Anticipating Change

April 21, 2007 at 9:18 am | Posted in uncategorized | 9 Comments

Reflect on your initial responses to the 8 statements on the anticipation guide discussed the first night of class.  Identify 2-3 statements where your thinking has changed or deepened.  Share your insights.

  • All students should have solid reading and writing skills by the time they reach middle school.
  • Students should discuss their assigned readings only after they have had a chance to read it independently first.
  • Vocabulary is learned best when it is taught within the context of a lesson.
  • It is the job of all teachers to create lifeong readers.
  • Textbooks provide adequate reading passages for students.
  • Reading independently is a passive experience.
  • Teaching reading strategies in the content areas will take away valuable teaching time.
  • There are limited text resources to use in the content areas.


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  1. “There are limited text resources to use in the content areas.” This is the first statement that I changed my mind about. Before this class I knew that there were a few text resources and I knew that there were a lot of textbooks but not much fiction. During class discussion we talked about the California website and I found a ton of books that I could use in my class. Also, Hanna’s book talk introduced me to a new set of books that I am going to look into. I think that the books would interest my girls and they seemed short enough that I could read one of the books at the beginning of my class and that could engage my students. There was also a pretty big list of math books in the text book. That is were I found out about the book I used for my book talk(Number Devil). Also, while doing the research for the pre-reading and the post reading strategies, I found a lot of magazines on line that will be a great resource for more text sources. There is a magazine that Andrea found that is called “Pi in the sky” and I got a few articles out of that that I could use in my classroom. I now see that there are an infinite amount of text resources out there as long as you know where to look for them.
    “Teaching reading strategies in the content areas will take away valuable teaching time.” This is the second statement that I deepened my understanding about. At the beginning of this class I thought that teaching reading strategies would take time away from teaching. This was also at the time where I didn’t know how many text resources there are. I did find out that I was teaching reading a little, with word problems and reading directions. Now that I see all the text resources that I have to choose from, I see that teaching reading does not take away from regular teaching time. Actually it would make my teaching time more beneficial because not only will I be teaching my students math I will be teaching them reading strategies that I wish I learned when I was in high school. Using texts other than the text book, such as reading an article or a book, I will be able to connect my content to “real life.” This helps the students get engaged in what they are learning in class.
    “Students should discuss their assigned readings only after they have had a chance to read it independently first.” This is the third statement that my thoughts were deepened about. I knew that when I was in high school and we were assigned reading I never really understood what I was reading. It was very hard to get into a textbook if you had no idea what it was saying. I wish that my teacher would have taken this class, then maybe I would have learned a lot better. I believe that the pre-reading strategies would have been the most beneficial to me. I need to have some idea of what I am reading to be able to understand the text. I also think that the “During reading strategies” are important. If I knew how to take notes the way we have learned in this class, I could have taken a lot better notes and I wouldn’t of had to study as hard. So overall I think that discussion should happen before, during, and after the students read.

  2. My initial response to bullet 2 and 8 were YES. That was at the beginning of this course. I have since changed my mind.
    I don’t believe textbooks are good enough sources of material for students. After reviewing the physics textbook used in the Greece and Wayne school districts (they are the same) I am more convinced than ever. First of all they are heavy probably 2X as heavy as they should be. This is because they put in sections about careers in physics and all sorts of extra stuff to sell to school districts. They don’t need any of that stuff (just the equations and how to use them). By putting in all the extra filler the textbooks become outdated and they need not be because physics equations have not changed in 70 years.
    I think it is better to discuss the readings before students read passages. In this way they will gain a deeper understanding while they read. After they read, the passages should be discussed again to reinforce the knowledge and get it into their long term memory.
    I believe it is the job of teachers to create lifelong learners bullet 4. Teachers should teach for an education as opposed for a skill. If the students only learn the skill they may be suited for only one type of job/career. If that career goes away (for whatever reason) that person will be lost. Therefore I believe we can and should teach people to learn and think independently. Then they can see the world of opportunity that surrounds them and they will have a greater understanding and appreciation of the freedom and liberty that this country provides.

