Remember me as a passionate teacher of literacy

June 29, 2013 at 3:04 am | Posted in Content Area Literacy | 10 Comments

Two final thoughts —

(1) In class we have discussed memorable teachers and agreed that one commonality of our memorable teachers is that they were passionate. John F. Polojil states it this way:

Teaching is not a profession; it’s a passion. Without passion for your subject and a desire for your students to learn and be the best in the world, then we have failed as a teacher and failure is not an option.

As this particular course draws to a close, what do you now feel most passionate about regarding content area literacy?

(2) Educational reformer John Dewey said,

We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.

So keeping this in mind, please reflect on the following: In what specific way have you experienced the greatest change in your perception of content area literacy since the beginning of this course? As you reflect on this question, consider revisiting our anticipation guide completed on the first night of class. Ask yourself how this change in your thinking will impact you as a teacher of literacy and as a lifelong learner in terms of your own personal literacy.



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  1. As this class comes to a close, I am most passionate about my understanding of content area literacy. I can see how easily literacy can be included in a content area because all content areas have reading assignments and vocabulary words. After working with the common core standards as our group project, I feel that I can be more confident in the connection to my teaching, and using literacy in my classroom. This class has provided me with useful strategies that would have been over looked without this class, and have been implemented into my unit plan for my assessment class.
    The second quote of this blog hits home completely, even as teachers we are still learning, and this learning is done through experiences. Our students need to be given these same types of experiences in order to have them gain the most from your classroom. Students will remember a class that is engaging, and will then be able to connect the material based on the activities they recall.
    The largest change for me throughout this class has been my understanding of how easily literacy can be implemented into a math and science classroom. Due to the content, and need for supporting evidence, literacy articles and reading strategies can help students to better understand the material, and be able to begin a basis for argumentation, which will give them a step above the rest in life.

  2. I am passionate about helping students feel excited and confident in math. From this class I have learned that being literate in math is important to succeeding and moving forward in math. I am most excited about incorporating reading of outside sources (other than the textbook). I have realized that being passionate about teaching and learning math needs to also include a passion toward developing good readers. I want students to see that myself and the textbook are not the only resources out there. For some reason, even though I don’t enjoy reading, I am super excited about creating a classroom library. In fact I have already started collecting books and getting ideas of books that I will want in my math classroom. I think that is what I am most passionate about; creating that classroom library for my students.

    The biggest change in my perception in content area literacy that has occurred as a result of the class is that literacy does in fact apply to me. This class and all of the ideas that have been brought to the table from classmates, the professor, and outside sources have shown me that it can be done. I can incorporate readings and reading strategies in my class. At first it seemed like a waste of time, but now I have realized it may not be. As a math teacher outside sources are good to have because they may actually help the students see other perspectives

    This class will also help me become a lifelong learner of literacy because now I understand how to use strategies and how to self-monitor my reading comprehension. Usually when I read and don’t understand something, I just try to reread it and hope I will get it. If I don’t, my strategy is to usually give up. Being able to use strategies will help me become more literate and gain more knowledge from text sources I once may not have understood.

  3. As this particular course draws to a close, what do you now feel most passionate about regarding content area literacy?
    Coming into this class, I didn’t know realize how important literacy was to learning the mathematics. I’ve always held English in a separate category because math deals with numbers and that’s what I love about. I now know how wrong I was to put these two areas in completely separate boxes. With the common core shifts, students are not going to be able to succeed if they don’t understand the tier 2 words. Students will not be able to show off their mathematical knowledge if they can’t comprehend what the question is asking.
    I’ve always know that argumentation is an important part of mathematics. Being able to form a logical and persuasive proof or argument to validate your point is really the only way that other people will take you seriously. I now understand that this skill, along with many others, actually comes from literacy.
    Therefore it is imperative that I implement strategies for learning vocab (both content and otherwise) as well as literacy strategies with my students. “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat today; teach a man a fish and he’ll never go hungry again.” I am passionate about giving my students the skills needed to be self-sufficient. They may not have all the answers, but they will have the strategies and skills to go out and find it.
    In what specific way have you experienced the greatest change in your perception of content area literacy since the beginning of this course?
    My understanding of literacy was that it was someone else’s job to teach the kids. My assumption was that my students would come to me already knowing how to read and write. I now know that this is not the case and that it is my job to be a content area teacher AND a literacy teacher.

  4. I feel most passionate about my future’s students’ perceptions of math. Many students simply disengage from the content because they cannot connect it to their lives or it does not expand upon their interests. Through literacy strategies, it is possible to show these students how math can be fun and exciting. With any luck, they will too understand why math is important and how it can used to solve important issues in the world.
    My greatest change has been an increased understanding of how to incorporate literacy into a math course. There are limitless opportunities to utilize literacy through discussions, reading strategies, and other prompts. All of the different techniques will benefit the cohesion of the classroom content with the developing skills of my future students. As a teacher, I will also be learning about new and improved methods of implementation. Teachers and students are consistently learning from each other and literacy can act a means to rise to the best level of learning.

