Designing Literacy Embedding Literacy Tasks Into a PBL Unit.

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Timing suggestion: (First 7 minutes) time to get settled and signed up for course (slides 1-3)

1Designing LiteracyEmbedding Literacy Tasks Into a PBL Unit

Step 1: Click on the Courses tabStep 2: Click on the All Courses tab Step 3: Select New Tech National from the School drop down menuStep 4: Click Sign up to enroll in the course Literacy Support Center

Self-enrolling in the Literacy Support Center

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4This will be where ongoing support and conversation continues throughout the year


Click to start video Timing suggestion: (Next 5 minutes) Video and lexile slides (slides 4-7)4Participants will be able to:Explain why literacy instruction matters across all subject areasDescribe the Literacy Design Collaborative frameworkHelp students think deeply about content by creating a literacy task that is integrated into a projectGet started with the Literacy Support Center for ongoing professional learning about content-area literacy

5Comparing Lexiles

Content AreaNew York Regents Estimated LexileTAKS (Texas) Estimated LexileEnglish740L910LSocial Studies1160L1010LScience1010L1080LMath1240L1090LDont linger too long highlight points and move on

Point out the difficulty of the math and science texts in comparison to the English texts.

Lexile levels measure the reading difficulty of a text, based on: Vocabulary frequency Sentence complexityHigher # = more difficult

If teachers ask-

I used Lexile Analyzer at to find these numbers. These numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, given the limitations of Lexile Analyzer in regard to tests.Moving the decimal point to the right two places on the lexile number gives you an estimated grade level, i.e. 740 = 7th grade level.The math numbers may be high for two reasons- the sometimes strange syntax of writing about math, and the relative infrequency of many math terms.

6MetaMetrics High School Text Demand Survey

ELAMathScienceSocial Studies14001300 1200 1100 1000 900 8001500*from "Lexile Text Measures for State or District Adoption Programs"Highlight points and move on

A more reliable assessment of high school text levels. These are the lexile ranges found by MetaMetrics for various subjects. Note the range for the math texts.

7Small Group ActivityPlease break into small groups and discuss some ways you are already supporting literacyOn the sticky notes provided write down your groups 2-3 current literacy best practices Place on Literacy Graffiti Wall Timing suggestion: (Next 10 minutes) Small Group Activity (this slide only)

We know literacy is important

We know you already have ways of incorporating literacy into your classes

Go over small group activity

8Why incorporate literacy tasks?Timing suggestion: (Next 10 minutes) Remainder of introductory slides (Slides 9-16)

Emphasize that the decision to focus on literacy was driven by multiple needs across the network


Dive Deeper

Push our practice further by beginning with a literacy end in mindIncrease our level of scaffolding for rigorous reading and writingInclude a literacy task in every project or unit

Emphasize that, as PBL teachers, theyre doing this a lot already

This is just taking it to the next level10Literacy Design Collaborative FrameworkHas fill-in-the-blank templates for literacy tasks that get students thinking deeply about content (the end)

Uses scaffolding to help students with the challenging reading and writing they will do

Mention that weve found the LDC framework to help push our practice further.11

Literacy Design CollaborativeFramework Categories

Argumentative Explanatory/ Informational Narrative

Inform teachers that the LDC framework divides tasks into three main categories. Briefly describe the three types of writing. Argumentative= persuasive, explanatory/ informational= informative, narrative= writing that tells a story. 12LDC Subdivisions Modes or Organizational Patterns

Description Cause and effectComparison / ContrastProcedural-sequential Problem-solutionEvaluationSynthesisAnalysis

These are types of writing but also the kinds of rigorous thinking we want our students to doExplain that the LDC framework subdivides each type into modes, or organizational patterns. Briefly describe a few of the modes, highlighting the fact that the names are descriptive, i.e. cause and effect texts are organized by cause and effect, procedural-sequential texts are in chronological order.

If time allows - Turn and talk with a partner where do you see these thinking processes / which of these modes are appropriate for an upcoming project that you are doing / which of these kinds of thinking?

13Sample LDC Template TaksTemplate Task 15 (Explanatory/ Informational Procedural-Sequential)

[Insert essential question] After reading/ viewing (informational texts, graphs, etc.), write a/an (essay, report, or substitute) that relates how (content). Support your discussion with evidence from (texts, data, calculations, etc).

Explain that the LDC framework has fill in the blank templates to help teachers create tasks like the ones they saw in the sort.Note that there are many template tasks and that this is only one. Briefly note the type= explanatory/ informational, and the organizational pattern= procedural-sequential. Note that the text in red is what is filled in by the teacher. You may also want to highlight that this is a true literacy task, with both reading and writing requirements. Add that we define reading loosely, and it could include viewing a piece of artwork or looking at a graph.

14Sample LDC Template TasksAfter reviewing the scatter plot and the map, write a set of instructions that relate the steps for determining the clean-up costs of any size oil spill on any given continent. Support your instructions with a specific example from the scatter plot, including equations and steps in the process.

