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READING NONFICTION LIKE A DETECTIVE

TEACHER GUIDE

READING NONFICTION LIKE A DETECTIVE GRADE 6

07-07-04-FCTM-18

ANALYSIS, EXPLANATION, AND ARGUMENT: READING NONFICTION LIKE A DETECTIVE

GRADE 6


Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective Grade 6

Analysis, Explanation, and Argument: Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective

© 2018 Inquiry By Design, Inc. 07-07-04-FCTM-18


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Planning Notes

Common Core Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 At-A-Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Part 1: Reading the Detective Novel—A Comprehension Task . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 1-5 Reading and Tracking Scat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 6 Reading Scat: A Comprehension Task . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 7 A Comprehension Task—Continued Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 8 Writing and Sharing the Summary Accounts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Part 2: Reading Like a Detective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 9-10 Reading Like a Detective: The Theory Building Task . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 11 Reading Scat Like a Detective: Small-Group Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 12 Reading Scat Like a Detective: Whole-Class Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 13 Reading Like a Detective: Stepping Back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 14 Reading Ads Like a Detective: Reading On the Surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 15 Reading Ads Like a Detective: Reading Below the Surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 16 Reading Ads Below the Surface: Whole-Class Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 17-18 Studying Drafts, Composing Drafts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 19 Introducing Jonathan Kozol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 20 Reading Literary Nonfiction Like a Detective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 21 Reading Kozol Like a Detective: Whole-Class Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 22 Reading Kozol Like a Detective: Writing Text-Based Papers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 23 Introducing Eric Schlosser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 24 Reading Schlosser: The Comprehension Task . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 25 Reading Schlosser Like a Detective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 26 Reading Schlosser Like a Detective: Writing Text-Based Arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 27 Reading Schlosser Like a Detective: Whole-Class Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 28 Stepping Back and a Final Assignment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Appendix: Forms and Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Session Planning Template . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Tracking Scat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Summarizing the Red Diamond Energy Plan in Scat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 Criteria for a Good Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 A List of Detective Moves in Scat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Reading Ads Like a Detective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Reading Kozol Like a Detective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Comprehension Task: Retelling Schlosser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 Reading Schlosser Like a Detective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Reading Like a Detective: A Final Assignment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective 3


Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective

Common Core Connection

Common Core State Standards for grade six addressed in this unit of study: Reading Standards for Literature Reading Literature 1 — Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. Reading Literature 2 — Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments. Reading Literature 3 — Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution. Reading Literature 4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings. Reading Literature 5 — Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot. Reading Literature 10 — By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently. Reading Standards for Informational Texts Reading Informational Texts 1 — Cite textual evidence to support an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. Reading Informational Texts 2 — Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments. Reading Informational Texts 3 — Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g. through examples or anecdotes).

Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective 5


Common Core Connection

Planning Notes

Reading Informational Texts 4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings. Reading Informational Texts 5 — Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas. Reading Informational Texts 6 — Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text. Reading Informational Texts 7 — Integrate information presented in different media or formats as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue. Reading Informational Texts 8 — Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not. Reading Informational Texts 10 — By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. Writing Standards Writing 1 — Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. –– Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly. –– Support claim(s) with clear reasoning and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text. –– Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons. –– Establish and maintain a formal style. –– Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented. Writing 2 — Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. –– Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect. –– Develop topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples. –– Use appropriate transitions to clarify the relationship among ideas and concepts.

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Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective


Common Core Connection

–– Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

Planning Notes

–– Establish and maintain a formal style. –– Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the information or explanation presented. Writing 4 — Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. Writing 5 — With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. Writing 9 — Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. –– Apply reading standards to literature –– Apply reading standards to literary nonfiction Writing 10 — Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two). Speaking and Listening Standards Speaking and Listening 1 — Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. –– Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion. –– Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed. –– Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion. –– Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing. Speaking and Listening 3 — Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective 7


At-A-Glance

At-A-Glance Title

Guiding Questions

Planning Notes

Agenda

Std.

Part 1: Reading the Detective Novel—A Comprehension Task Session 1-5 Reading and Tracking Scat

• What can we do to read and comprehend a detective novel?

