Wednesday, March 26, 2014

IRC Conference: Why curiosity, thinking, and collaboration matter in the 21st century by Stephanie Harvey

I have seen so many big names in education speak over the last few years that it makes me wonder why our education system seems to be imploding.  Cris Tovani, Rick Wormeli, Steven Layne, Jeff Anderson, Janet Allen, and Kelly Gallagher all have delivered messages to me at different times in the last thirteen months, and in each of these messages I leave wondering what I can do to spread the word. Stephanie Harvey's message at this year's IRC Conference was no different.

We had just eaten a delicious lunch when Harvey took the podium for an hour.  After being in sessions all morning and eating a nice lunch, I was ready to stretch my legs and then take a nap, but Harvey must have known I was sitting in the audience because she began to deliver the most riveting session I had seen all day on a topic near and dear to my heart - intrinsic motivation.

Harvey's entire presentation revolved around the belief that we need to feed students' natural curiosity to build intrinsic motivation.  She used some quotations by Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, to illustrate why the education system must change.  "Teaching will be learning how to ask the right questions.  I was taught to memorize facts.  Why remember them?  Now you just need to learn how to search for information and sort through the burgeoning data available on computers."  What a brilliant thought in this day of information overload!  21st Century Learning Standards are asking learners to do just these things: ask the right questions and know how to find reliable answers to draw conclusions.

Don't tell me that you haven't been with a group of people, and somebody asks a question that nobody can answer.  Three people immediately pull out their phones to do a quick Google search. For names of celebrities and the nearest Mexican restaurant, this is a piece of cake, but what happens when the tough questions get asked?  How do we know that the information we are gleaning from is valid?  Who was supposed to teach us this?

Curiosity, according to Harvey and Schmidt, is essential for learning.  I think about my own kindergartner and how his curiosity runs WILD.  The questions start as early as 6 a.m. sometimes, and there are times when I have to force myself to sound interested and not flop down in a chair, exasperated by the questions.  Why don't our thirteen-year-olds do this?  Why are we not bolting the door to the library daily because the kids are beating it down, trying to find answers to their limitless line of questions that should be running through their brains?  According to Harvey, our kiddos start to lose their curiosity between fifth and seventh grade because answers are the focus in school, not questions.  This must change.

Einstein knew this well before Stephanie Harvey told us.  "It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry."  And then marches in Common Core . . . but entirely too late.  Although there are two sides to each new initiative in education, there are also those educators who choose to stand in the middle, hoping to find positives in the old and the new.

That's me.  The one standing in the middle of this Common Core debate continuum, waving wildy.  So much of the controversy in Common Core revolves around the assessment pieces, not the core standards themselves.  In fact, if you take a good look at the actual anchor standards for our English Language Arts (I can only speak for the ELA standards), most of them seem like an amped-up version of good teaching and former standards.  I mean, look at what they're asking students to do: determine the purpose of the author, argue with evidence, figure out the meaning of words independently, read "grade level" (whatever that means) material, gather information and determine reliability, and draw conclusions.  Are we saying that we shouldn't be teaching our kiddos how to do these things?  Are we saying we don't already do them?

But we have kind of sucked the fun out of it all with a lot of our surface level question and answer, knowledge-level questioning, and Harvey says that we need to analyze what is not fun about it if it isn't fun.  I was just reading Cris Tovani's book Do I Really Have to Teach Reading? yesterday, and she spoke of this science teacher who was taken back by how quickly Tovani was able to engage her science students in a unit on viruses with a simple student-directed questioning strategy.  This happened just minutes after one student proclaimed how boring viruses were and "Why do we have to learn about them anyway?"  Tovani told the science teacher she thought it was boring too.  Feeling a little defensive, the teacher went on and on about how interesting it all was, and expressed that Tovani only felt that way because she had never read any of the really great research on viruses, etc.  It was at this point when Tovani questioned why the teacher wasn't using the fascinating research articles to help engage her students in the unit on viruses.  I mean, if they're really that interesting . . .

Well . . . . ?  Crickets.  Good point.

