I am a big devotee of Stephen Krashen, the provocative language and education expert here in Southern California. He is a defender of Whole Language and likes to debunk a lot of the current celebrations over direct grammar instruction as misreadings of the data.

I also have been impacted by Robert Marzano and Diane Heacox.

To make a long post longer, I should also mention my fascination with, but so far inept adoption of, Understanding by Design (UbD) by Grant and Wiggins.

I find that very few of my colleagues do very deep reading on pedagogy, though the professional development at my school is excellent.

I am looking to bat around ideas, debate assumptions, and share real-world applications of some of the theories and curriculum designed and suggested by these folks.

If you or someone you know would like to exchange ideas here and share articles, links, and passages for discussion, please jump in or let someone else know where they can jump, with safety!

I like to question what I'm doing all the time in an effort to keep my practice a process rather than a primitive memorial of cliches.

My current obsession: teasing out the implications of this contradiction: I believe vocabulary development is authentic and lasting when it is a result of deep, wide, independent reading. But I also know that my students need vocabulary, especially academic vocabulary, to tackle a lot of the assignments we have. I don't like wasting time for short-term gains. Words remembered just long enough to pass a test, etc. I am looking for ways to create authentic experiences that will have students connect to the words personally.

Tags: Krashen, Language, Vocabulary, Whole

Views: 65

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Robert. I recently joined Classroom2.0 and have been digging around for groups that might interest me - and yours certainly does. I have also been very influenced by Robert Marzano and have also been working with Wiggins and McTighe's UBD. Rounding out the trio of authors published by ACSD, I have also been reading Carol Ann Tomlinson's work about differentiated instruction. In terms of reading instruction, I have been greatly influenced by Kyleen Beers (When Kids Can't Read) and also the WestEd folks' book Reading for Understanding. I learned of Diane Heacox's work recently, but have not read her books. I read Krashen in grad school but it's been a long time. My school started using Thinking Maps a few years ago, and they have also really changed my practice (they seem to really align with Marzano's thinking).

All these ideas get me very excited but I don't have colleagues at school who are interested in these issues. I teach 7th grade English in Los Angeles - LAUSD District 7 - and enjoy my job, despite the craziness and bureaucracy it entails.

So, what do you want to talk about? How about reading? I have lots of kids who have never read a whole book before. My shining moments at school are when one of these students reads and enjoys something - it's like that moment of wonder and exhiliration when we learn to ride a two-wheeler. Everything changes. For kids who are really reluctant, I've been giving them books from the Bluford HIgh Series - teen urban drama at the 4th grade reading level. What works for you?



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