This is my first experience participating in #cyberPD. I accidentally came across a post a few months ago advertising the book selection and the corresponding schedule for the book club. I am finding this type of PD profoundly enlightening and supportive. I live and work in a rural school district. We have limited access to PD because we are geographically isolated: 2 hours from PDX, 1 hour from state capitol and nothing in between but forest land. I often feel isolated as a reading specialist because we don’t have very many in my district. We are separated by 40-60 miles of coast highway and each school’s reading specialist has a different grade band (k-2, 3-6, k-6, k-8). This is why I am so thrilled that I have found a PLN.
Here are my reflections for Chapters 1, 2 & the Bonus Chapter
Chapter 1: Tools
Tools are used to “help students work harder, smarter and on their own” (2). They can be used to solve 3 problems that occur in the classroom:
- Memory: We use tools to help student enhance their memory and be able to do more on their own.
- Rigor: We use tools to help students get all they can from their learning.
- Differentiation: We all learn in different ways. We use tools to help students be “inspired, pushed or helped the way they need and deserve” (2)
- Make teaching clear by organizing a sequence of steps
- Bring big ideas and goals to life by making the abstract more concrete
- Help learning stick by helping students hold on to the teaching through the use of visuals, encouraging repeated practice and by breaking a big idea into smaller manageable pieces.
Chapter 2: Types of tools
The analogy at the beginning of this chapter really spoke to me. “Depending on who you are and the way your mind works, your map takes on different forms.” (11) It might be a GPS, a paper map or handwritten directions on a piece of scrap paper. Each tool helps you reach your destination, however each tool matches a specific learner. I personally struggle with GPS because I never seem to be able to tell which way is north. Kate and Maggie tell us the types of tools we choose to use in the classroom are important and we need to remember that not every student learns the same way. There are 3 different types of tools:
- Teaching charts: These charts record lists of strategies needed to work towards a bigger skill or breaks down a big skill into smaller steps
- Demonstration Notebook: This is a collection of interactive charts created in a notebook for the purpose of re-using them as students need them.
- Micro-progressions: This type of tool helps clarify how students can clearly improve upon their own work.
- Bookmarks: This type of tool is used for students to create their own action plan. They can decide for themselves which teaching tool they need to be self-directed learners and record them on their own personalized bookmarks.
All of these teaching tools sound like they would be very successful in the classroom. I was having a difficult time picturing how I would use the Demonstration Notebook with students in K-2. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Bonus Chapter: Finding the strategies to teach
I think this is an important chapter. Too often I am finding teachers pulling items from TpT or Pinterest that look flashy, but doesn’t really address a specific strategy that student should be working on or they don’t break a strategy down into a sequence of steps needed to be successful with that strategy. Having resources available so teachers know how to teach strategies is critical. They suggest:
- Never teach alone: seek out a trusted community so you have people to turn to when it gets difficult
- Hit the books: I personally have The Reading Strategies Book, Mosaic of Thoughts, and Strategies that Work books on my bookshelf.
- Go online: You can find just about everything online (including the kitchen sink!. Locate some reputable sources as your go-to sites.
I am not sure what I got myself into as I actively participate in this book club. I have two other book clubs I am participating in and a list of home improvements that NEED to get completed before August rolls around. I am expecting lots of learning!