Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Disruptions start with a thought

"Disruptions start with a thought
 that something needs to be better."

This week I read, Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters by Robert Probst and Kylene Beers. It is a must-read book for all readers... and those who teach language arts, and those who assign reading homework. This book is an amazing professional resource; it is able to reframe reading as transformational rather than simply a practice of decoding, recalling, and responding to homework questions.

Disruption begins with two questions:

  1. What needs to change?
  2. What assumptions make that change hard?

From the authors:
“We think it’s time we finally do become a nation of readers, and we know it’s time students learn to tell fake news from real news. It’s time we help students understand why how they read is so important,” explain Beers and Probst. “Disrupting Thinking is, at its heart, an exploration of how we help students become the reader who does so much more than decode, recall, or choose the correct answer from a multiple-choice list. This book shows us how to help students become the critical thinkers our nation needs them to be.”

Of course, skills are important; but if we aren't reading and writing so that we can grow, so that we can discover, so that we can change - change our thinking, change ourselves, perhaps help change the world - then those skills are for not.

"Our democracy is best served when we encourage students to begin at an early age to pay close attention both to what the text says and to what they feel and think as they read. Not one or the other, but both."

Responsive, Responsible, and Compassionate reading:

"In order to read to change, the reader must be responsive to the thoughts and feelings awakened by the text, responsible to both himself and the text, and compassionate and open to the characters and people he finds in the pages, their experiences and ideas, and the reactions of other readers." 

BHH Reading (Book, Head, Heart):

When you read, think about what is...

  • In The Book
What's this about? Who's telling the story? What does the author want me to know?
  • In Your Head

What surprised me? What did the author think I already knew? What changed or confirmed what I already knew? What did I notice?

  • In Your Heart
What did I learn about me? How will this help me to be better?

The absolute best parts of this book are advocating for student choice in reading, to invite reading to disrupt thinking, and to generate our own questions rather than filling in multiple choice answers from reading.

Get this book for the readers, teachers, social activists, and lovers of disruption you know. They will be forever grateful.


Monday, May 15, 2017

empower an entire community

The Salvation Army of the Treasure Valley has renewed its springtime tradition of the Daffodil Tea in support of the Booth Marian Pritchett School. The event took place this year on May 11th and the Keynote was given by Angela Taylor.

Angela Taylor grew up in Mountain Home, graduated from Stanford University and was an executive in the sports industry for over 20 years. In her keynote speech, Ms. Taylor said that the tie that binds the past to the present and the present to the future is the importance of empowering women.

Over it's 96 year history, the Booth Marian Pritchett School has helped over 10,000 girls.  This year, the school will graduate 25 students - its largest graduating class ever.

Ms. Taylor told stories about the accomplished women of the WNBA, and how these women were amazing role models. She said, "Empowered women... empower women." But not only that, empowered women empower women and men. She challenged each of us gathered at the event: "How do we empower individuals? How do we empower a community?" The answer comes from her Stanford basketball coach, Tara Vanderveer:

  • E  - Educate
  • M - Motivate
  • P  - Present Opportunities
  • O - Ownership
  • W- Worth/Wisdom
  • E - Encourage
  • R - Respect

It takes a village to create strong leaders. Empower the future of women and girls, and you empower an entire community.