Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5
Engaging With Literature

About This Video Library

Video Main Page

Support Materials

Lesson Builder

Hints for Site Leaders
Video Titles:

1. Signposts

2. Voices in the Conversation

3. Starting Out

4. Responding
to Literature

5. Sharing the Text

6. Building Community

7. Book Buddies

8. Finding
Common Ground

9. Discussion
Site map

Engaging With Literature

About This Video Library

Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5 is a video library displaying teaching practices for grades 3-5 teachers working with literature in their language arts curricula. The library consists of nine video programs, a print guide, and this Web site.

You may choose to watch the video programs a via Video on Demand or purchase videocassettes/DVDs and the print guide from our online catalog. The guide is also available as a PDF through the project's Support Materials page.

The print guide and Web site provide background and extensions of the content in the video library, and give you ideas for using the materials for various audiences and purposes: professional development, curriculum planning, preservice teacher education, or parent and community outreach.

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More Details About This Library

The unscripted videos that you will view in this library series feature. . .
  • Grades 3-5 teachers in a variety of settings across the country who are helping their students unlock short stories, novels, poetry, and drama as their own.
  • Students who are actively working to create their own pictures of the story worlds they encounter in literature.
  • Literary communities where each person is respected as having a unique perspective to share.
  • Active learners who are finding out how to rely on their own aptitudes to become more involved readers, more effective learners, and more thoughtful citizens.
This library was produced to give teachers a glimpse into classrooms where their peers and students are engaging with literature in all senses of the word. They are making predictions, following hunches, using logic, recalling past experiences with life and in literature — all in an effort to create a unique and complex mental picture of the text. Dr. Judith Langer, the Director of the National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement, calls these pictures envisionments. She first identified these processes of involved learning through a decade of research throughout the country with students of all ages.
About the Individual Clips in This Library

  • Clip 1. Signposts
    This clip introduces the teachers and classrooms that will be a part of this library, and talks about the characteristics that makes these classrooms secure places for learners who are actively engaged with literature.

  • Clip 2. Voices in the Conversation
    In this clip, Katherine Bomer engages in a read-aloud with her fifth- grade students in Austin, Texas, using this as an opportunity to model how to think and how to talk about literature. The Color of My Words, the story of a young Central American writer, is the focus of their attention.

  • Clip 3. Starting Out
    Jonathan Holden's fourth-grade class in Roxbury, Massachusetts, is beginning to build the kind of literary community where everyone is a respected member. In this clip, he helps them start on this road by making personal connections to poetry-reading it, writing it, and performing it.

  • Clip 4. Responding to Literature
    Rich Thompson's fourth-grade class in Hungry Horse, Montana is the setting for a look at the conversations he and his students are having as they work with Because of Winn-Dixie, a young adult novel about change and adapting to change.

  • Clip 5. Sharing the Text
    A visit to BJ Namba's third grade class in Hawai`i begins with a discussion of the ground rules for class discussion, and follows the five book groups in this class as they grow their understandings of several texts through discussion. The groups work with Just Juice, The Pinballs, War With Grandpa, The Great Gilly Hopkins, and Maniac Magee.

  • Clip 6. Building Community
    Latosha Rowley works with her multiage class of fourth- and fifth-grade students in this clip, focusing their work on the theme of Let Freedom Ring. Ms. Rowley's school, the IPS Center for Inquiry in Indianapolis, is a language arts magnet school, and the group is exploring this topic in both social studies and language arts. The conversations here show how successful this merging of disciplines can be, giving students multiple points to connect their lives and understandings to those in the text.

  • Clip 7. Book Buddies
    In this clip, students from Tim O'Keefe's third-grade class join their fifth-grade Book Buddies for meaty conversations about books, leading to increased understandings and more vivid impressions of the literature with which they are working. These students are part of the Center for Inquiry, of which Mr. O'Keefe is a co-founder, located in Columbia, South Carolina.

