I loved the article about Children's Literature! When I used Rigby in my classroom I was bored to tears with some of the "diverse socially correct stories." Some of the stories in Rigby were ok, but for the most part they didn't have that rich authentic motivating stories. Frankly some of the stories were very dry and were selected to teach a skill, not selected for the quality of literature. I really wish school districts wouldn't spend so much money on buying a canned curriculum, but instead just bought books. Aren't we professionals? Can't we use our standards to teach the skills rather than having a "set dialogue" the teacher is suppose to use? It takes the craft out of teaching and puts all of our kids into the same square peg when most aren't square at all. I really believe that some of the "reading curriculum" dumbs down students and teachers' abilities.
I agree Marsha! In addition, I teach reading to the lower/stuggling students and many of the books are very dry and boring. If I can incorporate high quality literature/picture books, I can better teach comprehension (and higher levels of thinking) in addition to decoding.
I also agree that many of the books we use to teach foundational reading skills are not that interesting. It is important that we also use quality literature so that students realize that books are engaging, fun, and enjoyable. These kinds of texts are what motivate kids to want to read and become lifelong readers and learners. There's nothing more rewarding than when one of my students tells me, "I loved this book. Can I read it again!"
Rich children's literature is a catalyst to rich instruction. Children's literature opens up the "instruction manual" if the teacher looks deeply enough. So much can be taught, modeled, practiced, applied, analyzed, synthesized, explained, (ie. Hess' grid of Blooms and Web's DOK charts) through the use of engaging children's literature rich in vocabulary, sentence structure, story structure, literary elements and the like. I can't wait to begin using the quality literature that I know is best for our students. :)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading "The Roles of Children's Literature". Even though I am a secondary teacher, I still feel as though I can incorporate the ideas of this article to have my students regain a love for literature with texts that they really want to dive into and explore.
Thanks to Donna who pointed out that I wrote secondary when I meant to type that I teach intermediate. Had a little brain lapse. :)
Loved, loved, loved the children's lit article. I've used a few of the suggested books with fifth-graders, but I look forward to looking up more of the titles. I feel as though students are never too old to enjoy and benefit from picture books.
I also appreciated the article about writing and the CCSS. I'm still getting my mind around how the writing will be assessed, as the released items make it look as though it will be integrated into reading responses. I'd still like some clarification on that. Overall, it was good to have the expectations discussed in a form other than just the standards themselves.
While I was reading the article on children's lit, I found myself thinking about lessons I could plan with my students. I, like many other teachers, have moved away from read aloud because of time issues. I have missed reading aloud books with my students. This article reminded me that reading aloud has numerous benefits beyond the joy of hearing a story. I plan on coming back to this article to integrate read aloud more into my reading and writing activities with my students. I know they will be glad to hear more stories too.
Children's literature is a key component to a successful writer's workshop. Not only can students access and analyze what good writing looks like, the use of picture books enhance the teaching of genre writing. I find writing one of the most difficult content areas to teach as there are so many needs within the classroom. It was interesting to read that the writer's "process" is not included in the new standards! I think students were getting caught up in "where they were" on the continuum instead of focusing on "what they were writing" and analyzing how to make it better. I'm hopeful that by using the new standards for writing, teaching writing will become more purposeful. This class is helping me to understand going deeper with reading is made powerful by using the standards as the focal point! I hope that makes sense. My brain is full tonight and still trying to process today!
I also loved the article on children's literature. Read aloud is my favorite time of the day (and my students). There has been many a time I have considered getting rid of read-aloud due to time constraints but then I reflect on the rich discussions, new vocabulary, and deep questions that always arise during that time. It is a bonding time and a truly rich learning experience. My goal in reading is to instill a life long love of reading.
I'm glad I have been waiting for others to post because the feedback is fantastic to read! I'm excited about the direction that our thinking is taking...getting back into using authentic, rich text for both reading and writing instruction. That's how I developed a love for reading and writing; by being exposed to quality literature. That's what I want to do for my students too.
As teachers, we have always known the value of quality children's literature; although we may not have been able to list all 10 roles of great literature. Fidelity to the district-purchased curriculum has limited the use of literature. However, that has changed. I now feel a freedom to go deeper -- with fidelity to CCSS -- by implementing the ideas and strategies I am learning in this class.
I, like others, enjoyed the Children's literature article as justification for what we all know, that quality children's literature will make a difference in children's lives as readers and writers.
The article about the writing standards was interesting and made me want to really look closely at the new standards to see how these can be intertwined into what we are learning in this class. I also came away (from reading the article and class the last two days) with the justification that these strategies and concepts should be integrated into all subject areas..
The children's literature article reassures us of what we all know. Our instincts tell us how important great, fun books are to our kids. This article gives us the permission to continue this important part of our day. We are learning to add great learning and great books. Our guts and hearts tell us this is the right thing to do for kids. I loved the list of books at the end of the article. I am always looking for more good literature for my struggling readers.
The Roles of Children's Literature article made so many good points. Children's literature does offer readers a thoughtful place to learn and grow and vicariously experience the world. It is so refreshing to see rich literature making a comeback in the classroom. Without it, as the article mentioned, children can so easily lose their sense of wonder and curiosity. They will also feel more alone. Every time I reread one of my favorite children's lit. books to students, I see how much these books have shaped my life.
Our discussion today was right in line with the points made in the article.
The Neglected R article hit home, too. So many students think they don't like writing. If they could do more than formulaic writing, I think many students would discover a world within themselves through their writing.
