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Accountable Talk and Reading Comprehension:

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1 Accountable Talk and Reading Comprehension:
The Case of Shared Inquiry in the South Bronx

2 Overview of Session The Challenge of Reading Comprehension
Brief overview of Accountable Talk and its link to reading comprehension Description of setting Community School 134 Shared Inquiry/Junior Great Books Intervention Directed Notes: How and why it works and video clip Shared Inquiry: Video clip and analysis How talk supports writing and achievement on standardized tests

3 The Challenge: Reading comprehension is critical to school success where the emphasis shifts from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” around fourth grade (Chall & Jacobs, 2003; Hirsch, 2003; Snow et al., 1998).

4 The Challenge: We view reading comprehension as being able to read critically, weigh evidence, and explicate text-based arguments — all skills that are required in high school and college and in the workplace.

5 The Challenge: Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 2005) show that many American school children are not learning to read as early or as well as expected – 36% of fourth graders and 27% of eighth graders cannot read at the basic level (virtually unchanged from 2003).

6 The Challenge: More troubling, NAEP results reveal a persistent achievement gap in reading between White students and Black and Hispanic students, with White students significantly outperforming their Black and Hispanic counterparts.

7 The Challenge: Many elementary students struggle with the basics of literal comprehension; significantly more have difficulty with higher order comprehension skills. Put simply, reading comprehension is a major problem for many American schoolchildren.

8 How Talk Supports Reading Comprehension
There is an emerging literature on the effectiveness of classroom discussion as a means of improving children’s reading comprehension and evidence-based reasoning.

9 How Talk Supports Reading Comprehension
Research suggests that participation in well-orchestrated book discussions improves text comprehension, helps students read critically and interpretively, prepares students to write about texts, supports vocabulary acquisition, and develops students’ abilities to build text-based arguments and explicate their reasoning.

10 How Talk Supports Reading Comprehension
Well-orchestrated book discussions have a significant, positive impact on students’ reading comprehension; yet, the research also indicates that few teachers are skilled at leading good discussions.

11 How Talk Supports Reading Comprehension
“Accountable Talk,” developed by the Institute for Learning (Michaels et al., 2002), offers a set of tools for helping teachers lead academically productive group discussions. This presentation provides further support for the use of Accountable Talk as a framework for conducting text-based discussions.

12 What is Accountable Talk?
It is another term for “academically productive talk.” Accountable Talk: 3 CD ROM set, IFL Michaels, O'Connor, Hall & Resnick (2003)

13 What is Accountable Talk?
It is talk — by both teachers and students — that responds to and further develops what others in the class have said. It puts forth and demands knowledge that is accurate and relevant to the issue under discussion. Accountable Talk uses evidence appropriate to the discipline (e.g., proofs in mathematics, data from investigations in science, textual references in literature) and follows established norms of good reasoning. Accountable Talk sharpens students' thinking by reinforcing their ability to use and create knowledge (Michaels and O’Connor, 2002). (www.instituteforlearning.org)

14 3 Facets of Accountability:
Accountable Talk is talk — by both teachers and students — that is: Accountable to the Learning Community: Accountable to Knowledge Accountable to Rigorous Reasoning

15 Accountability to Community
Some examples: Student: “I agree with Damien because…” Student: “I need some help from Pedro because I didn’t understand what he was trying to say.” Teacher: “Take your time. We’ll wait.” …

16 Accountability to Knowledge
Some examples: Student: “Where in the story does it show you that?” Student: “I disagree with Damien because on the first page it says…” Teacher: “Where in the text do you see that?”

17 Accountability to Reasoning
Some examples: Teacher: “So, by reading that piece of text, what point are you trying to prove to Damien?” Student: “That’s what makes me know that she’s nice in the end. It says it right here.”

18 Community School 134 (George Bristow School)
South Bronx, New York Population of 725 students, 99.8% free lunch eligible 44.5% Black 53.4% Hispanic 9.2% English language learners 5.9 % full time Special Ed. Introduction of Shared Inquiry/Junior Great Books Dramatic rise in test scores Our data come from a public elementary school in the South Bronx, a school with a student population that is 99.8% free lunch eligible. For the past 3 years, the school has used Junior Great Books (JGB) and Shared Inquiry as the heart of the school’s Language Arts program. The school’s standardized test scores rose dramatically after implementing Shared Inquiry for only 6 months during the academic year and these gains were maintained during the second year of the intervention. Interestingly, students’ standardized math scores at the school improved equally dramatically. Prior to the implementation of JGB from 1999 through 2002 an average of 22.6% of General Education students at CS134 were considered far below instructional standards, 52.6 % were considered below instructional standards, while only 24.8% were considered at or above instructional standards (district averages: 22.7%, 50.3% and 27% respectively). After the first six months of JGB, the percentage of students far below instructional standards dropped to 1.6% (1 student) while the number of students considered at or above rose to 51.6% (district averages: 7.4%, 44.7% respectively). After the second year of JGB 47.4% of students maintained at or above status while the district as a whole regressed to 36.7%.

