Children mimic,internalize and make their own the learning practiced in front of them. It is the way they learn... in everything they do. Even today, as I walked through Tom Thumb, I saw a mother with a baby in a carrier inside a cart and her young preschooler with her own "just my size" cart. They were standing together at the deli counter waiting on their deli meat to be sliced. The baby was crying with little sign of quieting down. Mom, rolling the grocery cart, with baby inside, back and forth. And the little girl? Doing the same exact thing with her pre-school sized grocery cart. She was following her model with expectancy and precision. The "think aloud" is one way our model becomes powerful.
In the online article "Think Aloud Strategy" from TeacherVision the importance of journaling along with using the "Think Aloud" in all content areas was shared:
"How Can You Stretch Students' Thinking?
When Can You Use It?
With the power of Teacher Model Journals comes the importance of feedback. Frequent, specific feedback is essential. However, feedback is only as powerful as the opportunity to respond/reflect to the feedback. A second grade team at a campus in NISD has done away with morning work and has purposefully structured the first 20 minutes of every day for students to respond to feedback in any content area. These teachers have constructed feedback so that students reflect, revise and improve their journal works. Again, the teachers review and give more feedback, and the cycle continues. The learning goes deeper. The learning becomes not about the destination of "complete" but continuous improvement and growth.
With modeling and feedback there is power, but how do the students consistently move forward?
As we move forward as a campus in our POP with literacy rich student work, journals are a perfect place to start. How are you and your team utilizing frequent entries, Teacher Model Journal, and the cycle of Feedback to encourage growth and depth of learning with students? Where is time provided for students to self-assess and respond to feedback? Does their work mirror the work of the Teacher Model Journal with expectancy and precision? How do students know when their entries are showing deeper thinking? How often are they building those muscles of metacognition through responding to their learning through their journals (in any content area)?
Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.