board, or interactive white board. It needs to be an enlarged text that all students can see while you talk through your construction of the text. Reread the text aloud as necessary to ensure clarity to the reader. Rereading is a powerful strategic activity writers employ to ensure a coherent text as a courtesy to the reader. Additionally, rereading as an editing and revising tool can be demonstrated during communal writing and collaborative writing. While rereading aloud, model text-​ dependent questions writers ask of themselves while constructing a text to edit and revise. For example: • Is my topic or central theme clear? Does it make sense? • Does my vocabulary paint pictures in the reader’s mind? • Should I leave something out or include more information?

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Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to lesson to reflect comprehension Arts in response to lesson to reflect comprehension

Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing—​ Teacher or Student Co-​composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

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Description: In collaborative writing the teacher or a student may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then writes the text, stopping to think where they are going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the writer tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After writing for a while, the writer may stop to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After writing, the writer provides a summary of what has been written. In collaborative writing, the teacher or student writer shows students what writers do “in their heads” when processing what is being written. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher or the student writer engages the observers by discussing what they think about the text. As in a traditional shared writing lesson, a collaborative writing lesson is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using collaborative writing; too many interruptions during the process for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the observers. Thus, employing collaborative writing as an instructional practice is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most collaborative writing lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • • •

Topic rehearsal Audience consideration Vocabulary selection Editing Re-​visioning Self-​correcting Rereading for different purposes

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Procedures: • •







Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Model composing or brainstorming. Demonstrate selecting a topic that will engage the students and verbalize how you have selected the topic. Discuss what you are going to write. If it is a personal narrative, tell the story. If you plan to respond to a text, discuss some aspect of the text with students. If you are going to write an expository piece demonstrate using organizational tools such as outlines and graphic organizers. Demonstrate constructing your text. Here you are modeling the actual writing on chart paper, white board, or interactive white board. It needs to be an enlarged text that all students can see while you talk through your construction of the text. Reread the text aloud as necessary to ensure clarity to the reader. Rereading is a powerful strategic activity writers employ to ensure a coherent text as a courtesy to the reader. Additionally, rereading as an editing and revising tool can be demonstrated during communal writing and collaborative writing. While rereading aloud, model text-​ dependent questions writers ask of themselves while constructing a text to edit and revise. For example: • Is my topic or central theme clear? Does it make sense? • Does my vocabulary paint pictures in the reader’s mind? • Should I leave something out or include more information?

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

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• •

Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to lesson to reflect comprehension Arts in response to lesson to reflect comprehension

Summary In this chapter we have shared select instructional practices for grades 6–​8 that we have found to be effective within a coherent and intentional K–​ 12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction with middle school students. The instructional practices highlighted in this chapter for middle school are meant to be illustrative and certainly not an exhaustive list of teacher moves. As always, the success of implementation for each instructional practice is grounded and dependent on quality implementation in previous grades along with a developing knowledge of students’ strengths and needs. This means that in order for teacher colleagues and their students to experience learning success, vertical and horizontal articulation across grade levels and content areas is necessary to amplify instruction.

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Defining Grades 3–​5 Instructional Practices within a K–​12 Literacy Framework

En-​gag-​ing (verb) Attractive or pleasing in a way that holds your attention. We used the watchword “engaging” to distinguish instruction for this particular age group. The intent is not to diminish the importance of engagement with the other grades, but we acknowledge that with all the developmental factors involved in instructing students in grade 3–​5, engaging students should be at the forefront. This is the group where the majority of the students are transitioning from childhood to adolescence with the majority of them transitioning at different points. Students in the upper elementary grades usually begin to understand and use humor and sarcasm in a playful manner. Like their middle school counterparts, sporadic growth spurts produce students in this age group in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is not uncommon to walk into a 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade classroom and see some students that are taller than their teacher and some students who look like they are still in the primary grade. It is usually around 3rd grade that most educators will notice a dramatic shift in students’ behavior as they become more self-​regulating. It is in these grades that students begin to demonstrate the self-​monitoring, self-​regulating, and self-​correcting behavior that they have been taught in the primary grades. As learners, they begin to appreciate learning that involves ongoing investigations and projects. In our teaching experiences with students in these grades, we have found that most of them like collaborating with each other. Generally, students in the upper elementary grades can be described as such:

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• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Boys and girls become leaner and stronger. Obesity can become a problem for some children of this age group. Gender differences in motor skill performance are apparent. This is a period of relative calm and predictability in physical development. The peer group becomes powerful and begins to replace adults as the major source of behavior standards. Friendships become more selective and gender based. Organized play continues to contribute to social, emotional, and cognitive development. Children develop a more global, integrated, and complex self-​image. Self-​ image is composed of self-​ description, self-​ esteem, and self-​concept. Disruptive family relationships, social rejection, and school failure may lead to misconduct. Children can think logically, although such thinking is constrained and inconsistent. On simple memory tasks, children this age can perform as well as adolescents or adults. With more complex memory tasks, the performance of children this age is limited.

In the next few pages, we give succinct and explicit explanations for each instructional practice mentioned and some listed in our proposed K–​ 12 literacy framework (Figure 1.1). For each instructional practice described we provide supportive rationale, definition, description, instructional focus for the lesson, procedures with approximate duration, instructional guideposts, and recommendations for dynamic assessments to inform future instruction. Under each heading we provide sample points to consider for instruction. All of the points under the headings for instructional focus lessons, guideposts, and assessments are illustrative and are not meant to be an exhaustive list of teaching points and assessments. We reiterate that as you review these instructional practices, keep in mind that it will be your own professional knowledge of your students’ strengths and needs that will serve you best to amplify and personalize instruction. Over time you will personalize and add to the instructional targets, guideposts, and assessments.

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We do have to emphasize not to focus on employing a single practice. Although you may feel very comfortable employing a given instructional practice over others, fight the urge to over rely on one, ignoring others. Instead focus on orchestrating a variety of these practices into a grand symphony for learning in an intentional and coherent framework to support all students from grade level to grade level across core subject areas.

Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades 3–​5 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Including this instructional practice in a literacy program ensures that adolescent students are exposed to the strategic activities that learners use when they are engaging with text. The teacher models the appropriate tone, tenor, and tempo during this literate enterprise. The students are able to discern appropriate fluency while the teacher is modeling. They listen as the teacher shows engaging with text, and how we construct meaning from text. The teacher may from time to time stop and highlight specific strategic activities such as questioning and predicting to further the students’ literacy experience. It is also a good way to show low-​progress readers and English Learners what readers do. It can also be used to show middle and secondary students what we do when we engage in various genres such as those in the content areas. When we employ the Read Aloud as an instructional practice, we need to be knowledgeable about the book we choose. Even though we acknowledge that ultimately a read aloud is meant to engage students in a sensual experience with text, we need to have a book that is age and developmentally appropriate and one that provides us the opportunity to promote the strategic activities we want students to use flexibly and independently. We often hear from teachers that Read Alouds should not be used after the 152

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“elementary” years. We believe this is anything but true. We have found that even with middle and high school students there are still ample opportunities to use this instructional practice, and that given the appropriate crossover text, students of all ages will love to be read to. Think of how many times we have read either a newspaper article or a particular page from a book that we are reading to a friend or colleague. That is a read aloud. Of course, the operative words are relevancy and appropriateness. Most Read Alouds last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Focus Lessons (Example): • • •

Clarifying to confirm or reject predictions Summarizing to clarify or remember Self-​questioning to expand meaning

Procedures: • •

• • • • • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students. Explain process and expectations for behavior. Read selection to students. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Examples): •

• •

Listen closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. 153

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• • •

• •

Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Listen and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades 3–​5 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Like a Read Aloud, a Think Aloud starts from the premise of modeling what proficient readers do when they engage with text. The difference between the two is that in a traditional Read Aloud the teacher does the reading without explaining any metacognitive activity. The Think Aloud takes a Read 154

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Aloud a bit further in that it asks the teacher to engage the listeners by modeling an external self-​conversation at specific points during the reading. In a Think Aloud the teacher may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then reads the text, stopping to predict and anticipate where the author is going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the teacher tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After reading on for a while, she or he again stops to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After reading the designated number of pages, she or he summarizes what has been read by retelling. In a Think Aloud, the teacher shows students what readers do “in their heads” when processing what is being read. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher engages the listeners by verbalizing what they think is going on in the text. As in a traditional Read Aloud, a Think Aloud is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using a Think Aloud; too many interruptions of the story for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the listeners. Thus, employing a Think Aloud as an instructional practice is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most Think Alouds last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • •

Rereading to search further at difficulty or for clarification Rereading to self-​correct Rereading for phrasing to support fluency

Procedures: • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. 155

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• • •

• •

• •

Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for social behavior. While reading text aloud, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading. NOTE: Be mindful of too many interruptions or teaching points during reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •



Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. 156

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Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades 3–​5 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Like a Read Aloud, a Collaborative Read Aloud starts from the premise of modeling what proficient readers do when they engage with text (Elliot-​ Johns & Puig, 2015). The difference between the two is that in a traditional Read Aloud the teacher does the reading. In a Collaborative Read Aloud the teacher or a student does the reading. The Collaborative Read Aloud takes it a bit further in that it asks the person doing the reading (it could be the teacher or a student) to engage the listeners by prompting brief discussions at specific points during the reading. In a Collaborative Read Aloud the teacher or a student may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then reads the text, stopping to predict and anticipate where the author is going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​ narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the teacher tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After 157

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reading on for a while, she or he again stops to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After reading the designated number of pages, she or he summarizes what has been read by retelling. In a Collaborative Read Aloud, the teacher or student reader shows students what readers do “in their heads” when processing what is being read. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher or the student reader engages the listeners by discussing what they think is going on in the text. As in a traditional Read Aloud, a Collaborative Read Aloud is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using a Collaborative Read Aloud; too many interruptions of the story for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the listeners. Thus, employing a Collaborative Read Aloud as an instructional practice is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most Collaborative Read Alouds last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • •

Rereading to search further at difficulty or for clarification Rereading to self-​correct Rereading for phrasing to support fluency

Procedures: • • • • •

• •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​line or off-​line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for social behavior. While reading text aloud, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading. 158

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• •

Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading. NOTE: Be mindful of too many interruptions or teaching points during reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

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Instructional Practice: Shared/​Choral Reading in Grades 3–​5 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others, they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Based on the work of Don Holdaway (1979), Shared Reading has been described as eyes on print with voice support. Shared Reading is about the teacher reading WITH the students (Mooney, 1990). A Shared Reading lesson with adolescent students sounds and looks very much like a choral reading lesson due to the fact that the majority of the students can “word call” the words aloud. Consequently, the terms are used synonymously when working with adolescent students. The Shared/​Choral Reading experience is a supportive instructional practice in which the teacher as well as the students engage with the text. During the shared/​choral reading adolescent students read aloud with the teacher. The students are expected to participate and are continuously invited to join in. In grades 3-5, the teacher may use an enlarged text on an interactive white board or students may have a copy of the reading material and follow along as the teacher reads. Where the read aloud experience allows students to hear what readers do when they read, the Shared/​ Choral Reading experience encourages students to participate in what readers do by asking them to take on some of the responsibility for reading. It scaffolds the students while they are reading and provides instruction in problem-​ solving strategic activities that the teacher demonstrates implicitly and explicitly without distracting from the message-​getting aspect. Experienced teachers in grades 3–​ 5 utilize shared/​ choral reading to demonstrate and engage students in a specific focus lesson on a strategic

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activity across core subject areas. Most shared/​choral reading lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Example): • • • •

Searching further Phrasing and Fluency Vocabulary Acquisition Develop Tone, Tenor, and Tempo

Procedures: • •

• • •

• •



Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose an enlarged on-​line or off-​line selection that is above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level or multiple copies of the same text. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for behavior. Encourage students to read text aloud with you, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Example): •

• •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

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• • •

• •

Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Readers’ Theater in Grades 3–​5 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: According to Young and Rasinski (2009), in a Readers’ Theater students are asked to perform a written script repeatedly. It is assisted reading that is focused on delivering meaning to an audience. Since it not the traditional “theater” no acting, props, costumes, or scenery are necessary. Readers must 162

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use their voices to carry the meaning. Research has demonstrated the potential of Readers’ Theater to improve reading performance (Griffith & Rasinski, 2004; Martinez, Roser & Strecker, 1998/​1999). Moreover, Readers’ Theater has been found to be an engaging and motivational activity for students. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • •

Fluency instruction aimed Prosody and meaning Accuracy and automaticity in word recognition. Vocabulary Acquisition Phrasing in Fluency Develop Tone, Tenor, Tempo

Procedures: • • • • • • • • • • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Introduce RT by using prepared scripts. Explain process and expectations for behavior. Teach the basic steps of performance: use highlighters to mark the parts; interpret the part and rehearse expressively. Use minimal props. Schedule time for practice. Begin with short presentations (for example, do not start with Shakespeare). Teacher prepares copy of marked script with key information (i.e., parts, scene breaks, etc.) Rehearse with the readers providing needed direction on pacing, expression, appropriate volume, and gestures. Perform for an audience. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading that includes reflective conversation about the performance.

Instructional Guideposts (Example): •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. 163

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• • •



• • •

• •

Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades 3–​5 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking. 164

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Description: Guiding learners as an instructional practice is reading by the students (Mooney, 1990). This is the time when students in the grades 3–​5 are provided texts that they can read with approximately 93% to 97% word accuracy (Froelich & Puig, 2010). During a lesson, teachers engage students and provide support when necessary in the form of a generative response or prompt for the student to employ a strategic activity. Teachers guide the students to be able to understand unfamiliar text through questions that are derived from the basic concepts of the text. The goal is to have the students be successful in their first reading of the text. As learners become more proficient, over time guided learning evolves and may resemble a learning discussion group with teacher support. Guiding learners puts students who have similar strengths and needs together in one group. Even though it is less effective, this instructional practice is sometimes conducted with the whole classroom. Most guided reading lessons last from 15 to 20 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • •

Predicting and anticipating (word level, sentence level, text level) Monitoring predictions (word level, sentence level, text level) Searching further/​reading closely for more information (word level, sentence level, text level) Self-​correcting (word level, sentence level, text level)

Procedures: • •





Assess students’ strengths and needs to select a text and focus lesson. Introduce the text—​Provide a central theme of the text and introduce one or two challenging vocabulary words. Generate questions to create a sense of anticipation that prompts students to want to read the text. Before students read the text, remind them of a particular strategic activity they need to be mindful of while reading. Students read the text—​Distribute texts and ask students to read. The teacher monitors the students as they read to how they are processing information. At difficulty, prompt individual students to seek solutions strategically, prompting for flexibility and independence. Discuss the text—​After reading the text, prompt the students to discuss what they have read defending their responses with textual evidence. 165

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Revisit any challenging vocabulary and use discussion to determine what concepts about the text they understand and are still grappling with. Teach for strategic activity—​Although teaching for strategic activity occurs throughout the guided lesson, teachers determine what strategic activity needs to be revisited and reinforced after the reading. (Revisiting Chapter 2 in this text is beneficial.) Word work—​Depending on the text complexity and the strengths and needs of the students, the teacher may decide that the group (or some members in the group) need additional word study. Using white boards, magnetic letters, or any tactile/​kinesthetic format the teacher interactively helps the students investigate how words work.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •



Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. 166

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Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning (Sample): • • •

Anecdotal notes (include date, beginning and ending times) Running records (Clay, 2002) Miscue analysis (Goodman, Watson & Burke 2005)

Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction Grades 3–​5 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction is a hybrid instructional practice that borrows from shared reading and collaborative writing. During an interactive vocabulary study, the emphasis is on interaction and oral development with a focus on how words work. It is not a time for worksheets. For example, this kind of study focuses on words with similar origins or backgrounds, not the individual word itself. This kind of instruction helps build the student’s lexical working system (Froelich & Puig, 2010). Interactive vocabulary instruction uses appropriate strategic activities to increase students’ vocabulary. Most interactive vocabulary instruction lasts from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • •

Crosschecking sources of information Understanding root words Understanding word origins

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• •

Affixes, prefixes, and suffixes Using vocabulary in a variety of ways

Instructional Options: •











Storyboards—​ Storyboards are designed to be ways in which the teacher can determine if students are following the threads in a story as well as the sequence of events. After reading three chapters ask the students to tell what has happened in each of the three chapters. The teacher should only edit the students’ work if they have given information that is out of sequence. Themed Word Charts—​As a pre-​reading activity, Themed Word Charts can be built around particular language from a text, content area topics, or a theme study. The teacher posts a large piece of paper to list these words on. Teachers may choose to pre-​teach specific terms. For students in grades 3–​5, the themed word chart serves as a resource for spelling as well as to have definitions for specific terms. For example, if the class is studying state history from a Second World War perspective, words specific to this era would be posted, such as FLAK, holocaust, nuclear weapons, etc. Semantic Analysis—​ A semantic feature analysis helps students organize concepts and information from a story or a text. Prepare a chart that looks like the one below. Using a “+” or “-​” indicate whether the character has that trait attribute. Bookmarks—​Making a bookmark can be a fun and creative way for the students to show the teacher what they have learned as they are reading along in a text. The teacher asks the students to create one that is based on a theme in the text, specific vocabulary in the text, etc. They design one that represents their understandings about what they have read. Semantic Mapping—​ Semantic mapping is a visual strategy for vocabulary expansion and extension of knowledge by displaying in categories words related to one another. Semantic mapping builds on students’ prior knowledge or schema. The framework of semantic mapping includes: the concept word, two category examples, and other examples. Open and closed word sorts

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• • •

Crossword puzzles Word searches Poetry

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

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Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group Grades 3–​5 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: As in the other approaches we have mentioned, we want the students’ experiences to be coherent and intentional. Instead of just asking them to read and report, we want them to have a genuine critical reaction and evaluative response to texts across content areas. Learning discussion groups allow this to happen. Usually, a Learning Discussion Group shares a text or texts with a common theme or genre. It can take place in whole or small groups and can be either formal or informal. Unlike the traditional study group where the teacher asks directed, prescribed questions, the Learning Discussion Group is prompted to interpret the text at hand and defend their interpretation using textual evidence to support hypertextual and subtextual analyses. Alvermann et al. (1996) suggests that these types of discussion groups promote a deeper understanding and a broader comprehension of the material being investigated. To develop an effective learning discussion group, the teacher must model the appropriate social behavior the students need to employ to be able to get the most from the discussion. She or he must scaffold this experience so that students can see how to return to the discussion when they get off task, or how to resolve conflicts when members of the group disagree. At all grade levels, the purpose is to be able to respond to text in a personal and dialogical manner, to be able to think critically and creatively about the subject matter, and to highlight intertextual connections. Reading of the text is generally done prior to the learning discussion group meeting. At times, students may read directly from the text to cite evidence or make a point during a discussion. Most learning discussion groups last from 15 to 20 minutes. 170

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Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • • •

Making connections Summarizing Synthesizing Analyzing Critiquing Clarifying Evaluating

Procedures: • •



• •

Assess students’ strengths and needs to select a text and focus lesson. Introduce the text—​Provide a central theme of the text or section of the text creating a sense of anticipation that prompts students to want to discuss the text. Discuss the text—​After reading the text, prompt the students to discuss what they have read defending their responses with textual evidence. Revisit any challenging vocabulary and use discussion to determine what concepts about the text they understand and are still grappling with. Feed-​forward—​Provide a “teaser” concept to encourage students to delve deeper into the text. Encourage self-​reflection and self-​assessment.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

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• • •





Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to learning discussion Participation rubric

Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing—​ Teacher Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: When we read aloud to our students, we are showing them what good readers do with texts –​both familiar and unfamiliar. The same is true for Modeled Writing. When we model writing as a process, we are showing 172

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them what writers do to get a message down on paper to entertain, inform, or persuade. Modeled Writing calls for the teacher to write in front of students an original piece on the “go”, without a “prepared script” that has been edited for all mistakes. We do this, because students need to see the drafts along the way—​not just the finished product. We have all had experiences where the teacher showed us a writing sample, and then sent us off to “mimic” it. We felt helpless to understand how those perfectly formed words and sentences got on that page. By employing Modeled Writing as an instructional practice, we show how we choose topics, words, and sentences, how we organize our thoughts, and how we edit for conventions. In Modeled Writing, we talk out loud about the processes that happen in our heads. We share how we choose certain words, how we ask questions of ourselves about structure, or organization, and how we decide where we go next. Modeled Writing is not a time for teachers to test students’ editing skills. When Modeled Writing is utilized as an instructional practice, teachers do not make intentional mistakes for students to hunt and find. We want to model what proficient writers do and proficient writers do not make intentional mistakes. Most Modeled Writing lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • • •

Topic rehearsal Audience consideration Vocabulary selection Editing Re-​visioning Self-​correcting Rereading for different purposes

Procedures: • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Model composing or brainstorming. Demonstrate selecting a topic that will engage the students and verbalize how you have selected the topic. 173

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Discuss what you are going to write. If it is a personal narrative, tell the story. If you plan to respond to a text, discuss some aspect of the text with students. If you are going to write an expository piece demonstrate using organizational tools such as outlines and graphic organizers. Demonstrate constructing your text. Here you are modeling the actual writing on chart paper, white board, or interactive white board. It needs to be an enlarged text that all students can see while you talk through your construction of the text. Reread the text aloud as necessary to ensure clarity to the reader. Rereading is a powerful strategic activity writers employ to ensure a coherent text as a courtesy to the reader. Additionally, rereading as an editing and revising tool can be demonstrated during communal writing and collaborative writing. While rereading aloud, model text-​ dependent questions writers ask of themselves while constructing a text to edit and revise. For example: • Is my central theme clear? Does it make sense? • Does my vocabulary paint pictures in the reader’s mind? • Should I leave something out or include more information?

