This is your EMWP Summer Institute Book Group blog. You are asked to post at least once a week before and during the Institute. Your group leader will post additional assignments and post topics. Check back often. If you have any questions or concerns contact your leader, Kristen.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chapter 3: Five Kinds of Knowledge

I have always used essential questions and tried to foster inquiry in my lessons and units, but before I read Get it Done!, I had never heard of or purposefully used the Five Kinds of Knowledge. Without knowing it, I had of course touched on each of them--it's hard to teach anything without using them, whether you're doing it on purpose or not!

The thing is, I wasn't developing the five kinds of knowledge very effectively. They were usually part of separate, disconnected lessons in my class. One day, we would learn about the context and reasons for learning. The next, we would do some pre-reading activities that dealt with procedural knowledge of substance. Then, I would abandon most of those things as soon as we got to the actual material, and explicitly teach mostly declarative knowledge of substance. At the end of a unit, sometimes weeks later,  when we got to procedural and declarative knowledge of form, I would find that my students no longer had any idea why we were even doing this or what our essential questions were.

I am planning on changing that in my classroom next year. I am going to try to use the five kinds of knowledge to build on each other, to work together to help students generate knowledge for themselves through inquiry. That's really what I was trying to do all along, but without knowing how to make it work.

Questions for Discussion:

What are your experiences with the Five Kinds of Knowledge? Do you agree with all of them, or would you add or remove some of them? Do you have any strategies you use that help students make and communicate meaning?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Introduction to Get it Done

Get it Done: Writing and Analyzing Informational Texts to Make Things Happen

Book Blog Basics

The way the book blog works is that each week until the Summer Institute begins, I will post some thoughts and reflections on the book. At the end of my posts, I will end with a question or a discussion point. Then, please post your own blog entries (not comments on my entries) with your thoughts and responses. You don't necessarily have to respond to questions or comments in my post, though--anything dealing with what you've been reading in the book would be totally appropriate. It would also be great if you could comment on other people's posts so that we can really get a discussion going before we even get to our face to face meetings this summer. The goal is to be finished reading the book before the summer institute begins.

First Thoughts and Discussion Topics:

When I chose this book to read for continuity, I chose it for two reasons. The first is because I am a history teacher as well as an English teacher, and I was looking for more ways to get my students writing in history class. The second is because I teach Senior English, and for better or for worse, the Common Core puts a very heavy emphasis on informational texts at the high school level. I wanted to be prepared to teach in a way that helps my students master those standards.

I have already tried out some of the strategies from the book in both my English and history classes this year. Most of the teaching strategies and activities in this book are so clear and well-explained that they can be easily applied in the classroom. However, I have hit some bumps along the road, but that is bound to happen whenever you try to change and grow as a teacher. I'm looking forward to sharing some of what I've learned from my own classroom this summer.

What made you choose Get It Done to read this summer? After reading the first two chapters and flipping through the book, what do you hope to get out of the book? How do you think it will apply to your students? What questions do you have?