Stephanie Harvey continued her talk with a list of ways we can teach our students to bring back some of that old curiosity they had when they were little.  Some of her suggestions were:

  • Ask questions in front of your students.  All the time.
  • Model your own curiosity and what you do with it.
  • Show that you care about finding answers. (I used to Google search stuff on the projector all the time when I was teaching in a classroom full-time.)
  • Demonstrate where you find those answers (be certain to talk yourself through why you choose certain websites and the appropriate times to use different types of sites).
  • Show your thoughts after you learn something new.
  • Model your interaction with others to gather information.
  • Model reading and writing while we gather new information.
  • Model skepticism.
One of the big pushes in the upper grades in reading is the fifth component of reading, comprehension.  Harvey talked about why this is so important.  It's more than just reading and understanding.  "We teach comprehension strategies so kids can acquire and use knowledge."  I loved this quotation because it took comprehension much further than a set of comprehension questions at the end of a story or section in the science text book. Pulling details out of a passage is not comprehension.  It's recall.  Being able to think about and process information to produce something else is comprehension, and that's what Harvey was telling her audience.

At the end of her session, Stephanie Harvey threw out four principles of Reading Achievement and Learning.  I thought that these four principles were a good balance.  They are below:
  1. Volume (the more kids read the better they read).  I have been singing this song for years, and we actually saw the fruits of this several years back when we instilled a mandatory silent reading period during our homeroom for a year.
  2. Response (the more kids interact the more they learn and understand). This is research-based and has a plethora of pieces of evidence to back it up, including multiple intelligence research, learning styles research, and brain research.
  3. Explicit Instruction (kids need both teacher modeling and time to practice).  Duh.
  4. Purpose (readers must see reading as a meaningful experience).  I was so happy to see this one I almost cried.  It parallels the research my colleague and I have done this year on engaging unmotivated readers, so it was nice to see this piece once again and know that we are on the right track.
Well, if you have read this far, I applaud your efforts.  Stephanie Harvey really hit home with her talk after our luncheon that day, and I am certainly grateful to have had the opportunity to hear her.  If I could have bottled up her entire talk and brought it home with me I would have because it was just that good.  Unfortunately all I have is the notes I took to create this blog for you, but I think I was able to capture the parts that I felt were most meaningful.  Now its your turn to take the information and create some meaning for your own teaching.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

IRC Convention – Using Writing and Speaking to Close Read Complex Text with Jennifer Lippert, Stacie Noisey, and Erin Metaxas

At 10:30 we made our way over to the next room at the Hilton to collect information on close reading.  I figure it’s not a reading conference without a session on close reading, right?  And I have a knack for coming to a revelation, even if I have exhausted all ways of looking at things.  This session was no different.

Although Jennifer Lippert, Stacie Noisey, and Erin Metaxas had to move quickly through their information, three main pieces of their presentation jumped out as things I should share with my colleagues.  To avoid rewriting something I have already written, I will simply link my September blog on close reading and move on.  If you're interested in learning more about the nuts and bolts of it, you can read it or one written by Jen White, my co-department chair of the language arts department.  Either blog will give you some basic information on the close reading strategy.

Jennifer Lippert, who did most of the talking during the presentation, drew our attention to a fantastic pyramid, about midway through, of text-dependent questions.  Why everything in education has to be pyramid-shaped, I have no idea, but it did make sense.  At the bottom of the pyramid lies general understanding of the media being "read".  As you move your way up the pyramid, your understanding of the media grows deeper.  By the time you reach the top of the pyramid, you have used what the author (or creator, if using media other than written text) has given the "readers" to analyze and deeply understand it, along with other media that is closely related.

I found this pyramid enlightening for a number of reasons.  First off, although I am not a visual learner in any respect, it gives us a clear picture of the vast use of low-level questions that are asked versus the higher level ones.  It also gives the viewer an idea of where one might look in a piece of media to find the answer to the question.  For example, if a question asks how many brothers the main character has, one may have to look into the text in various places to find the answer or maybe even in just one place (these are like Project CRISS's right there questions).  The answer would be short and quick, right or wrong.  However, if a question asks the reader to draw conclusions based upon a photograph and a primary source document, our kiddos are now being asked to analyze each, draw conclusions, provide evidence to support those conclusions, and justify them, based upon their own background knowledge.  Lines are blurred.  Answers are lengthy, and more than one answer is acceptable.  These questions are few and far between.  Project CRISS might call them author-and-you questions.  I call them tough.