  5. The End of all Ends:

    In the beginning of the course I honestly thought that I would be reading a lot of articles about how to teach students to read. I had no idea I would grab so much out of it. I picked up some great ideas that I plan to use in my classroom such as K.I.M, the graphic organizer, and RAFT. I never thought I would be a literacy teacher as well as a math teacher, never had I ever thought about putting them together. Now I realize that they are all combined, and flow together. In order to make sure my students really understand what I want them to do or learn, they must be able to interpret and read what I give them. With all the ideas from class, I feel confident going into the classroom prepared to teach them math and literacy skills they will be able to use to college and their career. I agree, “Teaching is not a profession; it’s a passion.” It is something that when times get hard you must be willing to stick through it and think of things to make it better. I believe that in order for us to be teachers we must also be learners at all times. We have to learn and grow so that we can give our students the best knowledge and skills when they leave our classroom. Overall, I believe that my perception on teaching literacy has changed 360, and will make me become a better teacher than I thought I would be without it.

  6. Coming into this class, I was concerned with what was going to be discussed in the class and the fact that Janet was going to make us all into the literacy police. However, my worries quickly evaporated as we dove into the content of this course. I think the one thing that I feel most passionate about is the fact that there will be struggling readers in the classes that I teach, but I know that I will have the tools and skills to help them become better readers. I think we have all been taught so well about how to implement these strategies and do so with confidence and vigor. I’m excited to be challenged as a teacher. I can’t wait for that one day that a student comes up to me and asks for help with the reading or needs ways to help comprehend readings. I’ll just smile and say, “Let me help with you that!”

    I think that my biggest shift has been in my perception in the amount of effort/time/planning that it takes to implement these strategies. Before, I thought that these strategies would take up a lot of my time to plan out to incorporate into my lesson and then students would have a lot of trouble understanding them, I would have to spend days teaching the students how to use them. However, now I feel like they can be easily added into a lesson and can even be used on the fly. The ease of using these strategies will only get easier as times goes on and the more I use them in my everyday lessons. I think that I can be a teacher of science and a teacher of life long readers concurrently with no real divide between the two.

  7. I’m passionate about education. That is why I have returned to college. I feel that in this country we don’t put enough emphasis on the importance of education so I’m pleased with the addition of literacy into the content curriculum. I may not have appreciated it as a student because I never wrote enough in school to feel like I was proficient at it.
    I have always considered myself to be a lifelong learner. This is a later career for me having done several other things until I got to this point. I initially started college after High School in engineering. I worked for years in engineering companies and went to college at night. After 20 years of working I took time off to have my children and I just recently returned to college on a regular basis last fall. The education world is new to me from the teacher’s perspective. My mother was a teacher as are several of my friends and relatives but it is a very different type of working situation than an engineering company.
    I feel that I now have a better understanding of what is involved in the new requirements and the strategies that I can use to help the struggling learner. I have has a fair amount of experience in helping my sons with their literacy and finding material that they will enjoy reading.

  8. I really feel passionately about the connections between the last 3 shifts and scientific thinking. I realize these shifts are related to reading but I feel as though the actions they represent move beyond reading and into thinking. Scientists must be able to support their data with evidence, much like pulling it out of a text; they must be able to incorporate into their writing other scientists that contributed to the background needed for their work; and they must be able to understand not only their content-specific vocabulary but the other words that support that understanding.
    At the start of this course I was resistant to bringing much reading into my classroom. The reason was not because I felt reading was unimportant, but because I found the text book to be arduous and boring and therefor a waste of time for students to read. The idea of having students read other sources hadn’t occurred to me, there was a great article published last month about electrons in bonding being photographed (the full article is from science on-line but here is a brief article about it Having read this article while in this class I thought about how it could be incorporated into a lesson on bonding.
    I also started thinking about how you could bring in non-fiction or trade books into the classroom and having students actually read journal articles (with some scaffolding). The common core is something that will play a large part in our classrooms in the coming years and I had no idea how I would be able to incorporate more reading into a chemistry classroom. After this course I am now confident that focusing on these supplemental readings and shifts that my students will not only have a better grasp on reading but a better grasp on thinking as well.
    I was unsure how this class would impact how I would actually operate my classroom. I can now easily see the extension from skills already needed in science and math to literacy and how useful text other than the text book can be in extending learning and understanding.

  9. I feel most passionate about teaching literacy in my content class well enough so that my students will be able to enjoy science in their lives, not just in the classroom. Giving them the literacy tools to do so would be one way that they can connect with science well after their classroom time has ended. I would love it if they can pick up a scientific article in a newspaper or magazine and be able to enjoy what they are learning. My students may not become physicists or even like physics, but I would love for them to be able to understand the science in the world around them and actually find it interesting. For example, recently there was an article in Time Magazine about the Higgs Boson particle. I would be thrilled if my students would read that article, and not only read it, but to enjoy it as well. I would love it if they remember something about physics class, and maybe even talk about to someone about the article in their everyday lives.

    The greatest change in my perception of content area literacy is that we as teachers are not bound to one way of teaching, which is through the textbook. I have discovered that there are other ways to introduce topics, ideas, and vocabulary that do not involve the textbook at all, and might be more effective than simply using the textbook. I have discovered that using my imagination to teach may be a powerful way to connect ideas with textbook content. I also have found that there are many different ways already proven as effective ways to teach literacy, and as I start on my career as a teacher, I will be researching more of them as the need arises. I have enjoyed the different methods we have learned and I hope that through them I can more effectively reach students and have them build a love for science.

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