I enjoyed meeting so many energetic educators at the SDE 2017 Summer Conference. Here are summaries of the four sessions I presented.
Success with Intentional & Interactive Shared Reading
We used Probable Passage to set a purpose for reading. Start by giving students about a dozen words that are critical to understanding the text. Ask them to sort those words into categories. For narrative text, the sorts might be CHARACTERS, SETTING, PROBLEM, and SOLUTION. For informational text, ask students to sort based on which question the word might answer: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, or HOW.
Be intentional about the instructional focus and the text. Prepare the shared reading by selecting an instructional focus that addresses grade-level standards and student data that indicates where students need support. Share the instructional focus with students so that they know WHAT they are learning and WHY they are learning it.
Once you know your instructional focus, select a text that supports it. Prepare the text by 1) reading it and dividing it into digestible chunks; 2) writing questions or prompts to share with students at designated stopping points; and 3) noting next to each question or prompt an appropriate response format that will encourage all students to respond. For example, if you ask a recall question, use a format like Equity Sticks. However, if the prompt requires more strategic reasoning, invite students to collaborate with designated partners or small groups.
After the initial reading, identify excerpts from the text that warrant a closer look and possibly deeper discussion. Give each partnership or small group one section and ask them to answer two questions. What is the author doing? What is the author saying?
To encourage students to think beyond “the author writes” or “the author says,” share with them a list of actions many authors “do” when writing. Perhaps this list could become an anchor chart and grow in your classroom as students discover other actions authors are doing in their writing.
$1.50 Summary is a great way to help students quickly and succinctly summarize what the author is saying. Each word costs ten cents, so students must negotiate words as they try to encapsulate the big idea of their assigned excerpt. Engage students in a gallery walk to share their closer readings of the text.
Bring your shared reading full circle by returning to the words you gave students for the probable passage. Ask them to now use those words to talk and then write about the text.
Building Content Knowledge with Purposeful Curiosity & Deliberate Dialogue
We began this session by exploring the difference between diversive and epistemic curiosity. Diversive curiosity is surface level. Our students often satisfy it by looking up the answers on the Internet or waiting for the teacher to explain. However, epistemic curiosity is much deeper. It often encourages students to ask questions beyond what the text or teacher can tell them. Each new question inspires more questions and possibly more authentic research. Epistemic curiosity invites higher order thinking and academic conversations that go beyond a simple turn and talk to your neighbor.
We used the Question Formulation Technique to stoke deeper curiosity within our lesson. Here are the basic steps of QFT.
We practiced conversational moves to create, analyze, and evaluate our questions.
With questions in mind, we can read the text and look for evidence to answer our questions. We discussed the three ways students can integrate the author’s writing into their own writing.
Focused Feedback for Focused Instruction
We discussed the major components of good feedback: Feed Up, Feedback, and Feed Forward.
We practiced a few quick ways to check for understanding and get the feedback we need to feed forward a new lesson.
We explored a step-by-step paraphrasing process to teach students how to paraphrase:
Read the sentence or phrase.
Find words to substitute with synonyms. (Use a thesaurus if necessary.)
Use the synonyms to first talk, then write about the sentence or phrase.
Change the sentence structure for true paraphrasing.
The New Accidental-on-Purpose Class Experts
We used the concept definition organizer to define what we meant by expert.
We also explored a back-to-school idea for inviting students to articulate their own areas of expertise.
Thanks again for a wonderful conference. Remember to Keep It Simple and Strategic.