Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Creating Supportive and Responsive STRATEGY STUDIES

Continuum for Student Learning
©Laura Benson

Having determined student learning goal(s)/standards-based BIG Ideas and Essential Questions, I detail these intentions by developing a continuum for student learning.  I work to generate ideas to set students up for early success in a supportive apprenticeship with Launching Lessons and plan to extend and strengthen students' learning over a period of time by engaging them in Deepening Lessons.  By developing these "growth over time" lesson menus, I can also better differentiate learning for my students - I ask myself, "Is this lesson for all my students, for some of my students, or for one of my students?" 
If I identify inferential thinking as an essential next step learning goal for my class, for example, I then build a unit of study with continuum considerations such as:

Ø  What does it mean to infer?  What should my students KNOW and be able to DO as inferential thinkers by the end of this unit of study?  How should I map out these concepts and skills of inferring to respond to my students' current development?      
      John Hattie (2012) chiseled my thinking about the importance of vividly understanding student learning goals with his advice to "know the target."  I have to be clear about what proficiency in inferential thinking is (i.e. what it looks like and what inferring sounds like; subskills of the spectrum of inferring such as pronoun references, implicit references, and metaphor; etc.) so that I can model and name it with my students and so that I am absolutely clear about what to look for in their thinking work as I monitor their growth over time.  By unpacking inferring, I will be able to better evaluate students' progress as inferential thinkers and structure my teaching in response to their strengths and needs.

& What lessons will help me launch this study of inferring with my students?             

& What should I front load to create an invitational feel and immediate student success in practicing inferring?  How do my students already use this strategy out of text?

& Do all my students need all of these lessons?  Or, are some of these lessons more helpful to my younger readers?  And are some of these lessons more helpful to my mature readers? 

& Linking literacy learning and helping students to see this as a true thinking strategy, how can I demonstrate inferring as a word work tool?...content area learning tool?...life tool?


ü  Studying inferring over a long period of time, what lessons and experiences would deepen my students’ inferential thinking?

ü  Differentiating learning, how can/should I develop small group collaborative from this menu?

ü  How can I gradually release use of this strategy over to students?  What scaffolds do they need?

ü  How and when should I integrate students’ use of inferring with other thinking strategies?


§What should my students read to practice this goal?  What texts prompt students to utilize inferential thinking? To practice inferring in multiple genres, my students should read…?

§What do my students like to read?


! What does proficient inferring look like and sound like?/What should I see in students’ literacy work to know they are independently and successfully inferring?

!  How will I monitor my students’ use of inferring and their progress as inferential thinkers?  Do we have a team common formative assessment I can utilize to monitor students’ growth as inferential thinkers?  [If not, let’s create one!]

! How will I know it is time to move students to more challenging, deepening lessons?

! And how will I know my students are ready to move onto another reading goal/s?

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