• Complete the reading of Scat using a gradually shifting combination of shared reading and independent reading so that by the last sessions most of the reading will be done independently by students • Complete a tracking form for each of the four parts of Scat

• RL.6.1 • RL.6.3 • RL.6.4 • RL.6.10 • W.6.10

Session 6 Reading Scat: A Comprehension Task

• How does thinking about an important part of a detective novel help improve our understanding of the book?

• Introduce and review the comprehension task for Scat • Discuss the purpose of the small-group work and review how the tracking sheets students completed can help with this task • Work in small groups to re-create a step-by-step account of Red Diamond’s plan • Share and discuss the results of this work as a class

• RL.6.1 • RL.6.2 • RL.6.5 • W.6.2 • W.6.4 • W.6.5 • W.6.9 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Session 7 A Comprehension Task—Continued Work

• How does thinking about an important part of a detective novel help improve our understanding of the book?

• Review the comprehension task with the whole class • Continue working in small groups to do the rereading, note taking, and discussion necessary to complete the assignment • Work as a class to generate a list of the big ideas that should be central to the students’ written accounts and capture these on a chart

• RL.6.1 • RL.6.5 • W.6.2 • W.6.4 • W.6.5 • W.6.9 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

• How does thinking about an Session 8 important part of a detective Writing and Sharing the novel help improve our Summary Accounts

• Once again, review the comprehension task with the class, revisiting the key ideas generated by the class during the previous session • Finish writing individual summary accounts of the Red Diamond Energy plan for getting rich • Negotiate a whole-class “master retelling” of the plan

• RL.6.1 • RL.6.5 • W.6.2 • W.6.4 • W.6.5 • W.6.9 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

understanding of the book?

Part 2: Reading Like a Detective

Session 9-10 Reading Like a Detective: The Theory Building Task

• What does it mean to “read like a detective”?

• Introduce and discuss the metaphor of reading as detective work to the class • Work in small groups to create a list of what it means to read like a detective • Negotiate a whole-class theory of what it means to read like a detective, capturing details on a chart

• RL.6.1 • RL.6.2 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Session 11 Reading Scat Like a Detective: SmallGroup Work

• How useful is our theory of “reading like a detective”?

• Consider, once again, what it means to read like a detective and review the “When We Read Like a Detective… ” chart the class created during the last two sessions • Introduce and review the question for interpretation • Work in small groups to develop a response to the interpretive question • As a class, review the process of the small-group discussions, listing problems encountered and possible solutions

• RL.6.1 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective 9


At-A-Glance

Planning Notes

Title

Guiding Questions

Session 12 Reading Scat Like a Detective: Whole-Class Discussion

• What do you do in order to form an interpretation? • How do you contribute to an interpretive discussion? • How does participating in an interpretive discussion influence our reading of a text?

• Compose a quick write in response to the interpretive question, “What is Hiaasen trying to convince you about in Scat?” • Review the “Criteria for a Good Discussion” and then begin a whole-class discussion of the interpretive question • Collaborate to create a whole-class written response to the interpretive question

• RL.6.1 • SL.6.1 • W.6.10

Session 13 Reading Like a Detective: Stepping Back

• What was it like looking for messages “below the surface” of the text? • When you read “below the surface,” what do you do that is different from when you read “on the surface”? • Why is it important to read like a detective? • How can we improve our theory about “reading like a detective”?

• Introduce the first three step-back questions and have students write a brief response to each • Working in small groups, share and discuss the written responses to each question • Introduce the last step-back question and use it to revise and refine items on the “When We Read Like a Detective, We… ” chart

• SL.6.1 • W.6.10

Session 14 Reading Ads Like a Detective: Reading On the Surface

• How is “reading on the surface” different from “reading below the surface” like a detective?

• Introduce and review the “Reading Like a Detective” assignment • Work in small groups to complete the “surface” readings of the ads and answer the questions in Part 1 of the “Reading Like a Detective” assignment • Work as a class to construct a chart for each ad that represents a comprehensive surface reading of the ad

• RIT.6.1 • RIT.6.2 • RIT.6.3 • RIT.6.5 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Session 15 Reading Ads Like a Detective: Reading Below the Surface

• What does our theory of “reading like a detective” help us see and say about “below the surface” messages in ads?

