Credit: Modified from Cathy Collins Block’s book, chapter 10: “Enhancing metacognition. ” First Class Period: Model reading and metacognition, which is the act of consciously keeping oneself aware of ones attention and comprehension status while reading (Block, 2003). The teacher reads a passage aloud, and while reading pauses to make his/her thoughts about the passage known to the students. While speaking about his/her thoughts the teacher also makes notes in the margins of the text.
Thoughts about the text include questions, confusions, extensions, and connections to prior knowledge or experiences. Students are to be informed that every idea that comes to their minds as a result of the reading should be written down. After the reading, the students should have a chance to look at the teacher’s page on which the metacognitive notes were taken. Students should be told that messiness is allowed on these pages (2003). Students will be given a list of topics, such as filibustering, muckraking, and strikebreaking (trade unions).
Students will be given a chance to choose their own passages for reading and to make notes about everything that comes to their minds. This reading period will last for twenty minutes, after which they will be allowed to get into groups to talk about their ideas and confusions. During this time, they will have a chance to arrange the ideas of the text into levels of major-to-minor importance, connections, and confusions. Students should discuss and try to offer solutions to confusing aspects of the text. Each student is expected to take his/her own notes from this session (Block, 2003).
Extension: For homework, students are given the task to write a reflective essay about the passage they have read. They will be instructed to include everything that took place within the discussion, attributing ideas to their classmates or selves. They will be told to use the organization pattern discussed in the group session. As a reflective paper, the layout will be informal. No strict adherence to the introduction-body-conclusion pattern will be necessary. Thoughts, ideas, confusions and reactions should constitute the main content of the paper (Block, 2003).
Teacher Support The teacher will take turns visiting groups and asking specifically about things that were not understood in the passage. This will cause students to be less embarrassed about having those kinds of confusions, knowing that such problems are expected of everyone. Giving students a chance to air their confusions to other students first (before calling on them) reduces their fear of embarrassment as well as gives them extra time to prepare for speaking directly to the teacher (Archer, 2006).
Boosting students’ confidence in this area is likely to make them more open to sharing their thoughts in the reflective paper. The teacher also supports the activity by offering possible explanations for confusions. Audience Students will be a group of eighth graders of normal intelligence and reading levels. Goal and Benefits of Strategy: According to Block (2003), when students interact with texts by making “mental and written summaries of their readings, retention increases by 16 percent on average” (p. 336).
Therefore, the goal of this strategy is to increase student interaction with text and its main benefit is the increased retention of material. Modifications Students might be allowed to include graphic organizers of the material being read within their reflection, in order to promote freedom within the informal writing exercise. They might also be allowed to find other texts to which they might have found a connection and share these (as well as their other ideas) with the class before or after the writing process has been completed. Application and Assessment
This strategy was very good at getting students involved in the reading and at drawing out their thoughts. This was done by making them more comfortable with being confused and with airing their confusions in a small group setting before telling them to the whole class. The organization element based on connections, and confusions seemed easy to grasp. However, students required more help with the organization element based on matters of importance. The fact that the students were able to choose topics of interest made the reflections more interesting and varied.
Archer, A. (2006). “Expository writing gr. 4-12. ” Sonoma County Office of Education. Santa Rosa. Retrieved on December 5, 2006 from http://www. scoe. org/reading/docs/archer_writing. pdf Block, C. C. (2003). Literacy difficulties: diagnosis and instruction for reading specialists and classroom teachers. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. NWREL. (2001). 6 + 1 traits of analytical writing assessment scoring guide. Northwest Regional Educational Library. Portland: NWREL Retrieved on December 7, 2006 from http://www. nwrel. org/eval/PDFs/6plus1traits. PDF