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Enabling the CCSS version of exemplary adolescent literacy.
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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Whole Child Development!

How The Activity Learning Theory Works

How The Activity Learning Theory Works | AdLit |
How The Activity Learning Theory Works 

Vygotsky’s earlier concept of mediation, which encompassed learning alongside others (Zone of Proximal Development) and through interaction with artifacts, was the basis for Engeström’s version of Activity Theory (known as Scandinavian Activity Theory). Engeström’s approach was to explain human thought processes not simply on the basis of the individual, but in the wider context of the individual’s interactions within the social world through artifacts, and specifically in situations where activities were being produced.

In Activity Theory people (actors) use external tools (e.g. hammer, computer, car) and internal tools (e.g. plans, cognitive maps) to achieve their goals. In the social world there are many artifacts, which are seen not only as objects, but also as things that are embedded within culture, with the result that every object has cultural and/or social significance.

Tools (which can limit or enable) can also be brought to bear on the mediation of social interaction, and they influence both the behavior of the actors (those who use the tools) and also the social structure within which the actors exist (the environment, tools, artifacts). For further reading, here is Engeström’s own overview of 3 Generations of Activity Theory development. The first figure shows Second Generation AT as it is usually presented in the literature.

Via Gust MEES, Jocelyn Stoller
Giacomo Bono's curator insight, April 1, 12:46 PM

Social interactions with close others, technology, and our motivation to master environments all work together to change us. An important process not represented in this otherwise cool model is close relationships with older peers and adults (i.e., community) who know kids and the learning task at hand well enough to use the ZPD to support their learning.

HC's curator insight, April 1, 7:08 PM

An interesting article on the Activity Theory where "people (actors) use external tools (e.g. hammer, computer, car) and internal tools (e.g. plans, cognitive maps) to achieve their goals." This article explores how this theory can be applied in education, "...teachers should be aware that everything in the classroom has a cultural and social meaning. " 

Kim Flintoff's curator insight, April 1, 7:15 PM

A useful framework that can move well into higher education to inform learning design.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from 21st Century Learning and Teaching!

English teacher named 'best in the world' donates $1m prize – to her school

English teacher named 'best in the world' donates $1m prize – to her school | AdLit |
The winner of the first-ever million-dollar Nobel-style award for teaching has pledged to donate the prize fund to a school she founded in 1990.

Via Gust MEES
Gust MEES's curator insight, March 20, 5:43 PM

The winner of the first-ever million-dollar Nobel-style award for teaching has pledged to donate the prize fund to a school she founded in 1990.

espn3's curator insight, March 20, 7:25 PM


Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Disciplinary Literacy in Michigan!

25 Reading Strategies That Work In Every Content Area

25 Reading Strategies That Work In Every Content Area | AdLit |
25 Reading Strategies That Work In Every Content Area

Via Gust MEES, Cindy Riley Klages, Lynnette Van Dyke
Cindy Riley Klages's curator insight, July 22, 2014 11:05 PM

This includes a link to 50 apps, too.  

Al Post's curator insight, July 27, 2014 12:38 PM

A good reminder of tried & true strategies!

Tammy Goldring's curator insight, September 28, 2014 9:36 AM

Great Visual!

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from 21st Century Learning and Teaching!

Student Autonomy

Student Autonomy | AdLit |
Empowering Students In the Classroom


When I think of change that needs to happen in Education, my immediate thought goes toward student autonomy. To be autonomous as a student is to be able to independently manage the freedom one has in the classroom, while maintaining a harmonious relationship with the teacher.


For a student to be autonomous, a student must realize:

They have a voiceTheir voice mattersIt will be heardIt will make a difference


Via Gust MEES
Gust MEES's curator insight, June 30, 2014 9:00 PM

This fits by 100% my meaning also!

When I think of change that needs to happen in Education, my immediate thought goes toward student autonomy. To be autonomous as a student is to be able to independently manage the freedom one has in the classroom, while maintaining a harmonious relationship with the teacher.

For a student to be autonomous, a student must realize:

  • They have a voice
  • Their voice matters
  • It will be heard
  • It will make a difference

Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, July 1, 2014 12:54 PM

Student autonomy happens with teacher autonomy. Gert Biesta proposes democracy happens in classrooms where it is lived and modeled. It is not a distant process. The word is not autonomy but emancipation which is responsible for the Other and the world we live in.

Stevi Quate's curator insight, July 2, 2014 9:28 AM

When John McDermott and I wrote Clock Watchers and The Just Right Challenge, we wrote about empowering students and captured similar ideas to this posting. Since these ideas aren't new and seem to be shared widely, I wonder why these ideas aren't the norm in classrooms that we watch.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Information and digital literacy in education via the digital path!

4 Listening Tips for Learning Success

4 Listening Tips for Learning Success | AdLit |
In life, of all the language skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing – listening is used more than the other three added together. Children (and adults) can learn a lot through listening. Regrettably, this is not an instinctive skill. Listening must be taught and developed. Driving home, last week, I noticed some activity on […]

Via Elizabeth E Charles
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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Why Writers Are The Heroes Of Our Time

Why Writers Are The Heroes Of Our Time | AdLit |
That is my perfect definition of a writer; someone who dedicates his or her life to searching for the meaning of that life and the lives of others through the marvelous and mysterious gift of storytelling....

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, April 3, 2014 1:22 PM
3 April 2014 I've written in the past about my concern regarding a fairly recent practice of authors publishing articles that ride the gray line between sharing insights about literature and self-serving promotions of their latest book.

References to an article's author's own published works, if mentioned at all, used to be mentioned in a very brief italicized about the author bio at the end of the article.

HOWEVER, I also must admit that this particular article, in spite of its embedded self-promotion, hits a home run or two and maybe a few two and three-baggers. 
Gotta love ...
"The reason being, a storyteller is the keeper of the flame of a culture, the moral compass for a community, the one who sacrifices their own safety in anonymity by putting themselves out there.

Perhaps not a home run but maybe a solid double or triple...
"Writers are born and spend their formative years learning the craft with an apprenticeship at the canvas of experience. Science is all about trial and error and never examines what things mean where writers do the opposite - they strive to answer that question by telling the story of a character."

Again, not a home run perhaps, but maybe a solid double or triple...
"In the end, yes, we do know some statesmen, scientist and money makers of the past but when you really dig deep in the annals of human existence, it's the poets who we know. The writers who told us about the people they were and who their people were. We read them to know about ourselves. That is why they are as relevant as if they wrote today."

I must admit, however, that I still have a serious discomfort in the shift from "afterword" to "embedded self-promotion."  It is similar to the serious discomfort I've felt since the news media transitioned from making a clear distinction between what is to be perceived as news and what is to be understood to be editorial opinion.

btw... I might well decide to share this article with students as an example of the kind of informational reading worth examining in terms of practicing the skills associated with informational literacy.

Just one example. Vetere attempts to distinguish the power of literature with the shortcomings of smartphones. Is that a fair comparison?

I don't really think so. And, more so, the comparison relies upon the reader not having ";close reading"; skills.

My reasoning? The value of reading literature depends upon the literature selected to be read. Yes. the best writers reach for the truths Vetere suggests merit them the title of hero. But, as there are the greats in literary history, there are also the "pretty goods," the "okays," the "shameless panderers," the "dubious," and those who reach for the lowest levels of endeavors in pursuit of low-hanging profitability 

While at the same time, our smart phones are capable of bringing us the same very wide spectrum of possibilities.

