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Rote Memorization in Making Meaning: Poe, The Raven, The Simpsons, Critical Thinking, Zone of Proximal Development Margaret Tarbox EDU 511 Poster Session.

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Presentation on theme: "Rote Memorization in Making Meaning: Poe, The Raven, The Simpsons, Critical Thinking, Zone of Proximal Development Margaret Tarbox EDU 511 Poster Session."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rote Memorization in Making Meaning: Poe, The Raven, The Simpsons, Critical Thinking, Zone of Proximal Development Margaret Tarbox EDU 511 Poster Session Eastern Connecticut State University

2 Introduction Constant rehearsal and repetition are crucial for keeping information in an individuals working memory (Bruning, Schraw, Norby & Ronning, 2004). For the purposes of this project I will examine learning activities used in a unit on Edgar Allen Poe to address which aspects of human cognition the activity uses and/or activates. Today I learned that eight months after they originally memorized the first stanza of The Raven, my students were able to retrieve that knowledge and recite it from memory, as well as recalling many biographical facts that they learned about Poe in October and November, All of the audio you heard on the webpage introduction to this presentation was created by my students on Tuesday, June 13, 2006.

3 Objectives The intent of this project is to examine each learning activity in the unit of instruction. Identify what aspect(s) of the cognitive process and/or memory function(s) the activity addresses. Reflection on what I have learned from this unit analysis about my students as learners and about myself as a teacher and learner

4 The Unit of Instruction Includes: Anticipation/Reaction Guide Continuous multi-directional discourse Rote Memorization of the first stanza of The Raven Internet Scavenger Hunt on Poe facts Analysis of The Raven Develop criteria for evaluation Evaluate The Raven – build CAPT response to literature skills Watch The Simpsons version of The Raven – compare and contrast to our analysis and evaluation

5 Anticipation-Reaction Guide: Activating Prior Knowledge, Discourse and Collaboration and Materials are Intertwined

6 In Defense of Rote Memorization of The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe Kids need both the poetry and the memorization. As educators have known for centuries, these exercises deliver unique cognitive benefits, benefits that are of special importance for kids who come from homes where books are scarce and the level of literacy low. In addition, such exercises etch the ideals of their civilization on childrens minds and hearts Without knowing it, a child who has learned a scrap of verse has been drawn into the civilizing interplay of music and language, rhythm and sound, melody and words This represents my philosophy on the value of rote memorization, specifically for students who come from homes where books are scarce and the level of literacy low.

7 Internet Scavenger Hunt: Zone of Proximal Development- Vygotsky Guided Learning/Analysis/Evaluation The Zone of Proximal Development: Vygotsky's idea that development starts socially, with people learning from others, then the individual internalizing what was learned Scaffolding- People do not learn well when they are either continually told what to do, or left on their own to struggle with a problem Internet Scavenger Hunt is guided through a formal set of questions, and a teacher designed website with links to relevant sites on Edgar Allen Poe. Students can also explore other sites, but must determine if the information on the site is reputable. Analysis and Evaluation of the Raven is facilitated by guided questioning and student collaboration in development of criteria used for evaluation of poetry

8 Zone of Proximal Development- Vygotsky Guided Learning/Analysis/Evaluation

9 Analysis and Evaluation: Critical Thinking Skills Identify expected behaviors and subtasks associated with critical thinking and develop operational definitions. Complete task analyses, define intermediate goals, and develop evaluation methods. Identify "best" methods of instruction for each aspect of the critical thinking process. ml ml Students wrote a one page biographical essay on Edgar Allen Poe that addressed the question: Why do you think Poe wrote about such dark, depressing, and scary themes?

10 Analysis and Evaluation: Critical Thinking Skills Diagram

11 Conclusions Activating prior knowledge aids in making meaning and connections Rote memorization has a place in todays classrooms Guided learning and Vygotskys Zone of Proximal Development are essential for bringing students to higher level cognitive processing Critical thinking skills are obtained through multi-directional discourse and scaffolding

12 References Beran, M.K. (2004, Summer). In defense of memorization. Retrieved June 12, 2006, from City Journal Web site: Bruning, R.H., Schraw,Norby & Ronning (2004). Cognitive psychology and instruction. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing. (2005). Cognitive development level. Retrieved June 12, 2006, from Pianoweb.net Web site: Huitt, W. (1998). Critical thinking: An overview. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date] from, [Revision of paper presented at the Critical Thinking Conference sponsored by Gordon College, Barnesville, GA, March, 1993.] Weade, G. (1992). How the teacher and students interact with the learning materials as both individuals and a group. Retrieved June 12, 2006, from North Central Regional Educational Laboratory Web site: Webb, I. (2003). Children, on-line learning and authentic teaching skills in primary education. Retrieved June 12, 2006, from Scaffolding:Theoretical origins (Vygotsky) Web site: Mrs. Tarboxs 7 th grade language arts students reciting the first stanza of Edgar Allen Poes The Raven.


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