As a member of this Online Book Club, you are expected to post to the book blog at least once per week between now and July 11 -- that's six weeks. You should finish your book before then, and you will meet during the Institute in your groups to extend the discussion and plan how to present the book to the others in the Institute.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Oh - so that's what Spiraling means...

You know how when someone asks you if you know a song - they name the artists and title, maybe even the album, but you don't recognize it. But then you're in the car and your favorite new tune comes on, you sing along, then the radio host says the name of the song, and it's the song your acquaintance was talking about?

That's what it was like when I read the section on spiraling in chapter 4. I knew the concept (teaching the same concept and skill again and again over time with increasing complexity and difficulty), but not by that name.

On pg 78, the authors write, "Our commitment is to helping our students develop intellectually, not to checking off skills as if they were items on a shopping list (or on a set of standards). By spiraling writing strategies, teachers can support growth - even growth spurts - by weaving together past and present writing experiences."

Happily, my district demonstrated such commitment by devoting time (and state approved PD hours) for middle and high school teachers to meet and discuss how best to support one another, both vertically across grade levels and horizontally across disciplines. The results were some hearty conversations about authentic audiences and applicable argumentation, ending in a rough outline of curriculum we'd all try to hit in grades 6-10. We'll see how it works. I have hope, but I'm young and naive, as my mentor likes to remind me.

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