Over the past several days, we’ve watched in horror as catastrophic events have imperiled the lives and livelihoods of those who live along the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast. And we’ve been stunned, at the same time, by the beauty of the actions of first responders—those who have shown up with boats, trucks, make-shift shelters, their lives, time, money, and determination to rescue and console. Hardly any of these actions have moved us more than watching the dozens of children’s picture book read-alouds posted on the Hurricane Harvey Book Club Facebook group created by Texas teacher Kathryn Butler Mills. We are at once saddened by the devastation that Harvey has wrought and stirred by the humanity the storm has revealed. A lot of us want to know what we can do.
How can we both get and give feedback to ensure our students are getting smarter over time?
In the book How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students, Susan Brookhart shares that you can evaluate your own feedback to students based on their responses. If students improve and motivation increases, then you can be sure you are on track to create a classroom where feedback, including constructive criticism, is productive.
“The [writing] conference can be a joyful time for you and your multilingual students, a time where your teaching is tailored specifically to the child sitting next to you. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge what your multilingual student does well, has learned to do well, and what she can learn to do well. And it moves us, their teachers, forward in knowing our multilingual students and extending their learning one writer at a time.”
This week, we share a Digital Library article written by Tasha Tropp Laman entitled “Talking With English Language Learners About Their Writing.” Tasha encourages teachers to use writing conferences—in spite of the “messiness” of trying to communicate with students whose native language is not English—to help students communicate and express themselves.
“Don’t take my word. There is plenty of research out there that confirms that readers are formed out of their experiences.”
Do you remember Lincoln Logs? With practice, one learns that the construction will not sustain, or even topple, without consideration of the foundational pieces. Building the foundation for lifelong reading requires the same thought. What are the “sturdy foundational pieces” crucial to the development of lifelong reading?