Across the Curriculum
There are six levels described and the skills at each level are described with the Core Competencies.
Here is the first of the reading competencies for Level 5 students.
Reading 1.0 Locate information in printed resource material (e.g. telephone book, newspaper, manuals, citizenship handbooks, files, indexes and catalogs, etc.)
Looking at this competency piece by piece, an interesting list of discreet skills was generated and became part of a lesson module that added a third dimension to my standard, teacher-led get acquainted with the phone book unit - critical thinking practice.
The set of skills involved alphabetizing, use of headings, sub-headings, key words and indexes, question analysis - "What is my question?" and use of Boolean strategy - searching with and/or.
The following lesson module doesn't fully practice or address all
of the above, but it was a first step and provided a foundation for
building other lessons.
As a homework assignment, each student generated a list of
places within a 10 mile radius of their home. This resulted in the
most labor intensive piece of this module. The list was keyed in,
printed on card stock and cut into small individual word cards.
Groups of 3-4 students sorted the 75 places into sub-groups with
headings. Rule: No groups with less than 2 places, i.e., graveyard or
church could not stand alone. I planned 20 minutes for this and
they had to be interrupted an hour later when class ended. The
groups recorded their categories and brought them to the class.
Each of the 6 groups had different categories with a few duplications.
The activity was rich with question analysis, exercised the concept of
keywords, and served as a transition into learning about
Boolean search strategies.
Introduced the Boolean concept of searching. For instance, the term
park could fall under just one or more of the following sports, family recreation or
public places depending on how you framed it. The class voted
on a system that included pieces of each group's work.
Examined the Eastside DEX phone book. ( This could be any phone book
that includes, white, gray, yellow, blue and green pages all in one.
That is business - alpha, business- topic, personal, government and
community listings.) We observed the phone book system of headings
and sub-headings and cross-referencing as it compared to what we had
discovered in our effort to categorize our community.
Jigsaw activity for 5 groups. Each group had a work sheet that
facilitated working with one section of the phone book. Next the
groups re-divided so that there was one expert from each section in
the new groups. Lastly, the expert taught the new group about
In pairs students were presented a scenario: "Here is a scenario of people who are new to the area. Their only resource is the phone book. What 5 phone #'s, from which section, would you choose to help the people get situated and why?" After the pair decided on 5 (It took about 30-45 minutes), two pairs who had the same
same scenario then compared their answers and had to come to consensus about the best 5 choices.
I haven't designed a final assessment task to determine how much was learned about locating information. As a subjective, narrative assessment, I had several comments in the end-of-quarter self-evaluations about what had been learned.
"Now I use the phone book. I understand how to find something."
"There is much informations in the phone book." It was the first time learning about the phone book has been on the end of quarter evaluations.
Following are a few of the questions students worked on as exercises
in using the phone book.
Sample questions for experts in each phone book section - for Step V)
In the government pages,
From the yellow pages,
From the community pages, Organize the following groups from largest heading to smallest sub-heading.
From the gray, alpha business pages,
Prepared by Judy Roberts
Bellevue Community College
Updated August 25, 2003