Friday, September 18, 2009

Teaching the Magnificent Seven One at a Time

While it may be evident to most, today's experience in the classroom re-inforced the fact that the magnificent seven must be taught, and it must be taught one at a time.

It was a normal day at its best. Each class was truly engaged in the before reading warm-up where they explained what they saw when I said the word, "treasure." I increased the questioning level little by little until we were differentiating between the literal and figurative definitions of "treasure." This being the case, I was not prepared for what I uncovered
during my students first exposure to a think aloud.

Wow! As I read and made the invisible(my thoughts) visible, my students struggled to put what I was doing into words. One child said, "comprehending," a possible regurgitation of what I had explained I would be doing. Several other students said things like "adding words." I had done this activity already with my honors bells who quickly identified that I was "connecting my experiences to the text," "inferring," "asking questions," "self-correcting when I had misunderstood something earlier in the text" (an intentional flaw so as to model for them my ability to catch my mistakes), but I was at a loss seeing my regular ed. students unable to connect to what was happening in my mind as I read. In fact, it took even my volunteers several tries before they were able to read the text aloud as I did, and somewhat share their thought processes.

I see now that truly these students are not engaging the text. They seem to have trouble even recognizing "visualizing" and " asking questions" let alone attempting it. All this to say, I am looking forward even more so now, to teaching our comprehension strategies one at a time.

(Post note: For those of you teaching highly challenging classes, you can do it. With the unique mix of autistic children, the farsighted child who is too embarrassed to where his glasses, many children who I am finally realizing are unable to afford supplies for my class, and two emotionally challenged students who have already manifested to the chagrin of the onslaught of troublemakers, yet I see children many or most of whom have missed the joy of comprehending and connecting with a text. All things are possible! (to him/her who believes.))

1 comment:

  1. Within my school, we are initiating the Magnificent Seven Strategies one at a time. Thus far this has worked extremely well with our literacy initiative. As we introduce and effectively implement a new strategy, we tend to continue reinforcing the previous strategy as well.

    One step at a time can make a big difference. I have seen that difference within the last two weeks since implementating the strategies we are focusing on; week 1 - making connections; week 2 - asking questions.

    I am learning as much as the students are. We are learning together, one from another. The enjoyment and pleasure levels are very high. You can see the students actively engaged in learning as well as having fun.

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