What it means to be a teacher


May 4-11 is Teacher Appreciation Week

There is no way that I could say this even half as clearly, so here is Sarah Brown Wessling’s (Iowa’s 2010 National Teacher of the Year) Teaching Channel letter to her children,

“What it means to be a teacher!”

#SOL15: Passion – Finding Your Voice


passion four

What is the strong feeling or emotion that drives you?

Is it your belief in students?

Your belief in students ability to learn?

Find your passion and you will never WORK a day in your life.  You will truly live your passion.

passion two

What is your passion?

Is it literacy?

Is is the power of literacy?

Is it the freedom derived from literacy?

passion three

What is your passion?

Is it instruction?

Is it assessment?

Is it curriculum?

Is it the curiosity of daily life?

passion

What is your passion?

Find it.

Fuel it.

Live it!

How will I know it?

I will hear it, see it, and feel it in everything you say and do!

slice

Check out the writers, readers and teachers who are “slicing” here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

Iowa ASCD 15: How to Grade for Learning with Ken O’Conner


“The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

Iowa ASCD 15 – An opportunity to have both an Open mind and an Open mouth to process new learnings!

What do “grades” or “percentages” mean when looking at achievement?

Yesterday, Ken O’Conner (@kenoc7) challenged 282 attendees at #IowaASCD15 to consider what grades and marks mean in the education world.  “Grades” have two basic meanings in the US and “marks”, similarly, has two different meanings in Canada.  The basic definitions go something like this:

Mark – “the number or letter “score” given to any student test or performance”

Grade – “the number or letter reported at the end of a period of time as a summary statement of student performance”

Marks and grades often seem to only be an education issue.  What if we considered the learning data from a real life scenario?

So, in real life, what if our end goal is to go skydiving?

parachute-611742

End Goal

parachute flat

What does it take to pack a parachute correctly?

Ken O’Conner began the day with this set of data.

parachute

What does the data tell you about each student?

Student A?  What’s the trend? Are you willing to put your life via parachute on the line?

Student B?  What’s the trend? Are you willing to put your life via parachute on the line?  Do you have the urge to “see the data” for the 8th try?

Student C?  What’s the trend?  Are you willing to put your life via parachute on the line?

Do the “marks” give you enough information?

Which would you choose?

Student A, B, or C?

Or did you decide to NOT jump out of a perfectly good airplane at this point?

Another Consideration: 

What if “mastery” was 60%?  That’s a “passing grade” or a “D” in most schools?  Is that “good enough” for parachute packing?  Which students are considered to have mastered packing a parachute?  Again, how comfortable are you risking your life?

Interested in more information?  Go to Ken’s website here! The storified chat is here but do note that there were connectivity issues. . . 282 attendees . . . multiple devices . . . GREAT learning!

Final Question

Would “averaging” the percentages for a “grade” have made you more “comfortable about the most proficient parachute-packing student”? (This is similar to “averaging” homework grades when we compare first learning with last learning.)

Another great resource is the book we received at the conference, A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades.  It will spark great conversations for teachers, students, parents, and communities!  How do you grade for LEARNING?

15 fixes

#SOL15: Digital Literacy and #TCRWP in Paris


eiffel

What a city!

Add in Colleen Cruz(@colleen_cruz), Kate Roberts (@teachkate) and Lindsay Mann (@lindsayman22)

And the first Digital Media and Literacy Institute!

Amazing Learning from afar!

Where do you find your learning?

Do you actively seek out sources? Specific topics?  Do you watch for it in your twitter columns and your blog post subscriptions?

My learning this week has included:

1. Sunday’s #NCTEchat on poetry

“If you missed last night’s #nctechat on poetry and literacy learning, check out the Storify archive: ow.ly/LPpQl #npm15

How are you using poetry in your quest to meet CCSS demands?  Poetry fits into ALL ELA standards!

2. “Lessons on Simplicity from the Reading and Writing Project” by Paul Emerich here.

Consider the content as well as the “length to go for PD” (actually part of the inspiration for this post as well as a reminder of my travel to NYC last month for the 88th TCRWP Saturday Reunion). Do we have to travel to Paris ourselves or can we settle for second best and follow along via twitter and blogs?

