February 22nd, 2008 Karen
Analyzing my weekly blog posts has allowed me to notice several trends in my responses. Rather than comparing several of the assigned texts to each other, my posts consist of an examination one text and its relevancy to my own classroom teaching. Each week, I identify either new methods I hope to implement or those I currently utilize with my students. Embedded throughout these reflections are comments on my emotional responses both to the texts we read and the strategies I practice in my classroom.
Throughout the blogs, the primary focus is on practical application: How can the knowledge presented in this reading
- Make me a better teacher?
- Help me more fully engage my students?
- Enable my students to attain higher levels of critical thinking?
Repeatedly, I choose to examine ready-to-use strategies such as establishing a repertoire; writing difficulty papers; translating a “highlight” into a verbal response; and “thinking aloud.” The commonality between these methods is their function; each offers a clear process for students to surpass mere literal readings of texts on their way to more interpretive understandings. As I mentioned in my first blog, a professional development workshop in August prompted me to make deeper reading of difficult texts a targeted area of instruction this year. Conveniently, many of our readings have supported my pursuit of this agenda by offering specific strategies applicable to the reading of difficult texts. In my posts, I explain the appeals of each strategy and what qualities make it a successful match for my classroom. I also offer evidences of success in my own classroom: my students’ overwhelming excitement for the Think Aloud activity; their deeper understanding after completing Difficulty Papers; and the effectiveness of connecting art to poetry. Hearing stories of successful classroom experiments gives me the courage to try my own; it is for this reason that I feel it’s so important to share what works with our students.
Speaking of “feeling,” I was unaware of the frequent inclusion of my own personal emotions toward trying new strategies until I reread my blogs. In the course of four posts, the span of my declared emotions is incredible: nervous, afraid, excited, enthusiastic, insecure, relieved, impressed, eager, interested, and convinced. This range of emotions speaks to the deep investment I have in my students and my profession; I am passionate about discovering and sharing with my students the best information, the most useful tools for their success both in my classroom and beyond.
Another observation I’ve had relates not to the content of the posts themselves, but to their publication dates-I tend to publish early in the week, usually Friday or Saturday. My reasoning is twofold: time constraints force me to complete most of my work early, and I enjoy reading others’ comments on my posts. The encouragement and additional suggestions for improving my students’ learning are much appreciated. Because my only response which did not elicit comments was published very late in the week, it seems natural to assume that the earlier I post, the more likely I am to receive much-desired feedback from classmates.
Entry Filed under: Week 6