To cherry-pick the most admirable levels of benefits of literature while cherry-picking only the features of smartphones that do not address the kinds of benefits that literature is capable of bringing is a false comparison.

And the ability to recognize false comparisons whether we are accessing what is put forward in commercials, political debates, five-paragraph essays or any means by which opinion and fact are mashed together is a skill more critical than ever in the current era of talking points and choreographed "staying on "OUR" message" regardless of attempt to challenge that message with significant and valid counter arguments.


 ~  ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit




Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity!

Using a Question Building Chart to Provoke Student Thought

Using a Question Building Chart to Provoke Student Thought | AdLit |
One of the most effective ways to provoke student thought is through the building of “rich” questions. By asking meaningful questions - and interacting with textual information – students can come to an understanding that builds upon on their own personal experiences and opinions. Through the use of a template, questions can be created in any way that you want and provide you with a specific platform to begin your questioning focus.


Via Gust MEES, Dean J. Fusto, Ivon Prefontaine
ANA's curator insight, March 7, 2014 5:45 AM

Important from the very beginning to create critical thinking

smadar yona's curator insight, March 8, 2014 10:12 AM

ללמד איך ללמוד, חשוב מאוד בים המידע.



Audrey's curator insight, April 13, 2014 4:21 AM

The questions can be based on exam questions, or directly from past exam questions.  The students can be asked about their own experiences and say whether the textual information has any application to the society in which they live, e.g. How does the information help us?

curating for and

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from 21st Century Learning and Teaching!

Free website for learners of English | ESL-EFL | Learn English Today

Free website for learners of English | ESL-EFL | Learn English Today | AdLit |
Grammar, vocabulary, idioms, proverbs and business english, with exercises and word games, for ESL-EFL learners of all levels.

Via Gust MEES
Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Google Lit Trips: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Google Lit Trips: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day | AdLit |
“But, how do you know if an ending is truly good for the characters unless you traveled
with them through every page?

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, January 22, 2014 2:34 PM

22 January 2014

Imagine my surprise when Kristen Pavese, author of this article begins by responding to the quote  above from Shannon Hale's Midnight in Austenland with...



"If only the character in Shannon Hale's novel had heard about Google Lit Trips, she would have known that this is in fact, possible!. Google Lit Trips is a free resource that allows readers to virtually follow the journey of literary characters via Google Earth...These pre-created trips place readers inside the story so they can see for themselves the path that characters have followed and experience the sights they have seen. Pop-up windows at each location provide the reader with different resources that stimulate higher level reading skills - discussion starters, links for further information, videos, etc. These resources bring about a fuller understanding of the text while establishing real world connections the reader can learn about for himself."



Pavese,  then points to the Google Lit Trip for Elizabeth Partridge's "Marching for Freedom" as an example that might be quite appropriate in light of our remembrance of the life of Martin Luther King jr. 



"The site offers a pre-created trip for "Marching for Freedom" by Elizabeth Partridge. Partridge tells the true story of the children who chose to join Dr. King on the march from Selma to Washington during the Civil Rights Movement in 1965. The trip outlines the 5 day march, giving students a visualization of the path the participants took, where they stopped, and what happened on each day. The pop-ups provide videos that make students feel as if they went on the march themselves – including speeches by MLK and LBJ, as well as a video of the actual marching. Among other things, the pop-ups also include links to documents that will give the readers background information (like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and MLK’s principles of non-violence), discussion questions, and notes from the author."



I must say that when Elizabeth Partridge contacted me to suggest that perhaps the book she was about to publish might make a good Lit Trip, I was stunned to say the least. An actual author contacting me?? Wow! The Google Lit Trips project had reached beyond any expectations I'd ever had for the project.


And, in collaborating with Elizabeth in the months before the publication of her book, the entire title being, Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children, and Don't You Grow Weary," I found myself up close and personal with a portion of the Civil Rights story that I had not been deeply aware of although I had been convinced that I had known quite a bit about Civil Rights Movement. 


When we stumbled across actual video clips of the march posted on YouTube, I was more than intrigued by the mysterious description of the footage reading...



"A powerful and recently rediscovered film made during the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. Stefan Sharff's intimate documentary reflects his youthful work in the montage style under the great Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein. The film features moving spirituals. Marchers include Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King."



It was nearly impossible for me to believe that in 2009 there was film to be "rediscovered." And then I noticed that the footage had been posted by "YouTube user: BTSharf, the son of the film's director.and one of the film's cameramen. 


I contacted  Mr. Sharf: in pursuit of permission to include the footage in the Marching for Freedom Lit Trip. I received this reply...



"Re: requesting permission to use videos 09/08/09

You certainly have permission to embed this video. We would appreciate it. This is a document that should be seen, the more traffic the better.

Send me a link.

Billy "



As we continued to work on the Marching for Freedom Lit Trip, being able to take the journey of the march and learning more about the "back story" than I had managed to gather even in my own fairly deep following of the actual events in the news, magazines, and television reports at the time of the march, and at the same time learning much more about the Elizabeth Partridge's back story personal journey in researching the "stories behind the story" of the march, it became clearer than ever that creating learning experiences that somehow virtualize the experience of traveling alongside the characters and people in their own life journeys had a way of personalizing the learning  experience that is much more engaging and therefore much more informative than can be acheived when the "story" is reduced to the pages alloted for such historically momentous events in history books, or in newscasts, and magazine articles. 


There is a kind of access to the truth of the "character of the characters"  as well as the "character of the people" if we are able to "travel with them" as author Shannon Hale points out in the quote from her book used by Pavese as a starting point for her article.


And I realized that whether one is reading fiction, historical fiction or non-fiction, there is a bringing together in the same space of the reader and the events portrayed, that is essentially a virtual travel along. And, this engagement makes it possible to not only "know" the events, but to actually "feel" the events, to empathize with the conditions and motivations and dilemmas of choice faced by the characters and people as if we were there walking right along side them.


When Elizabeth and I reached the end of the development of the Marching for Freedom Lit Trip, where we took the reader to "virtually witness" the incredible speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. at the Alabama State Capitol,  only one block beyond Martin Luther King's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, we found a video clip from that lesser known, speech, but perhaps at least as eloquent, as the "I Have a Dream" speech.


Martin Luther King Jr, did not actually name his speeches, but this one is sometimes known as the "How Long? Not Long!" speech. As we brought readers through Elizabeth's retelling of the story while taking them on the long march both in text and in the virtual reality of Google Earth, the video clip is viewed within the context of having "virtually marched alongside" the marchers after multiple failed attempts to begin, having "virtually been there with the marchers" as they were beaten on one attempt to cross the imfamous Pettus Bridge, having marched in peace as helicopters buzzed above and various "law enforecement troops "protected and intimidated" the marchers, having faced the possible dangers ahead as they passed through some of the most notoriously violent and racist areas along the way,  having walked past the actual church where Martin Luther King jr was and had been the pastor for 20 years, in a sense having reached the end of the march "virtually exhausted" yet proud of surviving the intimidation and fears, and challenges of the march as though we had been there, it became clear that we were experiencing that speech from within a very different context than when we only read the speech from within the context of the very few pages devoted to the entire Civil Rights Movement in history books or the few days devoted to the entire Civil Rights Movement  in history classroom lectures and discussions where hundreds of years of history must be taught and learned in the matter of one or two semesters,, or from within the context of our livingrooms watching three-minute annual newscasts including only the briefest of video excerpts of original coverage of the entire Civil Rights Movement on Martin Luther King Day or from within the context of the recognition that preparing for the all important "test  on Chapter ____" in the history text is too often perceived as being the primary value of the brief encounter with importance of information about the Civil Rights Movement.


