NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Course Descriptions

Common Core: Engaging Students in Complex Textual Reading, Gr 6-12

EDUC 600

Selecting appropriate reading material for students is hard. For decades, teachers have known that quality instruction requires a careful matching of reading materials to students. The goal of selecting materials that is neither too difficult nor too easy for students is a task which needs constant attention and adjustments on the part of the teacher. To ensure that students learn to read increasingly complex texts, teachers have to understand what makes a text hard but also engaging. The introduction of the Common Core State Standards has placed a spotlight on text complexity. This course focuses on the quantitative and qualitative factors of text complexity as well as the ways to engage students in this process. We also examine how close readings of complex texts scaffold students understanding and allow them to develop the skills necessary to read like a detective.

This interactive course is designed for job-embedded learning and practical classroom application using our virtual lesson study process. This virtual lesson study environment will help facilitate the process for teachers to better incorporate the instructional practices outlined within the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards.

Learning Outcomes:

The successful student will:

  • Participants will understand the factors that determine the complexity and rigor of texts.
  • Participants will learn how to analyze text, identify the various elements that make a text more or less rigorous.
  • Participants will learn how to use various tools to help choose appropriate texts within grade level bands that match reader needs.
  • Participants will understand the factors that help teachers match text to the characteristics of the readers in their classrooms.
  • Participants will learn how to analyze reader needs and characteristics, structure reading tasks and help students go deeper with effective questioning practices to create more student-centered classrooms.
  • Participants will be able to describe close reading and will understand how to structure a lesson so that students can effectively attend to the meaning in the text.
  • Participants will learn how to help students use close reading to delve deeper into the meaning of text.
  • Participants will learn how to structure questions to lead students to more complex levels of analysis and thinking.
  • Participants will be able to describe how to help students use text-based responses, rigorous talk during class discussions about text.
  • Participants will be able to use higher level questioning to help students dig deeper into the meaning of text.  Participants and will understand how to help students use inquiry-based learning, Socratic discussion and other higher order after-reading strategies to help students explore texts more thoroughly.
  • Participants will learn many strategies to help deepen student comprehension of complex texts.
  • Participants will be able to define metacognition and identify several strategies that can be used to help students become more self-reflective thinkers and readers.
  • Participants will explore model lessons to identify effective strategies for guided as well as independent practice that will better prepare students to perform at high levels on Common Core assessment instruments.
  • Participants will explore various ways that students may be assessed when Common Core aligned assessments begin to be implemented across the nation.
  • Participants will learn what is meant by rigor, how to judge the rigor and depth of knowledge required of their students.
  • Participants will learn how to improve instruction to take students deeper into learning.
  • Participants will learn how to prepare more engaging lessons to help students think more deeply about text.
  • Participants will explore how the PARCC and Smarter Balance assessments might measure what students know and are able to do.