Read All About It

TL:DR; how to help students read and access content areas. Today, Saturday, April 24, I am a cartographer of curriculum mapping, trying something new, useful, and just a little bit sad, too. I love books and teaching ELA, and while I will still teach reading and writing, listening and speaking, my new role as the EL teacher in an alternative high school shifted my instructional direction. Basically, I’m tired of students not earning their credits in other content areas. And since I can’t change content, I can change what I do and provide for students, and the space and intentional…

There’s a book for that.

I sometimes wish I had the magic words that enchanted students’ brains to desire reading. Instead, I hear a steady stream of protests: I hate to read. I hate reading. Reading is boring. Of course, it is. Looking at marks on a page that make no sense, undecoded gibberish which serves to remind our students of their lack of background knowledge, pallid schemas, and undernourished, oxygen-deprived computer testing programs. Out of 90+ students, I have one–ONE–who reads at the IRLA “Gold” level. She is an exceptional young lady. In classes with mostly 13-14-year-olds who read below a 4th-grade reading level,…

protecting readers

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved to read. Her mother read her books. When baby sisters came along she read books to herself. Her dad would take her to the library. Her teacher suggested books to her, including Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret when she was in fourth grade. It became her anthem into adolescence. She read Harriet the Spy three times, long before there was a movie adaptation. She learned that some books were too cold, some too hot, but most just right, all without someone telling her. No context clues. No…

Summer Series of Saves: free-range reading

Buy this book, please. What do the middle years of teaching look like, because I am in the thick of it now? Do they come with a mix, much like the middle of a marriage or middle of life, where we know just enough to feel competent, still open to new ideas, and enough doubt to gnaw at our knowledge? Last week my new district offered two full days of new hire training. The training sessions offered overviews of their pillars, including a brief introduction to the IT department, ELL, ELA, and their prescriptive reading program, IRLA, or Independent Reading…

Mind the Map.

https://bubbl.us/NDI3MTU5OS84MzQzNDkzL2FiMjAxMmE5YzRkMjA2ZmU2NGI1ODgxOGEwODg3NjNh-X?utm_source=page-embed&utm_medium=link&s=8343493 https://ed.ted.com/on/7WdV6Sqw Here is the teaching point/issue: How do we concurrently 1. teach students how stories work (or how anything works for that matter) 2. use technology to best demonstrate concepts 3. have students practice and grow their own knowledge? One idea: mind mapping. There are multiple available apps, etc. for this technique. We had Inspiration in our district, but not sure if we renewed the license or not. No matter.  I know we have other similar apps on our PCs for work. Mind mapping is simply brainstorming, sketching ideas in a hierarchal visual mode, and revisable in real time. For…

Structure Series: Essays for the 21st Century

  The five-paragraph essay is likened to learning the foundations of structure and organization critical to being able to write other organized pieces. There may be merit to this, however learning how to write something no one reads anymore may only serve to rust and crumble authenticity. Might I offer some suggestions, or additions to the five-paragraph essay, especially for secondary students? Consider these sites/links as mentor texts as well as powerful places to publish essays. Use examples of the essays written here and challenge students to compare their essays to these. Some close reading/close writing ideas: Read for anecdotes:…

Read the book, dummy.

  //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=mrsk06-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0325050805&asins=0325050805&linkId=d12e1b280c1386c7821e7588c08506cf&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff Noticed: I belong to the Notice & Note Facebook group, and it’s marvelous. Teachers helping other teachers, all grade levels (but predominately K-8), finding books, helping with lessons/units, etc. The big focus is on Kylene Beer’s and Robert Probst’s new book, Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, and therefore embarrassed myself a bit by one of my questions in a post. A teacher named Lisa Roth put together this PowerPoint intended to share with staff. (I hope she doesn’t mind if I link it here: if yes,…

Gluing the wings back on.

  As an artist and a scholar, I prefer the specific detail to the generalization, images to ideas, obscure facts to clear symbols, and the discovered wild fruit to the synthetic jam.” ~ Vladimir Nabokov An epiphany, oftentimes, doesn’t form as a flash or explosion, but a slow, forward creeping light. This is mine with close reading. This overwhelming sensation of pulling the wings off the butterfly, of disassembling the parts and not understanding the whole, blind men trying to describe an elephant…all of this. I have read Falling In Love With Close Reading by Lehman/Roberts, and dug plenty into Notice…

Monitor: Idiot proof.

This stream in my Reading Rockets’ feed caught my attention today: Sound It Out Along with her background as a researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading. Monitoring self-monitoring January 27, 2011 I recently read a post about recognizing, teaching, and supporting self-monitoring behaviors in young readers. The post describes two readers: David, who asks questions and self corrects word errors as he reads, and Frannie, who plows through text regardless of errors…