  • Clip 8. Finding Common Ground
    Building a strong literary community often begins with small steps. In this clip, Bileni Teklu begins to build such a community among her Marietta, Georgia fifth-grade students by validating their voices through individual conferences about their reading.

  • Clip 9. Discussion Strategies
    Students in Barry Hoonan's fifth-grade classroom on Bainbridge Island, Washington take the lead in naming and demonstrating strategies that have helped them engage fully in a discussion centered on literature. These methods include the use of sticky notes and story mapping.

Who Should View This Library

  • Teachers-including those in preservice — and teacher educators can use this library as:
    • A professional development opportunity
    • A way to reach out to families and the community at back-to-school events and other PTA meetings.
  • Curriculum planners can use this library to expand their discussions of appropriate texts and learning experiences for students.
  • Administrators can use this library
    • as a centerpiece for professional development sessions for their peers or teachers
    • to see this unique approach to learning in action as they consider implementing language arts curricula in their areas.
Educational Basis for This Library

Throughout this library series, active and engaging literary education is promoted. In celebrating these practices, the teachers you will see in this series have made these basic assumptions about their work and their students' work:

  • Good works of literature are an important part of every language arts curricula. They can help students as they learn to read, write, speak, and listen.
  • Readers can purposefully interact with a variety of literature, relying on what they know and what they have experienced, and employing not only their logic but also their intuition to make sense of a text.
  • In this interaction, readers form unique and diverse understandings that grow richer as they are shared with their peers in a respectful classroom atmosphere. These understandings are firmly rooted in the text.
  • Through active engagement in a text, students develop strong mental muscles of logic and analysis on which they can rely throughout their academic career.
In doing so, the following NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts are addressed:
  • Standard 1. Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • Standard 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
  • Standard 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • Standard 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • Standard 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
About the Teachers Who Appear in the Clips

You will meet these teachers in this library series. To learn more about them, read their professional biographies in the Introduction of the PDF version of Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5 Guide.

  • Katherine Bomer is an author and teacher, currently teaching in Austin, Texas. Our video visit focuses on Katherine's work with her fifth grade students at Pleasant Hill Elementary. More than 80% of the 510 students here are of Latin American or Mexican decent. About 70% of the students are classified by Texas as "economically disadvantaged," and more than 83% of the student body qualifies for free lunches.
  • Katherine Bomer's "Must-Reads"

    Favorite Professional Books:
    The Art of Teaching Writing (2nd ed.) by Lucy McCormick Calkins. Heinemann.
    The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy McCormick Calkins. Heinemann
    Time for Meaning: Crafting Literate Lives in Middle and High School by Randy Bomer. Heinemann.
    Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts, and Social Change by Maxine Greene. Jossey
    Subtractive Schooling: U.S. Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring by Angela Venezuela. State University of New York
    Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers by Kathy Gnagey Short, Jerome C. Harste, Carolyn L. Burke. Heinemann.
    Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Friere, translated by Robert R. Barr. Continuum Publishing Group

    Favorite Chapter Books:
    " . . . These were very powerful in my classroom last year:"
    The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph.
    The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jimenez.
    Anything ever written by Sharon Creech.
    Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.
    The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis.

  • Jonathan Holden teaches fourth grade in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. The urban school where Mr. Holden currently teaches, Nathan Hale Elementary, has 199 students, most of who are African American, Hispanic, and Asian.
  • Barry Hoonan works with the 5/6 cluster at Odyssey School on Bainbridge Island, Washington, teaching all subjects, but especially concerned with literature and writing, his two passions. Odyssey, with 121 students, is an alternative public school where families promise to volunteer between five and ten hours a month at the school.
  • Barry Hoonan's "Must-Reads"

