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Exploring Other Worlds and Times: Using Science Fiction to Address Common Core State Standards Beverly Rowls Young Adult Literature Conference October.

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Presentation on theme: "Exploring Other Worlds and Times: Using Science Fiction to Address Common Core State Standards Beverly Rowls Young Adult Literature Conference October."— Presentation transcript:

1 Exploring Other Worlds and Times: Using Science Fiction to Address Common Core State Standards Beverly Rowls Young Adult Literature Conference October 24 – 25, 2014 St. Charles, IL

2 Why Science Fiction? Science fiction is a literature of ideas; ideas that need to be discussed so that the story can be understood. What if? Science fiction authors often confront serious issues very directly in the context of fantasy worlds. Science fiction should lead the reader to ask questions about life, society and the future as a result of the underlying themes within the story. In order to develop the topic and theme, complex text characteristics are often necessary

3 Knowledge of the author and the times in which they lived are often important in understanding the story; an opportunity to include informational text. There is mystery, possibility and adventure; stories may break the barriers of time, space and, sometimes, logic. Science fiction should be a tool to support student development of critical reading and thinking. Students can compare themes, values (individualism, friendship, cooperation, knowledge, trust, courage, etc.) and the treatment of minorities (including aliens) and women.

4 Characteristics of Science Fiction Speculation Exploration of an idea based on science fact Speculation of what could be if only a specific condition were to occur Believability The speculative element is a given fact within the universe of the story Readers can suspend their disbelief to enjoy the exploration of the given subject Science Must include some aspect of the sciences The exploration of the main topic or its speculation must relate to science Social Message The consideration of technology or science upon societies Explores the social ramifications of utilizing a new scientific discovery and what it means to be considered a person or to have humanity Can provide warnings, inspire hope and curiosity, or suggest solutions to problems modern societies face

5 What is Text Complexity? Qualitative dimensions Levels of meaning Structure Language conventionality and clarity knowledge demands Quantitative measures Word frequency and length Sentence length Text cohesion Reader and task considerations: The reader’s knowledge, motivation, interests The task purpose, complexity of the assigned task, questions posed

6 What makes text complex? Vocabulary General academic terms used in particular ways in the various disciplines Warrant instructional attention Comprehension of text depends on the number of unfamiliar domain-specific words and new general academic terms encountered Author’s Style Sentence Structure Determines how the words operate together Must also tell the reader how he ideas expressed by these words fit together Longer sentences are likely to include multiple phrases or clauses and more ideas that have to be related to one another May be a tool to get readers to slow down and explore the structure of the thoughts and feelings being expressed Place more demands on working memory

7 Coherence How particular words, ideas and sentences in text connect with one another Author’s use pronouns, synonyms, ellipses and other tools to connect the ideas across text Organization Ideas can be arranged in many ways - time sequence: flashbacks, nonsequential presentations of events Compare – contrast and problem - solution Topic Reader interest in what the text is about Reader motivation to learn about the topic Background Knowledge The interaction between the reader and the text Lacking the necessary emotional experiences needed to understand the topic Level of developmental, experiential, and cognitive factors needed to understand the explicit and inferential qualities of a text.

8 One Quantitative Measure - The Lexile Framework Qualitative dimensions of text complexity - Lexile codes provide more information about a book's characteristics, such as its developmental appropriateness, reading difficulty, and common or intended usage.Lexile codes Quantitative measures of text complexity - the Lexile® Analyzer measures text demand based on these two widely adopted variables.Lexile® Analyzer Reader and task considerations - the free "Find a Book" search helps readers build custom book lists based on their ability (Lexile measure) and personal interests or school assignments."Find a Book"

