Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What I'm Reading This October

The truth is, not much. I've still got a sixteen year old with a migraine that, after six weeks now, won't die (and stay that way) so between doctor trips and holing up in the dark, I don't get a lot of anything done.

What am I supposed to be reading? Well, this:

 We teachers of Academically/Intellectually Gifted kids in my county are part of a required book study, and this is the text. I'll have to admit that, at first, I was less-than impressed. I have real concerns that this move toward 'text dependence' represents a dumbing-down of curriculum (Don't think; just go fetch the right answer.) and I still think that, used poorly, that's what it becomes.

I've been pleasantly surprised, though. What I've read, so far, has shown that using text dependent questions can, in fact, promote real thinking into text. We are given strategies that take kids well beyond the literal, but stay within a TDQ framework. The book doesn't read like a textbook, with a much less formal vibe and down-to-earth examples.

I've got a lot more reading to do, but already, I've changed my attitude toward this type of work from, "Yippee! Let's raise some convergent, low-level thinkers that'll make great sheep when they grow up." to "Maybe this does have a place in my classroom."  It's a start.

What am I reading with my classes? That's a different story. I teach a lot of my skills through read-aloud with accountable talk and follow up with book clubs. I teach reading twice a day, once with fourth grade and once with fifth. Both groups just finished our first read-alouds (Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH  and Crispin: The Cross of Lead respectively) and we're cruising into:


This is where we'll begin to look closely at character: identifying and supporting character traits, how those traits both create problems and equip characters to solve them, and how relationships play out throughout a text. 

For fifth:

For plot, we'll focus on how the individual stories intertwine (and how so many lead back to one minor character, which is weird.) For character, we'll look at different types of characters (flat, round, sympathetic, static, dynamic.) This has a good variety of those.

Plus, I love reading how the snobby admin.-type refers to himself as an ed-you-cat-or, as opposed to the warmth the kids' teacher, Mrs. Olinski, exudes. 

So, what are my awesome, bloggy friends reading these days? Click the button below to stop by the Focused on Fifth site and find out. Share what you're reading, too; it's a linky party!

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