If You Could Only Take One Piece Back to Your Classroom…

June 11, 2006 at 11:05 pm | Posted in uncategorized | 27 Comments

Our course is half over and it's time for reflection.  You have been bombarded with information and strategies related to developing students' literacy in your content area.   Evaluate your learning, the needs of your students (or future students), your curriculum, and your interests and comment on the one most important piece you will take back to your classroom.  It can be a strategy to implement or a more abstract concept of literacy development that you have come to appreciate and value.  Explain the reason for your choice.

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  1. I couldn’t wait for you to ask this question, Wendy. I have been reading the book, Subjects Matter for the past 24 hours…seemingly, and I just want to cry. I remember 6 semesters worth of teaching groups of fledgling Biology students and chanting my standard response, “I know the text is confusing, but you have to read it to be prepared for class. I would suggest also finding websites that are meant for high school students. That might help you decipher the text.” Thinking back, I feel like what I said above was an ostensible reprieve, when in fact, I was really telling them, “I wouldn’t hit you if I didn’t love you so much.”

    As far as my learning goes, my tiny brain is sufficiently full! I got a little behind last week, but I am on a mission to get caught up and re-organized. I must say that I really like how each class is very structured and stays on track. The activities are coded with color and there is an obvious purpose to the organization. Each class exposes us to new practical activities that enable us to sample the strategies and incorporate it into our developing repertoire. Finally, each activity is clearly described and the instructions are in hand. You are teaching to my learning style, for sure! Now, if I could just get used to sitting still for hours at a time!

    I am a scientist by nature. I love all realms of science. Even the philosophy behind it. I am especially drawn to the unavoidable wonderment that we stumble upon in everyday life. I may go outside to get the mail, but I don’t return for an hour. I saw a bird that I had to identify. I spied a curiously marked butterfly. Or I followed the trail of a scent that lead me to a tiny delicate wild flower. It is all amazing and worthy of taking time to explore. I try to bring that into the classroom too – that same child-like enthusiasm for Biology when I teach. As contagious as it seems, this quickly loses its momentum and does a belly flops when I ask them to read the text. So, (drum roll please) I think that the one thing that I will walk away with from this class would be: I do solemnly swear to never leave a student alone with a text book again. I think that the phrase, “Don’t try this at home kids!” is applicable here. I can’t wait to play the “life guard” and throw out that proverbial buoy when I create pre-during-post activities to help students learn reading strategies, get more out of what they read, and (if I am lucky) inadvertently rescue a few students from their fear of science!

  2. I certainly don’t think that I will only take one thing away from this course. We have been provided with a wealth of ideas, technology and overall best practices that will certainly shape and change my teaching. Therefore it is more an overall philosophy on what literacy is all about that I will take with me. I would like to say I have a good handle on how students acquire knowledge and how to maintain a balanced literacy because I do hold a literacy certificate but I certainly think that this class has helped remind me of how many great resources are out there to help me continue to build my repertoire of knowledge. Perhaps some of you are familiar with the phrase “ignorance is bliss,” well this class has really helped me to see that the options and ideas out there for delivering instruction are endless. Now while that is absolutely exciting it also is scary too! My world was opened to new possibilities that include such things as blogs, podcasts, wikis, ebooks and other sources of technology that is starting to shape the future of education. The more I learn in this class, the more I realize what I don’t know! Part of me thinks, it was easier not knowing because I thought I had a solid understanding of literacy, an idea of where education was going and how I could continue to progress as an educator but now it seems that with these new ideas, I know that I have a long way to go. Bottom line is, while we hope to install life long learners into each of our students, we too must be willing to do the same thing. The misconception that teachers do the same old lessons year after year could not be further from the truth. This degree has taught me just how rapidly technology is changing and thus altering the old ways of teaching. While at first some of this new technology can be confusing and seem daunting the reality is that it will truly make education an exciting field to be a part of. With that in mind, I am going to take the opinion that “knowledge is power,” and continue my quest for more information to help me learn, understand and apply the new strategies that we have been taught so far.

