This podcast topic is the 5th in a series about Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. I am continuing to facilitate online discussions with a group of dedicated professionals who are eager to disrupt their own thinking! Here I am reflecting on chapters 10 and 11 which are in Part III, The Changes We Must Embrace.
Section one was a great way to dive into this topic and I found the text is pairing nicely with the other summer PD book I am studying, Disrupting Thinking. The need to develop readers that can think deeply (Vinton), be responsible, be responsive, and be compassionate (Beers & Probst) is critical.
As a gifted intervention specialist, the view of “text complexity” has always been a hot topic. Parents are often concerned that their child is not reading “challenging enough” texts. Given that the chronological age, emotional age, and reading ability of my children is extremely mismatched, I find I advise parents often to not look at the “level” of the text as a measure. My students can read high lexile leveled text because they have the ability. But they often do not have the maturity to handle the topics, themes, and situations presented in texts that are push their vocabularies. This is why I turn to picture books. And this is why I felt so affirmed by Vicki Vinton’s call for teachers to re-evaluate what “complexity” means. Complexity is about the variables a reader brings to a text… I love it! My students can be challenged by the simplicity of Matt de la Pena’s Last Stop on Market Street because they can work through the meaning. They live in suburbia, in a predominantly “white” town with varying levels of affluence. To relate to an inner-city child of color is a stretch. Sometimes my students are more challenged by plot and character than they ever are by vocabulary and their content knowledge!
The idea of convergent thinking also resonated with me. I have always been ‘resistant’ to explicitly stating learning objectives to students at the beginning of lessons and I still am. I have found learning for my students to be more powerful when they uncover it. If I tell them what they are going to learn, then they often stop there. However if I present an opportunity for them discover and put pieces together on their own, not only do they almost always learn what I had hoped but they learn more than I could have ever imagined. I feel that we uncover what we need when we truly let a ‘text set an agenda’.
So here is where I make another connection to Distrupting Thinking…the idea of reading with a “book-head-heart” framework. (More info here: https://hwlearninglinks.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/disrupting-thinking-3/) If we arm students with some simple ideas, they will develop those problem solving capabilities that we know they need. If we ‘overscaffold’ and feed students too much info, then we do “rob students of fully experiencing…rob them of the opportunity to figure things out themselves…” (Vinton pg. 10).
Thus when Vinton asserts that we should “assess text complexity by how much a reader has to figure out that the writer has conveyed directly” (pg. 22) I am like YES!!!! This is what I have been trying to tell parents for years! Our children need the opportunity to ‘wrestle with a text’s message, idea, or theme’ and through that struggle they are challenged, changed, or perhaps confirmed in what they know (Beers & Probst).
Many parts of this section just grabbed me. Rather than quote them all however I think I will just share the two pages of sketchnotes I created as I contemplated and reflected on what I took in. I am inspired and eager to grow further!
Last summer I participated in #CyberPD and our text was DIY Literacy by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts. To say this text was transforming to my classroom would be an understatement! My students and I embraced literacy tools that really helped our teaching stick!
As I finished the book study, I had an inspiration for the ‘anchor charts’ my students would access. Wall space is always a premium, so I purchased a decorative “screen” for my classroom that became an interactive resource! Students could take down charts and use them while they worked.
Bookmarks were the next tool I was excited about bringing into my classroom and the bookmark initiative I launched was a huge success! I armed my students with precut tagboard strips and sharpies. They did the rest! In fact, one of my student’s bookmarks on K. Beers and R. Probst’s “big questions” from Nonfiction Reading: Notice and Note was featured in the authors’ new book Disrupting Thinking (see “Alessandra’s bookmark on page 67)!
As my students made bookmarks, I took photos of them (see my collection here)!
Microprogressions also excited me but I have to admit that my enthusiasm for them waned a bit as I was faced with the largest caseload of students ever…I saw almost 90 8-10 year olds every day! I’m still excited about them but need to rethink how those might look. I had a few and they were incredibly helpful to students, but just didn’t take the time to break down more skills to create more.
My biggest “surprise” however was my building of a demonstration notebook! This was the tool that I felt less confident with, and yet the one that I am currently most interested in. It wasn’t until mid school year when I started finding value in the simple yet effective tool! I started to set up notebook pages for small group or individual mini-lessons to review or reteach skills and strategies. So far my demonstration notebook collection includes:
Being a “RACE” responder
Plot vs. Theme
Determining Importance (to identify main idea and details)
Inferring a main idea from details
Examining the difference between text structures and connections/relationships (this is great for reading literature standards 3 and 5 as they are similar and yet very different!)
Analyzing a character
Point of view and Perspective
I cannot wait to continue building my DIY Literacy tool kit and am forever grateful to #CyberPD for the support and encouragement!
This podcast topic is now the 4th in a series about Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. I am continuing to facilitate online discussions with a group of dedicated professionals who are eager to disrupt their own thinking! Here I am reflecting on chapters 7, 8, and 9 which dive more deeply into using the BHH framework as a reader yourself, using it in your classroom, and how it fits with signposts and big questions.
This podcast topic is the third in a series about Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. I am really excited about diving into this text more deeply with a group of dedicated professionals who are eager to disrupt their own thinking! For ease, I have divided this text into sections to contemplate. Here I am reflecting on chapters 5 and 6 which address reading and change as well as the BHH framework.
Thanks to a “happy accident”, I had a chance to experiment with BHH before Disrupting Thinking came out: