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Q. What is necessary to effective reading, composing, and understanding of informational text structures? A. Five Kinds of Knowledge Five Kinds of Composing. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm Boise State University From the book GET IT DONE! Teaching the reading and writing of informational text

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Q. What is necessary to effective reading, composing, and understanding of informational text structures?A. Five Kinds of KnowledgeFive Kinds of Composing

Jeffrey D. Wilhelm

Boise State University

From the book

GET IT DONE! Teaching the reading and writing of informational text

Heinemann Publishers

from reading don t fix no chevys
From “Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys”
  • “It’s like a teacher takes you out, throws you into the deep end of the pool . . .
  • Students want significant challenges but they want proactive help in meeting those challenges.
  • “I used to be smart, and then . . .”
  • 5th grade reading slump/McKenna studies
preparing kids for success think of a joke you didn t understand
Preparing kids for success: think of a joke you didn’t understand
  • Motivation as the continuing impulse to learn
  • Be proactive instead of reactive
  • Reward risks and errors, as errors are a sign of growth
  • Provide students with heuristics that will assist them to expertise and guide them through their zones of proximal development to a new zone of actual development
a teaching heuristic five kinds of knowledge necessary to all reading and composing
A Teaching Heuristic: Five kinds of knowledge necessary to all reading and composing
  • Knowledge of purpose and context
  • Procedural knowledge of substance (knowing how to get the stuff)
  • Procedural knowledge of form (knowing how to shape and structure the stuff into a conventional form)
  • Declarative knowledge of substance
  • Declarative knowledge of form
5 kinds of knowledge
5 Kinds of Knowledge
  • Purpose/Work that can be done in real life/disciplinary situations:
  • Procedural Knowledge of Substance:
  • Procedural Knowledge of Form:
5 kinds of composing
5 kinds of composing

Informal Writing:

  • Composing to plan (purpose and substance)
  • Composing to practice (substance and form)

(Conceptual/Declarative knowledge developed through Procedural knowledge)

Formal Writing/Putting it all together:

  • Preliminary draft composing
  • Final draft composing (revise/edit/proofread)
  • Composing to transfer (reflect and consolidate all 5 kinds of knowledge)
heuristics vs algorithms
HEURISTICS vs. Algorithms
  • Heuristics are flexible problem-solving repertoires based on principles so can be developed and transformed and transferred to new situations
  • Algorithms are inflexible, lock-step, one-size fits all protocols for use.
connections to the ccss and the next generation of standards assessments
Connections to the CCSS and the next generation of standards/assessments
  • Focus on Informational/Explanatory and Argument text structures
  • Focus on Research and Inquiry (short and extended)
  • Focus on Rhetorical Stance: Authorial choice, purpose, voice, audience consideration
  • Focus on how authorial choices and text patterns lead to meaning and effect
  • Focus on production, revision, presentation
the what comes through the why and the how
The What Comes through the Why and the How

The declarative becomes conceptual and transferable when it is practiced in a meaningful context of use

informational text structures mentioned in the ccss
Informational text structures mentioned in the CCSS
  • Naming/listing
  • Description/Process Description (How-to)
  • Summary
  • Definition/Extended Definition
  • Comparison
  • Classification (Grouping, Differentiatiion)
  • Cause and effect
  • Problem-solution
knowledge of purpose and context
Knowledge of Purpose and Context

Ask an essential question that requires and rewards thinking and composing in informational thought patterns/text structures:

What makes and breaks a good relationship?

Requires and rewards Argument of Judgment; reframe to:

What is a good relationship? A healthy relationship? What is a good friend? (extended definition)

What kinds of relationships are there? healthy relationships? (classification)

What are the major causes relational problems? (Cause and effect)

What could society do to promote good relationships/solve particular relational problems? (problem-solution)

situated cognition
Situated Cognition
  • Teach all strategies and concepts in service of addressing the essential question
  • What kinds of writing, multimedia composing, and social action would address the question and use what was learned about the question?
knowledge of purpose and context1
Knowledge of purpose and context
  • Brainstorm for a unit or text you already teach
  • What kind of essential question could you ask that would require and reward the reading and writing of informational thought patterns and text structures?

REQUIRING LISTING: “What do we need to survive and thrive?” can easily be adapted for use in all content areas: “What do we need to survive and thrive . . . on a camping trip, in outer space, in algebra class, in the future (e.g. in a career), in case of a terrorist attack, as a sustainable planet, while living in another culture, on a trip to Italy?"

  • REQUIRING DESCRIPTION: “What is the best possible school? ” “How can we become the best possible school?”  (process description)
  • REQUIRING SUMMARY: What do we need to know to be an informed voter?
knowledge of purpose and context2
Knowledge of purpose and context
  • Brainstorm for a unit or text you already teach
  • What kind of essential question could you ask that would require and reward the reading and writing of informational thought patterns and text structures?
essential questions that require and reward comparing
Essential questions that require and reward comparing
  • What is the most powerful chemical? Who is the greatest military leader? What are the most significant animal adaptations? What were the most important mathematical insights? Greatest love poems? Overachieving athlete/teams? Most innovative musicians? Most memorable villains? Most influential artworks?
why would you ever want to compose a comparison contrast
Why would you ever want to compose a comparison-contrast?
  • What work does composing or reading a C/C actually get done?

