Tools for Transfer

The challenge is to create tools that will promote independence.  Tools that will be meaningful to children, ones they can use with ease and utility.  The Wheel of Strategic Actions attempts to make the reading process visible through observational work.  Teachers can infer which actions are being flexed and attempt to provide instruction to bolster students’ efforts. Going deep into the Continuum to pull out potential teaching points and tools to match is very difficult work.   Putting this complex work into neat categories is daunting.  There is some overlap – so how to decide which tool goes where?  In the end we can’t sweat the small stuff and have to go back to our original intention: to give students a destination a place to go that will support their learning when they need it.   

Accountable Talk:  Click here

Promoting intellectual rigor begins with accountable talk.  In the classroom, children should be able to engage in conversation that will promote greater understanding in a social framework.  This tool is being used daily – the more children elect to use it the more sophisticated their classroom conversations become.  In other words – this is how we talk about literacy in this room.  One day a group of students were talking about spiders. The conversation went to all spiders being poisonous but after some meaningful dialogue students realized that not all spiders but some.  The tool allowed the teacher to observe this exchange of ideas and students did the work of discovery not the teacher.  The tool brought the readers back to the text.  Through this, children were able to connect the pages in a meaningful way.  They let the book reveal its content because they (the readers) were able to seek it out through discourse.

Thinking Tracks: Click here  

Reading is thinking- this is one of the most important things we teach our students.  Essentially, this annotating texts.  This simple system for annotating texts is easy to use and allows children to truly reflect on their own reading.  This is especially true for our current Informational UoS.  Today the children  paired this tool with another –  Fact, Question, Response (FQR)  Click Here The ‘Response” part can be difficult – the Thinking Tracks scaffolded that higher level thinking.  The Thinking Tracks gave a label for the authentic response to learning the fact:  was this confusing, did this make you wonder, or was it really surprising to learn…

This is the work that we are dedicating ourselves to because we know it works.  There are so many “programs” or “interventions” when the reality is everything that students need to be successful is predicated on the idea of transfer.  In Gravity Goldberg’s new book Mindsets & Moves she writes: “As teachers, we can begin to set students on the road to this kind of agency by thinking about how we can teach readers to make purposeful decisions for themselves.”   How we do that is going to rest on: explicit instruction, immediate corrective feedback, and diverse tools that help students to generalize strategic actions in meaningful ways – ways that promote authenticity and independence.

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