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

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Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to lesson Arts in response to lesson

Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing—​ Teacher or Student Co-​composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: In collaborative writing the teacher or a student may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then writes the text, stopping to think where they are going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the writer tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After writing for a while, the writer may stop to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After writing, the writer provides a summary of what has been written. In collaborative writing, the teacher or student writer shows students what writers do “in their heads” when processing what is being written. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher or the student writer engages the observers by discussing what they think about the text. 175

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As in a traditional shared writing lesson, a collaborative writing lesson is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using collaborative writing; too many interruptions during the process for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the observers. Thus, employing collaborative writing as an instructional practice is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most collaborative writing lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • • •

Topic rehearsal Audience consideration Vocabulary selection Editing Re-​visioning Self-​correcting Rereading for different purposes

Procedures: • •





Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Model composing or brainstorming. Demonstrate selecting a topic that will engage the students and verbalize how you have selected the topic. Discuss what you are going to write. If it is a personal narrative, tell the story. If you plan to respond to a text, discuss some aspect of the text with students. If you are going to write an expository piece demonstrate using organizational tools such as outlines and graphic organizers. Demonstrate constructing your text. Here you are modeling the actual writing on chart paper, white board, or interactive white board. It needs to be an enlarged text that all students can see while you talk through your construction of the text.

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Reread the text aloud as necessary to ensure clarity to the reader. Rereading is a powerful strategic activity writers employ to ensure a coherent text as a courtesy to the reader. Additionally, rereading as an editing and revising tool can be demonstrated during communal writing and collaborative writing. While rereading aloud, model text-​ dependent questions writers ask of themselves while constructing a text to edit and revise. For example: • Is my central theme clear? Does it make sense? • Does my vocabulary paint pictures in the reader’s mind? • Should I leave something out or include more information?

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to lesson Arts in response to lesson

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Summary In this chapter we have shared instructional practices for grades 3–​5 that we have found to be effective within a coherent and intentional K–​12 literacy framework for instruction with 3–​5 students. The success of implementation for each instructional practice is grounded and dependent on quality implementation in previous grades. This means that in order for teacher colleagues and their students to experience learning success, vertical and horizontal articulation across grade levels is necessary to amplify instruction.

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Defining Grades K–​2 Instructional Practices within a K–​12 Literacy Framework Nur-​tur-​ing (verb) Caring for and encouraging growth and development.

In the primary grades, students require a lot of guidance and constant physical activity. Kindergarten through second grade is where students begin to learn to self-​regulate, self-​monitor, and self-​correct with gentle and consistent guidance. Walk into any primary grade classroom and you will more than likely be greeted with many knee-​hugs. It is in the primary grades that literacy learning grows exponentially in leaps and bounds. Little ones that come into first grade with some letter-​sound knowledge complete first grade able to read early chapter books and begin to use mentor texts to inform their writing across content area. Teaching in these grades is usually very teacher supported and with many shared teaching experiences incorporated as students become independent learners. At this age, the following descriptions need to be considered when curating a multimodal transdisciplinary learning environment: • • • • •

Children’s large muscles are more developed than those that control fingers and hands. Eye-​hand coordination is still developing. Children’s bodies are flexible and resilient. Gender differences do not emerge until kindergarten. Most children have one or two best friends, but these friendships change rapidly.

DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-10

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• • • • • • • • •

Play activities contribute to social, emotional, and cognitive development, and should be encouraged. Children show preferences for gender of play peers and for pair vs group play. Awareness of gender roles and gender typing is evident. Children tend to express their emotions freely and openly, with anger bursts being frequent. Jealousy among classmates is fairly common as these children tend to have much affection for their teacher and actively seek approval. Children begin to develop a rationale of mind. Children are becoming quite skillful with language. Many children overestimate their competence for particular tasks. Competence is encouraged by interaction, interest, and multisensory opportunities.

In the next few pages, we give succinct and explicit explanations for each instructional practice mentioned and some listed in our proposed K–​ 12 literacy framework (Figure 1.1). For each instructional practice described we provide supportive rationale, description, instructional targets, procedures with approximate developmentally appropriate duration, instructional guideposts, and potential dynamic assessments to guide future instruction. Under each heading are provided sample points to consider for instruction. All of the points under the headings for instructional targets, guideposts, and assessments are illustrative and are not meant to be an exhaustive list of teaching points and assessments. As you review these instructional practices, keep in mind that it will be your own professional knowledge of your students’ strengths and needs that will serve you best to amplify and personalize instruction. Over time you will personalize and add to the instructional targets, guideposts, and assessments. We do have to emphasize not to focus on employing a single practice. Although you may feel very comfortable employing a given instructional practice over others, fight the urge to over rely on one, ignoring others. Instead focus on utilizing a variety of these practices into an intentional and coherent framework to support all students from grade level to grade level across core subject areas. You need to find which instructional practices work best for you and your students.

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Instructional Practice: Read Aloud Grades K–​2 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Including this instructional practice in a literacy program ensures that adolescent students are exposed to the strategic activities that learners use when they are engaging with text. The teacher models the appropriate tone, tenor, and tempo during this literate enterprise. The students are able to discern appropriate fluency while the teacher is modeling. They listen as the teacher shows engaging with text, and how we construct meaning from text. The teacher may from time to time stop and highlight specific strategic activities such as questioning and predicting to further the students’ literacy experience. It is also a good way to show low-​progress readers and English Learners what readers do. It can also be used to show middle and secondary students what we do when we engage in various genres such as those in the content areas. When we employ the Read Aloud as an instructional practice, we need to be knowledgeable about the book we choose. Even though we acknowledge that ultimately a Read Aloud is meant to engage students in a sensual experience with text, we need to have a book that is age and developmentally appropriate and one that provides us the opportunity to promote the strategic activities we want students to use flexibly and independently. We often hear from teachers that Read Alouds should not be used after the “elementary” years. We believe this is anything but true. We have found that even with middle and high school students there are still ample opportunities to use this instructional practice, and that given the appropriate crossover text, students of all ages will love to be read to. Think of how many times we have read either a newspaper article or a particular page from a book that we are reading to a friend or colleague. That is a Read Aloud. Of course, the operative words are relevancy and appropriateness. Most Read Alouds last from 8 to 10 minutes.

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Instructional Target (Example): • • •

Clarifying to confirm or reject predictions Summarizing to clarify or remember Self-​questioning to expand meaning

Procedures: • •

• • • • • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students. Explain process and expectations for behavior. Read selection to students. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Examples): •

• • •





Listen closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

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• •





Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Listen and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Think Aloud Grades K–​2 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Like a Read Aloud, a Think Aloud starts from the premise of modeling what proficient readers do when they engage with text. The difference between the two is that in a traditional read aloud the teacher does the reading without explaining any metacognitive activity. The Think Aloud takes a Read Aloud a bit further in that it asks the teacher to engage the listeners by modeling an external self-​conversation at specific points during the reading. In a Think Aloud the teacher may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what

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unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then reads the text, stopping to predict and anticipate where the author is going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the teacher tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After reading on for a while, she or he again stops to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After reading the designated number of pages, she or he summarizes what has been read by retelling. In a Think Aloud, the teacher shows students what readers do “in their heads” when processing what is being read. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher engages the listeners by verbalizing what they think is going on in the text. As in a traditional read aloud, a Think Aloud is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using a Think Aloud; too many interruptions of the story for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the listeners. Thus, employing a Think Aloud as an instructional practice is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most Think Alouds last from 8 to 10 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • •

Rereading to search further at difficulty or for clarification Rereading to self-​correct Rereading for phrasing to support fluency

Procedures: • •

• •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation.

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• •

• •

Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for social behavior. While reading text aloud, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading. NOTE: Be mindful of too many interruptions or teaching points during reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •

• •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

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Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Collaborative Read Aloud Grades K–​2 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Like a Read Aloud, a Collaborative Read Aloud starts from the premise of modeling what proficient readers do when they engage with text (Elliot-​ Johns & Puig, 2015). The difference between the two is that in a traditional Read Aloud the teacher does the reading. In a Collaborative Read Aloud the teacher or a student does the reading. The Collaborative Read Aloud takes it a bit further in that it asks the person doing the reading (it could be the teacher or a student) to engage the listeners by prompting brief discussions at specific points during the reading. In a Collaborative Read Aloud the teacher or a student may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, she or he then reads the text, stopping to predict and anticipate where the author is going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​ narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the teacher tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After reading on for a while, she or he again stops to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After reading the designated

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number of pages, she or he summarizes what has been read by retelling. In a Collaborative Read Aloud, the teacher or student reader shows students what readers do “in their heads” when processing what is being read. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher or the student reader engages the listeners by discussing what they think is going on in the text. As in a traditional Read Aloud, a Collaborative Read Aloud is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using a Collaborative Read Aloud; too many interruptions of the story for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the listeners. Thus, employing a Collaborative Read Aloud as an instructional practice is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most Collaborative Read Alouds last from 8 to 10 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • •

Rereading to search further at difficulty or for clarification Rereading to self-​correct Rereading for phrasing to support fluency

Procedures: • •

• • •

• •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose high interest on-​ line or off-​ line selections that are above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for social behavior. While reading text aloud, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading.

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• •

Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading. NOTE: Be mindful of too many interruptions or teaching points during reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and Comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

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Instructional Practice: Shared/​Choral Reading in Grades K–​2 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others, they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Based on the work of Don Holdaway (1979), Shared Reading has been described as eyes on print with voice support. Shared Reading is about the teacher reading WITH the students (Mooney, 1990). A Shared Reading lesson with primary grade students sounds and looks very much like an echo reading initially as students will simply repeat what the teacher reads and evolve into a choral reading lesson as students become more familiar with how texts work and their sight word vocabulary increases. The Share Reading Experience is a highly supportive instructional practice in which the teacher is responsible for the reading and students are invited to engage with the text. During the shared reading students read aloud with the teacher. The students are expected to participate and are continuously invited to join in. The teacher uses an enlarged text such as a big book, chart, or interactive white board. As students become more sophisticated literacy learners, they may have a copy of the reading material and follow along as the teacher reads. Where the read aloud experience allows students to hear what readers do when they read, the Shared Reading experience encourages students to participate in what readers do by asking them to take on some of the responsibility for reading. It scaffolds the students while they are reading and provides instruction in problem-​solving strategic activities that the teacher demonstrates implicitly and explicitly without distracting from the topic or central theme and message-​getting aspect of the text. Experienced teachers in grades K-2 utilize shared/​ choral reading to demonstrate and engage students in a specific focus lesson on a strategic

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activity across core subject areas. Most shared/​choral reading lessons last from 8 to 10 minutes. Instructional Target (Example): • • • •

Searching further Phrasing and Fluency Vocabulary Acquisition Develop Tone, Tenor, and Tempo

Procedures: • •

• • •

• •



Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Choose an enlarged on-​line or off-​line selection that is above students’ instructional reading level and at the high end of their listening level or multiple copies of the same text. Pre-​read and re-​read selection to yourself before reading to students. Practice reading the selection using gestures and voice intonation. Introduce a central theme of the text to the students in a conversational tone eliciting students’ personal experiences that may relate to the text. Explain process and expectations for behavior. Encourage students to read text aloud with you, highlight strategic activities employed to comprehend and model self-​ questioning to engage students in brief conversations that do not detract from the reading. Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading.

Instructional Guideposts (Example): •



Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

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• •



• • •





Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Readers’ Theater Grades K–​2 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

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Description: According to Young and Rasinski (2009), in a Readers’ Theater students are asked to perform a written script repeatedly. It is assisted reading that is focused on delivering meaning to an audience. Since it not the traditional “theater” no acting, props, costumes, or scenery are necessary. Readers must use their voices to carry the meaning. Research has demonstrated the potential of Readers’ Theater to improve reading performance (Griffith & Rasinski, 2004; Martinez, Roser & Strecker, 1998/​ 1999). Moreover, Readers’ Theater has been found to be an engaging and motivational activity for students. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • •

Fluency instruction aimed Prosody and meaning Accuracy and automaticity in word recognition Vocabulary Acquisition Phrasing in Fluency Develop Tone, Tenor, Tempo

Procedures: • • • • • • • • • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Introduce RT by using prepared scripts. Explain process and expectations for behavior. Teach the basic steps of performance: use highlighters to mark the parts; interpret the part and rehearse expressively. Use minimal props. Schedule time for practice. Begin with short presentations (for example, do not start with Shakespeare). Teacher prepares copy of marked script with key information (i.e., parts, scene breaks, etc.) Rehearse with the readers providing needed direction on pacing, expression, appropriate volume, and gestures. Perform for an audience.

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Prompt a text-​dependent conversation after the reading that includes reflective conversation about the performance.

Instructional Guideposts (Example): •

• • •



• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

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Instructional Practice: Guiding Learners Grades K–​2 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Guiding learners as an instructional practice is reading by the students (Mooney, 1990). This is the time when students in grades 1–​2 (and some kindergarteners during the second half of the school year) are provided texts that they can read with approximately 90% to 94% word accuracy (Froelich & Puig, 2010). During a lesson, teachers engage students and provide support when necessary in the form of a generative response or prompt for the student to employ a strategic activity. Teachers guide the students to be able to understand unfamiliar text through questions that are derived from the basic concepts of the text. The goal is to have the students be successful in their first reading of the text. As learners become more proficient, over time guided learning evolves and may resemble a learning discussion group with teacher support. At Grades K-2 guiding learners puts students who have similar strengths and needs together in one group. This instructional practice is sometimes conducted with the whole classroom or with select students in smaller groups. Most guided reading lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • •

Predicting and anticipating (word level, sentence level, text level) Monitoring predictions (word level, sentence level, text level) Searching further/​reading closely for more information (word level, sentence level, text level) Self-​correcting (word level, sentence level, text level)

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Procedures: • •









Assess students’ strengths and needs to select a text and focus lesson. Introduce the text—​Provide a central theme of the text and introduce one or two challenging vocabulary words. Generate questions to create a sense of anticipation that prompts students to want to read the text. Before students read the text, remind them of a particular strategic activity they need to be mindful of while reading. Students read the text—​Distribute texts and ask students to read. The teacher monitors the students as they read to how they are processing information. At difficulty, prompt individual students to seek solutions strategically, prompting for flexibility and independence. Discuss the text—​After reading the text, prompt the students to discuss what they have read defending their responses with textual evidence. Revisit any challenging vocabulary and use discussion to determine what concepts about the text they understand and are still grappling with. Teach for strategic activity—​Although teaching for strategic activity occurs throughout the guided lesson, teachers determine what strategic activity needs to be revisited and reinforced after the reading. (Revisiting Chapter 2 is beneficial.) Word work—​Depending on the text complexity and the strengths and needs of the students, the teacher may decide that the group (or some members in the group) need additional word study. Using white boards, magnetic letters, or any tactile/​kinesthetic format the teacher interactively helps the students investigate how words work.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. 195

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• • •





Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning (Sample): • • •

Anecdotal notes (include date, beginning and ending times) Running records (Clay, 2002) Miscue analysis (Goodman, Watson & Burke 2005)

Instructional Practice: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction Grades K–​2 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation with others they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: Interactive Vocabulary Instruction is a hybrid instructional practice that borrows from shared reading and collaborative writing. During an 196

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interactive vocabulary study, the emphasis is on interaction and oral development with a focus on how words work. It is NOT a time for worksheets. For example, this kind of study focuses on words with similar origins or backgrounds, not the individual word itself. This kind of instruction helps build the student’s lexical working system (Froelich & Puig, 2010). Interactive vocabulary instruction uses appropriate strategic activities to increase students’ vocabulary. Most interactive vocabulary instruction lasts from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • •

Crosschecking sources of information Understanding root words Understanding word origins Affixes, prefixes, and suffixes Using vocabulary in a variety of ways

Instructional Options: •





Storyboards—​ Storyboards are designed to be ways in which the teacher can determine if students are following the threads in a story as well as the sequence of events. After reading three chapters ask the students to tell what has happened in each of the three chapters. The teacher should only edit the students’ work if they have given information that is out of sequence. Themed Word Charts—​As a pre-​reading activity, Themed Word Charts can be built around particular language from a text, content area topics, or a theme study. The teacher posts a large piece of paper to list these words on. Teachers may choose to pre-​teach specific terms. For students in grades K-2, the themed word chart serves as a resource for spelling as well as to have definitions for specific terms. For example, if the class is studying Second World War in History, words specific to this era would be posted, such as FLAK, holocaust, nuclear weapons, etc. Semantic Analysis—​ A semantic feature analysis helps students organize concepts and information from a story or a text. Prepare a chart that looks like the one below. Using a “+” or “-​” indicate whether the character has that trait attribute. 197

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• • • •

Bookmarks—​Making a bookmark can be a fun and creative way for the students to show the teacher what they have learned as they are reading along in a text. The teacher asks the students to create one that is based on a theme in the text, specific vocabulary in the text, etc. They design one that represents their understandings about what they have read. Semantic mapping—​ Semantic mapping is a visual strategy for vocabulary expansion and extension of knowledge by displaying in categories words related to one another. Semantic mapping builds on students’ prior knowledge or schema. The framework of semantic mapping includes: the concept word, two category examples, and other examples. Open and closed word sorts Crossword puzzles Word searches Poetry

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. 198

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Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: Anecdotal records (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to reading Arts in response to reading

Instructional Practice: Learning Discussion Group Grades K–​2 Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend Using the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: As in the other approaches we have mentioned, we want the students’ experiences to be coherent and intentional. Instead of just asking them to read and report, we want them to have a genuine critical reaction and evaluative response to texts across content areas. Learning discussion groups allow this to happen. Usually, a Learning Discussion Group shares a text or texts with a common theme or genre. It can take place in whole or small groups and can be either formal or informal. Unlike the traditional study group where the teacher asks directed, prescribed questions, the Learning Discussion Group is prompted to interpret the text at hand and defend their interpretation using textual evidence to support hypertextual and subtextual analyses. Alvermann et al. (1996) suggest that these types of discussion

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groups promote a deeper understanding and a broader comprehension of the material being investigated. To develop an effective learning discussion group, the teacher must model the appropriate social behavior the students need to employ to be able to get the most from the discussion. She or he must scaffold this experience so that students can see how to return to the discussion when they get off task, or how to resolve conflicts when members of the group disagree. At all grade levels, the purpose is to be able to respond to text in a personal and dialogical manner, to be able to think critically and creatively about the subject matter, and to highlight intertextual connections. Reading of the text is generally done prior to the learning discussion group meeting. At times, students may read directly from the text to cite evidence or make a point during a discussion. Most learning discussion groups last from 15 to 20 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • • •

Making connections Summarizing Synthesizing Analyzing Critiquing Clarifying Evaluating

Procedures: • •



Assess students’ strengths and needs to select a text and focus lesson. Introduce the text—​Provide a central theme of the text or section of the text creating a sense of anticipation that prompts students to want to discuss the text. Discuss the text—​After reading the text, prompt the students to discuss what they have read defending their responses with textual evidence. Revisit any challenging vocabulary and use discussion to determine what concepts about the text they understand and are still grappling with.

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• •

Feed-​forward—​Provide a “teaser” concept to encourage students to delve deeper into the text. Encourage self-​reflection and self-​assessment.

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •



• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to learning discussion Participation rubric

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Instructional Practice: Modeled Writing—​ Teacher Composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: When we read aloud to our students, we are showing them what good readers do with texts –​both familiar and unfamiliar. The same is true for Modeled Writing. When we model writing as a process, we are showing them what writers do to get a message down on paper to entertain, inform, or persuade. Modeled Writing calls for the teacher to write in front of students an original piece on the “go”, without a “prepared script” that has been edited for all mistakes. We do this, because students need to see the drafts along the way—​not just the finished product. We have all had experiences where the teacher showed us a writing sample, and then sent us off to “mimic” it. We felt helpless to understand how those perfectly formed words and sentences got on that page. By employing modeled writing as an instructional practice, we show how we choose topics, words, and sentences, how we organize our thoughts, and how we edit for conventions. In Modeled Writing, we talk out loud about the processes that happen in our heads. We share how we choose certain words, how we ask questions of ourselves about structure, or organization, and how we decide where we go next. Modeled Writing is not a time for teachers to test students’ editing skills. When Modeled Writing is utilized as an instructional practice, teachers do not make intentional mistakes for students to hunt and find. We want to model what proficient writers do and proficient writers do not make intentional mistakes. Most Modeled Writing lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • •

Topic rehearsal Audience consideration 202

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• • • • •

Vocabulary selection Editing Re-​visioning Self-​correcting Rereading for different purposes

Procedures: • •







Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Model composing or brainstorming. Demonstrate selecting a topic that will engage the students and verbalize how you have selected the topic. Discuss what you are going to write. If it is a personal narrative, tell the story. If you plan to respond to a text, discuss some aspect of the text with students. If you are going to write an expository piece demonstrate using organizational tools such as outlines and graphic organizers. Demonstrate constructing your text. Here you are modeling the actual writing on chart paper, white board, or interactive white board. It needs to be an enlarged text that all students can see while you talk through your construction of the text. Reread the text aloud as necessary to ensure clarity to the reader. Rereading is a powerful strategic activity writers employ to ensure a coherent text as a courtesy to the reader. Additionally, rereading as an editing and revising tool can be demonstrated during communal writing and collaborative writing. While rereading aloud, model text-​ dependent questions writers ask of themselves while constructing a text to edit and revise. For example: • Is my central theme clear? Does it make sense? • Does my vocabulary paint pictures in the reader’s mind? • Should I leave something out or include more information?

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. 203

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• • •



• •

Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to lesson Arts in response to lesson

Instructional Practice: Collaborative Writing—​ Teacher or Student Co-​composes, Constructs, and Processes Aloud Supportive Rationale/​Theory to Defend the Instructional Practice: • • •

Knowledge is socially constructed. What a student learns in cooperation they will employ independently. Language is a tool for thinking.

Description: In collaborative writing the teacher or a student may start by questioning what the text will be about, what kinds of concepts will be encountered, or what unique language might be involved in this text. In a narrative text, 204

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she or he then writes the text, stopping to think where they’re going with the story, or what the characters are going to be doing. In a non-​narrative text (texts for social studies or mathematics for example), the writer tries to highlight features specific to the curriculum content, such as key vocabulary, unique language structures, and graphic features. After writing for a while, the writer may stop to clarify any of the issues that might have been brought up in questioning. After writing, the writer provides a summary what has been written. In collaborative writing, the teacher or student writer shows students what writers do “in their heads” when processing what is being written. At certain intervals (predetermined) the teacher or the student writer engages the observers by discussing what they think about the text. As in a traditional shared writing lesson, a collaborative writing lesson is ultimately employed as an instructional practice to engage students with text. Although a powerful instructional practice, we have to share a word of caution when using collaborative writing; too many interruptions during the process for the sake of teaching may destroy experiencing the author’s intent and the pleasure of the experience for the observers. Thus, employing collaborative writing as an instructional practice, is a delicate dance between teaching and entertaining. Most collaborative writing lessons last from 10 to 15 minutes. Instructional Target (Sample): • • • • • • •

Topic rehearsal Audience consideration Vocabulary selection Editing Re-​visioning Self-​correcting Rereading for different purposes

Procedures: • •

Assess students’ strengths and where background knowledge needs to be built. Model composing or brainstorming. Demonstrate selecting a topic that will engage the students and verbalize how you have selected the topic. 205

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Discuss what you are going to write. If it is a personal narrative, tell the story. If you plan to respond to a text, discuss some aspect of the text with students. If you are going to write an expository piece demonstrate using organizational tools such as outlines and graphic organizers. Demonstrate constructing your text. Here you are modeling the actual writing on chart paper, white board, or interactive white board. It needs to be an enlarged text that all students can see while you talk through your construction of the text. Reread the text aloud as necessary to ensure clarity to the reader. Rereading is a powerful strategic activity writers employ to ensure a coherent text as a courtesy to the reader. Additionally, rereading as an editing and revising tool can be demonstrated during communal writing and collaborative writing. While rereading aloud, model text-​ dependent questions writers ask of themselves while constructing a text to edit and revise. For example: • Is my central theme clear? Does it make sense? • Does my vocabulary paint pictures in the reader’s mind? • Should I leave something out or include more information?

Instructional Guideposts (Sample): •

• • •





Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

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Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Dynamic Assessment/​Observation for Learning: • • •

Anecdotal record (includes dates, beginning and ending times) Writing in response to lesson Arts in response to lesson

Summary In this chapter we have shared instructional practices for grades K–​2 that we have found to be effective within a coherent and intentional K–​12 literacy framework for instruction with adolescent students. The success of implementation for each instructional practice is grounded and dependent on quality implementation in previous grades. This means that in order for teacher colleagues and their students to experience learning success, vertical and horizontal articulation across grade levels is necessary to amplify instruction.

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Interlude Building a Foundation for Implementation

Collaborating, leading, and scaffolding are the watchwords used for you to anticipate the content of the next three chapters. At the school level, buy-​in from all stakeholders is a major factor that can make or break the  implementation of a coherent and intentional K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction. Developing an inclusive and diverse literacy leadership team is critical for any school innovation. The school literacy leadership team is tasked to serve as a conduit and catalyst for forward shifts in instruction across content area while maintaining a humane and professional perspective informed by data. The makeup and function of the team should represent the diversity of the school in addition to promoting a communal vision and mission for a school. Teacher leadership in the form of literacy coaching is professional learning on a continuum of varying support. On that continuum of coaching we propose supporting lesson study, study groups, and literacy leadership teams as features of literacy coaching. Our premise for developing the concept of literacy coaching as a continuum is based on years of personal experiences, the current literature and as literacy coaches at a school site where we coached and were coached by colleagues in a variety of contexts. This led us to conclude that literacy coaching was not just about a “coaching cycle” of pre-​conference, an observation, and a post-​ conference, although we do acknowledge that the pre-​conference, observation, post-​conference model of literacy coaching is a powerful model to promote forward shifts. Literacy coaching is so much more than just a coaching cycle. As we learn more and more about the complex job of a literacy coach, the current

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literature published on literacy coaching confirms our original proposal that literacy coaching is multifaceted, recursive, and complex. Multi-​Tier Systems of Support, lesson study, and professional learning communities of practice are three conceptual scaffolds to improve transdisciplinary literacy acquisition and instruction within a K–​12 framework. Multi-​Tier Systems of Support (MTSS) is a process that supports high-​ quality, research-​proven instructional practices based on students’ strengths and needs. MTSS promotes an intentional and coherent system for instruction by providing and matching instructional practices to students’ strengths and needs. On the other hand, lesson study is a professional learning process that teachers engage in to examine their practice, with the goal of becoming more effective. This examination focuses on teachers working collaboratively to plan, teach, observe, and humanely critique lessons. Professional Learning Communities of practice have at their core a belief in teacher leadership and involvement in school improvement efforts. This corresponds well with the generally accepted belief that improving classroom instruction is a significant factor in improving student learning. Many PLCs operate with the understanding that one important key to improved learning for students is continuous job-​embedded learning for educators. Combined with a dedicated literacy leadership team and a knowledgeable instructional literacy coach, multi-​tier systems of support, lesson study, and professional learning communities of practice provide powerful scaffolds to support schools and school systems in forward shifts to improve coherent K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy instruction to prepare students for a global citizenship.

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9

Developing a Literacy Leadership Team to Refine and Sustain a K–​12 Transdisciplinary Literacy Framework for Instruction

Col-​lab-​o-​ra-​ting (verb) Working jointly with others in an intellectual endeavor towards a common goal. The idea of leadership teams is certainly not a new concept in education or business. We have found that over time, many school literacy initiatives fall short because there was never a long-​term on-​going, job-​embedded plan, implemented and supported by a knowledgeable literacy leadership team. Our experience has taught us that a pivotal starting point for a literacy leadership team is to develop a common language and understanding about literacy processing and adult learners. Without this critical knowledge, it is unlikely that a literacy leadership team will recognize critical data that will influence learning and instruction in a positive manner. The team has to have this understanding to be able to formulate a theory of what is occurring and how to interact with what is occurring by utilizing the team’s distributed and collective knowledge. Each team member will bring a wealth of personalized knowledge and experiences that we need to acknowledge and use as a seed for thinking in different directions so that they are better able to support the school as a place of learning for everyone. Everyone comes to the metaphoric table with what Gonzalez, Moll and Amanti (2005) call “funds of knowledge”. If we want schools to be 210

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places of learning and instruction for all (Craig, 2006; Tharp & Gallimore, 1988), we have to put in place multi-​tier systems of support where errors are viewed as half-​rights. Lyons and Pinnell (2001) tell us that forward shifts rarely occur because of one person or a few people (including the principal and the literacy coach). Forward shifts have to occur on-​site and at the whole school level to sustain and expand success (Knight & Stallings, 1995; Maden & Hillman, 1996; Darling-​Hammond, 2000; Hill & Crevola, 1999; Langer, 2000; and Maden, 2001). To create true forward shifts in schools, the creation of a literacy leadership team is essential for implementing on-​site multi-​tier systems of support to successfully sustain and expand a K–​12 transdisciplinary framework for coherent instruction. Furthermore, for these multi-​tier systems of support to be in place, a dynamic literacy leadership team with distributed experiences and knowledge guided by a highly qualified literacy coach as a lead learner is paramount (Craig, 2006; Ross, 1992; Veenman & Denessen, 2001; Booth & Rowsell, 2002; Pennell, 2020). In 1510, Leonardo DaVinci wrote in his journal, Those who are in love with practice without theoretical knowledge are like the sailor who goes onto a ship without rudder or compass and who never can be certain whither he is going. Practice must always be founded on sound theory. (Isaacson, 2017)

We have found that without a strong theoretical foundation, most literacy initiatives waiver and wane over time in a school setting. Likewise, in order for literacy leadership teams to sustain success they need to have a strong theoretical understanding; in other words, understanding the compelling “why’s”. Constantly revisiting Chapter 2 in this text will support the theoretical constructs that will provide literacy leadership teams the necessary language to promote accurate analysis of assessments and support appropriate instructional practices to tackle specific adaptive challenges. Some key challenges that literacy leadership teams encounter when implementing change are dealing with adult colleagues in a professional, respectful, and sensitive manner; supporting and replicating multisensory transdisciplinary literate environments; communicating with a common language; and understanding how students process information to improve learning and instruction. With a strong theoretical foundation most of those 211

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challenges can be brought to the table and adapted to fulfill a school’s need for improving learning and instruction. In working with many literacy leadership teams, it has been our experience that in order for the team, or any professional learning community of practice, to get started on the right foot, a common language has to be developed. Overall, language can be ambiguous and vague; compound that with a group of adults with a variety of experiences attempting to interpret school data and the result has the potential to be disastrous. Consequently, we cannot overstate the importance of developing a common language as a first step to minimize misinterpretation and to guide a school in a state of transition. To assist literacy leadership teams in developing a common language, talking about, and dissecting the benefits and features is a critical step since essentially it will be the responsibility of the literacy leadership team to share and update the faculty’s language to promote forward shifts. In particular, understanding the benefits of any enterprise, such as developing a common language, is one of the principles Cambourne (1988) describes as essential to increase the likelihood of engagement. Additionally, a prime conduit and catalyst for the team to develop a common language is the literacy coach (Puig & Froelich, 2011). The important role of a knowledgeable literacy coach in supporting the literacy leadership team cannot be overstressed.

Developing a Common Language Do you remember the first time you heard the term “Google” or “Zoom”? Do you remember what you thought they meant? We have all been in a learning situation that required us to learn a new lexicon or vocabulary. We have all had classes that asked us to understand terms and concepts that were foreign to us. As proficient learners we have the requisite skills and strategic knowledge to be able to figure out what to do. One of the important tenets of team building is that we start by developing a common language. Ideally, we all need to think about and respond to terms with the same level of understanding in order to understand each other’s interpretations. We have found that if this does not happen, colleagues will very likely not engage at the level needed to make appropriate changes and promote improved instructional practices. 212

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Hence, some of the benefits for developing a common language as a literacy leadership team are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Improves communication and better interpretation of data. Expands thinking by applying new concepts to known words. Economizes on time when meeting to discuss adaptive challenges. Develops a sense of a professional learning community of practice. Creates a safe environment where productive failure is honored.

By developing a common language among the literacy coach and the literacy leadership team members, communication is improved, increasing the likelihood that when the literacy leadership team begins to identify an initial adaptive challenge or challenges, they will be closer to the true issue at hand. By having a common language among members, the dynamics of the team will be more powerful in determining an initial adaptive challenge, interpreting the data, and investigating a menu of solutions. This would be virtually impossible without a common language. A literacy leadership team without a common language, as in any team, is equivalent to a country running itself with all its citizens not having a common language. As in any new endeavor, getting started is always the hardest step. Starting a literacy leadership team is no different. We have found that beginning with a self-​assessment provides the team with long-​term goals and direction in establishing a literacy leadership team that will sustain and expand success in any school setting. Consequently, the very first meeting of the literacy leadership team or the first meeting of a group of colleagues interested in establishing a literacy leadership team needs to involve a self-​assessment. This helps to gauge the plausibility of moving forward in establishing the team. Group members need to understand from the start the purposes and goals of literacy leadership teams at school sites. Figure 9.1 is a self-​assessment survey any school—​elementary, middle, or high—​can use to start investigating the collective and individual roles of members on a literacy leadership team. The survey is not meant to be a measuring stick, but it is meant to be a guidepost for a group to see where they need to go to ensure sustaining and expanding success at their schools. In other words, the group or team needs to take a critical and honest look at themselves if forward shifts are to occur. After completing the Literacy Leadership Team Self-​Assessment Survey (Figure 9.1), group or team members tally their collective responses to arrive 213

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Directions: Mark the statement that best describes your school. After completing the survey, total the number of very accurate and accurate responses. 1. The school Literacy Leadership Team consists of representatives from a variety of grade levels and/​or core content areas (language arts, sciences, mathematics, social studies, arts). □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 2. There is a district Literacy Leadership Team to collaborate with the school Literacy Leadership Team. □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 3. The Literacy Coach is the “lead learner” supporting the professional learning of the school faculty and Literacy Leadership Team. □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 4. The school Literacy Leadership Team investigates multiple sources of data (static and dynamic) to determine students’ strengths and needs. □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 5. The school Literacy Leadership Team investigates multiple sources of data (static and dynamic) to determine faculty and staff’s strengths and needs. □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 6 The school Literacy Leadership Team determines a specific adaptive challenge for the school, or each grade level or core content area based on data (static and dynamic). □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 7. An action plan has been developed based on analyzed data (static and dynamic) by the Literacy Leadership Team. □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 8. The school principal and the literacy coach attend all Literacy Leadership Team meetings. □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 9. The school Literacy Leadership Team meets monthly for at least one hour. □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate Figure 9.1  Literacy Leadership Team Self-​Assessment Survey 214

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Developing a Literacy Leadership Team 10. The school’s action plan includes a five-​stage implementation framework to ensure sustainability and expansion. □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 11. The school acknowledges the role of language arts across core content areas. □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 12. The school provides research-​proven interventions outside of the regular literacy block or language arts period for low-​progress students. □ very accurate □ accurate □ somewhat accurate □ inaccurate □ very inaccurate 10–​12 Very accurate or accurate –​strong potential for sustaining and expanding success 8–​9 Very accurate or accurate –​above-​average potential for sustaining and expanding success 6–​7 Very accurate or accurate –​developing potential for expanding and sustaining success 4–​5 Very accurate or accurate –​below-​average potential for expanding and sustaining success 2–​3 Very accurate or accurate –​ weak potential for sustaining and expanding success Figure 9.1  Continued Note: The Literacy Leadership Team self-​assessment survey is meant to prompt and guide discussion. It was not designed or intended to serve as an evaluative instrument.

at an overall picture of what it is going to take for the team to be successful in supporting forward shifts in learning and instruction at their school. With that information under their belt, the team now needs to make the decision about how to proceed as a literacy leadership team with strong guidance from a knowledgeable literacy coach. Proceeding forward, the team’s next step is to define and establish ground rules for functioning effectively and efficiently during the tight schedule of a school day. Throughout the process of establishing ground rules, developing a common language will be an on-​going process as more is learned while researching and tackling an adaptive challenge. With ground rules set, the group assembles a working system to support change that involves group members in creating a framework for the team to follow. By assembling a working system or framework, team routines and rituals will be put in place allowing members to not just think outside the box, but to be imaginative 215

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to think different. In addition, team member identification will be critical to provide the literacy leadership team with multiple perspectives that will strengthen the team’s decision to impact coherent learning and instruction across a variety of grade levels and core content area classrooms.

Literacy Leadership Team Self-​Assessment Survey The Literacy Leadership Team Self-​ Assessment Survey is designed for schools interested in utilizing a literacy leadership team supported by a literacy coach. This survey is but one instrument that supports schools in taking inventory of what is in place to promote forward shifts in learning and instruction. Assessment, particularly self-​assessment, is a critical first step in determining where to start. After completing the survey, the total number of very accurate and accurate responses will provide you with a general idea of the present potential to sustain and expand success at your school. It is a starting point and not a determining point. Schools are complex systems for learning and instruction influenced by politics, economics, languages, and cultures. No single instrument of assessment can ever truly provide the necessary information to promote transformations in learning and instruction. This survey is meant to be cross-​ checked or triangulated with participant and non-​participant observations to arrive at an accurate picture of existing strengths and needs.

Defining the Ground Rules As in all of aspects of communication, to establish a common language it is important for all team members to understand what we mean when we talk about “ground rules”. We must all have the same appreciation for the rules and how they apply to us individually and as a member of the group. These rules can cover the behavior of the group members, the role of each member, and perhaps even the rules about how we discuss. Maiese (2004) refers to these rules as protocols. These would be the rules that the group generates during their first meeting that sets the tone for future meetings. These protocols can include: • •

Project organization Decision-​making 216

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• • •

Communication with others Using data and technical information Setting procedural rules

Project organization refers to how each member is assigned the work to be accomplished. The team leader usually starts the first meeting with an outline of what the team will be expected to accomplish over the course of the year. Sometimes roles are assigned, but many times group members are asked to volunteer for assignments.

Setting the Ground Rules Envision a professional learning community of practice that has a literacy leadership team in place. This team would have a sense of inquisitiveness. They would see change as growth, not as something regressive. They would challenge each other respectfully to think deeply, to read broadly, and to write coherently about literacy issues so that their school is one of continuous improvement. The leadership team should be able to establish ground rules—​rules such as “what are the protocols for answering questions”. For example, do we raise our hands, or just speak when there is an opportunity. There should be guidelines for the participants to generate such rules within the team. Some of these might include the following: • • • • • • •

Always be respectful of others when they are speaking. Always be punctual and attend the assigned meetings. Value others’ experiences. Explore common as well as divergent themes. Be appreciative of other responses by giving appropriate responses. Be open and honest. Find things you have in common.

Other types of rules that can help the team become more effective could include the following: • •

Actively attend and participate in regularly scheduled meetings. Complete all assigned readings and come prepared to discuss.

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• • •

Help create and evaluate data collected by team members. Complete required assignments on time. Cooperate with other team members.

Assembling a Working System to Support Change Experienced teacher leaders and teachers know the importance of having strong multi-​tier systems of support and how to assemble these systems so that effective, long-​term change can be made (Puig & Froelich, 2011). Just as there are working systems of reading there are working multi-​tier systems of support that must be in place for literacy leadership teams to be effective. Each member of the team must be well-​versed in the components that comprise these systems. These are: • • • •

A system for developing common goals A system for understanding literacy learning as a process A system for developing a professional learning community of practice A system for supporting professional growth

Developing Common Goals Each member of the team should have a desire to help promote successful and sustained change. The team members should have established those goals before they attempted to tackle the literacy issues that they are attempting to change. The team members should understand that the literacy development of all students is at the heart of these goals across all grades and core content areas.

Understanding Literacy Learning as a Process Each member of the team should know the working systems for literacy identified in Chapter 2 and understand that each one is important so that comprehending can take place across all disciplines. Team members should also know that these working systems include such things as oral language development, listening skills, and writing. Team members should 218

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be cognizant of how these systems are assembled by students in the classroom (Puig & Froelich, 2011). Team members need to be able to evaluate and assess these working systems so that they know when they are and are not working appropriately.

Professional Learning Community of Practice A professional learning community of practice is not a scheduled meeting to review a school issue or critical theme. In education, genuine professional learning communities of practice develop over time with dedicated colleagues who have a keen interest in improving the art, science, and craft of learning and teaching. Literacy leadership team members should see themselves as collaborative learners and part of a larger professional learning community of practice within the school. That is, they must be able to decide as a group that the mission and goals they are trying to achieve are best delivered when they arrive at the end together. The literacy coach helps the team members see him or her as a partner in learning, not as someone that dictates the parameters for the team.

Professional Growth People involved in working with the literacy leadership team must see this as a prime opportunity to continue their personal and professional growth. Stigler and Hiebert (1999) believe that “teachers need opportunities for sustained professional learning” and that schools need to be places where not only students but teachers can learn. Hord (1997) believes that schools should be “communities of continuous inquiry and improvement”. Productive literacy leadership teams provide a wonderful opportunity for continual professional growth and inquiry.

Identifying Members Who are the team members? Should they be chosen by the coach or the principal or both? Should the principal announce the formulation of the literacy leadership team and ask for volunteers? These are all good questions 219

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that teacher leaders and teachers need to address to make sound choices for the school. While literacy instruction is generally embraced in the primary grades (K–​2), upper elementary, middle, and high school teachers often have difficulty in understanding why they, as content teachers, need to be a part of this general discussion. There are certain key personnel that must be on the team for them to work, and there are other personnel that it would be preferable to have if possible. If we want the literacy leadership team to make real sustainable change over time, the team should be made up of teachers and teacher leaders from diverse backgrounds. They should be from a wide range of races, ages as well as grade levels, and gender. (Taylor & Gunter, 2006; Taylor, Watson & Nutta, 2014; Pennell, 2020).

Elementary Transdisciplinary Literacy Leadership Team (PK–​5) For schools with 400 or fewer students, we have found that a primary grade (K–​2) teacher representative and an intermediate grade (3–​5/​6) representative is generally sufficient teacher representation on a team. In schools with over 400 students, the teachers that need to be a part of the literacy leadership team should be one from each grade level. In addition, to be highly effective and to work for the maximum change, the team should have an administrator (ideally the principal), a counselor, a media specialist, as well as representatives from music, arts, and physical education. If the school has an assigned speech pathologist/​audiologist and school nurse, it would be advisable to have them on the team as well, including an exceptional education teacher. The literacy coach should anchor this team as a conduit of information and a catalyst for improving instruction.

