Sandie Woods

SANDIE WOODS

Okay, so Sandie Woods.

I am an English teacher at Clovis East High School, Clovis Unified (interruption) School District. Clovis.

That is---what we’re teaching in the English department is evolving. I think what I learned in the English department looks a lot different than what I want to bring out of my own students in the English department. Um, it---when I started teaching what I did was very different than what I’m doing now and what I plan to do in the fall. So, um, traditionally, um, we have read---great pieces of literature and we’ve dissected them to death and we’ve written research papers. And, um, we’ve spent a lot of time, um, working on sub-skills for students who didn’t quite get it. We did lots of worksheets and lots of practice. And, um, ----my experience was that it didn’t work very well. In the final analysis my kids weren’t better readers, they didn’t understand what they read, they couldn’t bring in generalizations about the reading or understand themes or, there’s no connection to them personally. And it’s no wonder now-----when they said things like, ‘well why are we reading this?’ Or, ‘this doesn’t mean anything to me,’ or ‘what significance will this possibly have in my life?’ I just said well, they’re great pieces of literature you should read these (Laughs as she says the last sentence). But I have a different answer now than I did at that time.

There’s---a---no, it---it shouldn’t be protected it’s a scam. I---the kids leave the classroom and they’re---they’re not a changed person. So if the point of education is to become---to learn about yourself and become a different person then we have to provide that experience.

Um, well I’ve had a varied teaching experience so this is my, one, two---this is---will be my sixth year teaching high school but my 20th year teaching overall. I taught elementary school (background noise) for a number of years.

OK. Well in---in the beginning, and we’re talking about high school, right? In the beginning of my English teaching career I really thought teaching was about marching through the curriculum. And there was a prescribed set of pieces of literature, there was a---a type of paper that needed to be written and my job was to march the kids through the books, um, make sure they read ‘em and so, you know, test them to make sure they actually did the reading, um, and write the papers and that was it. And pretty much what was---what we’re gonna read, what we’re gonna write was for me to tell the students. So what you’re gonna think about something you read, I would tell you, ‘oh, this is the theme.’ ‘This is what you should get out of this.’ ‘Oh no, these are---this is the symbol.’ ‘This symbol represents this.’

Right, I, um---my teaching model was based on the model that I was familiar with. So that’s the way I learned, I remember, um, my teacher, when I was a junior in high school, standing behind the podium, having us read ‘Romeo and Juliet’, you know, piecemeal maybe, you know, half a page for each student and we just trudged through, it was awful. It was just an awful experience. And then she would tell us what it meant and then we would go on. So that was my point of reference. At---I didn’t learn anything different in college. And so that’s how I started out.

Well in the first place, um, I’m not a transmitter of knowledge. I’m more of a guide. And, uh, what---what I really think about ---at the beginning of the year is, what do I want my students to come away with. What’s the big picture that I---I need---for them to be successful. And---and I think it---it really is, can you read something? Can you understand it? Can you think about it? Can you discuss it? Do you understand if there’s a bias? Um, can you see other points of view? Uh, has this changed you in some way? So those are the big things. And---and now I’m less concerned with, um, what was Curly’s wife’s name in ‘Of Mice and Men’? Who cares? Who cares what her name was, it doesn’t make a difference. So, um, the big way I’ve changed is looking at a process more than covering a certain amount of product.

Well the States standards don’t prescribe what you are to read. But they prescribe, um, what kinds of skills you should have at the end of---a---a grade, or in our case in California, grades nine and ten have similar standards and grades 11 and 12 have similar standards. So in a two-year period, um, you should be able to read critically, you should be able to detect tone, the author’s purpose, these things in literature, but doesn’t say that you have to read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ or ‘The Scarlet Letter’ or ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ even though they’re great pieces of literature. You’re not limited to what you use to get there but that’s your destination. That’s where you should go. So, um, my feeling is if---your---students participate in that process all along when it comes to testing time they’ll have all the tools they need---to pass those tests. It’s not sp---uh---they aren’t specific skills that you have to teach.

In elementary school our Language Arts program was so integrated with everything we did. Um---uh---we---did a lot of non-fiction reading, we did fiction reading, we wrote poetry, um, we held hands-on experiences, we built things, we wrote about it, we read about it. And then traditionally in the high school classroom you just had this massive amount of text to navigate and somehow you’re supposed to put the concepts together in your own mind. Um---something that I do in my classroom is try to integrate---more hands-on things, um, that have to do with reading and writing. So---I’m like, uh, I’m kind of get lost on the question now.

Ok, the, um, students in high school are expected to read----uh----reading is the foundation of a lot of learning that goes on in high school. One day I was walking down the hallway and in our building, there is Science classes and Social Science classes and English classes, it was a warm day, teachers had their doors open. And I just heard these snippets of, you know ok, the---we’re studying the anatomy of a frog, uh, we’re studying the gold rush, we’re studying, uh, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and I thought, ‘how do they---how can kids put all that together’ because it’s so compartmentalized. It’s a miracle to me that just doesn’t fall apart because there’s nothing that ties all those things together.

Right, we have an 8 period day at our school. So 8 periods of, you know, compartmentalized information and most of it’s based on reading text. And most of that text is pre-determined by the teacher what it is you’re gonna read and so if you’re just not that interested in frog anatomy it---kind of stinks to be you. (Laughing) You still have to read it.

Um---themes kind of depend on who walks in the door. I think, um, the grades of---the grade level of the student, um, that you’re teaching and the interest level of the students. So at the beginning of the year to just get a feel for where students are at, what their big issues are, um. When I taught freshman English it---we looked at heroes and so we read ‘The Odyssey’ and we read ‘The Contender’ and---and we tried to tie, you know, connect this piece of text to this piece of text and how are the heroes different and have some discussion. But again I picked the books. Um, what I would like to do this year is survey my students in the beginning and find out what the---burning topics are for them. Coming in to---as seniors. I actually have followed these students up the last four years. So many of these students I will have for the fourth year in a row, (laughing) those poor things. But, um, I’m looking forward to seeing what are the hot topics for them. And, uh, one of the really important things because we have such a diverse student population, um, is the acceptance of other cultures, um---uh, maybe---something about religious freedom, maybe patriotism, um, immigration all---all these are huge topics. So that would be the direction that I would take, maybe, in a shared novel that we would read in class. It might be, um, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and we might talk about migrating to California and leaving all your possessions behind and what that means. My Southeast Asian students would have a strong connection to that because so many of their families have had that experience. That they just had to leave everything, and have a fresh start. So---in that way you tap into a student’s prior knowledge and you build knowledge for them before you expect them to tackle some kind of difficult text.

Ok. Yeah, there’s some new---there’s some things now that I will try having had that experience (interrupt) with those---concepts.

Well----well, um----uh---my school is ethically diverse, um, Southeast Asian, Latino students, Caucasian students, a small number of African-American students. Um, and I obviously don’t share any of those cultural backgrounds. Um, an experience that I had that is similar to theirs is, though, part of my teaching career was in Europe and I worked for the Department of Defense Schools. So we lived in Germany which is still a Northern European culture but it gave my family and me an opportunity to be the outsiders and see what it’s like to fit in and not know the nuances or maybe not know the social morays, the subtle things, you know, um, that are just implied. So in that respect that experience made me more sensitive to students who come in and---and might not know the little things, the unsaid things. But, um, ethnically my experience is that of privilege and I have the, um, oh God, what does my daughter call it? The cultural capital to navigate in---in our society and a lot of my students don’t. Not only that many of my students don’t have the skills to navigate the adult world. So, um, that---uh---in my past---at my past school, it was an upper-middleclass school and I noticed right away the kids were more mature, they interacted with the staff, they, um, if they wanted something they knew what they had to do to go get it. Uh, our students at, um, at Clovis East don’t have that yet and that’s---that’s part of our responsibility, I think, as educators to help students develop those navigational skills so they’ll be successful when they leave high school.

Um, she is just starting the student teaching program at Santa Barbara. She’s gonna teach English.

One of the things, uh, one of the biggest things that’s different between, um, my students who have spoken only English or who are acquiring English language skills is the conceptual knowledge. So before we start reading something, um, if we’re talking about ‘The Great Gatsby’ and prohibition well students from Southeast Asia---a---what is prohibition? That means nothing to them and so therefore the whole, uh; a whole part of that novel is lost to them because they don’t have the background knowledge or the conceptual knowledge. So that would be a big issue. Uh, vocabulary, uh, would maybe be another one, that they don’t have the same vocabulary backgrounds. Um, as far as---maybe---past experience with, um, authors or the amount of reading that’s done in the home it---uh---I don’t know if that’s a cultural thing or if it’s more just, um---uh---maybe it’s an economic thing, you know, that certain groups of students have had books read to them all their lives and others have not. So interacting with text is not a comfortable---situation.

