#SOL17: First Day


Screenshot 2017-08-22 at 11.17.55 AM.png

The bus turns the corner.

My last check to see that everything is in my car.

One picture down.  It’s kind of gloomy.  No sunshine for this auspicious day.

The brakes squeak as the bus pulls to a stop in the road.  I hear the stop sign pop as it is extended.  “Smile!  Just one more picture!”

He takes three steps, turns, and looks.  I snap the photo. He starts up the steps.

I’m sure it’s blurred.  Tears stream down my cheeks.

This would not be the day to take a lousy picture.

I watch as he walks down the aisle and chooses a seat.  Third row. Behind his friends.  He looks happy but he was so quiet this morning.  Only the top of his head is visible from outside the window.

The driver looks down.  Closes the door and the bus lumbers down the road.

  I hop in my car.  Five miles and I will be at school for my son’s second “First Day of School” picture.  It’s 1995.  The First Day of School. No digital pictures.

As a teacher, how do your own personal “First Days” impact your attention to detail in your classroom?

What are you planning for this year?  Why?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

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#SOL17: Brave


“Bravery is not always a roar; sometimes it’s the quiet strength that we possess when we need it most.” ~@OnStageKimberly

Are you brave?

It may depend on how you define brave.

I eagerly anticipated “Brave” in 2017 because my word had found me in mid-December.   I tried it out quietly, drafted some ideas, rechecked my understanding, watched this video of Kimberly Davis and finally announced it here.  I embraced, Brave, and changed the wallpaper on my blog.

I checked in often.

Here

Here

Here  and

Here in this post today.

Little did I know how BRAVE was going to test me in 2017.

Test me personally.  Test me professionally.

Test me mentally. Test me spiritually.

And it was a roller coaster because there were days that went by in a fog and days where time stood still . . . and minutes became months.  And then there were the days that seemed to barely last one hour.   What a strange construct time can be . . .

Pulled.Stretched.Elongated.

Shortened.Retracted.Truncated.

Screenshot 2017-12-11 at 9.18.46 PM

And as the calendar pages have turned, I’ve embraced:

“courageous,

valiant,

 intrepid,

heroic,

 bold,

fearless,

gallant,

daring,

plucky, and

audacious.”

(Courtesy of Dictionary.com here)

Amid gnashing of teeth, crying, whimpering, screaming, and yelling . . .

I did not always go quietly into the night.

But as each night faded into daylight,

I welcomed the chance to begin each day anew.

And NOW, I celebrate!

We don’t have to be perfect!

Screenshot 2017-12-11 at 9.08.18 PM.png

Watch for more wisdom from this source (Released January 16, 2018):

Screenshot 2017-12-11 at 6.30.39 PM

Available January 16, 2018

 

What will my 2018 #OLW be?

Screenshot 2017-12-11 at 5.30.14 PM.png

How are you preparing for your 2018 #OLW?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#Celebratelu: Life


Screenshot 2017-12-09 at 10.21.44 AM.png

In the waning days of 2017, it is important to celebrate LIFE.

When I say that it’s been a tough year, tears begin.  It was an absolutely awful year because we lost so many . . .

suddenly,

and without that last farewell.

Black holes of despair.

My godfather, my godson (nephew) and his wife, my brother, my mother-in-law, and now another cousin’s spouse.

And, YET,

Life continues.

We celebrate our memories, we laugh at the stories, and we remember with our shattered hearts.  We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and celebrate every precious moment.  We don’t know how long we have, so we celebrate the life we live. The events:  concerts, football, basketball, wrestling . . . The food.  The locations.

We bring our memories with us.  We wallow in out love.  We share. We cry. We laugh. We love.  We live.

I’m sharing a poem from a memorial service last week.

Screenshot 2017-12-09 at 10.32.27 AM

Easy?  Heck, no! 

But necessary?  Yes! 

Choose to celebrate their Love! 

Choose to celebrate their Lives! 

Choose to celebrate your LIFE! 

And anticipate that 2018 will be a year of LIFE like no other!   🙂

 

 

 

 

#SOL17: Stuck or in a Rut?


Two eyes, glowing in the reflection of my headlights, joined by another pair, and then another pair as I see the dreaded white flicker . . .

White-tailed deer

Not to be confused with those other deer, reindeer, also visible during this season, and recognizable by my two and a half year old grandson.

My foot has already hit the brake, my thumb on the horn, sounding out a staccato beat that matches the prayer on my lips,

Please don’t run across the road. Please don’t try to jump across my car. Please, NO!”




Great draft.

Great first words.

But what next?

I’m stuck.

Do I start something new?

Do I begin at a different point?

Is it time for a flashback?

What can I google?

Do any of those responses sound familiar? 

(And yes, you can Google what to do when you get stuck and you will get these types of links:  here, here and here for over 125 ways to get unstuck.)

What is the simple truth about getting unstuck?

You must keep writing.

Take a short break.

Observe something.

Walk around.

But return to your writing.  Recopy your last word, line, paragraph or — to get your writing flow moving.  Your writing does not need to be stellar.  Your writing needs to be WRITING!




