Reading Doors

Monday, July 11, 2016

DIY Literacy Ch. 3-4 Reflection #CyberPD

"We find that students need support, time, and repetition to make learning stick." pg 39

This week, reading Chapters 3 & 4 of DIY Literacy by Kate Roberts & Maggie Beattie Roberts really hit home with some of the struggles I have with my students every year. Getting students to remember what I've taught and helping them reach a level of rigor in their independent work are constant struggles I have with some of my students.

In recent years, our school district's poverty level has more than double from less than 30% free or reduced lunch to roughly 65%. Although I know many district's live with these levels year after year or are in situations with higher levels than we have, it has still been a culture shift for us. What once worked to motivate students simply does not any longer. Most of our students live in homes that value entertainment and fun over buckling down to achieve academic success. With this change, memory and motivation are now key struggles for our district as a whole, and these chapters fit perfectly with the PD within our districts.

I love how Kate & Maggie show, through explicit examples, how each of the tools they describe can be used to help improve student memory, rigor, and independence. The How to Set Goals and Narrow Our Focus section on page 43 was especially helpful. Keeping in mind our list of ideas and goals, students get a sense of ownership when co-creating the tools, but we as teachers are still able to ensure the best quality teaching goes onto the tools. Such great tips!

"Watching the process of something being made increases the likelihood that students can replicate the process on their own, which is critical to their independence." pg 68

I'm also starting to get really excited about the idea of using micro-progressions in full-force within my classroom. In the past I have used something similar but rather infrequently. I have liked how it worked but I still knew it was not as successful as it could have been. The tips and ideas from these chapters are what I needed to really implement good quality micro-progressions.

"The point is that you keep trying, and work hard, not that it works perfectly for you right away." pg 64

Further Questions I Have:

  1. As many others have asked, how many demonstration notebooks would be the most beneficial? Would having separate reading and writing notebooks be best, or would it be better to keep them together as one since much of reading and writing overlaps?
  2. I have seen many examples from middle school grades, but as my new coaching position will take me into classrooms ranging from K-6th, I would like to look more into ideas for a demonstration notebook for the younger grades, for those students who are still learning how to read.


  1. I would probably have one for reading and one for writing. I would also leave a page blank in the front for a work-in-progress Table of Contents, in which you would build upon as you create more pages in your demonstration notebook. I don't think the demonstration notebook differs in it's creation at the lower levels. I would create either one as I see needs arise with my students.

    1. I started one with a few ideas I've seen from others all about writing until I could decide, and I did happen to leave a table of contents page blank. I think it's a good idea! Thanks for your suggestions.

  2. I too am excited about using micro progressions! I like how Kate and Maggie point out that they should be used with "priority" in mind. Focusing on those most essential skills will help us ensure that we pour our effort and energy into fewer but more quality tools!
    I keep going back to the demo notebooks too. There are so many possibilities. I can't get past the binder idea myself because I just don't know how I could best organize it for myself and so a binder feels less "binding" (LOL!) But seriously, being able to re-arrange and organize lessons as it starts to make more sense when I actually use it with students.

    1. I do really like the idea of a binder, but thought I'd try a sketchbook first and then possibly transition it to a binder as it grew. I got a notebook with perforated pages so I could easily move them if/when I decide to start the binder. I doubt it will take long before I start a binder for the same reasons you mentioned, it isn't as "binding" and it could be re-arranged.

  3. I second your request for sample notebooks, pages or even pictures of one! I have my own ideas, but the interactive nature of them is new for me. Anyone have pictures to share? Or maybe we should each make one...