I can't help but also mention that building a Lit Trip is a journey in itself. As Elizabeth and I worked on the "Marching for Freedom" Lit Trip, she shared her behind the scenes stories that she discovered on her research journey that took her to places between and beyond Selma and Montgomery as she interviewed many of the actual participants to discover their individual and shared back stories. In sharing those with me and with her readers, I was not only reminded of my clear recollection of the events as I knew them, but I also learned how little I really knew about a subject I thought I'd paid particularly close attention to at the time. 


Ironically, though President Johnson's greatest legacy may have been his signing of the Civil Rights Bill Act of 1964, I had not seen anything beyond the sound bites of his incredible speech at the time. I realized after seeing that entire speech, that my opinion of President Johnson had been based too heavily upon my concerns that he "was no Jack Kennedy, that he was a hardball politician who appeared to be quite at ease employing tactics I perceived as having questionable ethics as well as questionable motives in order to get what he wanted, and that he was unable or perhaps less interested in resolving the Vietnam war conflict that he had inherited from multiple previous presidents;  an earily familiar sounding predicament today.


And while working with Elizabeth and discovering President Johnson's speech in its entirety, I came to realize that in my youth I had not allowed these very negative perceptions of President Johnson to be tempered at least a bit by the side he showed in the Civil Rights work he helped bring to fruition.


In discovering the entire version of his speech online, I came to realize that as a president from the south where remnants of the influence of pro-segregationist Dixicrat party still held signficant sway in the Democratic party, Johnson's speech represented not just a expression of Democratic support for the Civil Rights Movement, but also an act of extreme political and personal courage.


In conclusion, Shannon Hale, speaking no doubt of other matters, nailed a truth about "knowing." We can not know the truth about characters and the universal truths they represent about humanity in the "real world" until we travel with them through their journeys, at least as much as we can in the course of becoming aware of what it is to become not merely human beings but also humane beings. And, in the case of the Civil Rights Movement as well as perhaps all human activity, it is equaly important walk in the shoes of others through both fictionand nonfiction in order to discover what the forces are behind those who become inhumane beings.



 ~ ~

Google Lit Trips is the fictitious business name for GLT Global ED, now an official 501c3 tax-exempt educational nonprofit




Sunflower Foundation's curator insight, January 22, 2014 8:07 PM

How great it this. I think being able to follow characters on their journey would be awesome. But I love fantasy, so unless the author provides maps I guess I am still stuck.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Sweet Integrations

Sweet Integrations | AdLit |

"I used the Lit Trip Big Anthony: His Story so the students could visit the different places in Italy as Big Anthony struggled to find his Strega Nona. The students loved this activity. The students developed a more personal connection with the book."

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, January 14, 2014 8:08 PM

14 January 2014


It's always so nice to see blog posts that endorse the Google Lit Trips project, particularly when they include references  to the student engagement.



 ~ ~

Google Lit Trips is a legal business name for GLT Global ED, a 501c3 tax-exempt educational nonprofit

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis | AdLit |

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, November 17, 2013 11:37 AM

Happy to announce the publication of our newest Google Lit Trips for Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. This Lit Trip was developed by Dalena Luis, a graduate student from the College of Education at the University of Central Florida.


Bud, Not Buddy is of particular interest as it is one of the English Language Arts Common Core Standards exemplar works for Literary Reading. And, it has won several awards for Literature.


Bud, Not Buddy is posted both in the K-5 and the 6-8 sections of the Google Lit Trips website.


We have also published a Google Lit Trip for Christopher Paul Curtis' The Watsons Go to Birmingham.


 ~ ~

Google Lit Trips is the legal fictitious business name of GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

How the Great Depression Spawned Literary Masterworks

How the Great Depression Spawned Literary Masterworks | AdLit |
The Great Depression was one of the most desperate periods in U.S. history, and one of the most important in American literature.

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, August 12, 2013 12:16 PM

At the heart of this article is a line that really got me thinking about the difficulties faced by literary reading educators.


In focusing upon the kinds of literary writing that sprang from the difficulties of the Great Depression of the 1930s, author Adam Kirsch tosses in...




"Never before or since have so many of America’s best writers focused on the lives of the poor and the working class or written with such a furious sense of political engagement."



Suggesting that today's great writers have not risen to the challenge of circumstances quite similar to the challenge faced head on by the great writers of the 1930s, Kirsch asks what on the surface appears to be a quite simple and quite critical question...




"What did the storytellers of the Depression know that our own writers don’t?"



I can't help but wonder whether the circumstances today are sufficiently different; that today's writers know something about the publishing industry that was not part of the mix in the 1930s.


Or whether writers today are so heavily "managed and handled" by a publishing industry that is fighting its own battles to stay alive, that even in times when competition for mass attention for one's work all but require non-resistant compliance to playing it safe strategies.


Or perhaps it's the shrinking reading public who read for escape rather than for insight. 


Or whether we've evolved / devolved to the point where it's just easier to let those with moderate to outlandish opinions do the thinking for us.


Or whether the din of those who would do anything to oppose anyone with opinions contrary to their own; informed or otherwise, is now the white noise of our existence.


Or whether we have become so divided and paralyed by that division that we can not allow any idea to exist without causing a massive tsunami of opposition in our partisan media. 


Whatever the reasons might be, if  Kirsch's premise has merit, the parallels of circumstances do exist. And, I can't help but wonder if today's public discourse about those parallel circumstances is a more effective or less effective way for a society to face its most difficult challenges.




In thinking about this situation, my mind meandered back to Abrahan Lincoln's "A Nation Divided speech," wherein he said speaking of the issue of slavery, though the economic realities behind the controversy have much in common with the economic realities of depressions,...



"A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.[1]"



History did prove Lincoln correct, at least on the level that opponents did "arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction:..." 


But, headlines today even call into question the degree to which the success of ending slavery was in fact sufficiently successful in correcting the problems caused by slavery. 


Where Lincoln may have been wrong was that he only predicted an either this or that outcome; whereby either slavery would end or it would become lawful throughout the states.


He does not offer the possibility of opposing forces winding up in a never ending absolutely equal tug-of-war where problems are never addressed and status-quo persists until both sides come to their senses or the citizenry demands that they do so.


 ~ ~


 "Google Lit Trips" is the fictitious business name for GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

The Crack-Up Book

The Crack-Up Book | AdLit |
I tell my students, if you want to learn about depression, don't read the DSM. Read The Crack-Up. If you want to understand grief, read Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking.

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, June 29, 2013 3:43 PM

This is one of those, "Wait for it, wait for it, WOW!" stories. It's not really a long wait. Maybe a 3 minute read, or perhaps a 7 minute "contemplative" read. 


The "Wait for it" element is that there are a few early paragraphs that seem to focus much more on the author's concerns regarding the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic Manuals (referred to as DSMs followed by a version number with the higher number referencing the most recent edition)


But you don't read my Scoop-it articles or commentary looking for some sort of analysis of the resources used in the psychiatric field. And, that's why, I suggest you not skim the first few paragraphs and then assume the focus is beyond your area of interest or concern. 


And, not being an expert in the examples of the author's concerns regarding  psychiatric diagnosis, I nearly decided to pass on this article myself. I really don't have an educated opinion about the position the author takes. But, the article's title and references to F. Scott Fitzgerald in the opening paragraphs kept me wondering about how the article would eventually draw some important connection between literary reading and "whatever it was" that the author was using the DSM discussion as a prefacing set for.