9 A Few YA Science Fiction Novels TitleAuthorLexile VoicesUrsula K. Le Guin890L The Time MachineH. G. Wells1070 Shadow of the Red MoonWalter Dean Myers660L KindredOctavia Butler580L Ender’s GameOrson Scott Card780L The Hunger GamesSuzanne Collins810L DivergentVeronica Roth*HL700L Zahrah the WindseekerNnedi Okorafor720L The Shadow SpeakerNnedi Okorafor660L Akata WitchNnedi Okorafor*HL590L The Other WindUrsula K. Le Guin840L The GiverLois Lowry760L Gathering BlueLois Lowry680L SonLois Lowry720L MessengerLois Lowry720L A Wrinkle in TimeMadeleine L’Engle740L A Wind in the DoorMadeleineL’Engle790L A Swiftly Tilting PlanetMadeleine L’Engle850L Many WatersMadeleine L’Engle700L An Acceptable TimeMadeleine L’Engle710L The ChaosNalo Hopkinson*HL600L Summer of the MariposasGuadalupe Gacia McCall840L Island RealmRebecca Moesta & Kevin Anderson Ocean RealmRebecca Moesta & Kevin Anderson Sky RealmRebecca Moesta & Kevin Anderson

10 Qualitative Text Complexity Rubric Level of complexity from exceedingly to very to moderately to slightly Text StructureOrganization Use of graphics Language FeaturesConventionality Vocabulary Sentence structure Meaning Knowledge demands Life experiences Intertextuality and cultural knowledge

11 Voices selection Leave the horses to me, said Gudit. I’ll put ‘em both in the loose box and then be off for a bit of hay from Bossti down the way there. There’s a truss of hay and a barrel of oats in the wagon, Gry said, going to show him, but he brushed her off – Na, na na, nobody brings their own feed to the Waylord’s house. Come along here, then, old lady. She’s Sar, said Gry, and he’s Branty. At their names both horses looked round at her, and the mare whuffed. And it would be well if you knew what else is in the wagon, Gry said, and there was something in her voice, though she spoke low and mild, that made even Gudit turn and listen to her. A cat, she said. Another cat. But a big one. She’s trustworthy, but not to be taken by surprise. Don’t open the wagon door, please. Memer, shall I leave her here in the wagon or shall she come with me into the house? When you’re lucky, press your luck. I wanted Desac to see the “circus” lion and be scared stiff. If you wish to bring her.... She studied me a moment. Best leave her here, she said with a smile. And thinking of Ista and Sosta screaming and screeching at the sight of a lion passing by in the corridor, I knew she was right. She followed me through the courtyards around to the front entrance. On the threshold she stopped and murmured the invocation of the guest to the house-gods.

12 Time Machine selection I felt assured that the Time Machine was only to be recovered by boldly penetrating these underground mysteries. Yet I could not face the mystery. If only I had had a companion it would have been different. But I was so horribly alone, and even to clamber down into the darkness of the well appalled me. I don't know if you will understand my feeling, but I never felt quite safe at my back. 'It was this restlessness, this insecurity, perhaps, that drove me further and further afield in my exploring expeditions. Going to the south-westward towards the rising country that is now called Combe Wood, I observed far off, in the direction of nineteenth-century Banstead, a vast green structure, different in character from any I had hitherto seen. It was larger than the largest of the palaces or ruins I knew, and the facade had an Oriental look: the face of it having the lustre, as well as the pale-green tint, a kind of bluish-green, of a certain type of Chinese porcelain. This difference in aspect suggested a difference in use, and I was minded to push on and explore. But the day was growing late, and I had come upon the sight of the place after a long and tiring circuit; so I resolved to hold over the adventure for the following day, and I returned to the welcome and the caresses of little Weena. But next morning I perceived clearly enough that my curiosity regarding the Palace of Green Porcelain was a piece of self-deception, to enable me to shirk, by another day, an experience I dreaded. I resolved I would make the descent without further waste of time, and started out in the early morning towards a well near the ruins of granite and aluminum.