  3. Reading independently is not a passive experience if you are trying to gain anything from the text. A good reader whether reading for pleasure or for content is actively involved with the text. Making predictions, visualizing, decoding words, and asking questions are all strategies for effective reading. As a reader I find myself always trying to predict what was coming next or arguing with the author at some point in the text. When we started the think-aloud power point I didn’t realize that most students didn’t read in this manner since I always have. Yet as we went over the power point I realized that I am an effective reader because my mother use to read to use as children in the same manner as the think-aloud. Thanks to her I became a strong effective reader and the think-aloud wasn’t difficult for me to do.

    It would be a perfect world if all students entering middle school had solid reading and writing skills. However, life isn’t perfect and our students won’t be entering middle school with the same reading and writing skills. And the true reality of the matter is that some students will never reach the same reading ability as other students because of the late start or disabilities they face. However, we have learned many ways to cope with these sad truths. We can jigsaw students into different reading ability on the same topic then having the students share the knowledge with each other. We also learned how to check the readability of an article of book to ensure it is not at the student’s frustration level. We have also learned a number of per, during, and post reading strategies to help out students with reading difficulties become engaged with the text. I really enjoyed the coding method. Students can freely mark on the text when they don’t understand the material.

  4. “There are limited text resources to use in the content areas.”
    I used to think that the text sources out there about biology would be too dry and very “boring” for students – it wouldn’t get their attention and engage them. Now that we have gone through and researched and put together lesson plans and annotated bibliographies on sources, I definitely see that it was a huge misconception! There are poems, children’s books, interesting and provocative novels, new and up-to-date articles, etc. These could all be used to promote literacy and still tie-in the content. The lesson plans that we put together are very useful and I will definitely use them in my future classes.
    Another thing I learned has to do with making textbooks useful and interesting. The textbook scavenger hunts are a good tool to show the students how to use their book and where to find things. Another great tool I will use.

    “Teaching reading strategies in the content areas will take away valuable teaching time.”
    I used to be worried about time and whether or not we would be able to do all of these things we are required to do as teachers. I thought that teaching literacy and incorporating it into the lessons would be “extra” work. I now see that these strategies could be weaved into the lessons and supplement the course content. Again, the lesson plans and activities that we did in this class are a great tool and really demonstrated to me that this is very doable.

  5. Textbooks provide adequate reading passages for students. In most cases textbooks are probably “Adequate”. However, “adequate” isn’t “good” or “great” or “interesting”. Textbooks almost always fail to address real-world up-to-the-minute issues. I got myself through a few high school and most of my college courses by using the textbook entirely. Not one teacher ever showed me that there were far more accessible resources that would help me understand/comprehend/get more out of the text. At Syracuse University there was actually a library devoted to Math and Engineering and I did go there to study… but not one instructor actually required us to research one topic to write about! After what I’ve learned in this class, I’m appalled at the treatment I endured as an undergraduate. By the time my students make it to college-age, they will have no problems knowing where to find other good resources about science, and how to tell a good resource from a poor resource.
    There are limited text resources to use in the content areas. I was shocked at how much and how varied the resources I could find about Physics – poems, non-science articles, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, songs, applets, etc… Who knew there were songs written AND recorded about Snell’s Law! I’m disappointed at the books I happened to choose for my book talk as compared to those chosen by my classmates. But now that I’ve seen the quality of math and biology books some of my classmates discovered, I’m certain there are more interesting physics-related ones too. As a start, I’m asking for “Cartoon Physics” for my birthday that’s coming up in a few weeks. Next week I’ll be hitting Google and NSTA looking for more interesting trade books to include in my summer reading list. In fact, I have a list of “Things to Do” over the summer. One of the items that’s been added to my list as a direct result of this class is to spend time reading science magazines and copying good articles to use in my class. Wendy and Janet gave me the idea of putting together a portfolio of sorts. Ever since I’ve been slowly collecting lab ideas, lesson plans I’ve written or have been written by others, and now text and online resources (divided by topic, of course). If nothing else, “Literacy in MST” has shown me the variety of reading and writing abilities I can expect from my students, and how best to approach literacy with those students.
    My ideas about how much text can be absorbed at one time have definitely changed. I have memories of college and being assigned complete chapters due in less than a week. I can see that would be daunting for many high-schoolers. I think articles are going to be my new best friend. The textbook had an anecdote about a teacher writing his own text. Although time-consuming, it sounds like something I might someday employ too, at least in small doses.

