Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Buehl 3&4

In chapter 3, Buehl mainly focused on the importance of the prior knowledge each students brings and the academic knowledge required to fully understand the concepts learned inside the classroom.  I especially liked this chapter because they are so relevant to today’s teaching and learning found inside the classroom.  Today, classrooms are composed of more and more diverse student bodies and therefore various instructional strategies must be used to ensure the success of all students. 
One topic that he talked about was the different ways of knowing.  What I have found as I have read these chapters by Buehl is that the author makes everything that is intuitive to us, or at least me, very explicit.  Thus, when reading about the different ways of knowing (text-self, text-text, text-world), I thought about how I previously connected to readings in science textbooks or generally to concepts learned and realized I did most of these too.  However it is important to realize that many students, especially ELL students, do not know or understand how to go about reading dense scientific texts so explicit instruction and practice is necessary.  

In chapter 4, Buehl focused on the concept of frontloading, “ the instruction preceding reading that addresses assumed academic knowledge” (121).  However, one question I have regarding the concept of frontloading is: is it just occurring prior to reading or is it actually occurring throughout the learning process, through investigation and revision? (was a little confused) Buehl showed just how critical frontloading is, especially with dense scientific texts that students are oftentimes required to read.  Scientific texts include not just specific terms like DNA, protein, and molecule, but also verbs that when placed in scientific texts, have completely different meanings.  Thus, before students begin reading texts, they need to understand these words and what they mean in the reading.  These terms could be presented in a chart format (as suggested by Buehl) where the word is present on the left and students fill in the meaning as it pertains to science.  Thus, based on the importance of understanding specific vocabulary within the context of the material how much time should teachers devote to it?  Additional activities, such as K-W-Ls would be beneficial because students can draw upon their previous knowledge about a topic coming up, write what they would like to know, fostering interest, and finally, at the end come full circle and write what they have learned.  Throughout these earning processes, students will continually collaborate with peers, teach each other scientific concepts, find connections to their own lives, and revise their own thinking.  Overall, how would you modify various pre-reading supports for students with varying needs?  Furthermore, how would you incorporate the previous knowledge that students have into actual classroom discussion?  Would you ask students to share?  Just collect short quick writes?  Share in small groups?    

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