Celebrate: Reminders and Other Essentials

I need reminders.

This week I went to the Right Question Institute’s seminar and was reminded of the power of the Question Formulation Technique that teaches kids to make, revise and prioritize questions around any subject matter. I discovered this work a few years ago and used in my classroom. Read about it here and here and here. Watch a few videos with students using the technique here.

Last year I did not use it. Not because last year’s group of students didn’t need it. Not because it took too much time. But because I was overwhelmed with the next new thing. The new (that was good) took over and drove a lot of good out of the class. My fault.

This week I was reminded by Dan Rothstein, Luz Santana and a room full of educators of the power and process of questioning.  My students need this work every year to reflect on ideas. This week I was reminded of something I knew but forgot: to blend new practices with older powerful practices.

This week I was fortunate (thank you #g2great Voxer) to be amongst a group of teachers treated to learning with Trevor Bryan. He took us through the Art of Comprehension Access Lenses. For a look-see at the possibilities of his work check out this link.

I hope, for the sake of students and teachers, his approach to teaching comprehension through artwork is published and shared widely. His tools allow students to “read” artwork with lenses that can be used to read a text and can be used to drive student writing.

Trevor’s access lenses teach students the skill of reading a mood in a painting and finding evidence for that mood by breaking down what appears in the artwork into patterns. Think color, facial expression, spatial relationships. And I’m just scratching the surface of this new tool I will add to my tool box of reading and writing strategies.

The Question Formulation Technique and the Art of Comprehension Access Lenses will bring my students to new understandings. This week I celebrate the brilliance and dedication behind that work.

This week I celebrate the necessity of reminders and working with others. Collaboration is the ingredient that emulsifies the work,

This week I celebrate passionate educators who step up to learn and support each other with energy and enthusiasm. It grows our practice that blooms in our classrooms, every year.

10 thoughts on “Celebrate: Reminders and Other Essentials

  1. I know that when we find new ideas, we forgot that there are still some old ones that are to be kept, too. It’s enjoyable to read your thinking, Julieanne. At the school where I taught, every student kept a field journal, to capture questions ready for a trip out of the building, to capture what they learned & observed on that trip, & finally for reflection, & more questions. We thought the sketching was an integral part of the learning, from k through 8, enhanced their observation skills, slowed down the thinking so that they didn’t rush to answers but really contemplated them. I’ll look for Trevor Bryan to see his thoughts. Thanks!

    • I love the way your school approached learning k-8. The culture is wholistic,honoring observation and process. What a great start for live long learning.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I looked up the RQI website after reading and looking at your links. This is a week of celebration of collaboration and learning with others. It makes a difference.

  3. Thank you for your great post. Wonderful writing. As a teacher I really appreciated it. I believe our condition is a global universal one.

  4. With so many good ideas it is sometimes hard to fit all in. When we pause and reflect what is essential, what our students need. we can make choices. Reminders and listening to other educators helps. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and links.

  5. Julieanne, I know what this is like! When you said, “But because I was overwhelmed with the next new thing. The new (that was good) took over and drove a lot of good out of the class. My fault.” I was nodding and saying, “Me too!!!” We need to listen and try new ideas and figure out what will work best in our classroom with our students. It’s a vital skill for teachers today! Thank you for the reminder!

    • Thanks Michelle! I’m glad I’m not alone in this phenomenon! We have to be open to all the wonderful new thinking that comes across our desks with hike holding in yo what we know and what our children need. Challenging work for sure!

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