13 Determining Vocabulary Words to Teach Tiered Theory (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002) Tier I –consists of the most basic words. These words rarely require direct instruction and typically do not have multiple meanings. Sight words, nouns, verbs, adjectives, and early reading words occur at this level. There about 8,000 word families in English included here. Tier II –consists of high frequency words that occur across a variety of domains. These words occur often in mature language situations such as school content material and literature; they strongly influence speaking and reading. Tier III - Tier three consists of low-frequency words that occur in specific domains. Domains include subjects in school, hobbies, occupations, geographic regions, technology, weather, etc. We usually learn these words when a specific need arises. The remaining 400,000 words in English fall in this tier. English Language Learner Approach New General Service Words – a list of words published by Michael West in 1953 that were considered to be of “general service” to learners of English as a foreign language (updated 2013). New Academic Word List – a list developed and evaluated by Averil Coxhead for her MA thesis. The list is divided into 10 sublists of word families and contains 570 words selected because they appear with great frequency in a broad range of academic texts (updated 2014). Content Specific Words - Each of the four major content areas (language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies) has general, as well as specific, vocabulary, language, and print symbols or graphics to identify and describe important concepts, events, processes, and principles. Students need to be able to use the language appropriate to the topic being read.

14 How to use LexTutor Cut and paste your text into the text space, VP- Classic, then submit. Words from the first 1000 English headwords (from the General Service List) are in blue Words from the second 1000 headwords (from the General Service List) are in green Words from the Academic Word List are in yellow/orange Red words are the content specific words

15 Voices with LexTutor VocabProfile Leave the horses to me, said Gudit. I’ll put ‘em both in the loose box and then be off for a bit of hay from Bossti down the way there. There’s a truss of hay and a barrel of oats in the wagon, Gry said, going to show him, but he brushed her off – Na, na na, nobody brings their own feed to the Waylord’s house. Come along here, then, old lady. She’s Sar, said Gry, and he’s Branty. At their names both horses looked round at her, and the mare whuffed. And it would be well if you knew what else is in the wagon, Gry said, and there was something in her voice, though she spoke low and mild, that made even Gudit turn and listen to her. A cat, she said. Another cat. But a big one. She’s trustworthy, but not to be taken by surprise. Don’t open the wagon door, please. Memer, shall I leave her here in the wagon or shall she come with me into the house? When you’re lucky, press your luck. I wanted Desac to see the “circus” lion and be scared stiff. If you wish to bring her.... She studied me a moment. Best leave her here, she said with a smile. And thinking of Ista and Sosta screaming and screeching at the sight of a lion passing by in the corridor, I knew she was right. She followed me through the courtyards around to the front entrance. On the threshold she stopped and murmured the invocation of the guest to the house-gods.

16 Time Machine in LexTutor Vocabprofile i felt certain that the time machine was only to be recovered by boldly penetrating these underground mysteries yet i could not face the mystery if only i had had a companion it would have been different but i was so horribly alone and even to climb down into the darkness of the well shocked and disgusted me i do not know if you will understand my feeling but i never felt quite safe at my back it was this not being able to keep the body still this insecurity perhaps that drove me further and further afield in my exploring big important trips going to the south westward towards the rising country that is now called combe wood i watched followed far off in the direction of nineteenth century banstead a huge green structure different in character from any i had up until now seen it was larger than the largest of the palaces or ruins i knew and the front of a building fake appearance had an oriental look the face of it having the shine as well as the pale green color a kind of bluish green of a certain type of chinese porcelain this difference in aspect suggested a difference in use and i was minded to push on and explore but the day was growing late and i had come upon the sight of the place after a long and tiring circuit so i promised to hold over the fun trip for the next day and i returned to the welcome and the sweet gentle touches of little weena but next morning i perceived clearly enough that my curiosity regarding the palace of green porcelain was a piece of self deception to enable me to avoid by another day an experience i feared and hated i resolved i would make the descent without further waste of time and started out in the early morning towards a well near the ruins of granite and aluminum

