February 4th, 2008 JJ
There was much that I enjoyed about the readings this week; however, I think the most impressive quality to me was the circular nature of the work. As in the action research process the work presented in these posters is not finished…it has been presented as findings and is the beginning of the next cycle. I feel that too often in educational research what happens is that the research is done, the findings are published, and then the public accepts published findings as the truth; so if you as an educator do not achieve success through the implementation of said findings, well you must have done something wrong.
As has been mentioned earlier, Randy Bass’s work even included that reflective piece for the oral mid-term and final. Much in the same way as the readers were scattered and non-leaner, so are our thought processes (again as has already been mentioned), so why shouldn’t we allow our students the opportunity to explain their thinking and their answers. Besides as we all know if we give students questions to answer about a reading they will just hunt and scan until they find what they think is the right answer and then write down what they find. Or worse, they will have a friend that will allow them to just copy down their answers. More often than not, they both get the wrong answer in this situation.
Having had a great deal of exposure to below grade level and struggling readers in my first five years of teaching, I have been exposed to a great deal of professional development and course work on reading. Therefore, I have employed many techniques in which I expect students to interact with the text. In honesty, nothing makes them more angry - at first - then when I don’t just give them questions to answer. One of the strategies that I have found to be most effective is a double-entry journal. Through the use of double-entry journals, we will read a text together identifying and commenting on the basic elements of the story (setting, character, plot, themes, etc.) This is done through modeling with me keeping a journal on the overhead for them to copy down. As the year progresses, I ask for them to include more and more in their double-entry journals and provide them with less and less support. Although they do a great deal of belly aching and whining everytime I respond that ‘yes’ they will be keeping a reading journal, without fail it is the one thing the majority of them will write about at the end of the year as being the most helpful thing they have done in class throughout the year.
Although I provide a great deal of support for my Gen. Ed. classes through reading journals, I do not give as much support to my AP students. This is one of the areas that I struggle with because even though many of the students are at a higher level, not all of them have the same skills entering the class. The sad truth of the matter is that many of them are only taking AP classes to get out of the Gen. Ed. classes because there is no middle ground opportunity. So long story short - I know that there is more that I could be doing for my Gen. Ed. populations, but I feel like I’m making headway there; however, it is the lower end of the spectrum students in my AP classes that I feel are slipping threw the cracks.
Sorry, I feel as if I’ve droned on about what I do in this post rather than about the readings. One thing that I have done with my AP students as an extra credit assignment was the creation of a MySpace network for the characters of the Iliad and what the VKP readings gave me the idea of is kind of an expansion on this idea to a research project that we going to be doing as part of an individual book project.
Okay, okay, enough…talk about non-linear posting. I’m really just stream of consciousness blogging here so I’ll come back when I have something relevant to write.
Entry Filed under: Week 3