Brandi J. Clark

Writer and Educator

Help! I Have to Teach Language Arts: A Language Arts Survival Mini-Course Part 4


You are such a great student!

If you are just joining the class, please read through Lesson 1, Lesson 2 and Lesson 3.

Today’s Lesson: Understanding of Text

In the English Language Arts Program of Studies (K-9), “text” is not just referring to book on a shelf.

You might see the word “text” used like this:

Kindergarten: share personal experiences prompted by oral, print and other media texts

Grade 4: discuss and compare the ways similar topics are developed in different forms of oral, print and other media texts.

Grade 9: extend understanding by taking different points of view when rereading and reflecting on oral, print and other media texts

Here is a direct quote from the program of studies about “text”.

In today’s technological society, people access information and find enjoyment in print, as well as other language forms.  For example, oral communication and visual media are becoming increasingly important.  Often these forms are used in combination with one another and in conjunction with print.  Therefore, texts refer not only to print but also to oral and visual forms that can be discussed, studied and analyzed.

This last point is important! It allows for the inclusion of blog posts, advertisements, poetry slams, actual texts (texting), YouTube videos, among other more recent possibilities were not common when the curriculum was released in 2000.

Anything goes!

This is why I have a love affair with language arts.

The world is wide open to include any “text” that you come across.

Here is a direct quote from the program of studies.

Oral texts include storytelling, dialogues, speeches and conversations.

Visual texts include pictures, diagrams, tableaux, mime and nonverbal communication.

Combinations of oral, print or visual texts include videos, films, cartoons, drama and drum dancing.

I absolutely love the inclusion of drama. I don’t think students get to act things out as much as they used to. Let’s bring that back. They need to get out of their seats more often anyway.

Student also require the understanding that text is more than the information it contains. It is also depends on how the text is transmitted.

Here is another direct quote from program of studies.

In addition, texts are affected and influenced by how they are transmitted, whether by computer, television, radio or book.  Students need knowledge, skills and strategies in all six language arts to compose, comprehend and respond to such texts.

In this case…the medium is the message. With today’s media, often not professionally vetted, students require greater attention to critical literacy.

This video is from when I was younger but I love how it challenges the viewer and makes them second guess their thinking because it looks real. Students today are confronted constantly with photo shopped images, CGI …what is real anymore? How do we know?

Anyway…watch the video!

This marks the end of today’s lesson.

I know.

You want me to keep going.

But I want you to digest today’s learning.

Understand the meaning of “text” in English Language Arts Program of Studies (K- 9)

Think about the grade level you are planning to teach, start gathering “text” in a variety forms. Is there “text” that you don’t use as much as you should? Please start including those now.

Trust me…everything else makes sense and is way more FUN if you understand the meaning of “text”.

Until Next Time,

Coach Brandi!

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