17 Voices with Rewordified Leave the horses to me, said Gudit. I'll put them both in the loose box and then be off for a bit of hay from Bossti down the way there. There's a truss of hay and a barrel of oats in the wagon, Gry said, going to show him, but he brushed her off - Na, na na, nobody brings their own feed to the Waylord's house. Come along here, then, old lady. She's Sar, said Gry, and he's Branty. At their names both horses looked round at her, and the horse whuffed. And it would be well if you knew what else is in the wagon, Gry said, and there was something in her voice, though she spoke low and mild, that made even Gudit turn and listen to her. A cat, she said. Another cat. But a big one. She's trustworthy, but not to be taken by surprise. Don't open the wagon door, please. Memer, will I leave her here in the wagon or will she come with me into the house? When you're lucky, press your luck. I wanted Desac to see the "circus" lion and be scared stiff. If you wish to bring her.... She studied me a moment. Best leave her here, she said with a smile. And thinking of Ista and Sosta screaming and screeching at the sight of a lion passing by in the corridor, I knew she was right. She followed me through the courtyards around to the front entrance. On the (dividing line/point where something begins or changes) she stopped and whispered the prayer of the guest to the house-gods.

18 Time Machine in Rewordified I felt certain that the Time Machine was only to be recovered by boldly penetrating these underground mysteries. Yet I could not face the mystery. If only I had had a companion it would have been different. But I was so horribly alone, and even to climb down into the darkness of the well shocked and disgusted me. I don't know if you will understand my feeling, but I never felt quite safe at my back. 'It was this not being able to keep the body still, this insecurity, perhaps, that drove me further and further afield in my exploring big, important trips. Going to the south-westward towards the rising country that is now called Combe Wood, I watched/followed far off, in the direction of nineteenth- century Banstead, a huge green structure, different in character from any I had up until now seen. It was larger than the largest of the palaces or ruins I knew, and the (front of a building/fake appearance) had an Oriental look: the face of it having the shine, as well as the pale-green color, a kind of bluish-green, of a certain type of Chinese porcelain. This difference in aspect suggested a difference in use, and I was minded to push on and explore. But the day was growing late, and I had come upon the sight of the place after a long and tiring circuit; so I promised to hold over the fun trip for the next day, and I returned to the welcome and the sweet, gentle touches of little Weena. But next morning I perceived clearly enough that my curiosity regarding the Palace of Green Porcelain was a piece of self-deception, to enable me to avoid, by another day, an experience I feared and hated. I resolved I would make the descent without further waste of time, and started out in the early morning towards a well near the ruins of granite and aluminum.

19 Scaffolding Science Fiction as Complex Text Teachers design science fiction units and lessons by including the following literacy instruction components: Building Skills Establishing Purpose Fostering motivation Teaching students how to read closely

20 Possibilities in Reading Science Fiction Ronald Lawrence "Ron" Mallett (born 1945) is an American theoretical physicist, academic, and author. He has taught physics at the University of Connecticut since He is best known for his scientific position on the possibility of time travel. Mallett first became interested in time travel after his father died of a heart attack when he was only 1o. At age 11, he found a Classics Illustrated comic book version of H.G. Wells’, The Time Machine. He resolved to travel back in time to save his father, thus being inspired to build his own time machine. He began to read Einstein's theories about time not being fixed, along with The Time Machine; both showed him that his scientific pursuit wasn't all that far-fetched. While Mallett says his "obsessive desire to see his father again," was his primary motivation for learning theoretical physics, the more he studied the subject, the more he became passionate about it. Growing up, he would read whatever books he could get his hands on. While he admits he didn't understand a lot of what he read at first, eventually he knew it would all make sense. He wrote his book, Time Traveler, so that everyone could learn about the possibilities of traversing through time. While there is still much work to be done to create a device that makes time travel practically—not just theoretically—possible, Mallett is just as dedicated to his goal today as he was when he first started on his journey.

21 Contact Information Beverly Rowls Senior Literacy Specialist Center for College Access and Success Northeastern Illinois University All materials will soon be available on our website:


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