An interesting aspect of this conversation is that it involves specialists who interact with different levels of the school. I frame my thinking around this prompt firmly within my experience on a day-to-day basis, which is in the Middle School. I am working in a school that has adopted the reading and writing workshop models as pioneered by the TCRWP, and I am coming to appreciate how these models can serve students in the spirit of the column on the right. The structure of a typical lesson of 75 minutes is:
Independent reading (teacher conferencing on reading) 15 mins
Mini-lesson 15 mins
Write / create / make 40 mins
Share 5 mins
Each lesson therefore has a clear objective related to a specific skill that is taught and modelled from the front by the teacher. Students then apply that specific skill / technique to their work while the teacher conferences with individuals and teaches small groups based on information gathered from previous lessons. The mini-lesson is planned based on need, but also on an overall objective. Relating this to the above chart, the juxtaposition of “backward design” and “serendipity” is one area where I am not convinced of the text’s overall coherence. Both sides have been over-simplified to suit the purpose of the construction of a chart. Each element on each side would need much more explanation to be an effective comparative study, and then it wouldn’t be a chart anymore :) It’s a good place to start a conversation though.