#cyberpd2017- Week 1

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#cyberpd2017- Week 1

I have to start with a confession- I was hoping that this year’s choice would be one that was already on my summer TBR list. I usually buy my PD books when I am in the US during the summer and suitcase space is at a premium, so although I LOVE summer PD reading I try not to go too wild. Vicki Vinton’s blog is one I love, so I knew would love the book, but did I need to add Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading, to my list? In the end, as soon as the summer’s choice was announced I knew I was in because #cyberpd is one of my favorite parts of summer learning.

I am reading the book slowly because I have so many books on my summer reading list, but here is my week 1 reflection…

Okay, Cathy and Michelle, you were right (of course)- this was a great pick! I notice it is bringing up ideas that I am also reading in The Curious Classroom and Disrupting Thinking. I was sold in the foreword, (heck, even the fact that Ellin Oliver Keene wrote the foreword might have sold me!) when it was mentioned that we should view students as insatiable problem solvers in reading-yes! I feel like the inductive approach she promotes meshes inquiry with reading workshop in a way that speaks to me (I taught in PYP schools for many years, so love inquiry). I also like the thought that this book is meant to challenge us, knowing that we will not agree with everything.

I sighed with relief when it was mentioned that throwing students into texts way beyond their ability to navigate is not the way forward, nor is over scaffolding.

Ugh, the quote from Mahatma Gandhi to start Section 1 (“To believe in something, and not live it, is dishonest.”) is a constant struggle for me-aligning my beliefs, demands from school, and my practice, is not always easy.

In Chapter 1 I liked the point that we have to focus on how pieces fit together, rather than the pieces of a text in isolation. I often encourage students to use the conditional language that Vinton includes on page 7 to help them push their thinking. I am still not sure what I think about not scaffolding my many EAL students a bit in terms of language and background knowledge, but I just seed to be wary of overdoing it. I have seen how much students gain from wrestling with text on their own- and it can be “messy and complex” (p. 13), but worth it.

In Chapter 2I liked the further exploration of reading as a transaction vs extraction and the recognition that staying within the four corners of a text may not be the right thing- I may have cheered here. The text complexity discussion is one that I appreciated too- so much determines how accessible or complex a text is (and in fact this can differ depending on the reader). Grant Wiggin’s voice reminding us of the goal of transfer was important. The focus of planning for the readers, rather than the texts makes sense to me. A reminder to me is to use read aloud to help develop more complexity.

In Chapter 3 the discussion of critical vs creative thinking was helpful. “Think creatively” is one of our school’s schoolwide learning results. I appreciated the emphasis on reading closely vs close reading. I never considered displaying a reading process chart although I often display a writing process poster- I think I will do that this year.

Chapter 4 had me thinking more about the connection between teaching and learning. It also brought me back to a more constructivist approach through inquiry. I think because I have read most of the books that Vinton references it helped me to see the connections she was making. This book is not a quick read, but I like the way it is making me consider my work and looking at shifts I may need to make to align my practice more closely with my beliefs.

I am looking forward to more thinking and learning!


6 thoughts on “#cyberpd2017- Week 1

  1. paulabourque

    Hey Erika, I also thought the exploration of critical vs. creative thinking in Chapter 3 was pretty compelling. I guess I hadn’t thought of them as separate before. I love when a book challenges or stretches my thinking like this. Thanks for your reflections.


  2. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione)

    Your choice to buy the book was a good one. The book also was not on my summer reading list because I had already read it, but I am glad I have been pushed to reread. And it helps to share and discuss with others too. Scaffolding, but not over scaffolding is a tricky balance sometimes. I have to remind myself often to let students to the work. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Cathy

    I’m so glad you are joining us again this year. I missed seeing you at #nErDcampMI this year (off traveling), but I am glad to get to learn alongside you in #cyberPD. I appreciated your thoughtful reflection of the chapters we have read so far. What caught my attention as I read your comments was your attention to over-scaffolding. This has caught my attention too. Over-scaffolding has been discussed a lot lately by Terry Thompson, Burkins & Yaris, and now Vinton. I’m trying to weigh this. Maybe it is my work alongside emergent and beginning readers that makes me wonder, or maybe it is the fact that I know learning to scaffold readers has helped to improve my instructional practices in growing readers. There is a fine line between productive struggle and leaving a reader stranded. I understand the point, but I am searching for the line. As I weigh this, I’m wondering if we often over-scaffold for texts without always properly scaffolding a reader’s next steps. I don’t know….just pondering….

    I look forward to the continued conversation this month, Erika. Hope your time in the US is going well.


  4. Michelle @litlearningzone

    So happy you are joining in! Our thinking definitely aligns! I’m even still questioning the support and scaffolding we do with EAL’s too! We have to give something, but not too much. Such a fine line to balance. I look forward to reading more to help guide us in this task!


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