• Review the “When We Read Like a Detective, We…” chart with the class • Review and discuss Part 2 of the “Reading Ads Like a Detective” assignment, pointing out the similarities this assignment has to the work students did with Scat • Working in small groups, discuss and take notes about the questions in Part 2 of the assignment, taking care to refer back to the “When We Read Like a Detective, We…” chart • Discuss as a whole class some of the conclusions students have drawn in response to the questions in Part 2

• RIT.6.1 • RIT.6.2 • RIT.6.3 • RIT.6.4 • RIT.6.5 • RIT.6.6 • RIT.6.8 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Session 16 Reading Ads Below the Surface: Whole-Class Discussion

• What do you do in order to form an interpretation? • How do you contribute to an interpretive discussion? • How does participating in an interpretive discussion influence our reading of a text?

• Compose a quick write in response to the interpretive question posed in Part 2 of the “Reading Ads Like a Detective” assignment • Review the “Criteria for a Good Discussion” and then begin a whole-class discussion of the interpretive question • Collaborate to create a whole-class written response to the interpretive question

• RIT.6.1 • RIT.6.2 • RIT.6.3 • RIT.6.4 • RIT.6.5 • RIT.6.6 • RIT.6.8 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

10

Agenda

Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective

Std.


At-A-Glance

Title

Guiding Questions

Agenda

Planning Notes

Std.

Session 17-18 Studying Drafts, Composing Drafts

• What are the features of effective text-based arguments?

• As a group, revisit the interpretive paper the class authored in Session 12, with an eye toward revising and strengthening the arguments, the evidence that supports the claim, and the presentation • Use this exercise to create a list of key things to attend to when writing an interpretive paper— including assuming an “authoritative interpretive disposition” or “acting like an expert ” • Review Part 2 of the “Reading Ads Like a Detective” assignment and then, working individually, write a response to the questions posed • Facilitate a class discussion about how the revision exercise influenced students’ writing

• RIT.6.1 • RIT.6.2 • RIT.6.3 • RIT.6.4 • RIT.6.5 • RIT.6.6 • RIT.6.8 • W.6.1 • W.6.4 • W.6.5 • W.6.9 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Session 19 Introducing Jonathan Kozol

• How is “reading on the surface” different from reading “below the surface” like a detective?

• Review Kozol’s biography and then read the text selection from Amazing Grace aloud as students read along and mark important moments in the text • As a class, create a chart listing the important or confusing moments that students encountered during the reading • Work in small groups to create a retelling of Kozol’s story that answers the comprehension questions • Share the retellings with the whole group, creating a single, class retelling of the story

• RIT.6.1 • RIT.6.2 • RIT.6.3 • RIT.6.4 • RIT.6.10 • W.6.4 • W.6.9 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Session 20 Reading Literary Nonfiction Like a Detective

• What does “reading like a detective” help us see and say about messages in a piece of literary nonfiction?

• Introduce and review the “Reading Kozol Like a Detective” assignment • Work in small groups to read the Kozol selection like a detective, taking detailed and precise notes to support the work • Share out loud the messages students found “below the surface” of the text and capture these on a chart, taking care to link each message to specific moments in the text

• RIT.6.1 • RIT.6.2 • RIT.6.3 • RIT.6.4 • RIT.6.5 • RIT.6.6 • RIT.6.8 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Session 21 Reading Kozol Like a Detective: Whole-Class Discussion

• What do you do in order to form an interpretation? • How do you contribute to an interpretive discussion? • How does participating in an interpretive discussion influence our reading of a text?

• Review the question for interpretation once again, along with the “Criteria for a Good Discussion ” • Conduct a whole-class discussion of the “below the surface” messages in Kozol’s text • Compose a one-page quick write in response to the interpretive question

• RIT.6.1 • RIT.6.2 • RIT.6.3 • RIT.6.4 • RIT.6.5 • RIT.6.6 • RIT.6.8 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Session 22 Reading Kozol Like a Detective: Writing TextBased Papers

• What are the features of effective text-based arguments?

