Tag Archives: Valinda Kimmel

#SOL19: Quality Matters


I reread this quote.

“Students who are placed with highly effective teachers for three years in a row significantly outperform average students. A student who has an outstanding teacher for just one year will remain ahead of their peers for the next few years.” (Source) Alex Freedman

And then I took a deep breath.

Calm.  It’s an article about math!”  But I’ve heard this from Nell Duke and Linda Darling-Hammond.  It’s not a new statistic.

It’s scary when it seems to be the opposite of what happens in many school building across the country every day!

Why does it matter?

In my family, it’s the grandkids and the great nieces and great nephews that I’m “fretting” about.  What will their educational future bring? Three good teachers in a row?  Three mediocre teachers?  Three poor teachers? Or some combination?

Where is the sense of urgency?

Valinda Kimmel’s post yesterday was so spot on.  Here’s the link.  Go read it. We will wait for you!  “WHEN RTI SEEMS LACKING AND WHAT WE CAN DO”  There is no time to waste.  Every single year matters. Every single day matters.  Every single hour matters.  Every single minute matters.  Every single second in every school building matters!

What do literacy teachers need?

Kimberly Moran’s post yesterday, here, was no April Fool’s joke.  There is no one way to teach a child to read. “The Science of Literacy Is Not a Thing, So Can We Please Stop Saying That It Is?” Every child brings their own little section of the world with them to school.  No one methodology works for all students, and it’s so strange that some people believe that they now have the “perfect” answer for ALL students. And I have some swamp land for sale . . . I can assemble a group of four educators with a total of over 150 years of teaching students to read that have the knowledge, experience and expertise to explain why teaching reading depends on the student.

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What is our role as a teacher?

Regie Routman says it BEST! (But I’m borrowing Dr. Mary C Howard’s words about Regie’s book . . . )

“In Literacy Essentials, Regie asks us to move from teacher-as-technician dutifully following scripts, programs, and rigid data to teacher as thinker responsibly keeping children at the center of all we do. (p 3-4) (Source) Literacy Lenses

Teacher as THINKER!

What thinking will you be doing today? 

How will you keep children at the center of all you do?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

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#SOL19: Phonics Reprise


“The cat sat on the mat.

The fat cat sat on the mat.

The rat sat on the mat.

The fat cat sat on the mat.

The fat cat and the fat rat sat on the mat.”

“What are we working on today?” I inquired.

“I am practicing ‘the’,” was the earnest reply from the first grader.

 

“Can you show me where you see the word ‘the’?”

“All of them?” she queried as she pointed to two examples.

“They aren’t the same,” she added. “These begin with upper case and these begin with lower case.”

 

“Tell me more.” (falling back on that favorite response)

“These line up in a row,” pointing to the The in a vertical column. “And these don’t.”

 

“What did you learn in this story?” I asked.

“”That cats and rats can sit together,” was the response.

 

What was the goal? 

I saw that the student practiced the page three times as directed and then recorded it onto the iPad on a fourth reading.  It was flawless. Every word was pronounced correctly. The student stopped appropriately for end punctuation (periods) and it sounded okay . . . just a bit “sing-songingly” with an attempt to have some rhythm/intonation in the reading.

Is this reading? 

What role does this have in reading?

What happens if this becomes a “major portion of a steady diet” for a reader?

Valinda Kimmel had a great post about Guided Reading here last week, “Why Does Guided Reading Get Top Billing?” Please go read it and consider “WHERE”  you believe the above reading work fits in.

Phonics, Spelling and Word Work?

Guided Reading?

In this instance, the student self-reported that this reading was her fluency practice that she has to do before Independent Reading. Short passage with words she knew. Focus was on sight words “and”, “the”, and “on” according to the posted learning targets.

Fluency has many definitions  that include:

prosody,

reading like an author intended with phrasing, intonation, accuracy, rate, and expression

but all contain some reference to “fluency to support comprehension”.

Fluency – one of the “Five Pillars” of reading from the National Reading Panel report.

And I digress . . . Or do I?

Have I switched topics from Phonics (the title) to Fluency now?

In the classroom next door, the learning target was “practice /at/ phonograms in text and decoding cvc words with short vowel sound made by a.

How did the practice support word work?

37 words total

the – 11 repetitions

on -5 repetitions

and – 1 appearance

/at/- 20 (cat – 4, sat – 5, mat – 5, fat – 4, rat – 2)

This is an example of “decodable” text.  Some might call this “barking at print” because the text can be read but there is no deep meaning attached to the words, phrases, sentences or passage.  Worse yet, this might be something a student would be required to read multiple times, quickly, without hesitation in 30 seconds or less to meet some pre-determined correct words per minute goal. (Fluency, Automaticity, Word Work in “connected text” might be ways this text would be named._

Phonics – this post listed Faux Pas from the past

A need for Due Diligence and understanding Reading Research was the focus here

and yet . . . doubt remains

Check out Stephen Krashen’s response as well . . .

Comments on Morning Edition, January 2, 2019, What is Wrong with the APM report . . .

“There is no evidence that “Millions of kids can’t read …”. But there is
overwhelming evidence that low reading ability is related to poverty, contrary to
the claim in American Public Media’s report.”

The Case Against Intensive Phonics

and Basic Phonics.

What do we need?

Increased clarity of purpose by teachers?

Intentionality?

Continued conversations? 

Common language?

A potpourri of effective strategies and methodologies?

I celebrate the questions that lead informed conversations and decisions about the best instruction possible for students!




Alfie Kohn – phonics added!  Link




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

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