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learning engagement

March 20, 2009

Patrick Higgins, Jr. in Chalkdust101 blogging from the ASCD conference blogs about two sessions he attended and connects the ideas to show the power of engagement both through PET scans

and through the process of Gradual Release of Responsibility. 

It synthesizes the ideas very well and adds impetus to teacher attempts to engage students more in activities that can lead to learning. 

With these images, at least, in mind, I think of how I might be catching on to this a little.  I was assigned a room full of computers for a reading class this semester, but until recently have had a hard time taking advantage of them.  To say the least, I am set in my ways.  The other day I decided to introduce the students to, a brainstorming site that enables the making of quick cluster type diagrams, in the class, and we did a diagram of one paragraph we were reading.  I then assigned another paragraph for homework after giving them the topic sentence because they seemed to like it and received some very good diagrams.  I assigned another for the weekend in which they have to diagram a short essay.  With the first paragraph, I understood better than with any test I have given so far how well they were understanding what we are doing in this chapter.  One thing I found out was that some of the students did not know what the topic sentence was even after I gave it to them.  I guess I assumed too much.

What I would do differently the next time is have the students work more together on the first diagram in class and have them share their diagrams.  One reason I didn’t is that I haven’t yet enough command of the application to do that.  Bad reason isn’t it?


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