• Work individually to compose an interpretive response to the question posed in the “Reading Kozol Like a Detective” assignment

• W.6.1 • W.6.4 • W.6.5 • W.6.9 • W.6.10

Session 23 Introducing Eric Schlosser

• What is important or confusing in Schlosser’s text?

• RIT.6.10 • Review Eric Schlosser’s biography with the class • SL.6.1 and then read aloud the text selection, “McJobs,” marking moments in the text that seem important or confusing • Work as a class to create a chart listing the important or confusing moments or other questions students have about the text

Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective 11


At-A-Glance

Planning Notes

Guiding Questions

Agenda

Std.

Session 24 Reading Schlosser: The Comprehension Task

Title

• How is “reading on the surface” different from “reading below the surface” like a detective”?

• Review the comprehension task with the class and remind students that this is “reading on the surface” work • Work in small groups to create a retelling of the piece, following the prompts in the comprehension assignment • Use the individual retellings to create a whole-class retelling that is captured on a chart.

• RIT.6.1 • RIT.6.2 • RIT.6.3 • RIT.6.4 • RIT.6.10 • W.6.4 • W.6.9 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Session 25 Reading Schlosser Like a Detective

• What does “reading like a detective” help us see and say about messages in a piece of literary nonfiction?

• Introduce and review the “Reading Schlosser Like a Detective” assignment with the class • Work independently to complete the short assignments set forth in the “Reading Schlosser Like a Detective” task • Compose a quick write in response to the interpretive question introduced in the assignment

• RIT.6.1 • RIT.6.2 • RIT.6.3 • RIT.6.4 • RIT.6.5 • RIT.6.6 • RIT.6.8 • W.6.10 • SL.6.1

Session 26 Reading Schlosser Like a Detective: Writing Text-Based Arguments

• What are the features of effective text-based arguments? • What are the underlying messages about life in Martinsburg that Schlosser seems to be hinting at or moving us towards?

• Review the criteria for good, text-based arguments and review the texts that students may use to support their writing • Work independently to write a response to the interpretive question in the “Reading Schlosser Like a Detective” assignment

• W.6.1 • W.6.4 • W.6.5 • W.6.9 • W.6.10

Session 27 Reading Schlosser Like a Detective: WholeClass Discussion

• What do you do in order to form an interpretation? • How do you contribute to an interpretive discussion? • How does participating in an interpretive discussion influence our reading of a text?

• Review the question for interpretation once again, along with the “Criteria for a Good Discussion ” • Conduct a whole-class discussion of the underlying messages about life in Martinsburg that Schlosser seems to be hinting at • Briefly review the work the class has successfully accomplished during this unit

• RIT.6.7 • W.6.1 • W.6.4 • W.6.5 • SL.6.1

Session 28 Stepping Back and a Final Assignment

• Introduce the step-back questions and have students • How have our ideas about write a brief response to each “reading like a detective” changed • Discuss the questions as a class and use the group’s since the beginning of the unit? thinking to revise, refine, and update items on the • What does reading like a detective “When We Read Like a Detective, We… ” chart tell us about texts? • What does reading like a detective • Introduce and review the final assignment for the unit and negotiate a deadline teach us about readers?

12

Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective

• RIT.6.7 • W.6.1 • W.6.4 • W.6.5 • SL.6.1


Introduction In this text, students will use the “detective” metaphor to guide them through a set of experiments in reading nonfiction. The notion of reading like a detective is based on assumptions about people and texts that can be summarized in the following way: • Human beings are symbol-using animals. We are always indicating, meaning otherwise or in addition to. • Texts, including images, ads, film, and television, are things people make that other people can read. These texts have multiple “levels” and, therefore, can be read in multiple ways. The metaphor, as it is used in the unit, suggests that the habits and behaviors a detective employs to solve a crime—for example, asking questions, building (and rebuilding) theories based on evidence, doubting, mistrusting appearances—can also be usefully employed by readers of texts to see “below the surface” meanings. The work in this unit should be conducted in the spirit of an investigation, as in “let’s see what this metaphor can help us see and say about reading, readers, and texts.” It is an exploration framed by the idea that texts have multiple levels, including a surface level. People, therefore, can read texts “on the surface” and also “below the surface,” for messages created intentionally or unintentionally by the author. The first part of this unit is dedicated to a close study of a popular detective novel written for adolescents: Carl Hiaasen’s Scat. The study of Hiaasen’s book has merit in and of itself: close reading, careful comprehension and interpretive work, discussions, and writing—all things that mark rigorous, careful text-based work. But in this unit, the novel has another function: It is a “case” to study. Students read Scat to notice what detectives do and, on the basis of their observations, to create theories about what it might mean to read like a detective. The remainder of the unit is dedicated to testing and refining those theories as students try them out as they read, and talk and write about, a set of nonfiction texts.

Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective 13


Introduction

Planning Notes

A Note on Language and Method The sessions in this unit are best viewed as illustrations or sketches. They are offered to help teachers visualize how instruction might unfold in time. Teachers will find in the Appendix a session-level planning template designed to aid their individual efforts to organize and prepare for the teaching and learning that will occur in their particular classroom. In addition, the design of each unit incorporates large margins and a generous amount of white space to encourage and allow teachers to revise and customize the text as they work through the curriculum. It is important to keep in mind that any course of study is, when properly used, a tool for teaching students. The moment we make instructional decisions that lead us to choose “coverage� over the delivery of appropriate and timely instruction to individual students, we have erred. It is in the spirit of appropriate and timely instruction that the following sessions and the planning template are provided.

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Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective


Sessions 9-10

Reading Like a Detective: The Theory Building Task Guiding Questions What does it mean to “read like a detective”?

Agenda

Common Core State Standards

…… Introduce and discuss the metaphor of reading as detective work to the class. …… Work in small groups to create a list of what it means to read like a detective. …… Negotiate a whole-class theory of what it means to read like a detective, capturing details on a chart. Teaching Note: The first part of this unit was dedicated to a close study of a detective novel. Much of that work had merit in and of itself: close reading, focused comprehension tasks, text-based discussions, and writing—all things that mark rigorous, careful text-centered work. But in this unit, the careful reading has another application: to clarify a metaphor that will shape the work in the remaining parts of the unit—an investigation into what it means to “read like a detective.” It is important to mark that the notion of “reading like a detective” brings with it some assumptions about texts and about reading. For example, “reading like a detective” imagines that

• • • •

RL.6.1 RL.6.2 W.6.10 SL.6.1

Materials

• “List of Detective Moves in Scat” • New chart titled “When We Read Like a Detective, We….”

• People are symbol-using animals. We are always indicating, meaning otherwise or in addition to. From what we wear to how we arrange a room to how we use language—all of these acts and their artifacts can be read “above” and “below” the surface. • Texts are one of the kinds of things people make that have multiple “levels” and therefore that can be read in multiple ways.

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Sessions 9-10: Reading Like a Detective: The Theory Building Task

Planning Notes

Another thing that is important to highlight here is the use of the surface metaphor. This metaphor is powerful in part because it is conventional. In other words, it is an idea that people of all ages are familiar and comfortable with. In this unit, it is meant in the following way: Texts, like icebergs or oceans, are things that can be viewed or read on or above the surface and also below the surface. Indeed, this is the major trope of the detective novel, that despite all appearances, what’s really going on isn’t apparent at all and, as such, it is the job of the detective to “dig in,” to “probe” or investigate, in order to find out what’s really going on. All of the work that follows, then, should be understood in this way: Reading like a detective is a metaphor-driven approach to texts that suggests that reading is in some important ways like sleuthing. As such, it is best conducted in the spirit of an exercise that might sound something like this when we talk to students: Let’s imagine that texts have multiple levels and that they therefore can be read on a surface level and also “below the surface” for messages created intentionally or unintentionally by the author. Let’s see what reading like a detective does for us. Let’s see what it helps us see and say about texts. Let’s see if it helps us become better, smarter, and more careful readers.

Focus Lesson (Double-Length) • Introduce the following idea to the class.

