Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RL:  Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
  • 11-12:  11th & 12th Grades
  • 1: 
    Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RL:  Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
  • 11-12:  11th & 12th Grades
  • 2: 
    Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Pattern Folders: A Literary Analysis Tool
Lesson Objective: Organize textual evidence to draw conclusions about a text
Grades 9-12 / ELA / Themes
ELA.RL.11-12.1 | ELA.RL.11-12.2

Thought starters

  1. How would you have students pick which themes to examine?
  2. What does Ms. Wessling mean when she says students have "assigned purpose to the text?
  3. " How does Ms. Wessling use the pattern folder as both a teaching tool and an assessment?
I love watching Ms. Wessling's videos. This is yet another great strategy to use. It allowed the students to think beyond just what happened in the text and gave them the tools necessary to do so.
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Hmmmm... her representation of teaching as two dimensional vs. three dimensional is interesting. *sigh* I can easily see how I would adapt her concept-based way of thinking/teaching/learning to teaching math (and I was already planning along those lines, yay!) but ESL is still tricky for me because it's so new (and b/c there aren't as clear guidelines around ESL instruction as there are for math). But thank you for the resource! I'll keep grappling with it!
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Hi Chikae, Although it won't go specifically into looking at patterns, you could try Lynn Erickson's Concept-Based Learning as a way to really help look at the differences between concepts and details. I hope that helps! Sarah
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Hi Sarah, I watched your "Learning to Think: A Foundation for Analysis" video, and I thought that that might be a good way to introduce the difference between concepts and details. Do you have any suggestions for other videos or resources I could look at (esp for looking for patterns)? [I tried getting that book by Deborah Appleman but it's always out of print or really expensive!] Thank you!
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Hi Chikae, Thank you so much for sharing your amazing ideas with our community here! I think you're absolutely on the right track in the ways you're modifying this strategy to work for your learners. I especially think the "weekly notes" gives students a chance to really look for patterns in their learning. I would say beginning with a lesson on the difference between concepts and details or in looking for patterns would help facilitate your vision. Please let us know how it goes! Best, Sarah
Recommended (1)


  • [00:00]
    Teacher: The pattern folder is a strategy that I use to help students gather textual evidence, draw conclusions, and

    Teacher: The pattern folder is a strategy that I use to help students gather textual evidence, draw conclusions, and trace a pattern over a period of time.

    Hey, folks, can you all pull out your folders for me? Pull out your folders. Open it up, grab some of those note cards.

    One of the things that I’ve noticed with students is that they will read, and they will read to figure out what happened, but it’s more difficult for them to think about, “What kinds of themes can I follow throughout the text?

    As you pull out some of those note cards, and you look at the bottom of them, where you’ve drawn the conclusions, I want you to be able to ask yourself, “Did I use these kinds of words?” All right, if you’re using these kinds of words, then you’re on the right track.

    As we were practicing this, very early on in the year, I realized that they needed some kind of map. They needed something to really physically be able to organize their thinking. I devised this little manila folder with the library pockets in there, gave students all kinds of note cards.

    Take a peek at some of those cards, so that you can be looking for the textual evidence that you might need.

    This is how their process looks. They have their book, they read it. They use Post-It notes, in order to mark passages that fit into, or an example of, one of the patterns that they have identified in the text. Then, when they come to class the next day, they go to the sticky notes, they pull out the textual evidence, and then they work on drawing conclusions, and leaving those index cards, then, in the pocket.

    You’re really thinking about how it represents how you see society.

    Student: Right.

    Teacher: How you see society could very well be, “Are you representing normalcy, or are you representing a quality?”

    It gives them a purpose for reading. They’re not just reading the text to figure out what happened. Now, all of a sudden, they have assigned their own purpose to the text.

    All right, so then, how are you going to tie it all together though?

    Student: I don’t know.

    Teacher: What are you—what does this tell you about the society?

    Student: I don’t know. It’s hard to be different, I guess.

    Teacher: How come? I agree with you.

    Student: Because there are so many rules that they have to follow.

    Teacher: Mm-hmm.

    It’s a great formative assessment tool for me. At the end of every day, or every class period, I can go into the folders, I can take a peek at them. Oftentimes, I’ll start class by photocopying a few, and saying, “Look at these great ones that happened yesterday.” Maybe I’ll photocopy one, take the name off of it, and say, “Now, this is a great start, great textual evidence. If I were going to draw a conclusion about this one, this is how I would write it.”

    [End of Audio]

School Details

Johnston Senior High School
6501 Nw 62nd Ave
Johnston IA 50131
Population: 1541

Data Provided By:



Sarah Brown Wessling
English Language Arts / 10 11 12 / Teacher


Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Planning

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12 / ELA / Tch DIY