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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

This text appears simplistic at first, but is powerful, offering many insights on the strategies many of our students lack - and do not develop throughout their school career. I strongly urge teachers of all ages read it and consider how the lack of language and social interaction has impacts the child's ability to develop meta-cogntion. I believe we can teach the basic foundation needed to develop the meta-cognitive strategies. I am beginning to wonder if we can teach academic meta-cognition if the student has not developed the foundation. That is our challenge. Please comment and share your ideas.

Social Emotional Learning and Literacy are the topics covered in this text. It is excellent. I am including it here because Buckley has developed a strong strand of meta-cognition in the text.  "The emotional component is the meta-cognitive work the children do, including developing self-awareness skills that enable them to choose their actions wisely.  It may be taking three deep breaths to calm down before speaking or it may be allowing a friend to take the first cupcake."  The solution Buckley poses can benefit all students at any level.


As I have visited schools across the country, I have seen an epidemic of students who seriously lack a spoken vocabulary and the knowledge of how to communicate.  This book, written by a veteran teacher, Mary Ann Buckley, from Bailey School in Northern Virginia addresses these issues in a thoughtful, doable way.

Here is some of the research she uses as a theoretical basis for the book.

These first quotes deal with oral language.


"Although there is no official definition of school readiness, many studies have found that traits such as controlling impulses, handling transitions, and cooperating with peers are strong predictors of academic success in later years."
Buckley, Mary Anne (2014-12-28). Sharing the Blue Crayon: How to Integrate Social, Emotional, and Literacy Learning (Kindle Locations 136-138). Stenhouse Publishers. Kindle Edition.


"Betty Hart and Todd Risley (1995) found that by age four, children from high-income families were exposed to thirty million more words than children from families on welfare. In follow-up studies, Hart and Risley revealed that the family exchanges had a significant bearing on children’s performance in school, particularly in language development and reading comprehension."
Buckley, Mary Anne (2014-12-28). Sharing the Blue Crayon: How to Integrate Social, Emotional, and Literacy Learning (Kindle Locations 140-142). Stenhouse Publishers. Kindle Edition.


"Think of the impact that pattern would have on your daily teaching—being reprimanded two times before hearing praise! The comparison to our professional lives gives me a better understanding of why some of my students don’t ask questions directly and don’t let me know when they are confused. It may be that they have not yet learned how to question and it may also be that they have been reprimanded for questioning. How many of us would remain silent if we expected harshness instead of clarity in response to our questions?"

Buckley, Mary Anne (2014-12-28). Sharing the Blue Crayon: How to Integrate Social, Emotional, and Literacy Learning (Kindle Locations 145-149). Stenhouse Publishers. Kindle Edition


So I have been thinking that we might want to start our schools earlier and focus on language - much like they do in many European schools... or have some experience educators come up with an assessment to be used on students to help us target those who need help with vocabulary.  What do you think?




Buckley also quotes the following from Vygotzky and uses it as rational for the social and emotional piece of solution - a friendship circle.  

 
 
"Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, and John Dewey all established that the most successful learning is social in nature. According to Vygotsky, 'Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child (intrapsychological)' 
(1978, 57). Dewey added, 'I believe that we violate the child’s nature and render difficult the best ethical results, by introducing the child too abruptly to a number of special studies , of reading, writing, geography, etc., out of relation to this social life. I believe, therefore, that the true centre of correlation of the school subjects is not science, nor literature, nor history, nor geography, but the child’s own social activities'(1897, 10)."
Buckley, Mary Anne (2014-12-28). Sharing the Blue Crayon: How to Integrate Social, Emotional, and Literacy Learning (Kindle Locations 78-84). Stenhouse Publishers. Kindle Edition.
From these viewpoints, Buckley has formulated what she calls Friendship Circles for her K classroom.  She has found them very successful for preparing students for school and melding social, emotional and literacy readiness.
“ Teaching students to manage change is one of the most important parts of our job as educators in the primary grades. You probably won’t find that task written in state or national standards and curriculum guides or hear the topic discussed in the faculty lounge at staff meetings, yet it is as vital to learning as reading and writing.
Children who do not learn how to self-regulate their behaviors to respond appropriately to others’ needs and demands and to navigate the slippery slope of transitions will likely fall behind in school and struggle throughout their lives. We must carefully cultivate their social and emotional intelligence just as we prime their academic growth.
In Friendship Workshop I address those social and emotional behaviors by connecting what I see my students doing and saying during independent work times with my insights about their developmental needs. I create a path to learning using their lives and emotions. Our conversations and discussions during Friendship Workshop help us reach academic standards; they don’t pull us away from those goals. By understanding one another— orally and socially at first, then using those community-building exchanges to strengthen the skills of reading and writing— we experience the joys of communicating, understanding, and connecting to one another."
Buckley, Mary Anne (2014-12-28). Sharing the Blue Crayon: How to Integrate Social, Emotional, and Literacy Learning (Kindle Locations 175-179). Stenhouse Publishers. Kindle Edition.
I highly recommend this book.  It has some great ideas that can be expanded to upper level grades as well.  
 




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A passionate and driven Educational Consultant credited with transforming educational institutions across multiple states and school districts. Strong expertise in student assessment of reading comprehension and literacy skills. Highly accomplished in curriculum development, facilitating faculty training and improving educational program design. Noted as a “distinguished educator” at The University of Auckland in Auckland, New Zealand. Areas of Expertise • Educational Technology • Common Core Curriculum • Assessment & Instruction • Grant Writing • Reading Strategies • Literacy Support • English As Second Language • Language Arts • Reading Recovery • Developmental Education • Remedial Literacy • IB Programs Phone: 207-377-3628

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