  3. This class has been quite a learning experience for me in terms of connecting literacy with mathematics. Having no literacy instruction in my educational background, I was completely unaware of the many specific strategies available. I guess I always thought of reading as just “something that you do” to try to understand the subject matter. Funny thing though – I read alot for fun – mostly nonfiction topics involving history, nature, and science, and now I realize that I do use many of these strategies subconsciously – like we spoke about in class. I don’t recall ever being explicitly taught these strategies , but realizing my own use of them should make it easier for me to explain and encourage their use by my kids and someday, my students. One strategy that I think is critical for math teachers to practice with their students is verbally expressing their thought processes and stategies, both when solving problems and when helping students solve problems. So I guess if I had to choose just one tool to add to my toolbox from this class it would be the Think Aloud strategy. I think that this method, along with leading questions, provides a wonderful way to guide and prompt students in the right direction without giving them the answer outright or “spoonfeeding” as we called it. In fact, without knowing it, I have regulary practiced this strategiy when helping my kids with their homework. I love the idea of providing “idea bubbles” or “callout boxes” as a tool for helping guide students through text and helping guide them toward the big ideas.

  4. After careful consideration and keeping in mind Wendy’s instructions – “evaluate your learning, the needs of your students (or future students), your curriculum, and your interests and comment on the one most important piece you will take back to your classroom”, I tried to determine what one strategy has made the most impact on my thinking thus far. Without question, I would have to say what I am doing right now, blogging. Having no experience with this forum in the past it was both intimidating and challenging. However, after a week or so of reading and responding I realize the unlimited potential of this technological tool and resource. When we look at the rate of technological growth worldwide, the necessity of technological literacy is unavoidable. What a wonderful way to stimulate thought, encourage and develop literacy, identify and address misconceptions, evaluate understanding, develop connections with our world, among our students, with our students, and with our schema, while allowing our children to see the vastness of the resources available to them. This form of educational discourse buttresses nicely with an adolescent’s natural need for social interaction and provides the additional opportunity to aid in the development of these skills. Throw in the chance to “play” on the computer and you have a real winning combination. As I will be teaching Biology, General Science and eventually Chemistry, I can see blogging as a fantastic way to engage the students and keep a handle on how my teaching strategies are working. I surmise Wendy must be reading our blog entries and evaluating how well we are comprehending and synthesizing our reading, discussions and blogging. This is not only a great teaching tool it is also a very effective means of assessment with direct and timely feedback. This excites me!

  5. I think the one thing I will take away with me is the weath of knowledge you have given us and a binder full of activities and strategies to use in the classroom. Since I do have some experience in the classroom, I know that I will try some if not most of these strategies. I like the way you have stressed the fact that we should not try to use all of these strategies in one year, but to choose a few that we like and stick with them. Students do love consistency and they never learn anything the first time (and for some, even the first 10 times is not enough).The following year, if that strategy did not seem to work, I can either modify the way I used it or try a different one, and this is where our reference binder will be a great asset.

  6. The thing that I have taken away from this course so far is the need for teachers in all subject areas to play a role in the literacy of their students. I have never taught, and until recently I was of the belief that I would not be required to teach somebody how to read. I have come to the understanding that for the most part, I won’t have to teach anybody to read. The biggest concern is understanding the information that is taken in. That is where the problem is. I consider myself an excellent reader. But I could have used some of these strategies to help understand the material that I was reading. I have a huge problem with picking out the most important parts of a text. Though I never found this to be a hinderance in math, I realize that for many students, this problem could stop them before they even get started. I think that the strategy of think alongs would be great for math classes, especially concerning the more complex word problems. As a teacher, it would be very beneficial to go through these problems and go over what a student should be thinking about as they read the text. What am I looking for? What is the main point? Is there any information that is not useful? THese are questions that adults ask themselves almost subconsciously while reading. However, it can’t be taken for granted that students will automatically ask these questions. That is where the teacher comes in

