Understanding relationships, in text and math, helps students get a sense of the bigger picture.
In Using Common Core Standards to Enhance Classroom Instruction and Assessment, Dr. Marzano documents strategies you can use to successfully implement Common Core State Standards. Last time, we talked about generating conclusions. Today, we’ll discuss identifying basic relationships between ideas.
Identifying Basic Relationships between Ideas
As students read and analyze text, they need to discern the relationships between the author’s ideas, concepts, events, or facts. There are four major relationships that students normally encounter:
When did the event or idea occur and how did it develop?
Time provides the relationship and context for the author’s writing. Narrative writing describes events as they happen over time.
What caused the event to happen? What happened as a result?
How is something similar or adding on to, what was already discussed or written?
What is the author deliberately suppressing, or trying to emphasize?
It’s important to have students identify the relationships between ideas, facts, and events in text. Math teachers, likewise, can have students identify relationships as they work with equations, functions, and real-world problems. Identifying relationships is a crucial skill for meeting Common Core State Standards.
Common Core requires students to conduct close analytic reading; students read and reread passages to comprehend what the author is saying and why he or she is saying it (i.e.: the author’s meaning and purpose). Students then answer explicit questions by citing textual examples. Students examine key words, sentences, and paragraphs to gain more knowledge. In addition, they should be able to explain the central idea and point to supporting details in the passage; to ascertain the author’s purpose; and explain how the structure of the text supports it. Understanding the relationship between ideas, facts, events, and the structure is key to comprehending meaning.
Design Question 2, Helping Students Interact with New Knowledge. As students read informational or literary texts, they will process what they read (Element 10 of Design Question 2), and elaborate on their understanding (Element 11), to determine the relationship and meaning of the text.
In Design Question 3, Practicing and Deepening Knowledge, students continue to study the relationships in the text. They will compare and contrast other texts they have read (Element 17, Examining Similarities and Differences), and examine errors in reasoning (Element 18).
Understanding relationships is equally important in mathematics. For example, relationships between variables and equations are symbolized by the addition sign +, signifying “ adding on to (#3, above), the subtraction sign -, signifying contrast (#4, above), and the greater than /less than, signs, that also signal addition and contrast. Math problems involving interest and discount rates use time as a relationship. Algorithms and functions, which are about inputs and outputs, are about relationships as well. Word and real-world problems are all about relationships expressed as symbols. For students to understand the world around them expressed through mathematics, they need to recognize and understand relationships.
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