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Chapter 3 Analyzing and Discussing Narrative Texts

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press ePub

“I CAN JUST PICTURE THIS. There’s our main man, Romeo, standing on the street. He’s talking with Juliet, but she doesn’t know who’s talking. I know this because he says, ’My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself/Because it is an enemy to thee,’ and I’m thinking that he doesn’t want to be recognized because of the family problems. He wants to talk with her, but he knows that he can’t. How would you feel if you wanted to tell someone that you liked them but were afraid to?” asks ninth-grade English teacher Cindy Lin. The students immediately turn to one another and make a text-to-self connection, which redirects the focal point from Romeo and Juliet to the students’ life experiences:


I had that happen to me. I didn’t want to talk to the parents because they didn’t like me, maybe because I’m Mexican.


Really? I thought it was just me. For me, it was because of my hair. Remember when I dyed it bright red?

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Chapter 2: Finding Information: The Eternal Search

Nancy Frey Solution Tree Press ePub

There is more information at our fingertips today than ever before. Remember doing a research project in high school? You had to physically go to the library and search the card catalog. Then you had to find the green books, Guides to Periodicals, to see where the journals you wanted were located (if your library had them). For example, Doug remembers an assignment from tenth grade related to World War I. The teacher wanted personal accounts of people who lived through the war, as well as factual information regarding the war. Doug went to the card catalog and looked up the subject “World War I.” There were several entries, and Doug hunted each of them down. Some were useful for his paper, but most were not. Doug used an ineffective search strategy that consumed a lot of time.

Sound familiar? While the tools students use today to search for information have changed, the strategies they use have not. As their teachers, we have to instruct them in conducting effective information searches. This chapter will focus on efforts to help students locate information. But literacy 2.0 requires more than an effective search strategy. Unlike the sources Doug would have found from the card catalog, the Internet provides students with unfiltered information. Spurious screeds sit alongside valid information. Accordingly, we also have to teach students how to evaluate the information they find. The gatekeepers of information from the past no longer exert their control over what students find, and this presents additional challenges for the 21st century teacher.

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Chapter 6: Commitment to RTI: A Framework for Success

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press ePub

THE SUCCESS OF ANY response to intervention model rests on two key factors: accurate assessments and effective instruction and intervention. Of course, clear definitions of these terms, and staff members who understand these definitions in the same way, are integral to success as well. In this book, we have defined effective instruction for EL students and offered a model of instruction that encompasses Tier 1 core curriculum, Tier 2 supplemental instruction, and Tier 3 intensive intervention. We have proposed a process for assessment that can be used to determine the student’s response to instruction and intervention and to inform instructional planning. Finally, we have discussed the ways a special education system dovetails with other supports in the school.

The common vocabulary that comes from a focused, schoolwide RTI system has benefits that extend beyond English learners. Our work with elementary, middle, and high schools that have implemented this model has demonstrated to us that supporting students with diverse learning needs is possible. It does, however, require that the school be committed to identifying and meeting those needs—that it be “responsive to intervention.” While most schools have mission statements declaring this commitment, practical concerns get in the way of full implementation.

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2 Developing a Quality Program for English Learners

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press ePub

The students who arrive at our schools bring with them a host of experiences, learning profiles, and family supports. English learners aren’t uniformly the same, even when they share a heritage language, any more than monolingual English students are. Some students enter the kindergarten classroom with years of preschool education. For others, this may be their first contact with a school, regardless of chronological age. Students with extensive development in their first language are likely to use it to leverage learning a second, while those who have limited vocabulary will take longer to reach proficiency in English. In all cases, English learners have unique family and life experiences that influence their learning. This presents a host of challenges for schools as they attempt to tailor curricular, instructional, and programmatic approaches to better serve individual students.

English learners are doubly chalenged, as they must learn English while learning in English. They benefit from quality instructional programs that emphasize student talk in order to give them lots of experiences using academic language.

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Chapter 6

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press PDF
Don’t smile until winter break” was the advice Doug received from a well-meaning mentor when he started teaching. So there he was, on the first day of school, standing in front of students talking with them about expectations, all the while trying not to smile. It was all very Machiavellian. The theory was that it is easier to begin strict and become kind than it is to begin kind and become strict. But the problem with this advice is that it’s hard for students to develop relationships with people who don’t smile at them. Students want their teachers to care. They want to be treated fairly. And they want to know what to expect when they arrive in the classroom each day. Not smiling is bad advice. We say, smile all you can every day. Develop strong relationships with students, and then lean on those relationships to establish expectations for students. To us, that’s much better advice than simply being a strict teacher who has to use control and intimidation to manage a group of students. See All Chapters

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