Saturday, March 8, 2014

Melissa Stewart

Melissa Stewart has written has written more than 200 nonfiction books for children.  She presented on the evolution of the nonfiction book, and described some of the more interesting types of nonfiction books currently available for children.  These include:

Traditional narrative--take a topic and tell what you know; the True book series follows this model

Creative narrative--takes a nonfiction topic and tells it from a particular point of view, follows a chronological order, or imposes some other structure on the information

  • layered texts are now often employed in some texts, in which basic facts are presented in large type and more detailed information is also provided using a smaller font for more sophisticated readers

Compare and contrast--just what it says

List --a general concept or category is presented and then examples are provided on each page

Question and answer books--some are especially well done, such as Steve Jenkins "What Do You Do With a Tail Like This"

Stewart's website includes lots of ideas for how teachers and librarians can use nonfiction texts, and she has a great example of how she revised a book that could be used when working with students on their writing.

Paige Jaeger: Nonfiction and the Common Core

Paige Jaeger is leading a group of NESLA pre-conference folks through a discussion of the role of
Nonfiction and Common Core.

Pay attention to assessment so you can show your own efficacy!  Assessment is turning from a way we determine if students know something to a way to show we are doing our work effectively.  A good instructor DOES assess learning.  We need excellent rubrics.

If you do or create anything--make sure you indicate that it comes from the library!  Get credit for what you're doing!

The big picture--where does nonfiction fit in to the Common Core:

SHIFT 1 & 2:

  • Close reading and text-based answers
  • writing from sources
SHIFT 3 & 4:
  • spotlight on vocabulary
  • literacy is not just ELA
SHIFT 5 &6:
  • building knowledge
  • 50% - 50%--reading fiction/nonfiction
GOAL:  College and Career readiness--reading, writing and information literacy is needed

Sleeping kids in your class with no engagement is a waste of tax payer money :)
We need to engage kids in a deep learning experience
New challenges for us:
  • how kids search--quick, bouncy, look at a site for a total of 2 minutes to evaluate if it is good/useful
  • 3 dimensional reading--reading a screen is not a left-right/up-down experience
  • expect high level of excitement to stay engaged
  • if you don't give a student a question, they don't know when to stop a search
  • good questions mean you need to craft questions that cannot easily be "googled"
  • "selfie generation"--needs to be all about them

Half of the Common Core is content and half is delivery
  • the delivery change is where the library comes in!!-
  • IFORMATION is mentioned 10 times more than TECHNOLOGY in the standards
  • Teachers should move from a "covering" content mode to an "uncover and discover" mode:  nonfiction should be at the heart of information delivery
  • Research is one of the only types of learning that embraces every shift of the CCSS; lots of short research is useful--research is an ANCHOR STANDARD
Book recommendations:  Practice Perfect by Doug Lemov -- will help you address this as you talk to your teachers about bumping things up
Prescription for the Common Core by Paige Jaeger--organized essential questions

  • The fastest way to improve vocabulary is READING (Marilyn Jager Rand) and nonfiction has higher level vocabulary
  • Librarians who can get students to do more independent reading will prove their worth
  • Develop an academic vocabulary -- over a 4th grade level (BIG issue for ELL kids and kids coming from poverty)
  • Paige Jaeger has Vocabulary bulletin board ideas on her website
  • You cannot JUST read a book--the book and reading must serve a purpose--have a question where kids are using evidence from the book to support a claim
  • Think about how to draw attention to high-level vocabulary during library read-alouds  (e.g., read Dav Pilkey's Kat Kong and tell kids that there will be 15 amazing new words in this book--create a bookmark list of the words.  Have the kids notice when these words appear in the text and help figure out what they mean)
  • As you read a nonfiction text to students, talk about what the key words you could pull out to do further research on that topic
  • Help kids practice fluency and use a technology such as audacity to record kids reading with tone and voice; select a book with the right lexile level and one that has content that ties into curriculum (e.g., So You Want to Be President for grade 5 civics)
  • Wordless picture books--what is the main idea?  Put it into words.  Have kids write dialog and use great words.
Essential Questions

  • Give kids an essential question and then an article that contains information that will help them determine an opinion;  Tell kids that we are going to have an "evidence-based" discussion
  • Important role for library is to provide multiple perspectives and help students see multiple points of view--more than one source matters
  • Creating an essential question--you want to create an enduring understanding
  • A good essential question can help save a lame research question--look at your "find the answer" types of research and think about how you can improve it with a targeted question:
    • what can you ask that will compel the students to find an answer
    • can you embed a pronoun (we, I, us, you)
    • What is the moral of the story/
  • If your assignment can be answered on Google, then it is void of higher level thought.
Look at Intel Teach Program for ideas for "country reports" that matter--looking at real world problems--nice website

Up and at 'em with NESLA

Our annual conference is underway!  This morning we are kicking things off with a preconference event sponsored by NESLA.  NESLA decided that it would make sense to offer some preconference days for its members tied to state conferences, and MSLA was the first to take them up on this exciting offer.

Today, we arrived early on Cape Cod (where it promises to be above freezing!) to gather as NESLA President Irene Kwidinski gave the annual awards out for NESLA, to announce NESLA's new ability to offer webinars, and to hold a brief annual meeting.

The highlight of our day is a presentation on Nonfiction and the Common Core.  We are waiting to hear from Paige Jaeger and author Melissa Stewart about how to effectively use excellent nonfiction books in engaging students and teachers in this new focus of the Common Core standards.

Throughout the weekend, we look forward to having librarians with us from around the state and around New England.  Please check in here for updates throughout the weekend as we gather and learn.