What is right when it comes to teaching towards independence? Gravity Goldberg (@drgravityg) begins her new book: Mindsets & Moves Strategies that Help Readers Take Charge by opening up a good conversation. One that begins with John Hattie. “The key to understand what is going on in each student’s mind.” (Hattie 2012 p37). The completion or non completion of tasks is a limited view of what students are really doing in the classroom. If this is all we have, really, we are missing the point entirely. A task that is driven by a product only, is sort of like a dead end. It fails to lead us to greater understandings of the interior thoughts of students. We don’t want to spend a lot of time copying over writing so it can be edited for publishing. It also does not motivate students to learn grammar and spelling to promote transfer. If we want to understand what is going on in student’s minds then we have to set up our teaching that way. What do we know? If we connect back to Mary Ehrenworth’s presentation: Yes! You Can Teach Grammar In Workshop Three Essential Methods to Tuck In Grammar Effectively
If we believe there are access points through process that reveal insights as to what students are learning, and what they value most. Then our data prompts what can be taught next. Right now third graders are finishing their narratives. Torture. There has been so much rich work; they have been immersed throughout the writing process, they have worked with agency (using the Interactive Learning Wall); they are accomplished except… now it’s time to edit and publish.
Let’s continue this rich work using their writing as mentor text for inquiry that allows time for students to reflect back and evaluate their own writing. We identify areas of grammar that our students need instruction around. Making observations and gathering our data informs this process. “When we step back we can become admirers…” (pg. 2 Mindsets & Moves) In terms of our work, as we highlight one area of grammar usage per week (using student mentor texts paired with professional mentor texts) we facilitate the inquiry process. After, students are able to access their published pieces and determine how this work could help elevate the grammar in their writing. When students are in the process of generating ideas and drafting their writing it can feel overwhelming to do this additional work. However, if they are given a time when there is only one thing to focus on, it becomes more manageable and purposeful. They have time to do this and then transfer it to their own writing, right then and there.
Making interpretive observations can be elusive for many of us. The classroom environment is as important to this process as the observation itself. The environment sets up students’ work; but teachers’ beliefs shape our observational lens. That is the link to our expectations. What if we tied our beliefs to Goldberg’s four primary tenants:
- All students are worthy of study and to be regarded with wonder.
- All students are readers, yet their processes may look different.
- All students can learn to make purposeful choices about their reading.
- All students can develop ownership of their reading lives.
Goldberg Gravity.Mindsets & Moves Strategies That Help Readers Take Charge.Thousand Oaks:Corwin Literacy, 2016. Print
Consider this – these eloquent beliefs are the tools. Tools that enable teachers to contemplate the “what” and the “how” that drives student learning. Our perceptions and beliefs have real consequences; armed with this stance Goldberg goes on to name and affirm the “admiring lens”
For all these reasons this is a must read book! There is no telling how Gravity Goldberg will influence our thinking. One thing is for sure – we are excited to find out.