One of the pieces of my training that I really felt was missing was reading comprehension. This is ironic because I’ve a master’s degree in reading. And so, (laughs) because of that I would off---I would get the reading lab kids or the kids who were struggling in reading and my principal would say, ‘oh we got someone with a masters in reading, a reading specialist credential, you’re gonna help these kids.’ But I never---I didn’t know what the----key, like the link is between being able to decode words and being able to make sense, not out of words in isolation, but maybe to get the big picture, what does this mean. So that was a piece that I was---I really struggled with because I couldn’t put my finger on it and when I was asked, ‘well how---how does reading comprehension work?’ it’s---well it’s a mystery, it just happens up there somehow, you know, the synapses fire and then you understand it. But I had so many students that didn’t understand it, um, and I tried a lot of different ways. I used all kinds of worksheets and went on the internet and I got lessons and we practices all these things and my students were very successful at doing those bits, those little tiny parts, they were great at that. But they didn’t make the transfer into---reading and understanding. And it was really frustrating and I know it had to be frustrating for them because can’t think of anything worse than spending a long time doing those awful worksheets. Um---so in my, uh, participation with Learning Edge things started to come together, little layers of information came together and, um, Bobby Mason has this vocabulary that she calls the Subject Matter and the Controlling Idea and we read many different kinds of text. Not just narrative text but lots of kinds of expository text that were all related by theme. And then we would just talk about, ‘well what was it we read?’ ‘Well what is it---what is this whole thing mostly about and what does that thing do?’ And that is the missing piece that helps---that helped me articulate what it is that makes comprehension happen. So---that---that was the big light bulb for me. In fact one day I walked in and said, ‘I had this great epiphany’ and she just laughed, ‘what is it?’ Well, you---you have to have all these experiences with different kinds of text and that builds the concept and when you have---you make generalizations and you have more experience with the context then when you approach a piece of text you have a connection to it. You have something to link to it besides just the words.

They just do it anyway because they have more experience. There---there is this, uh---well something I heard years ago, lots of easy reading makes reading easy. The more experience you have with text the more sophisticated your skill becomes, in spite of the teacher. We had nothing to do with that transaction. We weren’t part of it. It just happened because they already had, I don’t know, they had the synapses firing or whatever, they had the---background experience, they had the prior knowledge.

The first thing I want to do is engage my students. I want them to buy in to what it is they’re reading because that’s---that’s the first opportunity they have to turn reading off, ‘Uh, I’m not interested in that anyway so therefore I’m not going to try.’ That---that’s just a easy---copout, so that’s the first thing I want to do. I want to engage them in selecting texts that they’re interested in reading. And then I’m going to sprinkle in, um, I’ve been collecting newspaper articles all summer, Bobby Mason started us off with a great collection, uh, of articles based on them, um---so a variety of things. Different kinds of text based on one common theme and I would like the students to be responsible and I’ll kind of guide their direction but I think, uh, for the most part kids are interested in a few basic topics, uh, their junior and senior year of school. Um, and reading picture books and, um, you know, opening up the auditory part of communication. And, uh---one thing I noticed during Learning Edge that Bobby would read to us every day. And it was such a relaxing time, it was peaceful and then your mind could just really work on something and then you have a chance to talk about that to somebody. And, um, it’s---it’s an experience for adults, it’s not just an experience for primary students. So I would use that and, um, I would also like students to select their own reading material and so really develop a concept. Let’s just call it ---immigration or let’s call it patriotism. Uh, I don’t---I don’t think the students would just come up with patriotism on their own but we might channel into that. Before we ever read ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ or, uh-----oh what is that----book about the, um, Japanese internment-----oh, that escapes me right now, but.

(Interactive talking trying to remember the book)

Or that we might talk about religious freedom and then we might talk about what’s happening in the world today and, um, what that means in the United States or what it means in the Middle East. And maybe build all those things before we read ‘The Scarlet Letter’ and we talk about the Puritans coming over for religious freedom and then practicing religious intolerance. Or we might build, uh, a whole----base, knowledge base, about, um, not just tolerance but acceptance and then read different, um, multicultural titles. And then have discussions about, ‘well how is this---what did this character face that’s different then what this, you know, what challenges did this person have.’ And then how does that connect to my life and how is that going to change me as a person. What did I---what kind of personal growth did I get out of reading this? (Microphone on clothing noise) That’s where I want to go this year.

Return to Mansinar, no---‘Farewell to Mansinar’ that was the book.

