Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ellin Oliver Keene - WLI Day 2

Keene presented to the whole group and to smaller groups during day two of the the Wayland Literacy Institute (WLI). Reading Keene's books provide greater understanding of the concepts I discuss below. Her stories and research will impact my teaching in the fall in the following ways:
  1. RTI
    • Focus on our most struggling readers and Keene's research -- what do they need?
    • Focus on the rest of the students w/respect to the resources available and how we'll run a program that provides a 20/80 surface structure/deep structure approach to developing comprehension.
  2. Classroom Program
    • Increased time for readers' workshop and interactive read aloud.
    • Increased meaningful print throughout the classroom.
    • Intentional vocabulary. Integration of content goals w/reading instruction.
    • Relook at signature projects and how they can be better integrated with optimal reading instruction, efforts.
    • Relook at chosen texts -- are we choosing the best texts for instruction, texts that will nurture optimal learning, understanding and growth?
    • Time on task -- Is student's time on task spent focused on researched, beneficial learning activities? What can we leave out? What do we need to increase and/or deepen?
  3. Book Talk/Continued Professional Development
    • Teachers need to engage in book talk as a way of making the best print decisions for students' independent reading, interactive read alouds and content reading. Some teachers have greater knowledge in this area than others, we might profit as a school system from their expertise.
    • Teachers need to continue to share their expertise, efforts and ideas related to this topic. This collaboration will benefit both teachers and students.
  4. Writing Book "Explore Copy"
    • Try out Keene's suggested strategies as I read this summer in my online writing book.
    • Read more children's books and apply strategies.
    • Read books related to my interests and passions, apply strategies.
    • Use book as a guide as I engage students in creating their own writing books and written responses.
During the morning whole group session she discussed the behavioral markers of deep understanding. When readers are comprehending text on a deep level, you will notice one or more of these markers. I will look for and try to develop these behaviors as I engage, teach and assess student readers and writers.
  1. "Fervent attention" and "deep engagement."
  2. A desire to take "action" in the world through writing, artistic creations, discussion and other contributions.
  3. "Willingness to struggle" to solve complex problems.
  4. "Describe our progress as readers" and "describe how our thinking has changed."
  5. "Engage in rigorous discourse." "Argue and defend" ideas, beliefs using evidence from text and schema.
  6. "Renaissance learners" satisfying curiosity, pursuing a "compelling question" while meandering among a wide range of topics, interests, genres, authors.
Later in the day she talked to a group of intermediate elementary educators. She focused on the information below.
  1. Teach what's essential. Foster independent work and learning.
  2. Focus on few key concepts of great import taught in great depth over long period of time, applied in variety texts and contexts.
  3. Explicitly teach comprehension strategies and text/genre structure.
  4. Begin the year with an integrated review/teaching of all comprehension strategies, then move on to units that focus on singular strategies with greater depth, and finally end the year with a final review of all strategies.
  5. Teach the three dimensions of surface structure systems - identifying words, fluency:
    • Phonics
      • Older students who can benefit from phonics are ELL students or native English speaking students who have never had phonics instruction before. Some students will not be able to gain mastery in phonics.
    • Lexical System: visual exposure/memory of all words. Visualizing words in the "mind's eye" until you can retain and apply. Cover your classroom with meaningful print.
    • Syntactic System: Understanding language structures of words, sentences, paragraphs and whole texts. Make this teaching an object of focus lessons, pointing out structures in text and utilizing these structures in writing. Immediate feedback to teach students correct structures -- let students see it, say it, hear it.
  6. Teach the three dimensions of deep structure systems - literal and deep comprehension, focal to global understanding.
    • Semantic System: Making meaning with words, vocabulary. Number of new vocabulary words per week should be about equal to the child's age. Focus on the most important words for intentional vocabulary instruction.
    • Schematic System: Understanding the big ideas, making meaning of text. Teachers impact this by teaching comprehension strategies and text/genre structures.
    • Pragmatic System: How we use the ideas learned in text including repeated readings, reader's theater, class discussions, multimedia composition, writing about reading. The more a child has the opportunity to work with a text, the better he/she will understand it.
I welcome your feedback and ideas as I continue to review Keene's work. Her discussions at the Wayland Literacy Institute will lift instruction in our system and foster greater depth and breadth related to students' comprehension across all genres and subjects.

Note: Take a look at Day 1's Notes if interested.