Wednesday, July 13, 2016

DIY Literacy Chapter 3 & 4


Chapter 3
Memory or remembering what is taught is one of the three teaching challenges Maggie and Kate discuss in DIY Literacy. They describe how students are being bombarded with so much learning that their brains struggle to remember in order to apply that new learning. I know this. I’ve seen this in the students I work with. I teach them a new strategy and they immediately default back to what they know when they read. To help make learning stick and help students recall learning and apply the learning, it might be helpful to use a tool.
  • Repertoire Chart: Records a list of strategies that help students work towards a big skill (13).
  • Bookmark: Personalized list of things that will help students remember past teaching.
  • Progressions: A rubric like chart that shows the progress towards higher levels of work. They show examples and list qualities that make up each level on the progression.
  • Demonstration Notebook: A collection of lessons that serve to remind students how to use a skill/strategy.

You may need to use a teaching tool to help student remember if (39):
  • Students look lost or ask “Uh teacher… what do you want me to do?”
  • Students’ work looks the same over and over again.
  • It feels like pulling teething when conferring with a student.
I’ve known about making anchor charts to help anchor student learning. They have mostly been large poster size charts that hang around the room. I appreciate how Maggie and Kate have defined several charts and the purposes for each. I can see how important each type of chart is and how they can raise the level of learning in students.

Chapter 4
Rigor without relevance is simply hard” (55)
The second teaching challenge that occurs with students in a classroom is lack of rigor. Rigor is raised academic complexity along with a mindset of growth; internal motivation; ability to persist and focus; ability to work towards a goal with a strong work ethic and the ability to reach the highest level of performance possible.

Our job is to create “an educational climate that elevates the level of thinking, discussion and performance” (54) in the classroom so we create life-long learners who are intrinsically motivated to want to do better. We can do this by showing students the steps they need to tackle a task and be successful with it. Using teaching tools will help anchor student learning and raise the level of rigor.

Teachers can foster rigor by cultivating intrinsic motivation through:
  • Challenge: Students are motivated to reach a goal that is a possibility but not a sure thing.
  • Curiosity: When their curiosity has been piqued, students tend to have a greater sense of motivation.
  • Control: When students feel empowered by co-creating tools, their sense of control raises their motivation.
  • Cooperation & Competition: When kids see they are not the only one tackling a task a certain way, their motivation in increased.
  • Recognition: Students who are recognized for their hard work and effort are more likely to be intrinsically motivated to keep working hard.
The authors made clearer to me the definition of rigor. The word rigor has been floating around the education community for a while now. I have always equated rigor with hard. Doing harder work is doing work with rigor. Reading a rigorous text is reading a text that is harder. I appreciate how the authors describe that rigor has two components to it: (1)increased academic complexity and (2)the effort and motivation the student puts towards that task. Essentially, rigor is taking students from doing good work to doing great work. By understanding this I can help my students achieve to the best of their ability.


  1. I like how you described rigor as taking students from doing good work to great work. I use the language of going from good to great with my first graders when we use the writing micro progressions. :)

  2. You do a wonderful job summarizing what is key in the text! I appreciate your definition of 'rigor' as moving from doing good work to great work. I have moved away from viewing rigor in the tools/resources I use to aligning my definition to the effort and energy we as readers bring to a text or task. Nice blog!