Secondary Transdisciplinary Literacy Leadership Team (6–​12) At the secondary level, the team needs to have the principal, the literacy coach, as well as a member from each content area. In middle and high school, we have found that grade level representation is not as critical as content area representation. A counselor, a representative from the 220

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vocational department as well as the technology department should also be included. The goal is to have as many people as possible understand the importance of transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction. With some exceptions, most academic disciplines do not see the necessity to understand why we all need to be knowledgeable about literacy learning and instruction. Many teachers still hold to the theory that literacy instruction is the purview of either the language arts teacher, or a reading specialist. They see reading as a “subject” that someone else teaches instead of a “tool” to access information in all content areas. But to make real and lasting changes so that students are afforded the best possible chance to succeed, all teachers must believe that reading and writing are the underpinnings of all academic success (Craig, 2006; Froelich & Puig, 2010). If the students cannot read or write at a certain level of proficiency, they are less likely to be successful in any core content area classroom.

Assembling a Working System to Promote Forward Shifts Equipped with the theoretical understandings from the previous chapters, the team is now ready to identify an initial adaptive challenge, investigate it, refine it, design it, and execute an action plan, and reflect on the action plan during and after implementation. The first part of this book provided you with the necessary knowledge to hone and defend the team’s decisions. This chapter provides you with the real groundwork that has to take place so that the team can tackle adaptive challenges and improve learning and instruction. We have chosen the term adaptive challenge over area of concern because we feel strongly that nearly all challenges that schools face have to be adapted to improve and transform instruction. Realistically, all areas of concern are always a challenge tackled by adaptations that have been generated by past experiences or new knowledge. As experienced adult learners we know that all of life’s experiences are transdisciplinary, adaptive, and transformational. For sustainability, we propose facilitating the process by having the literacy leadership team, with the literacy coach, assemble a working system that is self-​regulating, self-​directing, and self-​ monitoring. This particular working system is recursive by nature but with 221

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forward shifts (positive change) always on the horizon. As you read through this chapter, keep in mind that any working system that is assembled has to be constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed for adaptation to take place. Knowing this is key for the success of the team and the school. The term “forward shifts” is used to assist a literacy leadership team’s focus, although our experience as participants and non-​participants on many literacy leadership teams has taught us that all shifts occur in cycles that tend to energize and prompt reflection (Fullan, 2005). Previously discussed and crucial for any group work, whether at the literacy leadership team level or the classroom level with students, is setting ground rules and developing a working system so that the team can function productively as a group. The working system that effective literacy leadership teams utilize to sustain and expand success begins with initially identifying some adaptive challenges (Heifetz & Linsky, 2002), followed by refining or distilling one of them, so that the team is able to investigate this specific adaptive challenge. Heifetz and Linsky (2002) draw our attention to the fact that identifying an adaptive challenge may imply that we seek solutions to current problems by utilizing known tools so that we can go beyond our current capacity in order to expand success. An adaptive challenge requires difficult learning, generates disequilibrium, and takes time. Thus, in the context of sustaining and expanding success, using the term “adaptive challenges” is certainly accurate in getting literacy leadership teams to think systemically about forward shifts in multisensory transdisciplinary learning and instruction. Once a specific adaptive challenge has been investigated, most literacy leadership teams develop and execute an action plan to impact learning and instruction. Again, we use the term “adaptive challenge” rather than area of concern to assist teams to focus on how we can promote forward shifts significantly to transform learning and instruction. It has been our experience that simply utilizing the word “concern” alerts the user to a problem and a negative mindset rather than a solution. Although some may accuse us of splitting hairs, we are continually challenged by the power of words and the importance of collaboratively developing a common language that does not approach educational reform from a deficit model (Johnston, 2004). After executing an action plan, the team then reorganizes itself into a reflective study group to be able to review the successes and limitations of the plan executed, and the recursive nature of the working system begins again. In Figure 9.2, the literacy leadership team investigative 222

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Developing a Literacy Leadership Team The Literacy Leadership Team Investigative Cycle: BRAINSTORMING Identifying an initial adaptive challenge and refining it

RE-ENVISIONING Reflecting on the successes and limitations of the action plan

RESEARCHING Investigating a specific adaptive challenge

SCHEDULING Developing and executing an action plan

Figure 9.2  The Literacy Leadership Team Investigative Cycle Note: Although reflection is listed under re-​visioning, it is a perpetual practice that needs to take place throughout the entire cycle continuously.

cycle provides a graphic representation of a working system that effective and efficient literacy leadership teams can utilize to promote forward shifts. As Figure 9.2 illustrates, there is no single point of entry within a system that has been developed to sustain and expand success. Even though most literacy leadership teams begin with brainstorming solutions informed by data, and may follow this by researching those solutions, moving into scheduling, or timetabling and executing an action plan and then reflecting on the whole process, other schools may take a different route. One literacy leadership team may choose to start with scheduling, while another school with different strengths and needs may choose to begin by re-​envisioning their goal or adaptive challenge. Although some literacy leadership teams may choose to begin by brainstorming ideas to investigate, they may soon realize that after brainstorming ideas they may want to address scheduling or researching and skip re-​envisioning until another cycle. Although student learning is always at the forefront of the discussion, we have to be mindful of the learning and instructional strengths and needs of the teachers themselves since they are the experts on the students we are ultimately supporting (Lambert, 2003; Puig & Froelich, 2011). 223

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Consequently, by encouraging a school culture that supports adults in learning and instruction, we are supporting an environment where students will learn and teach others as well. In turn, schools that create a safe learning and instructional environment will simultaneously be promoting flexible, critical thinking which is necessary for forward shifts to occur. To arrive at a specific adaptive challenge, a literacy leadership team has to investigate further and co-​triangulate their school data. Triangulation is a method of assessing, that cross checks at least three discriminate ways to determine students’ strengths and needs. Co-​triangulating data involves bringing together information that has been crosschecked in other areas. For example, information is triangulated for individual classrooms to arrive at a truer picture of strengths and needs, and then that information is co-​triangulated with information from other classrooms to determine a school’s strengths and needs. In order for a literacy leadership team to arrive at a specific adaptive challenge they must assess and evaluate strengths and needs in a variety of areas. The literature on assessment and evaluation may be confusing since many times both terms are used synonymously. We define assessment as inventorying and documenting strengths and needs. Evaluation, in the context of literacy instruction, is utilizing documented assessment to determine next steps based on current understanding of literacy processing. The only good assessments are the ones that are consistently and systematically observed and documented over time. This does not dismiss informal observations that classroom teachers make on a daily basis, but it does emphasize that those informal observations be documented in order for them to be revisited.

Using Assessment to Guide Investigation and Inform Instruction As a literacy leadership team begins to organize itself with the support of a literacy coach, the team needs to retool itself to rethink of assessments from a dual perspective in order to identify an initial adaptive challenge or challenges. The dual purpose that we are referring to is thinking of assessment as assessment for learning and assessment of learning. This means that the literacy leadership team has to adjust how they think about assessment informing instruction in order to dig deeper and arrive at a specific adaptive challenge rather than going off and running on an 224

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initial challenge. For example, after reviewing a state standardized test on reading, an assessment of learning, many times a group will get together and formulate a conclusion about what to investigate, let us say vocabulary development, because on the surface it may appear that the majority of the students were identified as needing that particular support. Yet, further investigations may lead the group to arrive at a more concrete issue that can support teacher-​colleagues in honing their instructional practices so that they can truly make a difference. After further investigations, the team may come to the realization that vocabulary is probably the surface issue, but the deep structure underlying the problem is the students’ understanding about using affixes, for example, in content-​specific assignments. The school in turn may now decide to develop an action plan or timetable outlining how students should be taught and exposed to prefixes and suffixes of Greek and Latin origins. This fine-​tuning, compounded with understanding why we assess, will ultimately lead to successful implementation of instructional practices at the school and classroom level. Kellough and Kellough (1996) state that the importance of assessment cannot be overemphasized and outline seven reasons for assessing: • • • • • • •

To assist student learning. To ascertain students’ strengths and needs. To gauge the effectiveness of an instructional practice. To inventory and enhance curriculum content. To upgrade learning and instruction. To document change over time and assist in informed decision-​making. To update parents on their children’s progress.

In addition to understanding why we assess, we have adopted and adapted ten principles identified by the American Association for Higher Education (Banta, Lund, Black & Oberlander, 1996) that should serve teacher-​ colleagues, teacher leaders, and teacher educators as a guide for effective and efficient use of assessment to inform learning and instruction. These nine adapted guiding principles originally created by the American Association for Higher Education with a tenth proposed by Banta et al. (1996) are: • •

Student assessment starts with what is valued in education. Effective assessment considers that learning is multifaceted, integrated, and manifested in performance over time. 225

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• • • • • • • •

Assessment works best when there are clearly defined purposes for programmatic improvement. Effective and efficient assessment needs to be formative and summative. On-​going assessment works best rather than intermittent assessment. Assessment is more likely to promote forward shifts when diversity is considered. To make an impact, assessment needs to be used to investigate adaptive challenges. Assessment is effective and efficient when it is used to sustain and expand success systemically. To support learning and instruction, assessment needs to inform instruction. A safe and supportive environment needs to be in place for assessment to be effective.

Initially, most literacy leadership teams look at data that qualifies as assessment of learning. After thorough and careful review, the discussion should go further and look into crosschecking or triangulating the information with assessment for learning since effective assessment is multifaceted, on-​going, and integrated. The point is all types of assessments are necessary before a true evaluation can be made by the literacy leadership team. Earlier we addressed this issue using the terms static and dynamic assessment (Dixson-​Krauss, 1996). We consider static assessments (e.g., standardized tests, end of course exams, etc.) assessments of learning, whereas dynamic assessments (e.g., writing samples, reading records, etc.) are assessments for learning. Static assessments provide a window into students’ content item knowledge. Dynamic assessments are a door into students’ processing of information. Merely looking at one type of assessment to the exclusion of the other will more than likely provide a literacy leadership team with inaccurate and skewed information. The literacy leadership team has to consider reviewing data that considers how students are doing in comparison to other students and how students are processing the information being presented to them. To sustain and expand success in literacy instruction, we have to look at student products and how students are processing information. Many times, this is easier said than done. Time and communal knowledge are usually hurdles. Time to administer and analyze with some degree of consensus (communal knowledge) can be a challenge. 226

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Although good information can be obtained from district-​and state-​ required assessments, this information alone will be insufficient to narrow an initial adaptive challenge to a specific one that can inform instruction regardless of the grade level. In the primary grades a simple timed test of phonics, phonemic awareness, or fluency is insufficient data to amplify instruction and make forward shifts in multisensory transdisciplinary literacy instruction. Generally, these types of tests have the potential to assist teachers in grouping students and selecting materials, but they do not tell teachers what strategic activities students are using and which ones they are neglecting to use and need to be taught. Although it may be a good starting point, further assessments need to be investigated to make a decision that will truly inform literacy instruction with a goal of promoting strategic literacy learners. Initial adaptive challenges seldom inform instruction effectively or efficiently. In many cases, literacy leadership teams that seek solutions for initial adaptive challenges without attempting to get to the root of the issue, rarely sustain or expand success. Quick fixes seldom last or can be used to further learning (Allington & Walmsley, 2007). Further investigation is always necessary and critical. In middle and high school, standardized tests are inadequate in creating powerful transdisciplinary literacy lessons for students. We are not saying that standardized tests need to be abolished, nor are we bashing standardized tests. What we are saying is that standardized tests alone are not enough to make a positive impact on literacy instruction. As we have stated, standardized tests are assessments of learning. They have to be triangulated with assessments for learning. With adolescent students having so much of their processing rapid and metacognitive, documented student-​ teacher conversations, as well as student writing samples have to be considered in all core content areas as well as standardized tests, so that we will be able to make powerful instructional decisions. Of course, in order for assessments of learning to be used effectively, a clear understanding of literacy processing is essential. Without this clear understanding of literacy processing by teachers, teacher leaders, teacher educators, and literacy leadership teams, even assessments for learning can be used to misguide instruction regardless of the best of intentions (Clay, 2015; Gillion, 2004). Think of how many times we have seen well-​intentioned language arts teachers focus instruction on identifying the main idea, sequencing, or recognizing cause and effect based on a sole source of static assessment without evaluating how identifying the 227

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main idea, sequencing, or recognizing cause and effect can assist students in processing information.

Using Evaluation to Inform Practice Using evaluation to inform practice is what we think all of us should be doing. We use assessment to let our students know how they are doing. In business it would be taking the inventory. We use evaluation to gauge how students are responding to instruction. This is what we need to run the business. Evaluation is when our knowledge of theory, practice, and experience converge to prompt us into making informed decisions to improve learning and instruction. Theory in this case is not only determining what is going on in the students’ heads, but it is also determining how to interact with what we think is going on in the students’ heads. It is about arriving at informed rationales for implementing promising instructional practices within a coherent framework for instruction. For this to occur, we return to our mantra that teachers, teacher leaders, and literacy leadership teams need to have a strong foundation on how students process information for assessment to have any value in recognizing and addressing adaptive challenges. Without this clear understanding, adaptive challenges become areas of concern or simply a surface theme of significance to be replaced during the next fashionable wave of instructional practices. We have seen many good instructional practices go by the wayside because the theoretical understanding was not present to either explain or defend a particular practice. For example, many of us use graphic organizers to support student learning. Some of us have used them more successfully than others. Based on many conversations with teacher colleagues, it is evident that the teachers who have a solid theoretical understanding of literacy processing are the ones that teach students to use graphic organizers successfully as a tool to organize thinking. Consequently, those students are the ones that embrace this instructional practice as a learning opportunity and eventually internalize it and use it as a self-​initiated strategic activity to remember or to clarify when engaged in literate enterprises. Yet a solid theoretical understanding of literacy processing alone will not suffice if a repertoire of instructional practices is not known or investigated for future reference. When a theory remains only at the theoretical level, it eventually becomes a moot point or considered a 228

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passing fad. Theory without practical execution is a hallucination. In order for a theory to be useful, it has to get to the practical level. Moreover, for theory to get to a practical level, assessment and evaluation have to be employed. By evaluating assessments, teachers, teacher leaders and literacy leadership teams bring to the table their collective knowledge and experiences as another source of information to crosscheck or triangulate static and dynamic assessment. Assessment for the sake of assessment is worthless if not evaluated and used to improve learning and instruction. Like assessment, evaluation needs to be on-​ going, developing, and evolving if it is to be a productive learning and instructional experience. Like assessment, evaluation needs to be multi-​faceted to ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to improving learning and instruction. Evaluation needs to be collaborative and relevant. Many of our colleagues prefer to use the term “authentic”, but we argue that what is authentic for one person in a given situation, may not be for another person in a similar situation. It may not even be authentic to the same person in a different situation. Consequently, we prefer to use the term relevant. Authenticity usually describes objects, while relevancy defines actions. In our minds, relevant seems to be a more precise term when addressing issues of learning and instruction. Once again, it may seem that we are splitting hairs over terminology, but we cannot overstress the importance of the words we choose to communicate with students, colleagues, administrators, politicians, and parents (Johnston, 2004). The dual role of evaluation and assessment is not only necessary for teachers, teacher leaders and teacher educators to understand and practice, but they should also be the ultimate goal for students. Students should be able to self-​assess and evaluate their own learning and learning environment. They should be able to internalize and determine when they understand concepts and practices, and when they need to shift strategic activities and try again. In addressing adaptive challenges, the literacy leadership team with guidance from the literacy coach is more likely to engage in activities that will promote expanding success to improve learning and instruction. By crosschecking summative and formative assessment, tempered with conventional wisdom and experience, appropriate evaluations can be utilized to seek solutions for adaptive challenges. Looking at data from the dual perspective of assessment of learning and assessment for learning can serve literacy leadership teams as a platform to begin investigating how best to 229

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improve learning and instruction for everyone at a school. Without viewing assessment as a multifaceted inventory of learning and instruction, ineffective and inefficient data collection will more than likely emerge, putting a temporary halt to forward shifts at a time when forward shifts are critical. The main purpose for discussing and evaluating assessment of learning and assessment for learning is to initially identify adaptive challenges that need to be investigated and refined into a specific adaptive challenge that the literacy leadership team can investigate further, keeping the benefits at the forefront. Dismissing particular benefits from the start has the potential to misguide literacy leadership teams. In this case, you need to keep in mind what teachers will find manageable that will ultimately benefit students. Each instructional practice in the K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for coherent instruction that we are proposing is to be viewed as an opportunity for teachers, teacher leaders, teacher educators, and literacy leadership teams to observe, assess, and evaluate learning in a variety of contexts so that we can promote flexible and independent learning behaviors. Bear with us as we use the menu metaphor. Think of this chapter as a menu, much like the ones you see in restaurants. Food items are listed, but ingredients and preparation are usually omitted. Yet, for successful implementation of an action plan to improve multisensory learning and transdisciplinary instruction, literacy leadership teams need to find instructional practices to tackle adaptive challenges effectively and efficiently that teachers will employ in the learning environment. The point to remember is that it is important that each literacy leadership team member understand the importance of refining their knowledge by reading, writing, talking, and thinking about the theoretical underpinnings that support literacy acquisition and instruction. In this way, they will be able to match instructional practices with the theory and research; know when teaching is effective and when it is not; and what to do to make appropriate forward shifts. The action plan for intentional literacy instruction (Figure 9.3) is designed to prompt and guide the professional conversations.

Executing an Action Plan After carefully refining an adaptive challenge to reflect literacy learning as a process and developing an action plan, the literacy leadership 230

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•  Specific adaptive challenge identified: •  Short-​term and long-​term assessments: •  Grade levels impacted: •  Resources needed: •  Action steps/​timetable: •  Alternative action steps: • Reflections: Figure 9.3  Action Plan for Intentional Transdisciplinary Literacy Instruction

team’s next step is to consider executing the action plan that supports teacher colleagues in engaging in coherent and intentional instruction to promote forward shifts in literacy acquisition across core content areas. This is where a literacy coach’s expertise and knowledge meet to support the literacy leadership team in determining the best possible route to sustain and expand success in learning and instruction for teachers and students. In implementing an action plan for coherent and intentional literacy instruction, the literacy leadership team and the literacy coach have to consider the professional learning opportunities that need to be facilitated by the literacy coach to support teacher colleagues in implementing the action plan over time. It will be beneficial for the team and the literacy coach to read Chapter 10 on utilizing the literacy coach and consider how literacy coaching on a continuum will support the literacy coach in assisting teacher colleagues in implementing a single or combination of instructional practices to tackle the specific adaptive challenge that was identified based on the action plan for coherent and intentional literacy instruction. The task of defining a specific adaptive challenge as it relates to literacy processing involves a literacy leadership team learning about how students process information and how teachers need to interact with what is occurring during that processing. It is a complex act of analysis that has to be investigated over time with hard data and conversation. Seldom will a literacy leadership team arrive at a specific adaptive challenge in one sitting or session. Even when an adaptive challenge is identified fairly quickly, it is still necessary for the team to develop a focus based on literacy processing in order for the team to decide what instructional practices will be most effective and efficient in tackling the challenge. 231

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Once the literacy leadership team has determined a specific adaptive challenge and developed a focus based on literacy processing, it is the team’s task to design an action plan for coherent and intentional literacy instruction to promote forward shifts in learning. After crafting the action plan, the team in collaboration with the literacy coach have to address the best possible professional support system to put in place to ensure implementation success with teacher colleagues. There are also some things that literacy leadership teams should promote. It should be a place where volunteering is a requirement. No teacher should be forced to be on a literacy leadership team, much less in a study group when benefits are not acknowledged. It should be a place that helps team members not only build a community of learners but a place that challenges the members to think about literacy and instruction in ways that they have not thought of before. Finally, a strong study group integrates research, theory, and practice. The team members realize that studying an adaptive challenge is about more than finding those “fun” activities. The team members need to know why those “activities” work and when they do not, and why not. Only by having a sound theoretical understanding of literacy learning as a process can this occur; otherwise, literacy instruction will be hit or miss (Clay, 2015; Puig & Froelich, 2011).

