Browsing New Text Sets

One of the New Norms for Learning in HPL

Building Background. Making Meaning. Constructing Understandings.

Read about Browsing Text Sets

A New Norm for Learning in High Progress Classrooms



Think about going to a bookstore or to the library and browsing the shelves. What do you do? You look at covers of books. When something piques your interest, you pick it up and look through it to find out what it’s about, how long it is, maybe what the writing is like. You get a feel for the book and build a little background, right?

Browsing is one of the ways people make sense of a collection of materials, so we teach kids how to browse to build background about new content. Before beginning a new unit of study, teachers in HPL content classrooms build a text set: a set of materials to be shared among 4-5 students that teaches the content students will learn. Text sets contain a wide array of materials, including books, articles, maps, datasets, magazines, and artwork.

As they begin the new unit, students browse the text set to see what is in it. They pick up each piece, look it over, and talk with their table mates about what it is and what it seems to be about. Then they put it back and pick up another.

As they browse, students begin to construct some initial understandings about what they will be learning about, and familiarize themselves with the materials available to them as they move into the unit.

Browsing a Text Set to Build Background about a New Unit of Study

Build an Anchor Chart

Teaching all of the New Norms is accomplished the same way. First, demonstrate it, asking students to notice exactly what you do. Then have the students name those actions while you record them on an Anchor Chart. Post the Anchor Chart in your room where all students can see it and use it. Each time students browse a new text set, refer them to the Anchor Chart to guide their actions. Anchor Charts serve as a scaffold between your instruction and independent action.

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