#SOL15: March Challenge Day 29 – 88th Saturday Reunion #TCRWP


It’s the little things that make life wonderful!

Little things can seem like insurmountable objects . . .

like navigating the NYC subway system to arrive at Teachers College EARLY!  I was actually more successful than navigating through my “home” deer country!

like organizing for a day run on an hourly schedule with 50 minute sesions (10 minutes to sprint to the next location) and NO time in the schedule for lunch (encouraged to pack and yes, you may eat in the sessions – ignore the signs that say no food!)

like finding your way among 4,000 friends engaged in learning on a Saturday at Teachers College

like worries about the wi-fi (had some overloads and would kick you off – How many total devices would 4,000 strong have?  REALLY?)

and the ability to have a back up plan – First choice closed because you actually stopped to use the restroom?  What were you thinking?

Other slicers who have posted about yesterday include:

Tara 

Julieanne 

Dayna

Sally 

Catherine

and of course the many Tweets that emanated from the halls of the Teachers College campus.  Right this minute, this tweet says it all:

@ReadingTeachNC: We cried with @PatriciaPolacco, we laughed with @KyleneBeers, and we reminded ourselves why we love what we do! #TCRWP

What a day!
What a glorious day!
What a glorious day filled with laughter, love and learning!

(Notice how I worked on my elaboration there!)

Instead of an “All About Everything Post” the remainder of this post is dedicated to my #OLW “Focus” and will just focus on one key take away from the sessions I attended. (I promise – I will write more about what I learned.  Some of it has to percolate!)

word-focus-300x300

Patricia Polacco – Keynote Opening (Row 5)

“Teachers are my heroes.  You devote your lives to the minds and hearts of others.  What a wonderful calling”

Carl Anderson – Mentor Texts

We take the perfect text and we have to pull the curtain away.   We need to love the mentor text.  You wouldn’t marry someone you didn’t love.  You are going to live with this mentor text day in and out.  You have to know it inside and out.  Work with a colleague to analyze the text.  Make sure that kids will be moved by the mentor text (Not just one that you LOVE)!

Kylene Beers – Nonfiction Sign Posts

kylene's picture -signposts

This is the picture that Kylene took from the speaker’s podium to show what the audience was doing as she displayed the slide listing the nonfiction signposts.  By the way, the book will be out in October and we all had to promise to buy it!  The nonfiction signposts are not ALWAYS found in each nonfiction piece of material because of the very nature of nonfiction.  (more on that in another post) Here are the signposts in the order of frequency and importance:

Extreme and absolute language

Like this examples

Experts and Amateurs Words

Stats and Numbers

Contrasts and Contradictions

Again and Again

Cornelius Minor – Struggling Students

Cornelius began with an analogy about teaching skateboarding where one will fall the first 5-8 times.  So he has to give you 20 opportunities to practice.  “My job as a teacher is NOT mastery. Nothing will cultivate practice. Teaching sets you up for practice. Repeated practice sets you up for mastery.  Engagement – how do I keep you moving! Multiple and intellectual energy to get some learning going!  My job is ‘Teaching light and Practice heavy!'”

The brilliance of that philosophy!

Kylene Beers – Closing (Front Row)

Literacy is about power and privilege.

Choice, relevancy, volume. Wantability is more important than readability. @KyleneBeers#tcrwp” Can’t be said/heard enough.

Slicer meet up at the Kitchenette! – So much fun to visit, share, decompress!

My head and my heart are both full from the learning.  Much more to see and do while in NYC so “adieu” for now!

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 for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 28 – “R Day”


It is officially Saturday, March 28th, the day of the Teacher’s College 88th Saturday Reunion.  What an honor to be able to follow in the footsteps of the many who have trod these hallowed halls!

Thousands of friends will be in Riverside Church for the opening by Patricia Palaccio and the closing by Kylene Beers.  Sandwiched in between are over 125 free sessions that also include the keynoters, Lucy Calkins and the many #TCRWP staff developers.  I have been fortunate to be accepted into the 2013 and 2014 June/July Writing and Reading Institutes.  Tomorrow will be my first Saturday Reunion!

tcrwp

See you there?

See you in the Twitterverse?

I am in New York City, too excited to sleep, and yet only a wake up away from the Saturday Reunion . . . .  visions of the new Reading Units dancing in my head!

