How did students respond?
Kate Peterson – Eastern Washington University – At first my students did not seem to enjoy the experience, (the worksheet is long and seems daunting) though once they understood that this was going to be a tool we were using again and again, they warmed up to it and could see the benefits. My students found it easier to understand the texts and write successful summaries as the worksheet helped them break the text into more manageable sections. They also had a better understanding of the author’s intentions and purpose and did not get distracted by plot points or supporting details. All of this was useful because students began to realize that by using the tool they did not have to read the text over and over in order to understand the larger meaning/purpose.
LouAnn Reamer – Shadle Park High School – “I paid so much more attention to the details” was the predominant response to the tool. Students added that they had never watched a film so closely, but as a result they were able to trace the main ideas so that summary writing after was indeed easier. They had “left tracks in the snow” to return to with the tool. Students also applied these main ideas to the summative writing assessment of the unit, an argumentative essay, expanding on the main ideas to develop a claim with textual support.
Tim Roe – Spokane Community College – My students appreciated the experience, even though they did not necessarily enjoy it. This process requires critical thinking and engagement with the text, and that is hard work. I consistently heard comments like “I understand the text so much better now.” A quote about a film we watched in class from one student captures a common sentiment well; he said “I have seen this movie several times before, but now I understand it in a much deeper way than I previously had”. Overall, I have found that students have a hard time doing this intellectual work, but they always seem to learn from it and most students acknowledge that it helps them understand texts more deeply and accurately. In fact, I haven’t heard any students complain about the work in terms of it being not worth or effort. Finally, students seem to be understanding that this is a lifelong skill that they are developing.