Thanks to Michelle and Jessie for their thought -provoking presentation related to reading strategies across the curriculum and the responsibilities we ALL must share: to teach our students how to ACTIVELY ENGAGE in text and to help each of our students create an " INTENTIONAL THINKING PLAN" as they read. As their presentation and subsequent activity progressed on Friday, I thought about the assumptions many teachers make about our students related to reading when they enroll at our school and how it parallels society's assumptions about our students readiness to drive responsibly at age 16 or vote intelligently at age 18 as if age created a magical transformation to maturity, skill and good judgment. As our discussion continued during the activity, I thought about a typical freshman entering our school and what h is expected of he or she related to reading skills. I started with them them entering the building at the east end/main entrance. Let's assume they were enrolled in courses offered only in the east end of our building. What would we expect of them? In orchestra /choir/and band, our student would be expected to read musical notes and scores; in drama, to read and interpret a play; in journalism, create newspaper- formatted and yearbook text;in art, to "read" a piece of artistic work - a photo, drawing, painting or instructions on how to fire a piece of clay;in technology, to read a blueprint or a very specialized computer text program;while in consumer/family studies, to read a recipe or analyze a family's budget. Holy cow!We haven't even reached the main office and our core curricular areas in the main and western part of the building. And we yet we become frustrated when our students don't read, or don't try to; and if they do, fail to take from the text what we had hoped.This leads to some questions for us to consider:
- How do you ( and your peers in your curricular area ) MODEL for your students how to engage your specific style of text?
- How do you set purpose when you give your daily assignments? As some of you indicated,if many students are not completing your reading assignments in their assigned texts,what have you learned from your students about why they aren't engaged in the texts? ( This requires a time commitment on your part and carefully constructed questions. Ask yourself what you hope to achieve through such a discussion and what questions will get you there. ) How do you prepare your students for what might be challenging parts of the text assignment? What real life connections have you tried to make related to the assignment? How will this assignment help address the "BIG PICTURE" questions for the unit? What role have the students played in creating these "DRIVING" questions?
- What "common reading language" and skills could we create/use as a staff to support students' engagement with their text ?
- How do we engage students while using electronic/computer text? How can we apply old strategies with this new format, or do we have to start over by developing new strategies? As we change over to this new format of text, do we have to look for /demand that publishers provide/create materials which allow students to interact with text? What should that look like?
- Finally, a big picture question: How do we, as well as our students, learn to effectively and efficiently deal with the explosion of information made available via the computer and internet? Can we teach it all, or have we ever been able to?
As one of your instructional coaches, I've thrown a great deal out there for you to think about. I look forward to your reading your responses.