I’m purposefully writing this “stream of consciousness” because of the #TeachWriting chat where we talked about writing. (Storify here)

Ruth Ayres, author of this amazing book,

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.23.49 PM

said this:

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.26.08 PM

So now I am off on a tangent,

not stuck,

but I have abandoned my story line for this:

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.31.32 PM.png

and I am so off track (excuse the pun)

but I feel productive because I continue to add words, lines and pictures to my blog post.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, 

What are those 3 sets of deer eyes doing? 

Have they moved? 

Where did my story go?




Has that ever happened to you?

Have you ever been lost, but found a totally different path?  and then realized that path was so different it was unconnected, so now you had to go back to the original story?

With work, revision, and some sharp scissors, this might become a circle story . . .

MIGHT,

But not today!




CCSS. CCRA.W.5. “Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.”

I wish I had a plan. This was truly the randomness of my thinking.  A variety of ideas floating through my head.

But I did not stop writing.

I looked for ideas

. . . and then I wrote

. . . and wrote

. . . and wrote.

It’s 321 words later and I’m still struggling to figure out where my story is going?

How stuck?

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.45.45 PMScreenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.46.39 PMScreenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.48.46 PMScreenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.52.42 PM

Ankle deep?  Knee deep?  Waist deep?  Up to my chin?

How stuck?

Or in a rut?

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.58.05 PM.png

And just like that the glowing eyes decided not to fight tonight.  Not to risk life and limbs crossing the road.  They merely paused . . . and stared . . .

And I blinked, slowed, and cautiously continued on my way.




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016




Current status of my draft:

Two eyes, glowing in the reflection of my headlights, joined by another pair, and then another pair as I see the dreaded white flicker . . .

White-tailed deer

Not to be confused with those other deer, reindeer, also visible during this season, and recognizable by my two and a half year old grandson.

My foot has already hit the brake, my thumb on the horn, sounding out a staccato beat that matches the prayer on my lips,

Please don’t run across the road. Please don’t try to jump across my car. Please, NO!”

And just like that the glowing eyes decided not to fight tonight.  Not to risk life and limbs crossing the road.  They merely paused . . . and stared . . .

And I blinked, slowed, and cautiously continued on my way.




At this stage, what are you thinking?

. . . And why? 

How do you get unstuck?

Do you have tested-tried-and-true ways that work to get you unstuck? 

Or are you in a rut?

#SOL17: Revising Writing with Data


Screenshot 2017-08-22 at 11.17.55 AM

First Day

The bus turns the corner and I check once more to see that everything is in my car.  One picture down although it’s kind of gloomy and there is no sunshine on this auspicious day.

The brakes squeak as the bus pulls to a stop in the road. I hear the stop sign pop as it is extended. “Smile, just one more picture!”  He takes three steps, turns, and looks as I snap the photo and then he resumes his journey up the steps.

I’m sure it’s blurred, I think as tears stream down my cheeks. This would not be the day to take a lousy picture. I watch as he walks down the aisle and chooses a seat in the third row behind his friends.

He looks happy but he was so quiet this morning. Only the top of his head is visible from outside the window. The driver looks down, closes the door, and the bus lumbers down the road.

I hop in my car because it’s just five miles and I will be at school for my son’s second “First Day of School” picture. It’s 1995, The First Day of School, and there are no digital pictures.




Screenshot 2017-11-27 at 12.17.43 PM.png

Dear Reader,

If this story felt familiar, you are absolutely correct.  This is a revised version of a “slice” posted on August 22nd here.

Which version do you like best – the revision above or the original posted in August?  And why? 

Continue to think about those two posts on the same topic as I explain . . . 




I found this really cool tool, SAS Writing Reviser, that can be added to google documents to help writers revise and strengthen their written work.  I wanted to put the tool to the test so I pulled up several documents and tested it out.

It was TOO much!

So then I had the brilliant idea of taking an “old slice” and checking out the data prior to a revision.  I really wanted to “test out” the theories that were already rolling around in my brain!




 

Data

My data.

My numbers.

My information to review, consider the implications, revise . . . or not!

I control my use of it.  I am headed straight to the statistics. (No starting at the beginning for me!)

Screenshot 2017-11-27 at 9.53.25 AM

What do I find interesting?  

Screenshot 2017-11-27 at 12.12.01 PM.png

The 27 sentences with an average sentence length of 7 words and where 12 are listed as simple sentences was a big surprise.  But I’m not yet sure what I am looking at.  So more data is needed.

Sentence Length Bar Chart

Screenshot 2017-11-27 at 10.00.49 AM

Screenshot 2017-11-27 at 9.59.07 AM

Confused?

The pop up box allows a limited view of the work so two screenshots were necessary!

Three sentences have 0 words.

What does that mean?

More.Data.PLEASE!