After giving the audience some basic information about close reading, Lippert, Noisey and Metaxas clarified that close reading encompassed more than just reading text from a page.  They clearly explained that close reading has expanded what we could consider "text" to include a variety of medias, including visual art, three-dimensional art, written music, audio recordings, videos and other electronic media, etc.  My memory jogged as I remembered a presentation done by Mal Keenan at the Secondary Reading League's 37th Day of Reading Conference last November where she had said the exact same thing!

Giddy with excitement, I began planning an entire lesson in my head for my choral director husband, who would undoubtedly sit politely and listen to me as I explain what I want him to try.  Whether his intent was to use the idea is another story, but he at least feigns his attention.  It also made sense for me to use music to start with my new non-traditional close reading activity, as I am a former music-ed major .  I envisioned a piece of music being distributed for the first time to a group of eighth grade students.  Although I am confident that my husband does a superb job of prepping his students for a first sing-through, I suggested that he have the students close read the piece first.  Here's how it could work (obviously with some guidance and to start them out):
  • After distribution of copies of the piece of music (because the kids are going to mark them up like crazy), ask students to look on the first page and follow along as you "think aloud" the close read.
  • Point out things on the first page, such as the title, arranger, writer, tempo, dynamic markings, time signature, key signature, etc.  "Remember" a lesson where you learned what it was and what it means, and jot down some notes right on the copy.  For example, for time signature, you might say something like, "The time signature is 4/4 time.  I remember that we just sang another song in 4/4 and that it means there are four beats to a measure, but I can't remember what the other four means."  Some of your students may be able to help you out.  Get them involved early on.  Don't forget to read the lyrics out loud and make some comments about them as well.  
  • After the first page, ask students to partner up and do the same things with the second page.  Monitor them and have them share out as a group after they have worked a little bit together.  Continue on  until you think the groups have a handle on it.  You might just do the rest of the music in partners.
  • If you feel like they can handle it independently, give it a shot.  Otherwise, stick with partners, and keep on them about it.  They may start to say that a lot of it is repetitive.  That, in itself, is good close reading.  
Ask them what things mean or why the arranger made that choice.  There are so many GREAT ways to use this strategy!  And it can work with any piece of information-producing media!

Finally, about forty minutes into the session, we got a chance to try out a few of the strategies, and my group was assigned an activity entitled Pass the Annotation.  Here's how it worked:

  • Each participant in our group of four was given a piece of text to read (in this case, we had actual text rather than a different piece of media).  We set a timer for three minutes, and we all began reading the text and annotating, keeping a purpose in mind.
  • At the end of the three minutes, we passed our papers one person to the left and set the timer for another three minutes where we then read the annotations by the previous reader and then continued to read and annotate.
  • We read in this manner until we got our papers back, and by this time we had each read the annotations made by the other members and probably reread the text a few times as well.
I found myself loving this activity because, on the third pass, I was still learning things that I hadn't picked up my first two times.  I had a few "A-ha!" moments even after we got our papers back, and that never would have happened with just one read-through, even with a close read.  What a great activity where all participants are expected to contribute and learn.

At the end of this third session, my brain was full, and my idea-bin was overflowing!  I was pleasantly surprised with the information and ideas I gleaned from this session.  Close reading is such a hot-topic right now, and everybody claims to have the right way to do it.  This group of ladies helped me to think of new ways to adapt the strategy and apply it to a wider range of medias.

Friday, March 14, 2014

IRC Presentation: Fighting Adolescent Apathy With Authentic Engagement by Jason Brogan & Mal Keenan

After our first inspiring session on Wednesday in the basement of the Conference Center, we headed outside into the 40+ degree, sunny morning, eyed the mile-long line at Starbucks longingly, and headed up the elevator to the top of the Hilton for our second session.  My colleague Karen and I were interested in catching a presentation that tackled the motivation piece of reading because we had prepared to make a presentation on the exact same topic later in the afternoon.  Secretly, I was praying that, although the topics were the same, the presentations would focus on completely different aspects of student motivation, and I am happy to say that this was, indeed, the case as we sat down to listen to what Jason Brogan and Mal Keenan had to say.

Brogan and Keenan started their session by describing what they call their Triple A students: apathetic alliterate adolescents, and the first point Brogan made was that these students needed an environment of trust.  I immediately connected to our presentation that was planned for later in the day.  Part of what we had planned to deliver focused on this idea of connection, which feeds right into the student's need for a trusting environment.  I liked what I heard immediately, and I relaxed in my chair as I geared up to hear more.

