Have your heard...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This week I was introduced to a piece of, well a , um it's kind of a framework of sorts. Actually it's called a framework. It's a collaborative effort by the National Writing Project (NWP), Council of Writing Program Administrators (WPA), and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The document (I'm still not sure what to call this) is titled Framework for success in  post-secondary writing. I know what you are thinking... it's probably the EXACT same thing I thought when the first slide hit the screen.... I teach kinder so why am I thinking about this. Well the answer came very quickly as Sherry (the presenter) drilled down this document to the simplest of terms. In the post-secondary world students need to be able to write and not just transcribe ideas but write well. Since we know that writing development (not transcription development but more of what Katie Wood Ray calls compositional development) takes place over time with increased opportunities to write in classes across the curriculum, teachers of the very young need to understand and possibly embrace the ideas in this Framework for Success in writing. Yep I left out the post secondary part, mainly as I think that these are outcomes for that age but I think the frameworks themselves are vital to all students.

So I started to get really excited about this framework but more specifically the habits of mind that it lays out for us. First let me define what I mean by habit of mind... a habit of mind refers to ways of approaching learning that are both intellectual and practical and that will support student's success in a variety of fields and disciplines. Ok stop and think for a minute.... approaches to learning that are both intellectual and practical... um... isn't that what we are all doing? is it important for our (little kinders) to be successful in a variety of fields and disciplines? So if it is expected of our little people to be able to have these habits of mind when they are big college people, wouldn't it be important for us to know about them? us being the teachers in elementary and secondary???

So after I got over my moment of anger in knowing all about the CCSS(common core) but knowing nothing about this document, I started asking where this document came from... as in how old is it, not who wrote it (that part I already knew). Sherry calmly explained that this is new and only introduced this January and will be rolled out at different conferences throughout the year. With my anger gone, I dove into the habits of mind. Let me list them: curiosity, openness, engagement, creativity, persistence, responsibility, metacognition. I won't define each of these but instead give you a link to check them out: Habits of mind

Here is where I got excited... the habits of mind are something that can be used in my classroom. They foster things like critical thinking. How cool... right? I also started thinking about Katie Wood Ray and Matt Glover in the book Already Ready. They talk about composition being a habit of mind. And I think that this idea is supported through the Frameworks list of habits of mind. For a child to compose (create) they need/use curiosity, openess (to look at new ideas or ways of doing things), the engagement is very high when they are allowed to be creative, they learn to be persistence, take ownership and are responsible for their work. WOW folks!! Talk about college bound kinders!

I'm really getting excited about teaching writing this year. I get a little worried that I might over do it and forget about the other subjects ;)

1 comment

  1. I also teach Kinder. Last summer we were trained in CCCSS for Reading, Writing, & Math. Last year our K & 1st started teaching & testing Math according to CCCSS. This year we enact Reading & Writing in K & 1st. It was a struggle last year to keep in mind all the Writing standards from CCCSS. And although we weren't required to follow it last year, we tried to approach CCCSS in Writing. I was fearful all year that I was failing to lead my students accurately. My K teaching partner & I took a wide variety of approaches in Writing. In the end, they performed fairly well. We realized that some of the growth is taught while other parts are truly developmental. Some of the approaches we battled through in Fall were too difficult for the students' young minds. Those skills fell in place by the end of the year, they just had to grow into it. I'm feeling nervous, but a little more prepared for the new year.


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