Sunday, April 3, 2016

Text Coding: An Analytical Approach

Text coding is a great tool for metacognition. Like other forms of annotating, text coding allows readers to actively track their thinking and monitor their comprehension. Instead of open-ended annotations, text-coding allows teachers to assign symbols (or codes) to specific metacognitive meanings that engage students and prompt them to "think about their thinking."

Text-Coding Chart from our most recent Poetry Unit.
Our most recent educational endeavor has focused on strategies that encourage teachers to move poetry and verse out of April (National Poetry Month; which inconveniently coincides with standards-based test review), chop it into slivers of mini-lessons and activities, and sprinkle it throughout the curriculum map.

It is common practice that poetry is taught in isolation with a strict skill set:  poetic devices and figurative language; even though said conventions are not limited to poetry and verse. In order to link conventions, forms, and structures of poetry to prose, we have to teach students to read and analyze poetry the same way we scaffold understanding and comprehension of prose.

Text coding is a great starting point. Once students annotate the text and monitor their thinking, they then have the tools to analyze, summarize, and synthesize (as it is becoming common to see poems as parts of paired texts and passages used to assess comprehension skills on standardized tests)

The text codes we chose to use are digitally-generated symbols. This lesson (which we will publish shortly) culminates with an independent activity in which students collaboratively text code and summarize a poem (chosen from a variety of genres and accompanied by video/audio) in Google Slides, then work cooperatively to generate questions using SOL stem-starters (after modeling and practice). Students are able to manipulate the text codes in Google Slides by copying and placing their chosen symbols directly into the text and using the Comment icon to share their thinking with their partner or group members.

Click on the Text Code image to view the Slide in Google. Want to edit? To access an editable copy using Google, open the Slide or Doc, click on File, then click Make a Copy. Rename the document and enjoy full editing rights.

As always, please modify and adapt as needed for your students, and feel free to share!

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