#cyberpd: DIY Literacy – Week 2

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The thing that stood out to me the most in these two chapters was how student centric Kate and Maggie were both in the way they suggest we make assessments as to what we need to teach and how, as well as in the way we think about rigor and its purpose in our classrooms.  I am also in the middle of reading Jan Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris’ Who’s Doing The Work? and re-reading Gravity Goldberg’s Mindsets and Moves and am discovering so many interesting parallels between these three books.  Adding to this mix of learning are the Tweets shared from ILA 16, these in particular:

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All in all, this summer’s PD is leading me to rethink some of my teaching assumptions, and reexamine the dynamics of my classroom life.

Chapters 3 and 4 were especially thought provoking; here are some of the places where I stopped, jotted notes, and am still thinking through:

Chapter 3:

Often when students write or read, they default to what feels most comfortable.  They rely on a strategy they found success with at one point in their schooling, or they grab onto whatever first comes to mind, especially when working independently.

This was something I have long suspected, but needed validation from Kate and Maggie to feel its truth.  I’m sorry to have to admit this, but I am rarely inclined to give my kids the repetition of instruction the authors feel our kids need for information to stick.  This book has me reflecting upon this tendency and figuring out how I can build a habit of constant reflection so that there are authentic opportunities for repetition – the “how to do this” on page 43 is a wonderful model upon which to build this practice.  I love the way Kate and Maggie demonstrated how to create tools for this specific purpose.

*book marks: “Having students make bookmarks-personalized lists of things that will help them to remember past teaching-will allow your class to decide which lessons, which tips and strategies and ideas, they most want to remember.”   My students keep our minilessons and strategies at the back of their reading and writing notebooks, but this sort of personalized quick reference will be used far more consistently (and effectively).

*microprogressions: “If we treat each new lesson or skill as equally important as all the others, it is difficult for students to prioritize what is being taught and what to remember. Instead, we can help students hold onto our teaching by deciding which reading or writing skills in each unit are the most essential for students to learn.”  Creating microprogressions for these skills, as described in this chapter, will help my kids immensely.

*demonstration notebooks: “Following a lesson using a demonstration notebook…writers leave with tangible reminders of the lesson, as well as a written intention of future practice.” Once again, the idea is to remind kids of what they know and lead them to make it stick with practice.

Chapter 4:

I thought that reframing the meaning and teaching intent behind the word rigor was powerful:

…we focus on …rigor as a description of a behavior rather than a description of a task. Rigor is performative – it is a stance, an action, a state of being that is taken to move through the world, tackle tasks, or work toward a goal.

…we can focus on how to teach and support kids in their quest to nurture their inner confidence and become harder workers.  That is, we can create a learning climate where students see the steps needed to tackle the tasks in front of them rigorously and believe that they can have success along the way – a learning climate that clearly shows what is gained by putting in the hard work to tackle something challenging and achieve something great.

To truly support students in working harder, we will have to offer them a clear vision for what that rigorous work looks like, each step of the way.

I loved the way this chapter honored students – I know that the kids I have taught have always risen to every challenge when I have given them the support they needed, when they needed it, and how they needed it.  They were happy to work hard (well, mostly happy and that was at the end of the task!) if the task was worth their while and meaningful.  If it was worth all that hard work.

I found the “Fostering a Culture of Rigor” section on pages 61 and 62 so helpful – this is such a powerful and positive way in which to approach the idea of trying to help build intrinsic motivation in our kids – a gift that will keep giving long after they have left our classrooms.





12 thoughts on “#cyberpd: DIY Literacy – Week 2

  1. Tara,
    I love the connections you made here. Gravity’s book is on my TBR pile, but I had just re-started Fisher, Frey and Hattie’s book so the two tweets from Dorothy quoting Hattie really hit home.

    I continue to see the need to build a “learning cycle” – plan for 2-3 small group sessions for example in order to build in more practice. I also think that there’s value in returning to Shared Reading for the sake of efficiency and effectiveness at the upper grades.

    I’m so thankful that the books are so harmonious because it feels more like re-focusing rather than re-inventing. And now that it’s almost mid-July, that means that summer is quickly winding down!

    Thanks . . . I’ll be back to revisit this! ❤

  2. I see those same parallels with Mindsets and Moves and Who’s Doing the Work. DIY makes the theory of agency and goal setting concrete for teachers and students.

  3. Once again you did it!!! I’ve been trying to wrap my head around my thinking and you wrote it for me. “All in all, this summer’s PD is leading me to rethink some of my teaching assumptions, and reexamine the dynamics of my classroom life.” huge thanks.

  4. Parallels in the current literature must mean we are on to something. Having our students do the work and taking on the role of coach has always been my goal. I look forward to digging deeper into this book and having a conversation with you about it.

  5. I, too, am reading Who’s Doing the Work? and plan to start reading Visible Learning soon. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how to merge all of my new learning and share it with colleagues. I really appreciate your post because it is helping me process and put it all together. Thank you for sharing.

  6. You pulled out the piece about micro progressions that is really sticking with me… prioritizing. It is tempting to want to use this tool to stress many skills, but I think this is one that would be most effective if reserved for most essential. Thank you for your insights and honesty!

  7. I am anxious to try the demonstration notebooks with my students. I would also like to develop some micropressions too. I’ve watched the videos that R & R posted to go with the chapters and they are an excellent resource too.

  8. I feel the same way! It’s hard to do the repetition of concepts because we feel we have so much to teach! No wonder kids have trouble remembering things! Prioritizing is important – having kids focus on the big concepts that will move them the furthest!

  9. The three texts you mentioned really do complement one another. I think they all are based on the idea that we need to put students in the driver’s seat of their learning experiences. I also sadly have to say that I don’t give kids the repetition that they need. I think it was Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan (although I’m not 100% sure) who talked during a presentation about the fact that it may take students weeks and weeks to master a goal. If we think it’s an important goal then we also need to devote the time to letting students learn it and practice it.

  10. Tara,
    It’s been interesting as I move from blog to blog to consider the connections participants are making to other reading. Many have mentioned the connections with Who’s Doing the Work as they’ve shared thinking about these chapters. I haven’t read Gravity’s book, but I’ve been hearing a lot about it. I’m adding it to my list.

    Summer is the perfect time for reflecting on our teaching. It is hard to slow down for repetitive teaching – especially when some need that teaching and others are ready to step forward. Perhaps it is a bit of a dance between where we’ve been and we’re heading. I’m thinking these tools allow for this differentiation.

    Thanks for sharing your thinking,

  11. For me, this was the power line in your post, Tara: “All in all, this summer’s PD is leading me to rethink some of my teaching assumptions, and reexamine the dynamics of my classroom life.” I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of reflection on and examination of core beliefs in PD, and this power line reinforced for me that that deep, personal exploration of assumptions needs to be frequent. I wonder how I can help the teachers I coach keep the pulses of the dynamics of their classroom lives. Great coaching challenge for me- thanks!

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