Imagine that the detective work you observed in Scat — the looking for evidence, the theorybuilding whodunit work, the “trying to figure out what’s really going on,” etc. — is a metaphor for reading. Remember, a metaphor is when one thing is used to describe something else. We all use metaphors all the time to make sense of things. For example, we say “that test was a monster.” It doesn’t mean the test was an actual monster, but that our experience of it was terrifying and challenging. Comparing it to a monster helps us describe our experience to ourselves and to other people. So when we say that detective work is a metaphor for reading, it means that while it is not actually real detective work, there are things about detective work that, if a reader applies them, can help her or him read better, smarter, and more carefully. This means that all the things you saw people who were trying find out the truth about Smoke and the Red Diamond Energy Corporation doing are the same kinds of things good readers do to figure out what’s going on in a text. The objective of the rest of this unit is to explore that metaphor, to experience what it means— and how it helps—to read like a detective.

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Sessions 9-10: Reading Like a Detective: The Theory Building Task

• Tell students that in a few minutes they will gather in small groups of two or three to begin sketching out some ideas about what they think it might mean to “read like a detective.”

Planning Notes

• In preparation for this work, take the remainder of this focus lesson (3-5 minutes) to direct students’ attention to the tracking sheets from earlier in the unit. • Point out to students that they’ve already spent time thinking about the work detectives do, the way they think and behave, and even the emotions someone experiences while sleuthing. Their job in this session will be to develop a clearer picture of detective work so that later on they can see how those same “moves” help them read.

Work Period • Place students in groups of twos or threes. • Jot the following question on the board and explain to students that they should use the work period to generate an answer to the question: What does it mean to “read like a detective”? Based on your study of Scat, develop a list of at least ten things that show what you think this means. »» Suggest to students that this work is its own kind of “theory building” and that their lists are informed sketches where they take what they know about one thing (detective work) and imagine what it might mean for something else (reading). »» Give the groups time to conduct their discussions and make their lists. »» Confer with the groups about the work during this time. Be sure to remind and model for them how to use the text, their writings, and tracking sheets during this work. Also, take time to show students how to jot notes and ideas down during these discussions. (A summary of some of the detective moves employed in Scat is shown on the next page and in the Appendix. This is supplied as a resource for you to draw on as you support students during their inquiry work.)

Closing Meeting • Reserve 20-25 minutes for the closing meeting. • Work with the class to craft a whole-class “theory” of what it might mean to “read like a detective.” To do this, reconvene the class and call on volunteers from each group to share two or three items from their list. • Capture these items on a chart titled “When We Read Like a Detective, We. . .” Be sure to push students for clarification as needed and insist that they reference specific moments in the novel. Take care to jot page numbers down next to each entry.

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Sessions 9-10: Reading Like a Detective: The Theory Building Task

Planning Notes

A List of Detective “Moves” in Scat* *All page numbers on this list correspond to the © 2009 paperback edition of Scat by Carl Hiaasen.

Detective “Move”

Page(s)

Notices when things “seem strange” or when something is “weird”

44, 116

Notices patterns

137

Notices details

69, 86, 89, 106, 117, 146, 209

Notices when things don’t make sense

224, 232

Does research

Calls and talks to people to get information, 44 Interviews people, 57, 110 Does internet research, 299 Goes places to see things or to talk to people, 225, 233, 299302

Thinks

44, 118, 245 Realizes, 53 Wonders, 59, 118 Thinks with other people, 87, 232

Insists on (or asks for) evidence or proof

61, 222

Infers or draws conclusions

55, 229, 302, 325

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Sessions 9-10: Reading Like a Detective: The Theory Building Task

A List of Detective “Moves” in Scat*

Planning Notes

*All page numbers on this list correspond to the © 2009 paperback edition of Scat by Carl Hiaasen.

Builds Theories

Works on a theory, 56, 230-31, 244 Revises or adds to a theory, 69 Tries a theory out in public, 87 Thinks about abandoning a theory, 302 Revises a theory based on new evidence, 325 Prefers one theory over another, 232 Puts pieces of information together, 230, 231, 268 Holds multiple “threads” that sometimes come together all at once, 283, 325

Recalls or remembers

60, 61

Asks questions

69, 86, 236-8, 71, 107, 171, 191, 193, 272 Complicates or tests theories, 266-7 Writes down answers to questions, 108 Pushes back, 88 Asks “what’s it got to do with . . .?” 204 Asks multiple questions in a row, then draws a conclusion, 229 Asks “what if ” questions, 231

Identifies things to think about or figure out

118, 171, 193

Looks

Looks again and again, often with someone else, 40, 62, 71 Goes in for a closer look, 129-134

Reading Nonfiction Like a Detective 35


Session 20

Reading Literary Nonfiction Like a Detective Guiding Questions What does “reading like a detective” help us see and say about messages in a piece of literary nonfiction?

