Wednesday, March 18, 2009

k-6 literacy education TPACK ch. 3

It is our responsibility to teach kids to read.

This sticks out to me. As a k-12 teacher. As in, I accept it as my role for every grade. And I teach Spanish! That does not matter. If a kid cannot read in my room, that becomes the focus for me as their teacher. Everything else can follow.

How, when, why? to use technology to teach literacy. Great questions, and I feel I can answer them as they apply to my content!

Teacher preparation can vary...widely. My own preparation came not at the hands of an undergraduate ed. department, but in the field: Maine Migrant School (three years), Christian Fellowship School (three years), and then back to Maine and the public school and I began formal classes. One tech, one methods, one name it...I took them one by one.

But really the teacher training came from watching excellent teachers and modeling after them. And that is what I think should happen in teacher training programs: a true apprenticeship to a series of master teachers.

The focus has changed from reading traditional paper based text to reading multiple renditions of text--on the screen, on the phone, on the Leapfrog! Technology avails media-rich texts to all ages. Therefore, processing and reading strategies also change. How hard it is for teachers to adjust? I've said it before...our current crop of near-retirees have that solid, traditional, reading and writing pedagogy down. However, I have seen it again and again: fear. Fear when faced with the unknown, the new. My mother is a prime example. (She was my teacher for years, the first and the best!) She now has a blog, a web shop, Twitter, and Facebook! It onl took us 8 years...but now she is not afraid. And she is closer to 70 than 60. So I know it can be done but it takes time. And in her case, investment with return. (She sells her products mostly to people in Ireland, Japan, and other far away islands...)

I love how the chapter says that literacy is a moving target that must be re-defined constantly. Wicked problem again! But so true. How do we get kids to interpret, how can we activate schema, or create schema for them? It takes a creative, dynamic, flexible facilitator to have words make sense, but to go back a step, to have LETTERS make sense and SOUNDS make sense.

The value of developing a continuum really struck me. What is this magical framework and how can we apply it to each kid? I detest the benchmark testing but I want to know what they hard it is to develop a continuum for each student. I wonder if I need to do something in Spanish from levels 1-4 and have that in place.

Also valuable: "reading, writing, and oral language develop concurrently and interdependently from and early age from children's exposure to interactions in social context." This is really how I try to teach Spanish language. Socially, in groups, lots of practice, lots of laughter.

How to create environments where students are MOTIVATED to learn? I try. Plants, tables instead of desks, which sometimes get shoved out of the way. Circle time weekly, share outs, everyone has their picture on the wall. The idea is: this is YOUR space to learn and place. I asked for bean bag chairs for net year. Food, healthy food, is a major theme. The idea is come, relax, be. Create, share, reflect, learn. Audience. Make the learning "invisible"--no circle tests.

Facilitating social interactions when teaching reading and writing is quite easy with technology...we use Wordles, wikis, blogs to share and reflect.

We use cameras, video, digital. We make stories. We talk about ourselves.


Amity said...

The link on digital storytelling was amazing! I love thinking of students creating and sharing, of having audience.

Jenny said...

Digital storytelling is something I want to learn more about. I wish there was a computer course that taught us exactly how to use this, comic life, i-movies, i-photo etc. It would be really nice to be shown, not just exposed how to do these great things.

Amity said...

I agree Jenny. More workshops for us. So we can use them better.

Mr. Martin said...

It is great that you found the digital storytelling site to be useful. It think that it is very relevant to students of all ages. It would be really interesting for your kids to create digital stories in Spanish. I hope to experiment a bit this summer when I have more time.


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