Using Informational Text to Teach The Great Gatsby hits a home run! Its challenging readings (old and new, in texts of all sorts) and its activities provide students—under the guidance of their teachers—with opportunities for rich, deep reading, learning and thinking. And, while these informational readings and activities tie directly to Gatsby and the world of the novel, they do more—they tie directly to our world today, instilling the study of The Great Gatsby with a relevance it would not otherwise have.
— Millie Davis, English teacher and National Council of Teachers of English Senior Developer, Affiliates, and Director, Intellectual Freedom Center
Using Informational Text to Teach The Great Gatsby is provocative in the best sense: it urges difficult discussions about racism, anti-Semitism, anti-immigrationism, and class stratification, and it illustrates why these conversations are essential today. The book promises to equip students to be leaders of a more equitable world by also setting high standards for literacy and critical thinking, and by providing tools for student success. I hope this bold attempt to revamp educators’ approach to an American classic and schoolroom staple is widely adopted.
— Sara L. Schwebel, author of Child-Sized History: Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms and Associate Professor of English, University of South Carolina
Using Informational Text to Teach The Great Gatsby continues the exceptional work of Fisch and Chenelle in their quest to make teaching literature relevant for today’s classroom. They present the challenging subjects of race, class and economics in a critical manner that prompts student engagement that is both meaningful and significant. The units in the book also provide ample literary and historical contexts that are useful for critical discussions and inquiry learning. This is an excellent teaching tool that helps unpack and analyze a complex literary work to provoke critical thinking about Fitzgerald and the American Dream.
— James M. Pederson, New Jersey school superintendent
I love how Using Informational Text to Teach The Great Gatsby empowers students with tools and lines of inquiry to read not only Gatsby but also the world in which they live. The topics in this book are clearly selected with student interest in mind, and the curricular units are extremely well developed, providing scaffolding for deep and engaged learning through a variety of activities. The book is a valuable resource for all teachers of The Great Gatsby, to use for full-class, as well as small-group or personalized, study.
— Dana Maloney, high school English teacher
“Fisch and Chenelle have crafted a grounded and practical text for educators seeking to collaborate across disciplines to help students make meaning of informational text. Their interdisciplinary approach offers classroom-tested strategies for engaging students in literature and non-fiction text through multiple points of entry.” —Heather Lattimer, Associate Dean and Professor, School of Leadership and Education Sciences, University of San Diego
“Today’s teachers are responsible for teaching literacy skills within their unique disciplines. This book is a tremendous resource for educators who want to engage their students in authentic reading and their colleagues in meaningful collaboration. Chenelle and Fisch continue to build upon their powerful work with informational texts by bringing teachers practical strategies for every classroom.” — Lauren K. Francese and Rebecca H. Marsick, authors of Stretching Beyond the Textbook: Reading and Succeeding with Complex Texts in the Content Areas
“Literacy IS a shared responsibility. Practical and timely, Connecting Across Disciplines provides teachers of all content areas models of collaboration that can be easily implemented. And, with its example lessons, texts, and assessments, it is an invaluable resource for novice and experienced teachers looking to integrate informational text into their curricula. I can’t wait to introduce this book in my education courses!” — Dr. Emily S. Meixner, Associate Professor of English and Secondary English Education Program Coordinator, The College of New Jersey
“Many students still ask their teachers the age-old question: “Why do we have to learn this?” Fortunately, Fisch and Chenelle provide a powerful approach to answering this question. By using provocative informational texts and media, teachers can ignite students’ interest and build deeper understandings of the issues. In their practical and engaging volume, Fisch and Chenelle provide teachers with a flexible plan that outlines how this type of work can be accomplished and how the Common Core State Standards can be implemented in meaningful ways.” — Amy Alexandra Wilson and Kathryn Chavez, authors of Reading and Representing Across the Content Areas: A Classroom Guide
