Elementary School Microcourses

Inquiry-By-Design-Product-05

Creating a Text-Based Culture
Reading and Writing About Informational Texts
Reading and Writing About Literature
Novel Studies

Creating a Text-Based Culture

These microcourses are designed to help teachers create rich, inquiry-based classroom cultures. At each grade level, self-selected reading, writing, and work with shared texts intertwine in ways that increase engagement and provide intensive practice with reading, writing, and text-based discussion. The essential rituals, routines, tools, and practices around independent reading, shared reading, literacy notebooks, and text-based reading response are established. All units feature “write like” assignments where students try their hands at writing like the narratives and informational reports they are reading.
Grade 3Setting Up the Literacy Studio: An Elementary Investigation
Grade 4Setting Up the Literacy Studio: An Upper Elementary Investigation
Grade 5Reading, Writing, Wolves, and Whales: Further Developing the Literacy Studio

Reading and Writing About Informational Texts

This two-unit microcourse introduces students to the close reading of complex informational texts by guiding them through cycles of comprehension and analysis work marked by reading, writing, and collaborative discussion. Using engaging, grade-appropriate readings in social studies (Unit 1) and science (Unit 2), students learn to determine and analyze the development of central ideas and arguments in informational texts. Each unit culminates in performance tasks in which students compose explanatory essays.
Grade 3Unit 1Unearthing Pompeii (Social Studies)
Unit 2Animal Communication (Science)
Grade 4Unit 1Push and Pull of Immigration (Social Studies)
Unit 2Analyzing Main Ideas (Science)
Grade 5Unit 1Pioneers (Social Studies)
Unit 2Analyzing Main Ideas: Tuberculosis (Science)

Reading and Writing About Literature

This two-unit microcourse introduces students to the close reading of short fiction and the exploration of theme. In the first unit, students are guided through cycles of comprehension and analysis work to gain the literary skills necessary to determine, analyze, and write about themes in literature. In the second unit, students continue their reading, writing, and collaborative work with engaging, grade-appropriate literature, this time applying their work with themes across two texts. Both units culminate in performance tasks in which students compose explanatory essays.
Grade 3Unit 1Folktales and Messages
Unit 2Messages Within and Across Folktales
Grade 4Unit 1Thinking Through Big Ideas and Themes in Literature
Unit 2Big Ideas and Themes Across Texts
Grade 5Unit 1Themes in Literature
Unit 2One Author, Two Texts: Big Ideas and Themes Across Texts

Novel Studies

These microcourses are designed around three novels that prompt extended grade-appropriate reading and writing projects. Close reading, comprehension tasks, and small- and large-group discussions scaffold writing assignments that take students deeply into texts, tasks, and topics that are interesting and worthy of sustained attention.
Grade 3The Stories Julian Tells: Thinking With Literature
Grade 4The Tiger Rising: Thinking With Literature
Grade 5M.C. Higgins, the Great: Thinking With Literature