And, then... 

The wait was over. The author brings his discussion to the power of storytelling as a diagnostic tool. The DSM is a rubric. And, as a rubric it is a tool that filters one's attention in pursuit of psychiatric evaluation.


I used rubrics extensively. When done well, rubrics can provide a level of objectivity that limits the influence of subconscious biases, obsoleting practices, and arbitrary valuation assigned to various elements and other "elephants  in the curriculum" selected to be measured.


Though between you and me, it was my opinion that too many rubrics I found being passed around were not entirely, but frequently close to being entirely useless. 


Perhaps, I'm being too harsh. But, in an attempt to set a norm, many  "home made" rubrics did little more than transfer those "subconscious biases, obsoleting practices, and arbitrary valuation assigned to various elements and other "elephants  in the curriculum" to a scientific-looking grid giving little more than the appearance of objectivity.


I don't doubt that the attempt of the vast majority of creators of the poorly designed rubrics were well-intended. Nor do I doubt that the amateur attempts to design such rubrics, actually did have the potential for more accurate assessment. But, my concern was that when poorly designed or poorly used, the benefits as well as the detriments of assuming that the evaluation is somehow free of subjectivity must be considered before choosing sides on whether or not the "English department should get together and create their own rubrics that will be adopted by the department to ensure consistent and objective student evaluation."


It's only one example, but I can't help but remember the rubric used by one of my son's teachers for an assignment that my son had made multiple mechanics, usage, and grammar errors on. Of course, all of this did not come to my attention until the assignment had been graded and my son had received a (probably) deserved "F." Not just an "F"  but a 37% on. And any teacher who has seriously considered the impact of the difference between a  50% "F" and a 37% "F" knows that although both represent an assessment that a student has not demonstrated skill mastery, the the mathematical impact of averaging a 37% "F" into a grade calculation can create a near irrecoverable possibility.


The flaw that caused the paper to receive an "F" was real. The criterion that cost him to lose points was valid. The value calculation of that criterion was questionable. The teacher was quite within reason to include the criterion that contractions were unacceptable in formal research papers. It was therefore not unreasonable that if a student used contractions points would be lost. However, the system the teacher used was to subtract 5 points for every time a student used a contraction. This is not an unusual approach to calculating the impact of such a demonstration of inadequate skill mastery. But, it is not defensible. Without quibbling over whether this criterion was a measure of the student's mastery of formal writing expectations or a measure of the student's mastery of proofreading (two quite different goals), the student who includes perhaps four contractions will lose 20 points while the student who includes perhaps six contractions will lose 30 points. Both have made it clear that they have not mastered the skill or met the expectations. But the first student by making the mistake four times has doomed his grade to being no higher than a C+ while the second student by demonstrating the exact same lack of mastery or skill has doomed his grade to being no more than a D+ (or an F in the case of schools or teachers who have eliminated the D grade entirely). And, on the assumption that there might be additional errors to be caught or on the assumption that the overwhelming majority of the rest of the assignment demonstrated proficiency regarding several other measured criteria, either the kid is doomed to failure or the skills for which he or she has demonstrated adequate skills  are trumped by the impact of what might be considered to be a lack of mastery of a rather minor criterion when compared to the more complex skills measured in other criteria.


It's easy. You tell me... If we lock ourselves into a grading system where we believe we have built in objectivity and yet we also have a very common influence such as not accepting late papers. Then compare the final assessment of the following four students' mastery of essay writing as they write four essays over the course of a semester for a teacher who believes in averaging grades:


Student A: #1= 77%; #2= 80%; #3= 80%; #4= 78%; #5= 80%

Student B: #1= 59%; #2= 69%; #3= 79%; #4= 89%; #5= 99%

Student C: #1= 99%; #2= 89%; #3= 79%; #4= 69%; #5= 69%

Student D: #1= 98%; #2= 0%(late); #3=98%; #4= 99%; #5=100%


I'll save you the trouble of doing the averaging.


consistent performer doesn't get much better or worse.

Final Grade 79% C+



Struggles but diligent clear steady improvement: clearly leaves class with superb essay skills

Final Grade 79% C+ 



apparently could write an essay on day one, but effort seems to slack over the course. We don't know if this student cheated on the first essay  or had some home life issues or "other interests" or just slacked off.

Final Grade 79% C+


Student D

Exceptional student. We don't know why the one essay was turned in late, but rules are rules.

Final Grade 79% C+


IF the rubric and the math were designed to add objectivity to the measurement of whether a student has achieved proficiency in essay writing. How accurately does the math reflect Student D's mastery of essay writing? Or, Student B's? or Student C's? 


Both mathematical averaging and standards-based rubrics provide a sense of desired objectivity to our efforts. And, they DO add elements of objectivity to our efforts. However, there are many variables in the design and implementation of math and rubrics that can introduce "significant margins of error." 


And finally back to the article...

I might not find the criticism of the DSM-based assessment structure to be as "unreliable" as author suggests. But, the author's concerns for the potential for actually narrowing assessment accuracy and thus actually potentially creating a significant margin of error are woth considering in light of how education attempts to relies upon data-driven assessment on the assumptions that the collection, sysnthesis, conclusions drawn, and planning based upon the data are free from variables that might override the intention to control variables.


And, ironically, his conclusion is that a better understanding of depression, in his particular example, is to listen to the unfiltered stories, to perhaps read fictional accounts if you really want to know the facts.


I studied several wars in high school history classes. We read historian's selected historical events and gave the facts. Even if I concede the possibility that an honest and well intended effort was made to do so without bias, as far as I was led to believe, it was more important to be able to pick the right answer as to what year the War of 1812 was fought than to know the story of human nature that led to that war. I don't know if it was just war or not. But, I knew the "right answer" to the test question. And knowing that did absolutely nothing to provide me with an understanding of how it was that the study of history was important so that we not repeat the mistakes of history."


It was Eric Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front" that helped me see the shortcomings of my history book's version WWI.


It was FICTION as was Randall Jarrell's poem,...


The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

Because this poem did not claim to be unbiased, I did not read it as unbiased. It was one point of view. There were opposing points of view as was made quite clear in All Quiet on the Western Front and in just about every John Wayne War Movie. 


It was FICTION that added a facet to my understanding of war that led me to at least understand that there is more to the story than my history books were telling me. Did it make me one of those raving anti-war dope smoking unpatriotic liberals during the Vietnam War? 


No, but it did make me want to know the motives behind the Vietnam War, the invasion of Grenada, and pretty much any endeavor when brave young people are asked to put their lives in harm's way. 


It was fiction that helped me want to know more about war's costs and benefits and to hold myself MORE responsible for trying to be an informed responsible citizen. 


And, you what, I knew that John Steinbeck had exercised poetic license when he wrote The Grapes of Wrath. It was FICTION based upon historical events. It was not an entirely accurate documentation of the actual facts of the dust bowl migration. But, that wasn't Steinbeck's intent. His story was about the "rest of the story." The story of family, of generational differences, of the relationship between the haves and the have nots, of the prejudices against strangers and the less fortunate, of the exploitation of the many by a few. All of his example were fictitious, but they clarify some of the motives behind some of the facts that history presents. 


And of course, I must say that had I read ONLY fictional accounts of real events without having also read the historical facts of those events, I would also not be sufficiently informed to accept the obligations of being an informed responsible citizen.


