I know that these Food for Thoughts are getting a bit longer but have so much to share and to make get you to think about. The winter break is coming and perhaps you can save and read then. This week I am focusing on reading and writing which is important for all of us no matter what grade or subject we teach in the School. As IB teachers we are expected to all act as teachers of English regardless of our subjects, it is part of the standards and practices for all three IB programmes.
So here are two articles that raise valid points for us all to think about.
The Most Important Lesson Schools Can Teach Kids About Reading: It's Fun
“We’ve come away from our study thinking that teachers of reading and literature need to make pleasure more central to our practice. We think that the implications of this resolution are enormous. For example, instructors should be mindful of the variety of pleasures that readers experience and not privilege intellectual pleasures, the characteristic province of school. Our participants enjoyed making thematic generalizations, figuring out metaphors, and analyzing the aesthetic choices an author makes—intellectual pleasures all. But more frequently, these young people experienced the deep pleasure of entering a story world, living through the character’s actions, considering the character’s perspectives, and pondering what it might mean for their own lives.
We’re not the only ones who think pleasure reading is essential. An extraordinary new analysis done as part of the British Cohort Study—which is following the lives of more than 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week of 1970—makes a compelling case for why pleasure should be more central to policy discussions about reading. This analysis establishes that reading for pleasure outside school had a significant impact on young people’s educational attainment and social mobility because it actually “increased cognitive progress over time.” The impact of pleasure reading on live outcomes was more than three times greater than the level of parents’ educational attainment.”
The Writing Revolution
“And so the school’s principal, Deirdre DeAngelis, began a detailed investigation into why, ultimately, New Dorp’s students were failing. By 2008, she and her faculty had come to a singular answer: bad writing. Students’ inability to translate thoughts into coherent, well-argued sentences, paragraphs, and essays was severely impeding intellectual growth in many subjects. Consistently, one of the largest differences between failing and successful students was that only the latter could express their thoughts on the page. If nothing else, DeAngelis and her teachers decided, beginning in the fall of 2009, New Dorp students would learn to write well. “When they told me about the writing program,” Monica says, “well, I was skeptical.” With disarming candor, sharp-edged humor, and a shy smile, Monica occupies the middle ground between child and adult—she can be both naive and knowing. “On the other hand, it wasn’t like I had a choice. I go to high school. I figured I’d give it a try.”
New Dorp’s Writing Revolution, which placed an intense focus, across nearly every academic subject, on teaching the skills that underlie good analytical writing, was a dramatic departure from what most American students—especially low performers—are taught in high school. The program challenged long-held assumptions about the students and bitterly divided the staff. It also yielded extraordinary results. By the time they were sophomores, the students who had begun receiving the writing instruction as freshmen were already scoring higher on exams than any previous New Dorp class. Pass rates for the English Regents, for example, bounced from 67 percent in June 2009 to 89 percent in 2011; for the global-history exam, pass rates rose from 64 to 75 percent. The school reduced its Regents-repeater classes—cram courses designed to help struggling students collect a graduation requirement—from five classes of 35 students to two classes of 20 students.”
Transforming our Classrooms #3
Game Based Learning
- 7th Graders (And One Teacher) Learning With Minecraft (Rebekah Madrid)
- Minecraft Mania (Alex Guenther)
Last week someone asked me about my blog that I use to share articles with parents so just in case anyone is interested here is the link http://4u2nomore.blogspot.com/ So far this year I have posted 35 articles for parents to read about education or other matter that might affect their children.
Have a great weekend,