It’s Not Me, It’s Them #sol17

#IMWAYR  (It’s Monday,  What are You Reading?)

March 20, 2017

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 5.11.36 PMFor fans of What Readers Really Do? , you already know that Dorothy Barnhouse is nothing short of amazingly inspiring.  In What Readers Really Do,  Barnhouse taught us to be observers and listeners creating student agency with questions such as “What are you working on?” and “What are you thinking about here?”,  then naming their work in ways that give them power and truth and a foothold.   In  Readers Front and Center, Barnhouse brings us to intentionality, to in-your-face realization of the person doing the work is the one learning.  Through chapter after chapter entitled  Teaching Smarter,  Barnhouse shows us clearly how to do just that.  There is so much that is great here and I’ll be straight, it’s not a straight through kind of read.  Her description of the stairway to text complexity and how we don’t have to use a hard text and a hard task was an idea I go back to again and again, with colleagues, with administrators, with students, and with parents.  

Page 8

“Our students need to become the center of our teaching- not the texts, not the standards, and certainly not the assessments.”  

This isn’t a call to abandon all these things, but to teach in that place that includes them, but gives the standing they are due, behind the student.  

“Let’s think of a pebble through into a pond.  The pebble is the student and the pond is the text.  When that pebble hits the surface of the pond, we see ripples.  That’s the thinking the student is doing as he reads.  By paying attention to those ripples-and doing so by listening to the student-we can get a better understanding of how that text might be complex for that students… As teachers that’s what we need to see- our students interacting with texts.  That’s where our teaching needs to start.”

Our role is to help students take on identities of learners.

To pay attention is our endless and proper work.”  Maxine Greene

For Teachers Who:  Want to build agency,  strengthen conferencing

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 4.43.29 PMI also read The Tree Lady during my story arc biography work in fourth grade.   This book tells the story of Kate Sessions, the woman instrumental in establishing the diverse tree population in Balboa Park in San Diego.  It is a visually stunning book with a clear story arc and a repetitive pattern if you wanted to teach into craft moves or structure.  The story itself is amazing and would fit into curriculum studies in biomes, trees,  ecology, botany, or women as leaders.  The students are questioning my constantly choosing books with strong women.  I think it goes without saying what my purpose is.  

Teaching Use:  Mentor text for biography, story arc work, craft moves of repetitive lines

 

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Thank you to Unleashing Readers for the #IMWAYR inspiration.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for the March Slice of Life Challenge. Read more slices here.

 

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About readingteachsu

Passionate about literacy education. Currently a literacy specialist in a K-4 building near Boston MA.
This entry was posted in It's Monday, What are You Reading?, literacy, reading instruction, Slice of Life #SOL17 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to It’s Not Me, It’s Them #sol17

  1. maryannreilly says:

    I’m not sure if I agree with the pebble/pond metaphor as it situates thinking as if mental achievements were located in single minds, not across minds. James Gee (2008) clarifies this misunderstanding nicely. He writes: “Our knowledge is not something sitting passively in our heads (although this is the common view of knowledge); rather what is in our heads is just one aspect of larger more public and historical coordinations that in reality constitute ‘our’ knowledge” (p.220).

  2. Thanks for the never-old reminder to pay attention! On the topic of text complexity, I’m a fan of Teri Lesense’s _Reading Ladders_.

  3. So true- I often see teachers caught in the mindset that helping by giving answers is helping, when really the teachers need to coach the students through the “heavy lifting”. I will check out these books!

  4. I love Dorothy!! We had the privilege of presenting with her at NCTE last year and planning to again next year. Just planning the session was PD for us — she is brilliant. Thank you for sharing her work and one of my favorite quotes by Maxine Greene. See you tomorrow.
    Clare

  5. Pingback: Reading with Rigor: Teacher Edition #sol17 | readingteachsu

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