Yes, uh, I am, oh, this is---this is huge. Instead of saying, ‘ok I’m gonna teach this, I’m gonna teach this, I’m gonna teach this and then when I get to the end I’m gonna make up some kind of an assessment to see what it was that I taught them, I’m not doing---that’s---I’m not going to do that. I’m first thinking about what is the big picture, what is the big thing that I want to see? And now, what is it that we are going to share to allow students to see that? And then I’m going to assess, did they get the big picture. So it’s kind of---backwards.

See, that’s exactly right. Last year, uh, I teach advance placement---I---AP Comp, Ok. Advanced Placement Language and Composition. I also have a English lab, I a----ha---have several different preps, but in my AP class, last year I started the year I thought Ok, how can I make this meaningful? I’ll work with the AP list history teacher and they’ll start with, you know, the colonization of the United States so I’ll start with ‘The Scarlet Letter.’ Hardest piece of literature we read all year but I’m just gonna throw this at ‘em right at the beginning of the year. So I’ll do some lecture notes on the Puritans, uh, I did my research, gave the notes and those---dutifully, these kids are writing down the notes and then I tell ‘em to go home and read ‘The Custom House.’ Well it’s this introductory chapter to ‘The Scarlet Letter’ that’s background information, kind of sets the tone for the book and oh they were bored and they, half of them I know, they didn’t read it. They’ve got the Cliff Notes. So, uh---they didn’t have the access to read that. They didn’t have the---linguistic maturity to navigate the text. They didn’t have the background information. They didn’t get it. I have four or five English language learners in my AP class because AP is inclusive, you know, you want a challenging course, come. Come in this class. Oh here, read ‘The Scarlet Letter.’ Good luck. (Laughs) So I---I can tell you that we won’t start with ‘The Scarlet Letter’ this year, we’ll read more contemporary things and work on the theme and we’ll---it’s---it’s more like a funnel and we’re gonna start at the wide end. And then we’re gonna narrow down to the---to the more difficult text. (Yeah) Seemed like a good idea at the time, I don’t think so now. (Laughing)

It’s a journey. It’s---it is, teaching is a journey, uh, and---and that’s what makes it so exciting and that’s why it’s never dull because you learn things along the way and, good gosh, the kids teach you so much every day but---just by their reactions to things. So I suppose one could get really cranky and ornery and say, ‘oh those darn kids they---they’re just not----good students like they used to be and you’re gonna read ‘The Scarlet Letter’ no matter what. But---what a painful thing to go though. And the kids aren’t gonna read it. I asked my daughter who has just finished an English major and now is---is starting her, um, credential program. ‘What was it in high school, you know, what---what did you get out of ‘the Scarlet Letter’ when you read it in high school?’ And she looked at me and said, and she’s an AP student, ‘I never read that book I read the Cliff Notes.’ O---K---oops.

Well she knew, right. (Laughter) She had the resources, she did, she had the resources to go to, you know, a bookstore chain and buy the Cliff Notes or copy, you know, she had change she could put in the copy machine and---right, she had the------ (laughter)-------

Uh---I think, um, as far as picture books go the---the first thing it does is create a sense of serenity. That you can relax and everybody likes to have stories read to them. And maybe in the beginning, you know, the high school students who are just a little too cool for school might think, oh are, you know, are you babying us here. But it---you like a story and kids crane their necks to see the picture. So they want to see the picture too but the pictures books have a message and the vocabulary in picture books is not, uh, elementary vocabulary. In fact it would be difficult for elementary aged kids to read many picture books. And they’re---they’re, uh, complex themes and they open up discussion. And I think the amount of risk in listening to a story is very low and in having a conversation, it’s low risk and it involves everybody. Everybody can make some kind of connection or at least listen to what other people are thinking. So picture books to me are like a gateway. The---it can be a gateway to a great discussion and then the next step would be to bring in more bits of information, maybe about that theme.

Traditionally all the reading in English has been narrative. And, um, students are pretty good at reading narrative text if it’s at an appropriate grade level for them. They understand how a story works, you know, how it---it builds up and you go through these trials and then there’s some kind of resolution. But expository text is set up differently. In our state’s standards, um, most of the reading that, um----most---most of the things in the state standard are expository text. There’s one strand for narrative but there’s several strands for expository. At our school last year our department’s goal was to really explore expository text and to do a lot of expository writing. Um, but we approached it pretty much the same way that we approached narrative text. And the text structures are quite different. So, um, in the Learning Edge, Bobby Mason spend a lot of time, um, giving us examples of reading that employ different text structures. And the---and ways to outline them or, uh, ways to glean the important facts and where you might find those facts depending on what kind of structure it is. Considering that students outside of the English class read probably only expository text in the content areas. Um, most content area teachers don’t spend time teaching their students how to read that text. It’s just assumed if you can read you can read anything. That’s not so.