  6. “Students should discuss their assigned readings only after they have had a chance to read it independently first.”

    I like many of you thought that you should give the students a chance to read and try to absorb the material on their own before discussing it. After taking this course I realize how wrong that type of thinking is. How can students really get anything out of the reading material if they don’t know why they are reading in the first place? I honestly thought that students would just know from the lecture or class work why the reading was important and what they were looking for. I was wrong. Looking back at my own high school experience there where many times a teacher assigned a reading and I went home read the material, but I never internalized it and I’m sure I didn’t pull out the important points the teacher was hoping I’d gain from reading the text. This class has taught me so many pre-reading strategies that I would have never thought to implement in my classroom. I can’t wait to get out there and try a few of them on students to see how effective they really are.

    “There are limited text resources to use in the content areas”

    Before this class I thought my only resources were the textbook and the internet. I truly never thought of using children’s picture books or novels in a chemistry class. Doing the annotated bibliography and the book talk changed my mind completely. There are many non-fiction and fiction novels out there that I could use in the class. Using different types or styles of text can really help keep the students engaged. I mean I enjoy chemistry and I know how completely boring and difficult a chemistry textbook is to read, so why would I only want to expose my students to chemistry through the textbook. Novels, picture books, newspaper articles, magazine articles, etc… There is so much material out there I just have to utilize it; I don’t know why I didn’t see it before.

    “All students should have solid reading and writing skills by the time they reach middle school.”

    I knew before this class that there would be many students whom would struggle with reading and writing in the classroom. I guess I just didn’t realize how far behind the vast majority of students would be. I didn’t think of choosing 7th or 8th grade level reading material for an 11th grader. I didn’t even consider checking the readability or reading level of the material before assigning it. You see, I love to read, I always have. I’m a very slow reader, but I love to read and it comes easy to me. I’m glad this class opened my eyes and made me more sympathetic to the struggling readers I will have in my future class.

    Looking at the other blogs it looks like we all learned something new and more important we all have something to take back to the classroom.

  7. Generally my initial opinions remain the same; however I have gained a much deeper understanding of all of these statements. There are several statements that I have truly come to new realizations about. The idea that reading is a passive experience, the idea that that there are limited text source available in my content area, and the statement that every teacher is responsible for creating life long readers.
    Initially I instinctually knew that reading is not passive. However, I could not put the reason for this knowledge into words. From my own experience I knew that when you are reading to learn you have to be engaged in order to remember anything. Personally I always visualize what I am reading and I often take notes especially if it is for a class. Throughout the course of this class I came to appreciate that there are a multitude of strategies that you can give students to help them become active readers. Some of my favorites include, coding, visualizing while you are reading and of course the read aloud strategies that we went over. All of these turn a potentially passive and unengaged reader into an active learner. They also help students to be better readers and therefore increase the likelihood that they will read on their own.
    The statement “There are limited text resources to use in the content areas” was also one I deepened my thinking about. At the beginning of this class I knew there were many biology text sources available. However, I did not think that there were many interesting and engaging text source that students would want to read. After taking this course and completing the book talk and the annotated bibliography I have been proven wrong! There is a ton of fun and interesting texts out there. I hope to start a library of them even before I have a class so I can pull from it when I need to.
    Lastly is the idea that it is every teacher’s job to create life long readers. Of course I said this was true at the beginning of the year, and I truly believed it was. However, I was skeptical if as a science teacher I would have a lot of opportunities to encourage my students to read. I thought that the English teachers would take care of most of the reading. However, after realizing how easily literacy fits into a science class and how effective it can be, this statement takes on a whole new meaning. I can be the teacher that encourages students to read. I have a chance to turn around the thinking of that science or math student who hates reading. Like me, they could realize all of the knowledge and interesting text that is available in this high speed world.

