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Wednesday, 05 January 2011 19:25

As a staff developer, a principle tenant or truth drives our work… teacher development regarding instructional strategies is about transfer and implementation. If what we bring to teachers does not take a life in the classroom and assist teaching and learning, it is not effective professional development.

Curiously, the same is true with literacy education. What we teach kids has to take a life in all their classes. Unlike the Las Vegas tourism line, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” we believe that “What happens in English class must not stay in English class.” Not very original, but too often students believe what happens in “this class” is only relevant in this class.

Consequently, we work hard to teach students literacy skills and strategies that “have legs”, that help students be better learners in all their classes.

That begins with helping student understand the strategies they are being taught.

Pebble Creek’s High School Literacy curriculum constitutes of six units in each grade. At the end of the first unit, students close by having to describe the primary strategies taught in Pebble Creek, and why and how they make them a better reader, writer and thinker.

This is the necessary first step in promoting transfer of these literacy and thinking skills to other classes.

Larry Ferrlazzo, teacher at Burbank High School in Sacramento and shepherd of one of the most successful and widely read teacher websites in the country, wrote about this experience with his students. His blog entry speaks to the teaching task, and then has student examples of their explanations of strategies learned.



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