Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rigor in Reading

We have been talking a lot about how in our teaching, we need to be providing rigor - complexity, opportunities for creativity, higher level thinking - every minute of the day.

I say a hearty AMEN.

I have always strived to provide precise teaching - knowing that every moment there is a plan - everything on purpose, that is. I have to know that my children are getting MEAT, not milk.

It's looking not only at what they are reading and writing, but what they are processing with that reading and writing.

Rather than simply retelling, they need to synthesize, analyze. Rather than choosing an answer from a,b, or c...they need to be creating, questioning, and inferring on their own.

We need to be asking questions that get them to think. Think about relationships between characters, motivations, influence...asking it in a way that makes them bring thoughts to the table. Why do you think? How does? Tell me about,,,

And give them time to think. Don't let them just say "I don't know."

Prod - "tell me what you are thinking..." If they say "I don't know," push for an answer (gently) by saying "I know you have great thoughts in your head about this - let's try to find one." Again, if they say they don't know, model what you are thinking. Then have them come up with a thought too. Don't let them off the hook.

Some of it might be they don't know what they are thinking and they just need to be taught to get in touch with their thoughts...others may be passively reading and need to be taught (or kept accountable) for having thoughts while they are reading.

Create opportunity where they bring their thinking to the table. That's where good conversations start. That's when they start understanding that reading is more than a task.

We need kids to be prepared for this world - which is ever changing - they need to be self directed, independent thinking, and able to generate ideas and processes...their brains need to have that exercise now. If all we are giving them is questions with discrete answers and then "let's move on," that's all they will be able to do.

I am all for rigor!

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