Using text effectively in the biology classroom
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Alignment of Biology Text with Benchmarks Close Reading with the Biology Text Using Cornell Notes Effectively Summarizing Using Collaboration as a Tool for Test Preparation: An AVID Strategy that Works. Using Text Effectively in the Biology Classroom.

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Using Text Effectively in the Biology Classroom

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Using text effectively in the biology classroom

  • Alignment of Biology Text with Benchmarks

  • Close Reading with the Biology Text

  • Using Cornell Notes Effectively

  • Summarizing

  • Using Collaboration as a Tool for Test Preparation: An AVID Strategy that Works

Using Text Effectively in the Biology Classroom


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

Activity: Alignment of Biology Text with EOC Item Specifications

You will need page 18 of your Item Specifications to help you with this activity.

Review Benchmark SC.912.L.15.13 and the “Also Assesses” portion.

What is the difference between the Benchmark and the Benchmark Clarification?

What do we learn from the Content Limits about what may be assessed and not assessed?

Highlight key vocabulary students would potentially need to know to answer a question based on this benchmark.

What do the Stimulus Attributes tell us about the question?

In what grades would prior knowledge be taught for this benchmark?


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

Activity: Alignment of Biology Text with EOC Item Specifications

  • 8. Review sample item 11 for SC.912.L.15.13.

  • 9. For each incorrect answer, explain why it is incorrect.

  • 10. Provide reason(s) why B is the correct answer.

  • 11. Review the four items listed in Benchmark Clarification. Do any of these correspond to sample item 11?

  • 12. What must a student know and be able to do to answer this question?

  • 13. Is there a way students can compensate for lack of prior knowledge with test items?


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

Activity: Alignment of Biology Text with EOC Item Specifications

  • In the chapter, draw a box around sections that address “Benchmark” and “Also Assesses”. In the margin, label the part of the benchmark addressed. See example. Also , cross-reference with Item Specification by putting page number by Benchmark Clarifications.

  • Put a large “X” over the textual passage that addresses content not addressed according to the Content Limits.

  • Note any other passages in the text referenced according to Content Limits.

  • Highlight vocabulary in the chapter that is addressed in the Benchmark, Also Assesses, and Benchmark Clarification.

  • Is there a part or parts of the text you could use to teach or reinforce any part of this benchmark that may be assessed on the Biology EOC?


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

Activity: Development of Text-based Questions that Address the Benchmark

At your table, create 2-3 questions that would address the Benchmark Clarification. Make sure you can answer the question using your text.


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

Elements of Close Reading

  • Reading and rereading multiple times, each time with a different purpose and focus.  

  • Micro-reading - the attentive reading of a text.

  • Finely detailed, very specific examination of a text

  • Requires teachers to break text into smaller segments.

  • If the text is short, the entire text lends itself to a close read. If, however, the text is lengthy, the teacher may select specific text segments for a close read and then relate those segments to the whole work.


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

Guiding Principles of Close Reading

  • Make close reading and rereading of texts central to lessons.

  • Ask text dependent questions from a range of question types.

  • Emphasize students supporting answers based upon evidence from the text.

  • Provide extensive research and writing opportunities (claims and evidence).

  • Offer regular opportunities for students to share ideas, evidence and research.

  • Offer systematic instruction in vocabulary.

  • Cultivate students’ independence.


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

  • Using Cornell Notes Effectively

  • Write name, date, etc.

  • Write essential question: “Explain Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.”


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

  • While reading or note-taking, record notes on right-hand side of the paper.

  • Get down main ideas.

  • Facts, details, and examples are important, but they are only meaningful with concepts.

  • Don’t force outlining but use obvious numbering.

  • Use abbreviations to save time.

  • Use graphic organizers and pictures when helpful.

  • Separate blocks of information logically by skipping lines between.


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

  • After reading or note-taking, record notes on right-hand side of the paper.

  • Read your notes and highlight key words/phrases.

  • Draw lines between main ideas to chunk.

  • Write questions in the left-hand column about the information on the right. Use high level questions where possible. See Costas.

  • Periodically stop to quiz classmates using your questions.

  • At the bottom of the page, write a summary paragraph about your notes.

  • Compare notes with a study buddy.


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

Table Work: One Paragraph Summary Template

Use the template to summarize Darwin’s theory of evolution on natural selection.


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

Another Strategy: Text-based Anticipation Guide

  • Use benchmark clarification to create essential question at the top.

  • Based on the science text, create true/false statements that support essential question.

  • Students complete pre-reading true/false.

  • Students read the text and do post-reading true/false and provide evidence for it.

  • Students discuss in small groups. Come to consensus.

  • Follow-up with whole class discussion.

  • Students answer essential question in essay format.


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

EOC Test Question Preparation Activity

(adapted from AVID Tutorology Strategy)

  • Write out a response to the item by completing the following sentences.

  • Select the correct answer.

  • In writing:

  • Explain why the answer is the correct one. Provide evidence.

  • Explain why the other three items are incorrect.

  • For each item, explain why it is not the correct choice.


Using text effectively in the biology classroom

EOC Test Question Preparation Activity

(adapted from AVID Tutorology Strategy)

  • Complete the partner discussion form questions 1-4.

  • Find the other people with your question.

  • Review student presenter protocol.

  • Conduct tutorology.

  • Do reflection.


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