Recruiting Engagement and Establishing Expectations so That Kids Actually Read – Even when Classrooms Brim with Reluctant Readers with Cornelius Minor
After the keynote last Saturday, my first session was with @Mister Minor, Cornelius Minor, in a packed Everett Lounge. It was so packed that Cornelius moved a table so Tara and I would have a place to sit! Great facilitator, learning with a friend for turn and talks, and a room full of brilliant people. ALL SET!
Cornelius shared with us that the three main portions of his work would be around:
- Text selection
- What methods am I going to use to teach?
And then we, the audience, prioritized where we wanted to spend most of our time. So clever, “engaging” the audience with choice! As well as making sure that we walked away with our own expectations met! (And how cleverly already connected to the session title)
Gems of wisdom that I want to hold onto from his opening . . .
“Not all things work for all kids.”
“Resist paralysis when something doesn’t work. Continue to ‘do’.”
“Try a lot of things.”
“Embrace teacher tenacity.”
“Attitudes are important.”
“Think about compliance / obedience to a philosophy of agency vs. a deeply held value.”
“Consider when a student has problems and they are pulled out – remediation.”
“What if the teacher used ‘pre-teaching’ prior to classroom instruction . . . pre-teaching empowers students?”
What do you think of those quotes?
How do they apply to teachers?
How do they also apply to students?
Back to the session.
Cornelius asked us, “What are big skills that are scary?” After sharing with a partner, the ones that were quickly shared with the whole group were: analysis, synthesis, craft, inference, reading identity, and vocabulary.
And then we were told that we would see a process that we could take back to our PLNs and use. By answering the question, “What do I do as a reader that makes me proficient (invisible thoughts and actions) and explaining that to kids so they could understand in kid-friendly language, we will have kids growing as readers.
Skill: How to make an inference in nonfiction
The key was in how to introduce this to students and how to find text of interest to them. “What do kids care the most about?” While recently in LA, it was near the Valentine’s Day Dance so the idea was to find nonfiction that would help students get a date or dealing with love and relationships. Finding something of interest for middle schoolers is critical but students can help with that. The text we worked with was by David Wygant, “Put the Smartphone Down.”
- Find text
- Choose skill
- Ask teachers to do it – Take our invisible work and make it visible for kids.
- Read it
- Stop and ask myself “How did I do that?”
- Discuss with group
- List the possible strategies – “Strategy gives skill legs and tells you how toperform the skill
Key: There is no magic list. The work is to increase teacher proficiency first before you can increase student proficiency.
*** See also Tara Smith’s post (from Two Writing Teachers) about #DoTheWork.. . this same session here.
Just as Kate Roberts (DIY Toolkit) made a toolkit page look easy (yesterday’s post), Cornelius made this look and sound easy as well. Here’s what the first one looked like:
A. One way to infer in NF is to pay attention to specific words – name it (best teaching when use what we do)
How do we do this?
1. Read and stop when get to cool word.
2. Places you notices – Ask yourself : Why did the author say that?
3. Informed Guess
Then run through as mini lesson. Tips: Drop the teacher jargon. Don’t say, “close read”.
How could you and a team of teachers follow this process?
When would you all meet to do that?
One of my big takeaways from this sesion was how Cornelius literally modeled his life and his teaching by showing us how he lives his life out loud. It was an invitation to watch him work. And he said, “We can’t help striving readers with ‘Telling’! We have to model.”
Teaching reading is not easy. Teaching reading to/with/ for stiving students is not easy day after day. However these are the kiddos that need our “A” game EVERY minute.
How do we rise to the challenge?
How do we make sure the work is engaging?
How do we share our expectations?
Where and when do we #DoTheWork?
Process / Goals:
Drive time yesterday had me thinking about how I approached Kate Roberts’ work yesterday and what Tara had already written about Cornelius’ session. I loved the #DoTheWork hashtag and thought about how that would be part of the focus. I deliberately chose the portions of the session that dealt with teachers doing the work, how teachers could do the work, and what the results would be from one skill lesson to share. But then I also wondered about some of those quotes from Cornelius and how to include those as “think abouts” for the reader. With the advance thinking/planning time, the post was quickly written, revised, edited, previewed and tagged. My biggest issue was in trying to come up with a one or two word descriptor in the title for this session . . . it was a struggle!
Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge; posts are DAILY!