I’m reading this book to prepare for professional development which I am leading in the fall.
I just hit something I want to remember and didn’t quite know where to put it so, here I am. It’s been three years since I blogged anything. I write my reviews on Goodreads and I tweet periodically things I find which interest me but for more in-depth work, I guess this is where it goes.
From Guy Kawasaki’s book Enchantment p. 33: “Eaters and bakers. Eaters want a bigger slice of an existing pie; bakers want to make a bigger pie. Eaters think that if they win, you lose, and if you win,, they lose. Bakers think that everyone can live with a bigger pie.”
This quote makes me think about life in competitive dance. It’s very hard to keep your child remembering that all of their class can improve as dancers and yet that’s what makes dance so engaging and exciting. Just because you dance well doesn’t mean I can’t dance well. On one day to one examiner or adjudicator one of us may be ranked higher but that isn’t the end or beginning. It’s just one day.
I have a fixed mindset when it comes to my athletic ability. I stopped thinking of myself as an athlete long ago – grade nine or so. I was one of 90 girls who tried out for Junior and Freshman basketball. They cut to 40 after one day. I didn’t make it. Then in the later part of the year, I spent the whole track season looking for something at which I would be competent. This meant that I would be among the top three in my age category because it didn’t seem to matter if you were less good than that. My school was large. I wasn’t that good at anything. They recommended middle distance running. It didn’t interest me. That was the complete end for me in athletics. I spent the rest of my high school career in fine arts and academics. I was in the top of my class but there were 60 or so of us in the higher academic stream. I ‘belonged’ there. I was among the best of the musicians.
I married an athlete. I see him take so-so runners and encourage them to be active and enjoy their own improvement. I wish I had considered improving my own athletic ability before I got arthritis in my feet. I’m not sure I would have ever loved to run but perhaps if I had been better earlier in my life, it would have made a difference.
I struggle with my fixed mindset when I work with disadvantaged students. Students who have already given up on themselves and are not motivated to learn are hard to teach. It’s not that I don’t think they can, I don’t think they will. I’m not sure how to move that part of my thinking. It’s not a long distance from ‘they won’t’ to ‘they can’t’.
Routines versus Strategies
Routines are a structure teachers use over and over again to build student independence and to create their classroom culture. When we have routines to support thinking within the classroom we are supporting students thinking as a regular part of their experience and developing their ability to think independently.
Strategies are ways of processing or working. When we teach a strategy for learning, we tend to teach it and then move on. Perhaps we bring out the strategy again once in a while but strategies don’t create culture.
I like the idea of having routines for thinking. I know routines help classrooms run smoothly and make the work of running a classroom simpler and smoother.
The authors of Making Thinking Visible fill the rest of their book with thinking routines divided into three sets: set one – routines for introducing and exploring ideas, set two – routines for synthesizing and organizing ideas and set three – routines for digging deeper into ideas. Although I could summarize them all here, I think perhaps the book does it best. In addition, I think I need to try them to really add anything to what is there.
I hope to try some of each of these routines throughout this year. I’m wondering if I might blog about them here or if they should be blogged as teaching practices on my school division’s instructional practices blog. I’ll see.
Sarah Dessen was recommended to me by a teen friend of mine and indeed she does not disappoint. lock and key is another entry in the class of teen angst and coming of age literature. A realistic fiction novel about a girl, Ruby, as she moves from living with her alcoholic mother to living her long-estranged sister. A rags to riches plot line, attractive and interesting character set in wealthy suburban USA, lock and key will delight many of your young female clientele. Some YA content – language, casual sex, use of drugs and alcohol, physical and verbal abuse. Not a must-have novel but definitely a decent read. This is a novel worth adding to the 7-12 library for pleasure reading.
Rating #1 (Highly Recommended) #2 ✓ #3 #4 (Not acceptable)
Interest Level: grades 7+ Reading Level: 7+
Curriculum Area: Language Arts
Themes/Topics: family, relationships, abuse, recovery, advocacy, change, wealth
Soccer Sabotage is a graphic novel which is part adventure and part instruction manual. Liam O’Donnell weaves a story which flows well, if you don’t mind some holes in the realism, and the soccer tips are well-placed and informative. I enjoyed the layout and artistry of Mike Deas as well. Many of graphic offerings are intended for older audiences but appeal to a younger audience because of their pictures. This one is intended for a younger audience but still has some adventure to appeal to their sense of danger and excitement. One of my students reviewed this one and thought it was worth adding to the library. Well worth the money for a K-8 library, not intended for 9-12.
Rating ✓ #1 (Highly Recommended) #2 #3 #4 (Not acceptable)
Interest Level: grades 2+ Reading Level: 3+
Curriculum Area: Language Arts
Themes/Topics: mystery, soccer
This book would be suitable for ✓ Lit Circles ✓ Kit Materials
Brain Lair Review
Jenny Nimmo has a great set of characters and adventures in the Children of the Red King series. As a lover of fanatasy, I’m an easy sell and this series has me searching out the next one to see where it goes. I find Charlie, the main character, likable and hopeful without being cloying or irritating. He makes mistakes and tries to correct them. He accepts the consequences of his behaviour and is always on the look out for the welfare of his friends and family. It’s too bad his mother is such a weak person. I’d like it if his mother had a bit more spunk but I suppose that would get in the way for the story plots. It’s been somewhat confusing to find my way through the naming and renaming of these books. The original series has a wonderful set of names which have been altered to reflect the Harry Potter franchise, “Harry Potter and the…”, now “The Blue Boa” is “Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy”, but publishers have to do what publishers have to do.
I would recommend this series as an addition to the K-8 library. I wouldn’t add them to a 9-12. Charlie is 10 and although he ages as the series progresses, he doesn’t age as fast as Harry. The books are written for a younger audience and keep a more consistent tone than you see in the Harry Potter series. They are also a more consistent length. I believe these books would make an excellent read for the child who can’t yet manage the Harry Potter books both in maturity or reading level.
Rating #1 (Highly Recommended) #2 ✓#3 #4 (Not acceptable)
Interest Level: grades 3+ Reading Level: 4+
Curriculum Area: Language Arts
Themes/Topics: fantasy, adventure, magic, family, losses, good and evil