Reflecting on the Action Plan Throughout the entire literacy leadership team investigative cycle, reflection plays a different role at each stage which will impact the team’s future direction. Part of the task of the team in transforming itself into a study group is to seek information that will prompt reflection and alternative ways of thinking to seek solutions for adaptive challenges. If forward shifts are to occur, reflection within each stage of the entire literacy leadership team investigative cycle is necessary. We have found that the collaborative nature of literacy leadership teams is a perfect and safe setting for teachers and teacher leaders to engage in true dialogic conversations that promote reflection even long after a meeting has ended. In the elementary school, our experience with literacy leadership teams has shown us that study groups have spawned professional reflection with a focus always remaining on student learning. On many occasions, we have found that teachers begin to question literacy coaches and administrators 232

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about possible professional learning opportunities based on information that team members shared with their peers. When literacy leadership teams are adopted at a school site along with a literacy coach as a model for reform or change to improve student learning, schools become empowered to reflect and create their own change. At the middle and high school level, reflection on the action plan that is intended to be implemented becomes far more time sensitive compared to their elementary counterpart; even more so at the high school level where students are approaching the tail end of their school career, excluding college. Reflecting on the action plan for teams in middle school and high school has to go beyond focusing on literacy as a process and address learning as a process across content areas. We are not saying that we ignore literacy processing as a viable means of improving instruction. We are saying that we need to reflect on whatever action plan we put in place since most students in middle school and high school will not be there as long as elementary students. Think about this, students are in elementary school for at least six years, seven if you have pre-​kindergarten. At the middle and high school level, the majority of students are generally there for four years. That is a two-​to three-​year difference that can make or break a student’s academic career. Do literacy leadership teams need to reflect and promote reflection? Yes. Even more so in middle school and high school, where adolescents (they are still children) are coming with physical and societal growing pains. Once a foundation has been laid, we usually see scaffolds raised to support workers in the construction of a building. Just like any construction project, the literacy leadership team has to raise scaffolds to ensure sustained and expanding success. Of course, just like a building, when completed the scaffolds are put away until new work needs to be done. By recognizing and utilizing these scaffolds, literacy leadership teams can continue to tackle adaptive challenges to improve learning and instruction. The scaffolds that support the construction of a building are made of metal and wood. The scaffolds that support the work of a literacy leadership team are made with a knowledgeable literacy coach, passionate teacher-​ colleagues, supportive teacher leaders, a long-​term school-​wide plan, and district and state or provincial support. The literacy leadership team will be better equipped to tackle adaptive challenges with these scaffolds in place. Because literacy coaches’ primary responsibility is the professional learning of teacher colleagues, they are in a prime position to serve as a 233

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scaffold for a literacy leadership team. Through the literacy coach, the team has a built-​in mechanism for providing professional learning opportunities. The team and the literacy coach are a powerful formula to sustain and expand success. Coupled with a long-​term school-​wide plan the literacy leadership team can make great strides in improving learning and instruction. Literacy leadership teams can assist not only their school in making forward shifts but their district and state by highlighting what works with the proper determination and support. The best professional learning opportunities we have encountered have always taken place over time. When professional learning occurs over time, participants are given the opportunities to process information and experiment with implementing and refining new practices to support learning and instruction (Fullan, Hill & Crevola, 2006) If forward shifts in learning and instruction are to be accomplished, time has to be allocated for professional learning. Without dedicated genuine professional learning time set aside, teacher leaders become business managers rather than instructional leaders. With the support of an effective literacy coach and an efficient literacy leadership team, principals can become part of a professional learning community of practice and still manage the business of school.

Summary “Without someone with an informed vision of what good literacy instruction entails leading the charge, instructional change is likely to be beset with problems” (Biancarosa and Snow, 2004, p. 21). Ultimately, the collaboration between teachers and teacher leaders “with an informed vision of what good literacy instruction entails” play a crucial role in ensuring the success of school-​level transdisciplinary literacy reforms. The literacy leadership team provides provinces, states, and local districts a strong return on investment due to its strength in building capacity to incorporate research-​proven and evidence-​based practices throughout the school. The ability to deliver coherent transdisciplinary instruction and a shared sense of responsibility and efficacy across the school site cannot be underestimated as a means of serving to the individual learning strengths and needs of students. The literacy leadership team provides the ongoing, job-​embedded professional learning supported in the research literature. 234

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While some may argue that teacher leadership initiatives pull our best teachers from their important classroom duties, Scherer (2007) prefers to view it as “expanding their reach” (p. 7). They continue to work within the classroom’s multisensory learning environment so that the students can enjoy continued success, while sharing this success with their colleagues.

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Transdisciplinary Literacy Coaching on a Continuum of Professional Learning

coa-​ching (verb) Encouraging and supporting someone towards a personal goal. Our experiences have shown us that for any initiative to be successful in a school, support systems need to be in place. Systems for timely assessment, curriculum content development, and professional learning opportunities increases the likelihood of successful implementation. Moreover, professional learning opportunities need to be job-​embedded and provided in a timely manner. We have found that for professional learning opportunities to be job-​embedded and timely, the support of a knowledgeable and credible literacy coach is critical for the implementation of a K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction. Although this text is not about literacy coaching, we felt it necessary to dedicate a chapter to emphasize the importance of an on-​campus support system for teacher-​colleagues and teacher leaders while implementing a K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework. Hence, in this chapter we will define literacy coaching from a broad-​spectrum perspective to support K–​12 teacher-​colleagues as they scaffold instruction for student learning across core content areas. Transdisciplinary literacy coaching is professional learning on a continuum of varying support, face to face and online. On that continuum of coaching we propose supporting lesson study, study groups, and transdisciplinary literacy leadership teams as a type of transdisciplinary literacy coaching. It is part of the job. Our premise for developing the concept of literacy coaching as continuum is based on years of personal experiences, 236

DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-13

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the current literature and as literacy coaches at a school site where we coached and were coached by colleagues in a variety of contexts. This led us to conclude that literacy coaching was not just about a “coaching cycle” of pre-​conference, observation, post-​conference, although we do acknowledge that the pre-​conference, observation, post-​conference model of literacy coaching is a powerful model to promote forward shifts. Literacy coaching is so much more than just a coaching cycle. As we learn more and more about the complex job of a literacy coach, the current literature published on literacy coaching confirms our original claim that literacy coaching is multifaceted, recursive, and complex (Walpole & McKenna, 2004; Lyons & Pinnell, 2001; Casey, 2006; Toll, 2004; Knight, 2007; Puig & Froelich, 2011). For smooth implementation of a K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework to occur, we propose that a literacy coach serve as the conduit for professional learning of teacher-​colleagues and teacher leadership. Although literacy coaching is used as a model for school reform, many districts and schools have not embraced the concept for a variety of reasons. For example, schools that use a highly scripted program for instruction may not need a literacy coach that is hired to encourage teacher-​colleagues to take a critical stance where data is used to “inform” instruction rather than “guide” it. In schools where successful literacy coaching is implemented, the literacy coach is not viewed as an expert but rather as a lead learner with extensive expertise and experience; in addition to being respected and admired as an educator. As we continue to learn and our knowledge of transdisciplinary literacy coaching evolves, we have chosen the term lead learner instead of co-​learner. “Lead learner” clearly addresses the behavior that effective and efficient literacy coaches are to model—​lifelong learning. We have found that when transdisciplinary literacy coaches establish themselves as lead learners and approach transdisciplinary literacy coaching on a continuum of professional learning, resistance to coaching is diminished, and collaboration is increased. Consequently, both transdisciplinary literacy coaches and transdisciplinary literacy leadership teams have a common ground to develop common goals in response to adaptive challenges and to ensure that conditions for learning (Crouch & Cambourne, 2020) are in place and are looked upon as necessary for learning and instruction. We encourage schools to adapt and rely on a knowledgeable coach to serve as a lead learner. 237

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It is up to the principal and district/​province teacher leadership personnel to ensure that a literacy coach’s job is clearly defined if they are to serve as a professional learning support for an entire school to improve instruction and student learning over time. Once a literacy coach is selected, the question, which is still the question for an overabundance of research currently being conducted, is “what does a literacy coach do?” At the top of the (always controversial) list we make the claim that effective and efficient literacy coaches work with students at least 40% of their work week to hone their own craft of teaching in order to be able to engage with teacher-​ colleagues on improving instruction. We also must clarify that we do not intend for this to mean that the literacy coach be the teacher of record for a select group of students. When this occurs, the title and obligations of a literacy coach need to be reconsidered. A literacy coach must have the scheduling freedom to visit with colleagues and classrooms if they are truly to be coaching so that they can improve transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction. We argue that when literacy coaches are removed from students and are hired to work solely with adults, the job of the literacy coach becomes blurred. When this blurring occurs, literacy coaches are given an earbud and walkie-​talkie and are assigned to extensive data entry positions, hall duty, bus duty, cafeteria duty and the proverbial “other duties as assigned” removing them from the reason their job exists—​to directly support student/​teacher interactions as they occur in a learning environment. It cannot be stated clearly enough that principals, district/​ province teacher leadership personnel, and literacy coaches need to have a clear understanding of the job requirements of a literacy coach. An honest and open discussion is a critical step for administrators in teacher leadership positions that plan on utilizing a literacy coach to guide a school as a lead learner. The operative word here is “guide”. A literacy coach that serves as a lead learner never dictates a direction, but through research and evidence (formal and informal) guides teacher-​colleagues and teacher leadership personnel to recognize and investigate adaptive challenges to learning and instruction. In order to realize the potential of the literacy coach when implementing a K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework we will review literacy coaching as a continuum of professional learning. See Figure 10.1. The literature is clear that the transmission model for professional learning has very little impact on classroom instruction (Joyce & Showers, 238

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Private voice

Public voice

Intraactive coaching

Interactive coaching

Facilitate a workshop to improve learning and instruction based on assessment

Provide an observation lesson to improve learning and instruction based on static and dynamic assessment

Inner voice

Co-teach with a host teacher in an observation classroom to improve learning and instruction based on static and dynamic assessment

Confer, observe, and debrief to improve learning and instruction using assessment

Facilitate Rtl2/MTSS team or literacy leadership team to investigate adaptive challenges using static and dynamic assessment

Facilitate lesson study or action research to improve learning and instruction using assessment

Decreased external scaffolding

Subject-centered pedagogy

Solution-seeking andragogy

Transformation may occur when teachers or his or her coaches are provided opportunities to observe, co-teach, confer, study, research, and reflect on practices based on behavioral evidence.

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Note: The term observation lesson has been used to replace demonstration lesson to denote the opportunity being provided versus a model lesson to emulate.

Figure 10.1  Continuum of Coaching

Transdisciplinary Literacy Coaching

Increased external scaffolding

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CONTINUUM OF COACHING

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2003; Costa & Garmston, 2002). We have read over and over that the best professional learning is on-​ going, and job embedded (Darling-​ Hammond, 2000; Killion, 2008). Hence, because of research we have the current popular belief of the importance of literacy coaching in education to improve learning and instruction. Yet, what is meant by on-​going? What is meant by job-​embedded? It is apparent that the research has been misinterpreted or ignored when so many literacy coaches report investing so little time where instruction takes place—​the classroom. To us, on-​ going implies that professional learning for teachers in K–​12 never ceases and professional learning opportunities are regularly scheduled and of consistent high quality. We define regularly scheduled as at least 90 minutes once every two weeks in order to sustain and expand success over time. When serious consideration is given to learning and instruction, this time should be non-​ negotiable. High-​ quality professional learning cannot occur in 15 minutes or during a teacher’s planning period. If professional learning opportunities are scheduled for full days, we encourage you to schedule the day into 90 minutes sessions with 15 minutes break in between as downtime for processing information informally with colleagues or personal reflection. Professional learning opportunities that take place once every two to three months or last less than 90 minutes at a time seem to have the same impact as mass production in-​ service meeting. Mass production works when building automobiles, but it does not work well when supporting the multidimensional development of human minds; especially when the goal is improving the complex acts of learning and instruction. Job-​embedded professional learning is generally accepted as relevant on-​the-​job learning. Effective and efficient literacy coaches provide job-​ embedded learning when they interact with colleagues at a school. True job-​embedded learning does not burden literacy coaches, teachers, or students with finding time for learning since learning and instruction are addressed within the context of the learning environment during contractual school time. Job-​embedded learning relies heavily on the Vygotskian concept of assisted performance (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988) and Cazden’s (1988) performance before competence. The focus of job-​embedded professional learning is on doing with assistance rather than just seeing and hearing. Although on-​ going job-​ embedded learning appears to be a more effective and efficient manner to improve learning and instruction, we do 240

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not dismiss the contributions that experienced consultants or attending workshops make to professional learning. The concerns arise when that is the only type of professional learning provided over time, and that these two approaches have no follow up to determine whether they have been successful in their application into the learning environment. Attending workshops and hiring consultants is sometimes a necessity to infuse new language for thinking so that we can tackle adaptive challenges from a different level. Because of limited time, materials, and funds, the concept of on-​ going job-​ embedded learning forces literacy coaches to address professional learning as an adaptive challenge. With professional learning as an adaptive challenge in mind, the literature, as well as our personal experiences, beg for literacy coaching to be viewed on a broad-​spectrum landscape of support. Furthermore, for the literacy leadership team and literacy coach to sustain and expand success, a broad-​spectrum landscape of support means that literacy coaching must be viewed on a continuum where individuals fluctuate back and forth from face-​to-​face interactions to intra-​action (personal reflection). One size has never really fit all. The structure for understanding literacy coaching as a continuum opens a world of possibilities for literacy leadership teams to address adaptive challenges in learning and teaching. Literacy coaching as a continuum is a framework for thinking about the job requirements of the literacy coach and how the literacy coach can support teacher-​colleagues and the literacy leadership team in tackling adaptive challenges. While the continuum of coaching (Figure 10.1) has a limited number of professional learning opportunities, it is certainly not an exhaustive list of professional learning activities. Other professional learning activities can certainly be added to the continuum of coaching. The essential theme is that there is more than one way to coach or support teacher-​colleagues and that investing too much time in one given area will be counterproductive over time. Although, the continuum addresses literacy coaches specifically, both literacy leadership teams and literacy coaches must continually keep moving back and forth on the continuum if they are going to be constantly questioning, investigating, and growing. Borrowing from the Maori proverb, “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting”. Even though the Continuum of Coaching (Figure 10.1) is illustrated in a very linear manner, it is not. There is no particular starting point or ending point for learning to begin or end. One thing is for certain, as stated 241

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previously—​if too much time is invested in one area you will begin to metaphorically ripen and rot in others. The late Dr. Marie M. Clay has been described as always stirring the waters (Gaffney & Askew, 1999). When she accepted a lifetime achievement award at the National Reading Conference (now Literacy Research Association), she borrowed from the New Zealand poet Allen Curnow (1945) the line, “Simply by sailing in a different direction you could enlarge the world”. Our point is that a literacy coach cannot enlarge their world if they do not sail in a different direction on what we propose as a continuum of coaching. In the next few pages, we will elaborate on each section of the Continuum of Coaching (Figure 10.1) that we have developed over time.

Facilitating a Workshop When a literacy coach is charged with introducing a new instructional practice to a group of teachers or new language needs to be introduced to promote alternative thinking, facilitating a workshop may be the venue. Facilitating a workshop is a highly supportive, subject-​centered, and interactive endeavor to scaffold professional learning on a continuum of literacy coaching. Effective and efficient literacy coaches facilitate relevant and engaging workshops based on teachers’ strengths and needs. Assessment and evaluation will make a workshop relevant while relationships and experiences make it engaging. Workshops facilitated by literacy coaches at the school level should always be based on analyzed formal and informal data. Data must be crosschecked or co-​triangulated for a true adaptive challenge to be identified. In schools that have active literacy leadership teams, the literacy coach takes the lead to address an adaptive challenge after working collaboratively with the team. The best decisions for addressing an adaptive challenge are made in collaboration with the team. Once a specific adaptive challenge has been identified and it can be addressed through professional learning, it then becomes the responsibility of the literacy coach to generate a “menu” for professional learning. We use the term menu rather than agenda since it implies that the responsibility for learning is on the learner. For example, when we go to a restaurant, we are given a menu and the expectation is that we will select what we want to eat based on what we hunger for. When facilitating a workshop for adults, the expectation needs to be in 242

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place that the participants are ultimately responsible for their learning and what they select to learn is what they hunger to learn. To begin, create a template for organizing a 90-​minute workshop with colleagues at a school site. The template should be thought of as a menu of materials and activities to engage participants in the professional learning experience. Additionally, the menu must consider Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning (Crouch & Cambourne, 2020) and utilized as conditions for learning. Founded on Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning, these questions may be a springboard for a rich discussion between the literacy coach and the literacy leadership team in the development of a menu for professional learning: • • • • • • • •

How will participants be immersed in the content? What kinds of demonstrations are needed based on data? What are the expectations before, during, and after the workshop? Who will be ultimately responsible for learning and instruction? What kinds of responses will be provided? How will approximations be honored in a failure-​safe environment? What types of experience are necessary to promote engagement? How will the information be employed for future use?

A general outline for facilitating a workshop might include length of time, benefit or benefits for participants as it relates to transdisciplinary learning and instruction based on assessment and evaluation, possible materials and activities, a closing activity, and an evaluation to gauge future in-​ service enterprises. As a rule of thumb, when facilitating a workshop think of yourself as an ethnographer constantly studying and responding to participants. You ground yourself in the climate and culture of the environment where learning takes place. In ethnographic research, data is triangulated by collecting participant observations, non-​ participant observations, and artifacts (Spradley, 1980; Frank, 1999). As a facilitator be sure to balance your interactive discussion with personal experiences (participant observations), affirming remarks (based on non-​participant observations) and use of tangible items to make points. Think of a dynamic presenter or facilitator you have heard recently. Most dynamic presenters share personal stories, share immediate observations from watching or listening to participants, and use such artifacts as electronic presentations, books, 243

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realia, or handouts. These dynamic facilitators triangulate and balance their presentations to engage participants. To create engaging and memorable presentations, you must balance the presentations with personal anecdotes, immediate observations, and artifacts. When a presentation is not balanced, participants tend to tune speakers out. Our top ten recommendations for facilitating a workshop are: 1. Start with an introduction that will hook your audience by stating the benefits of the workshop to learning and instruction. 2. Present data selectively, seductively, and succinctly. 3. If you use an electronic visual presentation, print should never be smaller than 32 points. 4. When using quotations in a visual presentation, let the audience read it silently first before reading it yourself. 5. Make eye contact with different members of your audience in all locations of the room. 6. Write your talk, double-​spaced, 14 points, and rehearse it. 7. If you use an electronic presentation application, learn how to use it well first. 8. Do not keep your audience hanging with “one more thing”. 9. If time is limited, your introduction and closing are generally the most memorable information; eliminate from the middle. 10. Closing should have a personal and emotional hook.

Providing an Observation Lesson Providing an observation lesson is a reciprocal coaching model that ideally puts teacher-​colleagues in the coaching seat. Observation lessons tend to be a bit subject centered in that a specific instruction practice is employed for a specific reason. It is quite a supportive endeavor in the process of learning and instruction but not quite as supportive as facilitating a workshop. Here, the interaction is a bit more personal than the support provided in a workshop environment. We purposefully are steering clear of the term model lesson or demonstration lesson because we have seen so many model lessons that were not. Plus, labeling a lesson as a “model” implies perfection. In actuality, observation lesson is a better descriptor of what we

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are trying to accomplish when working with colleagues. We are providing a professional learning opportunity to observe a lesson. An observation lesson is a time when the literacy coach works with students using a particular instructional practiced while a colleague or colleagues observe the lesson. Teacher-​colleagues always appreciate colleagues that provide the opportunity to observe an instructional practice that they are curious about implementing. Think of how many times we have walked away from a workshop and used the phrase “I need to see it”. Providing an observation lesson is the equivalent to “I need to see it”. Setting up an observation lesson starts with teacher-​colleagues requesting this level of support. Although at times the literacy coach may request class time from a classroom teacher to provide an observation lesson for their own personal professional learning. When the request is made, regardless of who makes it, it is always a good idea to set some ground rules for the experience to be a productive learning and instructional experience for the teacher, the students, and the literacy coach. Based on our experiences in providing observation lessons—​in other words, our productive failures—​ we strongly recommend that the following ground rules be previewed and discussed with all involved in advance in order for observation lessons to be meaningful professional learning experiences: • •





• •

A specific and respectful time has to be scheduled for the observation lesson and the debriefing of the lesson afterwards. Prior to the observation lesson, the literacy coach is responsible for visiting the classroom numerous times to know the students and learn their strengths and needs. The classroom teacher clearly understands that she or he is to be observing and taking notes that will be used for discussion during the scheduled debriefing. The literacy coach has to have a clear understanding of transdisciplinary literacy learning as a process in order to interact effectively and efficiently with students during the lesson. Some form of documented formal or informal assessment needs to be incorporated into the observation lesson. A plan for follow-​up where the teacher employs the instructional practice that was demonstrated during the observation lesson needs to be established during the debriefing.

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Providing observation lessons can be a double-​edged sword for literacy coaches and literacy leadership teams need to understand that. As we all know, any lesson has the potential to go awry. Yet, when literacy coaches provide observation lessons with the attitude and mentality that this is an opportunity for “learning and instruction”, even the worst-​case scenario can be productive. Our worst lessons have served us as rich experiences to prompt some breakthrough dialogue on what worked and what did not and why. Furthermore, some of our worst lessons have leveled the playing field with colleagues, presenting us as a lead learner rather than an expert, and have served as a foundation for a long and trusting relationship which is essential in literacy coaching. We cannot stress it enough, however, that to ensure a successful observation lesson, the literacy coach has to know the students’ strengths and needs. Without this working knowledge about the students, observation lessons become another dog and pony show with minimal impact on improving learning and instruction.

