Wednesday, July 12, 2017

#CyberPD2017 Week Two

     This summer I am participating in my second #CyberPD session. This virtual book club is organized and facilitated by educators, Cathy MereLaura Komos and Michelle Nero. This summer, we are reading and discussing Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading by the incomparable Vicki Vinton. 

This week we read chapters 5 and 6 in section two of Vinton's book. Both chapters gave a glimpse into how a problem-based reading session might unfold. Although, both chapters were thought-provoking, chapter 5 spoke to me a bit more.

File Under Duh, Why Didn't I think of That?
Right from the beginning, Vinton was blowing my teacher mind by suggesting things that, until now, seemed counterintuitive. She suggests instead of activating background knowledge or preteaching tricky vocabulary in a text, have the students read the text and underline the words they DO know instead of those they do not know. This, she says, "...builds their confidence, sense of agency and identity as readers." (58). 

I Do This, But I Didn't Know I Did This
Feedback strategy: Noticing and naming. As I read this section (pgs 73-74) I was pleased to find that this might be something I actually do, but didn't realize I was doing it and didn't have a name for it. Now I have filed it away to definitely have available in my questioning/feedback toolbox. The idea is simple, notice what students are doing to attempt to solve problems and name what they did. There is a nice list on page 74. 

Quote Worthy
"While the ability to argue with evidence is certainly an important skill, we might better serve our students as readers if we think of that as a by-product, not the real purpose of reading." Unfortunately text-dependent questions and "proving" accuracy by quoting the text has become the goal in may classrooms thanks to the Common Core's emphasis on it. 

Steer the Ship
I absolutely LOVE the "Steering the Ship" charts where Vinton summarizes the essence of the chapter. I have each one marked with a sticky flag and feel like they would be great to revisit for reminders and inspiration. 

I-we-you has been a hallmark of my instruction for some time. I love it when my thinking is "disrupted" to coin a phrase from Beers and Probst. Why not let them grapple first and then decide if/when/how to help?


  1. I love the last bit, the "Confession". I think many teachers practice the "I-we-you" method, and it is so important to try it out the other way and see how students respond, how their thinking changes, and how the teacher feels after, whether it still felt like a successful lesson. Giving up that kind of control is a hard thing to do. Jody

  2. I totally agree about Noticing and Naming. I'm going to be WAY more intentional. I, too, love your confession! I think the power in this book is the new thinking! Like Cathy Mere said, it will add tools to our toolbox.

  3. I love the way you structured this reflection. I may have to "steal" it. Like you I am finding things I've been doing and didn't have a name for. I also find affirmation for independent reading which is something I believe in strongly. Thanks for sharing your thinking.

  4. I love the Steering the Ship charts too! They confirm some of the things I am already doing and provide new ideas and adjustments to support students in constructing their own meaning, which I totally believe in because it's what I do as reader too. And I liked your confession too. I think Vinton's suggestion of combining the read-aloud and shared reading into a share interactive read-aloud is a great way to begin handing over the responsibility of constructing meaning to the students.

  5. Gigi,

    I was also pleased to read that there are actually a few things that Vinton suggests doing that I have actually been doing, like notice and name! I also really like her idea of having students look for/point out words they do know instead of words they don't know. I think this would be particularly helpful when students are reading a trickier book. I feel like this strategy would help them feel more confident with the text and would therefore make them more willing to work with/through the piece.

    I too have fallen into the "prove it" mantra when it comes to book discussions with my students. This part of the chapter blew my mind a bit, thinking that I was helping my students by asking them to back up their thoughts with proof from the book. From now on I think I will just follow up with the general question of "what makes you think that" and be ok if students don't pull proof from the text.

    Thanks Gigi!