 ~ ~

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from 21st Century Learning and Teaching!

13 Blogging Statistics You Probably Don’t Know, But Should [Infographic]

13 Blogging Statistics You Probably Don’t Know, But Should [Infographic] | AdLit |
Are you making the most of blogging statistics to build a better blog? I did some research and created this infographic which contains blog stats that...


Learn more:


Via Gust MEES
Tony Guzman's curator insight, March 25, 10:24 AM

This infographic shares some excellent information for bloggers on how to increase your audience/followers.

James J. Goldsmith's curator insight, March 25, 1:43 PM

This infographic should be of interest to bloggers.

M. Philip Oliver's curator insight, March 25, 11:31 PM

Thanks to Malek for this comprehensive infographic!

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from 21st Century Learning and Teaching!

PracTICE: Learning To Learn | Curation | Blogs | PLN | PKM | Social Media

PracTICE: Learning To Learn | Curation | Blogs | PLN | PKM | Social Media | AdLit |

LEARNing To LEARN, the PracTICE | With ALL that mass of information which WE get on each day in OUR technology driven Digital World, with the messages from Social Media through OUR  PLN (Personal [Professional] Learning Network), there is a MUST to organize OUR LEARNing! WE MUST unlearn the OLD and learn to learn differently as that was the case twenty years ago!

Learn more:


Via Gust MEES
Gust MEES's curator insight, March 3, 6:08 PM

LEARNing To LEARN, the PracTICE | With ALL that mass of information which WE get on each day in OUR technology driven Digital World, with the messages from Social Media through OUR  PLN (Personal [Professional] Learning Network), there is a MUST to organize OUR LEARNing! WE MUST unlearn the OLD and learn to learn differently as that was the case twenty years ago!

Learn more:

Marco Favero's curator insight, March 4, 8:21 AM

aggiungi la tua intuizione ...

Iolanda Bueno de Camargo Cortelazzo's curator insight, March 14, 10:37 AM

A new tool I will use with  colleagues in the continuing teacher development program I coordinate.

It will help a lot. Thanks.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Information and digital literacy in education via the digital path!

Rate your comprehension using these 4 levels of understanding - Daily Genius

Rate your comprehension using these 4 levels of understanding - Daily Genius | AdLit |
Next time you're trying to learn something, remember this chart on the 4 levels of understanding.

Via Elizabeth E Charles
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Writing Tools Web 3.0!

170 Ways To Use Word Clouds In Every Classroom

170 Ways To Use Word Clouds In Every Classroom | AdLit |
Welcome to a post I always have  fun writing. Last year I attempted finding ways to use Word Clouds (Wordle) in education. When I concluded writing that post I was at 108 possible ways. More than a...


Gust MEES: I created the above "Wordle Logo" with "Word Clouds" as example. You may use it for non-commercial use by giving credit to my blog ===> <===


Check the free service here:


Via Gust MEES, Pippa Davies @PippaDavies
Mayra.Loves.Books's curator insight, November 30, 2014 8:14 PM

Great ideas presented here! I have used Wordle before, but I had not thought of using it in the ways listed. Can't wait to try them.

Judy Doctoroff's curator insight, December 2, 2014 10:36 AM

Creating word clouds is always enjoyable  and engages students and teachers.

Konstantinos Kalemis's curator insight, August 10, 4:50 AM

Gust MEES: I created the above "Wordle Logo" with "Word Clouds" as example. You may use it for non-commercial use by giving credit to my blog ===> <===


Check the free service here:


Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Keep learning!

Teaching Adolescents How to Evaluate the Quality of Online Information

Teaching Adolescents How to Evaluate the Quality of Online Information | AdLit |
An essential part of online research is the ability to critically evaluate information. This includes the ability to read and evaluate its level of accuracy, reliability and bias. When we recently as

Via Elizabeth E Charles, Giselle Pempedjian
Deborah Rinio's curator insight, April 9, 2014 11:28 AM

Evaluating information is a critical life skill. Without sufficient practice, our students will not internalize this skill, and will not remember it from lesson to lesson. Talk to you librarian today about integrating the process of evaluating information into your research projects and lesson plans today!

Elizabeth Hutchinson's curator insight, April 9, 2014 1:18 PM

Interesting article showing what school  librarians teach every day, if they get the chance...

liz deskins's curator insight, April 29, 2014 9:09 AM

Something m ost librarians already do; but good to remind us about it!

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

13 Poetry Collections For People Who Think They Don't Like Poetry

13 Poetry Collections For People Who Think They Don't Like Poetry | AdLit |
When I was first asked to make a list of poetry collections for people who think they don't like poetry, my first thought was, "Well, isn't that just about everyone?" Not quite--I do have nearly 2,000 friends on Facebook, of whom the majori...

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, April 2, 2014 2:47 PM

2 April 2014

It's no secret that poetry's audience is,... well, know, um, let's just say small. There were few teachers in my own education who managed to crack my own resistant wall to poetry; at least the poetry that they felt had to be read in the obstacle course of crossing the diploma line.


I'm not saying that I welcomed the opportunity to become enlightened by the, whatever it was that poetry brought to one's quality of life. Truthfully, my personal appraisal of poetry as a way to expend one's remaining minutes of existence wasn't worth listening to.


But immaturity and adamant ignorance, high volume buffoonery absolute confidence that popularity gained via a sort of daring, yet charming class clownishness are real variables affecting one's young judgment in many cases.


Poetry may have been ready for me to wake up. But, I just wasn't ready to wake up for poetry.


That is until  in the meanderings of my day to day obliviousness I was found myself occasionally  in the right place at the right time with a good reason to let my guard down. 


Do I regret my Metrophobic resistance? I don't know. There are so many roads taken and not taken; perhaps as many missed opportunities as those that were serendipitous.



OKAY, my relationship with poetry aside, I must admit that I'm a big fan of digression ala Holden Caufield chapter 24. While writing that last paragraph, the original phrasing in the first sentence was "Do I regret my poetry-phobic resistance?" And, then I thought, "Geez, probably most people reading this are English teachers, maybe I shouldn't embarrass myself anymore than I do anyway and check to see if there actually is a fear of poetry phobia." So, off on a serendipitous digression I went. Not only is there a word, "metro phobia," but the first website I went to ( had this to say about it in it's opening paragraph.


"Metrophobia, or the fear of poetry, is surprisingly common. Many people first develop this phobia in school, when overzealous teachers encourage them to rank poems according to artificial scales, break them down and search for esoteric meanings. Others simply feel that poetry is somehow “beyond” them, belonging only to the realm of the pretentious and highly educated."


Something to think about as we do our best to promote  Poetry month.



And with that digression the intended trajectory of these comments shifted....


What if I revisited my own perceptions of my early lack of interest in poetry based upon that first paragraph about Metrophobia quoted above.Maybe, I had actually liked poetry given my fairly early enjoyment of Dr. Seuss (except for the inevitable scary pages). Maybe I found those early and risqué encounters with limericks quite interesting. Maybe it was that Pelican poem my father taught me....You know the one that goes...


A wonderful bird is the pelican,

His bill will hold more than his belican

He can take in his beak

Enough food for a week

But I'm damned if I see how the helican!


Oh it was my dad telling me a funny poem that actually used references to the words "damn" and "hell." And, it was so clever in rhyming "pelican" with "belly can" and "hell it can." 


Long before the phrase even existed, this brand of "out of the box thinking" captivated my imagination.


