Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thank You, African Educators!

In honor and gratitude for the inspiring educators of the AISA (Association of International Schools in Africa) Conference! I loved learning with you. Hearing all your thoughtful "I wonder..." questions and your "I learned..." insights, it is clear to me how richly blessed your students are to have YOU in their literacy lives.

Wishing you great joy on all your journeys, here are a few touchstones from our professional studies.

Warmest regards and respect,

Key Tenets of Literacy Workshop Learning and Teaching:

Students engage in daily practice of reading and writing

  • Student engagement and growth are continuously monitored by the teacher with one-on-one conferences and his/her anecdotal notes. Additional evidence of students’ literacy progress and investment are regularly harvested from students’ responses in whole group discussions; book club talks and guided reading studies; written responses; and self evaluations (for example). The teacher employs predictable yet compelling rituals and routines are to support student engagement, community spirit and support, and intellectual rigor.

Students read and write from their choices (most of the time, 80%) as well as guided choices from their teacher (20%)

  • Guide students to “Just right books to ensure that students comprehend what they read
  • Students have access to a variety of literacy resources and texts from a well stocked and diverse classroom library and writing center.

All members of the workshop community are both student and teacher

  • Students serve as fellow mentors voicing their thinking processes during focus lessons, small groups, and author’s chair (for example).

Teacher as reader and writer

  • Students witness their teacher engaged in his/her own reading and writing.
  • By revealing why and how s/he works to read and write/articulating the dynamic processes for how we need to think to understand (as readers) and be understood (as writers), the teacher is a vibrant mentor in his/her students' lives.

Teacher and students work with intention and focus

  • The teacher determines worthy literacy studies for his/her students by knowing each child as individual and identifying class patterns of performance, too.
  • Guided by their teacher(s) and supported by all members of the classroom community, students study an edifying literacy focus over a long period of time in a variety of learning settings and texts for and with a variety of audiences.

Furthering Our Studies of Bonnie Campbell Hill's Developmental Continuums and Our Focus on "Teacher as Mentor" ~ a few thoughts about how we can support each child's journey...

The Gradual Release of Responsibility model stipulates that the teacher moves from assuming “all the responsibility for performing a task…to a situation in which the students assume all of the responsibility” (Duke & Pearson, 2002, p. 211). This gradual release may occur over a day, week, month, or a year.

Graves and Fitzgerald (2003) note “effective instruction often follows a progression in which teachers gradually do less of the work and students gradually assume increased responsibility for their learning.”

A common framework for implementing the model is I do it; we do it; you do it…Many models lack a vital component: learning through collaboration with peers (Fisher & Frey, 2008).

The Gradual Release of Responsiblity model is the intersection of several theories and multiple research studies:

· Piaget’s (1952) work on cognitive structures and schema

· Vygotsky’s (1962; 1978) work on zones of proximal development

· Bandura’s (1965) work on attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation

· Wood, Bruner, and Ross’s (1976) work on scaffold instruction

· Pearson & Gallagher’s (1983) research with reading students

· Duke & Pearson’s (2002) studies on modeling & guided practice to build students’ independence as readers, writers, and learners

· Tomlinson’s (2001; 2003) research about differentiated learning

· Kersten’s (1987) studies articulating the importance of organizing instruction so that students increasingly take responsibility for their own learning

· Palinscar and Brown’s (1984) and Oczkus’ (2003) reciprocal teaching research

· Studies on the effectiveness of peer learning:

+ Gersten & Baker’s (2000) with English language learners;

+ Stevens & Slaven’s (1995) for students with disabilities; and

+ Coleman & Gallagher’s (1995) learners identified as gifted.

Model & Practice Self Talk with Students

How do proficient readers work to understand the texts they read, view, and hear?


Use existing knowledge to make sense of new information


Ask questions before, during,

& after reading


Draw inferences from the text

Check & Repair



their own


and use fix

up strategies

when they

get “stuck”


Identify important ideas in text


Integrate information to create new ideas and deeper understanding

“This reminds me of…”

“This is like…”

“This is like ___ but not like ____ because…”

“I am connecting ____ to ____ because…”

“I wonder…”

“Why did they…?”

“I am curious about…”






“I bet…”

“I am guessing that ____


“I predict…”

“It seems like ___ and, so, I think that…”

“I infer…”

“I think…”

“I know…”

“I don’t get it. I’d better read that again…”

“This was about…”

“I am confused…”

“I know that I know…”

“I learned…”

“This seems really important because…”

“A big idea I am taking from this text is…”

“The author wants me to consider...”

“Putting all this information together, I now know that…”

“In the beginning…and at the end…”

“Now I realize that…”

“I feel that ____ because…So, now I will…”

...and Continue Your Collaborations to Name and Create Formative Assessment Practices and Tools to INFORM Your Teaching Work

Making Formative Assessment Connections for My Students...

Let's keep the Conversation Going!

Formative Assessment


Why & How Considerations

Implementation Plans: How I will use this will my students

Regular Classroom Work

Oral Response & Talk Strategies; Self Evaluatiion Strategies

Writing & Written Response Strategies

Artistic Response Strategies

Developmental Continuums

Rubrics & Scoring Guides

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