19 Standardized Test Scores in Reading
The most important thing to note about the rise in test scores is that kids are moving out of Levels 1 and 2 (far below and below standards) and into Levels 3 and 4 (at or above standards). The history of test score rise in high poverty schools has been to move kids from failing to needs improvement (or from far below standards to below standards). It’s far more difficult to move kids out of level 2 and into proficient or meets standards. But the shift in this case is moving kids out of level 1 & 2 and into levels 3 and 4.

20 Standardized Test Scores in Reading
You can see that a bit more clearly here if we combine below standards and at or above standards. Now, as we all know, there are lots of successful interventions, interventions which raise student test scores. But rarely do we find out how the intervention works, why it works to boost achievement, what kinds of things happened that made kids more able to succeed on the standardized tests.

21 Junior Great Books Discussions with 4th graders at Community School 134 in the South Bronx

22 Junior Great Books/Shared Inquiry Discussion Practice
Monday — Text Opener, Read aloud, Sharing Questions Tuesday — Directed Notes Wednesday — Interpreting Words Thursday — Shared Inquiry Discussion Friday — Writing The Junior Great Books activities take up about 1 hour per day, with different tasks each day. Here we’ll focus on the second and fourth day of the cycle, what is called Directed Notes and Shared Inquiry.

23 Junior Great Books/Shared Inquiry Discussion Practice
Monday — Text Opener, Read aloud, Sharing Questions Tuesday — Directed Notes Wednesday — Interpreting Words Thursday — Shared Inquiry Discussion Friday — Writing Monday — Text Opener, Read aloud, Sharing Questions Tuesday — Directed Notes Wednesday — Interpreting Words Thursday — Shared Inquiry Discussion Friday — Writing The Junior Great Books activities take up about 1 hour per day, with different tasks each day. Here we’ll focus on the fourth day of the cycle, what is called Shared Inquiry. This is a focused whole group discussion that is launched by a carefully selected “framing” or “leading” question.

24 Design of JGB Tasks 1) Access to the text and to the conversation.
2) There is a gradual transfer of expertise from teacher to students, with a low entry threshold for participating. Two more things to note about the structure of the JGB program: 1) Access to the text and to the conversation. The text is read twice (typically out-loud by the teacher), and the kids follow along in their books. Later, the students read the text themselves in citing evidence for their positions. Students get practice identifying key bits of evidence, citing the text, and reading passages out loud themselves before the SI discussion. You don't have to be a good "reader" to participate fully in the discussions, but participating motivates you to do more reading, scouring the text for evidence, reading and re-reading, and even struggling readers read extended passages to the class to bolster their arguments with evidence. 2) There is a gradual transfer of expertise from teacher to students, with a low entry threshold for participating. The skills students practice earlier in the week, with a lot of support, are then used in later activities (the SI discussion and writing). Prior to Shared Inquiry students get practiced in identifying "evidence," and explicating a link between evidence and an interpretive claim. The SI inquiry discussion recruits these skills as kids bolster their positions with evidence from the text and challenging elements of other’s arguments. These moves are then recruited into their writing which they do independently. There is thus a gradual shift in responsibility from teacher to student and a lessoning of social support as the week progresses, from practicing moves with a lot of teacher and task support, to using the moves in the service of an interpretive discussion, to using the moves in writing.

25 Access to the text and conversation
The text is read twice (typically out-loud by the teacher), and the kids follow along in their books. You don't have to be a good "reader" to participate fully in the discussions, but participating motivates you to do more reading, scouring the text for evidence, reading and re-reading, and even struggling readers read extended passages to the class to bolster their arguments with evidence. In doing “Directed Notes,” students get practice identifying key bits of evidence, citing the text, and reading passages out loud themselves before the SI discussion. Two more things to note about the structure of the JGB program: 1) Access to the text and to the conversation. The text is read twice (typically out-loud by the teacher), and the kids follow along in their books. Later, the students read the text themselves in citing evidence for their positions. Students get practice identifying key bits of evidence, citing the text, and reading passages out loud themselves before the SI discussion. You don't have to be a good "reader" to participate fully in the discussions, but participating motivates you to do more reading, scouring the text for evidence, reading and re-reading, and even struggling readers read extended passages to the class to bolster their arguments with evidence. 2) There is a gradual transfer of expertise from teacher to students, with a low entry threshold for participating. The skills students practice earlier in the week, with a lot of support, are then used in later activities (the SI discussion and writing). Prior to Shared Inquiry students get practiced in identifying "evidence," and explicating a link between evidence and an interpretive claim. The SI inquiry discussion recruits these skills as kids bolster their positions with evidence from the text and challenging elements of other’s arguments. These moves are then recruited into their writing which they do independently. There is thus a gradual shift in responsibility from teacher to student and a lessoning of social support as the week progresses, from practicing moves with a lot of teacher and task support, to using the moves in the service of an interpretive discussion, to using the moves in writing.