Sentence List

  1. The bus turns the corner.
  2. My last check to see that everything is in my car.
  3. One picture down.
  4. It’s kind of gloomy.
  5. No sunshine for this auspicious day.
  6. The brakes squeak as the bus pulls to a stop in the road.
  7. I hear the stop sign pop as it is extended. “
  8. Smile!
  9. Just one more picture!”
  10. He takes three steps, turns, and looks.
  11. I snap the photo.
  12. He starts up the steps.
  13. I’m sure it’s blurred.
  14. Tears stream down my cheeks.
  15. This would not be the day to take a lousy picture.
  16. I watch as he walks down the aisle and chooses a seat.
  17. Third row.
  18. Behind his friends.
  19. He looks happy but he was so quiet this morning.
  20. Only the top of his head is visible from outside the window.
  21. The driver looks down.
  22. Closes the door and the bus lumbers down the road.
  23. I hop in my car.
  24. Five miles and I will be at school for my son’s second “First Day of School” picture.
  25. It’s 1995.
  26. The First Day of School.
  27. No digital pictures.

The title and sourcing information of the document was included in sentence 1 making that count over 25 words so that’s helpful information for future analyses.  The writing reviser is good.  It checks all written work, even the words and sentences that I have added to my working google doc.  Only two sentences were originally in the length range expected for essays.

And my mind is whirling with possible uses for this sentence list

for revision and editing purposes.

Hmmm . . .  Is it a formatting issue?

I have one sentence consisting of just one word that really looks like at least a negative number on the chart (8).  Two bars hit the “0” exactly and those seem to be the two sentences with two words ( 17, 25).  So the visual representation in the Sentence Length Bar Chart seems to be off.  Just seeing the sentences listed out verifies that I do have a lot of short sentences.  

Draft Thinking

What if I were to change the length of sentences?  Or even to put in a run on sentence or two, deliberately, for effect?  Those are choices that I could make as a result of reviewing all three pieces of data under the support tools. (leaving four other choices totally off the grid at this time)

Revision Statistics

 

Check out the statistics for the Revision. The Writing Reviser provides a side by side comparison of the original and the revision, but that didn’t work when I kept it totally separate in my Google doc so that I could “keep” the versions separate.

Statistics – Revision

Revision areas                                       Preliminary   Current

  • Words                                                            206
  • Sentences                                                        14
  • Paragraphs                                                       5
  • Average sentence length                              14
  • Possible wordiness                                          1
  • Prepositional phrases                                    18
  • Passive voice                                                     2
  • Relative clauses                                                0
  • Simple sentences                                              2
  • Possible sentence fragments                          1
  • Possible run-on sentences                               5
  • Subject-verb sentence openings                   11
  • Prepositional phrase sentence openings      0
  • Dependent clause sentence openings           0
  • Words used more than once                         33
  • Weak verbs                                                         9
  • Present tense verbs                                         30
  • Past tense verbs                                                 1
  • Cliches and jargon                                             0
  • Possible vague words                                       1
  • Possible pronoun problems                           11
  • Possible dangling modifiers                             0
  • Possible misplaced modifiers                          3
  • Areas to check for parallelism                         8

Screenshot 2017-11-27 at 10.35.54 AM.png

Sentence List

  1. The bus turns the corner and I check once more to see that everything is in my car.
  2. One picture down although it’s kind of gloomy and there is no sunshine on this auspicious day.
  3. The brakes squeak as the bus pulls to a stop in the road.
  4. I hear the stop sign pop as it is extended. “
  5. Smile, just one more picture!”
  6. He takes three steps, turns, and looks as I snap the photo and then he resumes his journey up the steps.
  7. I’m sure it’s blurred, I think as tears stream down my cheeks.
  8. This would not be the day to take a lousy picture.
  9. I watch as he walks down the aisle and chooses a seat in the third row behind his friends.
  10. He looks happy but he was so quiet this morning.
  11. Only the top of his head is visible from outside the window.
  12. The driver looks down, closes the door, and the bus lumbers down the road.
  13. I hop in my car because it’s just five miles and I will be at school for my son’s second “First Day of School” picture.
  14. It’s 1995, The First Day of School, and there are no digital pictures.

RESULTS:

Data confirmed that the visual bars are not correct as my shortest sentence is five words (5) and it looks to be about 4 words on the graph above.  Now eight of the 14 sentences are within the expected range or above according to the graph.

Do the numbers tell the whole story? The average sentence length in this version (14) is almost in the bottom of the range expected for an essay (15 to 20). In order to have longer sentences, I combined several so the second version has 14 instead of 27 sentences where now only two (down from 12, YAY!) are listed as simple sentences.  

What data do you find interesting?

What data would you give more credence to?

What data would you ignore?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016




The rest of the story:

My vote is for my original slice because:  a) the juxtaposition of the actions and my thinking as well as the varying sentence lengths, and b) the way it sounded when I read it out loud. The data and the Writing Reviser has great possibilities for students writing essays and informational texts.  I think the utility for narratives needs further exploration.

#NCTE17: Sunday


By Sunday the air is bittersweet.  Farewells begin. Last conversations are passionate pleas to capture frantic final minutes.  Choices are final.  Options are few.  Time races. No second chances to catch folks as flight departures begin before the sun is above the horizon.

And yet, gems . . .

“What is Authenticity? 

Is it the same when viewed with a student lens? 

