Classroom Environment Lesson Structure Assessment Sample Comprehension Lessons

As noted in the Introduction to the Reading Comprehension Module, if teachers are new to teaching comprehension from a strategic approach, you may want to view one of the strategy sample lessons (we suggest starting with Monitoring) before using this Assessment section. The ideas will be more concrete once teachers have watched and discussed a lesson.

Some suggestions for structuring a PLC session around this section:

  • Ask teachers to jot down an “ACE Reflection” after reading each part of Assessment. This consists of either:
    • A = an “Aha,” – insight or important idea;
    • C = a “Concern” or question about the information;
    • E = an “Example” from their own experience, study, etc.

Then discuss their ACE reflections with partners, small groups, and/or the whole group. If teachers put their ACE Reflections on sticky notes, you can collect all of them to review and provide further support.

  • Alternatively, the following questions could be discussed after each part of Assessment:
Introduction to Assessment What types of formative assessment are you currently using for comprehension instruction? How does it guide your work?
Identifying Strengths and Needs What “productive peer interactions” would you look for?
What “behaviors” might you observe that help you assess attentiveness, participation, or enthusiasm during the lesson?
Post a blank copy of the chart and have teachers in groups create and fill in their own chart; then refer to the suggestions in the completed one in this section. Or they might want to add to what is already listed. (This will work better if teachers have some familiarity with this type of instruction or after they have viewed some of the strategy modules.)
Conferring Discuss “Conferring Moves and Language” in Supporting Documents. What do all of these prompts have in common? You might discuss ideas such as:

  • They all promote independent thinking by the children, not looking for one right answer;
  • They communicate respect for the children as thinkers, regardless of their reading levels;
  • They encourage behaviors that will support students as thinkers.

Then have teachers add to the list with other conferring moves they find useful and prompts that support those moves. If you have a professional development room, you might want to keep this chart posted and discuss which of these prompts teachers are finding most useful as they develop their work with comprehension strategies. They might also continue to add to the chart.

Analyzing Student Work Bring copies of a class set of student work from a comprehension strategy lesson from your school. Have groups of teachers analyze it in each of the four ways suggested, and then compare and discuss the insights gained from the different approaches.
Evaluation Have teachers discuss: Which of the suggestions given would I choose to use in my classroom? What other suggestions do you have?
Have teachers choose one of the three suggestions to explore further in a group, using the following questions:
Self-Reflection: What would I include on a checklist for self-reflection? How would it change over the grades and over the school year?
Portfolio: What would I include that would show growth over time in strategic thinking? How would I organize the portfolios?
Products: How might I incorporate a specific strategy into an upcoming unit of study, and what products could I evaluate that would reflect students’ strategy use?

Debbie Miller’s Reading with Meaning 2nd Edition (2013) includes an excellent chart in each chapter that shows her teaching targets and the formative assessments that she suggests to accompany each target. This shows how strategy instruction can be integrated into larger units and provides a basis for developing pieces that could be evaluated for grades as well.