MPS Core Instructional Practices

Elementary Literacy Core Instructional Practices                                                        Modified: 29-Sept-15

Core Instructional Practice What Is It? Why Is It Important?
Partner Reading Students sit with a partner and take turns reading a passage or book. Students can take turns reading sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, or page by page. The goal is for 30 minutes of partner reading everyday, which means students are reading 15 each day.   Students can also engage in talk about their reading and also support in modeling fluency for each other. Partner reading adds accountability to reading. Students are less likely to be off task when two students are reading. Partner reading is an excellent intervention to develop reading fluency.
Writing in Response to Text Students write a response to what they have read. The response could be persuasive, narrative, or informational. The response could be open ended or be text-based requiring use of the text and evidence. Writing is thinking down on paper. Writing requires the student to formulate their thinking. It is also a means to support the assessment of comprehension.
Text Based Questioning Text based questions are questions that focus on gathering evidence from the text. Students look at the main idea and details, author’s purpose, vocabulary, and forming opinions. Text based questions require a close reading. They require students to gather evidence from the text to support and defend their answers. Text based questions support students in meeting multiple standards in the ELA Curriculum Frameworks.
Reciprocal Teaching

Reciprocal teaching consists of four key comprehension strategies that are used with a passage. Students read and apply the strategies of predicting, summarizing, clarifying, and asking questions. It can be used within small groups to support comprehension and as an intervention. It should be used as a grouping structure for literature circles also.

 

Reciprocal teaching has a strong research base and has been shown to increase reading comprehension. Students focus on four key comprehension strategies applied to a variety of different tasks.
Small Group Instruction

Teacher meets with small groups of students based upon their needs. Data from benchmarks and progress monitoring and teacher assessments are used to form the groups. Instruction in the small group is based upon student need and revolves around direct phonics/phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary instruction.

 

Small group instruction has the most impact on students who are struggling. Students receive immediate feedback on their progress. Teachers are also able to differentiate based upon student need.
Turn and Talk or Think Pair Share Students turn to a partner to share their thinking. In a think, pair, share, students are given think time before turning to a partner to share. After sharing, the teacher selects a few students to share their responses with the whole group. Student talk is important for helping students to explain their thinking, use vocabulary, generate questions, make predictions, and summarize new learning.
Anchor Charts Key ideas or class thinking are recording on a chart for students and the teacher to refer to as needed during a unit or over several lessons. In order for students to take ownership of the concepts presented in an anchor chart, the chart should be created with students. As the name implies, it is an “anchor” to which students and teachers can use a reference tool.
Comprehension Focus Wall A focus wall highlights key comprehension strategies that the class is working on. The focus wall names the comprehension strategy, define it, and give sentence frames to help students use the strategy. A focus wall is a dedicated anchor chart to focus on comprehension strategies presented and spiraled through the year.
Writer’s Workshop A writer’s workshop is organized to begin with a mini-lesson, time for independent writing while the teacher conferences with students, and an opportunity to share at the end. The focus of mini-lessons is one topic that will support improvement of students’ writing. A writer’s workshop allows for a dedicated time to teach writing. Students are able to develop their understanding of the genres represented in the ELA Curriculum Frameworks and write extensively across the genres.

 Elementary Math Core Instructional Practices

Core Instructional Practice What Is It? Why Is It Important?
Number Talks Number talks are short 5-10 minute discussion where the focus is on mental math. A problem or series of problems is presented to the students and they are asked to solve using mental math. Hand signals can be used by the teacher to help engage all students. Three to four student strategies are shared with the whole class. Number talks allow children the opportunity to engage in rich meaningful conversations. Students have a chance to share and explain strategies. They justify answers while thinking and acting like mathematicians. They develop mental math skills.
Talk Moves Talk moves are used by the teacher and students to help create student centered discussions. The moves include revoicing, say more, repeat, press for reasoning agree/disagree, wait time, and partner talk. Student talk reveals understanding and misunderstanding. Student talk supports academic language development and supports deeper reasoning. Student talk supports social development and perspective taking.
Visual Models with Problem Solving Students represent their understanding of the relationship between the numbers represented in a problem. A bar diagram can be used to model the relationship between the numbers and help students see which problem structure is being used. Students can model with mathematics using a visual model and they can reason abstractly and quantitatively.
Problem Solving Approach Teacher leads the class in understanding the problem and explains expectations for solving the program. While students work on the problem, the teacher provides hints but no solutions. The teacher asks questions to facilitate student thinking. Observe and assess as students work. In the end, conduct a discussion where students justify and explain strategies for solving the problem. Accept student solutions without evaluation. Students are provided an opportunity to engage in real world problems and the standards for mathematical practices.
Math Journals Math journals provide a means for students to write about math. Writing is thinking down on paper. Students are provided with an opportunity to use multiple standards for mathematical practices. Students construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others in writing and also model with mathematics. All of the mathematical practices might be evidenced in a math journal dependent on the problem.
Anchor Charts Key ideas or class thinking are recording on a chart for students and the teacher to refer to as needed during a unit or over several lessons. In order for students to take ownership of the concepts presented in an anchor chart, the chart should be created with students. As the name implies, it is an “anchor” to which students and teachers can use a reference tool.
DICE Students approach a problem by first dissecting which asks them to make sense of the problem. Students then illustrate the problems focused on seeing the relationships between the ideas. The problem is then represented in numbers. Students explain their thinking in words and/or orally. The mathematical practices ask students to develop their arguments including critique the arguments of others.
Small Group Instruction