Co-​teaching in an Observation Classroom In a co-​teaching situation, the host teacher, and the guest teacher (in this case the literacy coach) share responsibility for learning and instruction with a consistent cohort of students. Ideally, over time the students see the host teacher and the guest teacher as simply their teachers. Co-​teaching in an observation classroom is the ideal laboratory for literacy coaches to flourish in their pedagogical content knowledge of literacy learning and instruction. On the continuum of coaching we place co-​teaching in an observation classroom as a hybrid of support where the experience is still interactive, but somewhat subject-​centered and solution seeking simultaneously. Literacy coaches that have adopted co-​teaching in an observation classroom as a form of personal professional learning have found it to be a rewarding experience with many benefits. When involved in a co-​teaching situation, literacy coaches are not viewed as an administrative position that is there to “fix” teachers. By placing themselves in a teaching position, literacy coaches will face the realities that classroom teachers face on a daily basis and provide a rich source of experiences to seek solutions with colleagues, not for colleagues. As in any relationship, co-​teaching in an observation classroom has to be nurtured with the understanding that a primary purpose is for new instructional practices to be employed. Since 246

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the literacy coach is responsible for providing professional learning opportunities for other colleagues, host teachers have to accept a literacy coach’s need for flexibility in scheduling their class time. Although a literacy coach may invest a great deal of time in the same classroom when co-​teaching, there will be times when the literacy coach has to provide professional learning opportunities for other colleagues in other classrooms. In our experiences as literacy coaches and facilitators of courses for literacy coaches, we have found that during the first semester of a school year more time is invested in co-​teaching, with less time during the second semester. In some cases, elementary school literacy coaches have co-​ taught in a primary grade (K–​2) during the first semester and then switch to co-​teaching in an intermediate grade (3–​5) to build up their knowledge of transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction across grade levels. The advantage of this latter model is that elementary schools can have the luxury of a primary and an intermediate observation classroom for teacher-​ colleagues to visit. At the middle school and high school level, a literacy coach may co-​teach in a content area (language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, arts) classroom during the second semester for the same reason as their elementary counterpart—​ to build up their hebegogical content knowledge of transdisciplinary literacy learning and instruction across grade levels and disciplines. As with the elementary counterpart, the advantage of this model is that a reading/​language arts and a specific content area observation classroom can be set up for teacher-​colleagues to visit without ever having to leave their campus. A big advantage to a school when literacy coaches co-​teach with a host teacher is that it primes the school as a learning organization (Senge, 1990) and sets the stage for developing observation classrooms where other teachers on campus can visit to reflect, reenergize, and revitalize their own learning and instruction. Of course, setting up an observation classroom requires planning, time, and commitment from the host teacher, the principal, and the literacy coach. In setting up an observation classroom where the literacy coach is the co-​teacher, the following considerations have to be taken into account: • •

A variety of genres and multileveled materials to accommodate the learning strengths and needs of the students. The furniture and its placement in the room.

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• • •

• • • •

The number of students in the host classroom needs to be the same as in all the classrooms. Availability of technology. The focus should be on learning and instruction not on a published series of materials, although a published series of materials may be incorporated. It needs to be evident that instruction is informed by on-​going formal and informal assessments. Age appropriate instructional practices need to be in place. Release time for host teacher to debrief with visiting colleagues has to be considered. An age and grade level appropriate transdisciplinary literacy framework is in place that supports and reflects students growing knowledge from kindergarten through grade 12.

We have found that successful observation classrooms are mindfully curated learning environments that are highly supported by literacy coaches who co-​teach in them. Prevalent in observation classrooms is also a clear and succinct K–​ 12 transdisciplinary literacy framework that considers where students are coming from and where they will be going. For example, working with the end in mind, ideally middle school (grades 6–​8) and high school (grades 9–​12) observation classrooms have a transdisciplinary literacy framework that builds upon the work started by their intermediate elementary school colleagues. In turn, an elementary intermediate (grades 3–​5) observation classroom implements a transdisciplinary literacy framework that builds on the work that their primary (grades K–​2) colleagues started. This highly buttressed comprehensive transdisciplinary literacy framework should inform the organizations (schools, districts, states, provinces) of observation classrooms at any grade level and support student learning as they mature through their K–​12 academic career.

Conferring, Observing, Debriefing (aka “the Coaching Cycle”) When most of us hear about any type of coaching (reading, literacy, instructional, cognitive, etc.), conferring, observing, and debriefing appears to be the prevailing job description. Yet, for this high level of coaching to take 248

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place a lot of trust must be established. Without a strong sense of trust, this level of coaching can be counterproductive for improving learning and instruction. Some food for thought when considering the issue of trust is Tschannen-​Moran’s (2004) five facets of trust: benevolence, honesty, openness, reliability, and competence. Once trust has been established, the literacy coach can proceed to this stage of level of coaching. This level of coaching has the potential to be the most productive to promote forward shifts in learning and instruction. It also has the most potential for backfiring since it involves an intimate relationship between a teacher and a literacy coach. It has been our experience that this level of coaching is also the one that most literacy coaches have received the least in-​service on. Consequently, it is not surprising when many literacy coaches we have had conversations with do not engage in literacy coaching at this level even though districts are constantly touting “the coaching cycle”. Nonetheless, it is another level of coaching on a continuum of professional learning experiences to improve learning and instruction. There are two routes to take when approaching coaching from the conferring, observing, debriefing model. Although both routes involve the same processes, the nature of the conversations will be different. One conference may be an introductory conversation with the literacy coach explaining that they will be in the classroom as an ethnographer collecting participant observations, non-​ participant observations, and artifacts to determine a possible coaching point or two based on student behaviors. Saying that the observation will focus on student performance is critical. Coaching is not about fixing a colleague. It is about improving learning and instruction. Call it what you would like, but all literacy coaching is always “student-​centered”. The second route may be an alternative conference that involves a dialogic conversation between the teacher and the literacy coach to seek a solution to a concern the teacher may have. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. We encourage literacy coaches and literacy leadership teams to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of one over the other in relation to the teachers at individual schools. With experienced teachers, engaging in a dialogic conversation may be a productive route to take, while at the same time, adopting an ethnographic perspective with novice teachers may seem more appropriate. This level of coaching on the continuum (Figure 10.1) strikes a balance between interactive and intra-​active. It is a sensitive transaction between 249

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a subject-​centered orientation and a solution-​ seeking orientation with the focus always on student performance that is based on the students’ strengths and needs. Consequently, observing is dependent on the type of conversation that took place prior to the observation. If the decision was made that the coach was entering the classroom from an ethnographic perspective, the observation will evolve as the lesson progresses with one or two coaching points surfacing for discussion in the debriefing. On the other hand, if the conversation revolved around a request for support and a concern the teacher had, the observation should focus on specific student behavior for solution-​seeking with the teacher during the debriefing addressing the teacher’s concern. The challenge with always addressing the teacher’s concern, is that sometimes-​ other issues that impede learning and instruction will be observed that were unplanned or not discussed in the original conference. For this reason, effective and efficient literacy coaches need to be flexible with which route to take when supporting colleagues at this juncture on the continuum of coaching. Although conferring, observing, and debriefing are listed on the continuum of coaching as one form of coaching, there are at least two ways of addressing coaching within this model. The decision to use one model over the other is dependent on the teacher’s strengths and needs.

Facilitating an MTSS or Transdisciplinary Literacy Leadership Team Facilitating a Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support team or transdisciplinary literacy leadership team is another form of literacy coaching to improve K–​12 learning and instruction. This section is included here primarily for teacher-​colleagues and teacher leadership to take note that literacy coaching on a continuum involves many moves to support learning for everyone at a school site. On the continuum of coaching, we consider the role of the literacy coach as less supportive when they are facilitating a study group or literacy leadership team. The literacy coach in this role is promoting more intra-​active behavior of teacher-​colleagues and teacher leadership by encouraging and promoting active solution seeking. At this point on the continuum of coaching the literacy coach truly embodies a lead learner. 250

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In order to facilitate a MTSS team or literacy leadership team with a focus on learning and instruction, a literacy coach must consider that the group or the team needs to: • • •

• • • •

Understand transdisciplinary literacy learning as a process. Establish ground rules for the study group or team meetings. Understand Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning (Crouch & Cambourne, 2020) and how they apply across disciplinary classrooms and grade level boundaries. Develop a common language to minimize misinterpretations. Identify and honor team members and their experiences. Learn how to control personal pedagogical and hebegogical passions; and Address adaptive challenges effectively and efficiently using documented evidence.

In addition to the above-​mentioned points, a critical activity for facilitating a MTSS team or transdisciplinary literacy leadership team is setting a mutually agreed upon calendar of meetings. Many colleagues of ours will attest that the most productive study groups and transdisciplinary literacy leadership teams are the ones that have looked ahead and have literally blocked their calendar with future meeting dates. Setting calendars sends a clear and important message to all members of a study group or transdisciplinary literacy leadership team. It confirms the seriousness to commit and communicates to all members that forward shifts take time. Without setting calendars upfront, meetings become haphazard social events impeding, sustaining, and expanding success.

Facilitating Action Research On the opposite end of the Continuum of Coaching we have placed collaborative action research as another form of transdisciplinary literacy coaching that promotes reflection or intra-​action. Although the term “action research” was coined around 1944 by Kurt Lewin at MIT and appeared in a 1946 paper titled “Action Research and Minority Problems”, it is now a common term in professional learning. Collaborative action research is a coherent and intentional, yet recursive and contingent, method of

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questioning, researching, curating, planning, executing, assessing, evaluating, and reflecting. Facilitating and participating in collaborative action research promotes the acquisition of new knowledge, encourages, and executes change, and focuses on improving learning and instruction (Stinger, 1996). Research confirms that the reflective nature of the collaborative action research process empowers teacher-​colleagues and teacher leadership personnel to improve learning and instruction (Bennet, 1994; Hubbard & Powers, 1999; Glanz, 2003). Kemmis and McTaggert (1988) describe essential components of collaborative action research that include: creating an action plan for improving learning and instruction; executing the plan; assessing and documenting change; and reflecting on the change to promote forward shifts. The experience of engaging in collaborative action research encourages forward shifts in instructional practices (Fullan, 2000). Collaborative action research can be categorized into two approaches—​ deductive and inductive. The first focuses on executing an action plan, whereas the latter focuses on preparation for an action. The deductive approach executes an action plan, tracks implementation issues, and evaluates the final outcomes. The inductive approach is to conduct collaborative action research to seek adaptive challenges or to find out what adaptive challenges need to be addressed in a specific learning and instruction situation. Mills (2003) created the following design for facilitating a deductive approach to collaborative action research: • • • • • • • • • • •

Identify an adaptive challenge. Highlight attributes of the adaptive challenge. Describe the novel practice to be executed. Create a schedule for implementation. Describe the necessary personnel to be involved in the collaboration. List resources to be used or investigated. Explain the vertical (grade level) and horizontal (across grade level and disciplines) data needed. Create a plan for assessment and evaluation of the data. Decide on supportive material for investigating. Execute the plan to address the adaptive challenge. Share outcomes.

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Burns (1999) proposes an inductive approach to collaborative action research that utilizes the following interconnected practices: • • • • • •

Explore an issue in learning and instruction. Identify adaptive challenges. Assess how the adaptive challenges relate in the context of the research. Collaboratively seek solutions to an adaptive challenge. Gather vertical and horizontal data to determine an action plan. Design an action plan to address the adaptive challenge based on the data collected.

Both inductive and deductive approaches of collaborative action research involve collecting contextualized grade level vertical assessments and across grade level disciplinary horizontal assessments. A variety of relevant summative and formative assessments are used in both approaches. Collaborative action research is coherent and intentional to specific adaptive challenges that schools may face. It converts tacit understandings of learning and instruction into explicit and documented information that can be shared with district/​ province administration and communities. Generally, outcomes from collaborative action research leads to confirmation or rejection of individual interpretations, observations, and dispositions based on mindfully collected vertical and horizontal data over time. More importantly, when transdisciplinary literacy coaches facilitate collaborative action research in their school site, it promotes a collaborative culture of change (Fullan, 2000). Consequently, transdisciplinary literacy coaches, teacher colleagues, and teacher leadership personnel become more resourceful and less dependent on external sources for seeking solutions to learning and instruction that directly impacts their school and communities (Fullan, 2000).

Summary The job of a transdisciplinary literacy coach is multifaceted and complex like all learning and instruction. To label anything in education as “the simple view” creates dangerous mine fields that impede accelerating learning and improving instruction. A transdisciplinary literacy coach

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working in collaboration with teacher leadership personnel and teacher-​ colleagues is a powerful combination to bring about positive change in a school. By carefully investigating and putting on the table the specific duties, dispositions, and obligations of the transdisciplinary literacy coach, teacher leaders, and teacher-​colleagues, schools will be better equipped to rely on the transdisciplinary literacy coach as another rich resource to tackle adaptive challenges. When a school thinks of transdisciplinary literacy coaching on a continuum of professional learning opportunities, it opens the school to a safe culture of learning where productive failure becomes a learning opportunity for all. It is in this safe culture of learning that teacher leaders, transdisciplinary literacy coaches, teacher-​colleagues, and students will grow. In this chapter, we presented coaching as broad-​spectrum professional learning on a continuum that includes a variety of approaches. We purposefully used the verbs to describe the variety of activities that coaches deal with to make the point that effective and efficient transdisciplinary literacy coaching is about taking action to improve K–​12 learning and instruction across the disciplines. Each activity listed on the continuum of coaching was given a brief section to flesh out points for discussion and helpful hints to assist teacher leaders and teacher-​ colleagues in understanding transdisciplinary literacy coaching in a broader and more productive sense to support sustaining and expanding success in a professional learning community of practice. In the next chapter we will go into more detail to describe Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support, Response to Intervention/​Instruction, and developing Professional Learning Communities of Practice. We are convinced that by paying close attention to all these professional learning models aimed at improving K–​12 learning and instruction, across disciplines, we can begin to prepare students to address real-​world issues.

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Engaging in Multi-​ Tiered Systems of Support, Response to Intervention/​ Instruction, and Professional Learning Communities of Practice in a K–​12 Transdisciplinary Literacy Framework scaf-​fold-​ing (verb) A system or framework of support.

All innovations require planning and support over time. Implementing a K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction is no different and requires time for planning, buy-​in from stakeholders, and a response loop of information for continuous improvement. In this chapter we will address scaffolds that we have found useful for implementing innovations into a school, district, or province. Although we see Response to Intervention/​Instruction and Professional Learning Communities of practice as a subset of Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support, we will address each one separately initially and then highlight how the interconnectivity of all three is imperative to implement a K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework successfully.

DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-14

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Much of the current literature on Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support and Response to Intervention/​Instruction (RtI/​I) uses the terms synonymously and interchangeably. We do not. When the rubber hits the road at the school level and the classrooms where teacher-​colleagues and students reside, distinguishing MTSS from RtI/​I is critical. In many cases, RtI/​I is implemented superfluously, catering to a small population of students destined for long-​ term special education classes because of blurred definitions of the terms. Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support is a pedagogical ecosystem. It is a comprehensive transformational structure that has the potential to impact all students, from low-​progress to gifted and talented, across disciplines and grade levels.

Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support For the human body, as a living organism, to function in a robust and healthy manner effectively and efficiently, it requires integrated multi-​ tiered systems of support. The circulatory system, the digestive system, the endocrine system, the exocrine system, the immune system, the muscular system, the nervous system, urinary system, reproductive system, respiratory system, and skeletal system all work together in an integrated fashion to ensure that we function productively in the society we live in. When one system is deficient or defective, it usually impacts other systems which in turn impact other systems. A sore back, a sore throat, a headache all impacts how all the other systems will respond. As we age, our bodies require that new multi-​tiered systems be implemented to ensure an ongoing dynamic, healthy, and productive life. Imagine a classroom, a school, or a school district as a human body or entity as a living, growing, evolving organism that requires multi-​tiered systems of support to function effectively and efficiently. Experienced teacher-​ colleagues understand that when any system is deficient in a learning environment, learning is usually touched negatively and a call for solution-​seeking is in order. Multi-​ Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) is a conceptual framework that supports high-​quality, research-​proven instructional practices based on students’ strengths and needs (Freeman, Miller & Newcomer, 2015). Using dynamic and static assessments, strengths and needs are identified

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by monitoring students’ progress over time. Teacher decision-​making and changes to instruction are grounded on students’ response to instruction. Within a K–​ 12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for comprehensive instruction, MTSS promotes a coherent and intentional system for instruction by connecting multiple factors, at different levels, that cultivate positive student behavior and learning. Ideally, MTSS provides and matches high-​ quality instructional practices and materials to students’ strengths and needs academically, socially, and behaviorally (Freeman, Miller & Newcomer, 2015). Some key guiding principles of MTSS are: • • • • • • • •

Intervene early. Use a multi-​ tiered model of service delivery (e.g., Response to Intervention/​Instruction). Match instruction and materials to the learners’ strengths and needs. Use formative dynamic and summative static assessments to inform instruction. Use research-​proven instructional practices. Assess and evaluate student progress over time and often. Utilize scaffolds to ensure that coherent and intentional instruction is implemented. Document and promote parental support and/​ or involvement throughout the process.

In general, MTSS promotes a synergistic network for multisensory instruction across all content areas by integrating general education and special education services (including talented and gifted) to support all students in a humane and respectfully inclusive learning environment. It was conceived out of the amalgamation of the Response to Intervention/​ Instruction and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports initiatives in 1997. The term Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports comes from a 1997 amendment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It described procedures used to characterize and reinforce sought after behaviors in school. The question always arises regarding what are the “systems”. Using a literature review process, structured interviews, and school-​based focus groups, we created the following illustrative list of some of the closely networked systems for consideration that need to be in place to ensure

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effective and efficient implementation of a MTSS structure within a transdisciplinary K–​12 literacy framework for comprehensive instruction. The multi-​tiered systems that emerged are: 1. Multi-​Tiered System for Assessment and Evaluation (e.g., formative/​ dynamic, and summative/​static). 2. Multi-​Tiered System for ongoing Professional Learning for everyone that interacts with students (e.g., literacy coach, literacy leadership team, online/​offline professional learning). 3. Multi-​Tiered System for Parent Support or involvement (e.g., newsletter, parent night, parent workshops, Parent Teacher Association/​ Organization). 4. Multi-​Tiered System for Curriculum content (e.g., media center, leveled book room, school, district, and state resource teachers). 5. Multi-​Tiered System for Community Relations (e.g., social services, school outreach, phone services, counseling services, health services). 6. Multi-​Tiered System for Developing Distributive Teacher Leadership (e.g., School Advisory Committee, college/​university courses, professional pathways). 7. Multi-​Tiered System for Response to Intervention/​Instruction (e.g., Tier 1 universal core instruction for all students, Tier 2 targeted instruction/​intervention for approximately 20% of students, Tier 3 intensive instruction/​intervention for approximately 5% of students). To conceive, construct, and implement multi-​tiered systems of support we have found that adopting a design thinking course of action is most productive. A design thinking course of action is a respectful and humane human-​centered approach to solution seeking that essentially involves a recursive non-​linear five-​step process towards seeking solutions to given adaptive challenges (Carroll et al., 2010; Donar, 2011; O’Donoghue & Bernard, 2014; Carroll, 2014; Becker & Mentzer, 2014; Mentzer, Becker & Sutton, 2015). Whether at the district, school, or classroom level, the process begins by empathizing to understand people’s experiences and motivations, in addition to immersing yourself in the learning environment to acquire a deeper personal understanding of the adaptive challenges at hand. Following the empathizing phase of the process, clearly defining the adaptive challenge or challenges is necessary. In defining the adaptive challenge or challenges, you co-​triangulate all information to help team 258

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designers highlight features and benefits to allow solution-​seeking behavior with minimum hurdles. At this point the group or team gently moves towards ideating by brainstorming solution-​seeking concepts to stimulate free thinking. After ideating, you enter a prototyping process. At this stage or experimental phase, the design team addresses concrete solutions to adaptive challenges based on questions that arose during the empathizing, defining, and ideating stages of the process. It is at this point that the team will have a better understanding of the potential benefits and side-​effects the solutions will have on the school, teacher-​colleagues, and students. The final stage is testing. At this stage, team designers test the solutions to the adaptive challenges, all the while understanding alterations and refinement will take place during any time of the design thinking process. At this point, we want to revisit the idea that the design thinking model is all about innovative solution-​seeking that is not necessarily sequential or lockstep. Utilizing the design thinking process of empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing starts creating multi-​tiered systems of support. When considering a multi-​tiered system for assessment and evaluation, the following reflection questions need to be investigated as systems and tiers are conceived, constructed, and executed: a. What universal or standardized assessments will be required by the district, state, or province? b. What summative or static assessments are available for universal administration? c. What formative or dynamic assessments are available to inventory students’ developing strengths and needs across disciplines and grade levels? d. Will we look at student learning from a processing perspective or student achievement from a content learning perspective? e. How will the assessments be used to inform instruction? f. How will the assessment be used to impact professional learning opportunities? g. How will assessment outcomes influence teacher leadership? Researching quality and relevant ongoing professional learning opportunities is another hallmark of an effective and efficient MTSS structure at the school and district level. Here the role of the literacy coach and literacy leadership team is critical as part of a support system to ensure 259

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quality instruction. Both a quality literacy coach and a dedicated literacy leadership team serve as a catalyst and conduit of information to impact professional learning opportunities with the ultimate goal of improving instruction and consequently learning for all in school. The following illustrative reflection questions are designed to help schools and districts engage in conversations to determine the type of professional learning opportunities that need to be available to support teacher-​colleagues in making data-​informed decisions to support all students: a. How does the professional learning opportunity focus on students’ processing of information? (How are students learning?) b. How does the professional learning opportunity focus on what materials or content should be introduced to students? (What are students learning?) c. How does the professional learning opportunity focus teacher-​ colleagues’ attention to interact with students’ response to instruction? d. Who is responsible for scheduling and providing relevant professional learning opportunities? e. How are professional learning opportunities humane and respectful of teacher-​colleagues’ experience, knowledge, and time? f. How are students’ strengths and needs being used to inform the type of professional learning opportunities provided? g. How are teacher-​colleagues’ strengths and needs being used to inform the type of professional learning opportunities provided? Regardless of the grade level, parent support is always a critical factor that can have a positive or negative influence on student learning and school culture. In a MTSS model, schools need to make the decision up front—​do you want parent support or parent involvement? We certainly recognize that parents are our students’ first teachers. The importance of getting parents involved in students’ learning and academic careers through the grade levels and across content areas cannot be underscored enough. Whether you seek parent support or involvement, the following illustrative questions may serve as guideposts for in-​depth critical and professional discussions: a. Do we want parent or legal guardian external school support or internal school involvement? 260

