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Marking the Text is a reading strategy that was introduced recently at ERHS. The idea of Marking the text is that it helps students find important information in a text like key terms and claims and have it available to use during a discussion or to answer a writing prompt. Marking the Text requires students to interact with the text as they read. Students’ understanding of the text should increase due to this interaction.

20131204-105204.jpgThis was given to us by our professional development group to use as a school-wide practice. I began to require students to use in their analysis of documents for their second DBQ (Document Based Question) essay assignment. The first DBQ assignment used a simplified version of an analysis chart provided by the The DBQ Projectbut I wanted to wean them from creating a chart and transition to something they would be able to use while taking a SBAC test (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium).

When I projected the Thinking Notes image and asked if they had used these in another class, the majority of the class responded positively and identified their Math and Science classes. I would have expected a lot of English class responses, so I was pleasantly surprised. Bravo Zulu (BZ) to Math & Science!

Here are some student examples of Thinking Notes from my classroom.

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While the students were marking the text, I could walk around and identify parts they were having problems understanding. It also moved the class discussion along quicker because students were able to find important information or to ask questions about portions they didn’t quite understand.

I liked the concept of Thinking Notes, but I may also ask students to jot down a key word or two when analyzing longer texts. This may help them quickly recall what the documents are about.

Do you have any suggestions on symbols or marks that I could use? Use the reply space and tell me what you have your students use.

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