Archive for the 'Reading' Category

21st Century Skills Critical Thinking- Fact? Inference? Judgment?

Many students need help in developing critical thinking skills as part of  the 21st century skills.  A technique that I have used both when I taught Critical Thinking courses at the college level and when I have taught higher level thinking  in my own Spanish or English  classes is Fact-Inference- Judgment.

Look at this picture taken by me  in Costa Rica:

Fact – something that is obviously (physically)  in the picture, text, movie, etc.  Everyone will agree to this fact.  For example, there are four people in the picture.  There are pigeons.

Inference- based on noticing  things in the picture, text, movie, etc., a person  makes an assumption. This assumption is only a short logical  step from the observation.   A person can state what he/she observed and what inference this lead to.  Others can easily understand the logic of going  directly from the observation to the inference.  Inference making people use statements like “Based on observing… I notice … I see and therefore …).  For example, I notice that they have on short sleeves so I infer it is warm.   It looks like there are young children, a young adult and an older adult, I assume that this is a grandmother, a daughter and her children.

A judgment is a value statement or emotional statement. Although something in the picture or text may be a springboard, there is no logical leap.  Judgments take a strong value or emotional stand on the media.  Judgments usually express their viewpoint through  opinion-based adjectives (“handsome”,  “unsafe”) , adverbs  (“dangerously”,   “peacefully”), verbs (“kill”, “love”) and nouns (“murderer”, “saint” ).  A judgment can be easily challenged by others.  Some judgments for this picture are “The family is happy”  (Not really, the little boy began to cry as the mother moved the pigeon closer to her son.” A fact is that the two older women are smiling. ) and  “Costa Rica is overrun by pigeons.” (Fact: Pigeons are in some city parks.)

As we help students to give only  facts and inferences about media, we develop their critical thinking.  As we help students to see that some statements are judgments (pure opinion not based on  facts  or inferences), we develop more critical thinkers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Integrating Thinking Through Reading

As teachers we can incorporate many critical thinking through reading activities into our classroom. We can have students:

Annotate the text

Explain the context of the reading

Outline or Summarize

Predict

Ask questions about the text

Compare/ contrast to other readings

Connect to other readings or other things containing the ideas found in the text

Pre-assessment: Open Eyes or Blinded

This semester I have given many pre-assessments to my students. Last semester, I made many mistakes in instruction because I did not know enough about my students before the beginning of the semester. I taught material that they knew and did not delve into material that they did not know. I assumed that they could read the textbook when their reading rate and comprehension which I tested once I saw a problem revealed an average class reading rate in the low 100s and a comprehension rate of 60% or lower. I thought that since they were college students they could organize their own writing.

So this semester, I have given them writing diagnostic, writing patterns past knowledge diagnostic, grammar diagnostic, vocabulary diagnostic, and reading diagnostic. I can hear the moans about wasting all the time on diagnostic. My students spend 45 minutes on the combined writing and grammatic diagnostic, three minutes on the vocabulary one, four minutes on the past writing patterns and about 15 on the reading one. So in just about one hour and ten minutes I have done six diagnostic tests that have transformed how I teach writing to the students.

What pre-assessments do you give and how do you change your instruction to better improve your students’ learning?

Reading Speed and Comprehension Online Test

Have you every wondering about the reading comprehension of your students?

The following are some sites designed for high school or above to test both reading speed and comprehension. Most of these have about ten paragraphs to read

http://www.readingsoft.com/ – a reading of about 8 paragraphs. Times and then has comprehension questions

Rocket Reader of http://www.rocketreader.com/cgi-bin/portal/fun_tests/perception has a reading test that includes specific vocabulary

ExecuRead of http://www.execuread.com/speedtest.htm has reading test timed and comprehension

Unless we give the students diagnostic reading tests such as these, we may never know their entry level of  reading. Is it really far to assign ten pages of reading to a student who reads less than 100 reads more minute (If a  textbook page has 400 words, it will that that student four minutes per page or a total of 40 minutes to read ten textbook pages.)?

What other reading diagnostics do you give your students?

Free-Reading.net – A Free early literacy Wiki

Free-Reading.net  for early reading

A new and exciting first grade reading workbook/Wiki, Free-reading.net, is up for adoption by Florida, one of the to five textbook market according to”Free Online materials could save school billions”(Greg Toppo, USA Today, Nov. 7, 2007 12D).