The session was split into several large topics, each one designed to give the attendees a general idea to take back to their schools and implement.  Unlike most of the other sessions I attended in the two days, this one focused on big picture ideas rather than individual strategies, and I liked that because when you focus on the big picture, you usually have to make major pedagogical and philosophical decisions that impact a large number of people.  I'm all about making big changes and changing my philosophies based upon my clientele, so I maintained alertness as they presented.

One of the most interesting and useful ideas described during this session was Inquiry Circles.  Common Core Standards require students to seek information from multiple sources (ie - research), and the inquiry circle is a highly motivating way to introduce this.  Here's how I see it working.

  • Start with an essential question (there it is again!).
  • As an entire class, view a variety of graphics all related to the same general topic or big question.  Ask students to observe (or notice) details in the graphics.  Brogan suggested using upwards of forty photographs (if you use photos) and just allow students to write down what they see.  
  • As students are noticing or observing each picture, also have them write down some questions.  This activity is similar to the Observe, Infer, Question activity, if you're interested in reading about it.  The beauty of this is that students can't be wrong when they write their observations, and their questions will hopefully stir up some natural curiosity, which will keep them engaged.  You can always add the infer column in there if you want, as well.
  • Gather student questions, and group students according to the things about which they were most curious.  
  • Include the LMC director and other support staff (reading specialist, for example) and begin the research process, using the initial questions to guide the research.
  • During the research process, include mini-lessons on the content and research process.
  • After the initial information gathering, meet with groups and have them evaluate what information they still need to successfully move toward answering and supporting the essential question.  
  • Once the groups are satisfied that they have gathered enough information and put it together, they "go public" with it.  I loved this term.  Its a fresh way to have kids present, and who says they all have to present?  Maybe they go public a different way.
Why will this work?  The Triple A students are the ones who would be considered the least motivated.  We know from Dr. Ross Green's 2007 article, "Kids Do Well if they Can," that the reason these kids do not perform is because they lack something.  Many of them lack the academic self esteem or curiosity to become engaged, and our job is to create a safe environment where they feel comfortable enough to be curious and take some risks.  What a beautiful way to allow this to happen!  If we can just let go of the reins a little bit and allow our striving (love this word, by the way!) kiddos to explore topics and produce information the way they want (with guidance, of course), we might find these same students to be highly achieving.  You just never know!  

Brogan and Keenan had a wealth of information to share with their audience, but this idea of inquiry circles was, by far, one of my favorite of the eight sessions I attended at this conference.  Although I went into their session worried that they would bring the same information we had planned to share, I left wishing we could have teamed up with them for a half-day session!  I felt like so much of what they had to say complimented what we brought, and I left feeling a little wiser on the topic of fighting adolescent apathy.  

IRC presentation: Essential Middle School Strategies for English Language Learners (ELLs) in the Content Areas

Eight a.m. came pretty early this morning, but I started out my day with a Dr. Pepper Ten and a hope that I would increase my knowledge about reaching our high population of former-bilingual students.  Even though most of our kiddos receive no bilingual or ELL services, I knew that attending a session dedicated to ELLs would arm me with even more strategies and philosophies to take back to the staff and use immediately with our kiddos.  Boy, was I right!

We attended our first session by Amanda Schacht & Gabriela Carbajal from Crystal Lake School District 47.  The ladies started out their session by explaining that their strategies would be presented in three main categories, headed up with an essential question - which seems to be a hot topic the last few years in the education world.  Their three stages were the preview stage, focused literacy stage, and the application stage.  Unfortunately, most of the sessions here are sixty-minute sessions, so we ran out of time before we could go through each stage thoroughly, but the handouts contained explanations of every strategy.  This made it worth attending, in itself, because I could go back to my room and collect more information afterwards (which is what I am doing currently).

We spent most of our time on the preview stage, trying out out some of the strategies and learning about different language frames.  One point that these ladies made was that working with students who are still developing English language, the preview stage should probably be done orally rather than weighing down activities with written language.  The term language frames was new to me, but when I took a look in the packet, I realized that they were similar to Project CRISS's sentence frames.  Over the last few weeks I've been working in an eighth grade US History class.  While supporting students or delivering instruction, I try to interject sentence frames whenever I can.  We have so many students who still grapple with the English language, that sometimes they struggle with the act of even starting out sentences.  By giving students a frame into which to place ideas, they can use the English language properly and focus more in their ideas than formulating language.  Here's how it works.