26 Gradual Transfer of Expertise from Teacher to Students
The skills students practice earlier in the week, with a lot of support, are then used in later activities (the SI discussion and writing). During “directed notes” students get practice in identifying "evidence," and explicating a link between evidence and an interpretive claim. The SI inquiry discussion recruits these skills as students bolster their positions with evidence from the text and challenge elements of other’s arguments. These moves are then recruited into their writing which they do independently. Two more things to note about the structure of the JGB program: 1) Access to the text and to the conversation. The text is read twice (typically out-loud by the teacher), and the kids follow along in their books. Later, the students read the text themselves in citing evidence for their positions. Students get practice identifying key bits of evidence, citing the text, and reading passages out loud themselves before the SI discussion. You don't have to be a good "reader" to participate fully in the discussions, but participating motivates you to do more reading, scouring the text for evidence, reading and re-reading, and even struggling readers read extended passages to the class to bolster their arguments with evidence. 2) There is a gradual transfer of expertise from teacher to students, with a low entry threshold for participating. The skills students practice earlier in the week, with a lot of support, are then used in later activities (the SI discussion and writing). Prior to Shared Inquiry students get practiced in identifying "evidence," and explicating a link between evidence and an interpretive claim. The SI inquiry discussion recruits these skills as kids bolster their positions with evidence from the text and challenging elements of other’s arguments. These moves are then recruited into their writing which they do independently. There is thus a gradual shift in responsibility from teacher to student and a lessoning of social support as the week progresses, from practicing moves with a lot of teacher and task support, to using the moves in the service of an interpretive discussion, to using the moves in writing.

27 Gradual Transfer of Expertise from Teacher to Students
There is thus a gradual shift in responsibility from teacher to student and a lessoning of social support as the week progresses, from practicing moves with a lot of teacher and task support, to using the moves in the service of an interpretive discussion, to using the moves in writing. Two more things to note about the structure of the JGB program: 1) Access to the text and to the conversation. The text is read twice (typically out-loud by the teacher), and the kids follow along in their books. Later, the students read the text themselves in citing evidence for their positions. Students get practice identifying key bits of evidence, citing the text, and reading passages out loud themselves before the SI discussion. You don't have to be a good "reader" to participate fully in the discussions, but participating motivates you to do more reading, scouring the text for evidence, reading and re-reading, and even struggling readers read extended passages to the class to bolster their arguments with evidence. 2) There is a gradual transfer of expertise from teacher to students, with a low entry threshold for participating. The skills students practice earlier in the week, with a lot of support, are then used in later activities (the SI discussion and writing). Prior to Shared Inquiry students get practiced in identifying "evidence," and explicating a link between evidence and an interpretive claim. The SI inquiry discussion recruits these skills as kids bolster their positions with evidence from the text and challenging elements of other’s arguments. These moves are then recruited into their writing which they do independently. There is thus a gradual shift in responsibility from teacher to student and a lessoning of social support as the week progresses, from practicing moves with a lot of teacher and task support, to using the moves in the service of an interpretive discussion, to using the moves in writing.

