Reading Habits and Habits of Mind continue to be a thread that run through my learning at TCRWP at the 2019 August Reading Institute. Just as we ask students to follow and hold onto ideas across a text or multiple texts so do we build theories and hold onto ideas across sessions, days and the week’s learning. Tuesday’s keynote with Mary Ehrenworth was a perfect example. ” Supporting Kids as Social Learners Through Partnerships, Clubs and Study Groups.”
This quote Mary shared from Pedro Noguera is on my mind because, of course peer culture wins because of the strength of the bonds. So why don’t we use that social capital as we think of all the “things” that our students must navigate. Here are some real-life needs for our students.
These don’t always show up in a curriculum guide. They aren’t necessarily in “the standards.” But yet aren’t they real life situations that students need to be able to navigate? When do we teach into them?
When do we talk about “social capital” and Malcolm Gladwell? When do we bring in Alfred Tatum’s, “We have to role-play kids into academic identities”? How do we combine the best of worlds?
Partnerships are key in the day to day implementation of both the Reading Units of Study and Writing Units of Study. For students and teachers.
We lean on partnerships in real life. Our marital partners. Our work partners. Our writing critique partners. Our book club partners.
Mary Ehrenworth shared that typically partnerships are formed on the basis of one of these types:
Stop for just a second.
Which do you rely on in your life on a regular basis?
Which ones have created life long bonds?
Which ones do you regularly use in classrooms?
List out the strengths and concerns of all four types in order to decide which ones you should use and where. But do add in . . .
Student view and perception. Take a 360 degree and inside/outside view!
Mentor Partners are a favorite in many classrooms. But what if they do not lead to “increased independence”? Mary quoted from Peter Johnston’s Choice Words, “Every time you solve a problem for a student, you make them co-dependent. If they solve for themselves they are interdependent.”
Leveled Partner discussions bring in questions of equity and of course how those partnerships are determined. (What data? Accurate data? Data that is worthwhile?) When using leveled partners, make sure that students are not “isolated so they have no coalition. This applies to kids at both ends, low and high kids.”
Interest Partners are often used with data coming from an interest inventory at the beginning of the year. Is that inventory still accurate three months into the year? Or were those the quick responses or choices that students have now outgrown? Mary encouraged us to not overlook the multitude of data sources that we have available. Here’s just one post it about writing workshop.
And of course, it came with a twist. Use on-demand writing. Definitely. But not the scores for structure, development, and conventions. Use the student writing to figure out what this student knows, is interested in, and writes at length about. We looked at student samples to consider what social capital situations the students were navigating (remember the first chart) and to think about how partnerships might be formed.
How do they work? When do they not work?
Are we sometimes hasty to dismiss them as “outside the classroom partners”? How can the words and work of Pedro Noguera, Malcolm Gladwell, Alfred Tatum, and Peter Johnston connect with actual research by TCRWP staff developers?
Emily’s tweet about friendship partnerships gave me more to think about as I revisited my notes. What if we used the existing “friends” partnerships to shape “academic” partnerships? What would be the benefits for students?
As the week continues, I am going to think about partnerships here at the Institute and out in the world. I’m going to add in thinking about that layer of social capital and goal of independence as I wonder about teaching partnerships.