Today we begin our conversation about Opening Minds by Peter Johnston, our second annual #cyberPD event. (Here is the Jog to last year's conversation about Patrick Allen's book, Conferring.) I'm happy to be hosting this event with Jill Fisch (July 18, Chapters 4-6) and Laura Komos (July 25, Chapters 7-9).
Today the conversation about the first three chapters begins here at Reflect and Refine. If you are participating in this event by posting on your blog, please add your link to the comments below. As the host blog, I will then move your comments into this post. If you do not have a blog, you are welcome to comment on Twitter using #cyberPD, leave a comment at one of our blogs, stop by our Opening Minds Wallwisher or any other way you can think of to join the conversation. We're flexible.
During my training for Reading Recovery we focused on the language we use to support readers. We talked about the prompts we could provide for generative learning. As I moved into work as a literacy coach, conversations continued to focus on the language we use with young learners. We looked at ways to use language to help students become strategic thinkers and move them toward independence. Peter's first book, Choice Words, changed the words I used as I sat beside my students each day. When I saw he had a new book released I was excited to read it. Language is such an important piece of learning in our communities.
In the first chapters Peter shared his beginning points about the language used in conversations in our classrooms. Peter reminds us, "In classrooms, events happen, but their meaning only becomes apparent through the filter of language in which we immerse them." In these beginning chapters he shares the way the conversations we have as a community shape the way learning will look in our classroom as well as the way students will perceive their ability to change, learn, and grow across the school year.
I thought the first chapters were the perfect chapters for thinking about the significance of the first weeks of school as we lay the foundations and set the tone for all that is to come. I want young learners to think, as Peter says, "When you make a mistake, it means nothing more than that. Fix it. Learn from it. (p. 3)" In our classroom students need to see themselves as "people who can act and have an impact (p. 3)" in our community. They need to know their voices, their thinking, their learning matter to everyone in the community. These first weeks are important in creating this learning environment.
Across these chapters I thought often about Reader's Workshop. The conversations we have as a class often lead into the independent reading students do within our day. Johnston demonstrates the significance of these conversations in Manny and Sergio's conversation as they read A Picnic in October by Eve Bunting (p. 5). Those are the kinds of conversations I hope students are having as they read during our workshop. Many students like to read and talk about books with friends. Having conversations that allow them to think more deeply about books, to negotiate meaning with friends, to agree and disagree, but most of all to understand that these conversations help them to grow as readers.
Goal Setting Conversations
Our school has been focusing on goal setting. In our workshops across the day students set their goals for learning. I have found this to be a way to shift the narrative by giving ownership of learning to the students. Johnston's focus on changing the narratives of our classroom is powerful. His discussion of the work of Carol Dweck and her theories of fixed and dynamic mindsets is important. I read her book last summer and found it to help me reflect on the way students may perceive their learning.
As I think about the students in my classroom last year it is easy to think of students who had a fixed mindset. These students worked under the premise that they were smart or they were not smart. Those with more of a dynamic mindset looked at learning differently. Students with a dynamic mindset were willing to work hard to improve. They didn't seem to mind if things were hard for them. Instead they noticed, and took pride in, the shifts in their learning.
Goal setting, especially when goals are about the process and strategic thinking, can be a way for students to see their growth. It is a way to shift thinking from right/wrong, smart/not smart, and toward an understanding of how they change over time. Students own this learning. Instead of talking about how many levels students have improved in reading, they are talking about the ways they've grown as a reader. Instead of talking about how many math problems they got right, they are talking about the strategies they can use to begin to solve a problem. Instead of being a good writer or not a good writer, they are talking about new crafting techniques they've tried in their latests pieces.
- "My intention with this book is to offer a basis for choosing more productive talk - how to make the most of those opportunities children offer us. (p. 4)"
- "In a dynamic view, the process - how they did things - is most important (p. 16)."
- "Process information removes the 'genius' from performance and replaces it with both a dynamic-learning frame and the strategic knowledge of how the success was accomplished (p. 21)."
- "interdependent reading" (p. 32 -- loved that term)
- What does all of this (especially the student conversation on page 5) mean for conversations during Reader's Workshop?
- Is it possible for someone to have a fixed mindset in one area and a dynamic view in another?
- How do we help students with a fixed mindset develop a more dynamic view of learning?
- What does this conversation mean within the process of RTI?
Language for the Classroom
- Let's see which of these problems is most interesting? p. 18
- Repeat what he said for us so we can think about it. p. 27
- How did you do that? p. 31
- How did you know that? p. 31
- How could we figure that out? p. 32
As I finished chapters 1-3 it was all I could do to not start Chapter 4: "'Good Job!' Feedback, Praise and Other Responses." That usually only happens in fiction. I can't wait to continue this discussion. If you'd like to join us, but are just hearing about this for the first time, you can jump in at anytime. The book is available at Stenhouse for 20% off during their Blogstitute Event. Peter Johnston will be posting during the event as well so keep watching.
Stop By Participating Blogs
Wow, there are a lot of blogs participating in this year's event. I know I'm going to have to spend some time in the next week revisiting everyone's thoughts. The conversation adds so much to a book that already provides much to think about. We also have people participating at our Wallwisher, writing reflections in the comments on our host blog, and sharing thoughts at #cyberPD. Make sure to check it out. (Also, it is never to late to add your post. Just be sure to leave a comment below. I'll see it.)
