Monday, April 1, 2013

OLW for March: CREATE-ing text sets...

I have realized that I am becoming obsessed with CREATE-ing (developing) text sets that lead to inquiry.  In anchor 9 of the Common Core, students are being pushed to analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.  Literature...Informational does not matter.  When using text sets to promote and extend inquiry opportunities, students are nudged to think beyond a venn diagram, to think beyond the fact that everything they learn is unknown to new, and to think beyond connections.  Students are using connections and experiences to see components, patterns, ideas, and text structures that the author uses to learn about topic in a different way.

When creating text sets in the classroom...I have found that I have had to use the following thinking to develop these text sets...

Students need to have experiences that allow the unknown information learned today or the thinking that was developed to a different level to become tomorrow's background knowledge.  Students need opportunities to not only develop background knowledge but use this knowledge to further their learning and thinking in a meaningful way.

Here is an example of a text set that leads to inquiry...

1.  Sleep Like a Tiger-  This book is wonderful!  From the concept of problem/solution to the beautiful figurative language.  All students will further their thinking with this text.

 2. In the book above,  the author uses the comparison of how and when a bat sleeps to encourage a little girl to sleep, even though she didn't want to.  The little girl makes a statement that bats don't sleep and the parents further explain a bats sleeping habits.  The book, Bats, would support students in understanding if the little girl's statement is accurate.

3.  Inquiry- So how do various animals sleep?  This text further develops a student's thinking about the way various types of animals sleep...beyond the obvious animals...armadillos, European bee-eaters, warthogs, and more!  It would be interesting to use one of these animals and try to incorporate it into the storyline of Sleep Like a Tiger.  Why did the author choose those specific animals for the story based on what you have learned now?  Students could also create more figurative language ideas based around the new animals in this text, Time to Sleep.

4.  More inquiry- What does happen while we sleep? While You Were Sleeping is full of fun facts that happen at night...great for analyzing comparisons in informational text...pairs nicely with the figurative language approach to Sleep Like a Tiger.  Figurative language is based on comparisons!


  1. Amazing lessons all rolled around a common theme. You know how I love figurative language. What fun for students and thinking at a higher level. I will be checking out some of these new titles thanks!

    1. Just add argumentative or opinion writing...use the Time for Kids article: Sleep Tight for bedtime arguments

      Or to compare human sleep needs to the sleeping patterns of some of the animals mentioned in inquiry...

      Or use the article to inspire a topic for collecting data for analysis using line plots, double bar graphs etc...

      Hmmm....lots of possibilities!

  2. I love the connections, I hope you share more text sets! I will be thinking about your sets as I organize my classroom library and browse for new books!

    1. I will gladly share more! Thinking about text sets started a new section in my personal library...looking at groupings,not by strategies, but by intertexuality!

  3. I agree with Deb. As a first grade teachers, it gives me an opportunity to look at my books in a new way. I have read this post several times and look forward to more revolving around this topic.

    I have been asked to help 4th grade buy some books - either guided reading sets, biographies, etc. The group of teachers are new to teaching "small groups." They were given money and bought some Okapi sets of books. In what direction would you lead them? Do you have any ideas? More 'sets?' Sets of trade books? Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I am going to feature text sets more often. I have begun to use them in all situations...specifically interactive read aloud. I can read aloud Sleep Like a Tiger and think about character. But...can also read Time to Sleep and think about subjects as characters. This really helps me balance the amount of fiction and nonfiction in the classroom and gives students time to use their new or newer background knowledge.

      Yay for teachers being given money! When I taught fourth grade last year, my favorite resource was the Safari Magazines by Mondo. Here is a post on them...

      It is a leveled magazine organized around a content theme...each magazine has a nonfiction article, a fiction/historical fiction article, two poems, and a reader's theatre. Great for working with a small reading group in an inquiry format.

      Let me know what you think :) If it is not what you were looking for, I would be happy to recommend something else.

  4. Yes, I have some of those in my first grade class. I will pass that post on to them. Thank you!!!

    Steph Harvey calls the read-aloud sets, mixing fiction & nonfiction, satellite texts. I was lucky enough to hear her two weeks ago.

    I'm eager to read more of your text sets. They do get me thinking.

    1. I hope they find the magazines helpful. I found them easy to manage in small guided reading groups. The short text will be easier for them to plan, manage, and support than a novel if this is new to them.

      Satellite texts? Interesting phrase...I will have to read more about that!

      I just posted another text set...enjoy! This was one of my favorites! :)

    2. PS...So jealous that you got to hear Stephanie Harvey speak! I love her book with Harvey Daniels, Comprehension and Collaboration!

    3. I did just see your new post & will share it at school. After our back & forth, I remembered Steph just collaborated with National Geographic and created sets for 3 - 5 called Ladders. It is a, "laddered approach to leveled readers in order to differentiate for a shared experience." There is a grade-level text, and then a below-level title and an above-level title. The texts look the same - supposedly down to the paragraph. I haven't seen one yet, but our 4th grade will have resources to think about. Thank you again!