Opening Day Faculty Keynote Address
Grayson County Schools, Leitchfield, KY July 28, 2005
New technologies have put students in charge of the information they access, store, analyze and share. Yet many schools function as if they still controlled the flow of information.
The copy / paste culture creates a bottom-up takeover of the information flow. Our students can be creators as well as consumers of content. New technologies have unleashed individual and collective creativity and redefined the meaning of literacy in the digital age. This presentation answers the questions:
“What is literacy in the 21st century?”
“What can schools do to promote a new literacy in the copy / paste world?”
It explores exciting new opportunities to reinforce literacy and interact with students, colleagues and information in ways that can revitalize teaching and learning. Download Literacy-in-a-CopyPasteWorld.pdf (1.7 MB) pdf handout
I also ran a one day training session "Strategies for Rigor and Relevance" for about 130 Grayson County middle and high school teachers. We used my TurningPoint audience response system to gather teacher feedback and guide our discussion and planning. Here’s a report of the responder data Download Grayson-Audience-Response.pdf (144 KB) pdf. TurningPoint can produce a variety of reports and can even track results by individual responder. Want to know more about TurningPoint response systems? Contact Mike Venrose at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve launched a new website Read > Think > Write > Publish to promote publishing, an activity that enables students to think like writers, to apply their learning strategies and to organize and express their learning. The site provides sample student books and writing prompts.
Students at-risk for literacy need immersion in literacy tasks, reading and writing, that replicate the real world because they are the learners who lack the schema that defines literacy in the real world. Without publishing the student does not complete the writing process so they never rise above the level of “school work” to “real work.” They never function as a writer. Literacy must be grounded in the real world to have value.
Publishing student writing encourages the reluctant writer by strengthening self-confidence, rewarding interest and promoting a positive attitude toward writing.
When students publish, they think like writers. They have to problem-solve and make decisions as writers to assume the responsibility of a published writer. This supports them as readers. If they haven’t written themselves, they have trouble analyze another writer’s work. If they have experience they know what to look for and how to evaluate what they see. Publishing is an excellent method to accomplish three central tasks:
• Understand topics thoroughly
• Actively use the information they assemble
• Move knowledge into one’s schema
This week I’m beginning a new series of workshops for teachers from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services – a dedicated group of teachers with a strong commitment to helping their students build motivation, positive self image and academic skills. The goal is to share strategies for working with struggling readers in multi-ability classrooms in juvenile detention facilities around the state. This is the first of a three-part series designed to address the wide variety of student reading levels in their classrooms. They will return to two follow up workshop in March and April with samples of student work to assist us all in discussing what worked and what was less successful. As an incentive for their students, we will “publish” samples of student work in a showcase booklet. We strongly believe that we can motivate struggling readers through the use of student publication projects.
In preparation for the series I have done classroom observation and teacher training at one of the facilities. Learning specialist, Suzanne Meyer, has observed classes at two others and worked with teachers and students there to complete a sample “student showcase” project. We have worked with Patricia Martin, an ELA / Reading specialist to select 18 learning strategies designed to simultaneously work with three common types of struggling readers you have in their classrooms
“Non-readers” who lack decoding skills (430KB pdf)
“Word-callers” who can decode, but lack comprehension skills (358KB pdf)
“Turned-off readers” who have the decoding and comprehension skills, but lack motivation or engagement (389KB pdf)
For an earlier draft with more strategies see: Literacy Strategies for the Multi-Ability Classroom: Part II also find tri-fold guides at: Literacy Strategies for the Multi-Ability Classroom, Part I
For more information on my training workshops for students of all ability levels visit my site: Content Reading Strategies that Work
Teachers responded well to my tri-fold guide for struggling readers: Non-Reader, Word Caller and Turned-Off Reader. See: Literacy Strategies for the Multi-Ability Classroom, Part I
To help teachers incorporate literacy strategies in their classrooms, Pat Martin and I went on to develop a series of targeted kits for critical skill development: Tools for the Word Caller (440kb pdf) and Tools for the Turned-Off Reader (460kb pdf). Each kit features eleven tools gathered from research-based practice. The kits feature a guide for the teacher with suggestions on how they can modify each strategy to support even more rigorous and relevant instruction. A reproducible student organizer gives scaffolded responsibility for learning to the student. Students are invited to make each skill part of their reader’s toolbox and reflect on how it improves their comprehension. I’ll be using the kits at teacher’s workshops this month to get feedback from the field. If you use one, let me know how it went. For more resources see my website: Content Reading Strategies that Work
I recently presented a workshop for teachers from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. The goal was to share strategies for working with struggling readers in multi-ability classrooms in juvenile detention facilities around the state. I used reader profiles to guide teachers through identification of struggling readers and appropriate learning strategies. Here are tri-folds of three types of struggling reader. Non-Reader, Word Caller and Turned Off. (each a 200kb pdf) Print them out back to back. Developed with Pat Martin. Reference: Differentiated Instructional Strategies for Reading in the Content Area, Carolyn Chapman and Rita King
I was joined by Suzanne Suor, a learning specialist who focuses on motivating struggling readers through the use of student publication projects. This spring we will be working with OCFS teachers from across the state in staff development training. We plan to collect samples of student work to review the impact of our literacy strategies in the classroom. We’ll combine strategies, student work and teacher reflection in publications to share with the students and their families.
This dedicated group of teachers has a commitment to helping their students build motivation, positive self image and academic skills. They already have many great project ideas for student publications – example teen fathers writing and publishing their own books for their children. For more on professional development with a product see PowerPoint overview. (400kb pdf)
For more strategies see: Literacy Strategies for the Multi-Ability Classroom: Part II