Madeleine L'Engle said, "You have to write the book that wants to be written." If students aren't given the opportunities to experiment in their writing, (and not just write to a test) they'll never discover the wonder and truth in that statement.
I really enjoyed the literature article. I struggled with using Rigby whole group texts when I felt like the read alouds that I tried to squeeze into my schedule in Kindergarten were more effective in helping my students learn how to comprehend texts. I am glad that we now realize that we have the freedom to do this in the classroom.
In order to fully engage our students to want to learn we must provide reading materials that are interesting and fun. If we do not completely buy in to what we are teaching our students can sense that and not hear the message we are telling them.
Children’s Lit, Serafini/Moses
While we have spent time analyzing texts qualitatively and quantitatively to determine complexity, the article speaks to what Sydney and Jessica have suggested, start with a favorite text. Texts that have become our favorites are certainly quality pieces. They are sure to have deep and varied meanings, lessons, themes. They are sure to be written beautifully and with purpose. If we start with a text that we love, we can build “our community of readers.” These readers will be willing to delve deeply into a text that we share with love and passion. They will do the hard work of annotating, asserting, and commentating because literature is “a window on the world and a mirror into our own existence.”
Neglected R, too many experts to cite…
I appreciated the evaluation of our CCSS-WL. It is encouraging to know that overall, our “new” standards in writing will in fact promote good instruction and result in good writing. There were a few key points that I felt validated the work we do with writers.
1. “Students should be given opportunities to choose topics, purposes, and audiences of interest when writing.” Even in the age of CCSS-WL student choice still creates motivation and buy-in.
2. “Strategies are one of most effective practices shown to improve students’ writing performance.” Our writing instruction has to be purposeful and explicit. We need to teach writers how to do the hard work of writing.
3. “Teachers can help students by linking writing purpose and audience with genre-specific elements and text structures. Explicit and systematic instruction in a particular genre structure can lead to students’ improved writing performance within that genre.” Just like the 50/50 shift in reading, our writers need to write narrative and non-narrative pieces in the classroom and for assessment purposes. When we write a story, we use time transitions. When we support a thesis we use reasons. Different genres have different formats to which we must attend.
4. “Students internalize models and are eventually able to use them in their own writing.” For this reason, we must give them access to complex texts. We may never write like our favorite author, but we can certainly aspire to acquire his/her skills and talent.
5. “The importance of writing extends far and wide—from everyday communication to personal health.” Writing is such a powerful tool. It is at the highest, most complex level of language mastery. Teaching writing, as many of us would agree, is a challenging charge. Thankfully this task is well-supported by CCSS-WL that are designed “to inform curriculum development, guide instruction and assessment, provide clear goals for student achievement, and raise performance expectations.”
I loved the Children's Lit. article. Like Lise, I do read aloud every day. I think that it is an important time to introduce new vocabulary and have discussions about the characters, predictions and what how the author uses details and descriptions to bring the book to life.
Additionally, we have a master storyteller come in once a month who discusses his writing process with the students. They are fascinated by the way that he can tell a story without looking at a book. You can hear a pin drop when he is telling a story. The oral word is so powerful.
We have also been using Patricia Polacco's books to introduce different types of writing. So, it was interesting reading these two articles at the same time and seeing the connections made between reading and writing.
"taking notes, summa- rizing information, personal narratives, and journal writing"
We will need to go beyond this in order to stay up with the CCSS-WL. I find it hard to believe that any good writing teacher wouldn't focus on narratives, information, persuasive, and explanatory essays. Additionally, a good teacher will include these in authentic type of assignments. It seems to me that CC is trying to inseminate more authentic type of instruction back into the classroom, instead of teaching skills in isolation, which I guess happens a lot in elementary school.??? I am personally excited to see the change happening with emphasis on authentic writing.
First of all, I have not taught in 7 years so the children's literature article was a great refresher for me on the different ways in which to use literature in my classroom. Since I will be teaching kindergarten this year I foresee many, many opportunities in which to complement my content-based informational texts with rich children's literature.
I also enjoyed the article on children's literature. When the article states that "As a window on the
world and as a mirror into our own existence,
children ’ s literature has much to
offer the classroom teacher." I couldn't agree more. One of the things that struck me was that all the samples in the article were from current literature. There is definitely wonderful current children's literature. I also encourage using older children's selections to expand the child's knowledge. My girls in 4th grade have loved reading Anne of Green Gables and having a culminating tea party. Little Women, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Grimm's Fairy Tales still engage children and definitely expand their knowledge of the world and the past. These older texts definitely encourage imagination, developing curiosity, and living vicariously through literature.
Perhaps I am just an old fuddy duddy as I was raised on the writings of the 1950s and 60s, as well as the 1920s and before. Many of the older texts can require close reading due to historical settings and archaic phrasing. However, they are wonderful resources.
In the article, The Role of Children's Literacy, the statement that reading instruction focuses too much on acquisition of decoding skills and not enough on the social nature of literacy was huge. Writing and reading should be more qualitative and less quantitative. Literacy provides us with powerful tools to record and relate the stories of us as humans. Perhaps less data-in/data-out would be more attractive to our students.
The Neglected "R" article was clear about many students'detrimental reliance on formulaic approaches to writing. However, the article also recommends using specific, scaffold strategies to achieve competency in writing. This seems contradictory to me.
I did see from the article how important it is for students to be writing across the curriculum - in all content areas.