And maybe it was the assumption of accepted practice in teaching literary analysis, like frog dissection, was the obvious way to get kids to appreciate poetry rather than one very effective way to take the inherent wonderfulness out of poetry and kill it as dead as that frog we were dissecting in biology class.


But, as I look back on my own oscillating interest in poetry, there are recollections (some perhaps embarrassing others not) of key experiences that brought me out of the fog where instant rejection reigned supreme. And, the list made it very clear to me that everyone's journey to literary appreciation varies. What "did it" for me was a unique experience. The specific literary pieces that worked for me worked because of a complex interaction between the works themselves, the readiness I  had for being receptive, the influences of my own personal experiences' and perceptions of those experiences on my zone of proximal development and the artistry of those educators, friends, and real or imagined girl friends.


For what it's worth... among the most paradigm-altering experiences with poetry in my own journey were the following:

The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby

John Denver

Bob Dylan

Woody Guthrie


Shel Silverstein

Dr. Seuss

Joe Cocker's You are so Beautiful

"Stories and Prose Poems" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Langston Hughes' "Harlem" (A Dream Deferred)

LeRoi Jones (I don't even remember the specific poem, but I do remember that it slammed up against the wall and made me think about things)

Gordon Parks

Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken

and even Rod McKuen


And, now, curiously, I find myself remembering more and more as I look for a spot to stop adding to the list. But, you can probably see what I'm seeing.


It was the 60's  And, I'm convinced that it was because the bridge between where I was and the poetry I"m remembering was a short bridge. I found that bridge "crossable." And, I found that in crossing that bridge, that nearby slightly longer bridges were more interesting than I'd previously thought they might be. 


e.e. cummings, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, limericks, and that Pelican poem my dad used to ask me if I'd ever heard every time we saw a pelican and I asked my own children every time we saw a pelican.all intrigued me in their "at the edge" of word play and out of the box thinking.


Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie led me to Woody Guthrie, Alan Lomax, and T.S.Eliot. Mark Twain's War Prayer.


But, the question is, "Is my particular journey from poetry-resistant to poetry-interest a prescription as in here-are-the-poems-that-got-me-so-they're-the-poems-I-should-teach?"


Of course not. But, they do suggest that for many, the journey to appreciation for the unappreciative might have some remarkable similarities to my journey if we find a way to begin with lyrics, and poetry, and word play, and childhood memories and experiences to which they already have a welcoming receptiveness.


And, what I can say is that although I am not a believer in the infallibility of data-driven decision making, I can't help but suggest that IF POETRY is worth teaching, then the data seems to be indicating that we are having a disturbingly low success rate for our efforts in promoting poetry as a welcome addition to our students' life-long reading practice.


 ~ ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

Olivia Sica's curator insight, October 31, 2014 11:47 AM

If you think you don't like poetry... 

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Learning Literary Terms With Taylor Swift

Learning Literary Terms With Taylor Swift | AdLit |
This article was written by teen reporters from The Mash, a weekly publication distributed to Chicagoland high schools.

By Kiley Roache, Nazareth High School

Whether you’re prepping for the AP Literature exam, or trying to crank out that ...

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, February 17, 2014 12:53 PM

17 February 2014


I can't say that I'm an expert on Taylor Swift lyrics. But, I have taken some teasing because I've found the lyrics to the few songs I've listened to, to be quite touching and poetic. 


In that limited experience, I was attracted to the storytelling aspect of her lyrics. They struck me as being as personal as quite thoughtful journal entries taken seriously by someone who cared and paid the price for doing so. Very touching.


And, now, thanks to Kiley Roache, of Nazareth High School, we have this article sharing several examples of the way Taylor Swift has used several literary devices in her lyrics.


If literary devices are intended to enhance the relationship between a writer's intent and the receptiveness of that writer's audience, then perhaps it might be significantly more effective to introduce  those literary devices via examples that really exist in the world of our students rather than only in the world of literary scholarship. That is, the power of literary devices may be more effectively "learned" when the focus is upon bringing the story to the reader rather than focusing upon bringing the reader to the device. 


Would I use this article in class. "Absolutely except..."


One lesson I learned long ago, is that too many students' have extremely rigid pre-established opinions about music types, genres, and performers to assume that sharing any musician's lyrics will be a welcome endeavor by all.


Seems obvious doesn't it? Different students have different tastes in music and more typically than not, for the most part they have yet to develop a breadth of musical appreciation that allows them to be receptive to music beyond the breadth of "their favorite" kinds of music. 


As an aside, it might be worth considering how far beyond their established interest in storytelling and beyond their Vygotskian Zone of Proximal Development we ask them to be receptive to when we assign all of them to study the same work of literature. 


Perhaps if we took every opportunity to wrap literary reading learning experiences around the question every students asks, "What does this have to do with anything I care about?" we might find more of them receptive to the lessons we design in our attempt to address the question every professional educator asks, "How can I use literature to encourage students to contemplate  not only what they care about but what they ought to consider caring more about?"


Bait the hook! 


Fans of Taylor Swift will "bite" a lesson on literary devices built around this article because it begins with  an established appetite. They'll feel a closer and deeper attachment via their "fandomness" to her work and probably rush out to other fans to clue them into the depths of Swift's lyrics that they've discovered.


If this is true for Taylor Swift fans then a parallel experience is probably true for students who happen be fans of other musicians.


Building upon this premise, I might ask students to email me a phrase from a lyric that they are particularly fond of.


I would print each one on a single sheet of 8.5x11 white paper using Helvetica font in the largest point size that I could so that the phrase would still fit on the single sheet of paper. 


I wouldn't identify the source. (student or musician).


Before class the next day, I would hang them around the room with as much space between them as possible on walls where there was ample space to walk.


I would immediately invite students to walk around and read the phrases with one intent. What do you suppose it was about each phrase that "someone" in this class thought was particularly meaningful? 

I would emphasize that it isn't important whether or not they find the phrase particularly meaningful. The focus being simply what did the writer of the lyric do with words that caused at least one of his or her fans to really connect with the phrase.


Then, I'd introduce this article assuring students who do not "care for Taylor Swift" that they don't have to watch the videos if they can't bring themselves to do so. They need only concentrate upon the term and the example.


The subsequent task being, "Did you see examples of 'any' of these terms in the phrases the class brought in?


It wouldn't surprise me if the students discovered that the use of literary devices is fairly common and that regardless of musical taste, many of these devices find themselves being used across many musical genres.


If there is merit in this thesis, then perhaps letting non-Swift fans  start with their favorite lines from their favorite musicians regardless of the teacher's opinions (informed or otherwise) about those musicians and then letting them discover what it was about those lines that they found particularly interesting would serve as an equally engaging and more successful approach than say, teaching cliché, oops, I mean simile by telling them  about someone being "as hungry as a bear;" or, explaining the allusion being made in one story they are not enjoying to another story they never heard of.


And, I would also suspect that once they've had some experience noticing the use of literary devices in stories they already have a personal engagement with, that they would have enough "lock on the concept" to begin noticing them in the works on the official course reading list.


 ~ ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

We're Teaching Books That Don't Stack Up

We're Teaching Books That Don't Stack Up | AdLit |
All too often it's English teachers who close down teen interest in reading.

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, January 24, 2014 3:36 PM

24 January 2014

 (This scooped article was orignally published in 2008)


Okay, Gulp!


I think I'll begin my comments with one of my favorite Dick Cavett quotes....



It's a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear.



There, I said it. Literature teachers, we may just be a big part of the problem, well intended as we may be.


