Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Notes from a Week of Exploring Teaching the Core

Ooooh my goodness, my brain is so full of all of the things. Dave of Teaching the Core is a wonderful writer, but his blog posts are so chock full of all of the great information I want to learn and links to other pages that are also full of information. He's pretty prolific, too, so there are already so many posts he's published I want to read through. But I don't just want to read them, I want to devour them. I want to scour them for every morsel of useful information, analyze them, and decide how I want to use them.

I feel as though I'm at a big feast, and every time I finish a course, Dave just brings out another plate full of deliciousness and sets it in front of me expectantly.

I have all of the tabs open in my browser. Tabs from Teaching the Core, tabs for other Teaching the Core posts the original ones linked back to, tabs from awesome resources that those blog posts linked to, tabs from interesting articles that those links linked to... *groan* So let's try to get a little more organized, shall we?

Article of the Week and Making Annotations
It didn't take me long after finding myself in this click-hole to realize that I wanted/needed to implement this in my class. I'd been trying to find some way to incorporate more nonfiction reading but was hesitant to try something like this because I didn't want to start printing off a lot of pages. 1) because I'm a hippie and don't like "wasting paper" 2) because it seemed like a slippery slope to worksheets, and 3) because we live in a digital age and why print off something that could just be viewed and manipulated online? But all of these reasons were immediately out the window when I started reading Dave's blog. Hush, now. It's worth it.

Next semester, we may be getting Chrome books (one for each student), but until then, if we don't have print off articles, how could we make annotations? (I'd considered allowing them to write lightly in pencil in their books, but I hadn't gotten that desperate yet.) Annotations? Oh yeah, that's that "close reading" I'd been hearing so much about in CCSS articles. I learned about it for the first time at the summer conference I attended and didn't quite understand what all the hype was about. Alright, we're teaching kids to make annotations while they read. I do that when I read, so it made sense to me. It seemed like there was something more to it that I was missing.

Turns out, "close reading" is a super conflated buzzword that people are looking too much into. Dave recommends just sticking with teaching how to annotate and leaving it at that. Sweet, that's probably what I was going to do, anyway.

Links about annotation:
TtC - Purposeful Annotation - What annotations are and how to use them
Harvard Library Reasearch Guides - Six Habits for Thinking-Intensive Reading - some useful guides on how to annotate to share with students
TtC - Close Reading - Dave's original post on the matter, which he says is outdated but still has some interesting things, such as a modeling video

Articles of the Week
The Article of the Week is a child of Kelly Gallagher, one of Dave's heroes. We take a nonfiction article from an authentic source, read and annotate it, and then write a paper responding to it. Sometimes we can share our thoughts in a Socratic circle or debate. Awesome. I can't wait to get started.

Links about AoW:
TtC - There and Back Again - What AoW is, how to get started, and how Dave adapted Gallagher's work to fit his own needs
TtC - Articles of the Week - Backlog and current articles to get'cha started
Kelly Gallagher - AoW Archive - Gallagher's AoW backlog
TtC - Getting Started with AoW - more information

Teaching students to make a claim and support it with evidence. 

Links about argument:
TtC - They Say / I Say Two Paragraph Essay - a basic way to introduce argument writing
Amazon - They Say / I Say by Graff and Birkenstein - the book Dave referenced above
TtC - Argument and Debate - what and how to (including video!)
TtC - Popup Debates - a debate starter kit Dave sells


Links to other stuff!:
B10LovesBooks - Erica Beaton, Dave's coworker who also runs a sweet blog I need to explore further
B10 - Whole Class Novels vs. Choice Reading - This is part 3. There's so much to consider...
Jim Burke - Verbs to Live By - a phenomenal chart that defines and explains frequently used academic verbs in easy-to-understand language
Baka desu yo - 6 Things the Most Organized People Do Every Day - Just a reminder on how to stay focused and in control. Not sure if it's something to show to students or if it's just for me.

And there we have it! Not the most productive post, but at least it helped clear my head and leave some bread crumbs to come back to later.