How do we know?”

L. 30 Prioritizing Student Voice:  Honoring Independence, Identity, and Advocacy as the Cornerstones of Learning

And from the #G2Great family:

  • Samuel Fremin   @The Sammer88
  • Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson  @kkht6912
  • Susie Rolander   @suzrolander
  • Justin Dolcimascolo  @jdolci
  • Kara Pranikoff   @pranikoff

Sam Fremin began with asking us to not constrain student’s creativity!  He told us the story of having a two page limit to an assignment that meant he had to cut almost everything out of his original seven page response.  

What is the purpose of a two page maximum assignment?

What is your response to a “page limit”?

Is that indicative of the teacher’s attention span?

Sam contrasted that with this year’s  AP Lang course where they were to “Write about something important to us” as they compared and analyzed two essays.  As a 15 year old, Sam, who likes The Onion wanted to write a satire about “Discrimination not really being that bad” and through multiple conversations with his teacher, worked out the details and “used a display of writing that I will never get to write again.  I displayed my need to try that voice.”  And the teacher, even though she wanted a tight rein on the expectations, did participate in a two-sided discussion that allowed Sam to write his satire!

And then Sam’s role (as a high school junior) was to continue to introduce each of the panel members.  Such poise and great presence for a high school junior and one of the #BowTieBoys! (Sam blogs here.)

We also learned that advocacy for Native Americans is important because Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson shared a US map with reservations marked although only 22% of Native Americans live on reservations.  Kathryn teaches at an Ojibwe school so she is very cognizant of appropriate language and respect for cultures.  Awareness may be a great first step but Kathryn also encouraged us to be aware that work barely scratches the surface of working with folks who have different beliefs and values. How do Ojibwe students want to be named? When do we ask?

Susie Rolander shared that we need to let student input drive our work. This means we need to revise and renew our professional practice.  (A plug for Coppola’s book – Renew!) It’s a Journey! But for students who are struggling there does need to be a Sense of Urgency!  And that this meant as an interventionist, Susie wanted her students to be independent.  “I don’t know what I would do without you!” from a student was not what she wanted so one big action in her productivity plan was to move to student goal-setting so the students themselves would know if they were meeting their goals.  Their goals. Not teacher goals.

Justin had us begin by completing this statement:  “I am _____”

I am a:

Mother

Grandmother

Sister

Aunt

Great aunt

Daughter

Cousin

Friend

Reader

Writer

Blogger

Advocate

Learner

Thinker

Observer

Questioner

Dreamer

Reader

Am I real?  Do my students know my many roles?  Do other staff know our roles?  Justin shared a “I am” board created in his school.

Justin’s parting challenge was to consider equity and how we build our identity every day of our school lives so that we are not just working on career education in high school.  Instead of “What do you want to be?” in terms of a career, Justin said we need to shift to “What great problem do you want to solve?” 

Kara Pranikoff, author of Teaching Talk:  A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking and Conversation,  closed out the presentation with thoughts on how to use talk in the classroom to increase student engagement and agency.  And also, “Deep thinking takes time, we’ll wait. Take your time.”  Students set the pace.  As an instructor at Bank Street College, Kara and Susie routinely invite their students to Twitter chats!

20171119_111511.jpg


M. 24  Rekindling Our Teacher Hearts and Minds to Reclaim Our Sense of Agency and Purpose 

(Ellin Oliver Keene, Vicki Vinton, Donna Santman)

What is the purpose of education?  Which of the four statements matches your thinking?

vinton purpose of education.jpg

What do you value?

vinton-values.jpg

Take aways:

” We overestimate children academically and underestimate them intellectually.” ~Lillian King

Shout out to Regie Routman:

Resources will often dictate practices. (from Read, Write, Lead)

“However, we NEED to begin with Beliefs first, then our Practices, and then choose Resources that align LAST!”

Beliefs and Practices – Donna Santman @dsantman

What made your current school a match for you?

When Trouble Starts:

What do you do?

Outright resistance

Passive aggression

Assimilation

Flexibility

What flexibility will be required of me here?

And how will I respond when trouble happens?

Ellin Keene

Our core beliefs about children;

Our core beliefs about ourselves.

We are humbled in the face of children;

We are humbled by our children.

There has been a huge language slide in our country.

How do we convert deficit language to asset language?

ellin assets.PNG

Check out the asset mapping resources on Ellin Keene’s  website Mosaicliteracy.com


N.O8  Redefining Authenticity:  Empowering Student Ownership

(Do you know their Twitter names?  @acorgill    @katiedicesare  @ruth_ayres      @coloreader)

I was expecting to be blown away by Ruth Ayres because I can’t stop talking about her new book just out, Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers.   It’s an amazing personal heart-wrenching narrative about her children who struggled with life and then also a “how to” deal with teaching writing.  And yet all three of the other panel members complemented that presentation.

Quotes:

20171121_182006.jpg

Skills and dispositions for writing are the same for real work. We have to get the heart right. Students need to write.  Yes, kids are afraid! Writing is where I can help kids see the different ways a story can go.

If we have authentic writing projects, teachers cannot make all these decisions.  Students need some choice and voice.  This is NOT a free-for-all!  You don’t have to leave ALL open!  But you must leave SOME open!

Project Idea

Audience Purpose Topic

Genre

Teacher Teacher Teacher
Teacher Teacher

How do you ensure that students have an authentic voice?   

How do you know that students REALLY believe that they have a voice and some choice? 

What did you learn on Sunday at #NCTE17?

#SOL17: Stories


Where do ideas for stories come from?

Some stories come from a picture that captures an idea.

Some stories come from an observation.

Some stories come from a conversation.

Some stories come from a thought or idea inside the brain.

Some stories come from a question.

I had the pleasure of hearing Kate Messner share with a panel on Friday where the idea for Over and Under the Snow came from . . .

tracks and then a hole in the snow

over and under

And then this book became a mentor text for additional texts.

About Over and Under link

Advice for writers from  Kate Messner here

Where are your ideas coming from? 

What are you paying attention to? 

What are you wondering about?




slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 




Additional information:

Neil Gaiman on ideas here

Story Nuggets here

Wiki how here

Heart Maps by Georgia Heard here

#NCTE17: Saturday


magic wand.PNG

And the answers were:

Bob Probst:  “I would give students more access to models of student discourse so they can talk about the content.” 

Lucy Calkins:  “I would give teachers more time for professional conversations, to dive into problems of practice together as a community and share their discoveries.”

Kylene Beers:  “I would double your pay and cut the number of students in your class in half.”

This last question posed by moderator Lester Laminack who was seated on stage with the panel was:  “If you had a magic wand in public education today, what would you do with it?”

Was this the most memorable question of the day?  Why begin here?  Because Saturday was a ginormous day of learning at #NCTE17.  My day was filled with nonstop sessions and meetings from 7:30 am until 10:05 pm.  It was Saturday.  I was in St. Louis.  And let me repeat, “my day was filled with nonstop sessions and meetings from 7:30 am until 10:05 pm.” And it was Saturday.  If you do the math, the answer is something like 14+ hours.

Details:  The first meeting was a breakfast. The last gathering was dinner. 15 minutes in between sessions to race from one end of the convention center and settle in for 75 minute learning opportunities… On a Saturday!

NCTE

What is personalized learning?

What is the role of technology?

My answer is #NCTE17.  A conference that I choose to attend, at my own expense, in order to learn and grow professionally.  A conference where I renew my professional “joie de vivre“.  I chose my schedule (or does it chose me?).  I make a plan or two. I continually check my list of “Must Learns“. Some items are topics.  Some items are names.  Names of people. Names of books.  And the best intersection . . . authors of books from book chats or book studies. The books in my bag in my hotel room that I forgot to match up to my schedule to bring for autographs.  Those authors.  Those from whom I want to learn MORE!

Personalized = my choice.  Technology = those I have met on Twitter, Voxer, and blogs (that I now meet face to face).  A lasting marriage of Voice and Choice on Saturday for 14+ hours of learning! Learning on my own dime and time.

So what did I learn?

“We still need a balance of technology and print in our literacy lives.  There is not yet a definitive answer on when and how much screen time is appropriate for effective learning.  Think balance.”  Colleen Cruz, TCRWP

Lucy Calkins:  “Transference of phonics is the goal. We don’t need a professor of phonics.”

“Our new work is our best work.  We are always striving to improve and outgrow ourselves as a community of learners.”

To learn more about Jacqueline Woodson, Saturday General Session, check out her website. Simply gorgeous keynote!

F.38 What Matters Most About Reading and Writing 

(Lester Laminack, Kylene Beers, Robert Probst, and Lucy Calkins)

What I will hold onto:

Kylene shared that 80% of adults go to text in order to be right.  So we need to teach HS kids that reading, entering a text, is an opportunity to change yourself.

Lucy Calkins – “Live as if one of the pillars of your thinking is dead wrong.” Go to sessions, work with folks because if we only read our books and stay in our bubble – we will not be surprised and will not outgrow ourselves.

Lester Laminack:  Our children are 21st century citizens . . . ask Siri ‘Why do bees buzz?” (and he did on stage for all of us to listen to) How do we convince Ss to fall in love w/ books?  That’s a question for your, dear reader!

Lucy:  We can grow as writers if we write along side our students when they are writing.  We don’t have to be writers before we begin teaching writing.

Kylene:  Writing to tell or Writing to discover. We can’t and don’t write enough. We shouldn’t teach kids non-fiction means not fake which then turns to true…let’s teach them non-fiction means not fiction. Non-fiction can be fake, not because you don’t agree with it though.

G.04  How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More:  Developing Agentive Readers

(Jan Burkins, JoAnne Duncan, Gravity Goldberg, and Renee Houser)

We read passages at 90% accuracy.  They were tough to understand.  Sometimes reading is tough.  We need to acknowledge that.  But we also need to make sure that students DO THE WORK!  We need to set up those conditions of learning!

who is

Haven’t read it?  No excuse!

You can read about it here, here, and here.

what

Gravity and Renee have this fiction and a nonfiction parallel book as well.  Have you read them? Reflections on the books are included on a post here.

