Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

02.19.15Elephants and Outsiders: Watch Colleen Driggs Embed Non-Fiction (Video)

I’ve posted a few times recently about a really productive way to get more non-fiction into your classroom and get MUCH more out if it when it’s there.  The idea is called “embedding non-fiction”…  pairing non-fiction articles with fiction texts you are reading. Each text becomes a lens on the other and increases the rate at which students absorb knowledge from each.   I describe the idea more comprehensively here, and have blogged examples here, here and here.

We’ve re-cut some of our best video clips to demonstrate key techniques for our upcoming Reading and the Common Core workshop (May 7 and 8 in Albany) and thought folks might enjoy this re-cut of Colleen Driggs embedding non-fiction. (Kudos to video editor John Costello for great work on the clip)

In this case Colleen has chosen a scientific study of bull elephants from Smithsonian—how and why they establish hierarchies.  She asks her students to read the article and then use the idea of hierarchies among all male communities to look at the relationships among the greasers in The Outsiders.  It’s pretty cool. 

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2 Responses to “Elephants and Outsiders: Watch Colleen Driggs Embed Non-Fiction (Video)”

  1. James
    February 21, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Great post. I have been been wondering lately about the value of embedding knowledge-building experiences vs. the value of embedding knowledge-building informational text into fictional readings in early literacy classrooms. “Vs.” may not be the right framing. Maybe it should be frequency of informational reading vs frequency of informational experiences. At any rate, in a recent trip into a classroom to observe guided reading, I watched the teacher conduct a tiny science experiment during the lesson. At first, I wanted to see an informational text referred to in which an experiment was described, but found myself questioning the choice as the students engaged in a pretty rigorous conversation about the text. I would love to hear some thoughts on this.

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