    Favorite Professional Books:
    Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers by Kathy Gnagey Short, Jerome C. Harste, Carolyn L. Burke. Heinemann.
    "You Gotta BE the Book" Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading With Adolescents by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm. Teachers College Press.
    Literature Circles and Response by Bonnie Campbell Hill (Editor), Nancy J. Johnson (Editor), Katherine l Noe, Katherine S. Noe (Editor). Christopher-Gordon Publishers

    Favorite Picture Books:
    Crow and Hawk: A Traditional Pueblo Indian Story retold by Michael Rosen, illustrated by John Clementson
    Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee
    Encounter by Jane Yolen, illustrated by David Shannon
    Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ronald Himler
    Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Diaz
    John Henry by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
    The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

    Favorite Read-Alouds:
    Skellig by David Almond
    Thunder Cave by Roland Smith
    Crash by Jerry Spinelli
    The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick

  • BJ Namba teaches third grade students at Honolulu's prestigious Punahou School. The 3,700 students there reflect Hawai`i's rainbow of ethnicities and cultural and socio-economic diversities.
  • BJ Namba's "Must-Reads"

    Favorite Read -Aloud Books:
    Crow Boy by Taro Yashima
    Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
    The Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor
    Amos and Boris by William Steig
    The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida
    Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
    Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
    The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting
    Heroes by Ken Mochiguchi
    Westlandia by Paul Fleishman
    Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
    The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

    Favorite Books for Literature Circles:
    Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
    The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
    The Pinballs by Betsy Byars
    Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
    Because of Winn-Dixie by Katie DiCamillo
    The War With Grandpa by Robert Kimmel Smith
    Just Juice by Karen Hesse
    Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
    Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
    Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
    Sun and Spoon by Kevin Henkes

    Professional Books for Literature Circles Information:
    Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers by Kathy G. Short and Jerome Harste
    Getting Started with Literature Circles by Katherine L. Schlick Noe and Nancy J. Johnson
    Grand Conversations: Literature Groups in Action by Ralph Peterson and Maryann Eeds
    Conversations: Strategies for Teaching, Learning, and Evaluating by Regie Routman
    Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in Book Clubs and Reading Groups by Harvey Daniels

  • Tim O'Keefe is a teacher of the 2/3 cluster at the Center for Inquiry in Columbia, South Carolina - a school he helped co-found. The Center for Inquiry's 132 students are drawn from the Columbia area and enter the school through an application and lottery process.
  • Latosha Rowley, in her second career, taught the fourth-fifth cluster at the Indianapolis Center for Inquiry during our video visit. The Center for Inquiry, founded by Jerry Harste, is a language arts magnet school. It draws its nearly 300 students from throughout the city.
  • Bileni Teklu teaches fifth grade at Fair Oaks Elementary in Marietta, Georgia. Almost 78% of the 582 students who attend Fair Oaks are eligible for the free lunch program. The school population is highly transient: typically, nearly 60% of the student population change schools or classes in any given year.
  • Rich Thompson teaches Grade 4 at Canyon Elementary School in Hungry Horse, Montana. The school serves a remote valley community about 10 miles from Glacier National Park, from which it draws 150+ students each year.
About the Advisors Who Guided This Project

These dedicated educators and researchers guided this project. You can learn more about them in the Introduction of the PDF version of Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5 Guide.
  • Judith Langer, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Education at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and Director, National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement (CELA). Dr. Langer is the chief content advisor for this and other projects in this series.
  • Dale Allender currently serves as the Associate Executive Director of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
  • Arthur N. Applebee, Ph.D., is Professor in the School of Education, University at Albany, State University of New York, and (with Judith Langer) is Director of the federally sponsored National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement. (CELA).
  • Corrine Falope has devoted over thirty years to teaching in the classroom. She currently serves as Social Studies Teacher Leader at Lynwood Elementary in New York's Guilderland Central School District.
  • Cora Lee Five is a fifth-grade teacher at Edgewood School in Scarsdale, New York. She has been teaching in New York for over 20 years.
  • James Flood, Ph.D., is professor of Reading and Literacy Development at San Diego State University's School of Teacher Education.
  • Michele Anderson Goady is Reading Specialist for the Maryland State Department of Education and a Faculty Associate at The Johns Hopkins University.
  • Taffy E. Raphael, Ph.D., is currently professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
  • Karen Smith, Ph.D., serves as Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the College of Education of Arizona State University, Tempe.
About the People Who Developed This Project

These people helped guide the production of the video, print, and online materials for Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5.

