Mary first started by sharing research as to WHY we would want to spend time in a book club.
* A Carnegie Study showed how writing about reading raises the level of retention, comprehension and interpretation.
* Mel Levine's work shows that reading or listening or watching only places info our short term memory. It is when we do something with the info (writing, sketching, acting, talking) that the info joins our long-term memory.
* Pedro Niguere's work on peer culture points out that the peer environment will always win over an academic group so we need to make it cool to be doing school.
* Alfred Tetum's work shows that reading flounders when what is being read doesn't match the readers' lives. Mary pointed through choice and honoring the work of a reader who "reads" a baseball game help to make this match. She also shared that when Tetum worked with TCRWP he commented that he saw "too much strategy and not enough soul". He suggested more WHY and not only the HOW.
*Nell Duke's work shows that HS/College kids were dropping out because they had to read too much where they lacked the background knowledge to understand the reading. Research shows the importance of getting ready for a unit by coming to it with built background knowledge.
Using all this research, MARY said we should IMMERSE OURSELVES IN WWI this week. How could be do it? We brainstormed this list:
- a big map of Europe focused on France
- a big timeline
- vocabulary word wall
- photos from the time period
- movie clips
- primary source documents
Here is our map at the end of Monday's 30 minute work session (made by Kyle from CA, Adrienne from WA, Emily from TN and me from VA).
* provide research time around a text
* suggest possible sources that can help so kids aren't starting in a vacuum
* suggest very easy-to-read resources to build BK so it can be understood. (ex WWI for Kids)
* model how a work group can work together (role play)
My favorite quote: "Role play kids into the academic identities you want to achieve."
Her Tuesday tip was perspective. "Be sure to find ALL perspectives. Can you find primary sources from Germany's POV?" After looking all together at a WWI poetry text set, listening to Jerusalem by William Blake set to music and a trench scene from the movie Gallipoli (a war where 100,000 men died in 10 minutes), we got with our work groups again thinking about PERSPECTIVE and instead of going on to make a new thing, Mary encouraged us to look at the work from yesterday and try to raise the level of that work. HOW?
- Consider adding VISUALS
- begin to see your area (mine was the MAP) as a center that on Thursday the class will come look at to learn from. Do captions would be helpful to a visitor?
- Visit others in the room and consider the connections between each part of the room. Do post-it questions need to be added to help a visitor think?
And we were given 20 more minutes to work in our work groups.
My group laughed that we hadn't include Africa on the map made yesterday as we thought about perspective. So quickly we took it down, added more to the bottom. We also added the names of major battles and towns where the book club books occurred. Another group in the room asked to add their work around the leaders during WWI to be next to our map. Soon, our map looked like this:
|The tasks helped my group really LOOK at the words in relation to our book, War Horse.|
NOW while my group was doing ALL this research on the setting of my book club book, I was in a different group reading War Horse (Eric - a staff developer at TCRWP, Barbara from VA and Jean from Buffalo, NY). On Monday we decided as a book club to read 5 chapters a night and to write about our reading by noticing the setting, the emotions of the characters, and the craft moves of the author. Here are some images of our writing about reading notebook pages (sorry, I need to learn how to turn the images around before posting!):
HERE ). Then she gave us 20 minutes in class to make one more page and she moved around the room, coaching us and reminding us to "add some color"!Here is what my group produced!!
I found it fascinating to see how we sketched, jotted, organized our thinking, all so differently. Knowing that I was responsible for sharing my thinking each day with my group, pushed me to READ and then to really THINK about the story. Each day I was excited to meet as I have new ideas I was pondering and couldn't wait to see what my smart group members were also thinking. PLUS, I really got my story more, because now my "classroom" helped me to find WHERE the story was occurring and the timeline helped me to understand when and the images and word wall helped me to understand concepts. WOW - what brilliant work!!
I asked Mary how young she'd do this kind of work with as I'll be teaching 3rd grade next year. She smiled in her always encouraging way and said she saw 3rd graders in one school do a Native American book club unit! Look out, 3rd graders!!!
One more brilliant thing Mary did with us was a Read-aloud of two picture books set during WWII.
She read a little bit more of each book, one after the other, having us notice who is telling the story and how that character responds to trouble. She read more of each pushing us to think about theme. Suddenly, we, the listeners, realized that these books overlap...the girl in Rose Blanche seems to be the Angle Girl! Only Mary would find a way to weave two read-alouds together at once to have us do powerful listening and talking and thinking about characters, settings, themes and craft moves.
MARY'S KEYNOTE (on Tuesday) - Remembering Grant WigginsThe education world lost Grant Wiggins who died last month. He is best known for inventing backwards planning and authored Understanding by Design. First Mary reminded us to make sure we are doing work that we love, like Grant who died so young at age 64. Grant pushed us to think of the child we want to have and then build backwards from there. Grant's latest and sadly last work dealt with the idea of transfer of skills. Grant reminded us that kids need LOTS of practice or scrimmages to try, mess up, get coaching feedback to grow their skills.
Mary modeled three ways to practice with kids:
1. Book to Book - we looked at the role of the woman (the mom) in the book Piggybook by Anthony Brown and the role of the girls in the video Maddie and Tae - Girl in the Country (which is just FUNNY to watch!) music video
My turn-and-talk partner could successfully discuss the role of the mom in the book and then transfer to a video and continue to do the work around these complicated characters.
2. One Reading Experience to Another Reading Experience
Mary showed a video of a baseball play and asked us to read the "text", transferring our school work to outside school work. (Look for article by Mary and Cornelius Minor in Journal of Ed Research coming out soon on this work of connecting the "reading of sports" to reading texts.)
3. Teaching for the transfer of a mindset by teaching toward the values related to reading we most want to instill. To show this, she shared this Kindle - Joy of Reading VIDEO
I feel so spoiled having Mary as a small group instructor and hearing her keynote!!
Next I will share about Emily and Nonfiction Book Club work...tomorrow!