Teacher meets with small groups of students based upon their needs. Data from benchmarks and progress monitoring and teacher assessments are used to form the groups. Instruction in the small group is based upon student need and revolves around conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, strategic competency, productive disposition, and adaptive reasoning.

 

 

Small group instruction has the most impact on students who are struggling. Students receive immediate feedback on their progress. Teachers are also able to differentiate based upon student need.
Math Focus Wall A focus wall highlights the math strategies and skills that the class is working on. A focus wall is a dedicated anchor chart to focus on the math strategies presented in a unit or topic.
Mixed Review Mixed reviews include concept and skills previously taught. They should be consistently administered and might be used as warm-ups, homework, or for independent practice. Students’ retention of the mathematical concepts is improved with cumulative review. Providing a mixed review ensures mastery and allows one’s working memory to absorb more challenging concepts. The review also provides assessment information to the teacher to use for instruction and forming small groups.

Elementary Science Core Instructional Practices

Core Instructional Practice What Is It? Why Is It Important?
Inquiry Learning Cycle in Science

Engage: Students explore, notice, wonder, and speculate about the topic they will learn about.

Design and Conduct Investigations: Students determine a question, predict, and plan an investigation. They collect and record data. The data is organized, interpreted, and analyzed.

Draw Conclusions: Based upon analyze and synthesis of the data, students make claims based on the evidence.

Communicate: Students write, present, defend or debate their results.

Scientific inquiry reflects how scientists come to understand the natural world, and it is at the heart of how students learn. Students learn how to ask questions and use evidence to answer them. In the process of learning the strategies of scientific inquiry, students learn to conduct an investigation and collect evidence from a variety of sources, develop an explanation from the data, and communicate and defend their conclusions.

 

Engineering Design Process

 

Define

Propose

Design

Test

Evaluate

The Engineering Design process involves articulating a problem and investigating possible solutions to the problem (leading to a better solution to the problem). In other words, engineering design is a way to put science to work to solve problems.

 

The Engineering Design process is not a rigid set of rules for solving every problem but more of a tool to focus and direct the process of problem solving and ways of thinking. Each problem is different and the solution may or may not go through each step in the process.

 

Professional engineers use a variety of processes to solve problems.

By the very nature of engineering design, students will be required to read and comprehend a variety of text, write clearly and accurately, and to apply mathematics to projects outside of their math textbook. Engineering design requires students to listen actively, speak clearly and coherently (team-based projects), think critically and analytically, and often to use technology such as a computer and computer software to help solve a problem. If students focus on solving problems to make a better world, they will also be developing the essential skills of demonstrating civic and community engagement and global literacy.

Science Talk Talk moves in science are used by the teacher and students to help create student-centered discussions. The moves include revoicing, say more, repeat, press for reasoning agree/disagree, wait time, and partner talk. Student talk reveals understanding and misunderstanding in science. Student talk supports academic language development and supports deeper reasoning. Student talk supports social development and perspective taking.

Scientific Writing

 

Claim

Evidence

Reasoning

Students make a claim, state their evidence, and link the claim and evidence with reasoning.

Claim: a conclusion about a problem

Evidence: scientific data that supports the claim

Reasoning: a justification that shows why the data counts as evidence to support the claim and includes appropriate scientific principles.

