Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2014 July TCRWP Reading Institute - Day 4

Book Clubs with Mary E.
What a great 30 minute discussion our club had with another book club today!! First Mary had us plan out a 10 minute presentation by prompting us to think about what we want the other club to know and feel about our rainforest topic and decide what we can show them as well as tell them?

Our 4 members decided what we would each share. I was taken by the sentence in the book that said, "Tropical scientist believe that, at the present rate of destruction, there will be no rainforests left by the year 2050." I shared this fact and pointed out how this is just 37 years from now. I stressed how I plan to still be alive in 37 more years and I want to live in a world WITH rainforests.

After our 10 minute presentation, the other group shared. They had read the same book but interestingly enough, their presentation had no overlap with ours. Instead, they noticed the strong structure of the book Even though I had been reading this book for 3 days, I learned so much more listening to their 10 minute presentation.

Then for the last 10 minutes, Mary had given us another text, Causes of Climate Change by Peter Benoit. Now we were to discuss any connections we saw between this new text and the book we had been studying. Again, such rich discussion based on our reading.

My big take away from being in a NF book club was how my reading and thinking about a nonfiction topic pushed us all to think more about the actions we can take so we can live better. I love that I did so much more than just read the book once or twice and notice all the text features (I'll admit - my old way of reading NF). Mary got me to read, question, seek more info outside the book, feel something about this topic, and contemplate the actions I can take to be supportive of this topic.

SS Centers with Kathleen Tolan
First Kathleen asked each group to think about a BIG IDEA related to the center work we have done so far, write it on a post-it and put it on the BIG IDEA poster.
We wrote:    Sanctions don't necessarily work.
Other groups wrote:
Colonial boundaries changed over time.
Slaves were traded as resources.
Access to knowledge is empowering.
Gender determines the future of a colonist.

Then we all walked around the room and revisited the Drumroll Write-Around images we worked with on Sunday. Our task was to notice if any of the BIG IDEAS related to any of the images.  For example, I noticed an image of the Stamp Act and placed our big idea on it. My take-away from this whole class activity was that it helped me to synthesize all the learning I have done so far this week related to Colonial history and now our group is ready to dive into a new SS Center!

Kathleen had us do one more whole class activity - Quotes.
She asked us to read four quotes said by people in Colonial times, noticing who is saying it and when it was said and if any of the quotes goes with any of the Big Ideas. After a small group discussion around one quote, she asked us to pick another quote and write about how it fits with a big idea. She reminded us that finding quotes is so easy - just google quotes!

Finally, Kathleen gave us some questions to ask as we think about planning strong SS Read-Alouds.
What reading skills do we want to emphasize?
What writing skills? What notetaking skills?
What content targets will be covered?
What vocabulary should be in the word bank?
What visuals should be included?
What partner materials need to be xeroxed?

Closing Workshop by Mary E.  -  Reading Work for Strong Readers
Mary pointed out that sadly our strongest readers get the least attention and are the most under taught.

She shared 5 ways to grow avid and powerful readers in Reading Workshop.
1. Series Work - she highly encouraged us all to read at least the first book in a few series, recommending the Spiderwick Chronicles series, the Dragon Slayer series and the Percy Jackson series. Across the series, the characters change profoundly and we can suggest to storng readers to read a series and look for these changes. She had us watch a scene from the Harry Potter #1 movie and then from Harry Potter #5 movie noticing how Harry and Dudlee are in each and how they change. I thought it was brilliant to watch this and notice the change that as a strong reader, I'd need to hold onto across MANY pages as I read multiple books in a series. Work a student can do while reading  series books in RW include:
* tracing the setting and its atmosphere and its impact on the characters
*analyzing what's happening now and what led up to it
* tracing traits vs emotions and how they shift
*problems that are solved and not solved across books
*how characters change across 100s of pages

Then Mary shared this list of series from the TCRWP website-  Series Course of Study - brilliant list!!

2. Literary Traditions - let kids read the kind of genre they like and lots of it to study it by:
* read 4 historical fiction books and notice the characteristics of the genre
* notice the structure of the genre
* look for archetypes
* look for common themes
When they start a genre study, confer with them and tell them to pay attention to:
* backstory
* objects and symbols
* archetype is a villain or a hero and is the hero traditional, reluctant or an anti-hero
* look for signs of technology and of the age - future, medieval, now with magic or a hybrid

She showed us a video scene from the beginning of Treasure Planet where we could predict the boy would become the hero. She reminded us that if we really know the literary work, we will get why it is unfolding the way it is. Be ready to reread and see if you missed anything.

3. Author Inquiry- have kids read many books by the same author and ask:
* what kind of trouble interests this author?
* what lessons does this author tend to teach?
* is any social history included by the author? For example, Matt Christopher has been writing sports books since 1953. She suggested have kids read his books in publication order and notice how the time period of each book is portrayed. Are athletes and sports' issues different in books published in different times?
* what is the author craft or what makes this book a book by this author?

4.  Bands of Text Complexity - She suggested working with a group who is moving to a new band to coach them in knowing what to expect. For example a group entering the UVW band could read The Lightning Thief and be reading to see how:
* the characters are not what they seem
* character traits are no longer stable
* problems cascade
* character flaws often affect the big conflict
* power and resistance will be visible in small acts and symbols
* symbolism shifts
A possible book to have kids read at each band:
KLM - Magic Treehouse
NOPQ - Spiderwick
RST - Bridge to Terebithia
UVW - Percy Jackson
XYZ - Hunger Games

5. Critical Literacies - read and note:
* who is included?
* who is invisible?
* who is marginalized?
* who is destroyed / honored?
* how is hegemonic masculinity and femininity portrayed?
* are gender norms reinforced? interrupted? shown alternatively?
* who has the power? resistance?
* how are sexual identities portrayed? racial identities? cultural identities?
She noted that video clips are a great way to introduce critical literacies.

She also noted that this is a favorite book of hers:

Keynote - David Booth
He is an educator from Toronto, Canada and author of:
Literacy TechniquesIt's CriticalReading Doesn't Matter Anymore...Even Hockey Players Read

His dry humor reminded me of poet, Billy Collins, and he had us laughing many times during his talk! He emphasized that we need to teach kids to be literate in ALL text forms they will encounter in their lives. He made a list, with the help of the audience, of what we CAN'T read including sheet music, the stock page, braille and computer coding.

We pointed out that we need to rethink the literacy world. Am I a literacy or literature teacher?
He said our goal should be that our students will say, "It was worth being at school today."
They WILL say this if we teach them how all texts works!

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