The Teacher You Want to Be: Essays about Children, Learning and Teaching was the source of the last panel presentation I attended on Sunday at #NCTE15 in Minneapolis. (Trivia note – #NCTE15 participants wrote 33,000 Tweets!)
Rock Stars on Stage:
- Katie Wood Ray
- Kathy Collins
- Vicki Vinton
The session was both funny, illuminating and oh, so insightful. After all, it was an introduction by Katie Wood Ray (who taught Matt Glover everything he knows as well as thinks of the greatest book titles EVER!), Kathy Collins and Vicki Vinton.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the illustrious crowd present: Kylene, Donalynn, Franki, Maggie, Katie, Christina, Dani, Katherine, Ryan, and Katie and many others that I did not see from the front row!
The 13 Beliefs
We explored these beliefs and the important qualities of readers.
And the question: How do we brand our reading? How do we really help students understand the importance of reading?
Kathy also spent time on belief # 3 – how do we appreciate that quirky child (annoying, yes) and make sure that he/she continue to grow and learn? And belief # 8 – Joy! Such a strong belief in joy that it needs to be a secret so that publishers don’t create and market “JOY kits”! And the gifs . . . oh, my! LAUGHTER! Here’s a gif that Kathy Collins did not use but may fit your future needs!
Vicki Vinton began with framing several issues with quotes and examples for the audience to consider.
And an example of grade three CCSS – aligned “reading work” for teachers.
Beliefs that were embedded in Vicki’s presentation included: 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10. And then we moved into a demonstration . . . as we used a problem-solving approach to reading (like math?). “Words aren’t the problem…what does it MEAN when you put all the words together?”
And here’s the most important part of this post. I was the first volunteer for this problem-solving small group. Five of us – all adults and literacy folks – volunteered to participate in this demonstration. We had roles – as students – dyslexic, ADHD, ELL, ELL, and Unmotivated. We had never seen the script and time was fleeting. We actually read from a script and from text projected on the screen and we missed a couple of cues (“oohing” during reading) but we did “get into our parts”!
- As a reader, I was anxious.
- As a reader, I was worried about how well I could read and follow directions.
- As a reader, I was worried about the task.
- As a reader, I had no time to “think” about the text even though I scanned all my “parts” as soon as I had the script in my hands.
- As a reader, I wondered about “how well” we would do as a group.
- As a reader, I wondered if we would meet Vicki’s expectations.
In the interest of full disclosure, dear readers, I must tell you that I presented on a panel with Vicki Vinton last year at #NCTE14. So I was reading a script from a trusted/respected friend/mentor. Another group member was a respected colleague. I provide PD to all sizes of groups so the actual speaking/performing was NOT really one of my concerns.
If I, a confident reader, was worried about how well I would read so I didn’t let the group down, how do our students feel when they aren’t sure of the task or topic?
How do students really feel when they encounter new tasks/situations?
How have we structured our work/learning so that a mindset for growth is present?
The work that we demonstrated was important. The students were figuring out “Minneapolis Simpkin”. The teacher had not pretaught all the vocabulary words in the book. Words from “real students” showed that they were continually revising their thinking about what “Minneapolis Simpkin”was. This was a Peggy Parish “I Can Read” level 1 book. It was not a “hard” text. But the reader certainly had to be thinking in order to make sense of the text. YET, it was a tricky text where the narrator was not explicitly revealed. The text did not say, “Minneapolis Simpkin said, ‘——-.'” Students had to do the work of figuring out the story!
Big Take Away Thoughts:
Before: Remember to think of the student perspective when planning your instruction.
During: Listen to the students. Follow their lead. Don’t be the leader. (Remember that you already know how to read.)
After: Do notice and name the work students did (“Who’s doing the work?”) and discuss where and when this work might be expected to transfer.
What are the ideas that you want to remember from this session/post?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.