Reading, interpreting, and producing text are fundamental practices of science in particular, and they constitute at least half of engineers and scientists total working time. Writing requires scientists to describe, clarify their thinking, and justify their arguments.
Science Journals Science journals provide a means for students to write about science. Writing is thinking down on paper. Students are provided with an opportunity to use multiple science practices. Students construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others in writing and also create models.

Elementary Social Studies Core Instructional Practices

Core Instructional Practice What Is It? Why Is It Important?

Cycle of Inquiry in Social Studies

(B. Stripling, 2003)

Connect: Students connect the topic with previous knowledge or their own lives.

Wonder: Students ask questions to uncover new information about the topic.

Investigate: Students look for answers to their questions.  They evaluate the new information.  

Construct: Students draw conclusions about the new information and pair it with their previous understanding.

Express: Students share their new learning with others and apply this knowledge to new situations.

Reflect: Student reflects on own learning and asks new questions based on deeper understanding.

Inquiry is the way historians and anthropologists learn about the past.  Students should understand that this model is a cycle that moves both ways rather than a linear way of thinking.  To promote higher order thinking it is important for students to uncover information through inquiry rather than be told.  This allows students to come to natural conclusions and provide their own judgements.
Primary Sources Primary Sources are Documents, Photographs, Maps, and Artifacts that were created by someone directly involved in an event or time period.  First hand knowledge & understanding of an event or time period. Primary sources provide a first hand account of an event. Students can then use the inquiry model and source analysis to discover the meaning of the source.  Primary sources provide information about the past.  
Primary Source Analysis

Three part analysis that can be used for ANY primary source:

Observe: Students describe what they see/hear without any judgements or inferences.

Reflect: Students make inferences based on their observations.  Start with the 5 Ws (Who? What? Where? When? Why?)

Question: Students ask questions to deepen their understanding and promote further investigation.  

Analysing a primary source allows students to make their own judgements and inferences about the source.  The three part analysis allows students to first make observations and look closely at the source before making inferences and asking questions.  This process promotes higher order thinking and provides students opportunities to make their own judgements about the document.
Secondary Sources Documents, Maps, Photographs, and Artifacts that represent, but are not created at the time depicted.  Often judgements are already made in the source.  Textbooks are an example of a secondary source. Students will construct a strong historical foundation when pairing information from secondary sources with understanding uncovered from primary sources.  It is important for students to use both.
Text Sets Two or more texts/sources that share a commonality.  These are often related by topic but not always.     Analysis of more than one text with a common topic helps promote higher order thinking skills.  In the state standards students must be able to examine, analyze, and write about a topic using a text set.
Document Based Questions (DBQ) Students answer questions that must be supported with evidence from the document rather than prior knowledge or conjecture.  Questions must be answered using the document(s) as proof and reasoning. In social studies students must recognize that texts are varied.  These can be writing, photographs, maps, or other artifacts.  Analyzing these documents and using them as evidence to support thinking is vital in the standards.
Accountable Talk in Social Studies   Talk moves in Social Studies are used by the teacher and students to help create student centered discussions. The moves include revoicing, say more, repeat, press for reasoning agree/disagree, wait time, and partner talk. Student talk reveals understanding and misunderstanding in Social Studies. Student talk supports academic language development and supports deeper reasoning. Student talk supports social development and perspective taking.
Non-Fiction Texts Students should be exposed to a number of non-fiction texts for each unit of study.  Non-fiction texts provide information for students.  Texts can include newspapers, magazines, guided readers, books, and visual sources.   Students read non-fiction text to learn information.  Providing opportunities for students to read non-fiction texts teachers are building foundational knowledge and key vocabulary.  This supports ELA Standards for informational text.
Writing in Response to Text Students write a response to what they have read. The response could be persuasive, narrative, or informational. The response could be open ended or be text-based requiring use of the text and evidence. Writing is thinking down on paper. Writing requires the student to formulate their thinking. It is also a means to support the assessment of comprehension.
Social Studies Notebooks A place to document thinking about Social Studies topics.  Notebooks vary by grade, but should include notes, illustrations/charts, maps, responses to text, and reflections. Students demonstrate their understanding in multiple ways and document their learning throughout the year.  This could also serve as a formative and summative assessment.

ELA Middle School Core Instructional Practices

Core Instructional Practice What Is It? Why Is It Important?

Literature Circles

 

Students select a text. The group reads the text either independently or in groups. Students discuss the text based upon specific roles to support comprehension of the text. Students have some element of choice in selecting a text and taking on roles in the group while engaging in student led discussions and using comprehension strategies.

