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Susan Neufeld and Jonnie Shawkey, Editors

California Reading Association Costa Mesa, California 2008


Table of Contents
CltajJ!er Z- Mtrt?Va!?tJn
Bringing Back the Joy: Practices to Motivate Children to Read
By Julie Witczak ....................................... . .................... 13
Putting the Pieces Together to Motivate
By Jeanna Boggeri and Lisa Ferguson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Motivating with the Multiple Intelligences
By Beth Vancil .............................. . .. .. .. ... ...................... 31
Addressing Academic Anxieties in the Language Arts
By Cara L. Garcia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
CftajJ!er _!_[ - En"menf
Engaging Literacy Activities: Taking Students Beyond the Text
By Kathy L. Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Teddy Bears, Tomatoes, and Bookends: Engaging Hands-on Learning
By Cathlin M. Davis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Make them Yearn to Learn
By ]eniannaBoer ........ : ............... ... ...... .... ........ .. ........... 58
The Sponge: 101 Ways to Build Vocabulary, Review Content and lnsiill Critical Thinking
By Geri Mohler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
The Wheels on the Bus: The Value of Field Trips
By ........................ .... ...... . ........................ 71
CftajJrtr .!.!.! - M a:J{ert
Teaching for Mastery
By Kathy Theuer ... ..... ... . .. ........ . .... ...... . ... .. ....... ... .. . . ...... . 81
The Teaching Triangle for Mastery Learning: Scaffolding, ZPD. and Essential Literacy Practices
By Mary Borba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
The Exhilaration of Success
By Katherine Greenwood . ................. . .. . ................ ........ ........ 91
Basic Means Essential
By Heather Coughlin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
Thumbs up tor Active Assessment
By ] annie Shaw key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
4-5-6. CSe- ifSnak,,y
Cfttr/Jt"t:r ./1
Teaching for . Mastery
By Kathy Theuer
In today's era of high stakes testing teaching for
mastery is often associated with the ability to help
students recall factual information needed to pass
standardized tests, but is that really our ultimate goal as
educators? To achieve mastery of a subject, students
need to understand the curriculum deeply and be
able to apply their knowledge to meaningful tasks.
According to Sousa {2006), "The goal of learning is
not just to acquire knowledge but to be able to use that
knowledge in a variety of settings" {p. 88).
Teaching for mastery mirrors the way the brain
learns and remembers information, and it also helps
students develop the kinds of skills and aptitudes
they will need when they enter the workforce. The
good news is that teaching for mastery is not hard
to do. By looking at the way curriculum is organized
and incorporating some key strategies that support
mastery, teachers can help all students develop the
depth of understanding necessary to master what they
learn in school.
So h_ow does one "master" a concept? For an
answer to this question we need to look at how the
brain learns and retains information. Information enters
our brains through our senses. The thalamus, which
is part of the limbic system, filters the information to
determine how important the information is to us.
Information that is deemed important proceeds to our
short-term memory to be consciously processed. If the
learner attaches sense and meaning to the into,rmation
then it is more likely to be stored in long-term memory
(Sousa, 2006). Attaching sense and meaning to a
concept requires that the Ieamer is able to make
connections between what they already know and the
new concept. The learner also needs to see how the
concept is relevant to the Y:fDrld in which they live.
Forming a memory not only involves making
connections it requires practice and rehearsal. While
rote rehearsal may allow us to remember a specific
skill or task like the alphabet or times tables, to learn
concepts or higher level thinking skills requires more
elaborate rehearsal. Elaborative rehearsal involves
reprocessing information several times to make
connections, using the information learned and
applying it in different contexts. There is an added
benefit to using and applying what we learn and that
benefrt is that we engage more regions of the cerebral
cortex (the thinking part of the brain). According to Zull
(2004) "the more brain areas we use, the more neurons
fire and the more neural networks change-and thus
more learning occurs" (p. 72).
Teaching for mastery of key concepts not only
mirrors the way the brain learns and remembers it
also supports the kinds of skills students will need
when they enter the workplace of the 21st century. In
her article entitled, Becoming a Citizen of the World,
Stewart (2007) comments on the challenges educators
face in preparing students for their future in a global
society. She states, a world in which knowledge is
changing rapidly and technology is providing access to
vast amounts of information our challenge is not merely
to give students more facts about geography, customs
or particular conflicts. Rather, our challenge is to
hone students' critical thinking skills and to familiarize
students with key concepts that they can apply to new
situations (p. 10). Among some of the skills ranked
highest by employers as crucial to success in the
workplace are critical thinking and problem solving,
information technology application, collaboration and
creativity (Casner -lotto & Barrington, 2006). These are
many of the same skills that help students to develop
mastery of key concepts in school.
So how does one teach to mastery? I propose
that teachers use the following four strategies; ( 1) Vary
your teaching methods, {2) Focus on "big ideas" in
the curriculum you teach rather than isolated facts,
(3) Design curriculum that integrates subject areas
and connects to the real world, and { 4) Help students
develop a "project mentality" for using knowledge by
requiring them to create products, make presentations,
and solve problems.
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References
~ Casner-Lotta, J., & Barrington, L. (2006). Are they recdly ready
for work? Employers 'perspecti ves 011 the basic knowledge
a11d applied skills of new emranrs 10 the 21" cemury US
workforce. n.p.: Conference Board Partnership for 21"
Century Skills, Corporate Voices for Working Famil ies. &
Society for Human Resource Management.
Gardner, H. (1999) . /nte//igence reframed: Multiple intelligencesfor
the 2/-" cmtury. New York. NY: Basic Books.
Stewart, V. (2007). Becoming citizens of the world. Educational
Leadership. 64, (7) 8-14.
Stigler. J., and Heibert, J. ( 1999). The teachin,q gap. New York:
Free Press.
Souza, D. A. (2006). How the brain/earns. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Corwin Press.
Zull, J.E. (2004). The art of changing the brain. Educational
Leadership. 62, ( 1) 68-72.
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