There’s nothing quite like presenting to a room full of educators who “get it.” You know the type: they share similar goals for their students, they work to improve their craft as readers and writers, so they can help their students improve theirs. They know the best hope we have in our world and in our communities is a literate society. They teach literacy not just literature.
This was my experience at the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts Conference in San Antonio (#TCTELA19) this past Saturday. And here’s the run down of my session: Beyond What Happened Into What’s Happening: Utilizing Response to Provoke, Evoke, and Make Thinking Visible.
If you teach in Texas, you already know we have new ELA standards coming. K-8 implementation starts next fall with 9-12 the following year. I was blessed to serve on the revision committee for the high school revisions and worked with some wicked-smart educators to craft standards that truly lend themselves to the recursive nature of literacy. And while we never mentioned methodology, I want you to know: A workshop pedagogy is the best way I know to integrate the standards in our instruction. Many of us are already doing it.
While my session centered primarily on the Response (Strand 3), if you were there, you already know, through response –and the routines of workshop instruction— we can get our students thinking, reading, writing, listening, and speaking about topics and issues they care about in meaningful ways that lead to deeper learning. Authentic learning.
As promised, here’s the videos with the questions to spark response I shared:
Pixar’s short film “Lou” What do you NOTICE? What do you WONDER?
Note: After turning and sharing our writing with a peer, we discussed how topics emerge from this kind of quickwrite. Appreciation, kindness, respect, character, internal struggle, motivation were all topics audience members wrote about in their responses. Through authentic response we help students generate personal and individual writing territories.
We read the infographic and discussed our thinking with a partner, which led to the Gillette ad. Of course, it did. (I was slightly surprised at how many in the room had not seen it.)
What do you NOTICE?
What do you WONDER?
What do you FEEL?
You probably see a theme emerging. This is how my brain works. I create a text sets — thematically. And with the new TX ELA standards, specifically, the multi-genre strand, I think thematic units make sense. In my experience, learners engage more when I’ve intentionally curated resources that invite them to make connections.
Connect this ad by Barbasol. (“Stop LOL-ing everything!” Makes me chuckle every time.) This ad was made in 2013. How might knowing that change your response?
And finally, this one — a direct response to the Gillette ad. What do you NOTICE? What do you WONDER? What do you want to know more about?
If you know me, you know I am an advocate for self-selected independent reading. The new TX standards put this front and center.
Which also means students need access to high-interest engaging books they want to read. Lots of access. And teachers need to read these books, not just so they can help match readers with books — but to use them to teach literacy skills.
I wish I’d had more time. We had so much more to talk about. Like these excerpts (The Perfect Score; The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle) from classroom library books — and the open-ended questions that show how we can utilize these books to teach literacy skills — Read like a Readers/ Read like a Writer, all the while integrating several of the new ELA standards. As they should be.
You’ll notice those excerpts both have male protagonists. Both struggling with something. Maybe things that lend themselves to the themes in those little videos.
Some titles from my classroom library I would book talk with students as we viewed, read, talked, and wrote about the sources I share here:
What resources for response would you add to this text set? What question for response? What titles from your classroom library? Please share in the comments.
Amy Rasmussen calls herself a literacy evangelist –among other things. Wife to a lovely man, and blessed to be the mother of six and grandmother of seven (five of which are boys), she loves to read and teach and share ideas that just might make the world a little brighter — for everyone! Follow her @amyrass — and join the conversation around workshop instruction on the Three Teachers Talk Facebook page.