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.


TeacherMom said...

I could copy and post this whole entry into my blog (if I even pretended to keep up with it). I even have the shark books checked out. We made a class list of the things we knew on Thursday (planned day off on Friday) We are ready to role on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how engaged they are with my innauguration plans.

I did tweak the way I organized the known things. I thought Lester Leminack really demonstrated good ways to do this at the summer institute.

I love reading your blog. Your kids are lucky to have you as a teacher!


Unknown said...

I have pictures of the spaghetti for this activity. It works great.

Rebekah said...

Sounds like a great modeling lesson... I am, however, confused how the spaghetti illustrates determining importance.