Ch.1-2 and Bonus Chapter
What struck me right away is that the authors understand how hard teaching can be. Despite a teacher’s efforts, planning and strategy instruction, sometimes it just is not enough. There is a breakdown for some students in their learning. This is a hard realization.
I liked how Kate and Maggie identified three obstacles to learning: memory, rigor, and differentiation. It is concise and made sense. Their reasoning provides the anchor for using “a concrete, practical visual tool” (p.3) that will enable students to remember, connect and grow.
WIth some of my first grade students, it was a challenge for a few students to apply, on their own, the strategies that were modeled, discussed and practiced. I also had one or two students who would proudly tell me that they didn’t need to use any strategies. I identified with the authors when they stated: “We hope they need us less, not more. We hope that they become flexible problem solvers…” (p.3). Yes! Independent and...self-monitoring.
It really helped to see how all the tools (teaching charts, bookmarks, demonstration notebooks and micro-progression of skills) create “stickiness”. I have talked to my students about how strategies help learning stick but it has been a struggle.
It is hard to see as a Literacy Specialist, but some of our students, especially in the upper grades, are “done” with reading strategies. They apply strategies because of teacher expectations or requirements. There is a disconnect with their reading because they are not actively thinking. Reading is something they have to do. I can see the teaching tools being a bridge for these students. I love how Maggie and Kate talk about joy. “One key to experiencing joy is working hard and seeing that hard work pay off.” (p. 9). I want my students to experience joy in learning.
The Bonus Chapter helped me see what was possible. It addresses the What-How-Why of strategies. It walked you off the ledge of intimidation and left you feeling that “I can do this”.
Thank you to the organizers of this discussion: Cathy Mere, Laura Komos and Michelle Nero.