Friday, July 14, 2017

{Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: Week 1} #cyberPD

We have teamed up with yet another fabulous author 
and PD book for #cyberPD! 

This July we are reading and learning together around 
Vicki Vinton's newest title: Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: Shifting to a Problem-Based Approach

Join in the conversation in our #cyberPD Google Community!

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My Thoughts and Reflections
I'm finally here and ready to join in the conversations around Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: Shifting to a Problem-Based Approach! Family time, vacation, and several district workshops took precedence at the beginning of July. I read the chapters prior to vacation, but never had the time to bring all my thoughts together in one place. I'll finally be able to read other responses too and learn alongside all of you!

Introduction: Plunging Into Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading
First of all, I go into reading PD books with an open mind and heart, looking for ways to clarify what I believe and ask myself how I can grow in these beliefs to do more with the students and teachers I work with every day.

But Vicki stopped me in my reading tracks. She was pushing my thinking every which way and upside down just in the introduction! Even Ellin Oliver Keene jumped in too: "I hope you and your colleagues are stirred and inspired and that you experience a great deal of cognitive dissonance." (p. xiii) I laughed to myself and whispered, "Well, this is what #cyberPD is all about!"

I am a reading specialist working alongside developing readers in an elementary school. When I talk to my readers, I remind them they are readers, writers, and thinkers, but here is where I can grow: How deep is their thinking? Am I rescuing too much? Am I allowing opportunities for complex thinking challenges? Am I teaching in too many parts?  It's time to reflect on my practices in the classroom (and at home!).

Section One: On Beliefs and Big Ideas
Chapter 1: The Necessity of a Problem-Based Approach to Teaching Reading

Take Aways: 
  • I found myself nodding in agreement and understanding Vicki's thinking.
  • I love, love, love "first draft" understanding and using language like "might be" or "could mean" because this shows room for editing thinking, changing it as we read more. There is not a right/wrong answer. (p.7)
  • Read to wrestle with the "real problems" (p.11) But what about ELLs or developing readers? Still questioning, but maybe I just need to try to let them struggle and change the path of learning through a different text.
  • Let the text set the agenda using problem-based approach to reading - aha!
  • Teach the reader and let it be a productive struggle.
  • Dewey's thoughts ... amazing!
  • "To take a risk, make mistakes and get messy!"
Ok. So Vicki has flipped my thinking about teaching reading. I can see the 'big picture' but I still have some questions and wonders ...

Chapter 2: Shifting the Focus from Complex Texts to Complex Thinking

Take Aways: 
  • Vicki had me at the title of this chapter! Yes, that only makes sense!!!! This complex thinking is what we want of our students and teachers and the world!
  • I love that Vicki reminds me that we can learn so much from our students too through Takayaki's example.
  • Extraction reading vs. Transaction reading ... I think of "cold reading" - digging for answers and "warm reading" - allowing the book to touch your heart and soul and mind.
"I want students to be able to analyze and interpret, reason and imagine, critique texts objectively and respond to them personally. And I want them to do this with real independence and a strong sense of agency and identity as readers, in ways that support academic success and a love of reading." (Vinton, p.18)
  • A hundred yes, yes, yeses to Vicki's words!!! 
  • Text complexity ... After creating a school book room, we quickly realized that "leveling" text is a very complex process. My colleague and I did our best, but clearly expressed to teachers: Use your own professional judgement when selecting texts!
  • Whoever is doing the work is doing the learning .... even with the most complex piece. 
  • Text's message: "Comprehension is the floor ... connecting the dots to see the bigger picture." What a visual way to explain thinking to students!
  • Hmmmm ... I still thinking about this new vision of balanced literacy. (p.24) I need to reread and think through the differences of current practice of the balanced literacy components.
  • YES! Love the action plans for all students, especially for the Tier 2 students I work with. This is my goal: Think about:
    • What kind of problems is this reader facing?
    • What kind of text does this reader need?
    • How can we help this reader develop a more complex vision of reading?

"This deeper understanding is what I believe we, as teachers, need to aim for, since it's only when we read at this depth that our sense of human possibility is enlarged, we educate our hearts as well as our minds, and we are ready not only for college and careers but for whatever life might bring us." (Vinton, p.22)

Chapter 3: Toward More Complex Views of Thinking, Close Reading, and the Reading Process

Take Aways: 
  • I think internally I've always hoped and wished books changed my students lives ... but Vicki's approach to be more explicit about it just makes more sense!
  • Readers need more invitations and opportunities to think creatively and critically about text.
  • Again, I need to think more deeply about re-envisioning the reading process. It makes perfect sense, but need to dig into process this language and understanding. Love the reading process visuals Vicki included for fiction and nonfiction (p.41-3.) 
Chapter 4: Strengthening the Connection Between Teaching and Learning

Take Aways: 
  • Social-emotional and building relationships is essential to learning!
  • Ultimate Goal: Independence and transfer of learning
  • Mindset is important as well. Reminding students they may not be able to do it yet, but we can do this hard work!
  • Learning moves from short term memory to working memory (p.47) - One and done doesn't work!
  • Choice and opportunity to explore
  • Aha! Shift in my learning as a teacher of reading and the gradual release of responsibility: "seeing teaching as being less about explaining or showing students how to do things and more about creating and facilitating opportunities for them to learn through exploration, problem solving, and discovery." (Vinton, p.51)
  • Using a PBA, I need to consider when, how, and WHY we provide explicit instruction and teacher modeling.
  • The power of feedback and language has been a hot topic buzzing in my ears lately. I need to revisit Johnston's work and think deeper about this topic as I continue to work with developing readers and classroom teachers.

"And this is why David A. Sousa, the author of
How the Brain Learns, says 

that teaching is 'the only profession whose job is to change the 
human brain every day." 
(Vinton, p.46)

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As always, thank you for taking the time to read and sharing your voice!

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Join in the #cyberPD conversations this month!
  • Grab your copy of Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading and read!
  • Write a weekly blog post or share your thoughts in the Google Community.
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Read.  Reflect.  Share.  Respond to others.  Then repeat.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

{yeah, you rock} #sol17

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 

I didn't ask, but I still received.

Do you know how amazing that feels?

I shared my feelings and ups and downs with my new role and changes in my professional life.

And you were there to lift me up. Reminding me I could do this. Sharing wisdom and advice. Reaching out to connect.

Yes, I'm nervous about what is to come. But with you all by my side, this journey next year will be doable.

And in case I'm in need of more positive, encouraging words ... I've started yet another Pinterest board: New Adventure!  Let's do this!