One of the classes I teach is advance placement language and composition, right.

The---uh----the big thing----is that I want my students to understand the power of language. And----that---and how to communicate----in written discourse and how, depending on the kind of language you choose, you s---create a different tone. And so what you’re---who ever your audience is or what ever you purpose is in writing will determine what kind of language you choose to make your point. So I think that would be the big thing. Another thing would be to appreciate how, uh, published authors use language to make their points and just the esthetic beauty of language or---or the powerful persuasion of language or the bias that language can produce.

In many ways the feedback students need in writing is universal. Um, clarifying your idea, what did you mean to say? What did you actually say? So that’s a starting point. Um, for students who---a---have spoken only English their syntax patterns are different than student, um, who are second language learners. Um---so for the, um, English only students their---there still are a few who have syntactical problems but not---but not very many. So usually the discussion is not centered there but the starting place is still the meaning----of what you’re saying. That---that has to be the beginning and then fine tuning the language. Um---I had three boys (clears throat) in my AP class who hadn’t passed the basic writing competency to graduate from high school. So even though they hadn’t passed that they were still taking an AP class because they wanted---they were bright and they wanted to be challenged and they wanted a challenging course on their record and they wanted access to the benefit an AP class could give them. And that was a great thing. But, um, and they had wonderful ideas----but I had to read their papers out loud, I had to hear what it was they were saying because if I had just looked at the sentence structure, it was a mess. So it---we---just took the---those sentences that they had in the essay and spread the essay out so they could see their own---what their own sentence structure looked like. And they understood the subject, verb, I mean---they could tell you on a worksheet what the correct subject-verb agreement was but when they sat down to write their papers it just---just didn’t come out that way. So dissecting their own writing worked for that piece. Didn’t necessarily work for the next piece because their developmental journey in language had not brought them to the place that that was gonna---that was gonna happen for them.

Right----or the ‘ed’ or they’re gonna mix up the plurals, so----I----uh---I mean---I don’t have a problem with saying to a student, ‘it---this is gonna come to you but it’s not here yet so let’s work on this. Let’s work on---on getting the ideas down that you mean to say.’ How it comes out is---is---is an evolutionary process and it will evolve. It’s just not there yet.

No they weren’t all English teachers. Well I---first, um, I-----I’m just so thankful that my administrator put this group together. She had been through this Learning Edge training and all year said, ‘oh that’s---what you’re talking about really sounds like Learning Edge,’ or, ‘I’d really love for you to understand the theory behind it and to have teachers outside the English department know it as well because everybody has to be a literacy teacher not just the English department.’ Well of course the English department loved that because we felt like that is a lot of responsibility to---uh---to have to teach every different kind text. So, um, there was a small group of teachers who attended Learning Edge together. Uh, we were English teachers, uh, there was a Social Science teacher-----a---Chemistry teacher----I can’t remember if there was a Math person or not. Um---but it was a great opportunity to have discussions, um, outside of your department about ---difficulties that students have in their reading and ways that we could work together cross-departmentally to help build knowledge.

Um---the way the groups were set up, uh, were dynamic. So everyday you sat with a different group of people and, uh, you didn’t always sit with English or you didn’t sit with people from your school or you didn’t sit with, you know, it was---it was mixed everyday which was nice because it gives you a chance to dialog with a lot of different people. One thing we realized was, um, narrative text, expository text, picture books, all those strategies that Bobby Mason used were applicable to content areas as well as, um, the English department. So the chemistry teacher could see herself reading a picture book to her class as a way to kind of break the ice for her lesson and maybe bringing in a narrative text and not just focusing on expository text. And helping students know how to navigate through, uh, the bold print and---and acknowledging that, uh, textbooks aren’t always well written. And they’re not always written at the grade level that the students who take the course are reading at. So, um, I think those were big things that---that you can, um-----kinds of text cross departments and it becomes more meaningful when you---the more connections you have to a concept the more meaning the students make of it.

I hope the next step is, we haven’t gone back yet, we’re still on vacation, but in know, um, I know we’re all thinking individually. And planning and making adjustments and collecting materials. What I hope will happen and I---I k---I kind of think my administrator has this in mind, is that the group of us will continue to have discussions and that we will----uh---kind of germinate these ideas in our own departments. I know, uh, she also wants to bring, uh, a group of teachers again next year. Um, another plan that is really in the developing stage is, to share this with students maybe during summer school. Instead of the traditional summer school have more of a Learning Edge look to what the summer school program is going to look like and maybe involve the teachers who have been through this training as the facilitators in that group.