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b. How are we going to keep parents or legal guardians informed of students’ academic progress? c. What will be in it for parents or legal guardians? d. How are behavioral and academic expectations clearly defined for parents or legal guardians? e. How are school and district policies inclusive of all parents and legal guardians regardless of gender identification, socio-​economic status, religious affiliations, political affiliations, sexual orientation, and race? f. What are parents’ or legal guardians’ first impressions when entering a school campus? g. How can teacher leaders buttress a positive teacher-​parent/​guardian relationship? Another key multi-​tiered system that needs to be in place accounts for curriculum. Curriculum in education is one of those terms that has multiple meanings for multiple people. For many, curriculum is synonymous with content. We define curriculum as the coherent and intentional interaction of teacher-​colleagues and students with disciplinary content, materials, resources, and processes for assessing and evaluating the learning of core standards. Curriculum encompasses many facets involved in learning content. Under that definition, the following discussion questions may serve as a blueprint for developing a coherent multi-​tiered system for curriculum: a. When will teacher-​colleagues and teacher leaders have the opportunity to collaboratively unfold core standards for instruction across disciplines? b. What types of formative and summative assessments will we use to monitor progress over time? c. Where will materials be housed? d. How will materials be shared or distributed for classroom use across grade levels and disciplines? e. How will materials be matched to students’ strengths and needs? f. What additional professional learning opportunities will be needed to effectively and efficiently implement curriculum content? g. What will intentional and coherent Conditions of Learning (Crouch & Cambourne, 2020) look like across disciplines and grade levels? A school is generally a representative microcosm of the community it serves. Creating a multi-​tiered system of support for community relations 261

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has to be conceived, designed, and implemented as a collaborative effort between the school and the community. Regardless of the socio-​economic status of the community, schools have to reach out to a variety of community leaders to ensure that students have the best possible learning experience within school and outside of school. The following questions are designed to prompt professional solution-​seeking conversations within a design-​thinking process on the quality and intensity of the school and community connections: a. What medical, psychological, and academic social services are available for students in the community? b. What extra-​curricular activities are available for students in the community beyond the school day? c. How does the school tap into or interact with community services to support student learning? d. What do the students need from the community to support their learning? e. How can the school be viewed as the center of community events? f. What kind of support does the community expect from the school? g. How has the community changed over time? Creating opportunities for developing teacher leadership always merits serious considerations within a MTSS model. It is one of the multi-​tiered systems that we have found that can make or break a school. Developing distributive teacher leadership is about creating a professional learning environment where nurturing human and professional capital is seen as vital to the continuous improvement of a school (Hord, 2004). Teacher leadership can be formal with titles such as director, principal, or assistant principal or informal without titles with conscientious, take charge individuals. All teacher-​colleagues have the potential for leadership at some level when given the opportunities. Developing distributive teacher leadership is about providing colleagues time for self-​directed professional learning, ensuring a sense of ownership for their own learning, and being provided ongoing professional responses along the way towards a self-​ selected goal. In other words, distributive teacher leadership is not about holding people accountable but instead it is about supporting people as they learn to hold themselves accountable. As a side note, holding ourselves accountable is 262

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certainly a positive behavior and a good life skill to pass on to students as they transition from childhood into adolescence and then into adulthood. The concept of distributive teacher leadership is grounded in the fact that no single individual can be everywhere at all times nor realistically, not legally, be responsible for everything that occurs in schools on any given day. We acknowledge the important role of district superintendents and school principals, but we add the caveat that productive leadership is about distributing decision-​making power without abdicating responsibility. Subsequently, in designing a multi-​tiered system of support for developing distributive teacher leadership, the following questions will serve as a springboard for discussion to aid the ongoing process: a. What opportunities for distributive teacher leadership are available at the school level? b. What opportunities for distributive teacher leadership are available at the district or province level? c. What professional learning opportunities are available to develop distributive teacher leadership? d. What are some common understandings or norms that need to be in place for distributive teacher leadership to occur? e. What is a clear and succinct pathway for professional growth leading to distributive teacher leadership? f. What are the economic implications for distributive teacher leadership? g. How will you deal with resistance to distributive teacher leadership at the school level and the district level?

Response to Intervention/​Instruction Implementing a multi-​tiered system for Response to Intervention/​Instruction intersects with and overlaps with other multi-​tiered systems of support. A lot has been written on Response to Intervention/​Instruction (Little, 2009; Lipson & Wixson, 2010; Hunley & McNamara, 2010). Many of us have heard the term RtI/​I in many contexts and as we have stated earlier, the term has been used synonymously with MTSS. We want to reiterate that we do not consider Response to Intervention/​Instruction synonymous with Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support. Furthermore, we argue that a lot of the confusion of implementation may be due to a lack of a clear definition.

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In 1987, Marie Clay wrote an article titled “Learning to be learning disabled”. Dense and well written, and ahead of her time, she argued for a Response to Intervention/​Instruction model to identify low-​progress students’ strengths and needs instead of using an intelligence quotation deficit model that has been proven to erroneously overidentify students for special services. Eventually in 2004, the US Congress revised the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to include the Response to Intervention model of assessment and evaluation. Originally it was intended to identify low-​progress students who would benefit from more intensive instruction. In a Response to Intervention/​Instruction model there are three tiers of intervention/​instruction to support student learning (Little, 2009; Lipson & Wixson, 2010; Hunley & McNamara, 2010). The first tier of instruction addresses universal assessments and broad-​spectrum core instruction for all students. The extent of time in receiving only Tier I instruction can vary from school to school and student to student, but it commonly should not exceed a grading period (approximately 9 to 12 weeks). During that time, student progress is monitored closely, looking at strengths and needs. By the end of 9 to 12 weeks, students demonstrating substantial progress are revisited for staying in core instruction or enhanced instruction if potentially talented and gifted. Students not demonstrating sufficient progress are reconsidered for additional targeted small group instruction in Tier 2. It is generally believed that even with the best instruction there will still be a small fraction of the student population that will need additional diagnostic assessments and targeted small group intervention/​instruction to learn the necessary strategic activities, skills, or content. This small fraction is estimated to be around 20% of the student population. In Tier 2, an extended period of time may be necessary, but it should generally not go beyond a grading period (9 to 12 weeks). Students who continue to show too little progress at this level of intervention are then considered for more intensive instruction as part of Tier 3. Out of that 20% there is still even a smaller number, approximately 5%, that will need a third tier of diagnostic dynamic assessment and ideally individual intensive intervention/​instruction (Little, 2009; Lipson & Wixson, 2010; Hunley & McNamara, 2010). In Tier 3, students generally receive one-​on-​one instruction that focuses on using students’ strengths and needs to develop strategic learners. Students who do not respond adequately or successfully to instruction in Tier 3 are usually referred for a more in-​depth evaluation and studied for qualifications into special education services under the Individuals with 264

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Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The data collected during Tiers 1, 2, and 3 are included and used to make the eligibility decision. It must be mentioned that at any point in an RTI/​I process, IDEA 2004 permits parents or legal guardians to ask for a formal evaluation to establish suitability for special education. An RTI/​I process cannot be used to block or postpone a formal evaluation for special education. Additionally, Tier 2 targeted intervention/​instruction and Tier 3 intensive intervention/​instruction are not meant to replace Tier 1 universal core instruction. Tiers 2 and 3 are intended to be additional instruction to scaffold and accelerate student learning. From the perspective of a growth mindset, the goal for RtI/​I is to monitor student progress closely as we increase intensity of instruction to support them in becoming self-​monitoring, self-​ correcting, self-​directing learners in Tier I universal core instruction (Little, 2009; Lipson & Wixson, 2010; Hunley & McNamara, 2010). It is not the opposite. If it is to be a productive solution-​seeking process, RtI/​I should not be viewed as promoting a deficit model of instruction where the goal is to shuffle students through tiers of instruction into long-​term special education classes. Scaffolding instruction has to be grounded on assessments that document student’s strengths. The following reflection questions should be taken into consideration when developing a multi-​tiered system of support for implementing Response to Intervention/​Instruction: a. What valid summative and reliable formative assessments will be used to inform a team of educators on how to best support a student’s learning or behavior? b. What reliable dynamic assessments will be used to monitor a student’s progress in Tier 2 targeted instruction? c. What reliable dynamic assessment will be used to monitor a student’s progress in Tier 3 intensive instruction? d. How is intervention/​instruction in the different tiers (1, 2, or 3) being defined? e. What amount of time, content, and materials will be appropriate for each tier of intervention/​instruction? f. What ongoing reliable assessments will be in place to monitor students’ processing of text? g. How will the intervention/​ instruction be grounded on students’ strengths? 265

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Utilizing Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support increases the likelihood that a K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction is implemented successfully with lasting results. Is it time intensive? Yes! Like any nutritious homecooked meal, it takes the right healthy ingredients, the right utensils, and time to simmer under a vigilant cook. We started our conversation on MTSS with the human body metaphor and are ending it here with a cooking metaphor to highlight the fact that the multi-​tiered systems of support in our bodies are nourished by what we put in it, the tools we use to exercise it, and the time we dedicate to it. In the next section of this chapter, we will address the role of fostering a professional learning community of practice as another scaffold to support and sustain the implementation of a comprehensive transdisciplinary K–​12 literacy framework for instruction. In order to strengthen the implementation of a comprehensive K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction, MTSS, RtI/​I, and the development of a professional learning community of practice have to be viewed as essential to increase the likelihood that all involved are learning. There is a reason we continue to use the phrase “learning and teaching” instead of the popular “teaching and learning”. Learning in a school setting should never be just about student learning (Sai & Siraj, 2015). Stephen Covey (2013) reminds us that we have to continuously be sharpening our saw. Sharpening our saw is about balance and self-​renewal.

Professional Learning Communities of Practice Genuine professional learning communities of practice in education is not a new concept. For years, teacher-​colleagues have come together to seek solutions to instructional issues. Whether the conversations during those informal rendezvous revolved around content, students, or materials, its focus was on seeking solutions to improve instruction. Sometimes all we needed metaphorically was simply a shoulder to cry on—​in some cases literally. Consequently, we define a genuine professional learning community of practice as an ongoing group of educators learning and improving their pedagogical content knowledge over time. Borrowing from the conversation between the Skin Horse and the Velveteen Rabbit, it is about becoming real. A professional learning community of practice is not a scheduled meeting with a given agenda or to review student assessments outcome. They are about scope and hope, not scope and sequence. Professional 266

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learning communities of practice develop over time, become “real”, as a group of educators continuously communicate back and forth to improve learning and instruction (Bolam et al., 2005; Muñoz & Branham, 2016). A primary focus of professional learning communities of practice is deep learning not teaching (Dufour, 2004; Hargreaves, 2007). Effective PLCs share the characteristics of distributed leadership, communal creativity, common values and vision, shared experiences of practice, and ongoing conditions for learning. These characteristics develop over time in a positive and trusting school culture that is fostered by a committed principal with a mindset that the school is a learning organization for all stakeholders, not just students (Bryk, Camburn & Louis, 1999; Dufour, 2004). Teacher leaders understand that student learning gains are significant when professional learning communities of practice meet to engage in deep pedagogical discussions on instructional practices and monitoring students’ strengths and needs (Reeves, 2010). Consequently, committed teacher leaders are constantly working towards fostering effective PLCs and reflecting with teacher-​colleagues with the following questions: 1. How do we designate time for teacher-​colleagues to meet on a regularly scheduled time that does not add to their workload? 2. What budget considerations need to be in place to ensure that funds exist for substitutes, professional texts, and attendance at immersive professional conferences that have revitalizing effects? 3. How do we encourage collective inquiry and action research? 4. How do we support a collaborative culture? 5. What will it take to transform our dispositions to see school as a learning organization for all, not just students? 6. How will we constantly update our professional language to upgrade our pedagogical thinking? 7. What will it take to ensure that a dynamic, comprehensive, coherent, and intentional transdisciplinary K–​12 literacy framework for instruction is in place?

Summary In this chapter we looked at three primary platforms (MTSS, RtI/​I, and PLCs) as scaffolds to support the implementation of a comprehensive

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K–​12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction. We shared our experiences in working with many schools over many years, on how successful schools have made changes over time to improve instruction for a global citizenry by clearly defining what each scaffold means under the umbrella term of Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support. Furthermore, not only did we share our experiences, we have shared through citations the work of others that backs up our claims. Of course, as with any claim there are always many disclaimers. Schools are dynamic, idiosyncratic organizations with many factors coming into play for decisions to be made off the cuff. We continue to encourage you to read and reread each chapter in this text critically through the lens of your school culture and community. Certainly, there is a lot more information available to you to help you update your professional vocabulary as you seek solutions to solve whatever adaptive challenges your school faces. With that in mind, we have included throughout this chapter lists of illustrative (not exhaustive) questions to help you, your teacher-​colleagues, and teacher leadership make informed learner-​centered decisions. As you implement any instructional innovation collaboratively, make sure you take time to consider not only the effects but the potential side-​effects to the staff, faculty, students, and community. Schools are living, breathing organisms that can only thrive with the proper nurturing—​nurturing by all the stakeholders.

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Epilogues offer a hint into the future. An epilogue is an important literary mechanism that performs as a final and personal emotional hook once the last chapter is over. However, as with most issues in education, epilogues can be multifaceted. The purpose of our epilogue here is to add a little insight to some interesting professional lessons learned over time. When we started this text, we decided early on to include a prelude, interludes between sections, and an epilogue to create a sense of story since we think in narratives. Even though we explain early in the text that our claims are grounded in ethnographic methodologies, essentially this text is the story of our many experiences within our decades-​ long educational careers across all grades K–​12 and into the university. Although we both started our careers with a strong literacy focus, we quickly realized that “literacy” encompassed so much more than just reading and writing. Becoming critical thinkers requires us to be literate as a life-​long transdisciplinary endeavor that necessitates language arts, sciences, social studies, mathematics, and the arts. Take out any one of those disciplines and we will start to question literacy learning and instruction. Teaching students to become transdisciplinary literate demands a coherent and intentional K–​12 framework for instruction with flexible and fluid instructional practices that teach students to question the questions as they become more internationally savvy to solve real-​ world issues. Real-​world issues are never solved by monodisciplinary thinking in disciplinary silos. Real-​world issues are solved by curious and imaginative transdisciplinary solution seekers that tap into the world. We believe in Paulo Freire’s argument that true learning is about learning to read the world before learning to read the word. Ample research exists to support the importance of background knowledge and experience in learning. DOI: 10.4324/​9781003124276-15

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We started this book by looking at the theories of others to ground ourselves and proceeded to share our theories or rationales for learning and instruction. Ask any teacher-​colleague the simple question—​how do we learn to read? Every single teacher will have an answer or a theory. Without theory, deep conversations on learning and instruction will seldom take place. For this reason, the first section of this book begins with a professional discussion on our current understanding of a “complex view of literacy learning.” To label a complex and complicated process of literacy learning a “simple view” misguides literacy learning and instruction across grade levels and disciplines. When we are told something is “simple,” we generally assume that accomplishing it involves a few steps to success. From a professional learning perspective, when we are told something is simple it tends to diminish the critical conversations that need to take place to improve learning and instruction. As we have seen throughout history, words are powerful message-​getting, message-​sending systems that can have long-​lasting positive or negative results for a classroom, school, district, province, community, country, and world. Consequently, throughout the text we have mindfully crafted our vocabulary to continuously update and ultimately upgrade out thinking. In the second half of our book, we focused more on the technical aspects of instruction. Within this section our aim was to point out the importance of matching materials and instruction to students’ strengths and needs by briefly describing students’ behaviors as they progress through their academic careers from kindergarten to high school. This section was also written with the end in mind; meaning that we started with high school and proceeded to middle school to elementary. We realize that there is a lot of redundancy throughout the grades in this section, but the redundancy was intentional since most teacher-​colleagues will gravitate to the chapter that is relevant to them. We know that our high school teacher-​colleagues will not likely read the chapter on K–​2 instruction as well as our K–​2 teacher-​ colleagues will not likely read the chapter on high school instruction. At minimum, we hope that all teacher-​colleagues at least peruse through all the chapters in this section to get a better picture of where students are coming from and where they are going. The third section of the text was included to provide examples of what it will take to increase the likelihood of a successful implementation of a K–​ 12 transdisciplinary literacy framework for instruction to educate students in becoming a solution-​seeking global citizenry. The interlude to 270

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this section introduced you to our thinking while the chapters address our pragmatic findings while working in rural, suburban, and urban schools. Here are the top seven lessons we have learned over time: •













Lesson 1—​Unless teacher-​colleagues understand literacy learning as a process, teaching will be a random guessing game of bump and blunder. Lesson 2—​The “science” of anything is a fluid construct that changes over time as new knowledge and technologies are introduced. To rely solely on a particular set of scientific tenets can be a minefield wrought with negative side-​effects. Lesson 3—​For forward shifts to occur in professional learning communities of practice, a knowledgeable literacy leadership team in conjunction with a quality literacy coach are essential; especially at the middle school and high school level where there are usually more students and teachers, and schedules are far more complex than our elementary school counterpart. Lesson 4—​ Literacy coaching teacher-​ colleagues necessitates a coherent and intentional transdisciplinary literacy framework of instruction. Without a clear framework for instruction, coaching will be a random adult guessing game of bump and blunder. Lesson 5—​Professional Learning Communities of Practice cannot be scheduled and are developed over time by a dedicated professional staff strongly supported by teacher leaders. Regularly scheduled PLCs are usually just “meetings.” Lesson 6—​Data walls and data rooms generally highlight deficits in instruction and learning and are counterproductive to a growth mindset for learning for teacher-​colleagues, teacher leaders, and students. Lesson 7—​Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support need to be in place to ensure that learning is taking place for all in a school—​staff, faculty, and students. The systems and the tiers must be mindfully and intentionally designed to serve the overall school and community.

The seven lessons mentioned above are the tip of the iceberg of our combined lessons learned over decades in education. They are not meant to offend or critique, but they are intended to make us reflect and make forward shifts. There are many more lessons that we have used to pepper the text. Teaching K–​ 12 Transdisciplinary Literacy: A Comprehensive 271

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Framework for Learning and Leading was written from our hearts and souls as teachers to serve as a starting point in any school, district, or province towards improving learning and instruction for all. Every interlude and chapter was written to prompt professional questions to taunt and provoke your pedagogical intellect into what Maxine Greene (1995) calls “shocks of awareness.” We have found that implementing any innovation at the school level begins with shoulder-​to-​shoulder collaboration and, when genuine transformations occur, it ends with face-​to-​face transactions where teacher-​colleagues impact teacher leaders and vice versa. Nothing in this text is intended to be considered written in stone but everything in the text is written to make you, teacher-​colleagues, and teacher leaders question. After all, questioning is part of predicting and anticipating and without predicting and anticipating there is no deep processing of information. Questioning, hypothesizing, experimenting, observing, documenting, and reporting is the “science” of learning and teaching. One final pearl. At the end of the day, first, do no harm. Primum non nocere. This is one of the principal edicts of bioethics that is engrained into all medical students and is a globally fundamental principle. Applied to education, especially transdisciplinary literacy education, it should remind us to consider the possible harm that any instructional practice or intervention might do. Like any new drug commercial, all the features and benefits of any instructional practice or intervention should be highlighted along with any potential negative side-​effects so the consumer (in this case, teachers and teacher leaders) can make an informed decision. For example, within a particular program of instruction, students may become phonemically aware or learn all their letters and sounds or increase their words correct per minute but may never learn to savor text critically or, worse, hate to read. Within a particular scripted program of instruction, teachers and teacher leaders may become more efficient with their time on task but they may also become complacent and bored. The quintessential lesson and challenge Robert Frost has taught us is that there is always “a road not taken.” Always transfer the passion!

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Glossary

Aesthetics: the “elegance” of the execution of instructional practices. Andragogy: the art, science, and craft of learning and teaching adults. Artifact-​mediated: learning through the manipulation of various items or data that represent the learner’s attempts (i.e., writing samples, oral reading records, etc.) Artifacts: residual items from an event. Broad-​spectrum Model: model for learning and teaching that can support a variety of learners and orientations. Comprehension: the ability to use multisensory input to construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct defensible interpretations. Confluency: in-​ the-​ head working systems flowing, running, blending together to construct meaning and make sense. Differentiated Instruction: providing instruction tailored to individual needs based on their strengths. Teachers generally consider content (age appropriateness), context (information-​ rich environment) and process (instructional practices). Ethnographic Approach: a scientific method of gathering data to understand, that does not start with a question to be resolved, but rather questions are formed from observations. Feedback: cognitive mechanisms that help monitor the accuracy of predictions and anticipations. Feedforward: cognitive mechanisms used to promote predicting and anticipating. Fluency: integrating all language working systems to construct meaning efficiently and effectively.

