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30 Big-Idea Lessons for Small Groups

The Teaching Framework for ANY Text and EVERY Reader

This amazing 4-part framework—Engage, Discuss, Deep-See Think, and Connect—gets students interacting with texts, developing their literal, inferential, evaluative, and analytical skills.

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Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781506334387
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Literacy
  • Year: 2016
  • Page Count: 248
  • Publication date: April 13, 2016

Price: $32.95

Price: $32.95
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Intermediate grade readers are not an M, an N, or an O—they’re idea-wranglers, ready to comprehend when we honor who they are as thinkers first

In 30 Big Idea Lessons for Small Groups, educators Rafferty, Morello, and Rountos provide an amazing framework that gets students interacting with texts. You prompt and guide, but they think! Big-Idea groups are the piece that’s been missing from small group instruction: engagement from the get-go.
Follow this unique 4-part process to develop students’ literal, inferential, evaluative, and analytical skills:

  1. Engage: Before Reading Using a tactile tool like a topic card or a pyramid, readers literally move ideas around on their small group table as they debate a question related to the text and to big ideas about courage, persistence, love, and honesty, and more.
  2. Discuss: During Reading Students read and mark up a short text, exploring questions that get at the author’s take on the big idea, noticing key vocabulary, text structure, moments of inference, and more.
  3. Deep-See Think: After Reading Students re-read, synthesize, and revise their interpretations together and tweak the tactile tool, based on questions that probe the big idea in new and deeper ways.
  4. Connect: After Reading Students summarize, and begin to transfer their understandings to other texts in independent reading and the world beyond, primed for this all-important transfer because they’ve been engaged in topics that clearly relate to their lives.

Tap into 30 lessons organized by text complexity, reproducible forms, assessments, and a bank of engagement tools so you can switch it up. Use these lessons across the year as a warm up to a whole-class novel, to augment your core reading program, to challenge your capable readers and bring your striving readers in to rich yet accessible reading experiences.



Michael Rafferty photo

Michael Rafferty

Mike Rafferty is the Director of Teaching and Learning in Region 14 Schools in Connecticut. He has worked as a classroom teacher, a Reading Recovery teacher, a reading consultant, and a curriculum leader for language arts. He has worked with numerous schools to develop coherence from curriculum to classroom. He has led workshops and presented at conferences on ways for schools to ensure meaningful small group experiences for all students as well as how to implement a successful RTI program. He is also a Graduate Instructor at Southern Connecticut State University, leading courses in reading assessment, intervention and literacy leadership.
Colleen Morello photo

Colleen Morello

Colleen Morello is the Language Arts Specialist for the Fairfield Public Schools in Fairfield, Ct. She coaches elementary teachers, works with struggling readers and writers both in and out of the classroom, provides district-wide professional development to staff, as well as develops and presents various workshops to the parent community. Colleen has also consulted for an international literacy corporation (Lit Liife Inc.) She traveled to various schools around the state of Connecticut offering professional development to staff, coaching in classrooms, and leading curriculum writing projects with district leaders
Paraskevi Rountos photo

Paraskevi Rountos

Paraskevi Rountos has been a Language Arts Specialist in Fairfield, CT for eight years. She has coached and modeled lessons for teachers of Grades Kindergarten through 5th Grade. She has also worked with students requiring reading intervention. Prior to being a Language Arts Specialist, Paraskevi taught 1st Grade in New York, NY and in Wilton, CT. She has presented numerous professional learning sessions to classroom teachers, Special Education teachers, paraprofessionals, and parents on topics including small group instruction, higher level thinking and reading response, running records and miscue analysis, decoding strategies, comprehension, and implementing Reading and Writing Units of Study. Paraskevi has served on several district and school wide committees that focused on assessment and curriculum writing aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Big-Idea Groups: Scaffolded Reading Instruction Where Engagement Rules

The Ultimate Goal: Real Student Independence

Now Look at Student Independence During Big-Idea Groups

Four Facets of the Framework

How Big-Idea Groups Fit Within Other Small-Group Models

A Few Important Frameworks for Reading Closely

The Effective Environment Around Close Reading

What About Guided Reading and Strategic Reading?

What’s Ahead in This Book?

An Introductory Big-Idea Lesson

On Another Day: Adapting the Introductory Lesson With an Informational Text

The Great White Space

Chapter 2. The Lesson Design

The Tweaks to DRTA

Five Phases of the Lesson

Time Factors

When to Begin?

How Do They Fit Within Units of Study?

A Trial Run: The "Why" Behind Each Phase

Phase 1: Engaging

Phase 2: Discussing

Phase 3: Deep-See Thinking

Phase 4: Connecting

Phase 5: Assessing

Chapter 3. The Tools of Engagement

Interesting Texts



Real-World Instruction


Expository Expectation Map

Important Versus Interesting

Ranking Characters

Ranking the Table of Contents

Semantic Word Ranking


Staircase Label

Vocabulary Karaoke

Teacher Involvement

Chapter 4. The 30 Lesson Planners

Chapter 5. Transferring Thinking Across the Day

Teacher Variety During Small-Group Instruction in the Reading Block

Agency: The Ability to Fly on Your Own

Connecting Conferring to Big Ideas Across the Day

Creating a Community Connecting to a Common Beacon

Making Homework a Matter Worth Doing

Chapter 6. Assessing Readers Within and Beyond the Group

The Rubric

Classroom Examples

Phase 1: Engaging

Phase 2: Discussing

Phase 3: Deep-See Thinking

Phase 4: Connecting

Responsible Talk

Assessing Speaking and Listening

Tracking Data to Help Drive Instructional Adjustments

Chapter 7. Useful Forms and Lists for Big-Idea Groups

Tactile Tool Forms

Box and Bullets

Character Karaoke

Charting the Chapters

Moving to Make Meaning

Pyramid of Perspectives

Semantic Circle

Tactile Chart

Vocabulary Karaoke

Topics Card

Other Big-Idea–Worthy Texts

Formative Assessment Data Sheet

Build Your Own Big-Idea Lessons Kit

Price: $32.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.

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