Incorporating student choice into reading
This screencast, from Crossett Brook Middle School, in Waterbury, Vermont, describes an action research project based on the premise that students would benefit if day-to-day classroom instruction reflected the choice and self-direction at the heart of Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs).
In addition to the positive response of students, one of the most exciting things about this project was the collaboration that took place behind the scenes.
Victoria Smith got her inspiration for the choice model from the art teacher down the hall, Nan Hathaway (to see it in action, see Nan’s wonderful blog). And Victoria worked closely with Jen Hill, librarian extraordinaire, who also chimes in during this screencast.
I’ve personally learned a lot from these thoughtful and dedicated educators. I would hope you could take 12 minutes to view the entire screencast, but if you only have two minutes or less, jump to the following clips to hear about:
- How they individualized instruction by profiling students’ learning dispositions and consulting with students one-on-one about book selection (2:23-2:55)
- The design of the writing station, which allowed students to select their writing genre while addressing the same set of Common Core State Standards (5:40-6:10)
- Their successes, including building students’ love for reading and writing, plus increasing the engagement of “that student” (9:25-9:55)
- Changes they will make next time, such as carefully “training” students in the routines of choice stations from the beginning of the year (13:25–14:25)
As a bonus, and especially if you could use an inspiring pedagogical moment (and who couldn’t?), here’s a middle school student talking about her experience co-writing fairytales with a preschooler. This was an option for students who chose to work with the narrative genre as part of the writing station.