I’ll be easy to spot on Saturday as I will be “wearing” my professional development t-shirt as evidence of my book chats on Twitter!

2014-12-15 21.15.21

2014-12-15 21.15.44

Are these books a part of your professional library?

How do you learn and grow professionally?

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 for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 27 – Tomorrow


This slice was inspired by a post by Erin yesterday here and will give you a preview of what my slices will probably look like for the remainder of March!  THANKS, Erin!

tomorrow

Tomorrow,

I will wake up in NYC.

Tomorrow,

I will enjoy breakfast at the Lucerne.

Tomorrow,

I will pack a lunch to take to TC for the Saturday reunion so I shan’t miss a single minute of learning or fellowship.

Tomorrow,

I will ride the subway to TC.

Tomorrow,

I will go early to pick up a flyer listing the sessions.

Tomorrow,

I will be at majestic Riverside Church for the opening keynote.

Tomorrow,

I will listen raptly to Lucy Calkins, Patricia Palaccio and Kylene Beers and many others.

Tomorrow,

I will join approximately 3,000+ friends both new and old for Saturday reunion.

Tomorrow,

I will be making choices about sessions – 125 free ones to choose from.

Tomorrow,

I will be wearing comfortable walking shoes for the miles I will travel.

Tomorrow,

I will be learning from some of the best in the field of literacy.

Tomorrow,

I will be tweeting and blogging back where I really began tweeting and blogging.

Tomorrow,

I will joining “Slicers” at the Kitchenette.

Tomorrow,

Will soon be here!

tcrwp

What will your tomorrow bring?

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 for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 26 – What kind of writer are you?


What kind of writer are you?

You must read how @terjeakke’s third grade students answered that question here on “Just for a month: A writing playground

No peeking.

Go read.

Three out of five of the students began with, “I am a ….. writer . . .”

Is that how you would answer the question?

Really?

What kind of writer are you?

Thinking of who I am today I can answer:

youthful river

I am the kind of writer who likes time to formulate a thoughtful answer that does not wind around like a meandering old stage eroded river but more like a youthful river that flows straight from one point to another point.

purpose

I am the kind of writer who likes a clearly defined purpose.  I am going to write a post about “x”.  Those posts seem fairly effortless and seem to “write themselves” without a great deal of wailing and gnashing teeth!

audience

I am the kind of writer who likes to think about my audience and pitch my writing to that audience.  For example, this month when I am “slicing” daily with the March Challenge from The Two Writing Teachers, I know that my audience is my regular readers plus possibilities from the 300+ “slicers”.  That narrows my focus a bunch! (Warning:  some days my audience is myself!)

turtle

I am working hard to be the kind of writer who can take a topic and respond to that topic within a reasonable time frame (less than an hour).  This is a huge shift for someone who used to draft every post in Word days in advance of posting them onto WordPress (OCD).  This is also due to “guilt” for all of those weeks that I required special ed. students to think for one minute and then write for three minutes about “….” And then I recorded correct letter sequences, words written, and words written correctly (CLS, WW, WWC). Now I cringe at the thought of recording any of those items after a three minute think time for a student who is struggling with learning.  It’s not about “who” finishes first, but it is about working at multiple rates over time so sometimes I need to write more like the rate of the hare and other days the rate of the tortoise is okay!

elephant

I am the kind of writer who likes a challenge.  I love generative writing.  I love to play with sentence development and using a word as different parts of speech or in different locations in a sentence is FUN because my work is unique and not the same as everyone else’s!  I think power writing is also FUN because I like to challenge myself to increase my own writing stamina just as the students are expected to do! I think it’s important to embrace the fact that writing can take many formats and can sometimes focus on the product and sometimes focus on the process.  It’s still the same elephant – our perspective and that point of intersection with the elephant at that specific moment does matter.

expert

I am the kind of writer who loves informational/explanatory writing.  I can now write credible persuasive/arguments and narratives but they are not my “go to” choice of writing.  When they turn out well, it is usually due to time to plan, reflect, collaborate, rehearse and revise long before I put my fingers on the keyboard.

keyboard

I am a keyboard composer.  Sometimes the music of the keys lulls me into a sense of complacency as sentences follow each other effortlessly across the screen.  At other times, I correct and correct and correct and even pound on the keys until the print has been bled dry of any emotion or remotely interesting trivial source of entertainment!

