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August 21, 2017

The Year of Disrupted Thinking

By Genia Connell
Grades 1–2, 3–5

    Normally, the last thing I want in my classroom is a disruption, but this school year, I’m embracing a literacy shake-up! This past spring, I ordered a copy of Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters, by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst. I was especially looking forward to reading it because I had loved their previous work, Notice and Note.

    As I began reading, I immediately enjoyed the anecdotes and reading their real-life conversations with students. As I made my way through the book, however, I found myself marking up pages and adding sticky notes to page after page, like a teacher’s edition I was using for the first time. At one point, I looked down at my book and realized I was highlighting and circling more text than not. Points that the authors were making spoke directly to my teacher’s heart and my sensibility of what was right in the classroom. We need to “help students become the reader who does so much more than decode, recall, or choose the correct answer from a multiple-choice list.” Truth.   

    Teaching in an era of high-stakes testing, I’ve always considered myself to be a little rebellious. I figured if I taught my students how to approach, think about, and question the text they were reading, they would do fine on the standardized tests and test-prep reading wasn’t necessary. While this mindset has worked out for me, I never had an actual framework to build upon — until now. Using what I’ve learned from Disrupting Thinking, I am excited to embark upon my first full school year using ideas from the book to advance literacy in the classroom.

    Let the Disruption Begin!

    Over the years I’ve prided myself on incorporating best practices, but I also know that in order to grow, there must be change, or a disruption. What I learned from Beers and Probst’s book is driving that change.

    I know that whenever I say it’s IDR (Individual Daily Reading) time, cheers go up around the classroom. Then someone invariably asks, “Are we going to have to do extra work after today?” I saw this sentiment echoed in Part I of the book as student interviews by Beers and Probst showed students seemed to lose some of their love for reading as they moved through the grade levels. This is mainly because their goal shifts from interacting with the text on a personal level to extracting information in order to achieve a grade.

    It is so true that my students experience a shift in their reading experience as they climb the elementary ladder. We even have a saying for it, “In grades K–3 you learn to read and after that you read to learn.” Somewhere along the way though, the pure joy of reading becomes diluted with vocabulary work and reading responses prompts. My goal is to bring the joy back to reading for my third graders while sending forth a group of students who love reading and are prepared to take on the world because of it. 

    The Readers I Want and the Framework to Get There

    In the section, The Readers We Want, Beers and Probst lay out the idea that we need to guide students in becoming responsive, responsible, compassionate readers who make a difference in the world. After reading their book, I have a much better idea of what that looks like. Some questions I’ll reflect on this year:

    Are my students responsive readers?

    • Are they aware of the emotions the books they read evoke, as well as the feelings and reactions of others?
    • Do they realize if they are being entertained by what they read? What about excited, saddened, or repulsed?
    • Are they questioning what they read and seeking answers and context beyond the printed word?

    Are my students responsible readers?

    • Am I moving them beyond decoding to think about how what they are reading impacts themselves and others?
    • As they progress, will they be able to wade through the material they will encounter in all sorts of media to discern what is true and important?

    Note: For teachers of older students, John DePasquale’s article, “Tackling Fake News: Strategies for Teaching Media Literacy,” is a must-read for developing a responsible reader.

    Are my students compassionate readers?

    • Are they developing a deeper understanding and empathy for characters and circumstances that carries over to their real lives? How can I help them do so if they’re not?

    Developing the types of readers above is a lofty goal, and I am excited to being my year with the Book, Head, Heart Framework to help my students succeed in reading and beyond.

    Book, Head, Heart Framework

    When I wrote, “Rethinking the Book Box,” a few years ago it was my first step towards liberating my young readers from book level labels and towards student choice. As I start this school year, I’m working with a clearer vision of wanting my students to be responsive, responsible, and compassionate readers using the Book, Head, Heart (BHH) framework.  

    The BHH will work as a great tool to help my students remember that when they read, it’s important that they pay attention to what is in the book, and to think about what they are reading and how their reading impacts them.  

    The anchor chart above is from the book, Disrupting Thinking. This is just one of the many full-color resource ideas in the book that I loved.

     

    I’ll also be using a few Disrupting Thinking inspired resources I’ve created to help my students in their Book, Head, Heart journey. Download and print any of the items below.

    I find bookmarks are great tools because they literally are front and center while my students read. There are three bookmarks on a page to help cut down on printing.

     

    I plan to use the "Surprise"organizer above to help my students become more aware of how their feelings are changing while they read.

    When students initially begin their "turn and talk" discussions, I like to have this handy reference poster available for them if needed, to keep the conversation going.

     

    This one sentence check on understanding is a quick way to help younger students grasp story story structure without being too complex.

     

    Although I finished Disrupting Thinking a few months ago, I find myself going back to it again and again to pull from the myriad quotes and examples that inspired me. While I’ve often spoken of using best practices, disrupting my thinking this year just may make my practice the best it’s been for all of my students.

    If you’d like more information on Disrupting Thinking, check out this interview with the authors.

    You’ll also want to read fellow blogger, Mary Blow’s article, “Disrupting Thinking: Inspiring Deeper Reader Engagement” geared toward middle and high school.