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Glossary

Graphophonic Working System: functional scheme of knowledge of the association between the letters and the sounds in language for encoding and decoding. Hebegogy: the art, craft, and science of learning and teaching adolescent students. Lexical Working Systems: functional scheme of the productive and receptive knowledge of words Literacy: reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and thinking at a level appropriate for the society in which one lives. Metacognition: ability to know “in our heads” what strategic activities we are using or need to use. Non-​participant Observers: someone who observes with no participation or interaction in an event. Participant Observer: someone who observes while participating or interacting in an event. Pedagogy: the art, craft, and science of learning and teaching children. Phonemic Awareness: in-​the-​head sensitivity to the individual sounds of spoken language. Phonics: an understanding of using a rule-​governed association of sounds and letters. Phonological Awareness: knowing how spoken words can be used, and that words may be segmented, they consist of syllables, onsets, and rimes. Pragmatic Working Systems: functional scheme for knowing the context and how it can be made comprehensible to the reader or writer. Program: a series of actions with one goal in mind. Rationales: theoretical understandings. Reading as a Process: a working system of thinking, executing, rethinking, and adjusting that incorporates sources of information using a variety of strategic activities to construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct meaning. Scaffolding: a temporary support system provided by a more knowledgeable person to assist growth. Schema: a “map” or way of organizing information into discreet categories. Information is encoding and sorted into appropriate “files” or “folders” so meaning can be made. Schematic Working Systems: functional scheme to access appropriate background knowledge to make sense. Self-​reflective Practice: the ability to stand back and make a critical analysis of how you are doing. 284

285

Glossary

Semantic Working Systems: functional scheme for making meaning of comprehensible text that allows us to “recode” information for personalization. Social Constructivist Theory: philosophical understanding that learning is socially constructed and is connected to the context in which it is learned. Socratic Questioning: dialogic interrogation that develops depth and breadth in discussion and thinking. Synergistic Network: a dynamic combination of elements or components. Syntactic Working Systems: functional scheme of the grammatical or structural organization of our language. Transaction Model: an approach to teaching and learning that is contingent on the interaction between the teacher and the learner. Transdisciplinary: using knowledge from a variety of disciplines for creating new knowledge to solve real world issues at a variety of levels (personal, interpersonal, and global). Transformational Model: an approach to teaching and learning that focuses and creates change; a synergistic model of teaching and learning where all involved change. Transmission Model: an approach to teaching and learning where knowledge is transmitted or transferred to a learner. Teacher is in control of the content and to some degree the context. Vocabulary: the lexicon of a language; the inventory of productive and receptive words. Vygotskian Perspective: a view of teaching and learning that uses the underlying theories that knowledge is socially constructed, language is a tool for thinking, and learning occurs with support in an area between what the learner can do independently and what is out of the learner’s grasp. Working Systems: functional schemes that a reader or writer uses to construct meaning. Writing as a Process: a working system of thinking, executing, rethinking, and adjusting that incorporates sources of information using a variety of strategic activities to compose and construct meaningful text.

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286

Index

Note: Page numbers in italics indicate figures on the corresponding pages. action plans 222, 230–​234, 231 action research facilitation 251–​253 adaptability of learning environments 8 adolescents see grades 9–​12 instructional practice aesthetic stance 43 Alvermann, D.E. 112, 170 Amanti, C. 210 anchor texts 86 appropriateness of instructional practices 38, 152–​153, 181 approximation as condition of learning 14 artifacts 48, 49, 50 assessment: Collaborative Read Aloud 101, 130, 159, 188; Collaborative Writing 119, 149, 177, 207; dynamic 21, 38, 67, 226; grades K–2 instructional practice 183, 186, 188, 191, 193, 196, 199, 201, 204, 207;

286

grades 3–​5 instructional practice 154, 157, 159, 162, 164, 167, 169, 172, 175, 177; grades 6–​8 instructional practice 125, 128, 130, 133, 135, 138, 141, 143, 146, 149; grades 9–​12 instructional practice 95, 98, 101, 103, 106, 108, 111, 113, 116, 119; in guiding investigation and instruction 224–​228; Guiding Learners 108, 138, 167, 196; Interactive Vocabulary 111, 141, 169, 199; Learning Discussion 113, 143, 172, 201; Modeled Writing 116, 146, 175, 204; Read Aloud 95, 125, 154, 183; Readers’ Theater 106, 135, 164, 193; Shared/​Choral Reading 103, 133, 162, 191; standardized tests 227; static 21, 38, 67, 226; Think Aloud 98, 128, 157, 186; see also co-​triangulation to inform K–12 instruction

287

Index

Biancarosa, G. 234 Bookmarks 110, 139–​140, 168, 198 Burns, A. 253 Caine, G. 20 Caine, R.N. 20 Cambourne, B. 51 Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning: approximation 14; demonstration 13–​14; expectation 17–​18; immersion 16–​17; levels of engagement 12–​13; response 15–​16; responsibility 14; use/​ employment of learning 19–​20; workshop facilitation 243 change supporting systems 218–​219 Choral Reading instructional practice: grades K–2 189–​191; grades 3-​5 160–​162; grades 6-​8 131–​133; grades 9-​12 101–​103 Clay, M.M. 242, 264 close critical reading 34 coaching, literacy: action research facilitation 251–​253; complexity of 237; as conduit for professional learning 237; conferring, observing, debriefing cycle 248–​250; as continuum 208, 236–​237, 239, 241–​242, 251, 254; co-​teaching in observation classroom 246–​248; as job-​embedded 240–​241; job requirements of 238; leadership teams and 233–​234, 250–​251;

lead learners, coaches as 237, 238; Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) 259–​260; observation lessons, provision of 244–​246; as on-​going 240, 241; setting calendars of meetings 250; trust 248–​249; workshop facilitation 242–​244 cognitive working systems: graphophonic working system 27–​28; lexical working system 30; pragmatic working system 29–​30; schematic working system 28, 43; semantic working system 28–​29; syntactic working system 30–​31 coherent and intentional instruction/​learning 23; confluency, teaching for 34–​39; in literacy framework 3–​4; Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support 4–​5; need of framework for 22; principles 23; respect for the learner 23 collaboration 10–​11 collaborative action research facilitation 251–​253 Collaborative Read Aloud instructional practice: grades K–2 186–​188; grades 3-​5 157–​159; grades 6-​8 128–​130; grades 9-​12 98–​101 Collaborative Writing instructional practice: grades K–2 204–​207; grades 3-​5 175–​177; grades 6-​8 146–​149; grades 9-​12 116–​119 commitment to learning 10

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Index

community relations 261–​262 complexity of texts 73–​74 comprehension, teaching for 43 conditions of learning 12–​13; approximation 14; demonstration 13–​14; engagement 18–​19; expectation 17–​18; immersion 16–​17; levels of engagement 12–​13; response 15–​16; responsibility 14; use/​ employment of learning 19–​20; variation in due to context 44 conferring, observing, debriefing cycle 248–​250 confluency, teaching for 34–​39 considerate texts: complexity of texts 73–​74; content of texts 77–​78; decodable texts 83–​84; features of texts 80; genre of texts 76–​77; illustrations in texts 79–​80; language of texts 78; leveled texts 81, 82–​83; lexile measures 80, 81; orienting student to texts/​lessons 88–​89, 90; qualitative analysis of texts 75, 76–​80, 81; quantitative analysis of texts 75; selection of texts 71–​72; sentences, complexity of 78–​79; structure of texts 77; student-​centered considerations 75, 75–​76; text sets 84–​88, 86; triadic analysis of text complexity 74–​80, 75, 81; vocabulary of texts 79; words in texts 79 content of texts 77–​78 co-​teaching in observation classroom 246–​248

288

co-​triangulation to inform K–12 instruction 70; analysing writing for instruction 57–​61, 62, 63; artifacts 48, 49, 50; information, co-​triangulation of 48; inventory of reading behaviors 53–​57, 55; non-​participant observations 48, 49, 53; participant observations 48, 49, 50–​52, 55; teaching for a network of strategic activities 62–​63, 65–​67; textual evidence 55–​56, 57; triangulation 47–​48 Crouch, D. 51 Csíkszentmihályi, M. 20, 21, 72 curation of learning environments: approximation 14; challenges, need for 11; collaboration 10–​ 11; commitment to learning 10; conditions of learning 11–​20; demonstration 13–​14; engagement 18–​19; expectation 17–​18; as facilitating conditions for learning 4; flexibility 8; immersion 16–​17; information-​ intensive learning environments 16–​17; infrastructure 9; intentional and coherent K–12 frame work 3–​4; leadership, teacher 11; Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support 4–​5; overlapping scaffolds 5, 7; physical environment 8; response 15–​16; responsibility 14; technology 9; tools and resources 9; transdisciplinary multisensory 8 curriculum in Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) 261

289

Index

DaVinci, Leonardo 211 decodable texts 83–​84 demonstration as condition of learning 13–​14 Dewey, J. 3–​4, 9 distributive teacher leadership 262–​263 documentation: of reading behaviors 55, ​56; of strengths and needs 38 do no harm applied to education 272 dynamic assessment 21, 38, 67, 226; Collaborative Read Aloud 101, 130, 159, 188; Collaborative Writing 119, 149, 177, 207; grades K–2 instructional practice 183, 186, 188, 191, 193, 196, 199, 201, 204, 207; grades 3–​5 instructional practice 154, 157, 159, 162, 164, 167, 169, 172, 175, 177; grades 6–​8 instructional practice 125, 128, 130, 133, 135, 138, 141, 143, 146, 149; grades 9–​12 instructional practice 95, 98, 101, 103, 106, 108, 111, 113, 116, 119; Guiding Learners 108, 138, 196; Interactive Vocabulary 111, 141, 169, 199; Learning Discussion 113, 143, 172, 201; Modeled Writing 116, 146, 175, 204; Read Aloud 95, 125, 154, 183; Readers’ Theater 106, 135, 164, 193; Shared/​Choral Reading 103, 133, 162, 191; Think Aloud 98, 128, 157, 186

efferent stance 43 employment of learning 19–​20 engagement: as condition of learning 18–​19; levels of 12–​13; principles of 18–​19 environments, learning: approximation 14; as blended spaces 4; challenges, need for 11; collaboration 10–​11; commitment to learning 10; conditions of learning 11–​ 20; demonstration 13–​14; engagement 18–​19; expectation 17–​18; as facilitating conditions for learning 4; flexibility 8; immersion 16–​17; information-​ intensive 16–​17; infrastructure 9; leadership, teacher 11; Multi-​ Tiered Systems of Support 4–​5; physical environment 8; response 15–​16; responsibility 14; technology 9; tools and resources 9; transdisciplinary multisensory 8 evaluation, use of to inform practice 224, 228–​230 expectation as condition of learning 17–​18 facilitation: action research 251–​253; leadership teams 250–​251; Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support 250–​251; workshops 242–​244 features of texts 80 flexibility of learning environments 8 flow theory 20–​22, 44, 72

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290

Index

Fountas, I.C. 59, 73–​74, 76 Fry, E. 73 Gallimore, R. 12, 37, 66 generative responses 36, 65 genre of texts 76–​77 Gladwell, M. 20 goals, common 218 Gonzalez, N. 210 grades K–2 instructional practice: Collaborative Read Aloud 186–​188; Collaborative Writing 204–​207; Guiding Learners 194–​196; Interactive Vocabulary 196–​199; learners, students as 179–​180; Learning Discussion 199–​201; Modeled Writing 202–​204; Read Aloud 181–​183; Readers’ Theater 191–​193; Shared/​Choral Reading 189–​191; Think Aloud 183–​186 grades 3–​5 instructional practice: Collaborative Read Aloud 157–​159; Collaborative Writing 175–​177; engagement of students 150–​151; Guiding Learners 164–​167; Interactive Vocabulary 167–​169; learners at this age 150–​151; Learning Discussion 170–​172; Modeled Writing 172–​175; Read Aloud 151–​154; Readers’ Theater 162–​164; Shared/​Choral Reading 160–​162; Think Aloud 154–​157 grades 6–​8 instructional practice: Collaborative Read Aloud 128–​130; Collaborative Writing

290

146–​149; Guiding Learners 136–​138; Interactive Vocabulary 138–​141; Learning Discussion 141–​143; middle school students as learners 121–​122; Modeled Writing 144–​146; Read Aloud 123–​125; Readers’ Theater 133–​135; Shared/​Choral Reading 131–​133; Think Aloud 125–​128; variety of, use of 122 grades 9–​12 instructional practice: adolescents as learners 91; Collaborative Read Aloud 98–​101; Collaborative Writing 116–​119; Guiding Learners 106–​108; independent writing 92; Interactive Vocabulary 108–​111; Learning Discussion 111–​113; literacy, adolescents and 92; Modeled Writing 114–​116; Read Aloud 93–​95; Readers’ Theater 104–​106; reflection 119; Shared/​Choral Reading 101–​103; success with 119; support from teachers 92; Think Aloud 96–​98 graphophonic working system 27–​28 Graves, D. 60 ground rules for leadership teams 216–​218 Guiding Learners instructional practice: grades K–2 194–​196; grades 3-​5 164–​167; grades 6-​8 136–​138; grades 9-​12 106–​108 Heifetz, R. 222 Hiebert, J. 219 Holdaway, D. 101, 131, 160, 189

291

Index

illustrations in texts 79–​80 immersion as condition of learning 16–​17 inconsiderate texts: complexity of texts 73–​74; content of texts 77–​78; decodable texts 83–​84; features of texts 80; genre of texts 76–​77; illustrations in texts 79–​80; language of texts 78; leveled texts 81, 82–​83; lexile measures 80, 81; orienting student to texts/​lessons 88–​89, 90; qualitative analysis of texts 75, 76–​80, 81; quantitative analysis of texts 75; selection of texts 71–​72; sentences, complexity of 78–​79; structure of texts 77; student-​centered considerations 75, 75–​76; text sets 86; triadic analysis of text complexity 74–​80, 75, 81; use of 80; vocabulary of texts 79; words in texts 79 Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 264–​265 information, co-​triangulation of 48 information-​intensive learning environments 16–​17 instructional coherence 20–​22 instructional practice see grades K–2 instructional practice; grades 3–​5 instructional practice; grades 6–​8 instructional practice; grades 9–​12 instructional practice Integrated Model to Transdisciplinary Literacy Learning and Teaching 45

intentional and coherent instruction/​learning 23; confluency, teaching for 34–​39; in K–12 literacy framework 3–​4; Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support 4–​5; need of framework for 22; principles 23; respect for the learner 23 Interactive Vocabulary instructional practice: grades K–2 196–​199; grades 3-​5 167–​169; grades 6-​8 138–​141; grades 9-​12 108–​111 in-​the-​head working systems see cognitive working systems inventory of reading behaviors 53–​57, 55 Jacobson, L.F. 17 K–12 Transdisciplinary Literacy Framework for Comprehensive Instruction 6–​7 Kellough, N.G. 225 Kellough, R.D. 225 Kemmis, 252 language: professional use of 2; of texts 78; updated 69 leadership teams: action plans 222, 230–​234, 231; assessment in guiding investigation and instruction 224–​228; change supporting systems 218–​219; coaching, literacy 233–​234; common goals 218; common language and understanding 210, 212–​216, 214–​215; co-​triangulation of data 224;

291

292

Index

as critical 208; curation of learning environments 11; elementary level 220; evaluation, use of to inform practice 224, 228–​230; facilitation of 250–​251; forward shifts in schools 211; ground rules 215–​218; identification of members 219–​221; integration of research, theory and practice 232; investigative cycle 222–​224, 223; Multi-​ Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) 218, 259–​260; process, understanding literacy learning as 218–​219; professional growth 219; professional learning communities of practice 219; reflection on action plans 232–​234; secondary level 220–​221; self-​assessment 213, 214, 214–​215, 216; study groups 222, 232; teacher leadership 262–​263; theoretical foundation, need for 211–​212, 228–​229; volunteering for 232 learners and texts, relationship between 41–​44 learning: intentional and coherent 4–​5; transactional nature of 42–​44 Learning Discussion instructional practice: grades K–2 199–​201; grades 3-​5 170–​172; grades 6-​8 141–​143; grades 9-​12 111–​113 learning environments: approximation 14; as blended spaces 4; challenges, need

292

for 11; collaboration 10–​11; commitment to learning 10; conditions of learning 11–​ 20; demonstration 13–​14; engagement 18–​19; expectation 17–​18; as facilitating conditions for learning 4; flexibility 8; immersion 16–​17; information-​ intensive 16–​17; infrastructure 9; leadership, teacher 11; Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support 4–​5; physical environment 8; response 15–​16; responsibility 14; technology 9; tools and resources 9; transdisciplinary multisensory 8 lessons learned 271 lesson study 209 leveled texts 73, 81, 82–​83 lexical working system 30 lexile measures 80, 81 Linsky, M. 222 Lyons, C.A. 211 Maiese, M. 216 materials, instructional level of students and 36, 37, 66 McGuffey, W.H. 73 McTaggert, R. 252 Mills, 252 Modeled Writing instructional practice: grades K–2 202–​204; grades 3-​5 172–​175; grades 6-​8 144–​146; grades 9-​12 114–​116 Moll, L. 210 monitoring: changes over time 38; strengths and needs 38 morphemic knowledge 79

293

Index

Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS): for assessment and evaluation 259; coaching, literacy 259–​260; common goals 218; community relations 261–​262; curriculum 261; defined 209, 256–​257; design thinking course of action 258–​259; distinguished from RtI/​ I 256; facilitation of 250–​251; human body as 256; leadership teams 218, 259–​260; origins 257; parent support 260–​261; principles 257; process, understanding literacy learning as 218–​219; professional learning communities of practice 219, 266–​267; professional learning opportunities 259–​260; Response to Intervention/​ Instruction (RtI/​I) 263–​266; systems needed 257–​258 non-​participant observations 48, 49, 53; inventory of reading behaviors 53–​57 observation see co-​triangulation to inform K–12 instruction observation lessons, provision of 244–​246 orientation of student to texts/​ lessons 88–​89, 90 parent support 260–​261 participant observations 48, 49, 50–​52, 53, 55 Pinnell, G.S. 59, 73–​74, 76, 211

pragmatic working system 29–​30 process, literacy learning as: cognitive working systems 27–​31; framework for guiding learners 33; model of 31, 32; need for understanding as 1; not single process 26; recursive nature of 31; strategic activities 31, 40, 41; theory, conversations about 31–​32; transdisciplinary literacy learning 45; understanding 218–​219 professional growth 219 professional learning communities of practice 10; analysing writing for instruction 59; core beliefs 209; deep learning as focus 267; defined 266–​267; ground rules for leadership teams 217–​218; leadership teams 219; Multi-​ Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) 219, 266–​267; questions for reflection 267; theory, conversations about 31–​32 professional learning opportunities 1–​2, 231; Multi-​Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) 259–​260; see also coaching, literacy prompted writing 60 prompts, teaching 37, 66 qualitative analysis of texts 75, 76–​80 quantitative analysis of texts 75, 80–​81, 81 Rasinski, T. 104, 134, 192 Read Aloud instructional practice: grades K–2 181–​183; grades 3-​5

293

294

Index

151–​154; grades 6-​8 123–​125; grades 9-​12 93–​95 Readers’ Theater instructional practice: grades K–2 191–​193; grades 3-​5 162–​164; grades 6-​8 133–​135; grades 9-​12 104–​106 reading and writing, reciprocal nature of 39–​40, 66 reading behaviors, inventory of 53–​57, 55 reciprocal nature of reading and writing 39–​40, 66 reflection 119; on action plans 232–​234 responses: as condition of learning 15–​16; generative 36, 65 Response to Intervention/​ Instruction (RtI/​I) 263–​266 responsibility: as condition of learning 14; for learning 37 Rosenblatt, L. 29–​30, 42 Rosenthal, R. 17 scaffolding 38, 44, 66, 82–​83 schematic working system 28, 43 selection of texts 71–​72, 94 self-​assessment for leadership teams 213, 214, 214–​215, 216 Semantic Analysis 110, 139, 168, 197 Semantic Mapping 110, 140, 168, 198 semantic working system 28–​29 sentences, complexity of 78–​79 Shared/​Choral Reading instructional practice: grades K–2 189–​191; grades 3-​5 160–​162;

294

grades 6-​8 131–​133; grades 9-​12 101–​103 silo-​isation 9–​10 Snow, C.E. 234 Spache, G. 73 Spandel, V. 59 standardized tests 227 static assessment 21, 38, 67, 226 Stiggins, R.J. 59 Stigler, J. 219 Storyboards 109, 139, 168, 197 strategic activities: process, literacy learning as a 31, 40, 41; teaching for a network of 64–​65 strengths of learners, taking into account 5 structure of texts 77 study groups 232 syntactic working system 30–​31 teacher leadership 262–​263 teachers sharing experiences with students 51–​52 technology in learning environments 9 texts and learners, relationship between 42–​43; see also considerate texts text sets 84–​88, 86 textual evidence see documentation Tharp, R. 12, 37, 66 Themed Word Charts 109–​110, 139, 168, 197 Think Aloud instructional practice: grades K–2 183–​186; grades 3-​5 154–​157; grades 6-​8 125–​128; grades 9–​12 96–​98

295

Index

tools and resources in learning environments 9 transactional nature of learning 42–​44 transdisciplinarity, teaching for 40–​42, 41 triadic analysis of text complexity 74–​80, 75, 81 triangulation: definition 47; in learning environment 49; observations/​assessments 47–​48; see also co-​triangulation to inform K–12 instruction trust 51–​53, 248–​249 Tschannen-​Moran, M. 249

vigor and vigilance 23 vocabulary of texts 79 voice 59–​60 Vygotsky, L. 2, 4, 10, 12, 20

use/​employment of learning 19–​20

zones of development 18, 35, 65

words in texts 79 workshops, facilitation of 242–​244 writing: analysing for instruction 56–​61, 62, 63; grades 9-​12 instructional practice 92; prompted 60; and reading, reciprocal nature of 39–​40, 66 Young, C. 104, 134, 192

295

296