Working Through “IT”

I’ve been thinking a lot about IT.  But how to articulate what IT is has been hard.  I’m working on a third-grade unit with the goal to integrate science into the reading and writing workshop.  At the moment, I don’t like IT.  I am having a hard time with IT. I get the rationale, I get why we would want to do this: IT’s efficient teaching and learning, yet deep and mindful too. But does IT feel authentic?  Not yet.  Will IT?  I’m holding on to hope.  In this digital world, where it seems everything is an app and we tend to not focus on any one thing very long anymore, is content integration a sine qua non? I can see the argument for both sides.

On one hand, I think about our job as reading teachers: to teach students how to make meaning in the rich and varied world of text.  I think about getting students hooked on characters, authors, and information.  I want to teach them what it means to understand.  (Thanks, Ellin Oliver Keene!)

I think about our job as teachers of writing: to teach writers to see the world in new ways; to become citizens of the written word.  I want all writers to  learn the value of self-expression through writing and the joy one feels when a piece of writing is complete (if it ever is!)

Give kids time to read.  Lots of texts, including those that connect with the content, but not limited to the content.

Teach writers to write all kinds of text: narratives, informational text, opinion pieces, poetry, etc. but don’t overdo it in the content area or you just might turn them off.

I think about these slices of mine in the SOL15 challenge.  If I had to write a slice every day related to my current area of content learning-I would have surely given up by my third slice.  If someone told me I had to write  a poem on snakes, an opinion on snakes, a narrative on snakes and an informational piece on snakes, I’d probably break all my pencils because I’m the guy who doesn’t like snakes.

So what is IT?

If I were a student in a classroom today in 2015, I’d want to have a reading workshop, dedicated to all kinds of reading, a writing workshop dedicated to all kinds of writing, and I’d want a time to study science concepts in science workshop.  I’d want time in science to read about what I’m studying and write about what I’m studying.  But I’m not sure I’d want my whole day devoted to that particular science concept.

Like I said, I’m trying to figure IT out.  If you have any thoughts, please share!

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2 thoughts on “Working Through “IT”

  1. As someone whose day is chopped up, I am trying to integrate more. Not necesarily everything, just more. Social Studies and reading. Science and writing. That way I can get more time for Science and Social studies.

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  2. This is a really important piece of writing, and thinking, Keith. I’m not sure I have the answers, but I do know you’re on the right track. You’re thinking deeply about choice and student engagement. I have a feeling you’ll find the right answer for IT soon enough.

    Liked by 1 person

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