I try not to spend too much time sharing about the #educelebrities that I follow, or have had the privilege to meet, but for this week’s post, I’m back again with some more thoughts based on the day I spent recently with Cornelius Minor. One of the things he talked about was something he phrased as “The Power of the Rerun.” As a child of the 80s (I try not to date myself too much, but it’s my reality), reruns were a regular occurrence. Saturdays would often mean getting up, grabbing a bowl of cereal, and turning on cartoons. Unlike you millennials who might be reading or the Gen Z / post-millennials that we’re teaching, when you turned the TV on, you watched what was available. There were no streaming options. We couldn’t find what we wanted to watch on YouTube. Sometimes that meant watching an episode of GI Joe that you’d seen what felt like hundreds of times.
I have to be honest; I’ve always enjoyed reruns of shows. There are episodes of Friends that I have literally seen more than a hundred times, and yet I still laugh (pivot). I don’t know if I want to admit how many times I have watched the entire Breaking Bad series (probably still my favorite series of all time!), but I will share that it’s a lot!
What I love about rewatching a show is that often, I notice things I didn’t notice the first time. Maybe there’s a character that didn’t seem that important on the first watch that I now know is important later in the show. Or I might notice something that I missed in the background of a shot because I was so focused on the main action the first time. The rewatch allows me to dig a little deeper.
Now, I’m sure there are some that are wondering what in the world reruns of TV shows have to do with an education blog. This is where Cornelius comes in. While talking to us about ways we might model specific skills, he talked about the benefit of doing a reread of a text that was previously shared in class. The first pass of a story is a great time to introduce a concept or idea. If you are doing a lesson on character analysis, you might read a text where you want your students to notice what characters do over and over, so you read that text and ask students to pay attention to the actions of a specific character and ask them to think about what this teaches them about this character. That may meet a standard for you, but you recognize that your class seems to show clear understanding, or maybe even mastery right away. That might mean a reread of the book is a great time to do some deeper thinking about the text.
You see, once you’ve read a text one time, you have done most of the heavy lifting. The understanding of the story is already there. Vocabulary words have been defined and used in context. All your students have an initial understanding of what will happen in the story, so now we can go deeper.
Recently in our building, we’ve been spending a lot of our time in Professional Development focused on the power of the PLC. We’re really digging into each of the 4 key questions of the PLC. If you aren’t sure what those questions are, these are them:
- What do you want your students to know? (This one’s about knowing our standards, having a map, and identifying priorities)
- How will we know they know it? (This is all about how we formatively assess our students along the way, or how we summatively assess at the end of a unit so that we are ensured of student learning)
- What will we do if they don’t know it? (This is about what strategies might we try during a reteach to reach a student who didn’t understand the first time)
- What will we do if they do know it? (This is about how will we enrich the learning of students who seem to have already mastered the standard or skill)
So, when we think about the rerun of a text, it’s a great opportunity to approach skills that will enrich our students. What is the next level of the standard you are trying to teach? You might check the vertical alignment of your standard so that you know what your students will be expected to know or be able to do next year. During a rerun, you can push your students to a higher depth of knowledge because there is already an initial understanding.
I’d love to hear about other ideas related to the concept of a “rerun” in reading. Have you ever used this strategy? How did it go? What worked well? What would you think about differently? Share your thoughts in the comments below!