DIY Literacy (Ch 1,2, bonus)

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Reading DIY Literacy with the #cyberPD group came at exactly the right time for me! As I wrap my head around how I am going to manage 90 3rd/4th graders a day next year, I am feeling overwhelmed and concerned about how I can “extend my reach” to make the impact I know is needed. I am struggling to differentiate, provide rigor, and help my students remember (memory) snippets of instruction… those three problems Roberts & Roberts outline in chapter 1.

As a teacher who has already turned to flipping my classroom to accelerate and compact curriculum, I am in LOVE with the tools the authors suggest for helping organize and clarify thinking. I try to empower my students to be self-directed in accessing tools and to self-monitor their own learning as they instill habits. I find tools improve the workflow as well saving not only my time and energy, but the children’s as well.

Before I started reading this text, I read Flip Your Writing Workshop and was inspired to start a video collection of “steps” as I guide my students into strong responses to what they read. I consider these instructional tools to make teaching clear for students and families; that is “clear steps and moves” to spur growth.  Adding what I am learning from DIY Literacy, I am feeling a sense of excitement about the upcoming school year that is unparalleled.

I already had a goal this summer to set up mini-lessons for teaching students strategies around the reading standards I am teaching. I only get 1 hour with students and feel pressed to squeeze in as much content/learning as I possibly can. Teaching tools seem to be the answer to this problem. I love that the authors of DIY Literacy make a “road trip” analogy. That is how I view my classroom. Everyone is making a learning journey but their speed, path, stops, and detours along the way will vary. The need to have multiple, flexible resources cannot be understated.

So I consider the 4 tools presented: (1) teaching charts, (2) demonstration notebooks, (3) micro-progressions, and (4) bookmarks. I’ve used some of these things in some forms, but am excited about how I can both improve and integrate more. I’m adding video lessons to my list of tools to use and perhaps in addition to micro-progressions, I’ll add “continuums”. I teach my students about what a continuum is and how it does not have a start or end point, but rather continues on both ways. No matter where they are on the continuum, they have everything they have already learned to do that has preceded where they are and while they make progress, there is always room to keep growing.  One way I am using this idea of a continuum is with ‘gamification’ and “leveling up”/digital badging.

Ideas are already filling my head as to how I can use these tools with students. Now I’m focusing on the “what” to put into these tools. Taking inventory of what I have already accessible for ideas, I have the 4th grade writing unit of study pack (I was lucky enough to “win” the whole kit at ILA last summer!). I also have Teaching Interpretation (Cherry-Paul/Johansen), Mosaic of Thought, both Notice and Note texts (fiction and nonfiction), Strategies That Work, Falling in Love with Close Reading, Nonfiction Matters, and Writing Pathways. I also realized that I have a few other gems (not mentioned by DIY…) Interactive Read-Alouds gr. 4-5 (by Linda Hoyt) and Genre Study (Fountas & Pinnell). And if that wasn’t enough, I ordered The Reading Strategies Book (Serravallo).

Ready to start creating…

16 thoughts on “DIY Literacy (Ch 1,2, bonus)

  1. I am curious to know more about your video library for flipping you class. An hour just doesn’t feel like enough time; however, your positive spin really will make the difference. I took a snapshot of your visual of the book – such power in the way you presented it. Thanks for sharing your learning.

    • Thanks Maria! The collection I am working on is at:
      I teach reading but have my students respond to what the read with a weekly response letter so in this way I sneak in writing instruction. I find my 3rd graders start with giving me just a few sentences and then I work to scaffold them into full 5 paragraph essay responses (I have them in 3rd and 4th). So this collection takes them through what I expect by the end of 3rd grade.

      The sketch is part of another “project” I’m involved in, working on sketch noting. I’ve found it a great way to process my thinking as the act of creating the “sketch” helps my learning stick so it is my DIY strategy! Here’s a video I made for my students demonstrating it:

  2. Heidi, your Sketchnote is awesome and you are making me want to try that too! Last summer I read Serravallo’s Reading Strategies and I think these books really work well together… So many strategies in Jen’s book and DIY Literacy provides ideas on how to teach these strategies in small groups and help it “stick” for kids. Heidi, you are such a learner and innovator! I am staying tuned to what you develop!!

  3. Thanks for sharing all of your resources Heidi. I’m inspired by your Sketchnoting. I gave this a try with chapter 1. It’s my first time ever…Also, the idea of flipping your workshop is fantastic and I thank you for sharing your YouTube channel. I look forward to learning more with you through #cyberpd.

  4. Your post was exciting and inspiring! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and plans. You have my thoughts charging into overdrive. Thank you!

  5. Your video collection sounds intriquing – I am going to check them out. I might also have to look into the book you mentioned, Flip Your Writing Instruction. It’s one I’m familiar with, but with so many great books out there it hasn’t made it onto my tbr list yet. You seem to have a great collection of resources for teaching strategies – they are all really great and useful. I don’t know if you have this one, but Readers Writing by Elizabeth Hale has been useful to me for teaching students to write notebook responses. I have just read Who’s Doing the Work by Burkins and Yaris – it’s wonderful, I think a must-read. If you are interested in knowing more about the book there is a book discussion that has been going on here:

    • Thank you for the tips! I am definitely checking them out! I joined the Notice and Note book clubs on Facebook and have already got some fantastic ideas!

  6. I love your flipped approach to teaching and learning. With a short class period, you have to make the best of every tool. I especially appreciated this thought: “No matter where they are on the continuum, they have everything they have already learned to do that has preceded where they are and while they make progress, there is always room to keep growing.” Such an important thing to students to take in an understand.

    • Thank you! I have really worked on setting up a self-directed classroom so I do little to no direct instruction (anything I need to teach explicitly usually ends up on a video.) Then students watch independently and that frees me to conference or met with small groups. I have found my students pay way more attention when I put it on a screen anyway! Best part… they can pause and re-wind or watch again if they need a reminder!

  7. Heidi, you are a breath of inspiration! I love that you just jump in and try it! I’m a little slower in my processing, but love to see you at work! And, as always, I’m so thankful for your willingness to share so much! 🙂 Sketchnoting is intriguing to me, but I don’t have the time, quiet space and patience yet. One day … The tools sharing in DIY are going to helpful for building more independence in our classrooms. I look forward to see what we can do this year!

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