Saturday, December 01, 2012

Rich Text Inspires and Elicits Response

There are endless information sources and materials with which to teach today.

It's imperative that we choose the best resources so that we inspire our students to question, debate and research.

Rich text does this while dull text does not.  What makes text rich?  When text is rich, the words inspire the following actions:
  • Questions.
  • Deep Thought.
  • Debate.
  • Further investigative actions.
  • Rereading.
  • Sharing.
  • Laughter and tears.
  • Connections.
  • Writing.
I was reminded of this recently.

First, at the start of our animal adaptation unit, when I asked students to respond to the rich text quote below, I was amazed by their investment, care, vocabulary and thoughts.

Similarly, as we develop the unit further students are asked to utilize scientific adaptation descriptions to write text about their "wild thing" creations.  The rich text provided on the web site both engages and inspires students' response.

Also, this morning as I read Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences periodiCALS, I noted a rich text article, "Conservation Bridge Case Study: Human-Wildlife Conflicts in Bhutan."  While I would never assign this article as independent reading, the great vocabulary and conflict presented is sure to inspire student debate, investigation and discovery as we embark on our endangered species study later in the year. 

Rich text is not only relegated to informational text.  Currently the rich text of Fig Pudding by Ralph Fletcher is eliciting tremendous emotion and debate with my fourth graders as we learn about the Abernathy's family life and compare that to our own experiences in life through connections and questions. 

A multitude of information and text resources are on the market today, and it is imperative that collective teaching teams discuss and choose text that is rich--text that inspires thought and elicits debate, questions and investigation.

In what ways do you find and embed rich text in the lessons you teach?