A month of focus by #cyberPD ends tomorrow with a chat with author Vicki Vinton.
With every word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, chart and chapter, Vicki has led us through her vision of a Problem-Based Approach in Reading. I’ve posted about it here, here, here, and here and provided additional links at the bottom to lead you to other resources.
Week 4: Chapters 9 and 10
Chapter 9 is “Creating Opportunities for Readers to Consider Ideas and Opinions in Nonfiction” and the chapter opens with this quote.
“If you’re purely after facts, please buy yourself the phone directory of Manhattan. It has four millions times correct facts. But it doesn’t illuminate. – Werner Herzog (p. 160)
That was the beginning of the chapter and below are three of the teaching moves to support student thinking and meaning making that ended the chapter under “Steering the Ship”.
“Invite students to sort, group, and categorize ideas that seem to have something in common.” . . .
“Notice and name how writers show us larger ideas through the details they’ve chosen.” . . .
“Let students react versus respond to facts and ideas in writing and in talk (knowing that facts without feelings don’t illuminate and ideas can be both beautiful and scary).” (Excerpted from Fig. 9.6, p. 188)
There were 11 teaching moves in total. But these three together gave me a road map to continue to use in our Uprooted book group.
After bookending the chapter for you, I now must go back to discuss a quote from this chapter (and new learning for me) that facts in a nonfiction book are not really ideas.
Is this totally new?
Have I ever thought about this before?
Hmmmm . . .
This was a disconcerting quote that I actually missed in my first read because I thought I knew what Vicki was saying. But when I actually went back to collect the details
/ideas, it was literally like hitting the speed bump again.
What did that say?
“… students are fuzzy about the difference between topics, facts, and ideas…That’s because readers don’t really find ideas in texts; they construct them from the details they notice…Readers of this kind of nonfiction (which includes magazine articles, investigative journalism, and many kinds of essays) have to actively draft and revise their thinking as they move through a text, adding on to their own ideas as they do…These cumulative understandings are, by their very nature, more deep and penetrating -and more nuanced and complex-than those focused on readily apparent features.” (p. 169, 170, 171)
No wonder main ideas for students (consisting of more than a TOPIC) are so darned hard. They do require thinking and careful study of the relationship between the words and phrases.
So as a reader
I take details
that I have noticed in the “text”
and construct meaning
by actively drafting and revising my thinking . . .
That’s the root of an idea.
And then, as I read on and continue drafting and revising, these cumulative understandings are the deeper understanding that I am looking for.
So what does this mean?
I listed “details” above in this “parsing” of the quote.
The idea in my head is that
“the thinking I do as I pull details together (maybe in my head, on paper, or out loud) is the deeper meaning that I am searching for.”
“I will continue to add to, subtly revise, or subtract from these ideas as more details are revealed by the author. It’s my job as the reader to pay attention to the author’s ideas and opinions and to weigh and decide their value.”
I’ve deliberately over-simplified and even left out the ideas of chunking, reading, thinking, synthesizing, etc. that Vicki so eloquently included in this chapter. This is my first draft attempt to explain why this is really important! (So if you’ve read the book, please ignore the “holes”.)
It’s so very tempting,
surface level questions
or those already listed by DOK levels,
sound like an easier “go to”!
But what will be the results? Students who can use the language patterns to locate and answer a question without reading the text. Is that enough? Isn’t that the existing problem for many of our MS and HS students?
My application and pulling together of “ideas” in Uprooted (and I am not finished reading) is leading me to think that:
Racism was behind the decision to create the Japanese internment camps during World War II specifically by FDR because of his hatred of Japanese but also because of centuries of actions, beliefs, policies, and laws that have existed since the founding of the U.S. (Remember, it’s a draft, and I am still reading.)
Chapter 10 had some great ideas about “coaching” so please read Tara Smith’s post here for additional brilliance from/applying the ideas in Vicki Vinton’s book.
What is your current thinking about the Dynamic Teaching of Deeper Thinking? Join the chat, Thursday, July 27, 2017 (7:30 EST) to learn more about this brilliant book!
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Vicki Vinton’s Blog: “To Make a Prairie”
My padlet with my notes and some details and wonderings – definitely NOT ideas – LINK
I love reading your thinking as you move through the text. I’m still in that fuzzy fog of “I thought I understood what Vicki was saying … but …” I appreciate your deliberately over-simplified approach and it continues to help me create deeper meaning. I also appreciate that you are testing the waters with your book club book – so impressive! So thankful for you and sharing your thoughts!!!
I so get that . . .”What does this really mean?” and then the “Am I over thinking this?”
I have to talk it through to myself! Just part of my thinking. I’m so glad you chose this book because it’s truly a gem! ❤
I agree with Michelle that I like your simplification. Actually when you can simplify a complicated idea, you are able to communicate with more effectiveness. As I get dangerously close to getting back into the classroom, I am thinking more about what this all really means for my teaching.
Thanks, Margaret. I dearly love Vicki’s thinking and worry about “morphing it” as I interpret it. But I also believe that’s a part of the revising and adding that we have to do as thinking practitioners! Unfortunately, Vicki makes it look and sound so easy in her examples. New text, new thinking, Aye! Yi! Yi! ❤
I read this chapter with the work that we are doing with “Uprooted” as well, Fran, and it was so illuminating – this idea that yes, we construct meaning rather than ferret out main idea in the way we ask our kids to. I need to practice this a few times on my own before September, that’s for sure.
It’s all so complicated which is why this is also hard for our kiddos. And every author and /or publisher is different is how “accessible” the text is . . . so many decisions that both the reader and the author must make sense of! ❤
I love how you put forth your thinking and process. Reading Vicki’s work is all about the details and constructing that thinking. Fascinating stuff. Now to Uprooted. Yikes. What a book Sandy chose. It was made to use with Vicki’s book.
I don’t think I could make any sense of it without Vicki’s book. No idea how to read it. And why I don’t read a lot of “heavy” NF . . .
BUT good practice for doing the WORK myself!
or rather doing the work with some of my best friends! 🙂