  7. I would have to agree with Kelsey on this one. I definitely won’t take just one thing from this course and use it in the classroom. Instead, I will take the binder we will make and all the useful strategies and implement them into my teaching repertoire. I’m still trying to let everything soak in from this class. Frankly, I’m very surprised that I haven’t learned these teaching tools in educational classes before. Therefore, I’m excited and optimistic to use these in a classroom.
    Graphic organizers are beneficial tools to use in a variety of ways. I will definitely execute concept maps into my future classroom. I have used concept maps previously, but the graphic organizers that have been introduced in this course are very useful. They go more in depth for better student understanding. I am also impressed with the different “twists” that can be put on them, so that graphic organizers can fit into any content area or topic. We talked about multiple intelligences in class, and I feel that graphic organizers would be a way to hit on a few of them. It can be a good way to ensure that all of the students are understanding based on their learning styles.
    I plan on incorporating most of the strategies that we have learned into my classroom some day. I’m very grateful that I decided to take this course, and I’ll finally be able to come away with many useful ideas!

  8. As a math teacher, I never really focused on literacy or at least I thought I didn’t. After the past two weeks, I have realized that literacy is all around us. Literacy is our voices, our hearing, our thoughts. Last week when we did the jigsaw activity I read the mathematics and science literacy article. This article really opened up my eyes to the fact that I am teaching literacy in mathematics. I actually do it everyday. I am constantly teaching my students how to read a problem and dissect it for information. That is literacy!

    I constantly find myself using strategies such as “think aloud,” semantic feature analysis, webbing and SQRQCQ (Survey, Question, Read, Question, Compute, Question). Likewise, I plan to continue using these strategies as I teach mathematics for the rest of my career! I find the think aloud strategy will be most helpful. The think aloud activity I have designed is going to be used year after year. The call out boxes will really help my students dissect the problem and succeed at solving quadratic word problems.

    As a progress as a teacher throughout the years, I hope to instill the value of literacy in my students. If I can just get each student to learn one new method on how to retain and understand information, I have done my job as an educator.

  9. I agree with Shelley, I would never send a future class on their own reading a text. In most of my classes teachers lectured after they assigned reading. Literacy in MST has shown that I would have gotten a lot more from my reading for classes if instructors had done pre reading strategies. In physics there are so many new concepts and words that pre reading strategies are a must. It is important use strategies that are useful to different learning styles such as multiple intelligences. One thing that was shocking was that students should never read at frustration level. This is a huge concern for students that are not good readers and have reading disabilities. These students spend at least half their reading time at frustration level. Hopefully these pre reading strategies help so students will still learn subject even though reading is a challenge.

  10. This question is sort of difficult to answer in a single blog. I personally have learned a bit about literacy not just in my subject area, but more or less across all grade levels and curriculums. I think that I have learned that literacy is prevalent in mathematics, a misconception I previously had. I used to think that we don’t need to teach our kids to read and that literacy doesn’t apply to me. However, I have noticed a shift in my views towards the fact that there is a plethora of reading in mathematics, but I have noticed that the type of literacy differs from that of say an English or History class.
    Most of the reading my students come across comes in the form of simple equations. The level of reading they need to be at is not necessarily a high level, but there is major cognitive functioning involved going from equation recognition to recalling an algorithm to the solution process. It seems to me that mathematical literacy in a broad sense is more looking for keys that trigger a brain reaction as opposed for reading for comprehension.
    However, my students also read for comprehension when they come across word problems. My students struggle the most with word problems. I have learned from our text that math sentences are the most content dense sentences. There is so much information crammed into each mathematical sentence that students flounder. I have realized from discussions in class that I teach my students to attack word problems similarly to the way we attack a basic equation. We look for keys that will help us organize our thoughts, and then from there we can gather an equation or algorithm and solve the given problem.
    One thing that I am glad I will take away from this course is the fact that a goal for educators is not just to teach kids how to read, but to make them life long readers. I support and believe this philosophy one hundred percent. I am going to try to do that with my students in the future with my math courses. I know it is typically a stretch for kids to get interested in math, but by bringing in periodicals or introducing kids to books such as “The DaVinci Code” then I can entice my students to read and also possibly run across some math and have them look back and realize that all those things they learned in math DO show up in every day life.

