Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chapter 5: Ways with words

I do enjoy reviewing material I was introduced to in school.  Just like my favorite books I read periodically, new information has different meaning every time I read it.  What was most helpful for me in this chapter was the section on the practical considerations of language development.  As Kristen pointed out earlier, a classical education seems to pair nicely with the concepts and developmental stages noted in this chapter.
Language developmental stages:
K-2: rhymes, sound system and decoding
3-5: understand and construct sentences, follow directions, and vary syntax
5th grade: reading to gather new information
Middle School: discourse, memory and language work in perfect harmony
High School: verbal ability is a precision tool for making sense of abstract and technical concepts.
Karen, I was struck by how perfectly the "Write Tools" goes with the ideas presented in this chapter.  For those of you unfamiliar with the "Write Tools" here is a link to the program  I had an opportunity to attend one section of the "Write Tools" training, active reading strategies.  I observed a lesson on summarization at three different grade levels.  At the three grade levels the students were given an article, they read through the article, and then the teacher modeled the two step process of writing a summary.  Two parts of the summary process adeptly blended verbalizing and writing.  Students are asked to "write out loud" and at the end of the process the teacher asks a few students to share their summaries out loud.
The "Write Tools" could be used as an intervention for students.  Many of the students I work with struggle with the writing process, they fail to extract meaningful information from the text they are reading and cannot think critically.  When they are asked to do a free write they can't do it.  I ask the students to summarize; they can't do it.  It would be so powerful for them to be able to have the skills offered by the "write tools" to use in the classroom.  I would really like to integrate more writing into the time I spend with students and can see now how beneficial it would be for the students I work with who have a language based disability.  I am wondering what impact it would have.  What has been your experience with writing in the classroom? 
On a separate note I really love the idea of posing thoughtful questions to students, i.e. Socratic seminar style.  I have started to try and pose thoughtful questions to my children at the dinner table.  It has been interesting to see their responses and it has taken my relationship with my children to a whole other level.  I have found topics they care passionately about are much easier for them to discuss.  Other topics, I need to give quite a bit of background knowledge before we can have a meaningful conversation.      

1 comment:

  1. I loved Write Tools! As did my students. At the sixth grade level, the write it out loud gave them the opportunity to utilize their language and speaking capabilities to begin to organize their thoughts.

    After the Socratic seminar that a few of us attended, I am defenitly a believer in the benefits. With an understanding that, as teachers, we are attempting to allow the students to develop a deeper understanding through conversation, rather than having a particular end goal, this can be an amazing tool.