fifty years

I am a writer who has written for decades, more than half a century.  But I am not comfortable saying that I am anything above an average writer.  Sometimes I have flashes of “bright spots in writing” and sometimes I have days and days of writing that should not ever be imitated.  Writing still requires thought and even improves over time when my thoughts are either rehearsed or revised during long stretches of driving time.

revising

I am a writer who loves to revise . . .to nitpick my word choice until I believe that I have found the most appropriate word, structure, comparison or even metaphor.  I am an ever-evolving, ever improving, ever stretching writer as I push myself to go beyond initial expectations and find the heart!  I am a teacher of writers who also believes that I must be a writer myself, before I can ever teach writers!

reader

I.am.a.writer.because.I.read.  Writing is one way to process my reading by adding internal thoughts or by sharing it “aloud”.  I am also now a writer who likes to “slice” daily during the month of March and annually on Tuesdays with friends!

What kind of writer are you?

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 for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 25


In 33 days her son will be born.

In 33 days her tenth great grandchild will be born.

*

The nursery is ready.

She remembers a time when babysitting multiple babies – babies who slept in dresser drawers.

*

Diapers are purchased and are ready to be used.

Soft cloth diapers were used and even became “burp rags” when less servicable.

*

Baby lotion, shampoos, and body wash now abound in multiple scents.

The smell of Johnson and Johnson baby powder brings back memories.

*

She and her husband read to the baby every night while waiting for birth.

She. without her husband, reads books of her own choice or books for her book club.

*

Days and nights will soon be surrendered to the cries of the young son.

Days and nights pass endlessly one after the other.

*

Inspired by kmurphy1027’s “The Start and Finish Line” and found here at Just a Note about Family, two views of the impending birth of a boy – his mother and his great grandmother.  Lives that will soon be changed as the family continues to grow.

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 for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 24 – Community


thank you languages

Thank you, readers, for your reading, your likes and your comments throughout this month of slicing.  There is a real sense of community among slicers especially when you consider this definition

a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

The good news is that all the “slicers” are winners even though Dana will anounce the “one” commenting winner later today.  Those that read 60 posts this last weekend are richer for their reading and those that have written 24, heading to 31, consective days of posts are richer for their writing.  We have shared laughter, tears, fear, joys and had FUN this month.

Some of us will extend this fun this weekend as slicers, courtesy of Tara, gather after the TCRWP Saturday reunion.

will-you-be-here

Will you be there at TC?  See Tara’s slice here for more info!

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 for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 23 – Visual Poetry


During the weekend’s challenge to read and comment on 60 posts, I ran across a new app – Visual Poetry:  Word Collage for $1.99 in ITunes.

Here’s what I created for today!

thephoto

Made with Visual Poetry by ImageChef on the iPad

Check out the multiple ways that you can read the message.  Which do you prefer?

Reading the words in white?  or in black?

slice

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

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 22 “Currently”


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Currently:

Browsing through slices still in search of a topic

Thinking about slices previously written and slices yet to come.

Reading great introspective pieces like Dayna Wells Writes

Sipping that first cup of coffee and waiting for inspiration

Putting off the dreaded “grading papers” that are in need of attention

Watching the information about “passwords” on the Sunday Morning show

Wishing my car was “repaired” from the “deer damages” (see slices 20 Unexpected and 21 The Real Story)

Wondering if this draft of “Currently” which is a brainstorming piece may end up as my slice for today

Packing for my trip to Teachers College for the Saturday Reunion next weekend

Anticipating the “Great Learning” and renewed face to face friendships in NYC!

What are you doing, currently?

slice

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

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 21 The Real Story


The Real Story

Seriously, I’m being framed by a pokey old “gramma – wannabe”!  It wasn’t my fault. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

I was out for a morning walk with Josephine and Henrietta.  We were strolling along at 6:39 am when Josephine challenged me and said she could beat me across the road.  I saw the lights headed in our direction and told her that we needed to wait.  It would be too close to make sure that we could all three cross safely. But because Josephine ALWAYS has to be first, she takes off running.

And then what does that ditzy driver do?

She slows down.  Josephine is across the road, I’m waiting on her and she, the one behind the wheel of that vehicle, decides to  . . . slow down.

“REALLY?  What was she thinking?”