When you are asking students who are still developing English language to perform a specific task that requires language (ie. answering a question or responding to media), supply them with several choices in language frames.  
  • To make a prediction, start out your sentences with phrases such as "I predict that . . . " "I bet that . . . " or "I wonder if . . . "
  • To ask a question, think about using starters such as "What would happen if . . . " "Why did . . . " or "Do you think that . . . "
  • To clarify something, supply your students with phrases such as "At first I thought _____, but now I think . . . " "Oh, I get it . . . " or "This part is really saying . . . "
  • To encourage students to make a connection, supply them with a things like "This reminds me of . . . " "This part is like . . . " or "This  makes me think of . . . "
  • If students are expected to answer a question, support them by giving them the beginning of what you would expect them to supply as the answer, and then let them continue on with their answer.
The above examples are just a small sampling of what Schacht and Carbajal included in their packet of resources, but I'm guessing you get the idea.  One question that a colleague asked me just today was, "At what point do you stop supplying students with these frames?"  I had to really put some thought into that question because at first glance, I can see how a student would use the frames as a crutch, but then I went back to the presentation that I gave later in the day today.  If our kiddos are armed with one hundred percent of the tools they need to perform a task, they will.  If they rely on what we give them as a crutch, there are still skills that they lack.  It is our job to figure out what those skills are, and one of them may very well be dealing with the fear of failure - a skill that many of our reluctant learners have (making them look unmotivated because they refuse to even try).  Perhaps if we made our efforts two-fold and provided students with academic as well as social-emotional support, we might find them moving forward at a much quicker pace and we might see them taking healthy academic risks more often.

The remainder of the presentation included a whole slew of previewfocused literacy, and application strategies such as Word Sorts, Think-Pair-Share (which they termed Think-Partner-Share), TPR (Total Physical Response), Video Jigsaw (see graphic to the right), Pane It / Retain It, Connect 2, THIEVES, Anticipation Guides, Say Something /Write Something, Narrow Reading, Numbered Brains (like Numbered Heads), Jigsaw, Combination Notes, Question / It Says / I Say / And So, GIST, Magnet Summaries (another CRISS strategy), Sketch to Stretch, LEA (Language Experience Approach), Side-By-Side Translations, and Metalinguistic Focus. So you can see that they supplied their participants with a wide variety of strategies to take back to their buildings and use immediately.  

THIEVES example
Late in the presentation, Schacht and Carbajal discussed the THIEVES strategy, which is an in-depth previewing strategy.  During this part of the talk, the ladies showed us a beautiful bookmark that was color coded, and then they unfolded a color coded copy of a chapter from a text book to demonstrate to students which parts of the bookmark coincided with the parts of the chapter.  It was beautifully done, and I could see this being something that could be adapted to a content area to support our students who are still developing English or for any of our students struggling to grapple with the complicated text in their text books.  

All in all, this presentation was a great way to begin my conference, and I am thrilled to bring back some of this information to start using in supporting our content area teachers and students.  With over forty percent of our student population being native Spanish speakers, each content area classroom contains groups of students who might benefit from any number of the strategies presented today during this first session.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The four types of learners and what we can do for them

This week I am traveling to the Illinois Reading Council's annual conference in Springfield to learn and to teach.  My esteemed colleague Karen and I have put together a presentation that includes information on why motivation should be considered a  key component in reading instruction and what we can do to turn our unmotivated learners around.  So after completing the slides for the presentation, I was mortified to find that, after counting up the number of minutes we would likely spend on each slide, that we had about 140 minutes of material to pack into a sixty minute slot!  We then began whittling down the material, in hopes that we wouldn't leave out the really important points.

Late in our research, we came across an interesting bit of information taken from another presentation on a similar topic.  After digging around for a few days, we discovered that this piece of research was duplicated several times, including being detailed by Dr. Valerie Rice, a researcher at the US Army Research Laboratory, Human Research and Engineering Directorate.  This parallel research is best illustrated by the graphic shown to the right.  As you can see, Dr. Rice's theory is that there are four types of students: the failure accepters, failure avoiders, optimists, and over-strivers.  According to Dr. Rice, the optimists are those who worry little about failure and desire success.  Brain research tells us that heightened anxiety can impede learning, so if you put low fear of failure and high desire of success together, it appears as if the optimists will have the highest rate of successful skillbuilding and, ultimately, the highest views of self.

