Sunday, July 24, 2016

DIY Literacy: Final Reflections

I’ve been struggling to visualize what micro-progressions and demonstration notebooks would look like in my teaching at a K-2 school. The examples in the book seem to be tailored toward higher elementary grades (3rd and above). If I were teaching reading for those grade, I have a clear idea of what and how I would use micro-progressions and demonstration notebooks.

I am not feeling as confident with K-2 . I decided to attempt to create a micro-progression for something I know K-2 students struggle with ~ picking Just Right Books. Here is my attempt. I’d appreciate any feedback so I can strengthen my skills for developing micro-progressions. However, after creating and posting it, I am thinking it might belong in a demonstration notebook. Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Chapter 5:
The main point of this chapter is: matching our teaching to the needs of the students. 

When we find ways to differentiate our teaching 
that conserve our energy, 
we are able to do more than just deliver lessons (p 72)

Meeting student needs in a way that doesn’t overwhelm me, the teacher, will make my instruction more powerful. I don’t like feeling exhausted. This profession is too difficult to be exhausted all the time. So conserving my energy by creating teaching tools, moves all the work to the student. This means students will do all of the learning and the learning is tailored to each student. Demonstration notebooks, micro-progression and teaching charts are meant to place the work on the students. Students use them the empower their own learning.

Teaching tools… guide students to greater heights (p 73)
By creating teaching tools, students have continuous access to the tools they need to be successful. Again, this places a majority of the work on the students. They do all the learning and the thinking. I just finished "Who’s Doing the Work” book study on Facebook. We talked about creating an environment where students are taught, encouraged and expected to think for themselves. Teaching tools supports this notion by making the teaching available for students to refer back to when they need it. Students are taking their own learning in their  hands.

Chapter 6: 
The main point of this chapter is: the nuts and bolts of creating teaching tools that are helpful to students and their learning.

Students don’t respond to the teaching tools anymore
a.       Use pop culture to connect the teaching tool the students 
b.      Metaphors can be memorable

Difficulty keeping charts organized: 
a.       Cluster similar subjects together 
b.      Edit tools throughout the year

It is more important that students use the tools to advance their learning than it is to have it beautifully created by an artist.


  1. It has been a while since I've taught 2nd grade, but I think your micro progression will work well with students! A colleague once did an analogy that I liked...maybe it could give you some visual elements to use as you consider this skill for a chart or bookmark: Just right books are like your main dish at dinner. They are well balanced to give you just what you need. Too hard books are like appetizers; nice to sample a little here and there, but you can not fill up on them. Then there are too easy books... desserts. They are loved by all but you will not get what you need to keep growing if you fill up only on them.

    1. Heidi, I like the analogy. I am going to use it.