Agenda

Common Core State Standards

…… Introduce and review the “Reading Kozol Like a Detective” assignment. …… Work in small groups to read the Kozol selection like a detective, taking detailed and precise notes to support the work. …… Share out loud the messages students found “below the surface” of the text and capture these on a chart, taking care to link each message to specific moments in the text.

• • • • • • • • •

RIT.6.1 RIT.6.2 RIT.6.3 RIT.6.4 RIT.6.5 RIT.6.6 RIT.6.8 W.6.10 SL.6.1

Materials

Focus Lesson • Point out to students that they are now quite familiar with the “surface” of Kozol’s text and that in this session they will begin the work of reading that text like a detective. • Display the “Reading Kozol Like a Detective” assignment for the class to see and distribute copies to students. (A copy-ready version can be found in the Appendix.)

• Display copy of “Reading Kozol Like a Detective” • Student copies of “Reading Kozol Like a Detective” • Chart paper or another display

• Take a few minutes to read through the assignment. Once again, encourage students to highlight or underline key information in the assignment and to make notes in the margins as needed. • Take time to answer any questions students have about the assignment and the work ahead.

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Session 20: Reading Literary Nonfiction Like a Detective

Planning Notes

Reading Kozol Like a Detective By now you are familiar with the selection from Jonathan Kozol’s book, Amazing Grace. You also have a fair amount of experience reading like a detective. For this task, you will have a chance to connect these experiences as you work to read Kozol like a detective. By now you know that in his text, Kozol tells us a story about some time he spent with Cliffie in his neighborhood. You’ve crafted a retelling of the story and have a good sense of who he writes about, what happens, and what Kozol sees and thinks. Here’s the task: Imagine that “below the surface” of his text, Kozol might be intentionally or unintentionally creating messages to show us something or to convince us of something. If we read like a detective we can locate those deep messages and tell other people about what we see. What are the “below the surface” messages Kozol creates in his text? Please write a 2-3 page response to this question. You don’t have to start writing right away. Once again, you will have an opportunity to begin your work on this task in a small group and then, later, to test it out with the class as a whole. Remember, members of the groups do not have to agree on everything. The purpose of these discussions is to give you a chance to try out your ideas before writing, to hear other readers’ reactions to those ideas, and to help each other identify examples to support and/or otherwise improve those responses. Be sure to take good notes during these conversations. These notes will help you track your thinking, ask better questions, and make your interpretive writing go much smoother and faster. Please be sure to always bring your notes and your reader to the small- and large-group meetings.

Work Period • Place students in groups of two or three. • Tell them that they will have this session’s work period to try reading Kozol like a detective. • Give students time to work in their small groups on the task. Use this time to confer with groups about the work. Be sure to encourage students to be as precise and detailed in their note taking as possible. When appropriate, encourage students to consider the impact a specific word choice has on meaning or tone in Kozol’s text.

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Session 20: Reading Literary Nonfiction Like a Detective

Closing Meeting

Planning Notes

• Give students 4-5 minutes at the beginning of the closing meeting to look over their notes and to make a list of the “below the surface” messages they see in Kozol’s text. • Afterwards, move through a rapid-fire share out session where different students identify briefly a message they see in the text. • Capture these on a chart or another display and work with the class to link each potential message to one or more specific moments in the text.

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READING NONFICTION LIKE A DETECTIVE

TEACHER GUIDE

READING NONFICTION LIKE A DETECTIVE GRADE 6

07-07-04-FCTM-18

ANALYSIS, EXPLANATION, AND ARGUMENT: READING NONFICTION LIKE A DETECTIVE

GRADE 6

Profile for Inquiry By Design, Inc.

Reading Nonfiction like a Detective Grade 6  

Reading Nonfiction like a Detective Grade 6