  11. As usual, there are lots of insightful responses as to the best strategy to take home from this course. At this point, I have to agree with Shelley & Becky regarding their appreciation for the helpful hints on how to deal with textbooks in the classroom. I have not yet taught in the classroom, so I am learning a ton of ideas, methods, and strategies, that I have not been able to test yet. However, since our natural human tendency is often to default to teaching in a similar manner as we were taught, (until we know better), I think the textbook information is especially valuable. I would imagine that most of us had some bad experiences with textbooks at some point of our many years of schooling. Now that I understand some of the issues with using textbooks in the classroom, and ways to make them a much more positive experience for students, I think that this new knowledge will be a great benefit to both me and my future students.
    I also should mention that a very close runner-up to this favorite strategy would be “blogging” as Michael discussed above. Learning how to blog has been incredibly valuable for me in this class, especially since I am taking the course “independently” and have not been able to meet with the other students and hear their ideas in person. Blogging gives me a great flavor for some of the thoughts, opinions and ideas of the other students almost (but not quite) like being there. I have been learning a lot from this experience personally, and there is great potential to use blogging formats with my future students in a way that they can greatly benefit from it as well.

  12. Wow, of all the strategies, picking one to bring back to class. I would have to agree with Greg on this one. In physics there are a lot mathematical problems, many of them are multi-step problems. There is a process that we teach to the students to pull out the necessary information, set up the equations, make substitutions, and solve the problem. A think aloud strategy would allow the students to see the process talked out and discussed as well as participate in it. This will also allow the misconceptions to be addressed as well as the concepts to be reinforced.
    Although, I must say that the binder I am putting together with all sorts of strategies will be one big piece that I will bring back to the classroom.

  13. I have really appreciated this class so far because it hasn’t just talked about why literacy is important; it has provided the strategies to successfully implement literacy in the content areas. I agree with Kelsey when she said that one of the most important things she has gained is an overall philosophy on the fundamentals of literacy. Before, I hadn’t acknowledged how literacy played a role in the subject I am going to teach. I now see that literacy is the key to learning in all subject areas. Students will learn best when literacy is addressed because it enables students to gather, decipher, and process the content knowledge. I will definitely implement the plethora of pre-reading strategies that we have learned about over the past couple weeks. Pre-reading strategies are great because they activate the student’s schema, which will allow them to incorporate new learning more effectively. I liked the idea of using artwork as a pre-reading strategy because I think it is a non-conventional way to learn about science and it exposes students to new avenues of learning.
    The strategy I would like to implement the most in my classroom is blogging. I was unfamiliar with this technology beforehand and I think it is an excellent resource for finding supplemental text and creating a community of learners. I would love to create a classroom blog where students can discuss the course, post questions, and explore topics of interest. I think this provides students with the opportunity to enrich their learning and it provides an outside link to the classroom. I also think students will really enjoy it! I’m looking forward to learning more techniques in the upcoming weeks that will enhance my students’ learning experience.

  14. The amount of knowledge I have acquired about literacy over these last four classes is tremendous. I have spent much of this past quarter at school trying to think of activities that would get students to really read and understand those dreaded word problems. Using strategies such as the call-out boxes would focus their attention to details of the problem.

    I do stress the importance of vocabulary in the my classroom but through this class I have learned many different strategies that can emphasize vocabulary on a daily basis. The binder will serve as a key resource for reading and vocabulary strategies.

    I agree with Tess in that this class has not only discussed the importance of literacy but has given us the tools and resources needed to implement literacy into our content areas. Prior to this class I had heard of many of the strategies – never really knowing how to implement them into the math content area. The numerous examples provided in class has helped to make it more realistic and therefore is the most important thing I will take away from this class.

  15. As a prospective teacher of high school mathematics, I am most grateful for a more abstract concept. It’s the vision, really. I have achieved not only a deeper understanding of how enhanced literacy will support students of mathematics but I have also deepened my understanding of the expectations of the New York State Department of Education and of our local school districts in regard to the development of content area literacy. Being able to start with the end in mind, knowing the goals and buying into the vision is an integral part of my professional development and of becoming a successful educator.