Right but it’s really the same thing isn’t it? Uh---remedial, um---in---enrichment and remedial, in my mind, are the same. Because remedial kids need a lot of enrichment and the more you can enrich them horizontally you kind of take care of your remedial program.

Not a big packaged program person. (Yeah) um—and---uh---to our school district’s credit they have---they traditionally, um, will give you any training you need or any resources you need but the way that you implement the standards has been left to the discretion of the teacher. So for that I am grateful that we’re not in a prescribed reading course.

With some of them----the---I mean they’re not---they’re not tracked (no) but----as it---as it turns out, um, last year I did have some student for th---this was my third year with them. The wonder and the beauty of that is when they walk in the door you already know who’s there and you’re just comfortable and, you know, I know what I can get away with, with them and they know (laughing) what they can get away with, with me and it’s---it’s just---it’s a very nice relationship.

I---what---one of the things I think will happen next year, my AP Comp kids who are moving up to AP Lit will look at the juniors who are coming in to AP Comp and they’ll probably say, ‘wait a minute, that’s not what we did last year.’ And they’ll---a---I really think that---that they’ll be sad about that. That they’ll wish that we would have done it the other way because it would have made so much more sense.

Uh---one of the hardest things I think about teaching English is knowing if the kids get it or not, because so much of that process I always thought happened internally. So, you know, I often just wanted to look inside their heads and say, do you get it? Because if you ask someone if they get it, they’re always going to say yes because pretty much they want you to leave them alone and go (laughing) bother somebody else. So, um, not very many students would say, ‘oh, I don’t understand this’ or, you know, ‘the way you taught this didn’t make can you say it another way?’ I mean they---they can’t articulate the question in the first place, so a lot of times a---y---except for eavesdropping on conversations, maybe small book talks or small group discussions and kids hide in those too and---and maybe don’t participate. A lot of times you wouldn’t know it somebody got something until you are giving a test at the end of a chapter, at the end of a book, and then it’s kinda too late. It’s too late to help ‘em. So, um, one of the things I learned in Learning Edge was a note taking technique that really would allow you to see if students are gleaning the main idea out of something. So that---I think will be very helpful because if---it---if you try to come up with the subject matter and the controlling idea of a newspaper article and you’re way off or you’ve just focused on something that’s too specific or too general, then that---that gives me a---a starting place. Ok, we---we need to look at the whole picture here or, oh, it’s---it’s too general. Oh you really need to focus on what the point of this is. So it would be helpful.

Uh---it---we practiced taking notes on content area information using the idea of, you know, what is the---what subject is being discussed and what is being said about it. So that was the---the generalization. And then we looked for a detail that supported that generalization. And then we looked for something in particular, maybe, in the detail. And the way that kind of cascades looks a lot like a traditional outline with the roman numerals and the letters. But it’s still coming up with the main information of that text. Well if you can do that then you really have extrapolated the important information plus you have something valuable to study. You know, you’re not looking at your textbook that you’ve, well---a---in high school you don’t get to highlight, but I remember college textbooks that were just yellow, (laughs) you know that doesn’t do you much good, if you haven’t gleaned out what’s important.

What I’m---uh---I don’t have a story off the top of my head, but what I’m really hoping will happen next year and, I hope you come back and talk to us again. Or come to the classroom and----see it happening or not happening and then we’ll fix it. But, um, aside from the fact that I hope students will re---be able to understand what they read and read critically and find bias and sh---it---make personal decisions, or global decisions based on things that they’ve read, is that they will also, um, start to enjoy reading. Because they’re not being asked to focus on these---this minutia that is not---is not part of the whole process. Um, and that they won’t feel like, ‘oh man, every time I read something I’m gonna have to have a---recall all these details and the story is just gonna get lost in all the recalling that we have to do.’ So that’s what my hope is that they’ll actually develop a love of reading something.

Hope I don’t beat it out of them.

The one message that I would have is, just try to think of what---what is the big thing that you want students to get out of what you read. And then select reading that will allow them to get that message and provide them with all different kinds of text at all different kinds of reading levels. So they can be really comfortable or they can challenge themselves but that they don’t always have to struggle with what they read. And then listen to the kids ‘cause what they have to say is important.

Wright, Beede-Fresno 7, Woods, page PAGE 1