What would Maxine Green say through her lens on a wide awakeness?
With regard to being "wide awake," Regie Routman's book is written on the foundation of real world practice of her theory. I believe Maxine Green would be pleased specifically with the extent to which Regie herself is imaginative. Freire's concept of conscientization is throughout Regie's methods. She is constantly inviting students to deepen their awareness and understanding of their world. She achieves this in practice by making a concerted effort to understand the world of a child. By closely connecting writing instruction to relevant reading Regie is inviting students to "read the world," which is also an idea put forth by Green and Freire.
Routman is a huge proponent of writing with her students. Her optimal learning model involves the teacher gradually allowing students to try things on their own only after being written for, and alongside during lessons. In this way, Routman is accompanying her students on the journey to wide-awakeness in a way that both teacher and student benefit.
Routman comments that she only follows up with schools where there is a strong commitment across grade levels to put practices into place that can only exist through strong collaboration. She realizes her good theory can only connect to good practice if there is fertile foundation from which these practices can develop and grow.
Writing is a community building activity, especially the way Regie does it, with so much collaborative writing, so much sharing of her own process and so much celebration of student writing. This all leads to the humanization of a classroom.
The following quote from this article struck me:
"The nurturing of classroom community, modeling of social responsibility, fostering of perspective-taking skills, and confrontation of social injustice is analogous to the planting of seeds to nourish student consciousness of global belonging," (Carlsson-Paige & Lantieri, 2005) To me, Routman's practice is a sturdy bridge between this imagined ideal and the very real embodiment it can have in a living classroom.
I agree with Lori. In addition, I think Routman's entire text begs for wide awakeness from the teacher who should promote a wide awakenesss from his/her students. One of the ways to do this is by having students talk to each other, thereby learn from each other. By learning from others' points of view, students are better able to be imaginative and empathize. Routman encourages students to imagine throughout the text and her demo lessons so they are able to write more creatively.
I agree, In addition, students are given the opportunities to have real authentic purposes and authentic audiences. This in turn creates wide-awakeness in students. They feel empowered and engaged in their own writing. "Writers don't improve their craft unless they have real purpose, a real audience, and a real investment in their writing" -Mem Fox. When we give students thes real purposes and audiences they can then improve their writing because they want to not because the teacher says they should.
What would Paulo Freire say through the lens of critical consciousness?
See Maxine Green comment.
What would Heinnman say through the lens of research principals?
The first principle in this article speaks to the "traits" of good writing.
The Routman book does not believe good writing can be boiled down to certain "traits." Routman on more than one occasion insists that skills be taught first and named later. Heinmann would perhaps disagree with this, but I don't think Lucy Caulkins would. Heinmann is coming from a publisher perspective that necessitates a standardization of programming in order to create a mass produced book for teacher use.
In other principles, Routman and Heinmann would agree, such as the idea that students benefit greatly from direct instruction, guided and independent practice. Also, Heinmann says students need ample time to write well and Routman would certainly agree with this.
Overall, I believe Heinmann's response to Routman's book would be, "Great! So now can you boil this theory down into a series of lessons that do the thinking for the teacher and guide students through this organic process you outline??
I think Lucy Calkins, Heinmann, and Routman would all agree that writing should be taught as a process, but that conventions and strategies should be taught in context.
I agree that it seems a little backwards that Lucy Calkins (who bases a lot of her work on the Routman text) believes that writing instruction should be organic, but her "program" is written as a series of lessons that teachers can follow. Renee and I talked about how school districts push for teachers to use the Units of Study as a curriculum that should be followed with a scope and sequence. However, Lucy Calkins states multiple times that it should be adapted to fit the needs of each individual classroom and student. I think Lucy Calkins and Routman both have the same ideas, but Heinemann profits from publishing a "ready, set, go" program for teachers to follow as a guide.
I believe that Routman includes all the Research Principles that Heinmann suggested in her book. She addresses Principle 1 and 2 in her book by suggesting that students learn the language of writing but they "aren't helped to understand what good writing is. She agrees they should know organization, voice, ideas, etc, however, too many times the teaching of writing is fractured. She suggests that first we need to "engage students in writing about topics that they care about for a reader that matters to them". When students do this organization, ideas, voice will fall in to place. Routman also addresses Principle 3 that students benefit from teaching that is direct, guided practice, and independent practice. Throughout Routman's book she discusses the Optimal Learning Model Across the Curriculum. She believes in lots of modeling, think alouds, guided practice, individual, group, and whole group conferencing and lots of independent practice.
What would Annie Murphy Paul say through the lens of joyful learning?
Routman's message for teacher's is clear: Live the life of an artist, feed yourself, be joyful in your teaching and writing so your students will, too. She questions how much more productive teachers are who work twelve hour days, and logically concludes happy teachers make happy students. She proceeds to show teachers how to stop teaching so much, work smarter instead of harder, and have a more learner directed classroom. The authors of the "Joy" article explain that teacher-centric lessons basically suck the joy out of learning, so this lines up with Routman as well.
I wholeheartedly agree with Routman that a happy teacher who has a balanced life will have happy students who want to learn. In my personal experience, when I jump in to teaching with both feet, and therefore neglect my family and friends, I end up being the opposite of joyful. Instead, I feel guilty because I am ignoring my family (and I have 3 little boys). The time it takes to feel that guilt is then taking away from my students. So, I see that as an interdependent relationship. I try really hard to get my work done at school or when my kids go to bed so I can spend time with my family. When I'm able to balance things properly, I feel like I have more time for school too. Imagine that. The good thing about realizing this is that I can try to help the newer teachers in my school too. I always point out to them that I leave by at least 4:30pm, live a normal life outside of school, and my students are happy and learning with good lessons. One of my goals is to help them find balance too. It makes such a difference!
I believe that Annie Murphy Paul would agree with Routman as well because she says that joy is brought with student-cented lessons, a desire to master the material, students working at their pace and level, time for an activity to come to its natural conclusion, student choices, play time, and time for sharing and collaboration. Routman's theory and book agree with all of these contentions.
I just read Mary and Lori's reply and I agree. I remember too often how I felt that I needed to read everything the students wrote. I have heard it before but it is always nice to hear again that I don't have too. I can't possibly read everything if the kids are writing like they should be. I remember in my earlier days of teaching writing how I sucked the joy of it for my students. I was doing what the district wanted. Then, I remember my days in Texas teaching and thought of how my students loved to write. I went back to what I did there, took Writing on Wednesdays here at MSU, and got my Mojo back. I noticed my students having joy as they write. Asking me when it was writing time. I also fond the joy in reading Routman's book. I agreed with her teaching methods because I have seen first hand how joyful my students were when I taught this way. They loved to write.
Annette Kelly is a 4th grade teacher at Beagle Elementary in Grand Ledge, MI.Lori Van Hoesen finished her internship at Willow Ridge Elementary in Grand Ledge, MI.Mary Wever is a 4th grade teacher at Red Cedar Elementary in East Lansing, MI.