I simply could NOT believe it. Where on earth did she go to school for driving?  Maybe they will revoke her license!

Henrietta waited in the ditch, but I decided to cross before any other vehicles headed our way.  The expression on that lady’s face was amazing.

I think she was praying or something because she was making this awful face and saying something.  I know she wasn’t on her phone because I’ve seen plenty of those cause accidents before!

“Why on earth did she slow down?”

I really thought she was going to swerve to the other side of the road.  That’s pretty dangerous and she would have rolled that little tin can if she’d tried that.  But no, she has to go and slow down.  If she had just kept going, she would have been fine.

So the car hits me where I’m just standing by the side of the road, minding my own business.  It was headed towards me so I was braced for the impact and as the car hit, I was in the air bouncing across the road.  I felt a slight scrape where some of my hair was gouged off my thigh, but that was it for injuries!  I was so out of there before that lady did something silly and backed up to run over Henrietta.

Poor Henrietta; I don’t know if she will ever get over her near miss.  She was so scared that she turned around and went back down in the ditch to hide.  She refused to cross the road for hours.  (Kinda silly because if anyone was going to be traumatized it should have been me, the deer who was hit by that silver Pontiac Vibe at 6:41 am on that dark Thursday morning.)

“Should I file a report?  How do I make sure my side of the story gets told?”

Who knows what kind of lies that silly driver has been telling to cover up her failure to have control of her car!  She should have been able to stop if she had just put her foot on the brake faster!  Won’t someone want to talk to the witnesses?

“Not my fault!  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  After all, there was a deer crossing sign there . . . I was following directions!”

deer crossing

formfonts.com

Now that I think of it, can I sue that lady driver in court for the damage, and pain and suffering caused?  My hair looks like a trophy hanging on her car!

deer hair

If you missed the story from the driver’s point of view, you can read it here.

slice

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

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 20 – Unexpected . . .


Classic beginning?

snoopy

pixgood.com

A variation?

 It was a dark and cloudy morning.

or

It was a dark:30 morning.

Or just begin?

“N o o o o o o o,” I whispered.

go

The thud vibrated through my decelerating car as it came to a complete stop.  I heard the items on the front passenger seat slide to the floor.

*&!#

I sat there shaking, adrenaline-fueled and yet caffeine-depleted.  If only I had finished that cup of coffee because then I would have been two minutes later.  NAH! Four minutes with a pit stop before leaving.

Shaking, I unfastened my seat belt and grabbed my phone.  I was in desperate need of the flashlight app.  “Where is it? Have I used it on this phone?” I wondered.

Completely dark and silent . . . not a sound greeted me as I emerged from my Pontiac Vibe.

As I pushed the home button on my phone, it lit up the morning darkness.

“Could be worse!”

No metal touching the tire.

Frame still looks square. (I think)

Cardboard-y inner wheel well-lining is drooping some.

Enough to be harmful?

Duct tape?

Do I really have any?

Looks ok!

Check for fluids?

. . . Is it possible? .  .  .   Driveable? . . .

Less than a minute has passed since I began my inspection, but the weight of worry made it feel like an hour.  “Oh, man, going to be late today and here I was already a bit panicky about the two hour trip!”

Possible options flashed through my mind in milli-seconds.

Choices,

Plans,

Must Dos,

Nice to Dos.

Ulimately . . .

Driveable, YES!

Off . . . and running.  In 15 minutes a pit stop in a well-lit convenience store, another quick inspection, dripping fluid???

Ah, just from the windshield wiper fluid reservoir that is visibly cracked.

Drive, drive, drive, drive and an hour and thirty minutes later . . . at work.

I survived three of these with only one involved in my incident as they casually sauntered across the road as if they owned it.

two_white_tailed_deer

Now, the repair task for the damage caused by this critter (who, yes, walked away) owned by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (at any rate that is who issues the hunting licenses)!

Insurance claims!  Yay! FUN! (not)

Tufts of deer hair in the car frame CAN ruin a very positive attitude!

The good news . . . yes, the car is driveable! And I made it to my day of professional development okay – a bit rattled, YES!  But okay!

Unexpected damage to the front passenger quarter panel, hood, and front, and passenger door that does not open . . . TODAY, an extra cup of coffee and daylight before I leave!

What unexpected events have you handled lately?

slice

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

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