If you don't read the scooped article, or finish my brief comments, I'll include one paragragh from the article worthy of some open-minded collegial contemplation in a pending department meeting...



""Butchering." That's what one of my former students, a young man who loves creative writing but rarely gets to do any at school, called English class. He was referring to the endless picking apart of linguistic details that loses teens in a haze of "So what?" The reading quizzes that turn, say, "Hamlet" into a Q&A on facts, symbols and themes. The thesis-driven essay assignments that require students to write about a novel they can't muster any passion for ("The Scarlet Letter" is high on teens' list of most dreaded). I'll never forget what one parent, bemoaning his daughter's aversion to great books after she took AP English Literature, wrote to me: "What I've seen teachers do is take living, breathing works of art and transform them into dessicated lab specimens fit for dissection."



(awkward pause)




Yes, we do need to sow the seeds of the next crop of English majors. But, we ought to consider it even more important, since the numbers are so lopsided, to remember that as many as 90% of our students "ain't gonna major in English" and perhaps as many as 50% of our students "ain't gonna read a single piece of fiction" after they are no longer required to do so.


I know.


I don't particularly want to hear it either.  But "facts is facts." And, if there is any truth in the contentions made in this article that in too many cases we may be killing what we believe we are nourishing we may want to revisit even our own personal favorite lessons.


I am not proposing that we "dumb down" but rather that we give some thought to how we might "relevance up" what we do in our literary reading instruction. Anyone who can't imagine how to "relevance up" say a play like Cyrano deBergerac, must surely have forgotten what it felt like to have acne or the intensity of the forces of physical attractivenss at a time in one's life when "inner beauty" is just something that teens' parents say is really important while correcting their children's posture.


Yes, of course! That's it. Our students don't particularly want to hear what they don't want to hear either. But, we're the grown ups in the room aren't we? 


Of course if taken as a blanket condemnation of how we teach literary reading, then it is a harsh and unfair implication to suggest that none of us do manage to successfully engage the vast majority of our students. But, if we are willing to listen and hear what we may not really want to hear, we may give some readjusted attention to the complaints of those who are brave or annoyed enough to express those complaints. And, if we really do want to hear what we really don't want to hear, then we might also spend significant time listening to the eerie silience of those who "lay low" only pretending to care or to those silent ones who don't even bother to pretend to care while wondering why the clock moves so slowly.


We can sometimes too easily explain away the complaints and disengaged silence by believing that "they're just lazy, they spend too much time on facebook, they just don't care, that they just want less challenging work." There certainly are those. But a surprising number of the disengaged don't want less; they want "something" more.


It was not too long ago that the battle cry was, "No Child Left Behind!" But, I would propose that perhaps an equally important concern is that when we finish with them, that they do not ride off "into the real world" happy to be finally free to leave some of their teachers behind.


Teach to their hearts and their minds will follow.


 ~ ~

Google Lit Trips is the fictitious business name for GLT Global ED, a 501c3 tax-exempt educational nonprofit


Shay Davidson's curator insight, January 24, 2014 8:47 PM

Interesting. I'm quite sure people could argue all day about the books kids are forced to read in high school. I only wish that good teachers had a choice in the books they wanted to present to students--and I'd get to pick the good teachers out!

Steffen Sipe's curator insight, January 30, 2014 3:45 AM


Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Linking Literacy & Learning: Research, Reflection, and Practice!

Engaging with Ebooks Can Aid Children’s Literacy, Study Finds

Engaging with Ebooks Can Aid Children’s Literacy, Study Finds | AdLit |
As younger and younger children recognize and use electronic devices as sources of information and entertainment, what is the impact on their literacy skills? Largely a positive one, according to a study in the January edition of SAGE Open.

Via Gust MEES, Dean J. Fusto
Ness Crouch's curator insight, January 17, 2014 8:29 PM

Nice to see some research on this. :)

Mirta Liliana Filgueira's curator insight, January 21, 2014 11:20 AM

Alfabetización digital en los niños pequeños.

Annie M Herbert's curator insight, February 7, 2014 5:04 PM

So as this generation of students comes up through school, we will really have to adjust the way they receive information.  We cannot stay stagnant.  We'll lose every student out there.  And I wouldn't blame them.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

How Does Electronic Reading Affect Comprehension? | DMLcentral

How Does Electronic Reading Affect Comprehension? | DMLcentral | AdLit |
Although electronic texts have been with us for many decades, in the past few years electronic reading has become increasingly popular.

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, November 19, 2013 10:41 PM

An interesting take on the paper vs. digital reading conversation. John Jones author of this article references a Scientific American article by Ferris Jabr who argues that there are four distinct advantages that prove paper reading is superior to digital reading.


Followers of this Scoop-it blog, know that I've long emphasized that it is the text not the means of accessing the text that should be at the center of that particular discussion regarding literary reading. And, that educators who voice their own preferences for one over the other may be inadvertently alienating student readers who have established preferences for "the other" means of accessing literary reading text.


There being a long list of perceived advantages and disadvantages for both paper and digital reading, my question has always been, "Which is the most welcome format for the student REGARDLESS of my own particular preference? And by the way, though I do lean a bit towards preferring  digital over paper, particularly when I am reading with an academic intention, I feel equally at home with paper-based literary reading. 


So, when I began reading this article and discovered that it referenced an article from a respectable periodical and that that article took a very clear stand in favor of paper, I was quite interested in the possibility of discovering previously unconsidered advantages of paper-based reading. And, with that in mind, rather than assume that I might let my slight preference for digital reading bias my receptiveness to solid evidence that ought to be conceded to paper, I actually began to wonder about the possibility that IF there is merit in the argument for paper and against digital reading, that this might be more significant than my "let them access the text in their preferred media and concentrate on the text" stance.


Why? Because whether students prefer one or the other, the assessment structures for the English Language Arts Common Core Standards specifically require digital reading.


Could this requirement to take the assessment testing via computer which is not the same experience  to those who prefer paper's  advantages and who are more bothered by their perceived disadvantages of digital reading, cause an unrecognized significant increase in the test's margin of error considerations?


And, ironically, after having spent some time exploring the Smarter Balance" practice tests, I became quite concerned that the reading experience presented by Smarter Balance was significantly unlike the digital reading experience that I've come to appreciate a bit more than the paper reading experience. 


The "Smarter Balance" reading paridigm includes none of the advantages and many incredibly, ... well, I'll just say it, many really irritating disadvantages for attentive reading.


It is a reading experience that isn't an authentic representation of any reading experience at all. Nor does it employ technology in a way that reflects the best features of digital reading, those being features that streamline attentiveness via immediate definition access, those that integrate highlighting and note taking seamlessly, and those that make reviewing notes and highlights instantly accessible whether one is accessing them while reading or after reading while studying for an exam or reviewing the entirety of the story while constructing knowledge via project-based building, essay writing, and other demonstrations of understanding.


Jones' critque of Jabr's "conclusions" rest upon pointing out the narrowness of Jabr's scope of consideration. Admittedly I was pleased therefore to see that Jabr's blanket conclusions were being challenged and that Jones' critique was based upon legitimate questions of Jabr's analysis.


Yet, at the same time, I could not help but wonder if students who prefer paper-based reading and who have then not exerted the effort to go through the process of developing a comfort level sufficient to getting past the universal "temporary fall back" that occurs when the comfortable old modes of operation are replaced with the uncomfortableness of the new mode's "different way of doing things." 


