#cyberpd: DIY Literacy – Week 1

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I had the good fortune to see Kate Roberts’ presentation on  DIY Literacy at the TCRWP Saturday Reunion in March, and saw an in-the-moment demonstration of how to create a demonstration notebook page to teach a concept (generated by ideas from the teachers in the audience).  Kate, of course, made the whole process seem easy and intuitively sound – but, I knew that I would need to read the book and chew on its ideas during the  summer before I could venture out and do the same in my own classroom with my own students.

Chapter 1:

Of the three problems Kate and Maggie identify (memory, rigor, differentiation) I know that my sixth graders struggle with memory most – knowing how to “remember and recycle what they’ve learned”.   The idea of “a concrete, practical, visual tool” which helps students “hold onto our teaching”, is a powerful one for me.  I LOVE idea underpinning these visual tools: “I see you. I see your next steps. Let me help you. Here is this.”  The message we send our students, when we create these tools in response to their needs, is that we value their thinking and want to empower them to be able to use what they know.

Chapter 2:

I have been questioning the use of anchor charts in my teaching practices and wondering if they serve my kids as much as I would like to believe that they do.  In my writing workshops, for instance, I’ve been experimenting with mini-charts which students can refer to on as as-needed basis.  So this chapter, with its overview of teaching charts, demonstration notebooks, micro progressions, and book marks, was so helpful.  I can see how my students would find support in each of these visual tools, especially because they focused on  small steps, which were distinctly targeted, and clearly presented.

Bonus Chapter:

The do-it-yourself process Kate and Maggie write about on pages 29 – 31 were important reminders to me to study and name what I do as a reader and writer so that I can explain that specific skill (in kid friendly terms) to my students.  I know that as the school year progresses, I tend not to be as deliberate as I should be in this process…I tend to make assumptions and move along too quickly, with predictable results (confusion, time lost in the need to reteach).  The what+the how+the why = my summer work, even as I write and read.  Practicing this every day, even in small ways, will help me become more effective in being able to articulate skills when I am teaching and conferring with my students once the school year begins.

 

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13 thoughts on “#cyberpd: DIY Literacy – Week 1

  1. As I read your post, I’m nodding my head. Yes, yes, yes! And this reflection: “I tend to make assumptions and move along too quickly, with predictable results” is spot on!! This book has made me look at my practices. Things I think t I knew/did but have to become more deliberate in.

  2. I have struggled with Anchor Charts for different reasons. The biggest reason is I have never been able to find space in my classroom. I feel like I took the mini anchor approach too because I give my students mini charts to glue in their notebook. Again I agree MEMORY becomes the issue. I have found that my 5th graders will use these tools for reading strategies more. Looking for suggestions on where to hang charts when there just doesn’t seem to be any space

    • I have the same issue! I think I am going to take photographs of charts and upload them onto our Google Classroom by unit, so that my kids have easier access to them…and so that they don’t clutter up our small classroom!

  3. Do you think that sometimes students ARE using the strategy, but are not necessarily able to name the strategy? I find this in math a lot. I am a math teacher that has them make visual representations of their thinking A LOT. At first, they want to just tell me, “I just did it. I don’t know how I did it. I just did.” But as the year progresses, and they see me draw their strategies and the strategies of their peers, they start to think more about what they do to solve problems and find answers. I’m thinking as I read all of my reading PD books this summer that perhaps there is a lot of this happening in their reading too. They are using the strategies, but just aren’t able to articulate them?

    • That’s an interesting question. I think that my kids tend to compartmentalize strategies, rather than using them across units of study and across the school year. I’m hoping that my summer PD reading helps me answer the why of this, and to help me figure out how to help them in a more transferable way through these visual tools.

    • Tara, that is what I do when I write on whiteboard but I never thought about putting charts on Google Classroom . Great idea. I usually will attach resources but now I’m thinking to create a spot for reading and writing Anchor charts

  4. I totally agree with you on charts! I’ve taken to making “mini-charts” to remind students of different things. I’m thinking of organizing them all digitally with a symbaloo webmix… My kids do refer to these quick reminders I give them on different things because they need their memory jogged; the challenge is making them easily accessible when students need them.

  5. I think memory is what my students struggle with most. Reading this book has reminded me that I need to give students not just the tools, but also the time so that they can remember. I feel that I try to cover so much in my teaching that students often don’t have the time to really practice so that the strategies become habits for them. I also loved the do-it-yourself process from the book. I really need to be more reflective about my own use of strategies.

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tara. My big take-away: I should proceed from a place of deliberation, rather than assumption, in working with students. Even when it’s proverbial crunch time. That requires observing and collecting evidence on which to deliberate, and this need not be a ginoromous, intimidating process. If there are micro-progressions, I suspect I (and my students) can perform micro-deliberations.

  7. Thanks for posting your reflection, Tara. As a principal, I was always a little worried about anchor charts. I understand the power of collaborative construction and the visual reminders that they offer students. But I recall walking in some classrooms and just being overwhelmed by the visual overload. And in many cases the charts were up so long they became like wallpaper and hardly noticed. I love Kate and Maggie’s work. The tools are smart and scaffold student learning. I like the idea of saving them digitally. I would challenge myself and others to make sure children are accessing them and using them. I believe K&M do that. As with any tool, we need to take it out of the toolbox and use it.

  8. Tara,
    I like the idea of giving students the tools in response to their needs. I also connected with the process of naming what we do as readers and writers and putting it in kid friendly terms as we explain it to students. This is a process worth putting time into to become a better teacher of reading and writing…walking the walk so to speak.

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