Sunday, January 18, 2009

Determining Importance

I introduced this topic last week using an activity from Comprehension Connection. I gathered my students and with a bowl of water, some spaghetti noodle and a strainer we discussed how readers must determine what's important when they read. My students made some interesting comments:
"You know when you put spaghetti in the pot it is hard and crispy, it needs the water to soak up, but it doesn't need all the water. That is what it is like when you read, you soak up some of the new information but you don't need it all."

Interesting thoughts that led me to this, Teaching With Intention by Debbie Miller. She has a lesson where she takes a group of students through the process of discovering things they already knew, adding new schema, and deleting misconceptions. This week we are moving in this direction. I have selected 16 shark books for us to peruse, not to gain new knowledge about sharks but to take a look at ourselves as readers. That new information is our ability to determine what is important. What does it mean to me as a reader?
The more I am reading and discovering, the more I am realizing that determining importance is not about finding the main idea. It is much more than that. Determining importance is more about searching a text for the things that I need as a reader. What does it mean for me as a reader?
This is determining importance.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Break From Blogging(excuse, after excuse, after excuse!)

So, I can't believe that it has been since December 30th since I have last blogged! I have many excuses:
1. The stomach flu hit the Amick household between holidays, and I took two family members to the ER during the night. I spent the next 24 hours opening windows during the dead of winter, and keeping lysol, 409, etc. in business. I think I might have sprayed the dogs with that stuff too!
2. We made our annual trip to Chicago to visit with friends over the New Year's holiday. Five adults took 7 small children into the city to ride the L. My was it ever fun, Chicago from a whole new perspective. Children would rather watch construction occuring on a barge from a bridge, ride the escalators in every store, and play with revolving doors. Yes, their perspective is quite different.
3. I have been sick, not with the flu, but with an upper respiratory cold. We had an ice/snow day on Wednesday after returning from school, and Thursday I was miserable. Friday I stayed home from school and just rested, while running a fever. My workouts have suffered and I am far behind already with school work.

Not a great start to the New Year I have to say, but today is a new day and I feel better than I have in days. I am ready to go back out and start walking, regaining my strength with every frozen breath. I am ready to dive into my unit of All About Books, and Determining Importance in Reader's Workshop. More posting to come...