  16. There were a few quotes from other students that really get to the heart of what I will take away from this class.
    First, from Kelsey:

    “I certainly don’t think that I will only take one thing away from this course. We have been provided with a wealth of ideas, technology and overall best practices that will certainly shape and change my teaching. Therefore it is more an overall philosophy on what literacy is all about that I will take with me.”

    Jason:

    “…the need for teachers in all subject areas to play a role in the literacy of their students”

    Stacie:

    “I have realized that literacy is all around us. Literacy is our voices, our hearing, our thoughts”

    Reflecting on literacy strategies and how they relate to teaching math and science, my initial reaction is “Who knew?” Who knew how important it really is to open the correct schema and activate students’ prior knowledge on a topic before reading? Who knew that activities like coding text during reading could be used to help students become conscious of their thinking? Who knew that after a reading is complete, it really isn’t, and that retelling and paraphrasing the information was so powerful in increasing students’ understanding?
    Another key learning I will take away from this class is the power of the “Read / Write Web”, as Will Richardson calls it. I had created a blog in the past as a class journal for GMST560, but it was one way writing only. As I have been exploring the edublogs that we began to discover through Weblogg-ed and others, my BlogRoll is growing exponentially. There is an amazing amount of discussion going on out there including Web 2.0, 21st Century collaborative learning, and blogs focusing on technology in the classroom. I will just get finished reading and there are 37 new feeds to review!!
    Summarizing the quotes from above, literacy really is everywhere, in every subject, and with the new tools I have been provided in this class, I will be able to help integrate my students and their education into the 21st century.

  17. Today, I spend my day organizing all of the lessons from my first year of teaching math full time. As I go through what I have done this year, I recognize all the concepts, the lessons with my different classes, how much fun we had on a few lessons, and how boring other lessons were. What is different with the organizing of my binder compared to my other colleagues, is that on mine, I have post it notes and tabs on lessons that I want to spice up with a reading activity, or where I want to bring in alternate resources to interest my students, or a vocabulary strategy that I think would really work for my students in a certain chapter or two. My lessons are changing already and the year is not completely over yet.
    In the past two weekends, I cannot believe how much information I have gained from class. I had taken some literacy courses before in undergrad, but I never considered using it, mostly due to the fact that our teacher, along with the rest of the math teachers couldn’t really understand the importance of reading in math class. What is fascinating to me is that not only has this course reopened my eyes to literacy in my content area, but I am so confident and sure of what I have learned and talked about in class pertaining to literacy, that I am suggesting strategies to my fellow math teachers. One of my fellow colleagues today came by and said she found an awesome alternative resource for the graphing calculator dealing with the show Numb3rs http://www.cbs.com/primetime/numb3rs/ti/activities.shtml. I don’t believe she would have looked for anything else besides what was given to her from previous teachers or in the textbook, if we hadn’t talked about my graduate class in literacy and all of the in depth conversations we have had every class.
    I believe that learning to read mathematically is vital to understanding the content in math courses today. However, I have recently come to understanding that before students can learn to read mathematically, we have to make sure that they can read in a “regular” fashion (how they read in social studies and English classes) before we go ahead and bombard them with symbolic notation and math jargon. Therefore, in my opinion, I believe that alternate resources, reading strategies and vocabulary strategies have to become a part of the math curriculum and the excuse of not having the time must disappear. I believe that if we do not take the time, our instruction is not as effective and the time we will spend teaching our students all of the material will be wasted when we didn’t help them understand what they were reading and the vocabulary they are using and building on with every new concept. This is what I am taking away from this course. A rationale, a valid reason to the why we as math teachers should take the time to look at the literacy of my students instead of just their computational abilities. I have had the strategies, the books, the tools all at my fingertips. I only needed a reason as to why I should do the work. Talking in class, reading the articles, participating in the coursework all has opened the “reason” to take the chance and try all of these strategies in my class. I believe the work of implementing all of theses strategies effectively will be worth it in the long run with my students in math and their other studies.