Writing in Response to Text

 

Students write a response to what they have read. The response could be persuasive, narrative, or informational. The response could be open ended or be text-based requiring use of the text and evidence. Writing is thinking down on paper. Writing requires the student to formulate their thinking. It is also a means to support the assessment of comprehension.

Independent Reading

 

Students select their own text, plan to complete the reading, read in a variety of environments and monitor their own comprehension. Students increase the amount and frequency of reading while developing stamina and comprehension.
Dialectical Journals Students select or are assigned a quotation from a text. Students respond analyzing and evaluating the relevance and importance of the quote. Students engage in the close reading of a portion of text. They analyze, evaluate, apply and synthesize their learning in relation to the text.
Text Based Questioning Text based questions are questions that focus on gathering evidence from the text. Students look at the main idea and details, author’s purpose, vocabulary, and forming opinions.

Text based questions require a close reading. They require students to gather evidence from the text to support and defend their answers. Text based questions support students in meeting multiple standards in the ELA Curriculum Frameworks.

 

 

Reciprocal Teaching Reciprocal teaching consists of four key comprehension strategies that are used with a passage. Students read and apply the strategies of predicting, summarizing, clarifying, and asking questions. It can be used within small groups to support comprehension and as an intervention. It should be used as a grouping structure for literature circles also. Reciprocal teaching has a strong research base and has been shown to increase reading comprehension. Students focus on four key comprehension strategies applied to a variety of different tasks.
Turn and Talk or Think Pair Share Students turn to a partner to share their thinking. In a think, pair, share, students are given think time before turning to a partner to share. After sharing, the teacher selects a few students to share their responses with the whole group. Student talk is important for helping students to explain their thinking, use vocabulary, and
Writer’s Workshop A writer’s workshop is organized to begin with a mini-lesson, time for independent writing while the teacher conferences with students, and an opportunity to share at the end. The focus of mini-lessons is one topic that will support improvement of students’ writing. A writer’s workshop allows for a dedicated time to teach writing. Students are able to develop their understanding of the genres represented in the ELA Curriculum Frameworks and write extensively across the genres.

 

 

 

 

Math Core Instructional Practices Grades 6-8

Core Instructional Practice What Is It? Why Is It Important?
Type One Writing/Questions (Open Questions)

Type One Writing is used to capture students’ ideas on paper. It is timed, and has a quota. The quota is the minimum number of lines or number of things students know or notice. Type 1Writing can take the form of written lines, a list, a drawing, or labeled diagram. It is simple to evaluate (Ö or -) based on evidence of thoughtful effort.

 

It is used to draw out and shape background knowledge of students. It gives all students an entry point into the content. Students are given the opportunity to brainstorm what they notice, wonder, and identify as similar/different as well as practice using mathematical vocabulary and complete error analysis. Students may turn and talk to compare responses to Type One questions and check what they have in common, add something new, or agree on and star the best ideas.
Type Two Writing/Questions (Exit Tickets)

Type Two Writing is a short quiz that is designed to be quick and easy to correct in order to give immediate feedback to both the teacher and the students.   It has a specific limit and it is graded for correctness based on required criteria.

 

It is used to measure student understanding to see if students met the objectives. It shows what the student knows about the topic. Students and teachers get immediate, formative feedback. Grading it as a quiz holds students accountable for the content as they are learning it. Students can learn from their mistakes with these low stakes assessments in preparation for their cumulative exams. Teachers use this data to adapt instruction, identify misconceptions, and common errors. Students use this data to determine what they know.
Pepper Cards A pepper card is a prepared card organized in two columns. The card has questions with answers about a problem or image that is on the top of the card. The left column has the questions and right column has the answers.

It provides students with model responses and practice with conceptual questions. The pepper cards can be saved and used later as review.   They can be used as a study tool.   Students can quiz themselves or their peers by covering one side of the pepper card. Family members can quiz their student. Students can also make their own pepper cards to use as a reference.

 

One Penny or Mini Whiteboards A one penny whiteboard is made with a sheet protector that students can write on with dry erase markers. A template such as a number line or coordinate grid is slipped into the sheet protector. Students display their work or answer on the penny whiteboards or the mini whiteboard and hold them up. Teachers use whiteboards as a means to check for understanding. Teachers are able to quickly view all student responses to several questions as students hold up their whiteboards. The teacher and student receive timely, immediate feedback on student progress with the content. The use of the whiteboards provides a lot of practice and repetition in a short period of time. Also, students have an opportunity to learn from each other and help their peers when they check answers with a partner.
Talk Moves

Talk moves are strategies used to enhance class discussion. The main talk moves are: revoicing, repeating/rephrasing, agreeing/disagreeing, adding on, wait time, and partner talk.

