The purpose of this blog is to provide a space to share teaching ideas that deal with writing - K to 12.
Recently, I have been working in schools, implementing the Calkins' Units of Study that are aligned with the CCSS. This program and the rubrics that accompany it are often used as a framework to meet proficiency guidelines.
I will continue to post articles that support these processes.
Please join in.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Here are some great articles on deep thingking and writing. Enjoy!!! Courtesy of Choice Literacy.
It was early in September, and Julie was leading her
third graders in a discussion of a read aloud. She began, "Now, let's
think about this character. . ." A boy piped up immediately, "I don't
like thinking!" Julie's eyes widened and she responded instantly, "But
thinking is good for the soul!"
I'd been observing the class for almost an hour. There was
no question it was a rambunctious group, but there was more to the
tension I felt than excess energy. Julie was pushing and students were
resisting, and in that moment I knew what the resistance was about.
Julie expects her students to think deeply about the books
they are reading and the texts they are writing, and share that thinking
with classmates. In conferences and minilessons, Julie would ask
thoughtful open-ended questions, and the students would give superficial
answers, throwing them back at her as quickly as possible. The need in
that classroom wasn't for learning -- it was for unlearning. The kids
wanted to "do school" - to rush through tasks and figure out how to
please Julie with their responses. They couldn't see yet that Julie's
pleasure would come from seeing them immersed in thinking hard and
When a student says, "I hate to think," I wonder if it is
equivalent to "I hate to write," because they are viewing thinking as
punishment. How many times have they heard, "You go sit in that chair
over there and think about it"? When my daughter was in the primary
grades and children misbehaved in her school, they were sent to the
"Reflection Room" to contemplate the error of their ways. My husband and
I laughed and said it sounded a lot better than detention, but do we
want kids associating reflection with bad behavior? Or maybe some
students view thinking as a losing game of trying to guess what's in the
teacher's head, so the more quickly they throw out an answer, the more
time they will have to come up with another answer. It's a version of
beat the clock being played out day after day in some classrooms, and
you win by being done with the task.
Anyone who has experienced the
joy of deep thinking and being immersed in a literacy activity (whether it's reading a book,
writing a narrative, or listening to a story) would argue that it's good
for the soul. Deep thinking provokes a happy tired feeling, like an
energizing workout at the gym where you've pushed yourself, only you've
built some new neuron paths instead of muscles. Julie and I chatted
later about how she has her work cut out for her in helping students
recognize this joy and where it can come from. But it's also the most
essential work that needs to be done in schools.
This week we look at favorite characters in children's books, and how to use them in instruction. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
Free for All
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The online course Designing Primary Writing Units with the Common Core in Mind instructed by Katie DiCesare runs December 3-14. The course includes three on-demand webinars, a DVD, print resources, and personal response from Katie. Click on the link below for more details: