Since the start of reading the book, I was struck by how intentionality permeates every page: the tools, the thinking, the visuals used and the examples demonstrated. It made me stop and ponder about how I have used learning tools in the past and how I plan to in the future. I need to focus on not just the how and why but also how to ensure that students value, and use, tools as resources. Intention needs to be kept in the forefront.
The issue of memory as a factor in interfering with learning is addressed in Chapter 3. It made sense when Kate and Maggie pointed out how much we expect our students to learn and retain. It is a challenge to get learning to stick when there is so much vying for the brain’s attention. I liked how the authors pointed out that often, students “default to what is most comfortable”. Yes, that makes sense.
I have been part of a knitting group for almost a year. Countless times I went home and could not recall what stitch I was supposed to do or how to do it. Even when I found YouTube tutorials, I found myself leaning to the safe and easy because I was successful. As an “emergent” knitter, I also admit to avoiding particular stitches or moves that I knew may be challenging. I was defaulting to my comfort zone.
This year, I hope to work on keeping the tools “alive” in my students’ minds. I like how Kate and Maggie suggested different ways to ensure that students are actively using the tools. I am wondering if I can incorporate movement when using teaching charts? This is something I want to explore.
Kate and Maggie note that the term rigor can be defined as performative and as an action. It reminded me of Kyleen Beer’s statement: “Rigor is not an attribute of a text but rather a characteristic of our behavior with that text.” This definition also echoes the language we use in Reading Workshop when we talk about “active thinking”. My struggle in the upper grades is getting some students to actively think independently and consistently. I was excited to see examples of both micro-progressions and demonstration notebooks that explicitly show students what rigor looks like.
That is, we can create a learning climate where students see the steps needed to tackle the tasks in front of them rigourously and believe that they can have success along the way --- a learning climate that clearly shows what is gained by putting in the hard work to tackle something challenging and achieve something great.
I am rereading the fabulous A Mindset For Learning: Teaching the Traits of Joyful, Independent Growth by Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz. The authors write about creating a joyful community of learners through the teaching of traits that promote a growth mindset: empathy; optimism; persistence; resiliency and flexibility.
I want to incorporate the habits of the minds with my small groups and create a synergy with the tools described in DIY Literacy. The language, I envision, will fit in well with the teaching tools. Students need to embrace flexibility in their use of strategies: show persistence in not giving up; display optimism in trying their best; and resiliency in bouncing back. The teaching tools can be used to inform, model and demonstrate the traits.
You have to continue to try, a lot of the time. (p. 57)
I have included the video below because the themes of repetition, autonomy and control resonated with the quote from Kate and Maggie that ...over time a reader must own the moves of reading and writing (p.39). The video was shown at an ILA2016 session presented by Kelly Gallagher.