What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
It had been ten years since I’d updated my eyeglasses. I love my contact lenses, so there was no need for an update. Then I realized recently my eyes were often tired, and I was spending more and more time wearing my glasses. As a writer, I know tired eyes don’t work. At the eye doctor, I selected the most writerly glasses I could find. I wanted something a little edgy, something to slip on at the end of the day or in the early morning hours that would help me feel like I was slipping on my writer-self at the same time. The dark brown and teal frames with a bit of leopard print on the sides were perfect. I couldn’t wait for them to arrive. They felt like a new writing tool, even better than a new set of pens or a brand-new notebook.
Instantly I was in love with my new specs. I insisted on wearing them home, even though it was mid-afternoon and nowhere near writing time. Walking out of the office, the world was magnified. I looked around, a little dizzy from the strength of the glasses. This is what it’s like to see the world as a writer. I walked a little straighter, proud to show the world my new glasses. It took me three tries to pull my car door open and two attempts to put the keys in the ignition. My depth perception was a bit off, but I brushed off any concern. I was a writer seeing the world with intensity and excitement.
On my way home, thoughts filled my mind about seeing the world in new ways. When we find new ideas, new ways to approach instruction, and new learning experiences for students, it makes our world feel magnified. We focus on the newness of an idea and the past pales in comparison. It’s fun to see things in new ways.
I arrived home in a blissful state, opened my garage door, smiled at the pleasure of seeing the world in a new light, pulled the car into the garage, and bam! I bumped the car into the house.
New perspectives are always exciting. Although I still love my new specs, I no longer see them as magnifying the whole world. Too often in education we run great new ideas into the ground because we try to use them as a prescription to fix everything (or at least problems they weren’t designed for). It’s important to take our time and go slowly with any new idea or initiative, no matter how exciting or how much potential we see in it.
This week we look at one of those new ideas in literacy instruction that is in danger of a crash from too much enthusiastic embrace — close reading. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
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Propaganda, word clouds, and close reading engage students in Holly Mueller’s sixth-grade class:
Maggie Beattie Roberts and Kate Roberts present a step-by-step process for close reading in the middle and high school grades involving multiple passes through the same text:
As you build more opportunities for collaboration and teamwork, don’t forget the needs of the many introverts in any classroom:
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Christy Rush-Levine finds the best way to help her middle school students learn to read closely for literary analysis is through student writing. They begin with analyzing student exemplars from the Common Core, and then move to shared texts as they hone their skills:
Katherine Sokolowski uses a fascinating picture book to build close reading skills with her fifth graders. The key is selecting a text that holds up well through multiple readings:
Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris find their reading processes as adults informs the way they view close reading with students:
In this week’s video, Aimee Buckner helps a fourth-grade boy tease out emerging themes in the first pages of the novel Morning Girl:
In an encore video, Katie Doherty teaches her sixth graders about the power of inserting quotes into writing about reading:
That’s all for this week!