The site states: “Free-Reading is an ‘open source’ instructional program that helps teachers teach early reading. Because it’s open source, it represents the collective wisdom of a wide community of teachers and researchers. It’s designed to contain a scope and sequence of activities that can support and supplement a typical “core” or “basal” program

This site allows teachers to download, copy and share lessons with colleagues. In true wiki fashion, teachers can also add materials to the site. Also, the site has videos that demonstrate techniques.

Try it and contribute to it.

Improving Reading Skills With Technology

TechLearning

I wrote another article on improving reading skills through technology, Ramping Up Reading With Technology. There are fourteen different easy-to-apply techniques. Try these out in your classroom so that your students can be better readers! Although the examples are in English, many of these will work in ESL and World Language classes.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Reading in the 21st Century

Reading on Computer

I wonder what “reading” means for the 21st century. Does it mean

Getting information from images, graphs and charts, as well as text?

Skimming for links on webpages as well as reading left to right word for word? (I’m sure students read more online than they do offline.)

Following webpage links to more in-depth information about the topic?

Writing down sticky-note comments on the electronic text as a person reads it and those comments are available for others to see?

Questioning the author through emails, blogs, and videoconferencing?

Blogging or videoconferencing with others about the meaning of the text? (Book clubs/literature circles online)

Comparing other sources of the same information such as looking at the same news story from newspapers of several countries?

Writing information to a WIKI about other stories with the same theme, location, or problem?

Getting cultural information that helps in the understanding of the reading material from a person in that country? What would a person from Colombia tell about Hernando Téllez’ “Just Lather, That’s All”?

Reading 50% or more of non-fiction?

Decoding text messages?

Determining the authenticity of the reading material?

Being able to build or do something as a result of reading instructions?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Improve Students’ Inference Reading with PowerPoint

Here are a few ways to use PowerPoint type programs to improve students’ inference reading.

* Show students a Flickr or Google picture with the question words next to it. The question of When will probably be an inference question since they will have to figure out the season, the time of day, etc. Do for several pictures until everyone can answer the inference questions for a passage.

* Students write inference questions about a short displayed passage (a paragraph). They can start with using synonyms for the words already in the passage. The boy goes to the store. Where did the youth go?

* Students go up to the Smartboard and circle the critical words in the projected passage question and then circle the corresponding words in the passage.

*Students see two side by side newspaper articles about the same topic. They circle the words that show the author’s bias – red for the left side article and green for the right side article.

How do you improve students’ inference reading with PowerPoint type programs?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Improving Reading Comprehension Through PowerPoint

Teachers can improve their students’ literal reading through common technology such as PowerPoint like programs.

 

* Show a picture and have the students take turns asking and answering Who. Where, When, What, and Why questions about the picture.

* Haven them read a short projected passage and the orally answer Who, Where, When, What about the passage.

* Project a passage from PowerPoint on a Smartboard and have students circle the literal answers to questions about the passage.

* Have students read a short passage and then select the corresponding picture from four possible Flickr or Google choices.

How do you improve students’ reading comprehension through PowerPoint type programs?

 

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

 

Improving Reading Vocabulary Through PowerPoint

Desk

Here are a few ways in which you can improve students’ reading vocabulary skills through PowerPoint

* Have a listing of the sight words that the students are to know and read

* Show words or pictures and have students pick which one does not rhyme (bee, tree, three, moon)

* Create a class story about the school and have pictures to match each sentence. “This is Alan’s desk.”

* Show students a word and have them write all words associated with that word and group those words. For sports, students might list hockey, baseball, ticket, glove, hot dog, and hoop

* Have students identify vocabulary by topic – show them pictures of ten occupations

* Show a Flickr or Google picture with many details such as a street scene, a restaurant scene or a kitchen and have them identify all the critical words from the picture.