     

    Take care and thanks for reading!

    Genia

    Normally, the last thing I want in my classroom is a disruption, but this school year, I’m embracing a literacy shake-up! This past spring, I ordered a copy of Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters, by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst. I was especially looking forward to reading it because I had loved their previous work, Notice and Note.

    As I began reading, I immediately enjoyed the anecdotes and reading their real-life conversations with students. As I made my way through the book, however, I found myself marking up pages and adding sticky notes to page after page, like a teacher’s edition I was using for the first time. At one point, I looked down at my book and realized I was highlighting and circling more text than not. Points that the authors were making spoke directly to my teacher’s heart and my sensibility of what was right in the classroom. We need to “help students become the reader who does so much more than decode, recall, or choose the correct answer from a multiple-choice list.” Truth.   

    Teaching in an era of high-stakes testing, I’ve always considered myself to be a little rebellious. I figured if I taught my students how to approach, think about, and question the text they were reading, they would do fine on the standardized tests and test-prep reading wasn’t necessary. While this mindset has worked out for me, I never had an actual framework to build upon — until now. Using what I’ve learned from Disrupting Thinking, I am excited to embark upon my first full school year using ideas from the book to advance literacy in the classroom.

    Let the Disruption Begin!

    Over the years I’ve prided myself on incorporating best practices, but I also know that in order to grow, there must be change, or a disruption. What I learned from Beers and Probst’s book is driving that change.

    I know that whenever I say it’s IDR (Individual Daily Reading) time, cheers go up around the classroom. Then someone invariably asks, “Are we going to have to do extra work after today?” I saw this sentiment echoed in Part I of the book as student interviews by Beers and Probst showed students seemed to lose some of their love for reading as they moved through the grade levels. This is mainly because their goal shifts from interacting with the text on a personal level to extracting information in order to achieve a grade.

    It is so true that my students experience a shift in their reading experience as they climb the elementary ladder. We even have a saying for it, “In grades K–3 you learn to read and after that you read to learn.” Somewhere along the way though, the pure joy of reading becomes diluted with vocabulary work and reading responses prompts. My goal is to bring the joy back to reading for my third graders while sending forth a group of students who love reading and are prepared to take on the world because of it. 

    The Readers I Want and the Framework to Get There

    In the section, The Readers We Want, Beers and Probst lay out the idea that we need to guide students in becoming responsive, responsible, compassionate readers who make a difference in the world. After reading their book, I have a much better idea of what that looks like. Some questions I’ll reflect on this year:

    Are my students responsive readers?

    • Are they aware of the emotions the books they read evoke, as well as the feelings and reactions of others?
    • Do they realize if they are being entertained by what they read? What about excited, saddened, or repulsed?
    • Are they questioning what they read and seeking answers and context beyond the printed word?

    Are my students responsible readers?

    • Am I moving them beyond decoding to think about how what they are reading impacts themselves and others?
    • As they progress, will they be able to wade through the material they will encounter in all sorts of media to discern what is true and important?

    Note: For teachers of older students, John DePasquale’s article, “Tackling Fake News: Strategies for Teaching Media Literacy,” is a must-read for developing a responsible reader.

    Are my students compassionate readers?

    • Are they developing a deeper understanding and empathy for characters and circumstances that carries over to their real lives? How can I help them do so if they’re not?

    Developing the types of readers above is a lofty goal, and I am excited to being my year with the Book, Head, Heart Framework to help my students succeed in reading and beyond.

    Book, Head, Heart Framework

    When I wrote, “Rethinking the Book Box,” a few years ago it was my first step towards liberating my young readers from book level labels and towards student choice. As I start this school year, I’m working with a clearer vision of wanting my students to be responsive, responsible, and compassionate readers using the Book, Head, Heart (BHH) framework.  

    The BHH will work as a great tool to help my students remember that when they read, it’s important that they pay attention to what is in the book, and to think about what they are reading and how their reading impacts them.  

    The anchor chart above is from the book, Disrupting Thinking. This is just one of the many full-color resource ideas in the book that I loved.

     

    I’ll also be using a few Disrupting Thinking inspired resources I’ve created to help my students in their Book, Head, Heart journey. Download and print any of the items below.

    I find bookmarks are great tools because they literally are front and center while my students read. There are three bookmarks on a page to help cut down on printing.

     

    I plan to use the "Surprise"organizer above to help my students become more aware of how their feelings are changing while they read.

    When students initially begin their "turn and talk" discussions, I like to have this handy reference poster available for them if needed, to keep the conversation going.

     

    This one sentence check on understanding is a quick way to help younger students grasp story story structure without being too complex.

     

    Although I finished Disrupting Thinking a few months ago, I find myself going back to it again and again to pull from the myriad quotes and examples that inspired me. While I’ve often spoken of using best practices, disrupting my thinking this year just may make my practice the best it’s been for all of my students.

    If you’d like more information on Disrupting Thinking, check out this interview with the authors.

    You’ll also want to read fellow blogger, Mary Blow’s article, “Disrupting Thinking: Inspiring Deeper Reader Engagement” geared toward middle and high school.

     

    Take care and thanks for reading!

    Genia

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