Well, I have certainly heard from many of you about the wonders the TBE Graph is doing in your classroom, and I'm thrilled to hear it. All of a sudden, kids are so motivated to show me where the answer is and their evidence "in the text." Students are also being critical (and that's in a good way) of each other's answers, especially when the answers they give are no where to be found in the text.
Previous Posts about the TBE Graph are:
TBE Graph gets Rave Reviews and Common Core Reading Standard 1: Citing Evidence
To follow up, I wanted to answer a few questions that have popped up since I originally shared it with you, and offer some suggestions for your own follow up in the classroom.
Q: At what point in the small group lesson do students use the TBE Graph?
A: I always leave a Self-Starter board of directions for students who are coming to my reading group, so they can come to the table and be self-starters in case I'm not there. Often and in reality, it takes me a few minutes to get other kids going on the various centers, log-ins, supplies, etc. but I don't want the students at the reading group table to wait for me to get there before they start reading. This helps eliminate wasted time and sets them up for success providing the directions and expectations, and I don't have to be there to do that. After students read, and after and as the group discusses the text, students answer one question at a time and record their answers in writing on their individual whiteboard. Then, after each question, answer and discussion, they record on the their TBE Graph.
Q: Do you always use books from Reading A-Z? And do you use the questions they provide?
A: No, I do not always use books from Reading A-Z. I sometimes use books from the guided reading book room, I sometimes use magazines, I sometimes use real books from the media center and sometimes we read text on a digital device. I also use my own Hello 411 articles because they are short and interesting; two key factors necessary for reading text closely. Currently, there are two Hello 411 sets, Volume 1 and Volume 2, with more volumes on the way. These sets are great because they're written at 4 different reading levels--the same article. Kids love them and teachers love them because they are written about interesting, relevant, topics. Whenever I don't have at least 6 sets of a text, I photocopy enough for everyone to have their own text in their own hands. Timothy Shanahan says this is key for close reading. Everyone must have a copy of it and everyone must read their own copy and hold their own copy IN THEIR HANDS. The Fair Use clause of the Copyright law states that you can photocopy up to 10% of a book (any book) for educational purposes...so you know, I do this A LOT! When you do an informal cost-benefit analysis of it, I'd rather give students a high and wide variety of reading material by making photocopies of 10% of it, than limit the high-ness and wide-ness of the literary material out there and only give them just what's in the guided reading room...that seems very limiting and instructionally irresponsible. And let me just point out, finding and locating text, both as mentor examples, and interesting stories and articles for elementary students to read is perhaps the hardest, yet most vital part of teacher preparation. But, fortunately, TEXT IS EVERYWHERE. Oh, and I rarely use the questions provided by readinga-z, I make up my own, but you can use them if it helps you. The questions are fairly decent, and generally are a mix of literal and inferential questions. In addition, I do not have students annotate in the Reading A-Z books, as other student cycle through my groups, but I will photocopy one double page spread from the section we are reading for each student to mark up and annotate.
Q: Are you the only one asking the questions?
A: No. The students eventually learn how to ask really good questions (Common Core ELA Standard 1). At first I model asking different types of questions and they are mostly finding answers. With scaffolding and support, they begin to be the question askers, mostly out of curiousity and natural wonder. They also begin to ask and answer each other's questions, as shown below on the whiteboards.
Q: How long does it take to teach them this "read, find, cite, write, color" strategy?
A: At first, it will take longer. You will go slower, you will model it and demonstrate by asking yourself a question about the text, how to search and find the answer, locate it, write the accurate text-based answer, quotations marks and answer location on the whiteboard.
Q: How long do students use the TBE Graph?
A: Great question! The TBE graph is a scaffold. That means, the students use it until they no longer need it, and can find and cite text based evidence independently without "needing" to color boxes to know and self-monitor they are doing it. For my students, they used the graph for about a month...one day a student came to my group and said, "Oh, I forgot my TBE graph in my classroom...oh, well, I don't need it anyway, I know what to do."
Taught and learned. Case closed.
On an global learning note regarding this TBE Graph, I'm excited to have been asked to "attend" a staff meeting in Australia on Monday to train the teachers and answer questions about the TBE Graph...via Skype. Looking forward to that!
And as always, love learning and sharing with all of you through this blog.