Sunday, August 2, 2009

I love the title, What We Know About Comprehension, because there is so much to know. I am glad they crammed it into one chapter.

From my earlier days working with K-2 kiddos I learned background knowledge is so vital. You could always tell the students who had never explored beyond their backyard, had conversations with adults, let alone been read to. Having just finished summer school in June and working with Reading Academy students (K-3rd grades) I had a dose of what it is like to work with students who are our ELA learners. Imagine arriving from a refugee camp and not knowing the language let alone the social customs. Talk about a need for background knowledge! I love the sense of urgency given to us when they write, "...we need to start teaching those specific strategies right now, to every kid we see, from pre-kindergarten through high school and in every subject across the curriculum."

So what about the research strikes you as important or of interest?

I am very struck by the idea of “transactional strategy instruction” (pg 26). I think the way we currently introduce strategies in our first 20 days is important. It’s like getting them out on the table and then we can talk about them specifically as we use them in read alouds, non-fiction work, and in novel studies. I also am intrigued by the idea of Block’s work referenced page 26 “processed-based” comprehension instruction, teaching kids to articulate the processes they used to make meaning.” I reflect here on our grand conversation circles when introducing our first novel, and subsequent ones, to students and how it is a time for exploring and modeling thinking, our own and students. This is where I feel I can get behind each students contributions and probe further. The other part is getting them to go beyond articulating their thinking but writing reflectively about it. Think about this as you begin this process in August. The student that responds to a point of inquiry and you ask them to tell you more or explain their thinking. Often their response can be dismissive, "Never mind." Or they seem non-verbally to demonstrate a feeling of, “Gosh did I get that wrong or what? OR I really blew that answer!” It can often be a deer in the headlight moment for the student. This is such a crucial moment for the teachers, this is where we must support and encourage student's who take the risk, to articulate the processes they are using to make meaning. With 25 others looking on to we have a captive audience and possibly a make it or break it moment with the students. We need to send a clear message that we value everyone’s contribution.

Teach for Understanding
I enjoyed this section.
Arthur Costa, “Learning to think begins with recognizing how we are thinking-by listening to ourselves and our own reactions and realizing how our thoughts encapsulate us.” Isn’t this one of our goals with our modeling comprehension strategies all along the way? We are showing the kids our thinking to perpetuate them to do the same thing. The use of sticky notes I think helps with this because it holds their thinking and helps them verbalize it when it is time to turn and talk.
The Comprehension Continuum is something I am going to copy to use when planning with teachers I love the teacher language. As a teacher I want this with my plans to reference as I reflect on my practices.

OK Girls help me out here what is our comprehension goal or mission statement?
Our goal seems to be to instruct students in ways that keep them thinking about their learning and applying that knowledge with themes from literature, and big ideas in social studies all the while merging their thinking with new information.

Finally I love the reference to Allington’s work:
1. Build in reading time. Students have to read. It is non-negotiable. My classroom mantra was: The more you read the more you know. The more you know the more you grow. I always shared with kids what research shows on reading and tell them that is why we have silent reading time in our class everyday.
2. Response principle. Students must respond to their reading everyday by talking, writing, and drawing about their thinking. Boy did this make you feel proud? We do this no question about it!
3. Explicit instruction principle. Amen

Chapter 3 collaboration love it!
Gotta run I am reading a novel Catherine Coulter's latest and it is soooooo good. It's calling my name.
Got my nose in a book,

1 comment:

  1. Today I had a meeting with several other administrators in regards to SPED curriculum and we kept coming to the same idea: What is the goal? What is it we want them to know? Which leads to our goal and mission: You hit it right on the head! Love it!

    As I look at the mission and goal you have weeded out for us I realize that really isn't that for all subject areas? Perhaps we should bring the "self contained" idea to the intermediate...meaning our unified goal of instructing students. Just an idea!! :-) I believe we have this goal, but I am not sure it is understood as what you have so eloquently described.

    I plan on starting to read Chapter 3 this weekend. Didn't get to it this week. Sorry!