  18. I really appreciate everything from this class, but the most important thing that I will be taking back to the classroom will be the binder. To be honest, I don’t think that I would have organized the information from this class appropriately if it was not a requirement—I am still working on being organized. This binder will be a great resource for me as I start planning for the fall school year with my school based educator. This opportunity will allow me to see what strategies work best with certain students.

  19. Yahoo!! Just need to tell all of the math teachers about a great find. In preparing my vocabulary lessons, I read a new book: “Teaching Mathematics Vocabulary in Context” by Miki Murray. I read it cover to cover in one and one half days! I have this innate need to internalize the “big picture” before I can move ahead with any implementation. This book made a huge difference for me!

  20. Great. That is a book on my summer reading list. Please bring it to class on Friday.

  21. I will take back more internally than externally from this class. I am re-energized and refocused on the ever growing importance of literacy in my teaching. I will be using the strategies and ideas modeled for me in class as well as the ones I continue to use on my own with a greater appreciation and emphasis with my students. I am excited to have a binder full of goodies to use on an ongoing basis in my classroom.

  22. It really has been a crazy first two weeks. For someone who has never taught before (me), it has been over whelming but exciting. I have learned so much in these past two weeks and it really makes me that more excited to begin my career as a teacher. As a learner myself, I have taken so much from this class. How important it is for your students to be able to understand and read in their content area. It can be quite frustrating when a student is trying to read something or do an activity and have it go in one ear and out the other or way over their head. I know the feeling. I have been there and sometimes still doing that.
    For me, not having taught yet, it is hard to say what I might utilize in my classroom. I would love to try it all because everything that we have been learning is such an important part of the classroom. I have heard the first year is the toughest and you never get in the activities you really want to do because you are so over whelmed with homework, tests, writing lesson plans, worry about touching on the NYS Standards and what the kids will be tested on in the Regents exams. I know down the road when I become a pro at teaching and learn how to utilize my time wisely in the classroom I will definitely will try and correlate some of the activities that we have learned.
    It is hard to have a favorite strategy that we have learned over these past two weeks. They really are all great tools to use in the classroom because they benefit all students, “normal” and special needs. However, if I have to choose I would choose to use Pre-reading and during reading strategies. Learning science content is hard enough on top of learning all of those vocabulary words that go along with all of the units that you teach. It really is essential for students in science classes to know and understand the terminology that they will be using in the classroom. If they do not understand it and know it, then they will never have the knowledge to truly get what they are learning about. I really like using the vocabulary strategies and the think-alouds. These are two great tools that I know I would be able to integrate into my curriculum. Thanks for a great two weeks; I cannot wait to see what comes next!!!!!! : )

  23. There is so much being presented that it makes the mind go numb at times. I have to agree with most people that the time is flying by and there is so much to be done. I don’t know if there is one thing that can be taken from this class. I want to say that just using Literacy in the classroom and teaching ALL students to become readers is what I will use most. Being a Physics teacher I never dreamed that literacy is so usefull and necessary. When you look at formulas and the ideas behind them you never think that that is actually vocabulary words.
    Another great tool will be the binder which I will be able to reference when I am in the classroom. Thank you for opening my eyes up to a whole new way of thinking, reading and teaching

  24. There are many valuable tools that we have discussed, been taught, and read about. It is awesome to be able to have them all in a binder to keep in our classrooms. I think one of the most important things that I will take with me from this class, is how important pre-reading strategies are to activate prior knowledge in our students. I love the fact that these strategies jump-start the brain and get it ready for learning. It’s like reading the back cover of a book, a little tease, to get you psyched to read the book. Any one of the many strategies we’ve discussed will be useful. I really like brainstorming. It’s an interactive way to have the class contribute what they already know of a topic. I will always use pre-reading strategies. Thank you!

