Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Week Two - #cyberPD - DIY Literacy

It's the second week of #cyberPD and we are discussing Chapters 3 and 4 of DIY Literacy:Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor and Independence by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts. (Heinemann). I recommend watching the video series Kate and Maggie produced. You can start watching the video series with  Episode #1 here:

Chapters 3 - Remember This - Helping Students Recall Teaching

Kate and Maggie clearly remind us how students get so much information on any day of learning that it's no wonder they forget some of our teaching. Many of our students are unable to prioritize all that information and I understand how the tools that Kate and Maggie share can help students remember the most critical lessons.

Some notes I took in this chapter:

It's important to revisit and encourage students to continue to use the charts that have been created.
Suggestions for keeping charts alive are on p. 42

Reflect on student work
Find and celebrate student work
Share successes with colleagues
Share evidence of growth in the classroom
("After all, everyone, no matter what age, loves to seethe footprints of his or her progress." p. 42

Demonstration notebooks allow for additional rounds of learning.
After the sharing a strategy/skill in the demonstration Notebook kids can jot down on a post it what strategy they will try to practice more independently. (suggestion on p. 48)

Kate and Maggie remind us that scaffolds are meant to go away. At some point, students become independent and no longer need the teaching tool we developed. I liked the list of ways to recognize that students no longer need the scaffold. p. 49

Chapter Four - You Can Do It - Motivating Students to Work Hard

Using micro-progressions with students is like moving the magic curtain to reveal what students need to approach learning with more rigor. Helping to create the micro-progressions help students know what more complex work looks like and encourages them to reach toward new goals in their learning.

It's important for students to be part of creating the micro-progressions. Only then will they be poised to set their own goals. It's important to build in time for reflection each week to review the micro-progressions and set new goals.

Have students share before and after examples of their work. This makes student learning visible.

Cultivate instrinsic motivation - Challenge, Curiosity, Control, Cooperation and Competition and Recognition.p. 62  "Nurturing these five ways when using teaching tools not only helps students develop the internal motivation to work more rigorously, but also increases the chances they'll be able to release the scaffold of the tool."


  1. My biggest take-away from your post is how you compare using micro progressions to moving a magic curtain for students! What a perfect analogy! I was fortunate to try a micro progression I made (using a student sample of work) with another student I tutored today and it truly was like moving a magic curtain to reveal what was possible. In just a short time with a few samples, it made a big impact with this student! The samples in the progression made such a difference... just like magic!

    I love that you quote the "footprints" comment in the text. When we have authentic evidence of growth and learning over time, that is so powerful. Those footprints of progress over time provide motivation to keep learning too I think!

  2. Karen,
    I'm so glad you were able to join the conversation. I appreciated the reminder to take time for reflection. It's such an easy thing to skip, yet it helps us take big steps. Taking time to reflect helps us to monitor our progress, adjust goals, and make changes needed for continued learning. I also appreciated the idea of having students compare beginning and newer artifacts of learning to see the growth they have made. Powerful.


  3. (cross-posted from Google+ since I'm late to the game this week :))

    So much power in your post, Karen ! You helped me reflect on the flow of responsibility between teacher and students- it's my responsibility to provide tools to support their independence, with my goal being to empower them to be responsible for their independent learning. I think that's what I'm trying to say :) It's then my responsibility to monitor that independence to see when to pull back on a scaffold AND to use new tools to continue to help them be responsible for lifting the level of their learning. The classroom is a beautifully dynamic place!