So our daughter calls us from college (she is a freshman) at the end of her first week of classes, right before she returns home for Labor Day weekend. She was super excited about college but also suddenly super STRESSED. The familiar freshman story unfolded before us. You may remember it like I do and it went something like this: "Mom, I have like 4 chapters to read in 3 classes each and there is so much to do and I don't know what's important and what's not. I took 11 pages of outline notes from psychology (*front and back she did LOL!*) but I can't remember much of anything. How am I going to get good grades and be happy?"
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Typical passive learning scenario:
Receive Worksheet + Textbook. Pull information out of text. Write correct answers/thoughts on Worksheet in the spaces provided. Do not mark in book/text. Turn in. Take a Quiz. Get a grade. Move on to next thing teacher says I need for tests.
I shared this story with colleagues and friends
The story continues: Don't worry, I told her. "We will sit down together and ANNOTATE the text side by side. We'll talk about your thoughts and look up things you don't know. I'll think out loud and learn out loud and then you'll do it with me and on your own...and you'll GET it, my dear, I promise. You will excel at college and enjoy it because you will OWN it. You'll be afraid of no text at all."
"Mom, what's annotating?!" :)
|photo credit: rolleh via photopin cc|
I'm new to the Workshop Model and I see its power for my 6th graders. It frees the EBULLIENT INNER LEARNER (nerd) in each child. It empowers. It encourages the learner to TALK BACK to the text and argue with it and spar with it and joke around with it and talk with it and connect with it. GET PERSONAL with TEXT!
SHE GOT IT, folks. She left on Tuesday morning refreshed, excited, and smiling. She read lots during the weekend and marked up the pages lots and TALKED to us about the IDEAS she'd read. She was on fire! She couldn't get over how easy it was and how she'd never been shown/taught to mark up text and talk back to it in school before. (Can't write in textbooks and worksheets/notes ask for right answers, not play and mental sparring/expression.)
- The rote 'study skills' class will not do the trick. That sort of class is still dishing out to the learner how to learn and not INVOLVING the learner.
|Laura, Cris Tovani, Ruth Bontrager|
I've paired Workshop Model with Wreck this Journal and Smashbook mentality. (blogpost in the works)My 6th graders and I mark and annotate text (often texts that I write) and then we smash them into our journals in our own creative and ARTISTIC way. The kids honestly enjoy the times we read and annotate/mark the text TOGETHER. It is a quiet, focused, honestly creative/active time even though it is quiet. They enjoy the discussions and the sparring that ensues in their groups or pairs after annotating. I encourage VISUAL representations and metaphors with all concepts/ideas. The kids aren't used to thinking that way but they LIKE IT. It allows for individuality and artistic expression...and deep thinking. Whatever we read in class, I do fresh with each group under the doc cam so they see me as a LEARNER and an enthusiastic one at that.
Get your students to WRECK their LEARNING using SMASH Book and Wreck This Journal mentality.
An example from our first go at marking and annotating. Find your style, kids. I'll give you time, then we'll share ideas and suggestions to help you get the most out of any text you ever meet so you can grow from it and go places!