“It’s easy to ‘teach’ literary terminology and devise quizzes on the terms, but to make the language of literature useful to readers, students need to practice using academic vocabulary in ways that deepen their understanding of how stories work” (51)Jago, Carol. “Stop Pretending and Think about Plot.” Voices from the Middle 11.4 (May 2004): 50-51.
Looking at Traci Gardners mini lesson is a good representation of why I am nervous about the process of becoming an effective teacher once I begin my career. Her work serves as a good example of how to create the proper climate of progression within any classroom. The progression I’m referring to, is movement towards successful completion of CCSS Language Arts grade level standards.
After digesting Gardners mini-lesson, I started to think that there are two different categories of teachers. There are those that teach details, and then there are those that facilitate learning. Learning is a fluid, universal process; details are dry and one dimensional.
Teaching students to regurgitate details and facts is simple. Facilitating learning is hard and takes much planning. This mini lesson was a good reminder of that.
Although subject details are necessary, they do not inherently promote learning. For example, the literary terms list is what I think of when I think of subject details. The act of knowing those words does not represent “learning”. The process of coming to know those words and how they work together in literature (the big picture) would be a more accurate representation.
With that said, I feel learning goes deeper than rote memorization.
In the recourses section of Gardners mini lesson there were two tools that I had never seen before. They allowed students to illustrate the process of their learning. The plot diagram and narrative pyramid. They both seem like tools that elicit an analysis and explanation of the text. This is different and represents a deeper understanding apposed to just being able to re-tell the story. These are two great tools to have in your tool belt.
You can tell by the key words Gardner used to describe the students learning objectives that the outcome would be a deeper understanding of the text, not just rote memorizations. She states that the students will use one of the graphic organizers as evidence for their analysis of the plot.
I believe this lesson plan and how well it is organized represents how we must plan our lessons to create the proper progressive learning atmosphere within our classroom. The graphic organizers Gardner teaches allow the students to see their ideas flow and culminate the lesson by demonstrating their learning through detailed analysis of the plot