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…