Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Sheridan Blau at the UCIWP

By on July 14, 2008

OK, normally, I would reflect on one of the presenters at the UCIWP with my own spin-off thoughts and musings. Not so today.  Here are some Golden Lines from today’s presentation with Sheridan Blau, award-winning educator, past president of NCTE, professor at Teachers College in New York and author of The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and their Readers.  Whether you are hit in the head with only one concept or feel slapped around by the awesomeness that is all of them, feel free to pass them on.  I certainly can’t say it better then he can.

…On the Importance of Questioning

“Honor confusion.”

“Confusion represents an advanced stage of understanding.”

“Teachers shouldn’t avoid confusion, but produce it.”

“Quality of reading is evident in the questions.”

“Questions are the key to drive learning.”


…On the Reading Process

“There is a messiness in reading…You revise your reading as you read.”

“Reading is a process of text constructions, just like writing.”

“Reading is a social activity that needs to happen in conversation.”


…On Difficulty in Reading

“The world is a difficult text and all of the strategies we bring to literary texts can be applied to the lives and the world in which they [students] live.”

“We often need to be completely lost before we can find our way.”

“Art defamiliarizes [makes the familiar strange and the strange familiar] so that we pay attention…it needs to be difficult to make us stop and pay attention.”

“It’s the lines in the poem that make the least sense that give us the greatest understanding.”


Hope you got something out of it.  Enjoy.

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  1. Marc Lebendig
    July 20, 2008

    Blau is incredible. His insights shape my teaching on a daily basis, and his observation that the world is a text is posted prominently in my classroom.

  2. tweenteacher
    July 21, 2008

    He’s not just a presenter, he’s a sage. I got a similar impression of George Hillocks as well. Thanks for your comment.
    aka tweenteacher

  3. J.Primrose
    August 10, 2008

    Thanks for sharing. I have a teacher/student produced quote board in my classroom and these definitely will be on it.

    Fellow Tweenteacher

  4. heather
    August 12, 2008

    Hey Jennie,
    Thanks for your comment. I love having those quotes all around a print-rich classroom. I also have quotes by writers on writing. I saw Linda Sue Parks and got her to comment on her process and I also saw Neil Gaiman and got his thoughts too. I announce when book signings are in town and some students even get to ask questions and share their one-line interviews with the class. Take care and check back soon!
    aka Tweenteacher

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