The following are my notes, reflections, and slidedeck from my ASCD literacy presentation.
I presented this session with Angela Maiers, a true guru in the land of literacy.
Angela and I began our presentation by asking the participants to answer the question, “What is literacy?” Certainly there has been much written and discussed on this topic, and we explained that our approach to the subject is rooted in communication; specifically, how we input and output through various mediums and modes.
We briefly discussed the work of Luke and Freebody and their Four Resource Model. We discussed how these four resources work both as we input and output in communication.
We then discussed how important the medium is and how much it has changed. This change is significant, and that significance is evidenced in videos like this.
We asked the participants to then consider the medium and the mode of communication and which one we most often use as adults. We typically favor speaking, but what do we require our students to use the vast majority of the time they are working to communicate their learning? What if we started changing our expectations and removing some of the barriers that trip kids up when they are trying to communicate? What if we let them tell their stories and demonstrate their learning like this?
We discussed a practical example of the way we traditionally teach literacy by using an example of the book Number the Stars. We explained how we could be doing so much more with our students and expecting them to dig so much deeper in their exploration of reading. We showed two videos, and explained how the second led to an incredible learning experience for the entire school based on a comment someone left on the students’ YouTube post.
We wrapped up the session discussing how dramatically the web has changed in recent history, and we discussed the implications for literacy based on this change. We ended the session with this video and explained how important passion and audience are for our students.