Diverse Texts Resource List: Listacles with Biographies

The Art of Listing to Create Room for Empathy

diverse texts biographies
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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 reading strategy that involves making lists into short, informal articles (LIST+ARTICLE=LISTACLE). I personally LOVE listacles and use them in blogging all of the time. However, I have not had my students make these short articles as a way to assess their summarization and synthesis skills. The text set I chose to go along with this activity focuses on biographies and narrative nonfiction. I wanted to include this type of text set because biographies connect to ALL content areas, and students can easily search out aspects of a person’s life or accomplishments as they learn the task. I have been busy reflecting on the areas in my classroom and instruction that need attention in regards to diverse texts and representation, and I definitely have some areas that will get my attention first when I enter my classroom for the fall.

Lesson Sequence

First, I am going to start by sharing a listacle that I have written: “10 Criteria for Choosing Diverse Texts for Your Classroom.” This is a way to share information with the participants for when they are choosing books for their classrooms, but also as a way to share my own writing in the form a listacle. In my 6th-grade classroom, I would do a lesson where I created a listacle in front of them first before they did their own.

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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 of me and my librarian teaching the narrative nonfiction lesson in our library. Using MEL or the Michigan E-Library system opens up a great conversation with educators regarding the use of nonfiction texts in our classrooms and also having students find information using databases.

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After the lesson, I am going to ask participants to categorize their information from their lists and share out how they would connect this to their classrooms. My hope is to have a great conversations regarding informal writing and assessment as well.

Books/Diverse Texts Resource List

Writing Mindset Reflection: How would you use “listacles” in your classroom? What other books could you use as mentor texts?