As more and more of our lives shift online, reading and writing are changing rapidly. Several studies have shown that the skills necessary to be literate in the 21st century have expanded from simply being able to read and write printed text to being able to consume and produce a variety of texts, from traditional print to digital technology (Serafini, 2012). As teachers, we need to become curators of a variety of content that allows students to not only access a wide variety of texts, but to be able to think critically about the content and draw connections between them. Enter multi-modal text sets.
What is a multi-modal text set?
Text sets to try
Combine wordless picture books with video and poetry or song lyrics for a powerful lesson about feelings. This text set addresses traditional reading literacy as well as video and musical/poetic literacy.
For older students, combine the Knufflebunny read aloud with the video "Just Breathe" and an analysis of the lyrics to Eric Church's song "Kill A Word". After reading Knufflebunny and watching the video, have students identify ways in which we communicate emotion. You may want to consider a thinking routine such as The Explanation Game or Think-Puzzle-Explore to structure thinking around this topic. Next, have the students consider the lyrics to the song; what is this song about? What is the main idea? (a thinking routine that can be useful here is called Peel the Fruit). Finally, connect all three pieces of text by using the 4Cs thinking routine or having students consider the question "In what ways do we convey how we are feeling? Are some ways easier to understand than others? How can we be sure our message is being understood?"
Ways to Share Learning: Have students participate in a Socratic Seminar based on the questions posed in the connection stage. Document their thinking and post it to a class webpage or simply on the wall of the classroom as evidence of their learning.