"When we open the door wide enough for students to engage in real meaning making—which involves continually revising your thinking and considering multiple possibilities—the strategies and skills we can belabor often seem to magically appear. Like the fourth graders, students reading for meaning often infer at higher level than students who are charged with practicing a skill. Also, the claims students reading for meaning make tend to be more nuanced and complex than those of students reading to identify a trait. And when it comes to standardized tests, they’ll be ahead of the game. Instead of starting to think once they’ve read the passage and get to the questions, they’ll be thinking from the very first sentence."
"When planning curriculum and setting individual goals for children, it’s important we make natural connections between reading and writing. That way, our teaching can be more focused, children have a greater chance to see the interrelatedness of skills and strategies, and there can be more opportunities for students to practice similar work across their day. In all cases, careful assessment of student strengths and needs is important to determine whether it makes sense to focus on reading and writing goals that relate to each other, or to target different areas in reading and writing."
"Here is a truth about my best teaching I learned last month in summer school:
Make yourself more interested in the sense that your students are making rather than the sense they aren’t making. Celebrate and build on that sense.
Celebrate it because too many students feel stupid and small in math class (especially in summer school) and they shouldn’t. The teacher time out helped us understand the student’s thinking, but try to understand what it’s like for a student to hear the big people in the room take her ideas so seriously that they’d bring the class to a stop to discuss them.
Build on that sense because it’s more effective for learning than starting from scratch. This is why analogies are so useful in conversation. Analogies start from what someone already knows and build from there."