I’ve also been reading Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson. There’s some really great stuff in here. It also fits into the current trend of brain-based learning. We are using this a lot on my campus. Last summer, we were involved in a week long inservice based on how the brain works and best practices that follow this theory called Quantum Learning. It was excellent. I also participated in a number of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) on our campus where we learned more about this. Anderson’s book touches upon a number of these concepts. One is called the linguistic data pool theory. (Harst, Burke, and Woodward, 1985). This theory is about how all visual and aural language experiences flow into a personal data pool that they access over and over again. They use this “data base” to pull past experiences with reading and writing to form their own. I TOTALLY agree with this idea. You can see it in so many kids writing. Good readers write well. Kids who read struggle less with writing. It can even come down to they way they put words on the page. Favorites go into that data pool and are pulled out as thought patterns for kids! I just love this idea!
Another really great brain idea shared is from Vogotsky. This idea is that “conceptual development” (OH! There it is again and I wasn’t even looking!) “evolve out of piles and heaps we try to form when grasping for meaning.” (1986) Wow, piles of information! I totally want to check out this idea. It may guide me to that knowledge needed to develop more knowledge about how our conceptual development works and grows! Thanks Jeff Anderson!
Anyways, I’m really enjoying Anderson’s book and plan to use some of his ideas this coming year. As I try them out, I’ll be happy to share some successes, ideas, and even failures! In the mean time, here is a freebie for writing. I use this writing tracker with my kids. They keep track of their writing scores. There is a lot of research out there that supports the fact that when students track their own progress, they are more successful. It also is a quick view for me as to who is growing, who has stabilized, and who needs intervention, including differentiation!