hacked by 3needan
In Readers Front and Center: Helping All Students Engage with Complex Texts, Dorothy Barnhouse makes the point that, while the creators of the Common Core Standards advise teachers to “employ professional judgement to match texts to particular students and tasks,” “the reality in classrooms is that the role of the students and teachers has been marginalized.” Dorothy elaborates: “Classrooms all over the country are bursting with boxes of curricular materials filled with ‘Common-Core-aligned’ texts, none of which the teachers were asked to professionally judge or match with any of their students” (p. 6).
Like Dorothy, we find that the text complexity triangle (above), which had such promise for informing text selection, has been largely overlooked in making instructional decisions. What remains is the quantitative variable, which works mathematically, but often misrepresents a text. We have had this point come home to us of late.
As we have mentioned, we are in the process of developing Who’s Doing the Work lesson sets for Stenhouse. In the process, we have read stacks and stacks of children’s books, in an effort to find texts that fit our project. We made a point to read all the texts before ever looking at their Lexile or guided reading levels.
This choice to wait to look at text level proved quite eye-opening! When we finally gathered Lexile levels, we were shocked. At least 40% were what we would consider inaccurate. We are familiar with the common examples of Lexile inaccuracies, such as the fact that Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is on the same Lexile level as Charlotte’s Web (680L). We thought, however, that such inaccuracies were rare, extreme examples.
We are discovering that texts that befuddle the Lexiler algorithms are widespread. These “Lexile Confounders” have idiosyncrasies that fall outside the norms of Lexile formulas. Later this week we will offer a couple of specific examples. Meanwhile, we would love to hear about texts that are decidedly off in the Lexiler system. Are you running into this?
As we set (and write down) our short and long term goals, we inevitably work through the conventional thinking of writing our goals in categories, such as family, fitness, career, etc. There are a lot of ways to think about the areas of your life that need improvement. We’ve grappled with having too many categories and too few categories. We struggle with the ways goals straddle categories and the logistics of keeping the end in mind. But we’ve been inspired by Dan Zadra’s life wheel, and the way he refers to each “spoke” as a value.
Labeling the areas of our lives as values makes the whole process more meaningful. Now we are walking around thinking about our values, rather than categories or areas of our life.
Here are Jan’s 12 values for 2017: family, health, fitness, work, recreation, adventure, healthy eating, fiscal soundness, personal growth, romance, home, friends.
Here are Kim’s 12 values for 2017: family, health, fitness, work, leisure, adventure, money, personal growth, marriage, home, friends, travel
We would love to know where you are focusing your energy as you set goals and set in place concrete plans for being your best self in 2017.
Not surprisingly, as we develop goals and plan for 2017, we are reading about goal setting. In 5: Where Will You Be 5 Years From Now?, Dan Zadra has blown us away with research on goal setting. He writes:
“A goal is a dream set to paper. Don’t just think it–ink it. According to Dave Kohl, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech., people who regularly write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetimes as the people who don’t, and yet 80% of Americans say they don’t have goals. Sixteen percent do have goals, but they don’t write them down. Less than four percent write down their goals, and fewer than one percent actually review them on an ongoing basis.”
This year, as Kim described in her “Thinking in the New Year” note, we are taking measures to be in that 1%! We appreciate any advice from you goal-writer-downers out there!