Adult Communication that Impacts Student Success in School

Up to this time, this blog has focused on language development and use by children.  The idea was to focus on the ways in which children do and can develop the language skills that help them to be successful learners.  There is a wealth of information “out there” as well an on this blog about ways to do this.

It is time for a new focus: the communication of adults that impacts children’s success in school and beyond.  Teachers and parents talk about children and their success or lack of success in school, administrators and teachers talk about children, special educators and teachers talk about children.  Support staff members and “outside” experts “communicate” about children and their success or lack of success in school.  What do we know about how these “stakeholders” (is that the correct term?) talk to each/one another about children’s success in school?  How much of their conversations address the reasons for children’s success or lack of success and what each adult does/can do to ensure that success.

I am going to start with a very brief video (4+ minutes) featuring an expert on adult communication about children’s success in school.  I “found” this video when I googled the topic “open to learning.”  Here is my starting point: exploring what this well respected expert has to say.  More to follow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_l5-HKIR1s

Here is a follow-up video with more detail about “Open to learning communication.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB7wP8WJZeU

A Vocabulary Teaching Template

Here’s another resource from one of my favorite Literacy sites:

Adventures in Literacy Land

“want to share my favorite vocabulary activity with you!  One of the great things about this Vocabulary Graphic Organizer is that it can be used K-5 and across all subject areas.  There is a free copy of the organizer later in this post….”

There is also a google slides version.

http://www.adventuresinliteracyland.com/2016/11/a-quick-easy-way-to-teach-vocabulary.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AdventuresInLiteracyLand+%28Adventures+in+Literacy+Land%29

The Power of Words – Building Vocabulary Age 3 to Grade 3

Too Important to Wait: Words and Complex Texts

I have been very busy with two projects (The Achievement Gap workshop for Early Educators) and Meeting the needs of students with Dyslexia) and have had to neglect this blog.  But, in the process of these two commitments, I have been collecting many new resources.  I couldn’t wait to share this one:


  • Text Complexity
    A short webinar on the relationship between a text’s word frequency number and the Lexile number.

Presentation Slides with Audio

8 minutes, 45 seconds

The same content is available in text format in a new Frankly Freddy blog post:
Teaching Complex Text: Why Look at Word Frequency?

Oral Language AND Literacy: Not either/or

Oral Language AND Literacy: Not either/or

A short excerpt from an article published in Reading Rockets

http://www.readingrockets.org/blogs/shanahan-literacy/role-early-oral-language-reading-comprehension?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ReadingRockets_StrugglingReaders+%28Reading+Rockets%3A+Struggling+Reader+Resources%29 ….

“Recently, Chris Lonigan and I (Timothy Shanahan) wrote a short article for Language Magazine. It’s focus is on “The Role of Early Oral Language in Literacy Development.” I think both Chris and I have bona fides in the “phonics/decoding/foundational skills” community and have the scars to show it. But we are both also advocates of the so-called “simple view” of reading — students need to know how to decode from print to language and they need to know how to understand language. This is a both, not an either/or.

Here is a link to the article. Hope you enjoy it.”

And here is a short excerpt from that article:

“Response to intervention in preschool holds promise for successful early language development but several key issues must be considered. For one, preschools often serve disproportionate numbers of children who need Tier 2 or Tier 3 services, which causes staffing concerns. Also, more research is needed on the effect of interventions for children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English language learners, and children from underrepresented ethnic groups.
The NELP report, along with other studies of children’s early language development, suggests that early oral language has a growing contribution to later reading comprehension — a contribution that is separate from the important role played by the alphabetic code. As such, improving young children’s oral language development should be a central goal during the preschool and kindergarten years.”

Academic Conversations and School Success

Academic Conversations by Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford,  Stenhouse, 2011

Dialogue Blog for Monday, March 21 16

This book offers an extensive treatment of classroom talk with multiple examples and suggestions for application across the content areas.  In this multi-post sequence, my focus will be on the following chapters:

1 Reasons to Converse in School (pp 7-26)

2 Getting Started with Academic Conversations

3 Lesson Activities for Developing Core Conversation Skills

4 Designing Effective Conversation Tasks

5 Training Students for Academic Conversations

8 Conversations in History

9 Conversations in Science

To begin Chapter 1, Z and C offer a comment by a 4th grader:

“Conversations not only made us sound smarter, I think they actually made us smarter.”

Zwiers and Crawford begin this chapter by talking about the need for oral academic skills in school and in the larger world, and they note the problem that “Despite their power, rich conversations in school are rare.” (p. 7)  As always in reviewing a book in-depth, I highly recommend buying it.

Advantages of Conversation

They then go on to present a long list of “advantage of conversation” across a wide range of domains: language and literacy (LL), cognitive (COG), content learning (CON), Social and cultural (SC) and psychological (PSY).

Under Language and Literacy Advantages, they note:

Conversation Builds Academic Language

Conversation Builds Vocabulary

Conversation Builds Literacy Skills

Conversation Builds Oral Language and Communication Skills

In the Cognitive Domain, they note that Conversation

Builds Critical Thinking Skills

Promotes Different Perspectives and Empathy

Fosters Creativity

Fosters Skills for Negotiating Meaning and Focusing on a Topic

In the Content Domain they say Conversation

Builds Content Understanding

Cultivates Connections

Helps Students to Co-Construct Understanding

Helps Teachers and Students Assess Learning

For the Social Cultural Domain, conversation

Builds Relationships

Builds Academic Ambience

Makes Lessons More Culturally Relevant

Fosters Equity

And, in the Psychological Domain, Conversation

Develops Inner Dialogue and Self-Talk

Fosters Engagement and Motivation

Builds Confidence and Academic Identity

Fosters Choice, Ownership, and Control Over Thinking

Builds Academic Identity

Fosters Self-Discovery

Builds Student Voice and Empowerment.

 

 

 

Are We Asking Students the “Right” Question(s)?

Asking a Simple Question Can Change Everything for a Student by Mark Reckmeyer

Jessica Stutzman, a Writer and Editor at Gallup, contributed to this piece.

An excerpt:

“I met Morgan while teaching a strengths and entrepreneurship program in the summer of 2012. The program was designed to provide students of lower socio-economic status with the opportunity to discover their strengths using the Clifton StrengthsExplorer,……

In the strengths and entrepreneurship program, Morgan started out as the distracting, off-task student he would have been in any classroom setting. However, near the end of the first week of this course, there was one very small conversation that changed his entire experience.

During a project, Morgan was asked about what he liked to do at home. His answer: Help his mother and grandmother in the kitchen. A follow-up question caused the shift that immediately took him from being that distracting student to one of the most engaged, focused and positive kids for the rest of the program: What did he like about being in the kitchen? Morgan stopped working on his assignment and started explaining the types of food he cooked, his mom’s favorite food that he made, his favorite food, how he made all of it and how much fun he had doing it. Morgan immediately went from being a constant distraction in class to a motivated learner and an engaged student.”

http://www.gallup.com/opinion/gallup/183476/asking-simple-question-change-everything-student.aspx

 

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