For example, students are asked if they can add anything to another student’s response or if they agree or disagree with the response and why.

Students need to be able to discuss and share ideas during class time. In order for students to make viable arguments and critique each other’s reasoning they need to practice in class. Talk moves help frame classroom discussion and give students some useful guidelines to engage in respectful and productive discourse. They also promote class discussion amongst students, an effective alternative to the typical back and forth from teacher to one student.

Sorting Cards and Stand and Sort

 

 

 

Multiple representations of a concept are written on different cards. Students work collaboratively to sort, organize, or group cards. There can be more than one way to group the cards depending on the goal.   Sorting can be done in small groups or students can be assigned a card and sort while standing. This activity promotes focused student talk. Students collaborate agreeing and disagreeing about why certain cards match.   This gives students an opportunity to explain their reasoning and critique each other’s reasoning which is one of the important math practices. Additionally, there are many ways to adapt the activity to meet students at all levels. For example, cards can be added or subtraction from a set. Also, students can be challenged to create a new card that would fit into a group or sort cards another way that makes sense.
Think Aloud Teachers or students say aloud what they are thinking as they solve a problem. The student has a model for the mathematical thinking and concepts as they are applied to problem solving. Students can then apply the model to their own problem solving.
Quiz-Quiz-Trade Each student has a problem that has an answer on the back. Students become masters of their initial problem and then they find a peer to quiz.   They quiz their peer and then trade their card so they are now a master of the new problem. This strategy can be used in whole or small group. Students are provided with an engaging way to review concepts with each other. Students make sense of problems, explain their reasoning, and ask and answer questions with their peers. Students can review many problems in a short period of time.
Parallel Tasks Sets of related tasks that explore the same big idea but are designed to suit the needs of students at different developmental levels. You can give students all the tasks and allow them to choose which to complete. Students are able to work on problems at their own pace. A range of difficulty in the tasks will allow all students to work through problems based upon their current level of understanding of the concept.
Vocabulary (word wall, name game, 10,000 pyramid) A word wall is a list of vocabulary terms displayed on a wall in the classroom. The name game and 10,000 pyramid game are both vocabulary games that allow students to describe the meaning of words in multiple ways while other students guess the word or phrase. Games could be played in both small and whole groups. These games allow students to assess how well they understand the meaning of a word by whether they can describe it in their own words, make connections, and give examples. The students will learn to be more precise with their use of vocabulary and communication.

I do, We do, You do

Graduał Release of Responsibilty

This is a gradual release structure that teachers use to build procedural skills. The teacher demonstrates how to do a problem, the class completes a problem together with the facilitation of the teacher, and then the students try a problem independently. Students learn by observing the teacher modeling how to solve a problem and practicing with peer and/or teacher feedback before proceeding to completing tasks independently. Some students will need a little modeling while others will need more. The amount of modeling or teacher feedback can also vary depending on the content.
Write About It/Writing to Explain Students explain their thinking on paper. They can explain why a rule works, how they found an answer, which of two answers is correct and why. This may take the form of a Type One or Type Two writing. Students may complete writing as a whole group, small group, or as a homework assignment. One of the mathematical practice standards asks students to be able to give explanations and provide arguments for their reasoning. Writing is often considered thinking on paper. Writing also provides another means for students to demonstrate their knowledge.
Cumulative Review-Think Back Mixed reviews include concept and skills previously taught. They should be consistently administered and might be used as warm-ups, homework, or for independent practice. Students’ retention of the mathematical concepts is improved with cumulative review. Providing a mixed review ensures mastery and allows one’s working memory to absorb more challenging concepts. The review also provides assessment information to the teacher to use for instruction and forming small groups.
Link sheets/Rule of Four The primary goal is to present multiple representations in math: symbolic, numerical, graphical, and verbal.   Typically, these are used to represent mathematical functions with graphs, tables, equations, and words. They can be used to represent any mathematical idea in four different forms. This helps students make connections and understand how a concept can be represented in multiple ways. This helps students to develop a deeper understanding of math as they start seeing the connections and do not just look at each topic in isolation.

Stations/Centers

 

Students work through a series of different tasks in small groups or independently. Teachers may work with a small group during that time to provide remediation or challenge. Students receive feedback from their peers or by other means as they work. Students are able to work on a range of tasks at their level. This structure provides teachers an opportunity to meet with smaller groups.

