The fourth week of the Close Reading Blog-a-Thon is wrapping up and I see “close reading” everywhere! Is it all scholarly? Is it all equally rigorous? Is it an example of close reading for life? You decide!
Close Reading and Ed Camp Background Information
As a reminder, the definition of close reading that is used for this post is the one that comes from @ichrislehman and @teacherkate that will be in their book, Falling in Love With Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts – and Life! due out October 17th. That definition is found in post one and is:
“Close reading is when a reader independently stops at moments in a text (or media or life) to reread and observe the choices an author has made. He or she reflects on those observations to reach for new understandings that can color the way the rest of the book is read (or song heard or life lived) and thought about.”
An #edcamp is an organic, collaborative day of participant-organized learning. The behind the scenes organization includes setting a date, finding sponsors, confirming a location with parking AND internet access, and recruiting a team to help with details. There were four #edcamps on Saturday, September 28, 2013, and I was fortunate to be at the #edcamp held in Des Moines, Iowa that was organized by @jamiefath.
No one asked me text dependent questions at #EdCampDSM, but here is what I did as a participant when I made decisions about the sessions that I would attend.
- I read the entire list of proposed sessions to get a feel for the topic possibilities.
- I checked the twitter handle for the session proposer.
- When available, I checked the blog or website listed on the profile of the person listed as the session proposer.
- I thought about everything I knew about that person including their professional role and my need to “learn or know more” about that topic.
- I made my session choice.
That was my decision-making process. Did it also include some elements of “close reading?” I independently stopped, I reread, and I also observed / looked for more information about the session proposers and their own work. I believe that the first part of the definition is covered in my actions/process. What about the second part, that “reflecting on those observations to reach for new understandings?”
The morning schedule was posted like this.
When it came to the second session, I had to think about my choices. Did I want to continue a discussion with grading and further extend my learning with @mctownsley? Or did I want to move to a session more focused on literacy? or even engagement? Based on what I was hearing, learning, thinking, as I reflected on the first session about grading and changes, I made the decision to continue with more learning about grading. (After all, standards-based grading was a topic that I had hoped would be on the board for the day!) So was that “close reading?”
Reflections on my learning will be continuing as I dig into “standards-based grading” and I consider:
- What is the role of homework?
- When can students “redo” homework and “retake” assessments?
- Is there any purpose to a “summative course grade”?
Or was this just an example of what @teachkate referred to as the “5th corner” as I inserted myself into the text?
Conversation, please! Based on this small snapshot of the day, was this close reading?
(Note: After a day of technology the # and @ are automatic, but will they enable or allow a reader to more easily move to Twitter and check out the people only mentioned by their twitter handles?)