Emily C. Tchir
Book Club Posting #2
Chapter 2 within the book Reading History: A Practical Guide to Improving Literacy by Janet Allen was a lot more about the actual strategies regarding implementation of literacy practices within Social Studies. A lot of the mentioned strategies I have seen within my CDP, experience, linked to the Methods class or was purely intrigued by.
Page 31 has a section where the author asks the question “whose job is it to teach reading” and that seems to be a question that many are grappling with, but Allen had put together a great response regarding this issue. She mentioned that we SHOULD work with reading skills within our subjects because that is where students will see them most, and by understanding how to approach certain materials, students will glean more information. This is a topic that we have mentioned also quite a bit within our Methods class, but overall, I have to give it to Janet Allen for giving the best set of arguments for Social Studies teachers to teach literacy.
The Questions Game on page 33 really caught my attention because it takes the basic exit tick idea of asking students to write a question down from the day’s lesson and takes it up a notch a la Emeril Lagasse. I really like the group learning setting and the encouragement of asking questions. As I often mention, students ability to question has been quleched like a bug on the windshield at a young age, so having an activity like this is a perfect way to introduce the students to higher order thinking questions. This activity brings in scaffolding, some autonomy, and integrates some use of long term memory skills.
I found ReQuest to be a great tool for unit reviews, because many times, I have found, students have a tendency to ask some really good questions that could really be utilized on a test. It was such a relief to see the use of the Word Wall really become integrated into the classroom. I feel like teachers have it ingrained in their minds to NEED to use a word wall, even if they don’t really utilize it to a full potential or really even know WHY they should have one. The options that Allen gave put the words into a historical context and also showed that students should start to think like historians. It is one thing for students to know what a word means, but seeing it in context and then dissecting a sentence can bring so much meaning.
The Words in Context Plus on page 42 was something I more or less fell in love with. I really wish I had a model like this to use for words I was not familiar with. This visual aid helps students break down the word so much that it gets them used to seeing certain words. I can’t wait to use a method like this within the classroom, although I don’t think I would use this on a regular class day, perhaps when there is a substitute or for homework.
One method that had me worried a little bit was the Textbook Activity Guides described on pages 51-53. I have seen so often teachers give the textbook questions that ask for direct answers out of the book and have the students hunting for answers, not actually reading. Within my CDP I have seen this type of activity used and rushed through because students recognize how to “play the game” of these types of sheets. If I was a teacher using this assignment, I would change it up a little bit. I might keep the first three or four questions about context, and then build up (a la Bloom’s Taxonomy) in difficulty. I would not ask from the certain pages or paragraphs but make students infer from the overall reading, making them think more critically and analytically.
I look forward to read what Allen has for us next in Chapter 3.