July 19, 2005
Chapters 7 & 8
Chapter 7: Writing About Reading in the Content Areas
Main Idea: This chapter is discusses writing about nonfiction reading in the form of feature articles, editorials, reports, etc.
- The author discusses teaching research>
- Facts alone do not make fascinating reading.
Mara - I thought it was important to put research into meaningful writing, but feaure articles are too sophisticated. I like to use literary nonfiction as a way to write about nonfiction reading.
Lois - Again, I feel this material more suits high school. The author emphasizes scaffolding which is wonderful. However, I'm not sure she has observed this type of writing in a school where there is no common language or prior support for these genres. I feel that often the scaffolding steps become the focus of the lesson and you are unable to accomplish all that she suggests.
Chapter 8: Assessment: Evaluating the Work of Writing About Reading
Main Idea: This chapter discusses using assessment to inform teaching. Observation in the classroom and having students assess are appropriate methods to assess on a daily basis.
- Assessment must reflect your teaching (vice versa).
- Be clear about expectations with the students in advance.
- Assess at different points, not just at the end.
Mara and Lois: We agreed with the ideas for assessment. The author's charts and examples are helpful. We need to trust that if we are doing daily quality and authentic writing with our students, they will pass state tests.
Chapters 5 & 6
Chapter 5: Genres of Writing About Reading
Main Idea: This chapter gives ideas for introducing to kids real genres of writing about reading including book reviews; author profile; literary commentaries; letters to authors, reviewer, or other readers; interviews with authors; blurbs or advertisements; literature in response to literature; adaption to a play; literary essays.
- The author describes each of the above genres and gives mini lessons (ad nauseum) for each.
Mara - liked the sample book reviews written by real students. She also liked real writing applications rather than contrived. Collecting samples to show students is powerful.
Lois - liked the idea that some books demand response. She felt some of the listed responses would be very natural for elementary age students, others would be difficult.
Chapter 6: The Literary Essay
Main Idea: Writing Literary essays is an opportunity for teaching organized thinking and stretching an idea about text.
- The Author gives day by day steps for teaching this genre.
Mara - I'm never going to do this. These essays are beyond elementary level, and I want to focus more on response to literature per grad standards.
Lois - I felt the timeline the author gives is unrealistic and included several points that were a unit in themselves for that level of student.
July 15, 2005
Chapters 3 and 4
Chapter 3 - Literary Thinking Across Text
Making meaningful connections - text to text, text to world and text to self.
- Use landmark texts (self-selected books that stick with the reader) to make more meaningful connections to new text.
- Let "this reminds me of..." become part of the classroom language.
- Use common story themes from folk tales to movies to television.
Mara - liked the idea of students choosing and using landmark texts.
Lois - liked the ideas for teaching meaningful connections. The author provides a chart of ideas on p. 33.
Chapter 4 - Using Readers Notebook and Making Plans for Longer Writing
Scaffolding students to move from short notes to longer and deeper writing - slowly building stamina.
- Use a readers notebook.
- Model (read aloud book) using your own sticky notes and other types of entries (lists, wonderings, webs, etc.)
- Demonstrate rereading notes, reflecting on ideas, showing how to choose notes for longer pieces of writing.
Mara - liked the emphasis on meaningful connections.
Lois - liked the strong emphasis on modeling each step.
July 12, 2005
Chapters 1 and 2
Chapter 1 - You Have to Have an Idea
Main Idea: You have to think about reading in a meaningful way before you can write in a meaningful way.
- You have to build on authentic conversations to get authentic writing.
- Model these conversations through your class read alouds.
- Practice regularly - talking, thinking, writing about reading with books at a student's own reading level.
- Scaffold - build your students' knowledge with small steps along the way.
- Teach accountable talk - give students words to say so we can know thay are on track. name the kind of thinking they are doing (questioning, wondering, inferring).
Chapter 2 - Thinking and Talking About Texts in Read - Aloud and Partnership Conversations
Main Idea: This chapter is an extension of chapter one fleshing out the idea of explicit teaching during read alouds to help children know what to say and write in response to reading. There is a whole chart of ways teachers can help kids think, talk and write about reading.
- There should be a gradual release of responsibility - model, practice with a partner (teacher pointing out good conversation), independent work.
- Use sticky notes to record reading (show examples to students)
- Show them how to choose ideas that can be explored further in longer responses.
- Demonstrate longer resonses.
Mara: I like the idea of finding the meaningful ideas in books, getting past the book report to more authentic talking and writing about books. Getting kids to write REAL products about books (book reviews, editorials, etc) is more useful than just writing for a grade.
Lois: I love the ideas on how to make the read aloud time more productive. In many classes this is wasted time, or at least not used to its potential. Angillio give excellent suggestions for helping kids learn to think about their reading.