As our Questor goes in search of knowledge, our teacher learns a great new teaching technique from the AVID Summer Institute!

I’m in Philadelphia today at the AVID Summer Institute.

First, let me say that I have drunk the Kool Aid. I love AVID. Earlier this summer, I read a new history about the program that, while not much in the way of new information for me, was a wonderful reminder about all of the things I love about AVID. If AVID is new for you, follow this link for the book and this link for the national website.

I’ve done the basic AVID 101 workshop last fall and wrote about it here. This summer, I wanted to work on the tutoring aspect of my AVID elective class. To be frank, it is the worst part of my program. While the seniors I teach are well-enough versed in the AVID tutoring framework to make it more than just a study hall, it really isn’t much more than a study hall.

As I’ve written before, one of the things I love best about AVID trainings is that the professional developers use AVID processes to teach teachers about AVID concepts and practices.

This is the focus of today’s post. I want to share with you a very fun activity that I’m going to use with my kids this fall. Its called Word-Image Splash and because it uses pictures and graphics to represent complex topics, I’m going to give a special shout out to my partner and colleague, Wendi Pillars. This is right up her ally. Also, if you want a lot more information about how you can include graphic images in your lessons and why it’s such a good idea, check out her book. It’s not coming out until November, but I’ve pre-ordered mine!

Ok, welcome back from that commercial break! Let’s get back to Word-Image Splash.

For my workshop session today, our job was three-fold:

  • Read the 10 Steps to an AVID Tutoring session and summarize each step in one or two words,
  • As a team, decide on a theme for the images that will accompany these words on our poster, and
  • Draw the images and write a five-sentence summary for the poster.

Here are the 10 Steps with the one or two word summations I came up with. The single or double words are mine, the actual description I’m copying and shortening from AVID.

  1. Notes: In their academic classes, students take Cornell notes guided by the Essential Question on the material presented in lectures, textbook readings, videos, handouts, etc. After class, students review their notes, create questions in the column on the left and write a summary at the bottom of the page responding to the Essential Question.
  2. TRF: While completing homework/studying for tests/reviewing Cornell notes the night before a tutorial, students identify a point of confusion. Using the Tutorial Request Form (TRF), students complete the pre-work leading to the point of confusion.
  3. Resources: As students enter the room, the teacher/tutor checks the TRF pre-work and resources.
  4. Organization: Teacher/ttro places the students in tutorial groups of 7 or fewer, meeting the 7:1 student/tutor ratio… members sit in a semi-circle to facilitate communication/collaboration among all studnets, facing a board on which the student presenter can record his/her pre-work and point of confucion.
  5. Inquiry: Group members ask questions using the Levels of Thinking to probe deeper into possible approaches to solving the point of confusion… Group members are not responsible for finding the answer to the student presenter’s question; their primary goal is to prompt the thinking and guide the student presenter, using critical thinking.
  6. Understanding: Group members/tutors help the student presenter think about the steps used to clarify his/her point of confusion. Checking for understanding occurs as the student presenter reviews with the group the work completed and articulates the steps or process used.
  7. Repeat: Steps 5 and 6 are repeated for as many group members as time allows.
  8. Reflect: Following the tutorial session, all students write a reflection on their learning…
  9. Accountability: At the end of the tutorial session, students turn in the TRF to the tutor/teacher for grading ans feedback.
  10. Debrief: Teacher/tutors/students collaborate to debrief the tutorial – its effectiveness, concerns of the participants and ideas for refinement.

Whew! Ok, so that was our one or two-word summaries, now we had to create a theme…

Tutor Quest

Our theme was a mash up of the Legend of Zelda, Lord of the Rings, and a trouch of Beowulf. Here is our Poster:

Here is the five-sentence summary.  Enjoy!

“Your Quest to Tutorology is long and dangerous,” said the wizard, “so take these,” giving the quester the ability to complete Cornell Notes, gather his materials, and identify his foe, the evil Point of Confusion, called the POC.

Armed with these skills, and a pen (which is mightier than the sword) our quester joined with six companions, forming the Fellowship of the Tutorial!

POC was a vicious beast, long preying on the minds of many a student, but together, using their skills and the magical power of Inquiry, the Fellowship defeated the fearsome POC.

But lo! Poc was not a single foul monster, but part of a clan of beasts, sons of Cain all, so again and again the Fellowship battled until they had defeated the clan of POC.

Exhausted, but reveling in their victory the Fellowship reflected and regaled one another with tales of their exploits until, suddenly, the wizard appeared again before them, saying, “Well done, Questers, but know this, the clan of POC is never fully vanquished and your quest continues, never ending, though you reach the Gate of University and beyond, for learning is a quest that last a lifetime!”

What do you think? Do you like the idea of Word-Image Splash? Want to try it with your kids?

How do you combine images and stories into your lessons?

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