Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner; put yourself in his place so that you may understand . . . what he learns and the way he understands it. Soren Kierkegaard
What is good instruction? It is more than just walking into your classroom and looking through your TE (teacher's edition) and following along. We are supposed to be imparting knowledge right? What is your goal for instruction? Who is your target audience? What do you want them to learn? And how are you going to deliver it to them? The answer to these questions will lead to good instruction. As educators, we should still be willing to learn and grow, so it is important to learn the answers to these questions. It is crucial!
Our state and every other state, with the exception of Oklahoma; who has withdrawn from working with Common Core to develop their own, has state standards. This is the (what) you want your students to learn. The standards are your road map to good instruction. Every school district takes their state standards and makes a curriculum for their teacher to follow.
CCSS Adoption Map
Planning is key. The curriculum is where you start. You will need to know where your students are academically to plan lessons to meet the needs of your target audience. Here is the (who). In your planning, you will need to take into account the fact that your students don't all learn the same and are not all on the same level academically. Differentiation and learning styles should also be dealt with and don't forget any language differences. Teaching to address all of these should be done Whole Group (if most of your students need it) and/or Small Group (if only a few need it). (Insert the urban dictionary's 6 P's) Proper Planning/Preparations Prevents Pretty Poor Performance.
It is a good idea to research some best practices in the content to teach to stay on top of what you goal is. The ultimate goal should be to see your students succeed. Good instruction is the difference between where they are when you get them and where they need to be to be ready for the next level. It is your job as an educator to ensure they get there. This is my charge as an instructional specialist. Helping to grow the teachers that are helping to grow their students.
In the book “Classroom Instruction That Works” by Ceri B. Dean, Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, Howard Pitler and Bj Stone the authors list these nine goals for teachers to include in their preparation.
"When read-alouds are understood as powerful tools for teaching literary elements, building analytical ability, and addressing the standards, they can bring both joy and accelerated learning into the lives of our students." Linda Hoyt
In my continued research, I will explore the interactive read-aloud. Any read aloud can become interactive if you consider how and what you are thinking while you read and stop to share that. Being intentional can help with engaging students in a read aloud that is interactive. That means that you cannot just pick up a book from the shelf that you have never read before (well, you can but you can get more bang for your buck if you take the time to read the book first to decide what you intend to do and how you will make it interactive.) Incorporate opportunities for student to 'interact with the text and with other classmate while listening helps them become readers that think themselves. You are modeling how you stop to think about words that are unfamiliar, how you make predictions as you turn the page, how you see a characters develop from the beginning of the story to the end of the story and so much more. The inflection and intonation in your voice keeps the students engaged while allowing them to hear fluent reading. Your stopping to ask about vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to them lets them know they can do the same when they read to themselves; plus, showing them that using context clues helps determine the meaning of those words. give them some autonomy when silent reading. Seeing you make inferences and thinking aloud about how you did that helps them make inferences (a concept that is difficult for many of our students). A good read aloud lets students think as they enjoy the text being read to them. here is an article from reading rockets that speaks to the idea of the think aloud.
Thanks for reading,,,
My continued research on read-alouds has me focusing on the informational text; more specifically- the informational picturebook. Unfortunately, there is still an imbalance in the about of this type of read aloud. Diane M. Barone and Andrea Morency give some reasons for this. They state:
We have to get past these reasons not to do informational picturebook read-alouds and introduce our students to informational text and a very good way to do this is by using the read aloud as a tool. So, how do we go about doing a read aloud of an informational picturebook and what are the benefits?
Sunday Cummins and Cate Stallmeyer-Gerard, state in the article: "Teaching for Synthesis of Informational Texts With Read-Alouds" that: "Based on our understanding of the research, a core component of our instruction with informational texts was reading aloud in a interactive way." (Cummins & Gerard, 2011) The interactive read aloud is a good way for teachers to introduce the informational text. Some of the benefits are:
With an interactive informational text read aloud you (as educator) could stop and make text to text connections-which is a good way to model for your students how they can read the text for themselves. You can make connections to other concepts learned while in other content areas which is a good way to help with the transfer of information. You can also model how you would handle self-monitoring when coming in contact with unfamiliar vocabulary and/or concepts and yes you can also show your students how to analyze any pictures and text features that you come across. Give students the opportunity to respond to what their are hearing both in conversation and in writing. Doing these things while doing an interactive read aloud will contribute to students being able to not only recall facts and details, but to also be able to synthesize the information that they hear.
Barone, D. & Mallette, M. Best practices in early literacy instruction.
Cummins, S. & Stallmeyer-Gerard, C. (2011). Teaching for Synthesis of Informational Texts
With Read-Alouds. The Reading Teacher, 64(6), 394-405. http://dx.doi.org/10.1598
Pearl Garden is a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M- Commerce. Follow along as she chronicles her pursuit of her Ed. D in Supervision-Curriculum and Instruction- Elementary Education. Just know that these are the ramblings of a doc student and a lot of what you read is a first draft and will go through some rewrites.