D.I.C.E

 

Students approach a problem by first making sense of the problem. Students then illustrate the problems focused on seeing the relationships between the ideas. Students then perform calculations to solve the problem and explain their thinking in words and/or orally. This approach gives students a strategy for problem solving. Students learn to identify the important information and the specific question(s). The mathematical practices ask students to develop their arguments, justify their reasoning, and critique the arguments of others.
Small Group Instruction The teacher meets with small groups of students based upon their needs. Data from benchmarks, progress monitoring, and teacher assessments are used to form the groups. Instruction in the small group is based upon student need and revolves around conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, strategic competency, productive disposition, and adaptive reasoning. Groups are flexible changing based upon review of assessment. Students receive immediate feedback on their progress. Teachers are also able to differentiate based upon student need and provide more individualized instruction, as need. Students are able to move at their own pace.

Middle School/High School Core Instructional Practices

Core Instructional Practice What Is It? Why Is It Important?
Mastery Objectives A mastery objective is what the students should know and be able to do in terms of the academic curriculum. Mastery objectives should be appropriate, i.e. linked to standards, indicators, worth knowing, matched to students (challenging and attainable), assessable, and time-bound. Objectives (goals) are the reason classroom activities are designed. Without clear objectives (goals), classroom activities are without direction. The research strongly implies that the more specific objectives are, the better they are. That is, objectives that are specific in nature are more strongly related to student achievement than objectives that are not.
Posted Agenda The “Agenda” highlights at a glance the topics or activities that will be completed in the class period. Post an agenda at the beginning of each class. After reviewing the objective at the beginning of class, review the agenda highlighting the sequence of the lesson for students. Students want to know what to expect, so they can be ready for the activities and procedures in the lesson. Routines and procedures for sharing the agenda with students will support its use by students.
“Do Now”

The “Do Now” is a 3-4 minute pen to paper task related to the instructional aims of the lesson that requires critical thinking, involves no interaction and no movement. The “Do Now” lasts approximately 5 minutes for student completion and teacher debriefing at the beginning of the class session.

 

The purpose of the “Do Now” is the following:

  • to get students in an active, focused, accountable learning mode.
  • to help students transition from one class to the next.
  • to get students actively engaged in reviewing, reflecting and writing about focal lesson content.
  • to provide the teacher with an efficient formative assessment of students’ grasp of critical lesson content.
10-2 or Chunk and Chew The purpose is to ensure that students are not inundated with input from the teacher without being given appropriate time to process the information. Teachers deliver their lessons is small “chunks” and then give students time to “chew” the information either individually, with partners, or in small groups. Teachers should follow this simple rule: for every 10 minutes of teacher input, students should be given 2 minutes to process the information.

Chunk and Chew is backed by brain research indicating that all learners at all ages need time to process new learning and move new ideas from short/working memory to long term memory.

 

Turn and Talk or Think Pair Share Students turn to a partner to share their thinking. In a think, pair, share, students are given think time before turning to a partner to share. After sharing, the teacher selects a few students to share their responses with the whole group. Student talk is important for helping students to explain their thinking, use vocabulary, ask questions, make predictions, and summarize new learning.
Annotating Texts Annotating text means to analyse and write notes in the margins or in any space you have around the text. It requires students to look deeper into the text and applying extra knowledge by making different connections to it. Students annotate by noting questions, descriptions, observations, connections, opinions, or vocabulary words they do not know. Comprehending text involves thinking about it and responding to it in some way. Annotating texts supports students in producing evidence that supports their knowledge. It requires students to interact with the text to understand the author’s meaning and intent.
Two-Column Notes As the student reads or listens, major headings or concepts are recorded in the space to the left, supporting details in the space to the right. At the end of the page, students write a summary of the main ideas and details

Two-column note taking requires active reading. Students must process the information as they take notes. The act of separating main ideas from details strengthens the understanding and memory of the content area.

 

Summaries

Summaries are a way to distill the essence of a reading to its most important points. A summary is a potent statement of the essential ideas from any given text packed into a “paragraph shell” about 15% the size of the original text. The writer and reader need to find the main ideas of a text and to capture the original author’s conclusions without using his/her exact words.

 

Strong readers summarize during and after reading. Summarizing helps students learn to determine essential ideas and consolidate important details that support them. It enables students to focus on keywords and phrases of an assigned text that are worth noting and remembering. It teaches students how to take a large selection of text and reduce it to the main points for more concise understanding.