|About This Video Clip
"The genuine foundation is a love and passion for story and the knowing that story brings about a place for kids to find their way in, a way of expressing themselves... So I read good books and share them, and I listen to kids tell me about them. That's the natural element for a good discussion."
How can teachers help students find their way into a piece of literature? The profession is familiar with stories of energetic and creative colleagues coming to class dressed as literary characters and acting out a particularly engaging scene or two. While such strategies certainly engage student attention, in all probability they cannot be replicated throughout the school year. Furthermore, the motivation they provide is external, dependent on outside forces for engagement.
Barry Hoonan, 5th- and 6th-Grade Teacher
The Odyssey School
Bainbridge Island, Washington
One of the tasks of the envisionment-building teacher is to help students develop ways of approaching literary texts that they will be able to call upon independently throughout their lives. Experienced readers have innumerable such ways into texts that they are able to access almost intuitively. Their choices depend on a number of factors, including the genre of the piece, its complexity, and the personal inclination of the reader. As teachers identify the particular approaches they wish to teach students, they consider a number of factors as well; the age of the students, their previous experiences as readers, and the particular text at hand are a few.
When introducing students to such strategies, teachers use direct instruction, demonstrations, and guided practice to help students incorporate new approaches into their personal repertoires. However, as you will notice in this video, even with repeated assistance, students may not embrace new techniques immediately.
In this video, you will see Mr. Hoonan use student-directed mini-lessons to provide explicit instruction in a strategy using Post-It® Notes that he introduced earlier. He hopes that the student modeling will encourage classmates to use the strategy when they begin reading and discussing a new text. He finds that although the students are willing enough to use it as readers, they are less likely to bring the strategy to their group discussion.
Understanding that the assimilation of new techniques takes time and repeated exposure, Mr. Hoonan turns to mapping-a strategy in which the group is experienced-to help them focus their discussion. He is confident that repeated exposure to the Post-It® Note technique will enable his students to incorporate it as one of a broad range of ways they approach literature.
For resources that can help you use this clip for teacher professional development, preservice education, administrative and English/language arts content meetings, parent conferences, and back-to-school events, visit our Support Materials page. There you will find PDF files of our library guide, classroom lesson plan, student activity sheets, and other Teacher Tools.