3. “Writing Process”  – Kate Roberts

writing processs teachkate

How are the Analog and Digital processes the same?  How are they different?  What are the implications for Teachers and Students?

4. Notes from Day One in Paris – 

notes first day am session

How do you define digital literacy and media literacy? Is this how you organize your notes?  What new “Ahas” does this generate?

5. #SOL15 blogs today

Just beginning to read for today! Melanie has book reviews and Julieanne is writing about Read Alouds!

AND it’s only TUESDAY!

Where is your learning?  Your source of inspiration?

What fuels your lifelong learning?

slice

Check out the writers, readers and teachers who are “slicing” here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

#SOL15: Routines


Routine:    a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

Routines:  Sometimes the very essence of our lives

Routines:  a blessing?  a curse?  How do you know your routines are effective?

write

What is your routine for writing?

Specific paper?
Specific pen?
Specific chair/desk?

How did you develop your routine?

Writing with friends?

Writing with students?

 Developed over time?

In search of a writing routine?

Here is a link to the routines of 12 famous writers.  Does your “routine” parallel any of those?  Have you maximized your potential and your mindset to truly be “All that you can be?”  Are there some personal, professional or fun routines that need a bit of sprucing up, spring cleaning, or rejuvenation?

How much do “routines” influence your life?

coffee

What is your morning routine?

Do you need coffee or tea in the morning?

Cold caffeinated drink?

What gets you up and moving?

routine  sodahead.com  abc

What are your daily routines?

Are you a creature of habit at work?

At home?

In life?

routine to do list

What about family routines?

For back to school days? (dinner out after that first day of school!)

Birthdays? (surprise / not a surprise party?)

Holidays? (pie at 10 am for breakfast; dinner at 2 pm)

Anniversaries? (Who plans?)

Vacations? (Location determined by – ?)

Routines?  Habits?  

Which ones do you value?

Which ones are REALLY working for you? 

How do YOU decide?

slice

Check out the writers, readers and teachers who are “slicing” here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

Poetry


What thoughts run through your mind when you hear the word “poetry”?

poetry

Love Poetry?

Hate Poetry?

Like to read it?

Hate to write it?

Ambivalent?

Those thoughts are probably directly connected to your previous experiences.  If you remember “being required” to write in iambic pentameter for example, you might not be on the “love” side.  If you believed that free verse or the way poetry “looked” was as important as what it said like Anastasia Krupnik, poetry may not have been your favorite writing unit. (Creativity week excerpt from Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik here)  Encountering a real-life Mrs. Westvessel may have harmed the poetry writer in you.  But don’t despair! You can still read, write and enjoy poetry and yes, even change your attitude about poetry!

poetry two

April is National Poetry month.  I hope that poetry is embedded into your English Language Arts work every month of the year because poetry is included in CCSS.Reading Anchor 10.  April might just be that month to “Celebrate” the joy of poetry and turn to poetry writing as another way for students to share specific work with language, rhyme and rhythm.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has a whole month of celebration going on that includes song at Poetry Farm here.  Continue to scroll down the left hand side of her blog for the vast resources available including the Poetry Friday links.

Mary Lee Hahn at Poetrepository is another great source of poetry ideas for teachers and students. Her April Po-emotions series is quite fun!

Steve Peterson also is posting poems here at Inside the Dog. 

One of my favorite posts from Reading At the Core is this one featuring Walt Whitman.

poetry three

Who are some of your favorite poets?

What poetry anthologies do you recommend?

Are you celebrating Poetry Month?

Historical Fiction and Book Selection


historical fiction

As defined by Read, Write, Think:

The genre of historical fiction in the field of children’s literature includes stories that are written to portray a time period or convey information about a specific time period or an historical event. Usually the event or time period is about 30 years in the past.

Often historical fiction is based in fact and a lot of research.  The events were real but a fictional person has been inserted or a real person has been placed into a believable set of events.  Readers of historical fiction often respond to a text by loving it or hating it – black and white opposites – not lukewarm gray middle of the road.

Someone on Twitter or in a blog post recommended The War That Saved My Life.  I was busy.  Put it on my list. After a reading drought, I consulted my list and based on the Amazon Review it was quickly added to my kindle.

