Monday, January 27, 2014

Guest Poster Shearer-ly Sadler: RACE Reading Responses

Hello ATUE Readers!  This is Tobi from Shearer-ly Sadler 4th Grade guest blogging today!  This is so exciting to be over here to share! I am fairly new to the blogging and TPT world but not to the teaching profession.  I have been teaching elementary school for 14 years and a National Board Certified Teacher for 5 years.  So... I'm going to jump right in today. 

Do your students have difficulty expressing their thoughts when responding to reading?  Mine do and traditionally have experienced this on Kentucky's Common Core State Standards assessment (K-PREP).  This is my districts third year with Common Core so our principal steered us toward Genre Based instruction.  Biographies is my fourth genre based unit this year and since Kentucky has been hit very hard by Ol' Man Winter, I decided to start with a new classic, Snowflake Bentley.  This biography accomplishes many of the Common Core reading informational standards:  I took these from
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3 Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.     
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.5 Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
K-Prep questions are very deep thinking questions, even the multiple choice questions.  However, you can put MCQ's in front of my students and generally they can answer them well all day long.  But you put an constructed response question in front of them and they freeze.  MCQ's show they know the content, but when asked to apply and retrieve text based evidence, the show significant difficulty.  Part of these genre based units, at least for me, have been to really focus on written responses to reading.  I have been developing task cards with DOK (depth of knowledge) Level 1 & 2 questions for most of the year, but not focusing on them well.  I have been making them part of the daily 4-5 rotations while I teach small group guidedt instruction.  They have been general questions that pertain to any given text.  These questions for Snowflake Bentley were text dependent and required some mental effort on the students part. 

So after the questions were written based on the above mentioned standards, I had students pull out their basals.  I am NOT a basal teacher unless I have to be.  However, this story was included in our Treasures basal in its entirety and that makes for some easy access to multiple copies! 

I always have students read something multiple times.  Our first reading is first and foremost for enjoyment.  So, I allowed children to get into groups of three to four (which allowed for peer reading support).  then each group discussed what they enjoyed about the text.  I circulate during these discussions and eavesdrop!  After each group finished their initial reading and text discussion , they were allowed to choose one of the task cards with the direction that after the choice was made, a second reading of the text would take place with the purpose of finding text evidence in support of their task card response.  I was amazed at how much these very focused questions had them taking notes from the text and REFERING BACK TO THE TEXT OFTEN!!!  Why this is so difficult for my students, I don't know...

After these notes were taken, each person in the group was to formulate a response using our RACE extended response organizing strategy.  Restate, Answer the question, Connect to text, Extend to yourself or the world...They compiled all responses to hand in, choosing one and placing it on the top of the stack to be a part of the Snowflake Bentley Gallery Walk.  These chosen responses were reviewed by me and handed back the next day for revisions by each group. 
Here are a few examples of their written responses:

 This couldn't be the end of the session because there were just too many standards and each question was only correlated to one.  Thus the Gallery Walk was born.  I took the chosen response from each group and placed them around the room.  Students were then given this response grid
This allowed nearly all questions to be answered by each student.  It also stretched their little bloom's taxonomy legs getting students to evaluate other students' answers.  Here are the kiddos in action on their Gallery Walk


Here are some samples of the evaluation tool

 To make sure this activity was accessible for all, I paired students up with a peer if they required a reader or scribe and I also circulated to coach students through their answers. 

I was so pleased with this lesson.  It took me about 3-4 days to work though it and then I gave an assessment over the standard.  Great responses this time and I could see so much more close reading and attention text details in their assessment answers.  I plan to include this in a larger biography unit include some wordwork and other standard specific/congruent activities.
As a thank you to ATUE readers click here to get my RACE poster for FREE!  Also, this Snowflake Bentley Biography Lesson will be available at my TPT store as a flash freebie for the next 24 hours!!!

It was great to be here at All Things Upper Elementary today!  Come on over to Shearer-ly Sadler 4th grade and leave me some love and I might just have another little freebie for you!! 

Shearerly Sadler 4th Grade
Shearerly Sadler 4th Grade TPT shop


  1. I love the idea of the gallery walk, Tobi! It gets students up and moving, and just a little different twist to further engage them.
    Crafting Connections

  2. I love how you extended their thinking with a gallery walk. We evaluate a few responses when creating our Bump it Up board but this would get the students even more involved in evaluating responses. Would be a great idea for math problem solving too. Thanks for the ideas and resources.

  3. Thanks you guys! I got up this morning to check I was so excited to be here today!!!

  4. Great reminder of how fun and exciting this new Common Core "stuff" is!! Your activities were meaningful and I am impressed you gave feedback right away. I strive for that and sometimes I just plain fall off the horse!! So bummed I missed the FLASH, but I got some great ideas to incorporate for my 5th graders! Thank you for sharing.



Thank you for your comment! We appreciate your input!

-All Things Upper Elementary

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Blogging tips