“Fisch and Chenelle’s book motivates a purpose for incorporating informational texts in the ELA classroom and offers a model for integrating fiction and nonfiction in the classroom. … Fisch and Chenelle have performed the time-consuming legwork to identify appropriately complex and relevant informational texts to pair with Raisin. As a result, they have provided a range of resources to scaffold students’ thinking as they make connections across readings.” — Lauren Capotosto, Teachers College Record
“This text takes all the intricacies of the Common Core State Standards and packages them neatly into a format that actually works in a real classroom. With a strong focus on vocabulary building, challenging non-fiction pieces, and digital media to which our secondary students can connect, these units turn A Raisin in the Sun into a cultural, political, analytical learning experience–without taking away the literature.” — Meaghan W. Freeman, middle- and high-school English teacher, Willsboro Central School, New York
“A reader’s understanding of a text is only as comprehensive as the previous experience he or she brings to it. What, then, happens, when the landscape of a reader’s life doesn’t provide sufficient context? If you feel the impulse to shrug your shoulders and sigh, squelch it. Fisch and Chenelle have created a series of relevant formative activities and assessments to prime the pump for student inquiry. No more flying blind or feeling trapped within the four corners of a text — students can engage in literature study through a research-informed, “real-world” lens.” — Mrs. Oona Abrams, ELA Teacher, Chatham High School, New Jersey
“Fisch and Chenelle have created another collection of compelling informational texts that offer cross-curricular and Common Core-focused connections to core literature taught in middle and high schools across the United States. The authors have picked important and compelling nonfiction that helps students and teachers gain a deeper understanding into A Raisin in the Sun. Included with the informative nonfiction text pairings are Common Core-aligned lessons to address close reading, vocabulary acquisition, critical thinking, and writing skills. The authors invite teachers to utilize and modify each lesson to make it their own and help bridge the connection between literary and informative texts. This is a must-have resource for any teaching A Raisin in the Sun.” — Michele L. Haiken, Ed.D., English teacher, Rye Middle School; Adjunct Professor, Manhattanville College
“Using Informational Text to Teach A Raisin in the Sun does not shy away from the major social issues Hansberry included (and partly omitted) from her play, which were, and still are almost 60 years later, pressing social concerns: African-American women’s reproductive rights, hair and identity, racism, violence and housing discrimination. Chenelle and Fisch not only directly address these issues, but they encourage all teachers of Hansberry’s play to engage their students with these complex problems facing our society. Their book is a potentially transformative collection reaching across curricular and pedagogical concerns and educational levels with techniques for traditional lecture formats, student-centered learning and MOOC platforms.” — Judy M. Bertonazzi, Ph.D., Instructor, Cumberland County College
“Using Informational Text to Teach To Kill a Mockingbird is a valuable model for connecting nonfiction texts with literary works and bringing the critical analysis of historical, political, and cultural questions to the forefront of instruction.”— Steffany Comfort Maher, Teachers College Record
“Using Informational Text to Teach To Kill a Mockingbird is the resource I’ve been waiting for! Teachers don’t have nearly enough time to research informational texts to go along with every unit they teach; therefore this book is going to be perfect for the teacher who wants to take her lessons to the next level. I can’t wait to use these lessons in my classroom.” — Amanda DeAngelo, high school English teacher, Secaucus High School
“Propelled by rich, probing questions, this book invites teachers and students to explore a classic text with fresh eyes. The authors’ approach fosters a disposition for deeper reading and will inspire a sense of wonder in your students.” — Carol Jago, long-time English teacher and past president of the National Council of Teachers of English
“This book (and its website) helps teachers to delve deeply into strategic teaching activities aimed at meeting the Common Core State Standards. Chenelle and Fisch use a wide array of readings with differing levels of complexity to provide “pathways” into engaging explorations of one of the most sacred texts of high school literature, To Kill a Mockingbird. Replete with ideas for evidence-based writing, connections to multimedia web resources, and possible rubrics for evaluating student work, this invaluable guide will not only challenge students to read, write, and think more critically, but will also help teachers “reconceptualize” their teaching to meet the rigorous objectives of the CCSS.” — Allan A. De Fina, dean of the Deborah Cannon Partridge College of Education and professor of literacy education, New Jersey City University, past president of the New Jersey Reading Association