One of my professional goals for this school year has been to learn more about the Common Core State Standards and how I can begin to integrate them into my elementary school library classes. I see my students on a fixed schedule, for 40 minute class visits once a week, and half that time is devoted to book selection and checkouts. I’ve been looking for ways to encourage the critical thinking about texts mandated by the Common Core without overrunning my 15-20 minutes of teaching time. Here are some of the early ideas I’ve been using:
Short readaloud followed by questions and discussion: what’s your evidence from the text and illustrations? (CC ELA Anchor Standard for Reading #1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text)
My first graders learn about fairy tales in their library classes. After each readaloud, students go through a list of characteristics of fairy tales and find evidence in the words and pictures to see if that story contains those characteristics. For instance, is there magic in Goldilocks and the Three Bears? What’s your evidence? (words explain that the bears can talk, pictures show the bears making breakfast). The link to a blog post about this unit is here.
My first graders also learn about communities around the world. After each readaloud of a nonfiction book, I ask students what they can tell about the climate and geography from the words and pictures in the book. What evidence in the text and illustrations tells you about the weather and the land where these books take place? The link to a blog post about this unit is here.
My second graders learn about folk tales. Once I’ve finished reading a traditional story out loud, I ask students what they can tell about the climate and geography of the country where the story takes place. What evidence in the text and illustrations tells if a country is hot or cold, desert or mountains? Along with One Grain of Rice from India, which I highlighted in a blog post here, we also shared The Boy of the Three Year Nap from Japan, Only One Cowry from Benin, and The Silver Cow from Wales.
As these units progress, my students are getting more adept at looking closely at the illustrations and listening closely to the text as I read it aloud. They know I’m going to be asking them, “What do you know? What’s your evidence?”
image from www.corestandards.org