JoAnne shared the journey of a particular student in her building who learned to read and was then given books when she moved from the school. Powerful and tear jerking reminders that our relationships matter.  We have to be a part of our students’ lives.

H.08 Harnessing the Power of Multicultural  Literature and Critical Literacy to Generate Authentic and Enjoyable Writing Spaces That Bring Writers Back into the Workshop

(Brian Kissel, Kristina Kyle, and Lauren Rudd)

The two first grade international teachers  shared the influences of their work:

Critical Literacy

  • James Paul Gee
  • Paulo Freire
  • Vivian Maria Vasquez

Social action  (for a Better World)

  • Randy Bomer
  • Katherine Bomer
  • Stephanie Jones

brian

And then Brian had us read and think alongside his reflections on his student work! For more information about Brian and his work, check out this post.

Thought to Ponder:

What would happen if you read every piece of student work just like you read every published book?

I.20 Recapturing Assessment:  Student Voices in Aiding Our Mission

(Jason Augustowski, Dr. Mary Howard, Dr. Katie Dredger, Cindy Minnich, Sam Fremin, Ryan Hur, Joseph O’Such, Christian Sporre, Dawson Unger, Spencer Hill, Jack Michael, Ryan Beaver, Sean Pettit, and Kellen Pluntke)

Take aways from the #BowTieBoys:

  • Students do not want multiple choice tests.
  • Students do not want to regurgitate facts.
  • Students do not want to write essays every time to show evidence of their learning.
  • Students do not want to sit in rows of desks.
  • Students do not want to listen to lectures.
  • Students do not want a two page writing limit.

Students want choice.

Students want voice.

Students want opportunities to negotiate HOW to share their learning.

Students want to explore their own interest.

Students want to use technology.

Students want to learn even if that takes more work. 

Students are less concerned about “fairness in grading” then they are about having choices in open-ended rubrics.

(edited)  For additional details about the individual presentations from this round table see Mary C Howard’s Facebook post here.

J. 21. Beyond Levels:  Choosing Texts to Scaffold Instruction for Engagement and Agency

(Clare Landrigan, Tammy Mulligan, Terry Thompson, and Dorothy Barnhouse)

It was such a pleasure to see the cover of Clare and Tammy’s new book and then to have Dorothy read Yo, Yes to us. We can find authentic ways to build in engagement and agency without “cute” worksheet pages!  Tammy and Clare’s blog is here.

And of course, ending with the Slicer Dinner!  16 bloggers (weekly and each day in March) meet up for food, fun, continued learning, and conversation. (Again . . . Personalized Learning and Technology) Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

slicers

What is your personalized learning plan? 

Does technology play a part? 

Are you ready to sign up for #NCTE18 in Houston?

#NCTE17: Friday


NCTE

Keynote:  Jimmy Santiago Baca

Jimmy Santiago Baca’s said that reading and poetry saved his life in the NCTE opening keynote filled with his stories as well as a call to action for teachers:  “If not teachers, who should be teaching our kids to take action!”  He also shared a deep appreciation for teachers and the work they do.  Jimmy told of teaching reading to kids even if it meant bringing in pizza to first meet their physical needs.  He also spoke about the need to involve parents and communities in our work and that would mean meeting them where they are. . . not always waiting for them to come to a school event.  You can learn more about him here.

A45.  Conferring as a Path to Help Students Develop Voice and Agency:  Today, Tomorrow and Forever

(Christina Nosek, Jennifer McDonough, Kristin Ackerman, Patricia Vitale-Reilly, Lisa Eickholdt, Kari Yates)

What a start to the conference.  Some friends in real life, or from books, blogs or Twitter chats.  These six each offered round table sessions where you could choose three 20 minute sessions.  Here are a few of my key take aways.

Patricia Vitale-Reilly    How to Make Conferences for those who struggle REAL!

R – Relevant

E – Engaging

A – Authentic

L – Lasting

Each part of the acronym was supported  with items from her toolkit. (And a few were even marked up as figures from her books.) It was great to see her mentor texts and some examples of her student tools and checklists.

Kari Yates – Four Ways to Know and Nurture a Reader

Book Choice

Healthy Habits

Strategic Answers

Responsive

These characteristics are NOT hierarchical but Book Choice can and will impact all the rest.  In order to have confident and competent readers book choice will often be the first area for teachers to begin their conferring work.  Kari shared some key questions that teachers would use to focus their conferring work.

Christina Nosek – The Language of Conferring

Enter as a gracious guest

Wonder

Affirm

Step it Up

Make it Stick

If you are following along on Twitter, you saw those five!

Christina’s videos of her conferring work with students from her fifth grade classroom illustrated each of the five points above. (Extra bonus:  Watch for the book, currently in publication, from Christina and Kari that will be out in early 2018.)

