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Chapter 4: Creating Information: Production in Literacy 2.0

Nancy Frey Solution Tree Press ePub

“What’s ‘New Literacies’? What was wrong with the old ones?” We overheard this comment at a reading conference not too long ago and couldn’t help but smile at the automatic assumption that new things always replace old things. While that may be true with some tools (after all, no one longs for an eight-track tape player), it is not true with functions. As we discussed in the introduction, the tools are going to continue to change with breathtaking speed. Even as we write this, we are fretting about our ability to keep current with technological developments. But we breathe a sigh of relief when we remind ourselves that the functions are timeless. The need to acquire, produce, and share information transcends the latest gadget or software.

Donald Leu and his colleagues acknowledge that new literacies (lowercase) can embrace a number of different areas, including informational literacy, discourse, reading comprehension, and learning strategies (Leu, O’Byrne, Zawilinski, McVerry, & Everett-Cacopardo, 2009). As they note, each of these new literacies (lowercase) draws from a variety of funds of knowledge that are informing our understanding as educators who are preparing learners in the 21st century. They offer four dimensions that collectively provide a working definition of New Literacies (uppercase):

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Chapter 2: Tier 1: An Opportunity to Learn

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press ePub

“IF STUDENTS HAVE EQUAL opportunities to learn, doesn’t that mean they have equal access?”

“Isn’t effective instruction for English learners really just good teaching that works for all students?”

“Aren’t instructional strategies for English learners the same ones we use for students with disabilities?”

“I never received ESOL, and I learned English. Shouldn’t students now be able to do the same thing?”

Ask a group of educators to answer these questions, and you will surely hear affirmative and negative responses to each. It seems that everyone has an opinion about teaching students whose native language is not English, as well as about where to draw the line between the school’s responsibility and that of the student and family. The mere mention of teaching English learners can evoke strong emotional responses, especially in an era of high-stakes testing and accountability for all students. These questions are at the very heart of the definition of opportunity to learn. If we were to answer yes to all of them, then the next logical step would be to bypass Tier 1 altogether for English learners and jump immediately to Tier 2 supplemental intervention, or even to Tier 3 intensive intervention. If schools with large English learner populations followed this approach, the RTI wedge that we presented in chapter 1 (page 18) would be reversed and might look something like the one in Figure 2.1 (page 24). But this would result in an inefficient, costly, and discriminatory way of educating children who are learning English.

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Chapter 3

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press PDF
When the principal calls late at night on a holiday weekend, it’s usually not a good thing. In our case, it turned out to be a great learning opportunity but a challenging one. We received a call on Labor Day weekend with a plea:“Can you cover the twelfth-grade English classes for six weeks while the teacher is out on family medical leave?” Until that time, the oldest students we’d ever taught were ninth graders. We had both taught elementary and middle school and had spent a lot of time with freshmen in previous years. We really didn't know much about the senior year or the curriculum. We were faced with a problem and one that would require our ability to consolidate our understanding of teaching and learning to design meaningful experiences for the students. We had to learn a new curriculum quickly. We had to consider the developmental differences between our students of the past and the students who would be in our classrooms now. We had to figure out how to engage 140 students at the same time. As a result of school-level systems thinking, the faculty had decided that seniors needed some experiences with large-format lectures to be successful in college. See All Chapters
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Chapter 1 Readers and Texts: Why Both Are Necessary for Understanding

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press ePub

“ONE TIME, AT BAND CAMP …” You know where this is going. The student is going to make a tangentially related connection between himself and the text, based on a personal experience that few, if any, other students have had. Although the student has comprehended the gist of what the author has shared, this personal connection may overshadow the message of the text and move him further and further away from the text and what the author had to say. When this happens, reading becomes primarily about the reader’s experience and not about maintaining a relationship between the text and the reader, who as a result may fail to comprehend the complexity of the information being presented.

But making the personal connection is not the problem. In fact, making connections is what readers often do when comprehending and enjoying a text. As we will see later in this chapter, making connections is one of the cognitive strategies readers use to understand what they are reading. The problem is that less-able readers do not return to the text to compare and contrast their personal experience with that of the author (Cordón & Day, 1996). Either they have not been taught the reasons for returning to the text or they have not been held accountable for applying them.

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Chapter 5: Sharing Information: The World Is Your Audience

Nancy Frey Solution Tree Press ePub

One of the milestones in our transition to literacy 2.0 teaching came several years ago when a student asked if she could write her book review on Amazon.com rather than on paper. Amber, who had read Who Will Tell My Brother? (Carvell, 2002), wanted to share her thoughts about the book with other people who had read it. She really enjoyed the poetic format of the book and at the same time was angry about the mascot issue raised in the story. She wanted to know if this kind of thing happened in other places or if it was “just fiction.” She wanted to connect with other readers, and she understood that this relatively new service would allow her to do so. As she said, “Nobody else in class has read it, but somebody out there has, and I wanna talk with them.” Despite our concerns about this new venue, we encouraged her to post a comment about the book and promised that we would read her comment and discuss it with her. Were we scared to let her share her developing voice with the whole world? Yes. Did we understand her desire to do so? Of course. And did we learn something along the way? You bet.

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