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Creating a Sense of Wonder by Engaging all Readers in High-Level Discussions about Text Janice F. Almasi, Ph.D. University of Kentucky

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Presentation on theme: "Creating a Sense of Wonder by Engaging all Readers in High-Level Discussions about Text Janice F. Almasi, Ph.D. University of Kentucky"— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating a Sense of Wonder by Engaging all Readers in High-Level Discussions about Text Janice F. Almasi, Ph.D. University of Kentucky

2 Goals What does high-level talk look like in discussions? (How does peer discussion differ from teacher-led discussion?) How do we create a culture for high-level talk in discussion? How do we assess and evaluate discussion? Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

3 National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers (2010). Common core state standards English language arts. Washington, DC: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers.

4 National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers (2010). Common core state standards English language arts. Washington, DC: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers.

5 Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers (2010). Common core state standards English language arts. Washington, DC: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers.

6 What We Know Type of discussion can determine childrens responses and focus their interpretations in particular ways (Many & Wiseman, 1992) Many, J. E., & Wiseman, D. L. (1992). The effect of teaching approach on third-grade students' response to literature. Journal of Reading Behavior, 24(3),

7 What is Peer Discussion? How do you define peer discussion? Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

8 As you watch try to notice: How did the participants interact? How was language used to make sense of the text? What scaffolding was done? By what social rules did the group function? What topics were discussed? What questions were asked? What topics were discussed? What questions were asked? What did the teacher do to the environment to foster comprehension? What did the teacher do to the environment to foster comprehension?

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10 Teacher:They were at camp and what were they going to do there at this camp? Yes? Student:They were going to have a contest. They have a map and a compass and they have to find stuff. Teacher:Does anyone know the name of the camp? Yes? Teacher:They were at camp and what were they going to do there at this camp? Yes? Student:They were going to have a contest. They have a map and a compass and they have to find stuff. Teacher:Does anyone know the name of the camp? Yes? Teacher:Alright, um, who is Bobbi? Student:Bobbi was the girl. Teacher:The girl, the character in our story. What other characters were in our story? Yes? Student:Jamie Teacher:Alright. Where were these characters? Yes? Student:They were at camp. Teacher:Alright, um, who is Bobbi? Student:Bobbi was the girl. Teacher:The girl, the character in our story. What other characters were in our story? Yes? Student:Jamie Teacher:Alright. Where were these characters? Yes? Student:They were at camp. Initiate Respond Evaluate Initiate Respond Evaluate Example: Teacher-led Discussion IRE Participant Structure (Cazden, 1988; Mehan, 1979 IRE Participant Structure (Cazden, 1988; Mehan, 1979

11 Defining Peer Discussion Dialogic classroom event in which students are cognitively, socially, and affectively engaged in collaboratively constructing meaning or considering alternate interpretations of texts to arrive at new understandings (Almasi, 2002) Students gather to talk about, critique, and understand texts with minimal teacher assistance. Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

12 Peer Discussion: A Different Type of Post-reading Discussion O'Flahavan, J. F. (1989). An exploration of the effects of participant structure upon literacy development in reading group discussion. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois-Champaign.

13 Participant Structure in a Discussion Decentralized All participants take equal responsibility for: Deciding who may talk Deciding what to talk about Deciding how the conversation proceeds Determining the nature of future conversations Centralized An authority takes responsibility for: Deciding who may talk Deciding what to talk about Deciding how the conversation proceeds Determining the nature of future conversations Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

14 A Discussion Continuum Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Centralized More Teacher Scaffolding (Microgenetic) 60-75% Teacher Talk Decentralized Minimal Teacher Scaffolding (Ontogenetic) 0-10% Teacher Talk Teacher-led Discussion

15 Creating a Culture that Fosters High-Level Talk Discussion Text Selection/Arrangement Context/EnvironmentType of Scaffolding Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

16 Creating Groups (adapted from Wiencek & OFlahavan, 1992) Wiencek, J., & OFlahavan, J. F. (1994). From teacher-led to peer discussions about literature: Suggestions for making the shift. Language Arts, 71(7),

17 Decentralized Structure: Introducing Conversation Establish Social and Cultural Norms What is the goal? What is peer discussion like? What do you do in it? How do you act/participate? What do you say? Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

18 First Grade Discussion Reminders 1. You dont have to raise your hands to speak. 2. Call each other by your names. 3. Take turns speaking. 4. Dont interrupt each other. 5. Use youre inside voice, but talk loud enough so everyone in the group can hear you. 6. Dont use bad words or talk mean. 7. If someone is doing something they shouldnt be doing ask them to stop. Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

19 Decentralized Structure: Model Questioning Behaviors Learning to think and talk while reading Book Buddies During teacher read aloud Teacher stops at various points in the text Poses thoughtful, open-ended questions What might happen next? What are you wondering? What do you think the author meant? Turn and talk to your buddy Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

20 Decentralized Structure: Model Questioning Behaviors Learning to think while reading leads to interesting topics for discussion Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky I wonder... I wish... I worry... I dont understand...

