This has been the biggest question I’ve been asked recently. Here’s the thing. We don’t stop teaching our core curriculum to work on developing these skills. They should be embedded in the work you are already doing using the Units of Study. The idea is to continue to use the strategy for analysis that was recommended by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit and shared during the TDA trainings last year and be more explicit about it when teaching. The strategy can be used in almost every minilesson, small group, and even in conferring!
How can the work be embedded? Look at the Learning Progressions from the Units of Study. They are full of lenses that can be used to look for patterns and determine types of understandings. By using the common language all throughout the year and from year to year, students will have a better chance for success because of the consistency.
The Learning Progressions for Inferring about Character show us in each grade level how we can look closely to determine a type of understanding like character traits, for example. The lenses can continue to be used in subsequent grade levels.
Let’s look at the Learning Progressions for Theme.
In addition to the Learning Progressions that drive the teaching points for the units, we use anchor charts that also show us the lens work within the minilessons.
Even the tools we use with students within the Units of Study show us the lenses and types of understanding we can use.
The work of analysis and strengthening skills related to text dependent analysis does not require us to fit in one more thing that we don’t have time for. It’s about marrying the work we already do with the strategy for analysis and the language we learned within the TDA trainings. It’s about looking closely at how authors use their craft to develop characters, reveal themes, construct central ideas, and any other type of understanding. This is not new work. We are fortunate that the strategy the Bucks County Intermediate Unit recommended for analysis came from the work outlined in Falling in Love with Close Reading which is authored by two people who have worked for many years as staff developers with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, the birthplace of our reading and writing units and an institution that values the reading and writing workshop which our district has embraced as an instructional model.
If there is anything I can do to support you in the marriage of this work with our units, please let me know.