It’s a horse race – to make a decision - which one is better?

  • Despite differences, there are these similarities
  • Despite similarities, there are these differences
  • To understand subtext and juxtapositions
  • To persuade someone else about these prior reasons
  • To evaluate – compare to a rubric/standards
  • Achieves status – differentiates self/ crowds
  • Highlight and placehold key details, see patterns, create new insights
  • Show difference over time
  • To discover/problem-solve: difference between animal and plant cell structure
  • Procedural differences: dealing with single vs. multiple variable- show equations side by side
  • See multiple perspectives to understand and analyze – e.g. why differences matter
how do we get the stuff to write a c c about skateboards cell phones whatever
How do we get the stuff to write a c/c about skateboards/cell phones/whatever?
  • Where can I get the data; what data sources are available to me?
  • How can I extract the data? What do I have to do to make it available to me?

Interview with informants/experts?

  • Internet research:, Zillions
  • Experimentation – test driving
  • Read – Thrasher,, Tony Hawk’s biography, Zillions
  • Visual museum of skateboard development
  • Watch movies like Dog Town, Z boys, etc.
  • Go to the skateboard park, talk to friends
  • Watch skateboard demos – take data down
  • Look at current data sets: extrapolate, interpolate
what do we need to do to boil down and form the stuff into a coherent and compelling c c
What do we need to do to boil down and form the stuff into a coherent and compelling c/c?
  • How do we choose what stuff to use? What stuff tells “the” story?
  • How do we shape the stuff in a form our audience can understand?

Discern what is comparable/what is worth comparing

  • Identify key features and corresponding features of the things you are comparing (Cost)
  • Fact vs. opinion – reliability of data
  • Rank importance of features
  • Analyze differences and similarities and consequences of these
  • Use Venn Diagram or SFAs or T-charts
  • Consider your audience and what evidence is going to convince them
  • Frame as a claim with evidence and explanations of the evidence
process of comparing
Process of comparing
  • Id a purpose for comparing (CCSS WS 4, 10)
  • Id at least 2 things worth comparing and be able to justify why these are worth comparing (2)
  • Gather data (8)
  • Id meaningful points of comparison related to the purpose (3, 5, 6, 9)
  • Rank/prioritize points of comparison
  • Decide how to present the points (WS 4 at all grade levels, Speaking 4)
  • Use appropriate graphic organizers (multimodal)
  • Make value judgments and some kind of conclusion or choice (evidentiary reasoning)
  • See multiple perspectives
meeting all the conditions of flow

Meeting all the conditions of FLOW

Clear purpose and feedback

Appropriate challenge and assistance

Developing control and competence

Immersion in the immediate

The social

teaching extended definition1
Teaching Extended Definition
  • Purpose/Context? What problems are addressable through extended definition? What work can it do and in what contexts? Why is the defining so important?
  • Food: what is organic? What is processed?
  • School: what is appropriate behavior? Dress? Grading – what is an A, B? What is ADHD, LD? What is English/ reading?
  • Law: What is guilty? Not guilty? Balanced budget?
  • For a text or unit you already teach
  • Frame with an essential question that will require and reward reading, composing and thinking with “definition” thought patterns and text structures
  • “What makes a good friend?”
  • “What is an effective leader?”
which is the best extended definition
Which is the best extended definition?
  • The question of what makes a good teacher is really open to interpretation. What leads to learning in one student might not lead to learning in another person. Maybe a teacher is a great lecturer and one person likes to learn that way and another student prefers hands-on learning. That teacher is good for one student and not for another. What a good teacher is really is just a personal preference.

A good teacher is one who promotes deep passion for a subject and deep understanding of it among her students. This means the students of a good teacher will have a desire to continue learning AND a growing understanding along the lines of how experts understand. For example, a good teacher of history will help students to feel that history really matters, and the students will know how this is actually so by being helped to think historically. The student will know why we study history, how historians think and use knowledge and when they can use it in his life. A good teacher is not someone who teaches to the test or whose students can recall information. A good teacher works for much higher purposes than this. . . .