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22 Decentralized Structure: Learning to Talk with One Another Respectfully If you start with Book Buddies... Have two pairs of students turn and talk to each other Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

23 Decentralized Structure: Learning to Talk to One Another Respectfully If you start with small groups Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Prior to the next peer discussion have students watch a videotape of their previous discussion and look for ways they could improve their own participation Fishbowl by watching another group live or on video and critiquing Group A Fishbowl Group B Observers

24 Peer Discussion Format Introduction (5 minutes) Peer Discussion (20 minutes) Debriefing (5 minutes) Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

25 Peer Discussion: 5 Minute Introduction Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Teacher functions as facilitator to remind students of group norms for interaction and to foster substantive interpretation Scaffolding

26 How do we Assess and Evaluate Discussion? Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

27 20 Minute Peer Discussion Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Students collaboratively construct understandings of text. Teacher takes anecdotal notes to inform instructional next steps that can be addressed in the debriefing or in a mini-lesson at a later time. Teacher functions as momentary scaffold intervening only to refocus the group. Goal is to help students learn how to recognize and resolve problems on their own. Discussion

28 Peer Discussion Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky The Teachers Role: Trust students questions Sit back and permit students to discuss Scaffold for interaction and interpretation when needed Observe group and record successes and areas for improvement

29 5 Minute Debriefing Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Scaffolding Teacher returns to help the group evaluate their discussion and set new goals for the next discussion. –Interpretive Goals What can we do to help each other make sense of the text better? –Interaction Goals What can we do to make the discussion run more smoothly?

30 Student Self-Assessment Garas-York, K., Shanahan, L. E., & Almasi, J. F. (in press). Comprehension: High-level talk and about texts. To appear in B. M. Taylor & N. Duke (Eds.), Effective literacy instruction: Handbook of research and practice. New York: The Guilford Press. (from Garas-York, Shanahan, & Almasi, in press)

31 Teacher Eval/Long-term Planning (from Garas-York, Shanahan, & Almasi, in press)

32 A Discussion Continuum Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Centralized More Teacher Scaffolding (Microgenetic) 60-75% Teacher Talk Decentralized Minimal Teacher Scaffolding (Ontogenetic) 0-10% Teacher Talk Teacher-led Discussion

33 For Further Information: Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky

34 References Almasi, J. F. (2002). Peer discussion. In B. Guzzetti (Ed.), Literacy in America: An encyclopedia (Vol. 2, pp ). New York: ABC. Almasi, J. F. (1995). The nature of fourth graders' sociocognitive conflicts in peer-led and teacher-led discussions of literature. Reading Research Quarterly, 30(3), Almasi, J. F., Cho, H., Garas, K., Shanahan, L., Ma, W., Yoon, B., & Augustino, A. (2003, December). The Genesis of Dialogic Inquiry: Phases of Language Development during Peer Discussion. In B. Palmer (Chair), Peer Discussion Ecosystems: The Impact of Identity, Power, Authority, and Scaffolding on the Development of Dialogic Inquiry. Paper presented at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference, Scottsdale, AZ. Almasi, J. F., Garas, K., Cho, H., Ma, W., Shanahan, L., & Augustino, A. (2004). The Impact of Peer Discussion on Social, Cognitive, and Affective Growth in Literacy. Paper to be presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference, San Antonio, TX.

35 References Almasi, J. F., Garas, K., Cho, H., Ma, W., Shanahan, L., Augustino, A., & Palmer, B. M. (2005, November). A Longitudinal Study of Development: Comprehension, Interpretive Strategy Use, and Language Use Among Children in Grades K-3. Paper presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference, Miami, FL. Almasi, J. F. & Garas-York, K. (2009). Comprehension and discussion of text. In S. E. Israel & G. G. Duffy (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Reading Comprehension (pp ). Mahwah: NJ: Erlbaum. Almasi, J. F., O'Flahavan, J. F., & Arya, P. (2001). A comparative analysis of student and teacher development in more proficient and less proficient peer discussions of literature. Reading Research Quarterly, 36(2),

36 References Almasi, J. F., Palmer, B. M., Garas, K., Cho, H., Ma, W., Shanahan, L., & Augustino, A. (2004). A longitudinal investigation of peer discussion of text on reading development in grades K-3. Final Report submitted to the Institute of Education Sciences. Almasi, J. F., & Russell, W. (1998, December). Scaffold to nowhere? Appropriated voice, metatalk, and personal narrative in third graders peer discussions of information text. Paper presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference, Austin, TX. Almasi, J. F., & Russell, W. (1999, December). An ecology of communication: Peer discussions as semiotic systems. In L. Galda (Chair), Classroom talk about literature: The social dimensions of a solitary act. Symposium conducted at the 49th Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference, Orlando, FL.

37 References Cazden, C. B. (1988). Classroom discourse: The language of teaching and learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Garas-York, K., Shanahan, L. E., & Almasi, J. F. (in press). Comprehension: High-level talk and about texts. To appear in B. M. Taylor & N. Duke (Eds.), Effective literacy instruction: Handbook of research and practice. New York: The Guilford Press. Many, J. E., & Wiseman, D. L. (1992). The effect of teaching approach on third-grade students' response to literature. Journal of Reading Behavior, 24(3), Mehan, H. (1979). Learning lessons. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

38 References National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers (2010). Common core state standards English language arts. Washington, DC: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers. O'Flahavan, J. F. (1989). An exploration of the effects of participant structure upon literacy development in reading group discussion. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois- Champaign. OFlahavan, J. F. (1995). Teacher role options in peer discussions about literature. Reading Teacher, 48(4), Wiencek, J., & OFlahavan, J. F. (1994). From teacher-led to peer discussions about literature: Suggestions for making the shift. Language Arts, 71(7),


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