professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Engagement redux

So, I wrote yesterday about Ellin Keene's talk about engagement at Boothbay Institute. And then today, this was in my FaceBook feed:

Here is the quote that connected what Ellin was talking about to the Facebook post: "I make sure my students know that I can’t make them read at home either. I want them to feel the weight of that responsibility on their shoulders. I want them to own it. That way when they do read on their own, they know it was their choice. It wasn’t something Mr. Stortz made them do. Responsible readers are made by opportunities to be responsible, not by hackney accountability gimmicks. Ditch the reading logs. Your readers will appreciate it. "

Here is a teacher talking honestly about ditching a strategy or activity because he saw that the activity did not match his goal. He knows that the motivation to read has to come from the kid eventually. And that if they do engage, there is a sense of accomplishment different from the one that comes with simply completing a log or blog or diorama.

How do we know they will read? How do we hold them accountable? I hear this asked often. Since my middle school students knew we would talk about their reading, and that the discussion was their responsibility and not mine (though I pledged to read their books), they knew that they were ultimately going to be responsible for the reading (or for NOT reading as the case may be). In that discussion, I was not the leader; I was simply one if the participants.

Today at lunch, we sat and talked books (what else, right?). Books we liked; books we did not enjoy. Books others thought we should like. Books that we liked and others did not. What an animated conversation that was. We were all engaged. We all took responsibility for the discussion. I wish someone had thought to video a bunch of teacher stalking about books go show to kids. Yes, we are nerdy. But is that not what we want kids to be, too?
Tags: books, engagement

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