Tag Archives: Listening

#SOL17: Approximations


He kicks.

He moves his arms.

He kicks some more.

He sputters as he swallows some water.

Arms are present to lightly hold . . . a scaffold . . . for safety’s purpose!

He laughs.

He plays.

He talks.

He yells.

Not every swimming stroke is perfect.

He is two and a half years old.

Does he need floaties?

Will those make him more dependent or independent?

Screenshot 2017-12-19 at 6.06.36 AM

When it comes to the spoken word

Not every word is perfect.

He is two and a half years old.

I have to listen closely to decipher some words.

And yet other words are crystal clear . . .

“Missippi River” and “quesadilla”!

Five and six sentence words are the average.

He is two and a half years old.

Why do we encourage approximation in

play,

language, and

many physical actions

but reject them in reading and writing?

Let me offer two scenarios:

Scenario 1:

A student is reading and says “kitten” for cat.

The teacher stops the child by tapping on the table, the error cue, and the child is to have another go, correct the error and continue on.  Kitten is more specific than “cat” so the child is positive that the utterance matches the picture of a small cat as a “kitten.” And the child repeats “kitten” and continues on.

If we were to focus on what the child can do, we might celebrate:

“He knows more than one name for cat.”

“He knows that a baby cat is a kitten.”

“He knows that he can check the picture for clues.”

“He has some knowledge of cats.”

“He is not changing his mind easily.”

“He is persistent.”

And most importantly, he REALLY is not saying this as a personal attack against the teacher who has been working on words like cat and dog for awhile.

The opportunity to find out what the child knows and why he is calling it a kitten instead of a cat exists.  The child just told us what he knows.  Now we need to explore his thinking instead of immediately moving to a “correcting” mentality.   Responding with a simple, “How do you know?” puts the student in the driver’s seat to explain their thinking and let the adults in on the big secrets of life. (It’s not really about US!) It’s really about what the child is showing us they are using.  Will someone really stand next to a reader correcting reading errors as they orally read?  What does that teach a child?  What is the role of self-correction?

Celebrate that the child was in the right animal family.  Precision in word use is often celebrated in writing but berated in reading.  Why is that so?  Over correction on the part of the listener, may lead to a student who patiently waits for someone to TELL them that word.  Is that the reader that we want?

Scenario 2:

A student is writing.

The teacher says, “Where are your sentences?  Your capital letters?  Your beginnings?  Your end punctuation?  This is all one sentence.  Please use everything you know about sentences in your writing.”

If we were to focus on what the child can do, we might celebrate:

“The child wrote without prompting.”

“The child had something to say.”

“The child wrote a lot.”

“The child told a story,”

“The child had a great beginning and middle to her story.”

“The child used mostly lower case letters.”

“The child had spaces between all words.”

“The child had a lot of details.”

“The child wrote most of the story that she had orally recounted.”

Instead of a belief that the child is out to torture you by leaving out all punctuation marks, what happens when you ask her to read it to you?  Does the child pause and or stop in the appropriate places?  That is more information for the teacher that doesn’t require a teacher led inquisition in a totally exasperated voice.  Less questioning and more listening seems to be one way for a teacher to “hack into” a child’s thinking.  A lack of punctuation by the child doesn’t mean that she knows absolutely nothing about punctuation.  On this day, it was probably less important to the author than it is to the teacher.  Considering when this child has previously used punctuation and capital letters in writing may lead to some important discoveries.  Is that a teacher process?  A student process?  Or should it be a shared process?  Maybe the expectation of perfect punctuation stops some students from writing.  What a sad unintended consequence that may be for children!

As we consider the quickly advancing winter break, do think about your own learning.  What’s new?  What’s still uncomfortable?  What are all the things you can do?  What are you still working on?  How much practice do you need in order to be confident? What’s one area that you might study about your own learning?  What wonders will you explore?

When do we celebrate the “can do” part of life at school? 

When do we celebrate approximations? 

When do we celebrate the habits of mind that keep a student working through struggles? 

When do we celebrate the MANY, MANY daily successes? 

What happens if the focus is truly on MANY “can do” moments and only one or two goals at a time?  




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

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SOL: On the Importance of Reading


slice

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

This is the third in a series about “The Importance of  . . . Check out the previous posts here

I was out of town for training and really wanted to write about assessments, processes, in the life that I was living, but that will be a secret for at least six more weeks as the wheels of bureaucracy turn.  At one point this morning I actually had six different beginnings to this post.  So it was not procrastination, but the receiving end of professional development that has moved this post to the end of the day.

 

*   *   *   *   *   *

Beth Moore’s call for “Slicers” today in the link above included this quote:

“I really think that reading is just as important as writing when you’re trying to be a writer because it’s the only apprenticeship we have, it’s the only way of learning how to write a story.” ~From the Brotherhood 2.0 project. – John Green

 

 

How important is reading in your life?

There are days that I feel like I cannot breathe because I haven’t read or written  anything.  As necessary as breathing – that’s my literacy life.

 

Do any of these quotes reflect the importance of reading in your life?

“We read to know we are not alone.”    C.S. Lewis

“Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”   Edmund Burke

“The more you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”   Frederick Douglass

“A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. ”  Abraham Lincoln

 

Please share your favorite quote!
How do you show that importance in your own life?
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