Disciplinary Literacy Final

St. Thomas More High School
Drew Cordell, Math Mike Fricke, Science
Kevin Gleeson, History Mike Greuel, Theology
Mary Burke, Academic Dean
2014 Catholic Educator’s Convention, Catholic Schools: Leading the
Doug Buehl—our mentor
 Author
 Literacy Consultant
 Past President WSRA
 History Teacher
 Reading Teacher
 What are the various texts that students are expected to read to
access knowledge and understanding in your discipline?
How are those texts organized in your “academic discourse”?
How does the “discourse specific” material govern the thinking
and types of questions asked?
What are the comprehension processes that lead students to
greater understanding in your discipline?
How does our teaching in “discipline specific discourses”
encompass rich and ongoing literacy instruction?
Middle and high school teachers need to integrate
literacy practices into the instruction of their disciplines.
“ The idea is not that content-area teachers should become reading and
writing teachers, but rather they should emphasize the reading and writing
practices that are specific to their subjects, so students are encouraged to
read and write like historians, scientists, mathematicians, and other
subject-area experts.”
(Pearson, 1996)
Alliance for Excellent Education
“Middle and high school teachers need help to understand how
they can develop content knowledge at the same time that
they improve student literacy; that in fact, effective teaching
in their subject areas will be boosted by complementary
literacy instruction related to the texts (and the other
communication demands) characteristic of their subjects.”
IRA with collaboration NCTE, NCTM, NSTA,
and NCSS
How do teachers mentor students as disciplinary
readers, writers and thinkers?
What are the literacy practices that underlie the
thinking in the disciplines?
I Do,
You Watch
I Do,
You Help
You Do,
I Help
You Do,
I Watch
Mike Greuel
The Marquette University
Literacy for Theology Students
Moving at a manageable pace
2. Changing student perception
about texts
3. Consistently/correctly using new
Here’s some activities that went OK
2. Annotation Key
3. Reading Guides
4. And a look into the
future…using all 3 on
the same text!
 After we had done
a lot of work with
vocab orally
 Background
• Key instructions
• Read statement as is
• Provide rationale (“I could be convinced either
• Ask for details/supporting statements
 Then, read the text
 Identify where
statements are
 Come to some sort of
 Sweet things can
 “person”  “Person”
 Multiple answers
Annotation Key
 Longer texts, esp.
arguments or defenses of
an idea
 Categories What are
we looking for?
 Fighting perception of
“philosophical” or
“theological” text
Annotation Key
 Adapted from a
Philosophy prof
 Gradually with
 Stated Purpose, Key
 All at once with
Annotation Key
 Beneficial in discussion
 Common language
 Targeted questions
 Productive
disagreements can arise
 Key information for later
 Encourage to couple
with brief notes to self
Reading Guides
 Makes longer texts more
 Ask different types of
 Taxonomy of ?ing
 Can use with Annotation
 Same categories,
information to look for
Reading Guides
 Helps with
 Quick reference
to textual support
 Target vocab in a
new context
Noah and the Flood
 I’m trying this out in two weeks—jigsaw the intro with these
three strategies!
 Then move on to a closer study of the body of the text (History,
Science, and Theology sections)
 Suggestions? Help a new(er) guy out!
 Drew Cordell, Math
 Northern Illinois
1. Provide an approach to meaningful teaching
of vocabulary, emphasizing student
2. Build vocabulary and improve mathematical
reading comprehension and writing style
3. Encourage increased student independence
when reading math texts and story problems
Word Walls
 Students collaboratively
define a vocab word in their
own language
 We mix their definition
with the formal definition
 All definitions go into
notebook glossary
 Word wall grows and
remains for entirety of
Word Walls
 Helps build vocabulary,
which improves reading
 Emphasizes student
engagement, collaboration
and higher level thinking
 Helps improve
understanding for ESL
Vocabulary Knowledge Glossary
 Traditional graphic
organizer style glossary
 Inclusion of a “before/after”
understanding scale
 Students self-assess their
knowledge prior and post
formal introduction
 Valuable formative
assessment and
organizational tool
Vocabulary Knowledge Glossary
 Stages of understanding
 1 – Never seen the word
 2 – Seen the word. Don’t
know the definition.