  8. On March 3, 2007 I disagreed with the statement “Textbooks provide adequate reading passages for students.” After taking GMST 525 I still disagree with this statement. I feel textbooks have too much material in them and should concentrate on the key ideas that need to be understood.

    As Christian said textbooks have all the extra filler.

    Students can also obtain these key concepts and ideas from other literature sources including books, magazines, internet sites, wikis and blogs. I have never used a blog before so I found it very interesting. A student can search, read and articulate on content that is being learned in the classroom. It is amazing how much learning can be obtained from the computer and the internet. The articles and videos found on the internet are great for students with different learning modalities. A teacher needs to take advantage of this resource to get the students reading, writing and learning about the content being taught. So textbooks do provide a lot of information, probably more than what is needed but there are so many other literacy sources to have the students use.
    I also agree with the statement “It is the job of all teachers to create lifelong readers.” A teacher should use books and internet articles to connect to the key concepts that must be taught. By using these different sources, the students will be interested in the topic. Children love computers and the internet so the use of the web and blogging will definitely get the students interested in using the electronic media to learn. By using strategies to help the students learn and focus on what they are reading, the students will see what a fun and beneficial activity reading is.
    I also learned a lot in GMST 525 about how a teacher can use non-fictional and fictional books to teach science and math concepts. Instead of just using a boring textbook, other literature can be used that is interesting to the students but still present the concepts to the students. I have also learned in this class that there are so many books out there that can be correlated with the science subjects I will be teaching. By modeling to the students that the teacher reads very often, the students will see reading is a great activity to do throughout life.
    I really enjoyed this class and found many science books that I can use in future lessons. The class was very rewarding as I now know that I do not have to use just a boring textbook to get my future students interested in reading about a topic.
    Thank you.

  9. The anticipatory set with this class assisted in generating ideas about content literacy. The following three points were underscored through our exploration of course material.
    * All students should have solid reading and writing skills by the time they reach middle school.
    I agree students should have solid literacy skills built from the moment instruction begins. I would not consider this a closed subject upon entering middle school. It is vitally important to have solid literacy skills to handle the content in secondary education, but we can not take the position that they don’t need further development. We need to help students take their foundations and build upon them. We need to help them increase their comfort with literacy to enable them to realize maximum gains with the content.
    * It is the job of all teachers to create life long readers.
    This builds directly from the point above. Literacy skills are not poured into students at the elementary level and never visited again. We have vast resources available to engage students in reading, and through the many books, articles, games, and web based activities we can definitely find something appealing to everyone. We even have highly engaging writing activities (RAFTS) to allow for expression of content material in a creative way. Modeling reading with book talks and bringing written material to students’ attention in all units will help them see it as part of the course, not something separate. All of this will help them explore further outside of class and well beyond the end of their school careers.
    * Teaching reading strategies in the content areas will take away valuable teaching time.
    I did not agree with this statement at the beginning of the class and I absolutely do not agree with it now. Teaching time is extremely valuable, but it can be most effectively used and provide for the most enriching educational experience for students by incorporating reading strategies at every possible juncture. This will stake some time to do if it is not part of the curriculum, but it will be well worth the effort. It can be turned into a manageable task by starting with a basic idea or two in each unit and building from there with subsequent iterations. Most of what we explored through this class was not so time consuming that it would be cost prohibitive. If we tried to inject every single strategy we learned it would be overwhelming from both teaching and learning perspectives, but if we effectively employ a few of the key strategies along the way we will help students reach great achievements in learning. I will definitely use think alouds, graphic organizers like concept cards for vocabulary, RAFTS, many of the incredible web based activities for pre-reading engagement, and post reading activities like 5-words, 3-words to help students tie it all together.

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