Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tour Guides to the World

"Elementary teachers are tour guides to the world..."

New York Educational Commissioner King has a discussion with David Coleman and Kate Gerson on the First Instructional Shift: Balancing Informational Text with Fiction.

SHIFT 1: PK-5: Balancing Information/Literature from EngageNY on Vimeo.

Kate Gerson asks, "I wonder then what you think the ways in which this shift changes the role of the elementary teacher?"

Commissioner King responds:

The elementary teachers role ~

  • Demands attention to the coherent teaching of content

  • Demands a different allocation of time

  • Demands a different level of preparation

  • Invites teachers to think about engaging different students with different texts.

  • Provides an opportunity to add informational text to the teachers tool box.

Kate Gerson, "...creates a window for an elementary teacher to become the facilitator of the world as students begin to access it...."

Commissioner King later responds with, "...being a tour guide to the world will help students become better readers."

The message that I received from this video, and believe, is that through explicit and effective first instruction with informational texts you begin to expose students to topics they may not have otherwise been connected to. With that, a student may:

  • become genuinely interested in a particular topic

  • become incredibly passionate and seek out all they can know about that topic

  • connect with others who share common interests

  • share their knowledge, understanding and passion

  • and ultimately expand their reading ability.

It's a win-win situation!

So here are a few of my To Do  Items:

  1. Take an inventory of the non-fiction texts that our fifth grade team has.

  2. Seek out and discover non-fiction texts to add to our classroom library.

  3. Find gaps in my instruction where non-fiction text can be added.


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