  25. Wow a lot of great comments, and insightful thoughts. I was thinking as I read these comments that I wish there was something like this for after we finish this class… Duh! All the education blogs that you have provided us fit that criteria! This class has completely opened up my eyes to a new world I never new existed.
    As for one thing I would take with me from this class, I’m not really sure what single thing I would take. There are a number of ideas I am so excited about using. But much like Sara said, I have also not taught yet and worry about all the things (Regents, NYS Standards, homework, parents, administrators, etc.) that I will encounter in my first year. Yet I still believe that I will be able to do at least some things, if I really want to. The annotated bibliography has completely flipped my thoughts about reading subject-related material. As my own high school career never included reading outside of our assigned textbooks, the idea of using non-textbook material is mind-boggling. In a good way, though, as I sincerely believe that it will capture the attention of many students who would otherwise be lost to math. Who ever said you couldn’t learn anything mathematical from a novel or a newspaper? Well they were wrong. Since most people will experience math outside of a textbook for all of their lives, after high school and college, it only makes sense to teach students using those same sources. If we are to create responsible citizens, I think we have to do all we can to ensure that we empower them in every way we can.
    I really enjoyed the think-alouds, as I witnessed many students throughout college who were completely unable to digest a reading, even while taking notes. As there is no course in any high school I’ve ever heard of that offers note-taking or reading strategies, something that might actually be a good idea. Until then, it is essential that students are taught to decipher math problems and to comprehend highly mathematical readings.
    Another great advantage to the reading activities is the social aspect. Activities like the Treasure Hunt that require students to socialize are wonderful for creating freindships in an otherwise solitary subject. Also, the group activities like brain-writing and thnk-alouds allow students an otherwise inexistent opportunity to get to know their classmates. Not only are these activities great for socializing, but they help to combat the growing issue of isolationism in our society.
    I think our binder may prove to be the most useful, as I will now have a great piece to show off at my interviews, and give me an edge over other candidates. So their use may extend well beyond the classroom! Thanks!

  26. Well, I’m glad I didn’t respond to this when it was first posted. Yes, you may say “what a procrastinator” but there has been a lot brought to my attention about literacy over the past week. I gave the Regents Chemistry exam to a group of 64 students last week. Many were disappointed to see their scores. I was disappointed to see some of the questions because of the reading the students would have to do. Up until this point I have not taken it seriously that “I am a reading teacher”. Taking this class while teaching and administering that exam has made a believer out of me. The most missed extended response questions on that test were answered incorrectly because the students did not read the question correctly. I was blown away. Until this class I would have blamed it on the students but now I see that you cannot blame the students for what they have never been taught to do. I am very intrigued by this study of literacy and I am really interested in implementing newly acquired knowledge on my part into my classroom next year. I think Stephanie put it very nicely,

    I am re-energized and refocused on the ever growing importance of literacy in my teaching. I will be using the strategies and ideas modeled for me in class as well as the ones I continue to use on my own with a greater appreciation and emphasis with my students.

    I feel the same way. I also feel that the binder we are setting up will prove to be invaluable. Having all those strategies in one place, at our fingertips, will be so helpful. This is the one class where I can honestly say that I fully intend on using the lessons and activities I have created. Here’s to a great year of teaching… literacy 🙂

  27. A true appreciation for literacy is the main thing that I will be taking away from this course in the past month I have been bombarded with literacy in the classroom. And to be honest before taking these courses I thought to myself literacy—I am going to be a secondary biology teacher why do I need to take this—these students should know how to read by the seventh grade! Literacy is so much more than what we learn in elementary school and it is equally as important to be stressed in a biology classroom as biology itself! I have started thinking of so many ideas I want to use in my future classroom. The biggest thing that has stuck with me thus far is the use of alternative text. There is so so so much out there as far as alternative text in the science world. I want to fill my classroom with all sorts of materials for my students to have access to. Maybe even require my students to read a scientific based book each month and then share with their fellow classmates about the book they read. By having students share with their classmates an excitement they have for a particular book it will entice their peers to read it by them thinking “hey if Jimmy liked that book I’ll like it we have a lot in common” instead of me the teacher standing in front of the class telling them about how wonderful I think a particular book maybe, students can relate to their fellow classmates in a way teachers cant. This experience has really taught me a true appreciation for literacy in all content areas at all grade levels.


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