Laura Komos shares her reflections at Our Camp Read-A-Lot. In Opening Minds Part I, Laura shares some of her favorite quotes and expands upon each.
Sit down with Michelle Nero at Literacy Learning Zone. In #cyberPD: Opening Minds - Part 1, Michelle talks honestly about the importance of the conversations we have with children. She reminds us that every word matters as we sit beside by learners each day.
Maria Caplin shares her thinking at Teaching in the 21st Century. Maria talks about the implications Johnston's work has on her thinking for her learning community next year in Opening Minds Ch. 1-3. She shares some of the points of influence she considers in shifting students toward a dynamic frame for learning.
At Inspired to Read, Amy Meyer shares her reflections in Opening Minds Chapters 1-3. Here she talks about the significance of the language we use to help build children. She discusses her role as a third grade teacher in helping students to change beliefs they may already hold about themselves as learners. In her post she shares many questions that will keep you thinking.
Jill Fisch, another #cyberPD host, shares her thinking at My Primary Passion. In her post, Opening Minds - Chapter 1-3, Jill focuses on the role of language in our classrooms. Her synthesis of the chapters, plans for practice, and snippets of language make this a post you need to read.
Stop by Tony Keefer's Tumblr page, atychiphobia 2.0, as he shares his thinking in #cyberPD Opening Minds: It's About Time. Tony is joining this discussion on his own freewill this year. How could he resist? In his post he shares his reflections on Johnston's books including thinking about his planning of mini-lessons, considerations for developing a dynamic learning frame, and getting to know our students.
We are happy to have Dawn Little, The Literacy Toolbox, joining our conversation this year. In her post, #cyberPD - Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives, Dawn shares her reflections of the first chapters. She discusses the significance language, links to the Common Core, and the mindset of young learners.
Barbara Phillips has also joined the discussion again this year at Wondering Through 2012. In her post, Opening Minds #cyberPD Part 1, Barbara shares her reflections about the beginning of Johnston's book. Barbara shares important quotes, mindsets, and questions to guide learners.
You have to stop by to view Mary Lee Hahn's graphic response to the first three chapters at A Year of Reading in CyberPD.
Barb Keister joins us this year at Reading Teachers / Teaching Readers. In her Opening Minds post Barb shares the key points of each chapter as she reflects on the implications in her classroom.
Make sure you stop by Thinking Stems where Tracy shares her reflections on Opening Minds. I think you will like the way Tracy pushes Johnston's thinking even deeper. Her emphasis on what is next, change, and the forward momentum of learning is refreshing.
Karen Terlecky joins us at Literate Lives. In her Opening Minds reflection she weaves together Johnston's points with small narratives from her classroom. I very enjoyable read.
Valerie Ruckes joins us at The Sensibly Savy Teacher where she discusses Johnston's key points. Her "quote" and "important words to think about" sections give more to ponder.
We are happy to have Noreene Chen join us for #cyberPD at My Beautiful Planet Earth. Noreene talks about the connection between dynamic learning frameworks, process, creativity and innovation. Lots to ponder here.
Stop by Lit Prof Suz's blog, In the Heart of a Teacher is a Student, to gain a clear understanding of Johnston's message in his bookin #cyberPD Opening Minds Chapters 1-3. Important points in moving toward a dynamic learning are discussed as well.
Dun da da. (That was red carpet announcement music.) Let's welcome Amber & Lisa into the blogging world at FOCUS: Clarity through Collaborative Reflection. I'm always so excited when a new blog starts during #cyberPD. Stop by as Amber shares her reflection in Stop: Engage the Growth Mindset where she discusses that point when we stand between a fixed mindset and a dynamic perspective.
Ann shares her reflections of Opening Minds Chapters 1-3 at Work Hard, Be Courageous, Celebrate Growth. Stop by to see what she has to say about these important words: already, mistakes, mindset, influence, yet. Ann also shares her next steps here.
At Raising Readers and Writers, Julie shares her reflections in her post, Opening Minds #cyberPD. You'll want to stop by to read Julie's messages for her community of learners in the coming school as she begins creating an environment that empowers her students and moves them toward a dynamic learning framework.
Aimee joins us from Australia. Stop by Teaching Journey where Aimee shares her reflections of Opening Minds by Peter Johnston. In her post, Aimee begins to address the question of how to make the world bigger for the children we work with each day.
Stop by Nicole's Book Nook where Nicole shares her reflections in the first part of our discussion. In Opening Minds Part 1, Nicole talks about our role in helping students' develop a dynamic learning framework.
Jacquelyn Sticca joins #cyberPD at Miss Sticker. In her post, Opening Minds #cyberPD, she shares interesting points to consider about the language we use with parents.
Stop by Creative Literacy where Katie DiCesare shares the parts of Johnston's book she loved the explanations for his thinking. In Opening Minds #cyberPD, Katie also shares some of the language she anticipates she will be using in her classroom this year.
Katie Keier joins the conversation at Catching Readers. In her post, Opening Minds: Sumer Cyber PD, Katie shares her "cheat sheet" of language she will be adding to the conversations she has with young learners next school year.
Melanie Swider joins us at Two Reflective Teachers. In Opening Minds #cyberPD Post, Melanie discusses the type of self-talk we should model for young learners.
Stop by Snapshots of Mrs. V. In Opening Minds Chapters 1-3, Mrs. V discusses the significance of this book on the work we do each day.