Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sara's Thoughts on Chapter 3 and 4!

          I found this last reading of chapters 3 and 4 of Janet Allen's Reading History to be a composite of many things I have learned over the past semester. Allen spoke a lot about multiple perspectives and sources. Specifically she mentioned that "Building [a] background... of note taking by which they could record information that represented both big ideas and the secondary information supporting those big ideas" (64) was a super important part of history. Ashley and I just wrote a lot about this in our memo and lesson plan for our writing strategy study. Allen also discusses a type of historical thinking on the same page, which relates to a lot of Drake's ideas that we have been studying in our methods class. On page 75, Allen gives an example of how to think historically with the RAFT example (Role, Audience, Format, Topic). I really liked this and thought it could be an easy quick thing to have students do before every reading. While it may take some time in the beginning of the year, this is a skill that could be utilized quickly by December and help students really get into the right mindset before making judgements on a text. I was also glad to see Allen address the issue of "transferring knowledge to testing"on page 86. While the first two steps out of her four step plan were basics, the third and fourth steps went into detail about how we can really help our students approach and decode difficult readings. This is something we ask a lot in our classes, but I've never seen such a clear statement on the issue.
          In chapter 4, I really enjoyed the section on "Highlighting the Best Practice" (92). This chart is something I will keep with me on my desk as a constant reminder that taking the easy way out and relying on the textbook is detrimental to my students. Often I get frustrated by how hard my TCH classes are. After all, I had teachers in high school who did everything by the textbook and I got along just fine, even though I hated the subject. So when I get frustrated I find myself thinking, "In real life, I'll just assign things out of the back of the book." But this chart really shows how important it is to make a small increase in effort in order to receive a huge increase in effectiveness. Allen discusses being a reflective practitioner on page 95, and that is something that I believe I will have to focus on, to ensure that I never get lazy and that I am always being the best teacher I can be for my students.

1 comment:

  1. Do you get frustrated because there's an emphasis on lots of different methods? I'm trying to understand your statement. Dan Lortie, a famous sociologist of education, shows how teachers basically teach how they are taught. And that's likely how we get the results we keep on getting and not to great effect. You are right, in one sense - if we teach the way we've always been taught with little effort to change, then we are sure to reach some students (maybe those like us) but I wonder if, increasingly, a large segment of the student population will be left out...and that's the argument for embracing a variety of methods - something will work with everyone. The heart of it all, Sara, is thoughtful reflection. It is the only fuel to drive the work over time.