Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Most Valuable Phrase

 I am a teaching idea junkie. I admit it. I comb journals and books for new ways to do old, reliable, important things. And when it comes to nonfiction, there is a great deal out there to choose from. My most recent find is “The Most Valuable Phrase,” as explained in an article in this month’s Reading Teacher. The article is entitled “Designating the MVP: Facilitating Classroom Discussion about Texts” and it is written by Carolyn Strom. Check it out. I have provided a citation at the end of this article.

Basically, Strom uses MVP, which students associate with most valuable player, to discuss the Most Valuable Phrase (or sentence) in a text. After reading a nonfiction text, students select a most valuable phrase that does one of these things:
·      M: It shows the main idea of a text
·      V: It gives the reader a vivid mental image
·      P: It’s a phrase worth remembering. That is, it becomes part of a student’s background knowledge. It’s a keeper. In the author’s words, it’s a “phrase that stays” (p. 109).

The criteria for selecting an MVP relate to Common Core Standards. For example, students have to identify a main idea and argue that a phrase supports or explains it. Or, they have to identify vivid language that helps them envision something. Or, they have to argue that a phrase is a significant enough to remember.

There is an important principle at work here: Each new twist or idea we teachers adopt should support our basic goals of teaching and learning—CCSS or subject matter in science, social studies, math or language arts. I think MVP does. Give it a try. 

Strom,C. (2014). Designating the MVP: Faciliating classroom discussion about texts.
            The Reading Teacher, 68(4), 108-112.

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