Over-strivers are more motivated by their fear of failure than the optimists.  To help these students continue to make progress, we can aid them in planning for times when they might fail and come up with strategies to help them cope and deal with failure if it does happen.  This will give those students more of a sense of control and will hopefully boost their concept of self.  Going back to what Dr. Ross Greene says in, "Kids to Well if They Can," cited in a previous blog on student motivation, giving these students the skills they need to move past their blocks will allow them to learn and gain more control, making them more teachable.

As a reading specialist, the failure avoiders are the most difficult to bring to light. They will often fly under the radar because they work so hard.  My job is to look at data first, then the individual, and sometimes the data that I see doesn't reflect what we see in school.  It is then my job to figure out why, and what I often find is that we have a lot of kids who struggle and never say anything or show that they are struggling until it is too late!  A common generic example of this is when I am looking at reading comprehension data for a student, and I mention a specific student to a group of eighth grade teachers or the Tier 3 team.  When they look at me like I'm crazy, I know what is coming next.  "But she's getting Bs and Cs!" is often what I hear.  I then reflect back on Rick Wormeli's talk last week where he discusses the long-standing grading system of points, percentages, and letter grades and the glaring absurdities with how it is being used.  

Just because a student "earns" an A in a class, doesn't mean he is not struggling with reading comprehension.  In fact, in a the book Student Motivation, Engagement, and Achievement (Irvin, et. al, 2007), teachers were found to, with good intention, support those who appeared to struggle by loading those students with information verbally or visually (Yay!  Trying other learning styles!) or sometimes even copying teacher-notes or giving "cloze notes" to students who struggle - even in language arts!  While this helps the student in the content area, it does nothing to help our kiddos build reading skills, and therefore they succeed, as evidenced by the letter grade achieved for the quarter in that content area.  The reason is two-fold: teachers find ways around their deficiencies, and those students fear failure so much that they work hard enough to pass with decent grades.  I also know that these kiddos tend to resist interventions because they feel like if the grades show success, why would they need help.  

Most often, it is my latino students who struggle with this the most, as cited in Bridging Cultures Between Home and School: a Guide for Teachers (Trumball, et. al, 2001).  Many of them come from a more collectivist culture, where behavior and academics are often seen as reflective of each other.  As a reading specialist, part of my duty is to help parents accept reading intervention positively so that their children feel comfortable accepting it. It is also our job, as educators, to help these students put together some strategies to help them through failure so that they can face tasks with a mind that is more prepared to internalize instead of being in a constant state of fear.  Can we also plan ways to show these kiddos how they are making successes?  So often they don't see their successes because they are so worried that they will fail.  Just the idea that their hard work is paying off in their grades is one place to start, but giving them tasks where they can begin tracking smaller successes may give them the tools to feel more confident in their ability to grow and build a growth mindset.

Finally, our failure accepters.  We all know these students too well.  They are the ones who, after exhausting everything possible, we chalk up to a kid who is just "unmotivated".  A no-can-do in my book, and Dr. Ross Greene would agree with me.  There is something we are missing with these kiddos, and the graphic shows that first we need to give them tasks that make them feel competent and then provide feedback that is prescriptive and productive. Chances are, these kids have felt incompetent for so long, that they have forgotten the feeling of success.  Anything.  Even our relationships with these students could give them enough boost in confidence to give some of their school work a try.  Dr. Rice says it.  Rick Wormeli says it (see last week's blog on giving feedback after attending a Rick Wormeli seminar).  Dr. Greene says it.  This idea of feedback is such a powerful one, that it cannot be overlooked.

One thing that Karen and I wish we could have found was some sort of questionnaire or screening test that helped us to identify which of our students are which type of learner.  We searched and searched, but we were unable to locate one.  But as you are teaching this week, and as you interact with your students, contemplate which students might fall in which categories.  What would really be interesting is if all teachers of the same student were asked to place one student.  Would all of these teachers place the student into the same quadrant?  That, my friends, is something to ponder.