challenges to defining
Challenges to defining
  • Best possible answer quiz
crux moves of short definition
Crux Moves of Short Definition
  • Identify Term/Concept to be defined (water)
  • Identify the Class to which the term belongs (liquid)
  • Identify differentiating and distinguishing characteristics making this term unique among the class (2 hydrogen molecules and 1 oxygen)
  • “Water is a liquid that consists of 2 hydrogen molecules and 1 oxygen molecule.”
critical standards criteria of extended definition
Critical Standards/Criteria of extended definition
  • Term – Class – Differentiation
  • Basis of the differentiation
  • Criteria of definition/differentiation
  • Examples that meet criteria
  • Counterexamples
  • Examination of grey areas/test cases
  • Explanations/warrants re: explaining required differences
  • Conclusion
close to home practice identifying what s essential
Close to home: Practice identifying what’s essential?
  • Defining the self: Jeff is essentially a very active person. He is active of mind and body. Activity is his elixir. He is quick-thinking and quick witted and likes to tell jokes and pull funnies. He likes to read and write and think about things like how to teach and how to live in more sustainable ways but he always puts his ideas into action. He likes to teach and do it through activities like drama and art and making videos and websites. He likes to bike and ski and he likes to do them fast. He does not like . . . He is not . . . When it comes to . . .
bio poem with concepts practice identifying what s essential
Bio-poem (with concepts, practice identifying what’s essential)
  • First name:
  • Who is a kind of/(member of the class of):
  • Descriptive words: traits:
  • Who needs: Friend of:
  • Who feels: Foe of:
  • Who fears: Lover of:
  • Who gives: Who believes
  • Who would like to see: Who gave:
  • Who is definitely NOT: Who is considered by others to be:
practice classifying the data the pyramid game1
Practice classifying the data: The pyramid game
  • Panda
  • Rabbit
  • Chevette
  • Now identify the criteria for being on the list
practice identifying contrastive examples and explanations
Practice identifying contrastive examples and explanations
  • Twinkie
  • Mudpie
  • Apple
  • Little Debbie
  • Snickers
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Cf. Collaboration, speaking and listening standards
practice knowing the limits of the class name that group activity
Practice: Knowing the limits of the class – Name that group activity
  • Provide groups of students with a collection of objects like shells or CD or video game covers, or other concrete objects – or photos of such objects. Ask each group of students to divide the objects into two groups without any item being left out. Then ask the group to explain the characteristics of each grouping and how they are different.You can quickly move to piles of books about leaders or news magazines that obviously will have stories about leaders, etc.

As a follow up, students could be asked to create groupings for their closet at home, a cupboard or drawer. They could write brief explanations of each grouping’s common characteristics, as well as noting violations of the general grouping criteria.

  • (CCSS Writing 5, 7)
name that group the sequel
Name that group, the sequel
  • An activity that ups the ante. Students can use the same collection of objects but now are asked to create multiple criteria for difference such as function, appearance, history, material, etc. Their job now is to create new classifications and ways of classifying. Model for students first, then encourage them to create elaborate criteria for groupings. We ask only that at least two items belong to each group and it is OK if an item belongs to more than one group. The purpose here is generating criteria for grouping.
  • When students have created characteristic criteria for a grouping, they can trade objects and criteria, asking the new group to classify their items according to the offered criteria. This will demonstrate how clear and usable the criteria are for noting important similarities and differences that might be important to including or excluding an item from a class of objects.
oaths contracts
Oaths, contracts
  • I do solemnly swear and affirm, for the privilege of being a friend to my friend Dale, I promise:
  • I will support my friend in his interests, beliefs, family and job responsibilities;
  • I will promote his talents and abilities and his becoming his truest self;
  • I will respect my friend and protect his beliefs and reputation with diligence;
  • I will never mislead or judge or get upset with my friend according to unknown and unshared criteria.
  • I will protect my friend’s secrets and will expect the same as compensation;
principles of sequencing
Principles of Sequencing
  • Move from easy to hard; close to home to further from home
  • Visual and visually supported to purely textual
  • Oral to written
  • Short to long/lots of repetition
  • Concrete to abstract
  • Directly stated to implicit meanings
  • Collaborative to independent
  • Scaffolded to independent
  • Build a heuristic - a problem solving repertoire - through repeated practice
more thoughts on sequencing
More thoughts on sequencing
  • Sequence by complexity within type

1- Students likely to know evidence/data already

2- Teacher provides evidence/data

3- Students draw on single text

4- Students draw on range of secondary sources

5- Students draw on range of primary sources

6- Students generate new data through their own critical inquiry

from the forthcoming books

From the forthcoming books:

Oh Yeah? Teaching Argument

Get it Done! Teaching Informational Texts

Tell me a Story: Teaching Narrative

By Jeff Wilhelm, Michael Smith and Jim Fredricksen

Heinemann Publishers

Available summer 2012

think about it
Think about it!!!
  • 4 postulates for change!
  • Unreasonable to expect to change much more than 10% a year
  • Unreasonable and unprofessional to change LESS than 10% of year
  • If you change 10% a year, you change much else because knowledge and practice much more because knowledge and practice is a network!
what is a heuristic
What is a heuristic?
  • A simple transportable thinking tool – conceptual or procedural
  • E.g. the 5 W’s + H in journalistic writing
  • E.g. the five kinds of knowledge
  • E.g. five themes of flow that foster engagement
  • E.g. what makes you say so- so what? (Toulmin’s notion of argument)
  • E.g. If anything is odd, it’s probably important (in a literary text)
achieving flow
Achieving Flow
  • A clear Purpose, Goals, Reward for Risks and Immediate Feedback
  • A Challenge that requires an appropriate level of skill and Assistance to meet the challenge (as needed to be successful)
  • A sense of Control and Developing Competence -voice, opinion, identity staking, choice, naming growing competence
  • A focus on Immediate Experience -current relevance, make things, do things, immediate function, fun, humor
  •  Importance of the Social -group work, peer assistance, social purpose