Informational Text Standard 7.
Am I the only one excited about this?
I have dubbed this standard: Beyond Text. This is really a FUN standard that is often overlooked. In middle school in particular, students need this standard increasingly more as they navigate and interpret visual, audio, and multiple forms of written text.
Let’s take a look at the vertical alignment of this standard to deconstruct what’s really going on:
While each of the standards relate to different types of multimodal text, they are all very different levels of rigor in each grade level. Sixth graders are tasked with looking at information presented in different formats and use them to understand an issue or topic. Seventh graders will focus on contrasting multimodal text to determine how the format impacts the subject or message. Eighth graders will go a step further and make some judgment calls about the different formats. They will compare formats and think about the pros and cons of the different mediums.
6th grade: Use information from two different formats to understand one topic or issue
7th grade: Compare and contrast how different types of media communicate about a subject
8th grade: Evaluate the pros and cons of different mediums to present about a subject or idea
Excited yet? I am!
Beyond Text needs to be introduced after standards 1-6. Why? This standard is about looking at what you already have read and integrating and evaluating content from a different medium or source. The more adept students are at how to analyze information, the easier this standard will be. Students should use what they have learned about central ideas and word play to evaluate meaning from different outside of just a traditional text. The focus here is on moving beyond just one text and evaluating multimodal text.
The increased rigor from sixth to eight grades can be understood as steps in a continuum. Each step is placed in one grade level and they build sequentially in rigor.
- The first step is to simply gather information from more than one source/ medium.
- The second step is to look critically at the information presented through those sources and compare and contrast them.
- The final step is to make judgments about the mediums and their presentations.
In order to effectively teach this standard, you should have a keen awareness of what actually qualifies as “moving beyond the text.” A misconception is that students can consider photographs, charts, and graphs within a text. This would result in looking at an image to figure out what the text is trying to say. While these are elements that move beyond text, that rudimentary focus is better suited for elementary school students. This standard is more about focusing on two different pieces that can stand alone. So examining a chart, graphs, or image within a text may be a useful concept and will obviously occur, it should not be the central focus for this standard. A student could compare the movie to the book. Each can stand alone and be considered a distinct piece on its own. A student could compare two different images and focus on the message and information gathered. A student could examine a stage play compared to the written drama. The transcript of a speech could be compared to watching the person actually deliver the speech. These are just a few examples to contextualize the concept of moving beyond text. The simplest point of entry to this standard is to look at the wording for the seventh grade standard and work with a set of paired sources that present the exact same content. This way the focus can begin on exactly how the formats or mediums influenced the message.
I like to pair Ted Talks videos, speeches, and photobooks together with articles and informational textbooks to really dig into this standard. Implications fo thematic studies and cross curricular study are abundant. Let me know what cool pairings you have for this standard. How do you engage students and organize text?