Thursday, October 21, 2021

Consider This: Meaningful Current Events

I'll wrap up Consider This with an example from this week. I have a student who is a Red Sox fanatic (a husband too) and they are of course in the playoffs. This story surfaced and has a lot of nuance to it, with targets regarding story grammar, perspective taking (which is really just story grammar times 2, 3, or however many people are involved), figurative language and body language. For brevity's sake I'll let you check out the link and the couple of videos there for the context.

This is the kind of scaffolded discussion that could take place via telepractice or in person, but I happen to be working with this student online. Zoom's annotation tools are a bit clunky (easy to click off your text box and need to make another, you scroll down on a webpage and they stay in the same place), but did the trick. If this annotation drives you nuts, it's an easy shift to Google Slides to toggle between tabs and use your preferred story grammar frame. In this case we just took some notes as we discussed; it's almost always better to provide visual support, which aids in working memory, processing, and further formulation.

Not to alienate any Astros fans, we did go on to note Correa's response to the incident was pretty positive, though there may be some nuance there too.

To go from the specific to more general, using current events can:

-activate students' interests

-provide contexts for story and expository text structure (and microstructure: sentence formulation and vocabulary)

-within the former, open doors to targeting social cognition, emotional vocabulary, or Zones®

My biggest trick in this regard has been keeping up with news myself, listening to the local news radio station, NPR, or subscribing to digests from local news sources to skim. As I've mentioned before, newsela is also a great go-to. I also have a student who loves CNN 10, a video resource.

Interested in professional development for your department, school, or organization? Sean is booking in-person or remote trainings for the 2021-2022 school year

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