This is not a new phenomenon.  It's called the "S-curve" effect. Productivity declines temporarily when one has to learn a new way of doing something that is replacing what appears to be a perfectily satisfactory way one had always done that task. 


We may not recall Mark Twain's turnaround regarding the invention of the typewriter. By the way, it is interesting to note that Mark Twain happened to have been quite intrigued with "new" technologies having been the first person to have a telephone in a personal residence and the first person to submit a typewritten manuscript to his publisher and who happened to go bankrupt investing in what he'd hope would be a revolution in printing industry technology.


Nevertheless, his early adoption was fraught with irritation at the typewriter's initial setback in his comfort, efficiency, and productivity.


As he put it,...


"The machine is at Bliss's, grimly pursuing its appointed mission, slowly & implacably rotting away at another man's chances for salvation.


I have sent Bliss word not to donate it to a charity (though it is a pity to fool away a chance to do a charity an ill turn), but to let me know when he has got his dose, because I've got another candidate for damnation. You just wait a couple of weeks & if you don't see the TypeWriter coming tilting along toward Cambridge with the raging hell of an unsatisfied appetite in its eye, I lose my guess."

- Letter to William Dean Howells, 25 June 1875



 Yet in the spirit of a true pioneer, undeterred by the inconvenience caused by the inevitable setback to his productivity and efficiency  caused by having to master a completely new skill set for writing, he did recognize  the typewriter's significant POTENTIAL advantages over handwriting early on when he had not yet mastered the typewriter. 


He demonstrated the kind of openess to the "new fangled" ideas that we might well hope our students adopt in the rapidly changing times they must be prepared for and the kind of openess to the "new fangled" ideas that we as educators ought to be receptive to in spite of their required discomforting "learning curves," when he wrote... 


I am trying to get the hang of this new fangled writing machine, but I am not making a shining success of it. However, this is the first attempt I have ever made & yet I perceive I shall soon & easily acquire a fine facility in its use...The machine has several virtues. I believe it will print faster than I can write. One may lean back in his chair & work it. It piles an awful stack of words on one page. Id don't muss things or scatter ink blots around. Of course it saves paper.



Of course, he did master the new fangled technology. He far surpassed his initial concept of the value-add that typewriters would bring to his writing once he made the transition. And, from that vantage point he was able to look back at pen and paper and see that in the long run the potential of pen and paper was far more limited than the new possibilities brought about via his surviving the transition to the typewriter.


In a later letter to Howells, his enthusiasm for typewriters was, ah, let's say great. He wrote, ...



...[children] what are they in the world for I don't know, for they are of no practical value as far as I can see. If I could beget a typewriter--- but no, our fertile days are over."



Now that's enthusiasm after an initial expression of serious dislike for typewriters. 


Though forever condemned by an overly simplistic understanding of their motives, the Luddites are often cited as the poster-persons for resistance to technology. In truth, their concern was about their concerns regarding the impact on unions and laborers brought about by more efficient productivity that technology might bring. There's room for empathy there.I would suggest that there are in fact many people today who understand the Luddites concern. It was not that the technology wasn't more efficient in time and cost, but that many people today are finding their skill sets just no longer viable in a world that changes so quickly. 


It's not unusual. Remember the discomfort expressed by many when word processors didn't make clicking sounds when the keys were hit?


Remember the discomfort when Apple stopped putting modems in their computers?


Inconvenience, some worthy of sympathy and some merely signaling a resistance to having to learn something new, often comes before the increased value-add made possible by change.


And, as long as this particular commentary has been, my point has been not to focus upon the legitmacy of the arguments made by Jabr in his assertion that paper beats rock,  ...oops, ....I mean paper beats digital.


My point was, without assuming that one is better than the other, what if there IS an important difference between the two modes of reading that is particularly prevalent during times when disruptive paradigm shifts are making radical changes in the way we do things? And, if there is, might those differences extend the margin of error in the  standardized testing results into the unacceptable range given the transition in place between the traditional paper-based skill set and the extremely varying degrees of achieving a level of comfort with the very different skill set of reading as a digital process?


I really hadn't thought about this in spite of the fact that I'm old enough to remember how microwaves were welcomed and unwelcome during the early days of microwave ovens and the discomfort and advantages of VCRs when they were new and with DVR when it disrupted VCRs, all of which brought new options to the exisiting modes of doing what it was that they did. Yet, they also brought a discomfort level that was for many such a challenge that they never did achieve the required new skills for reaping the benefit. 


The pace at which people adjust to new paradigms is incredibly personal. There are folks who never did learn to program their VCRs. And there are people who just don't feel a need to jump on every unproven band wagon that happens along; some until the "bugs have been worked out, and others because they've seen too many Edsels and Beta-max flops. And, as successful as Apple has always been some remember the Apple Newton a "not-yet-ready-for-primetime" predecessor to the iPod and today's smart phones and tablets.


Even some of us who are educators remember the resistance to spellcheckers and calculators. Some still are; others insist that students be held responsible for perfect spelling since it is so much easier to spell perfectly when spellcheckers can catch the first 98% of spelling issues. Today no employer will tolerate labor expenses involved with employees who do math "the old inefficent way." Is there an educator reading this commentary who does not know a veteran teacher who to this day still has a significant discomfort with searching for ways to integrate the powers of the internet into his or her classroom even though there are others who signficantly enhance and engage students in the same content at the same school? The problem is not that the old ways "ain't broken" but that like it or not they are obsoleting.


I have a hard time leaving my paper books behind and I doubt that the day will come soon that I'd even think about doing so. But, I also do not deny the inevitability of an ongoing digital disruption on every front far into the future.


But that's okay. I still have a deep love and appreciation for the experience of driving my wife's 5-speed manual transmission  Prelude "rocket ship". While at the same time appreciating my Nissan Pathfinder's automatic transmission, especially in the crazy traffic in the area where I do my driving. And, I am also perfectly aware of the fact that although I generally keep cars for 10-15 years, the next time I am in the market for a new car, my criteria won't be blazing speed and exquisite handling like the Prelude or comfort in traffic like the Pathfinder. My criteria will be dominated by my concern for sustainability of resources and room for my three adorable grandsons. 


 ~  ~

Google Lit Trips is the legal fictitious business name of GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

Marty Roddy's curator insight, November 22, 2013 11:17 PM

Interesting thoughts on reading.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from 21st Century Learning and Teaching!

PracTICE: Using Blogs For Home Work To Get ICT Skills and Creativity

PracTICE: Using Blogs For Home Work To Get ICT Skills and Creativity | AdLit |
. . This is the second blog about "Blogging" and in the first one ===> PracTICE: Using Blogs for Critical Thinking and Proactive Thinking <=== WE were talking about WHAT would be the BEST way...

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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Web 2.0 for juandoming!

The Ideal English Major | The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Ideal English Major | The Chronicle of Higher Education | AdLit |

Real reading is reincarnation. There is no other way to put it. It is being born again into a higher form of consciousness than we ourselves possess. When we walk the streets of Manhattan with Walt Whitman or contemplate our hopes for eternity with Emily Dickinson, we are reborn into more ample and generous minds. "Life piled on life / Were all too little," says Tennyson's "Ulysses," and he is right. Given the ragged magnificence of the world, who would wish to live only once? The English major lives many times through the astounding transportive magic of words and the welcoming power of his receptive imagination. The economics major? In all probability he lives but once. If the English major has enough energy and openness of heart, he lives not once but hundreds of times. Not all books are worth being reincarnated into, to be sure—but those that are win Keats's sweet phrase: "a joy forever."

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