In education, this means that the general underperformance of schools is directly attributable to a failure to implement three simple, well-known elements: We love to talk about these elements, but they are rarely implemented. What we lack are the "will and persistence" to maintain a focus on the best practices that we already know but that are grossly underutilized Odden,p. As Jim Collins writes, the key to success is not innovation; it is a combination of "simplicity and diligence" applied with fierce, exclusive devotion to what is truly most effective Collins, b, p.
At the risk of over-generalizing, the former tends to maximize the accessibility of the content, with text features that support easy fact retrieval and explicitly state the sub-topics. Trade books, on the other hand, frequently operate in less straightforward ways and often require far more inferring to fully comprehend.
They also have more of what I call an authorial presence. So what, as teachers, do we need to do to help our students not just comprehend but engage in understanding as well? For some students, with some texts, this is enough.
Many students, however, need more support to engage in the work of understanding. This might lead some students to say that they were going to learn about salt around the world and through the ages because the people on the cover appear to be from different times and places—though many a student might simply say they were going to learn about salt.
We then might do a picture walk, which might confirm that initial prediction about salt throughout the ages, as students spotted mummies, knights and people dressed in togas.
But many of the pictures are baffling, such as this one: We might also do a text-feature walk, zooming in on the section titles and headings as a way of anticipating the information the text contains. As you can see, though, from the title above, this might not get students very far either because many of the titles are as baffling as the pictures.
But the bigger problem is that relying on text features encourages students to see sections as discrete entities, not as parts of a whole, and as such text-feature walks can work against the idea of the text as a journey where the whole point is discovering more than you expected as you pay attention to the turns and twists and connect detail to detail.
We also ask students to scan and skim to find the main idea, which could conceivably yield this sentence from the last page of the book: But it only goes so far. We can, though, help students do this by using the same strategy that Dorothy and I offer students when they read fiction: Noticing this might also lead them to discover patterns within the power pattern, as there are several stories about salt being used as a means of control and others where salt is an agent of liberation.
There are also recurring stories about how our need for salt led to innovations and stories about things—streets, cities, food—named after salt. Our senses are heightened as we take in the sights and go off on detours that surprisingly lead to places full of meaning.Focus: Elevating the Essentials for Radically Improved Student Learning is insightful, practical, and, above all else, inspiring--a must read for all teachers, administrators, board members, and policymakers.
Feb 15, · A highly effective reading and writing classroom will involve reading high interest articles that generate higher level thinking. The teacher would fascillitate discussions after students do some deep reading “with pen in hand” as Schmoker states in the book.
Developing Curriculum Leadership and Design. Do what you always do, get what you always get. Square method is an effective strategy, this process is lost on students if they aren't asked to write as a response to reading and thinking.
Writing curriculum isn't just about producing a guide. It includes defining what students need to know. A Comprehensive Framework Continuous School Improvement Mary Ann Poparad, Ph.D.
•Writing •Conversing •Thinking critically and analytically Literacy becomes an essential lever for positive change when there is a focus on highly effective teaching practices Do Overs and Second Chances – Helping Students Revisit Reading & Writing. A blog about reading, writing, teaching and the joys of a literate life.
they eagerly dove into an article about the problems Venice faced with the kind of intellectual involvement that Charlotte Danielson speaks about. which in turn fueled their engagement. That all happened because I think that thinking is actually exhilarating and. Reading, Thinking, and Writing About Multicultural Literature.
Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman and Company; Demonstration lessons that use multicultural literature to teach reading, thinking, and writing to multi-ethnic schools and students who speak English as their second language.