B. 36  Reading as a Personal Art

(Anne Atwell Merkel, Nancie Atwell, Kelly Gallagher, Penny Kittle)

Seats were scarce on the first floor and both balconies of the Ferrara Theater as Anne Atwell Merkel began with some basic information about the status of readers, reading in schools, and a deep appreciation for her mother’s gift to their school.  Passion and activism as themes continued in Nancie Atwell’s speech.  “Activism is a teacher’s right and responsibility.  What do you do and why?” Kids are readers when they leave her K-8 school but they come back to share that they don’t read in high school. why not?  Because in high school reading is often still about whole class novels, usually chosen by a teacher, with packets and/or art work that is wasting students’ precious reading time.  Blunt, practical, and yet Nancie continues to be an advocate for student choice and voice in order to have a reading life.

Check out this quote from Nancie Atwell:

“Inexperienced unenthusiastic readers NEED workshop, not strategy instruction or digital platforms. Give them time to read.”

And then Kelly and Penny stepped to the podium.  The cover picture of their new book (February?) has been on Twitter this week, so it was no surprise to me that their duet was a perfect mixture of their classrooms and their thoughts as they easily highlighted their main points.  Flipgrid videos literally showed us how they were working together as well as with a class of college students for two purposes: to build connections to help students be more successful in college and to challenge each other, respectively, to think deeper about the ELA work they are doing in their classrooms.  Secondary folks, you will want this book just for their thoughts on HOW MANY whole class books, scheduling, and  the amount of independent reading time that literally will help craft the citizens of tomorrow that we need today. (HINT:  New book also coming soon!)

C.37 Learning Process and Craft Strategies from Authors

Jennifer Serravallo – Learning Process and Craft Strategies from Authors

Strategy:

A series of actionable steps

Break down the skill (How to show not tell)

Make the way I say it generalizable   

Authentic – show what I do

Something to outgrow

How to develop writing strategies

  1. Spy on yourself.
  2. Notice what writers do in mentor texts

Kate Messner – 15 yrs. as a MS teacher before moving to full time authorship

Structure is Kate’s niche.  She found a structure for Over and Under the SnowThen she used that text as a mentor text to write more texts. I’m looking forward to the “document” format in Breakout.

Sarah Weeks – Beginnings

“That’s my favorite part of writing. Haven’t messed up anything yet!”

“Ideas come from unusual places.”

“Always have my eyes and ears open.”

“When working with young students and grad students, photo prompts let us see what happens. Start with talk— what do you notice?

“What are you thinking?”

“How does it make you feel?”

“Let your emotions come out your pencil – not your mouth!”

Kat Yeh – Find the Emotions

“When you write from an emotional truth, the fiction that you put around it becomes believable for the reader.”

“No matter how ridiculous something is . . . there’s a way to connect them so even in the not working, you will have something to add to your story.”

“Write without lifting pen from paper. . . .Start writing.  Cannont stop and cannot lift your pen.”

“What are you feeling?”

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater  @amylvpoemfarm

Amy shared that Poem Farm began as a poem for every day for a month and then expanded to a poem every day for a year. Since then she has gone on to catalogue the poems. Amy’s advice included:

“In order to write, do stuff in the 22 hours away from your desk. Not just watching shows but up and moving around.

Use photo prompts. Take pictures when you see something that strikes you.  

Varian Johnson – Author of The Parker Inheritance

Look for inspiration in:

History

Memory

Other people’s work

Two examples of real life events were the: Uke Medical Varsity  team – 1944 North Carolina College Eagles and a secret tennis game in 1957. 

And is that was NOT enough, check out some of the books generated by this panel.

js author panes

D.18 Choice Matters:  Perspectives of Students and Teachers

(Lester Laminack, Jason Augustowski, Linda Rief and the #BowTieBoys:  Ryan Beaver, Sam Fremin, Ben Hawkins, Ryan Hur, Joseph O’Such, Sean Petit, Kellen Pluntke, Jack Selman, and Dawson Unger.

If you haven’t seen the #BowTieBoys, then it has totally been your loss.  In this panel session, Lester Laminack quizzed the two teachers and the gentlemen students.  Ranging from eighth graders to juniors in high school, they were:

poised

confident

skilled communicators,

with thoughtful responses,

provided suggestions and solutions to add MORE choice the day!

E.12  The Secret of Crafting Engaging Nonfiction

(Alyson Beecher, Candace Fleming, Deborah Heligman, Melissa Stewart)

With 190 published books to her credit, Melissa Stewart drew my attention in this session.  Some gems that I gathered:

“Concept books: what is the Concept? What is the connection for students? What is my emotional commitment in order to work on this book?  (Hear the backstory for Can an Aardvaark Bark?)”

“Where do my ideas come from:  What I see, What I hear, and What I experience. How do we “teach” this to students?”

“If you write broadly, you are not going to get good research.”

“”Research is like a treasure hunt. Research is fun. What interesting facts can you find? How can you find a community person to interview?”

“Have students use sources they can’t copy during research like watching a webcam video of animals.”

Did you have a great learning day Friday at #NCTE17?

What else did you learn?

 

 

 

#NCTE17: Celebrate!


