Why we Procrastinate?

Often we know what we should be doing, but we just don’t do it. Putting off work until later is called, ‘procrastination.’ Everyone procrastinates sometimes, but we get in trouble when we do it too much.

Today, we’ll think about why we procrastinate and what we can do about it. First, we’ll watch this TedxYouth Talk. Then we’ll think a little bit about what we might do to avoid putting off important things. Here are some tips to look for in this video; as you listen, think about which of these strategies you use or may try in the future:

  1. Plan Goals.
  2. Plan Time.
  3. Plan Resources.
  4. Plan Process.
  5. Plan for Distraction.
  6. Plan for Failure.

(One thing I noticed is that the speaker talks about ‘metacognition’, which means ‘thinking about our thinking.’ Isn’t it interesting that good readers also do this as they read?)

OK, now comment below about how you avoid procrastination. Do you use any of the tips listed above?

Reading for Sensory Images

Now that conferences are behind us, let’s get back to reading! We recently talked about the two voices good readers hear when we read–the one that says the words of the text, and the one that thinks about the text. That ‘thinking voice’ can do a lot of things–sometimes it makes predictions, sometimes it asks questions, sometimes it thinks about the big ideas or themes in the text. And of course, sometimes it says, ‘Hold on! I think I missed something here; I better go back and read that bit again…’ (For a review of some of the common thinking strategies good readers use, go here.)

But one of the thinking strategies good readers use isn’t a voice, but an imagination of the sensory images–the images, sounds and smells that good writing conjures in our mind.  On Day 5 and 6 this week (Monday and Tuesday), let’s look at two short poems. Both are by William Carlos Williams, one of the most important 20th century American poets. His poetry known for it’s use of images.

After you read these poems, please write a comment in the blog telling about one picture you made in your mind as you read these poems.  Then update your reading log, set a SMART goal in reading for the next week and sign up for a reading conference with me.

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

If you’d like to read more poems by William Carlos Williams, you can take a look at the copy of his Selected Poems, which I have in the classroom. And here’s a poem by someone you know who was inspired by ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’ (And, by the way, Williams does not use punctuation in these poems, but most poets do! The rule for that is, use punctuation, unless you have a very good reason not to!)

Mid-Semester Reflections

To prepare for our parent-teacher-student meetings, over the next few days we will be working on a letter to our parents about what we are working on in this class. This will help us reflect on our progress so far in a way we can share with our parents. Our reflections  will include the following things:

  • a basic introduction to what we do in this class;
  • a reflection (including a SMART Goal) on our organizational and study skills;
  • a reflection (and SMART goal) about our learning habits and the things that motivate us;
  • a reflection (and SMART goal) about our independent reading habits and strategies;
  • an optional reflection (and SMART goal) on a personal area of academic focus.

As you know, research shows that we learn more if we reflect on our learning as we go; I think this is important, or I wouldn’t assign it. However, I know all of you have many other things you are working on. So I will do my best to make this process as efficient as possible.
To make this easier, we’ll break this down into a several small steps. In the end, you will have the option of posting a picture of your letter to your blog, or of re-typing your reflection, along with some examples of your work to your blog. We’ll talk about the details in class! If you would like to review the presentation I gave on Friday and Monday in class, you follow this link.

Reading Is Thinking

Good readers don’t just call out words on a page. They think as they read; that’s why we say ‘Reading is Thinking!’ There are many ways to think about what we read, but most good readers use a mix of strategies. On day 3 and 4 (Tuesday and Wednesday), we’ll look at some of the ways good readers think about text. I’ll demonstrate these in class and have summarized them below.

I’ll give you two post-it’s. On one post-it, write an example of a thinking strategy you have used in your independent reading. On another post-it, set a SMART goal for your independent reading for the next week!

Good readers:

Connect: Good readers use what they know to better understand what they read.

  • ‘This reminds me of something that happened to me.’Reading is thinking
  • ‘This reminds me of something I know from school.’
  • This reminds me of another book I read.

Question: Good readers ask questions as they read.

  • ‘I wonder….
  • ‘Who, what, where, when, why?’

Predict: Good readers use clues to think what might happen next.

  • ‘I predict ____ will happen…’
  • ‘I think this character will____ because….’

Infer: Good readers use clues and what they know to understand things that are not directly stated in a book.

  • ‘I think this means that…’
  • ‘This clue makes me think the character is nervous/sad/happy.’

Visualize and use sensory images: Good readers imagine what a story looks, smells, sounds like…

  • ‘In my mind I see…’
  • ‘In my mind, I hear…’

Determine what is important: Good readers use what is important in what I read so they can summarize it or find answers to what they want to know.

  • ‘This was mainly about….
  • ‘I found answers to what I wanted to know in chapter 5 of this book….’

Synthesize: Good readers pull together many ideas to find the big ideas or themes in what they read.

  • ‘The theme of this book is….’
  • ‘One big idea I see here is that…’

Use evidence: Good readers support my thinking about what they read with evidence or clues.

  • ‘I think this because it says…’
  • Because I know____, and it says ____, I think….’
  • ‘I can tell____, because it says_____’