War that saved my life

If you loved Wonder, you will want to read it.

If you loved A Child Called It, you will want to read it.

If you loved Fish in a Tree, you may want to read it.

If you love historical fiction, you will want to read it.

The Google

“The War That Saved My Life” in the search yielded

About 114,000,000 results (0.25 seconds)

What impacts your book selection(s)?

Reccommendations – twitter, blogs, Nerdy Book Club

Amazon Reviews

Common Sense Media Reviews

Goodreads

Kirkus Reviews

Barnes and Noble

Kidsreads

Pop! Goes the Reader

The Horn Book

How do you teach “book selection”?

What “tools” do you use?

What SHOULD you be modeling?

#SOL15: Think, Believe, Dream, Dare


think, believe, dream, dare

Who are the heroes in your school?  Who dreams and dares to provide experiences that show students the world outside? One hero that I know is a band director who takes students on day trips to Chicago as well as out-of-state trips that have included:

Competition and Half time performance at the San Antonio Alamo Bowl

Parade and half time performance at the Orange Bowl

New York City Travel – April 2015

“On Broadway” Central High School (DeWitt) Broadway Classroom with John Arthur Greene, vocals & David Robison, conductor Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

91 students + chaperones = Experience of a lifetime!

Thanks, Director Greubel!

believe flower

Believe in Students!

Believe in Teachers!

A  longer look at the NYC travels 

Check out the writers, readers and teachers who are “slicing” here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

slice

Elated, Enthused, Excited, and Exhilarated!


It was just past lunchtime on Good Friday.  A day of vacation for many who were already off on holiday excursions or heading out shortly. And then . . . the beep of an email . . .followed almost immediately by a second email.

Hmm. . . I was waiting on a phone call to tell me that the repairs to my Plymouth Vibe were done.  Email . . . UGH!  Work?  It was a spring break day for me and I was finishing up grading work/assignments for my graduate class . . . Should I even read them?. . . Should I wait til I get the car “stuff” done (clean out rental Hyundai and return)?

Decisions!

Decisions!

email

email

NAH!  

It’s time to read the emails NOW!

One less task for later!

Dear Fran,

We are delighted to let you know that you have been accepted to our July Reading Institute 2015 (29 June 2015 – 3 July 2015). We have led this institute for several decades now, and over all these years, we’ve worked strenuously to go from good to great. Part of what makes the summer institutes so exciting is that they bring people together from all over the world—and we’re excited to think that you will be among them.

and then click to the second email . . .

Dear Fran,

We are delighted to let you know that you have been accepted to our June Writing Institute 2015 (22 June 2015 – 26 June 2015). We have led this institute for several decades now, and over all these years, we’ve worked strenuously to go from good to great. Part of what makes the summer institutes so exciting is that they bring people together from all over the world—and we’re excited to think that you will be among them.

Oh, Happy Day!

Yes, Elated, Enthused, Excited and Exhilarated . . . feeling blessed to once again be a part of the summer #TCRWP learning community.

joyful

What to do?

First DM all my Twiter friends who had already been accepted.  Then reread the emails from top to bottom.  What do I need to do next?

Within 30 minutes I have two additional emails that have “Receipt of Payment” in the subject heading!

Back to reading and the details. .  .

Writing Institute:  Speakers for this institute include Carl Anderson, Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, Amanda Hartman, Christine Holley, Celena Larkey, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Grant Wiggins.

Reading Institute:  Speakers for this institute include Lucy Calkins, Kathy Collins, Carmen Agra Deedy, Mary Ehrenworth, Amanda Hartman, James Howe, and Shanna Schwartz.

OMG! Literacy Heaven! Literally one week after participating in #TCRWP’s 88th Saturday Reunion!

tcrwp

To paraphrase Frank Sinatra (just a bit)

“Start spreading the news
I am leaving In June
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York”

How exciting to have two weeks of Professional Development focused on writing and reading workshop this summer!

What fabulous learning!

Meanwhile, . . . life continues. Work to be done in the next 75 days. . .

but there is this huge grin!

Oh, Happy Day!

This  hawkeyes   to       TC

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