 3 – Know the word, but
rely on contexts to
define it
 4 – Know the word and
can use it comfortably
 Kevin Gleeson, History
 Marquette University
Literacy for Social Sciences
 Goals:
1. Keep sight of the narrative and perspective rather than
acquisition (memorization) of ‘facts’
2. Emphasis on authentic sources (when available) to
humanize authors and characters
3. Develop interpretive reasoning for interdisciplinary use
Narrative- Unit Layout Chart (US)
 Helps sort through the
mass of information
 Repetition- recognize
reoccurring trends
 Visually presents
movement and change
 Easy to facilitate
-Points of Focus
-Contributing Factors
-Source work
Anticipation Guide
 Brings out PK
 Sparks conversation
 Presents “multiple-
narrative” perspectives
 Versatile use
 Predict
 Support your position
 Direct connection to
source work
Interpretive ReasoningPresidential Exploration (Gov)
 Utilizes elements of interpretive reasoning that culminate in a
historically literate student
 The Issue
 The Context
 The Analysis
 The Synthesis
 The Application
Historical Events (Biographical narrative)
Executive Branch(Professional Writing)
Evidence (Independent Research)
Drawing Conclusions (Effective Discernment)
Interdisciplinary (Collegiate/Career Skill)
 Job Posting-Cover Letter- Resume- Letters of Recommendation
 Mike Fricke, Science
2 Strands of Science Literacy
 Fundamental Science Literacy
 Vocabulary
 Concepts
 Content
 Derived Science Literacy
 Relevancy to me.
 Applying their understanding of science to societal and
world issues.
Buehl, D. (2011). Developing readers in the academic disciplines (p. 57). Newark, DE: International Reading
Inviting students into the
 We need show students how to converse with in the
context of science so that they able to read, write, and
think through a scientific lens.
 In essence they need to become disciplinary insiders.
Two activities that have had some success.
 Together they key in on the two
strands of science literacy.
Textbook Activity Guide
Fundamental Science Literacy
Source: Strategies to Enhance Literacy
and Learning in Middle School Content
Area Classrooms, by Judith L. Irvin,
Douglas R. Buehl, Barbara J. Radcliffe
Wide Reading
Derived Science Literacy
Source: Developing Readers in the
Academic Disciplines, by Doug Buehl
Inviting students into the conversation
 Addressing Fundamental Science Literacy
 Science texts rarely depend on language alone to explain
science concepts, they are often reinforced by pictures,
diagrams, drawings, models, figures, tables, and other
graphic representations.
Buehl, D. (2011). Developing readers in the academic disciplines (p. 56). Newark, DE: International
Reading Association
 This is were a Textbook Activity Guide can help
Uses a code key and guided questioning to help students work
through the different elements of a scientific text, making it a
useful tool for understanding, and feel less foreign to them.
Source for this TAG
Prentice Hall biology By: Miller, Kenneth R., Joseph S. Levine, and Inc. Hall, p.49-53.
Textbook Activity Guide – Chemical Reactions and Enzymes
Code Key:
DP 
PP 
WR 
PR 
SK 
CC 
RP 
Read section and discuss with your partner
Make predictions with your partner
Write an individual response (reflection)
Partner response
Skim or read quickly, paying attention to the stated purpose
Complete the included chart
Review past terms with your partner
1. DP –
Read the first paragraph under the section labeled Chemical Reactions.
a. RP – review with you partner the key terms; chemical reaction, reactant, product, and write down a
brief definition for each in the space below.
b. SK – Discuss with you partner what would happen if the chemical reaction discussed in the next
paragraph could not occur, write your answer in the space below.
2. DP –
Read the first two paragraphs under the section labeled Energy Change.
a. CC – Complete the follow two charts, label A, B, C accordingly. Label what type of chemical
reaction is represented.
3. PP – Before you read the next paragraph on Activation Energy, predict from what you labeled in the above
diagrams, what Activation Energy is, and why it is important.
Inviting students into the conversation
 Addressing Derived Science Literacy
 This is were Wide Reading can help
 Wide reading can help make that connection
between science learning and real life application.
 Considerations with wide reading
 Tends to be most successful when the teacher
connects material to the students.
 An array of choices with different levels difficulty
 A topic that piques students interest, something
personal that can grab their attention.
Wide Reading Activity Topic
 Sports Drinks and Homeostasis
 Follow-up activity to the opening unit “What is Life”
 Focus on two important concept in biology
Feedback Loops
 It includes two follow-up activities that help me gain
insight into there ability to understand science concepts
in society
 Here are two examples of articles for the students to
Follow-up activities
 Writing Assignments
1. Write a one page discussion about the scientific effects of
sports drinks on homeostasis.
2. Write a one page reflection about a personal experience.
3. Take notes on each article to turn-in.
 Research Says: Which Strategy Works Best?
“When it comes to delivering instruction that sticks, the question isn’t so
much what to do, but when and why to do it.”
1. Knowledge that moves from short to long term memory starts with
learners making personal meaning by relating new knowledge to own
2. Most important….repeat, repeat, repeat; rehearsing new knowledge
and practicing new skills reinforces neural brain pathways.
3. Distributed practice(sessions spread over time) and elaborative
rehearsal (paraphasing and summarizing, making predictions, or
generating questions) support long-term memory and accuracy.

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