Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Meeting Kelly Gallagher!

I went to a seminar today at the community college, about 45 minutes from my house. I was definitely not looking forward to getting up early, especially since I've really gotten used to sleeping in and spending my entire day reading (using Goodreads, which is an amazing site) and playing with my dog. However, I went...

And it. Was. Awesome.

It was a talk by Kelly Gallagher, who, if you have never heard of him, will really open your eyes to several completely practical ideas what you can incorporate into your classroom. He's all about reading and writing, but it could completely work for any subject area.

I don't know if I could even begin to describe my 5 hours at this seminar, so here's what I'll do. Links to his website and Amazon...

Here are the main points of today:

  • Writing scores are at an all-time low - NCLB obviously did not work.
  • Formulaic writing is "fake" -- Kelly even dares his students to find a published 5-paragraph essay.
  • To achieve greatness, you need 10,000 hours of practice in ANYTHING. That averages out to 4.72 hours of writing or reading every school day from K-12... and we don't have that kind of time.
  • Don't just "assign" writing - teach it.  Write along side the students.
  • Students have been doing entirely too much "Frugal and Gorbit" reading.  See if you can answer the 2 questions following the passage below. If you can, it proves his point.
As he rudled down the laskin, the jolet frugal plamed the gorbit.
"Phat plamp me again," quirfed the gorbit, "or I will sasted you."
"Oh zep," corped the brated frugal. "You always misto."
Away went the blotted frugal and the whorlotted gorbit. Perhaps the listents could thormi another day.

1. What did the frugal do?                                                     2. What might to listents do another day?
     A. blotted himself                                                                 A. plame
     B. plamed the gorbit                                                             B. thormi
     C. sasted his zep                                                                  C. rudel
     D. plumped his quirf                                                             D. blot

Here are just a couple of the methods to incorporate writing and higher order thinking at the same time:

  • Instead of having students fill out endless worksheets, have them write their own headline for the reading. You can't fake the comprehension there.
  • Incorporate an Article of the Week!
  • Have students break down what a writer is doing sections after section and have them follow that pattern - students can imitate style... and sometimes it gets them going easier than looking at a scary blank page.
  • Have students summarize in TONS of different ways - 17 word summaries, reflections, shrinking notes, whatever. Students can fake multiple choice, but not summary.
Food for thought...

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