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Reflecting on Growth

Reflecting on Growth

Each time I come to the end of a semester and see my students’ growth, it just gives me more and more confidence.

—Ann Foster, Santa Rosa Junior College English instructor

In Chapter Four, we encourage teams to start out by having members set learning goals for their own and their students’ Reading Apprenticeship work. Two tools, the Reading Apprenticeship Teacher Practice Rubric and the Reading Apprenticeship Student Learning Goals, help in identifying those goals and provide a starting point for formative assessment, reflection, and setting new goals.

When teams have been together for a while, and teachers have been using Reading Apprenticeship in their classrooms and reflecting on their practice with colleagues, it can be both instructive and motivating to check in on team members’ teacher practice and student learning goals.

Revisiting the Reading Apprenticeship Teacher Practice Rubric

A group of community college instructors who participated in a Reading Apprenticeship Leadership Community of Practice learned to appreciate the teacher practice rubric for guiding their own learning and as a resource to share with colleagues. The rubric‐guided reflections of Catherine England and Melody Schneider appear in Close‐Up 6.7, Teachers Reflect with the Reading Apprenticeship Teacher Practice Rubric.

Revisiting the Reading Apprenticeship Student Learning Goals

The Reading Apprenticeship Student Learning Goals (Appendix C) that help teachers plan their instruction and reflect on students’ growth are written in simple language that can be shared with students. In addition, however, the goals language helps teachers articulate their instructional goals. As Curtis Refior, a Reading Apprenticeship coach who works with several Michigan school districts, notes, the goals help teachers relate concretely to students’ needs:

We take students where they are, and we think about here’s the current reality and how do I design instruction that will move them to that next place. The student learning goals give some concrete examples and language for what those ideas might look like. What might be appropri-ate for this particular student or for this classroom of students in general, where might my instruction go from here?

If a teacher’s really struggling to get their kids to pair‐share, for example, then we might go to the social dimension of the student learning goals and be thinking about what goals might be appropriate for getting students to be more collaborative. Or if a teacher says, “I really want to increase the writing in my classroom,” then we might go to the personal goals and be thinking about how we could use reflection as a way to get kids to do a little more writing.

If we are looking at student work or if we are talking about a particular thing that might have happened that day in their classroom, the student learning goals are a great resource for teachers and for me to be thinking about what comes next.

Reflection on learning, whether a teacher’s own learning or the learning he or she facilitates in a classroom, accelerates that learning by bringing it forward, suggesting logical next steps, and reinforcing a sustained focus on growth. Teachers do this kind of reflection independently, but as a team they also find it is a rewarding way to learn from one another and acknowledge what they are accomplishing together.

The Reading Apprenticeship Teacher Practice Rubric (Appendix C) has six main goals, each with a number of subgoals. Teachers can focus in one or more of the goal areas, or they can reflect on their growth across the board as Reading Apprenticeship practitioners.

Goal 1: Reading Opportunities
Goal 2: Teacher Support for Student Efforts to Comprehend Content from Text
Goal 3: Metacognitive Inquiry into Reading and Thinking Processes
Goal 4: Specific Reading Comprehension Routines, Tools, Strategies, and Processes
Goal 5: Collaboration
Goal 6: Instruction That Promotes Equity

Catherine England Teacher Rubric Reflections

When I initially looked at this rubric, I chose Goal 3, “metacognitive inquiry into reading and thinking processes,” as my main goal. I do believe I have improved in this area, but it is something that will be a continual process, as will be Goal 4, “establishing routines and strategies.” This certainly is an example to me that Reading Apprenticeship is a “work in progress.” While I feel more confident than I did last September, I know it will be a constant area of growth and will certainly serve as a reminder that we are all students.

In addition, I have greatly improved on Goal 1, in the area of “relationship of reading to other classroom activities.” I have been able to choose some very rich and deep readings that model the type of writing that we expect our students to be able to complete at the end of the course. It has been an exciting opportunity to integrate Reading Apprenticeship into my course, naturally weaving it into what we are expected to do.

Melody Schneider Teacher Rubric Reflections

Goal 1: Reading Opportunities—Reviewing this goal, I seem to be doing pretty well. Students read every day, read multiple genres, and we talk about how and why we read often—especially how we read certain genres, what we look for, what we think about, and how we make it through. Assessment happens on each reading—but I think I can make this more explicit.

Goal 2 was my goal—where I wanted to develop—and from the looks of my self‐assessment in this area, for good reason! I think I am still working through the challenges of having limited class time, requirements from OSPI regarding what I cover, and needing to engage students in a variety of learning modes. Students need to read outside of class every week. There is no getting around this. But I am working on focused reading in classes—reading parts of the text either before they read the entire chapter, or reading to solve a problem, or reading for a specific purpose—this we do in class. At the start of the quarter we work more deliberately on reading strategies, but I lapsed in maintaining this conversation every class . . . maybe once a week. I can see this is why I chose to work on this area . . . it’s a bugger of a problem for me and I look forward to solving it!

My assessment of Metacognitive Inquiry also surprised me. Maybe because we talk about this more than I have in the past, but I see from the assessment that I’m in the middle of learning this. I can see ways to improve—to build this practice—taking a few minutes to make this more explicit.

Work in the area of building routines is improving. I frequently and intentionally model and give instructions . . . I’m slowly building practice in engaging students in problem solving in reading, and I see students starting to do this in their journals and discussion boards.

Although I’ve always used lots of collaborative activities in my classes I was pleasantly surprised to see how my practice has developed so strongly in this area . . . We work diligently to make the collaborative process explicit in all areas and to extend that to reading practices—students working together on reading—sharing texts and ideas about texts with each other in controlled and open ways. I think this is my strongest area in this assessment and I can see that truth in my classroom, watching how well students make learning together.

Equity is also a strong area for me. Over the years I’ve become very sensitive to the range of students’ experience. I know that not everyone will read quickly—especially English language learners who are mixed in with English speaking students—so I use a variety of strategies to ensure their questions are asked, their voices are heard, and their confidence is built.

Having used the rubric as an assessment tool, I see how valuable it is. Now I have a better idea of how to use it with my colleagues!

DMU Timestamp: July 13, 2018 16:17

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