Executive in Charge of Production
  Gail Porter Long

Executive Producer
  Carol Jackson

Content Development
  Ann Chatterton Klimas

  Darcy Corcoran
  Christine Nusbaum

  Darcy Corcoran
  Lee Cohen Hare
  Diane Harrison
  Ann Chatterton Klimas
  Christine Nusbaum

  Velocity Pictures
  Michael Fevang

Additional Editing
  Kit & Kaboodle Productions
  Neil Beller

Associate Producers
  William Beustring
  Tiffany Judkins
  Maggie Stevens

Field Content Supervisor
  Kathleen Rowlands

Assistant Producer
  Ben Graff

  Elisabeth Noone

Program Participants
  Katherine Bomer
  Pleasant Hills Elementary School
  Austin, Texas

  Jonathan Holden
  Nathan Hale Elementary School
  Boston, Massachusetts

  Barry Hoonan
  Odyssey School
  Bainbridge Island, Washington

  BJ Namba
  Punahou School
  Honolulu, Hawaii

  Tim O'Keefe
  Center for Inquiry
  Columbia, South Carolina

  Latosha Rowley
  Center for Inquiry
  Indianapolis, Indiana

  Bileni Teklu
  Fair Oaks Elementary
  Marietta, Georgia

  Rich Thompson
  Canyon Elementary School
  Hungry Horse, Montana

National Advisory Panel
  Dale Allender
  Associate Executive Director, National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

  Arthur Applebee, Ph.D.
  National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement (CELA)

  Corrine Falope
  Social Studies Teacher Leader, Lynwood Elementary, Guilderland Central School District,   New York

  Cora Lee Five
  Grade 5 Teacher, Edgewood School, Scarsdale, New York

  James Flood, Ph.D.
  Professor, Reading and Literacy Development, School of Teacher Education, San Diego   State University

  Michelle Anderson Goady
  Reading Specialist, Maryland State Department of Education

  Taffy E. Raphael, Ph.D.
  Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois-Chicago

  Karen Smith, Ph.D.
  Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, Arizona State   University

Chief Content Advisor
  Judith A. Langer, Ph.D.
  National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement (CELA)

Opening Titles
  Vizual Solutions

Primary Field Videographers
  Frank Leung
  Kim Moir
  Tim Pugh
  Marlene Rodman

Additional Field Videographers
  Debbie Brown
  Chip Nusbaum
  David Oglevie
  John Stephens
  Lyle Sorenson

Field Sound
  Wayne Bell
  Jefree Bloomer
  Eddie Calilao
  Dan Casey
  Peter Drowne
  Mark Hollensteiner
  Carlson Look
  Jeff Meese
  Henry Miller
  Mike Piopriowski
  Eric Reeves
  Tim Rohrman
  Bill Shamlian
  Scott Stoltz
  Keith Toombs

Post Production Sound
  John Davidson
  David Wainwright

Closed Captioning
  Judi Mann
  Robin Gautney

Managing Director, Education
  Christie Timms

Director of Business Affairs
  Joan Foley

For Annenberg Media
Project Officer
  Deborah A. Batiste

Online/Print Supporting Materials
Online Design
  Bean Creative

Technical Support
  David J. Tauriello, Online Producer, MPT
  Chris Klimas, Associate Online Producer, MPT

  Kathleen Dudden Rowlands
  Ann Chatterton Klimas

Content Reviewer
  Ben Graff


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