Disrupting Thinking, Parts II & III (Beers & Probst)

Thanks to my two three hour delays (one each time - thanks airline I will never book again) to and from Denver this week, I was able to get some reading finished! If you didn't see the last post about my love of teaching literature, I'll share my notes from the remaining parts of Disrupting Thinking, Why How We Read Matters, below. 

Part II Framework:

One major comment I agree with in the opening comments is about fitting in something new. The most common complaint of teachers is that they are inundated with new things each year while nothing is ever deleted. (I hear ya, story of my life as a public elementary school teacher in a top performing district- new curriculum and initiatives in multiple subject areas every. single. year.) While I love change, I thrive on change, I want to be really darn good at what I do and often with so many plates in the air you feel as though you are just skimming the surface how in depth you can explore a curriculum or an initiative.

Thankfully, my takeaways from Part II are not about adding to the plate (whew!), rather replacing how I am instructing while in a reading lesson:

Reading is an invitation to experience new thoughts; the power of text is to change readers' minds, change their thinking, and change themselves.

  • Ask students, "How has this text changed me?"
  • Ask students, "How has this text changed my understanding of the world around me?"

Changing thinking is characterized by deep intellectual and engagement with the text and themselves. Following the BHH Framework (p. 63) can help in your classroom. While they are separated into three parts for clarification, they are certainly intertwined and require readers to become more responsible with text. 

Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters
By Kylene Beers, Robert E. Probst
  • What is in the Book: Notice and Note Signposts, Somebody Wanted But So, Genre Reformulation, Sketch to Stretch, Fix-Up Charts) This step is what the Common Core wants us to do - recognize strategies and notice author's craft. 
  • What is in your Head: What surprised me? What did the author think I already knew? What changed or confirmed what I already knew?)
  • What is in your Heart: What do you take to heart? What sense of self, values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, or actions change as a result of interacting with the text? What social activism cam come out of the reading, even if it just means being a better person?

Part III Changes:

As a teaching whole, we are enamored with "best practices." We all want to do right by this popular term. Educators nowadays seem reluctant to head into NEXT practices. If the goal is "don't fail" (thanks again, high stakes testing) then the result can be "don't innovate." Our goal of doing something and achieving success for our students looks beyond passing the test and teaching our students to become passionate, curious, lifelong learners. I do believe that's why we all started in this profession. 

How do we do it? Interest and relevance. "Getting kids' attention is about creating interest; keeping their attention is all about relevance." (p. 114) Letting go, talking more- what is something students come to school wanting to learn about? Do we ever even ask them? Shouldn't it be a place they can learn more of what what they are curious about and try to solve issues meaningful to them? I was happily surprised by the students' replies in the book, and I can't wait to ask students this question more in the upcoming school year.