Resources for Meeting the Common Core, Part I: Interactive Informational Texts

After a long and much needed hiatus, I am back… I found I needed some complete down time very much, hence the brief silence at Interactive LA. I hope you too are able to find this for yourself…time to repair and to recuperate. This week, I begin a weekly series focusing on using technology to meet specific Common Core State Standards beginning with "Reading," "Key Ideas and Details," standard 1. For these posts, I will be looking at the standards for grades 9 & 10 because I teach high school, but I think you'll see that adapting the standards among the grades is easy. Standard 1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. Holt, Rinehart, & Winston's Interactive Informational Texts Looking over my syllabus recently, I noticed it is heavy with fiction–short stories, novels, and plays–but thin on nonfiction or "informational texts." Standard 1 provides an excellent opportunity to use both fiction and nonfiction text. Think about The Great Gatsby—an important symbol in that novel is a faded billboard advertisement for an optometrist, Doctor T. J. Eckleburg (Check out Schmoop's guide on Gatsby). In today's media-saturated culture, it makes a lot of sense to teach students about the inferred messages of advertisements as well as those in novels, stories, and plays. Certainly students today are bombarded with more advertisement than any previous generation …internet, television, movies, even their smart phones and video game players push advertisement. They need to know how to decipher these texts as much as those crafted as an essay or a novel. Interactive Informational Texts provides a large selection of non-fiction texts to use for meeting this standard with your students. Each selection includes links and pop-ups that ask students thought-provoking questions before, during, and after reading to guide their analysis of the text. The selections are grouped by grade level but many of them could work in a number of grade level classes. In the Classroom Choose one passage from Interactive Informational Texts and one advertisement from a magazine, newspaper, the Internet, or from some other source. Begin with the Interactive Informational Texts, using the guiding pop-up questions for students' analyses. Next, have students use those same questions to analyze the advertisement. Discussion about the methods authors use to persuade their audiences in fiction and in nonfiction should garner some interesting insights into the use of language to persuade.