Literacy Stream of Thought (READING (At the beginning of the semester I…
Literacy Stream of Thought
At the beginning of the semester I considered "reading" and maybe "writing" to be the two facets of literacy. After RICA, I have gleaned understanding that "Literacy" stretches across content areas, technological resources, and classroom behavior/participation
Reading should NOT strictly be placed in the hands of English/Common Arts teachers. Content teachers, like me (social studies), must take initiative and foster readers.
When reading, a student MUST be familiar with a topic to comprehend. Meaning, I shouldn't assign a textbook chapter before we introduce the content (students will comprehend less).
"These Kids Can't Read" cannot be my mantra (as it was Kylene Beers' for two decades). Instead I must I need to revise to say "these kids can't read...so what am I going to do?" because there will be middle schoolers entering my classroom with elementary level reading abilities.
"The more teachers help students to understand concepts prior to reading about them, the better students will comprehend" (Buehl, p. 16).
Statistic from Buehl chapter one: on the ACT only 51% of college-bound students read complex texts (which are central to college education)
Keene & Zimmerman's reading led me to ask the question, how can we produce readers who read beyond the school system. When I hear my peers saying "I haven't picked up a book for leisure since middle school" it hurts my heart
Writing, when I entered this class, was seen as rigid. In high school (sophomore year) I had an English teacher who (for a four year stint) tainted my view of reading and writing--particularly writing after reading
This high school class took the creativity, spontaneity and enjoyment out of writing.
This class reintroduced writing to be something communicative--used to convey a point (not rigid and strict)
I particularly enjoyed the night where we discussed all ten chapters of the book which focused on writing. The statistic, that twenty five percent of students are proficient in writing, struck me; depicting the need of teaching writing (even in content area classrooms).
A few of my favorite writing strategies: a write around (note passing, on topic), agenda writing, quick writes (like writing breaks and clustering--like Coggle), and the "Family Fair" (incorporating all subjects).
I enjoyed the class conversation which took place after our socratic seminar. The main take-away? That any activity can become a writing one. One classmate suggested "ink shedding" as a way to complete socratic (or contribute to socratic) for quieter students.
As someone who's typically quieter (yet speaks when necessary) I don't always recognize the beauty of speech. Sometimes I think peers speak too much (and don't value the nature of silence).
Anyways, being literate in speaking is crucial for students as they are taking part in daily challenging conversations (with peers, at home, etcetera), having to communicate ideas within classrooms, and debating.
I can see applying the activity where we had groups of four, and everyone started standing up. The groups had something to discuss, once someone made a point they had to sit down. It was intriguing because then, as teacher, you can track who is speaking.
Just curious, for English Learners, how can we promote speaking while keeping autonomy and peer respect?
As someone who's often described as a "good listener" I found it intriguing that each week we'd spend time reflecting on "how we listened in class".
Thus the concept of "teaching listening" surprised me!
One activity where listening was crucial was the "socratic seminar". In the seminar we had to hear our peers insights regarding the "Endangered Minds" reading. This strange form of conversation (because of the large number of classmates) had to be followed.
Professor Osborn often combined the need to listen and write as she iterated her tendency to map out seats in a meeting, students in a classroom, or, people, participating in a socratic seminar (drawing lines from those who've talked).
Osborn modeled the need to BEGIN class stressing the need for listening. Our first day consisted of multiple listening-focused activities. From the murder mystery to the memorization name game we, as a class, knew that peer and teacher words needed to be heard.
In my middle school classroom this same truth will need to be stressed. Peer voices must be heard--all students should be able to participate in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
A second listening activity came from the partner lesson plans, as we had to listen within each stage (working with a partner, planning, presenting, and listening to other groups).
I wish we, as a class, would've listened better to each other during our lessons. Peer and teacher critique is very valuable; unfortunately I feel like we let each other down, asking light questions instead of complimenting and critiquing what matters within a lesson (giving improvement points).