* Teach student root, prefixes, and suffixes through interactive PowerPoint with word groups such as bicycle, biplane bifocals

How do you improve students’ reading vocabulary through PowerPoint?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

 

 

Reading for Meaning Through Technology

Reading T-chart

When I was in middle school and high school, I remember that reading Social Studies and Science textbooks was a matter of finding the answer in the passage. For the math textbook, I had to understand and solve problems by applying the formula or concept. For the English textbooks, I had to do literary analysis, a very specific type of reading. There was the textbook and myself, sometimes a weak combination.

So how do we help students to read for meaning today through the use of technology?

Do we

Model our thinking process as we read a passage to the students? An English teacher may ask “If Don Quixote becomes crazy by reading books, will we become crazy by watching tv?” We can digitally record this thinking for the first chapter of the book and then have students record their thinking aloud for subsequent chapters. These digital recordings can become podcasts or web movies that capture the deep thinking in the reading.

Have students answer questions as they go through the text, readings, or websites? In Social Studies, a question can be “What other rivers have been the center of civilizations?” In Science, a question may be ” What other reactions have required heat? Why?” Students can respond in a class blog so that students can see the many possible answers.

Ask students to compare/contrast what they are reading to a previous reading using a T-chart in a Word chart form or in an Inspiration-like form? In what ways are Don Quixote and A Midsummer Night’s Dream similar?

Assign students to find images that prove the idea that they are talking about using Google or Flickr? Images of “bread” from around the world show the universal need for food.

Ask students high-level thinking questions about the topic and have them respond with a personal response system. Sancho is most like which other sidekick? A- B- C- D-

Have them use a Smartboard-like device to underline all the words that show the same meaning or emphasis? Students can read a website passage and underline all the words or phrases that show the author’s bias.

How else do you have your students read for deep meaning through technology? Share your ideas. If I get them within the week, I might include them in an article I’m writing on reading and technology.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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State Reading Summative Benchmark Panic: Why panic if we do formative assessment all year?

ELA panic or formative assessment

Whenever I talk to elementary and middle school teachers, I hear wait until the state ELA is over. Teachers are preparing students like crazy. Panic is felt in the elementary and middle schools.

Why?

The panic tells me that teachers are not fomative in their usual classroom reading activities and assessment. If they were assessing students all year on the required reading skills from the state assessment, they would not have to prepare students at the last minute. If the teachers had montored and adjusted instruction during the year, then their students would be prepared. Yes, teachers do need to give students the testing taking strategies for this particular assessment but that will only take a few minutes.

Avoid panic and incorporate formative assessments during the year. These assessments will mirror the state assessments. Incorporate learning peace into your classroom instead of panic.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Web-based Reading: Listen to it and Read it if you can

Ear maybe to the speaking

A primary teacher showed me a web-based program that reads a story to a student. Then the student records his/her own reading of each page of the story and then the program plays it back.

The teacher thought it was wonderful. She was so pleased that each student could record his/her own reading. I disagreed.

It is wonderful that a student can hear a story. However, after the student records his/her voice, there is no correction. The student can read “in a house” and say “in a hose”. The only way for the teacher to ascertain how well the student reads is to listen to each story of each student while the teacher reads the story book. That is a very time consuming task.

I know that the listening and repeating technique is not always effective. Please don’t ask me to speak the Italian I thought I had learned from “listen and repeat” tapes.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Developing ELA Inference Reading Skills Through Technology: Inference Reading

BoyChildYouthKid

These suggestions for improving students inference reading skills are based on students having practiced with question words and having practiced with literal level questions.

– Have the students look at a question on the Smartboard, underline a critical word in the question and have them write at least three other words for that critical word. If the students read “Where did the boy buy the book?”, they underline the word “boy”, they write “child, youth, or kid”. They look for the critical word of “boy” in the passage. If they do not find that exact word, then they look for the synonyms. They may find “The child purchased the book at the corner store.” Students can underline all the critical words in a question and then list the synonyms under each critical word. Then they can be given a file so they can do the same activity on their own laptop for individual practice.

-Provide students with one sentence and ask many inference questions about the sentence. “In the northeastern part of the city at noon the tall man crashed his new truck into the tree because the sun was so bright.” This time each question will contain at least one inference (other than the question word inference). Who was driving the truck? When did the accident happen? Where was the collision? What happened to the tree? When did this unfortunate thing take place? Why was the tree hit? Help them so that they can answer the Ws for each of these inference question. The students have to be to comprehend the question well enough and to read the passage well enough to understand that the same idea can be presented with different words such “crashed into the tree” = “collision”. You might want to model this for the whole class several times using a word processor or a Smartboard. Then students can answer several inference questions on their own computers. As they answer you can see if any misunderstandings occur.