A new day. Typical.  Some leaving home. Some already arriving at their destination. Snow on the mountain pass.  Video from walking through the rainforest. And the ubiquitous, “Are we there yet?” Pictures of the first two arrivals at the airport: Kathryn arriving from MN and Justin from PA. They trickle in.  The #G2Great Cousins are arriving from literally across the nation and within 24 hours all attendees will be present.

First mini-gathering

first

And then the Gala Event . . .

#NCTE17 began with celebrations divided by grade levels:  elementary, middle, and secondary.  The Elementary session recognized many attendees for their current work as well as their past work.  First time attendees were equally applauded for their presence. The stars were aligned.  Ones that I saw and or spoke to included:

Yetta Goodman

Katie Ray Wood

Ralph Fletcher

Carl Anderson

Kathy Collins

Vicki Vinton

Dorothy Barnhouse

Mary Lee Hahn

Franki Sibberson

Ruth Ayres

Patty McGee

Dan Feigelson

Literacy Rock Stars!

red carpet.PNG

The big, big crowd was there to honor and salute the work of Katherine and Randy Bomer, who in their own inimitable style rallied us to action after Kathy Collins’ hilarious introduction of the honorees because she has known and worked with them for year.  An interesting factoid is that their November interview is the most retweeted NCTE article. (link)

Critique and resistance are necessary.

What are our values in teaching?  How do we translate those into practice?

In a time of resistance, what are we ADVANCING into the world?

Katherine encouraged us to:

  1. Meet every child with an air of expectancy: open heart, open mind with respect.  Awe, wonder, and love. (Maxine Green – TC – “Humans are never done becoming.)
  2. Delight in students’ voices: “Does it bring joy?” “Student writing is the place where I know I am doing something meaningful.” “Best place to fall in love with student writing is in the notes you find in your room.“   From her mentors:  Lucy Calkins,  “Children can write, children have stories, and children can write with laser like vision”; and  Donald Graves “Children will write if we let them.” 

Randy shared that it’s not enough to resist.  It has to be part of an action. He proposed that we advance justice and respect.

  •  Advancing Justice – Critical Lenses – Writing for Change

“Doing critical work is how we continually check the differences among people.  How we restratify our relationships.  Big concepts are:  Groups, Power, and Relationships.  Where do we find these in stories?”  Student voice, agency, and thinking about hard things in the social world. . . Advancing more critical perspective.  Reading our shared lives to see when we see something that someone should do something about – our actions, habits, and lenses. 

  • Advancing Respect – Appreciative Stance – Critique of Deficit Stance

“Listen to a reader to understand them. Readers come with enough.”
“No deficit perspectives.This has fueled me.” Hold up a mirror to check for an appreciative stance.  Call people’s attention to injustices.  DO something about them! Polarization that may have begun on internet but have moved to the street.  Continue to resist injustice.  “White folks are obliged to do that!”  

bomers

You can hear more from both Katherine and Randy at 9:30 Friday, today, at NCTE.  Or check out #NCTE17.  Follow the hashtag through Sunday for the best and most important happenings from St. Louis, Missouri.

Final thought I tweeted out before we left the convention center:

“Do we tell teachers? . . .

You are enough!

You don’t need a basal.

You don’t need Pinterest.

You don’t need TpT.

You are enough.

Make decisions for the students in front of you!”

And with that the #G2Great celebration began . . .

g2great

Rumor has it that the Friday evening #G2Great meet up will include ukeleles.

How do you celebrate students? 

How do you celebrate your own learning? 

Who are your ELA heroes?

 

#SOL17: Hero


brave-word-art

It was time to check up on my #OLW, but then I saw a cousin’s post and I was off on a tangent.  In search of history.  In search of a different meaning of “BRAVE”.  In search of a definition of HERO that I can uphold and believe in.

Can you name this iconic photo? 

Where was it taken? 

When? 

What is the significance?

iwo jima iconic

The photographer won the Pulitzer prize for this picture in 1945.  It was later found on a three cent stamp and also used for war bond sales.

Iwo Jima

1945

Marines

Worthy of some recognition although it was “Before My Time”.

The statistics are alarming . . . the number of Americans killed.  The number of Japanese who died.  The miles and miles of tunnels.  An island.  The ferociousness of battle.

iwo jima map

The flag, raised twice, was displayed at Mount Suribachi and seemed to herald an easy victory for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marines.  But pictures and stories abound.

iwo ima pic

I’m not sure what a “tractor” was.  Many different vehicles are present in pictures and in books.

iwo jima book https...www.erichammelbooks.com.books.b_marinesOnIwoJima-v2.php.two

The post that sent me on a history search for a day was my uncle’s picture here posted by his daughter. A tractor commander.  Multiple battles.  A corporal.

don ruth

“. . .  outstanding qualities of initiative and courage  . . . under heavy enemy mortar and artillery fire.  . . . cool and calm under enemy fire, and his courageous conduct was at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States naval service.”

My uncle 

awarded a bronze star 

a HERO!

 

And in our present day, any person who raises their right hand and says,

“I, _________, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the  Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; . . .

as they enter into the armed services

is a HERO!




Who are your heroes?

Who did you celebrate on Veteran’s Day? 

What stories of bravery are you collecting?




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