using running record data to plan teaching

we know that most teachers are tired of the word “data” being thrown around liberally. and we tend to agree that this is a much overused word these days in education. for example, we don’t see the point of collecting data simply to put on a spreadsheet and then store in our files or deliver to our administrators. as teachers, we know that the kind of data that is worth spending our precious teaching and conferring time collecting is the kind that we can use to plan where we are headed with our teaching.

running records are a tool can provide that kind of data. (for real.) Continue reading

stopping random lists of facts (or small groups to support standard 2 with informational text)

we know that all teachers have seen the reader who creates long lists of facts when reading an informational text. you know what we mean…it looks similar to this page of notes from a student who has dutifully jotted down “important” facts and details from his informational text:nonfiction literal notes 11_5you get the idea. long lists of facts copied straight from the text. but who cares? what are kids supposed to do with these facts? store them in long term memory just in case they’re ever on jeopardy and this just happens to be one of their categories??

the real work, the work we’re teaching toward in anchor standard 2, isn’t to make long lists of facts, but to take these long lists of facts and analyze and sort them to come up with bigger ideas within the text.

what can we do for our students who are having difficulty getting past listing the facts and never really getting to the big ideas? Continue reading