Ten years ago when I began my career, it was all about how I, the teacher, the performer, the motivator, would capture my students’ attention so they could repeat the ideas that I knew were present in the texts.
I am pleased to announce that I am no longer the sage on the stage; I have blossomed into a teacher who has a toolkit of activities to guide my students through the process of discovering meaning. I am now a teacher who beams with pride when my students are eager to read a short story after composing predictions during a pre-reading activity.
I enjoy eavesdropping on literature circle discussions, where my students are sharing their ideas about a poem. I am intrigued by the insight of my eighth graders as I read the newsletter they created to respond to a cross-genre study of the Vietnam War. I am pleased because I am now helping to create independent thinkers, instead of entertaining students who will repeat my ideas.
--Adria F. Merritt, Russell Middle School, Lawrenceville, Virginia
Related Resources from NCTE . . .
"What Do We Mean by Literacy Now?"Jerome C. Harste argues that a good ELA program for the 21st century continues to be comprised of three components---meaning-making, language study, and inquiry-based learning, but that the emphasis is different. Voices from the Middle, March 2003.
Join us for Making Meaning from Text: Modeling Comprehension for English Language Learners December 9, 2008 from 5:30-6:30 EST featuring Douglas Fisher and Carol Rothenberg. This Web seminar will explore the difference between skilled readers and strategic readers and the role that the teacher must play in modeling and facilitating comprehension for students learning English and learning in English.
Making School by Hand: Developing a Meaning-Centered Curriculum from Everyday Life Mary Kenner Glover uses the metaphor of a quilt to shows how teaching can be approached as a "handmade" process and how we can use the materials of everyday life to develop a curriculum to meet the needs and interests of our students.