-You can increase the inference difficulty by using several inference words in the question. (Just like the NYS ELA does!) Instead of “Who was driving the truck?” the question could be “Which adult was driving the vehicle?” In the first question, “truck” is in the passage but “driving” is not and neither is “Who?” In the second questions students have to translate “Which adult”, “was driving” and “the vehicle” in order to be able to answer the question; yes, that is three  inferences  in the same question.

-After students can answer inference questions based on one sentence, then give them a paragraph with inference questions. One teacher delivers his reading inference homework via his blog. The students download the reading passages from the blog, work on them, and bring them to class the next day. Another teacher uses personal response devices to “see” the students’ answers during class and figure out if any inference problems emerge.

How else do you improve your students’ inference reading ability through technology?

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Developing ELA Inference Reading Skills Through Technology: Literal Reading

SentenceLiteralQuestions

Once your students understand questions words, they can move on to answer questions.

-Provide students with a short sentence and ask many questions about the sentence. “John goes to the store at three o’clock. When does John go to the store? Where do he go? Who goes to the store?” Make the questions as literal as possible. Have them use their word processor to highlight the question word in each question and change the font color to a specific color. Then they highlight the answer in the same color. For example, they would underline “When” in red and underline “at three o’clock” in red. Give them many different one sentence passages until everyone can answer the question words for the literal passages.

-Next give them a complex sentence and ask many literal questions about the sentence. “In the northeastern part of the city at noon the tall man crashed his new truck into the tree because the sun was so bright.” Who crashed the truck? When did the truck crash? Where did the truck crash? What did the truck crash into? When did the truck crash? Why did the truck crash? They can word process their answers. Help them so that they can answer the Ws for any of these literal questions. The students can go almost directly (literally) from the question to the answer in the passage. Repeat longer complex sentences until all students can successfully answer the literal questions about the complex sentence.

-Then give them a short paragraph and ask many literal questions about the paragraph. Make sure the answers are in different sentences in the paragraph. Have them answer the questions by using the Smartboard or Mimeo so the class can verify that their answers are correct and that they know why the answers are correct. Give them many different paragraphs until everyone can answer the question words for the literal paragraph.

-Celebrate their success by showing them some beautiful pictures and asking literal questions about the pictures.

– Only proceed to inference questions when all students can successfully answer the literal ones.

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Developing ELA Inference Reading Skills Through Technology: ELA Prep-Question Words

QuestionWordReadingInferenceMany teachers are getting their students ready for the ELA which take place in New York State in Jan.

A few  suggestions:

Provide students the following on their own laptop, in a small group on a computer, or as a whole class.

– Make sure each student knows what each question word asks. Have students word process all the different types of answers for each question.  Or have them create a concept map using Inspiration. For example for “When” question word, they can write hour, day, month, year, season, after, before, during… Have them share their answers. Have students compile a list for each question word. Many students do not realize the breadth of possible answers to the question words.
-Have them word process three sentences that answer “When” in three different ways and then write the question for each.  They might write “Yesterday I studied math. When did I study math? My brother goes skiing in December. When does my brother go skiing? I was born in 1985. When was I born?” Then the student trades laptops  or the files with another student who answers the “When” question for each sentence.

-Have students brainstorm in a group all the variations on a question word. For example, for “When” they might list the following “At what time…?”, “During what season…?

– Have students use a blog to share all of their different questions that can be used to used each question word.   Then ask students to read a passage and to write as many different questions as they can about the passage.

-Have student pairs read a passage and ask as many questions as they can about the passage.  The pair exchanges the questions with another pair.  Each pair answers the questions and they compare the different types of questions they asked and answered.  They make sure the other pair correctly answered the questions.

How else have you helped your students to prepare for understanding and answering questions words?

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RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
    hgtuttle
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
    hgtuttle
  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter […]
    hgtuttle
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
    hgtuttle
  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
    hgtuttle
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
    hgtuttle
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]
    hgtuttle

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