28 Directed Notes

29 “Cedric” by Tove Jansson
Sniff has a stuffed animal dog named Cedric. Cedric has topaz eyes and a moonstone on his collar. Sniff gives Cedric away and immediately regrets it to desperation. Story within a story: Woman collects beautiful things. No time for friends. Gets bone stuck in stomach. Decides to give all her stuff away (because she’s suffocating). She finds friends. She laughs and the bone comes out. The short story “Cedric” by Tove Jansson is about a little boy named Sniff has a stuffed animal dog named Cedric who has topaz eyes and a moonstone on his collar. It says, “Possibly the moonstones were more important to Sniff than the dog’s inimitable expressions.” The problem in the story arises when Sniff gives Cedric away to some girl, because another character (a brother perhaps) told Sniff that “if you give something away that you really love, you’ll get it back 10 times over.” Sniff immediately regrets giving away Cedric; he regrets it to desperation. One night he visits Sniffkin (who lives nearby), and Sniffkin tells him a story (presumably a story to help Sniff deal with his situation). Sniffkin’s story is about an aunt of his mother’s -- a woman who had beautiful things which she collected and takes care of, to the exclusion of friends or travel. At some point a bone gets stuck in her stomach and has (she thinks) only a few weeks to live. She has the idea to give all her stuff away (because she’s suffocating), sending just the right thing off to different people in anonymous parcels. She feels better and gets nicer. Friends start to visit, and one day she laughs so hard with visitors that the bone comes out and she doesn’t die. She’s changed, has friends and goes off to travel the world. Sniff doesn’t really seem to understand the story (he often interrupts as Sniffkin is telling it, and Sniffkin says at some point, “I can tell you’re too small for this story.” Soon after hearing Snuffkin’s story about his mother’s aunt, Cedric finds Cedric, abandoned and dirty, left out in the rain. The topaz eyes have been removed and made into eardrops and the moonstone on the collar has been lost. But Sniff, now, as the story says loves Cedric “all the same,” but now only for love’s sake. Recall also, that this is the fourth day of the week the students have been reading and discussing Cedric. They’ve read the story twice and done directed notes for two days. Sniff finds Cedric left out in the rain, wet and dirty, without topazes or moonstone. Now Sniff loves Cedric “only for love’s sake.”

30 Video of Directed Notes

31 Shared Inquiry Discussion

32 Shared Inquiry Discussion

33 Some fast facts about this discussion:
Discussion lasted 54 minutes. 20 students participated 15 participated actively (taking from 3 to 45 turns)

34 Total Number of Words (7,664)

35 Total Number of Turns: 450

36 Average # of Words Per Turn

37 Number of Turns in which Students Refer to or Quote Text
36% of references to text are quotes

38 Examining Academic Moves in Discussion
interpretive claim locating text quoting or paraphrasing text warrant (linking claim and evidence) logical argument, mentioning evidence, or weighing competing evidence or claims So now, let me shift to part 2 of the paper: Examining Accountable Talk and the way the talk supports reasoning and argumentation in a Segment of Shared Inquiry Discussion

39 The Transcript Then I’ll show you how we’ve analyzed that much of the transcript. I’ll then tell you what happens in the next 5 minutes and briefly where the discussion goes after that. Then I’ll play the entire 5 minute segment.

40 Video of first 5 minutes:

41 Insert video

42 Text is rich and ambiguous; Framing question, by design, is complex;
Students are not yet highly skilled at making and explicating arguments; Accountable Talk moves give the students tools to persist at challenging intellectual work, take each other’s ideas seriously, to clarify misunderstandings, expand on one another’s ideas, and to build increasingly cogent arguments — bolstering their claims with clearly cited evidence and explicit warrants. Still you might well be thinking, what’s the point of this? What got accomplished during this segment? It took a lot of time, just to clear up misunderstandings and to get back to the beginning. I want to suggest that the kids are doing incredibly valuable work, work that will make them good readers and good reasoners. They’re persisting in trying to make sense through confusion and inarticulateness. They’re working hard to explicate their own ideas, make them square with the text, and to challenge the ideas of their peers. It’s hard, messy work: The text is rich and ambiguous; Framing question is complex and ambiguous. The Teacher’s question can be read in multiple ways and answered using different kinds of argument and evidence. Students are not yet highly skilled at making and explicating arguments; they aren’t aware of the multiple readings of the question and are inexperienced arguers. They leave pieces of their arguments implicit. They misunderstand one another’s points. It is, however, the Accountable Talk tools (in the hands of both teacher and students) that allow them to identify and articulate these misunderstandings, rephrase their questions, and develop more cogent and well-explicated arguments. In short, it is the Accountable Talk moves (by teacher and students) give the students tools to persist at challenging intellectual work, take each other’s ideas seriously, to clarify misunderstandings, expand on one another’s ideas, and to build increasingly cogent arguments — bolstering their claims with clearly cited evidence and explicit warrants. It’s worth noting that after this initial segment, the kids do focus on explaining what made Sniff change. By the end of the discussion, several different answers, causal explanations, to the teacher’s question have been explicated and argued over, with many different students citing and quoting evidence from the text.

43 Transfering Moves into Text

44 Transfering Moves into Text

45 Writing Sample #2

46 Transferring Moves into Text

47 Recruiting Intellectual Moves in Answering Questions on Standardized Reading Tests
Which of the following best describes the Crane’s behavior? a) caring b) thoughtful c) selfish d) dangerous

48 Students’ Reasoning


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