15Tell teachers that this is an example of a filled-in task for a Math class. You can add that the templates are simple, but when completed, can create rigorous tasks. This is an example of a formative literacy task. Emphasize that tasks can be short and that tasks are flexible- wording can be adjusted as needed.

Sample LDC Template Tasks

After reading directions for and creating a CrossFit plyo box (including figuring out the amount of paint and wood youll need), write an easy to understand technical manual that relates the process for other students in Health and PE classes.

This is an example of a lengthier literacy task that might be part of an end product.16

Where could YOU integrate a literacy task?Look back at a Project Calendar from the previous year.

Is there a place where a literacy task in the format we showed you might have been helpful?

* If time allows use a think-pair-share format, have teachers identify places they did reading and writing in a previous project, or places where they could easily integrate a literacy task.

17 Task Creation

Step 1- Use a Template to Create a Literacy TaskStart with the end in mind: use a template to create a literacy task that will require students to show their content knowledge. Time Suggestion: (Next 25 min) Model getting to Quick Guide and finding template tasks, participants create template task (this slide only)

Tell teachers they will be creating a literacy task.Model going into Echo to the course and finding the Quick Guide to Literacy Tasks link. Teachers can also find the link in the NTN Resource Library under Quick Guides. Have teachers bookmark the resource.Mention that while there are 29 literacy tasks, we narrowed them down a bit by subject area. Show teachers how to go to the correct subject page in Step 1, and point out the template tasks and the examples. Show teachers that the template tasks are organized by type and mode. **Be sure to emphasize that literacy tasks can be short.**Show teachers the link back to the literacy home page and point out the links to all the argumentative, explanatory, and narrative templates, should teachers wish to see them. Give teachers about 10- 15 minutes to come up with a literacy task.18 Assessment

Step 2- Design a Rubric

Create a rubric for your literacy task. Use language from your school's written communication rubric or from one of the rubrics linked below.

You may want to choose one or two writing traits/ elements/ skills to address in your rubric, depending on the main focus of the project.

Argumentative Informational Narrative

* Options: If you have time follow steps below (10 min) otherwise allow participants 5 min to explore Quick Guide

When you click, the red circle will come up from the bottom to highlight the fact that we want teachers to choose one or two elements to focus on.

Explain that learning to write is a long-term process, and that focusing on one or two key writing skills per literacy task will make the scaffolding and grading more manageable and the task less intimidating for the students, as well as give you more time for other content needs. Model pulling up one of the rubrics, and model choosing one or two criteria (e.g. development, controlling idea). Reinforce the idea that the rubric should be short, and show teachers where to fill in the elements they chose on the planning rubric. Give teachers ten minutes to complete this task.

If appropriate, you can note that it might be appropriate for seniors or students who have practiced a particular type of writing multiple times to have longer writing rubrics.

If appropriate, say that the rubric can be used in two ways. It can be part of the final rubric for the project if the writing is integrated into the final product. If the writing is more of a benchmark during the project, the rubric can be pasted right below the literacy task when you assign the task to students.19 Scaffolding

Step 3- Plan the Scaffolding

Even advanced students can benefit from good scaffolding ... especially when reading or writing something challenging. You should have at least three scaffolding activities, for three stages: reading, pre-writing, and writing. For now, pick one.

Scaffolding Literacy: Starter Set Scaffolding Literacy: Deep Dive

If you'd like scaffolding suggestions to address particular needs, see link below.Literacy Scaffolding by Rubric Criteria

* Options: If you have time follow steps below (10 min) otherwise allow participants 5 min to explore Quick Guide

1) Tell teachers that scaffolding reading and writing is the most important part, and that when we have students simply reading and writing without scaffolding, were not helping them appropriate the necessary skills.

2) Model going in to the resource and picking a scaffolding activity.

3) Show teachers how the documents are organized, and note that they will see an example first, then a description of how to implement the activity or strategy, followed by modifications and variations, and then followed by additional resources for more information.

4) Have teachers pick one scaffolding activity and write it down on their planning sheet. Tell them to come back to this page to pick additional scaffolding activities at a later time.

20This is just the beginning

Ongoing support from: Literacy Task Quick Guide Online Literacy Support Center Literacy FacilitatorTime Suggestion: (Any remaining time) Last slides, wrap up, Q & A

Next Steps:Within Echo, use the Literacy Task Quick Guide to help you plan your literacy tasks for upcoming projectsReview the resources from this session in the course, Improving Literacy Schoolwide: Literacy Support CenterWatch for additional information from us and your schools Literacy Facilitator in the coming weeksDirect participants to the FAQs doc (under project resources)

21Literacy Support CenterOnline Literacy Support Center with resources for:Assessing reading and writingDesigning rigorous literacy tasksScaffolding literacy tasksDifferentiating literacy instructionEcho Discussions Water Coolers

Emphasize that this will be a year-long continuum of resourcesAdd that content specific Water Cooler threads allow teachers to stay connected with other teachers in their content areas as they begin designing and implementing literacy tasks


Literacy is not a luxury, it is a right and a responsibility. If our world is to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century we must harness the energy and creativity of all our citizens.

- President Clinton on International Literacy Day, September 8th 1994


Lets Get Started!Literacy Support Center


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