Diverse Texts Resource List: Brainstorming Questions with Princess Books

Crowns, Books, and Representation: Using Princess Books to Practice Questioning

diverse texts princesses
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This fall I am facilitating a training on using diverse texts across the curriculum to help teach comprehension and raise engagement. While preparing for my training, I spent some time looking into activities that use diverse texts regardless of the assigned content area. The text Strategies That Work, 3rd edition: Teaching Comprehension for Engagement, Understanding, and Building Knowledge, Grades K-8 by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis is a great place to start because we all teach comprehension (we want our students to understand what we are talking about) and we all want engagement (attention and participation in the lesson). This lesson sequence uses a current event topic and marries the idea of diverse texts to encourage questioning. Participants will also get a chance to label and categorize questions to lead to further discussion. While I chose a current event topic and this particular text set, this strategy could be applied to a variety of topics or content areas. As teachers, we want our students to question the world around them to become better citizens. The fall is approaching quickly, and I am busy reflecting on the areas in my classroom and instruction that need attention in regards to diverse texts and representation.

Lesson Sequence

First, I am going to hand my participants an article about the Little Mermaid Controversy that hit news and social media outlets in summer 2019. Here are links to other similar articles:

Disney's Original Ariel Reacts to Halle Bailey Being Cast in Live-Action The Little Mermaid | PEOPLE

‘Ariel...is a mermaid’: Disney network defends casting black actress in live-action remake of classic film | WASHINGTON POST

Disney's Freeform responds to critics of Halle Bailey casting as Ariel | NBC NEWS

Next, I will ask participants to annotate or write on the text. The focus will be in asking questions (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How).

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Before I hand out the books from the text set, I want to make connections to other activities and content areas. I am also going to show the clip from ABC News.

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Then, I will give participants time to look through the books at each table. They can mark them with sticky notes and practice adding questions to each article and book. I tried to grab as many books from as many different categories as possible.

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After a check-in, I want participants in the session to categorize questions as well. This can give the teacher or facilitator a ton of information as they can see what kinds of questions the class is asking…and not asking.

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My goal is to have a general conversation with teachers about how they could use this in their classroom or subject areas when they are done. However, when I use this in my classroom I am going to focus on the kinds of questions that students are asking and not asking to generate some thinking about our thinking as we read.

Books/Diverse Texts Resource List

Writing Mindset Reflection: How would you use this lesson in the classroom? Do you have more princess titles to add to the list? Share below!