3 Part Series offers a wealth of iPad Apps and Web Tools for the Common Core Literacy Curriculum’s Reading Strand
Dr. Leslie Suters and Dr. Melissa Comer are faculty members in the College of Education's Curriculum & Instruction Department at Tennessee Tech University. They will be co-presenting the session “Common Core Literacy Integration with App Flows” at the 2014 Teaching and Learning with the iPad Conference this November in Raleigh, NC.
The Common Core Literacy Curriculum focuses on reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in all content areas. Use of these curriculum standards at the K-5 level can be a way to reignite instruction of science and social studies, which have been pushed to the background in favor of math and reading/language arts.
At the middle and high school levels, the introduction of the Common Core Literacy in Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects requires teachers to rethink both pedagogy and methodology for teaching content. These subjects, typically taught in isolation, must now be integrated with literacy skills; skills that have, for the most part, been taught in English language arts classes.
As teachers begin to find ways to teach interdisciplinary skills, they will better prepare students for real-world reasoning, problem solving, and critical thinking in preparation for college and career readiness, all goals of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
The push toward literacy integration across the curriculum does not mean that you need to put down your digital tools in favor of paper and books. In fact, with the varied iPad apps and Web 2.0 tools available, we propose doing just the opposite. Technology integration, within all subject areas, is more accessible today than it has ever been. Based on that premise, are you looking for creative ways of incorporating iPad apps and Web 2.0 tools in your lessons to allow students to:
- Use close reading skills in order to comprehend complex texts?
- Write with a variety of media tools?
- Process content through speaking and listening skills?
- Show understanding in critical and creative means?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, this article will help you add to your digital literacy toolbox.
CCSS Reading Strand
The CCSS for literacy focus on five basic strands: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing. In this three part article series we will focus on the reading strand, comprised of academic vocabulary, including Tier 2 and Tier 3 words (more about those in a moment), text complexity identification, close reading skills, and the use of literary as well as informational texts.
So, what is meant by Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary words?
At their most basic, Tier words are broken into three levels: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. Tier 1 words, not considered academic vocabulary, are words that students use on a daily basis, recognize on sight, know meanings for, and have mastered the use of. Often referred to as rich-vocabulary, Tier 2, along with Tier 3 words, comprise academic vocabulary. Tier 2 words are a bit more challenging for students. These words are school-specific ones, such as schema, scaffolding, inquiry, and assessment.
Tier 3 words, sometimes the most unfamiliar and difficult for students to master, are discipline-specific. These words are ones that students must know and use for mastery of a particular subject. In science, for example, Tier 3 words may include cross-ventilation, photosynthesis, bio-mimicry, and geocaching.
Interested in more information concerning Academic Vocabulary? Learn more here.
Digital Tools that Address Academic Vocabulary
Word Clouds – A Different Twist
Many of you have probably used Wordle or Tagxedo to create word clouds. They are fun to make and students are motivated by them. Perhaps we create them, discuss the terms showcased on them in class, and keep them up for reference during the lesson we are focusing on.
For a different spin, we recommend creating a word cloud and posting it to Thinglink. Once it’s posted, students can make comments and respond to others’ comments concerning the words in the cloud. Another plus of posting it on Thinglink is the ability to pair a song or Youtube video with the word cloud which serves to reinforce the vocabulary even more. These things, coupled with the word cloud, make for an interactive experience with academic vocabulary.
Here is an example of Wordle Thinglink depicting academic vocabulary in a social studies lesson centering on The Clinton Twelve.
- Math – Tier 3 Academic Vocabulary of Probability created with Tagxedo
- Literature & Social Studies – Different tiers of academic vocabulary representing the historical time period during Salem Witch Trials (see image below).
Word Clouds can also be easily constructed using apps. Some recommendations include Cloudart which works similarly to Wordle (available here on iTunes) and aTypo Picture which allows you to add words directly to a photograph (available here on iTunes).
Quizlet is a tool that allows you to create flash cards online or with an app that allows for practice with academic vocabulary. There are more features available on the Web 2.0 version; however, both tools are effective for creating cards and studying vocabulary. You can participate in the following activities: view one side of the flashcard displaying the term or definition and test yourself on the opposite side; use the “speller” which reads the word to you and then spell the word (type it in the box); respond to fill in the blank & multiple choice test questions; or play a scatter or race game with the terms and definitions.
Here is an example of a Tier 3 Vocabulary Quizlet set for Math – Intro to Fractions Flashcard Set Example.
Click here to access part 2 and part 3 of this article series, examining apps and tools for text complexity identification, close reading skills, and the use of literary as well as informational texts.
Hemphill, S. (2010). Wicked girls. New York: Harper Collins.
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010a). Common Core State Standards for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Washington, DC: Authors. Retrieved August 5, 2014, from www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_ELA%20Standards.pdf