The Book Fort
Instructional Ideas for Immediate Implementation
Welcome to The Book Fort! Vol. 1 Issue 5
Missed previous issues? Find them below:
Week Five: Deeper Learning
In honor of deeper learning, I went back to Kelly Gallagher's In the Best Interest of Students (2015) this week. Thanks to my amazing former boss and current friend, I had the opportunity to hear Gallagher speak about this book at Indiana University Southeast in 2016 and I was immediately reminded why I do what I do. In the text, Gallagher reminds us to focus on enduring skill instruction that is relative to student needs rather than to fall in love with the latest trends. He reminds us that the Common Core Standards are the minimum we should teach and that they aren't all-encompassing. He reminds us that reading, writing, grammar, speaking, and listening are all intertwined, not mutually exclusive standards that should be taught out of context.
The strategies and activities that follow are based on ideas from this text. I hope you find them useful!
Gallagher, Kelly. In the best interest of students: Staying true to what works in the ELA classroom. Portland, ME, Stenhouse, 2015.
Reading Strategies: 17-Word Summaries & Writing Headlines
Writing headlines is a similar idea, but instead of writing a complete sentence, students write a headline for a section of text or for an article you have given them to supplement literary reading. This is often done with hashtags or Tweets as well. Extension: actually post the tweets and/or hashtags and tag authors; a sure way to engage the students in an otherwise routine strategy!
Writing Strategy: Theme Newsletter
Speaking Strategy: Socratic Circles
WE MUST MAKE TIME FOR WHAT'S BEST FOR STUDENTS.
The most interesting and challenging way to engage students in speaking and listening in authentic ways has always been Socratic Circles. This strategy came to me via graduate school at the University of Louisville in the College of Education and Human Development. It became a part of my regular instruction right away, and in later years, I found ways to integrate it into independent reading successfully. The basic idea is to teach students how to create their own levels of questions (1 - 3) based on text and use those questions as the basis for student-led discussion. There are tons of resources on this technique; many teachers start with shared text, practice effective discussion and listening techniques, then turn students loose once everyone is comfortable. The teacher takes a back seat and observes, records, and gives impressions only at the end. My 12th grade students loved it so much that they wanted to do it weekly. Check out my resources on Teachers Pay Teachers and Matt Copeland's book, Socratic Circles for more ideas on how this looks.
Classroom Tool of the Week
Achieve the Core
What Kids are Reading
I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis
Football Genius by Tim Green
Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams