#SOL16: Capital E = Essay


There’s a glow, a rainbow, a light spirit still leaking from my pores and so much fun and learning from #NCTE16 yet to be shared! My top two sessions from the three days are a toss-up.

Poetry?     Essay?      Which will change the world?

At #NCTE16 it was readily apparent that BOTH writing forms are capable of reporting on AND changing the world.  You can read more about poetry in last week’s  “NCTE16:  Incredible Learning” here.

A focus on writing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING will of course have the power to potentially change the world because the pen is mightier than the sword.  The constant focus on assessments and screeners that produce fast yet aliterate readers has created a new tension in schools. What’s the solution for this new breed of readers who do not choose to read and who do not fall in love with the written word? Are they an unconscionable byproduct of too much focus on reading “outcomes/products” (ie, something that can be counted as in words read per minute) and too little focus on the thinking, the joy, and the love of words that result from daily writing in schools – daily writing of their own choice?  How can we regain JOY and LEARNING?  Poetry and Essay tied for first place at #NCTE in bringing JOY to my world and in igniting a quest for more learning.

The Transformative Power of Essay

This panel on Sunday was amazing (and had many noteworthy literacy celebs attending as well).  And NO moans or groans because of the word “essay”.

Essay bomer.jpg

From R to Left:  Katherine Bomer, Allyson Smith,  Corinne Arens and Matthew Harper

Story after story.

Straight from the students.

Student writing examples . . .

pages and pages and pages of writing from individual students!

Students conferencing with teachers in videos.

Students sharing what essay means to them.

Students sharing how their lives have changed.

Teachers sharing how their lives have changed.

An administrator sharing how the district has changed.

Summer week long writing institutes in the district.

Building trust.

Building communities.

Teachers doing the “writing work” expected of students.

The audience laughed.

The audience cried.

The audience applauded vociferously.

Transforming our thoughts, perhaps our future actions . . .

Essay with a capital “E”.

(NO five paragraph essays anywhere!)

Thank you, new friends from Blue Springs, MO!

What evidence of transformation?

Tweet 1:

beth-bomer

Tweet 2:

julieanne-michelle-bomer

Did you catch the date?  9-15-16

Not waiting for “routines” but beginning the year boldly with essay writing to allow student voice to “spill yourself onto the page”.

And a final piece of evidence . . . Margaret Simon’s post today found here.

The Transformative Power of Essay

Have you read The Journey is Everything?

bomer the journey is everything    Read it. Try writing an essay and then let’s talk!

slice of life

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

Looking for more information?

Previous posts:

#DigiLitSunday:  The Journey is Everything!#DigiLitSunday:  The Journey is Everything!

Literacy Superheroes (I counted FIVE of these essayists + Katherine in the room!)

Photo Essay (another public  essay!)

A Favor – My essay (with a comment from Katherine Bomer – another fangirl moment)

And the common denominator for both poetry and Essay was Katherine Bomer!

No wonder they tied!

#SOL16: JOY


joy

My #OneLittleWord for 2016 has been JOY and this past weekend at #NCTE16 was packed with joy every minute of every day. Surrounded by professionals that I know, admire, and constantly learn with, it was quite easy to forget the policies, problems, and politics that have rocked the U.S. landscape lately.

See how many “Slicers” you recognize at the Saturday dinner.

(Bonus:  How many of the blogs can you name?)

Slicer Satu.JPG

“Slicer” dinner at Amalfi’s Pizza Saturday

JOY

The JOY began with a #G2Great meetup Thursday night at Max’s Coal Pizza.  This group chats online on Thursday evenings with Mary Howard, Amy Brenneman, and Jenn Hayhurst as co-moderators.

g2great-thursd

Thursday night #G2Great meetup at Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria

Do you know which 4 are in both groups?

Can you name the states represented?

joy gift pic

And of course another night of conversation and JOY.

friday-night

Friday night at Legal Seafood 

joyful

On Sunday we actually found time to visit before leaving Atlanta!

sunday

Julieanne, Tara, Margaret and me!

One of the highlights of my travels was my great roommate, Dani Graham Burtsfield, from Kalispell, MT. Thanks so much for all your great work as our “historian”!

dani

Joy with some of the audience members for the poetry session are found here!

poetry.jpg

At poetry with Mary Lee, Julieanne and myself – just missing Steve!

And even MORE JOY with some of the presenters!

Have you checked in on your “One Little Word” lately?

slice of life

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

#NCTE16: Incredible Learning


,

When learning is in the very air that you breathe, it’s totally exhilarating. And that’s just a small piece of #NCTE16!

Session G12: Writing for a Better World:  Poetry Responses to World Events

I laughed.

I cried.

I read.

I wrote.

I learned.

This session should have been live streamed for educators around the world. Poetry is such an important part of the “meaning making” that we must construct of our daily lives.

if poetry is not a typical part of your repertoire, why not? Humor can add fun. Serious topics can add empathy. And above all, poetry can add truth to your life.

Check out this storify that introduces the folks at this session. In no way does it capture the essence of the conversations. That richness lies in the poetry of their talk.

Storify

Poetry – Do you need to add some to your life?

Do you need to add some to your teaching life?

 


Additional Poetry links from/about NCTE poetry presentations:

Poetry is Truth – Irene Latham

Risking Writing – Heidi and Mary Lee Hahn

Kate Messner – Collaborative Poetry Writing 

From our view together again at #NCTE

poetry

(Still practicing on “selfies”)

#NCTE16: Celebrate


Atlanta . . .

The home of a fabulous Civil Rights Museum

The home of Martin Luther King Junior

The home of thousands of teachers this weekend

Spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday together

Learning together

Feeding their souls

Fueling their passions

Collecting their energy

Forging a future

In this fabulous #NCTE16 family!

I am so humbled to rub elbows among so many talented readers and writers who are so willing to chat, to dig into answering those clarifying questions and to help out in so many ways.  And who in their lives have chosen “kind”.

Thanks for Voxer cousin Erica, the MARTA directions were perfect. Wowza!  What an easy way to travel from the airport to the hotel.  Thanks to the #G2Great dinner organizers – such a treat to meet up together before the sessions began.  Looking up and down the table at all the JOY (my #OLW) amidst the hugs and conversations, there was a moment when I wanted to hit the pause button. Just a few short seconds to admire my companions and the many paths that brought us together from across the country.  Together we are better.  We bring our knowledge, our skills and our hearts together to improve literacy in our communities.

We are activists.

We are here.

We are learning together.

We are reading together.

We are turning and talking.

We are growing together.

And the rich conversations continue long after the sessions as we naturally have t0 share our learning with each other.

Friday was the first full day of #NCTE16 and it was a long day. It was a joyful day from the first navigation of the convention space to the Donald Graves Legacy Breakfast.  Thanks to Heinemann for such a wonderful gathering. In the same space on stage:  Tom Newkirk, Penny Kittle, Georgia Heard, Katherine  Bomer, Smokey Daniels, Cornelius Minor, Allison Marchette, Rebekah ODell and Kim Parker.

Sharing memories.

Sharing credos.

Tweet worthy quotations.

Watching a master at work on a video.

Writing our own credos.

And then we were off.

Every session has close to 50 choices.  Hard choices for learners.  Who do I REALLY need to hear?  Who will affirm my beliefs?  Who will push me to new understandings?

Learning from Ralph Fletcher, Ellie Keene, Kathy Collins, Matt Glover, Marjorie Martinelli, Shanna Schwartz, Alecia Luick, Shana Frazin, Katy Wischow, Val Geschwind, the amazing #G2Great crew (Erica, Amy, Jenn, Jill, Dani, Kari, Kathryn) and the many gracious Heinemann and Stenhouse authors filled my brain, my heart and my soul.

One of my favorite sessions was “Low Stakes Writing” with Ralph Fletcher.  If we want joyful student writers, Ralph proposes that we must add some green belt writing for our students. The metaphor that he used to describe writing energy was the hot air balloon and he challenged us to think of when the balloon would rise – when writing workshop is going merrily along and when the balloon would sink back to earth – with the addition of test prep work and mandatory writing tasks that literally suck the JOY out of writing.  As teachers, parents, administrators, we do need to be aware of our own limitations but we also need to stretch ourselves as readers, writers and thinkers. We must be the models of the writing that we want our students to do.   The concept of “feral writing’ is fascinating.  A feral animal – one who was once domesticated who has now returned to the wild. Writing that students choose to do on their own time. The creation of new genres of writing that arise from choice as students do find their writing voice. How can we honor those voices?

No pictures here in this blog post.  My computer is taking a break so I’m composing this on my iPad mini.  It’s not my favorite device.  It’s challenging as I type in the dark out of kindness to my roommate at zero dark thirty.

Day Two begins at 8 am and goes until 5:30 pm.

Decisions  about sessions.

Decisions about when to visit the exhibit hall.

And what about those favorite authors and those friends from twittter who we have not yet connected with?

Much more joy and learning ahead!

How will you spend your Saturday?

 

 

#SOL16: Quiet Anticipation


anticipation

Excited and thinking the best,

Anticipating

Friends .  .  .

Fellow Twitter Friends

Fellow Voxer Friends

Fellow Bloggers

Fellow #NCTE14 and #NCTE15 attendees

The shiny ball is going to drop on #NCTE16 and I can’t wait!

Professional Development is an “investment in yourself” – Check out this blog post from #NCTE15! Continual growth matters!

Learning

Listening

Learning

Eyes wide open

Learning

Within a cocoon of friendship

Learning

Around every corner

Learning

At every session

Learning

In Atlanta!

Looking forward to meeting up, face to face, with “Slicers” Saturday night.

Will you be there?

slice of life

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

What have I learned from #NCTE in the past?

#NCTE 14 (First Timer Report) here,  (Community, Collaboration & Social Justice) here,  (Our presentation – Story as the Landscape of Knowing) here,  (Top 10 Quotes I Have Used from #NCTE14) here and (Close Reading and the Little Ones – Chris Lehman, Kate Roberts and Kristi Mraz) here.

#NCTE15 (Vicki Vinton & Katie Wood Ray) here, (Kelly Gallagher’s Top 10) here, (Sessions – Colleen Cruz, Jennifer Serravallo, Clare & Tammy, #G2Great) here and  (Involving Students – 2 #tcrwp sessions, Kylene Beers, Bob Probst, Donalyn Miller, Seymour Simon, Linda Hoyt, Kelly Boswell and more) here.

And how do you reflect and review your learning?

How do you know you are growing?

#DigiLitSunday: Purpose


digilit-buttonCheck out other #DigiLit Sunday posts at Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche here. 

purpose.jpg

Purpose:  The End or the Beginning?

In the process of getting ready for #NCTE16, I was considering not blogging about this topic today.  And yet, here I am because of three different conversations this week.  I vacillated between:

What’s the “purpose” for assessment?

What’s the “purpose” for instruction?

What’s the “purpose” for digital tools?

  1. What does the research say?

Doug Fisher and John Hattie both shared this effect size for “Teacher Clarity” in Iowa in separate October, 2016 professional development sessions.  That’s well about the “.40” that is touted as a “cut score” and is almost the equivalent of TWO YEARS of learning for students. Therefore, Teacher Clarity is important in instruction, and equally important in assessment  aligned with instruction and perhaps has the greatest importance in the selection of digital tools for students.

Hattie Teacher Clarity .75.jpg

2.  What do teachers need to consider in the planning process?

Teachers spend hours poring over lesson plans and planning for instruction that will meet ALL students’ needs. Searching for the right resources, planning that delivery that will empower students and most of all trying to make learning purposeful and engaging.  That’s not easy as some content is hard for students to really “grapple with” for real understanding ans not just rote memorization.  However, if the goal is “LEARNING” and is focused on Teacher Clarity, won’t that require the teacher to BEGIN with “What will the students know and be able to Do after they complete this learning?  So the teacher process might include some or all of these steps depending on the curriculum that exists and the expectations of any given curriculum.

planning-one

Retrieved from  ict/lesson plan

Each step in the process above has ideas for “possible tools” to use during the planning and / or learning process.

3. But what about the learning environment?

Which classroom promote accelerated learning for students?  How and where are students preparing for today, tomorrow and life “after school”?

What should classrooms look like?

 

4. What tools should the teacher and the students use? 

The learning purpose should determine the possible range of tools that both the teacher and the students will use.  Will the students ALWAYS have a voice in selecting the tools?  Probably not, YET. Should the students have a bigger voice in selecting the tools that will showcase their learning?  YES!  Students should be allowed encouraged to showcase their learning in a variety of ways.  Learning should not always look like “cookie cutter” factory models.

As I’ve thought about purpose and its role in learning, this is the way that I have viewed it . . . with “purpose” as a critical factor at each level.

purpose-for-learning

But now I wonder if “PURPOSE” should be the circle that houses the other four circles.  Maybe purpose really is all encompassing and is the “driver” behind all decisions. So are the learning targets the center and purpose the frame for all learning?

Where do you believe “Purpose” lives in the daily decision-making processes involved in instruction?

 

Veterans’ Day


Veteran’s Day

(Blackout poem)

Veterans Day:

an official United States public holiday

November 11

honors military veterans –

persons who served in the United States Armed Forces –

coincides with  Armistice Day and Remembrance Day

the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918

renamed Veterans Day in 1954

Not to be confused with Memorial Day;

Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans,

while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.

On November 11, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:

“We remodeled our industries,

concentrated our financial resources,

increased our agricultural output, and

assembled a great army, so

our power was a decisive factor in the victory.

Out of this victory:

new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert

war showed us the strength

of great nations

acting together for high purposes

the victory of arms

foretells the enduring conquests

which can be made in peace

when nations act justly and

in furtherance of the common interests of men”

veterans

How will YOU celebrate Veterans Day?

 

Original Article  (Source:  Wikipedia)

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.[1]

On November 11, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:

“ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN The White House, November 11, 1919. A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and just set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half. – With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought. Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men. To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with – solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.

#SOL16: Assessment Matters


Thank you #TWTBlog Authors for this series last week, “Assessment Strengthens Writers”. Last night’s Twitter Chat was simply amazing and if you weren’t there, you can check out the storified version here.

The questions that vaulted us into the twittersphere were:

TWT Assessment chat 11.8.16.jpg

But this morning, I’m stuck on “How do I use assessment to strengthen my own writing?” 

And every one of those questions MATTER!

  1. What assessment tools and strategies do I use?
  2. How do I deep track of my progress on assessments?
  3. How do I use on-demand writing to inform my progress?
  4. How do I collaborate with colleagues on my assessments?
  5. How do I communicate my growth to myself?
  6. How do I see my growth in writing over time?
  7. Where does self-assessment fit into the life of a writing teacher?

Much has been written about the need for writing teachers to write.  October 20 was #WhyIWrite.

What has been written about the need for writing teachers to self-assess and to work collaboratively with others in order to grow their own skills? Today this space is dedicated to thinking about how best to continue to “Walk the Talk” and to grow and strengthen my own writing.

If one of my claims is that . . .”My writing improves as my volume of writing grows.”

How will I measure that?

How DO I measure that?

I have some work to do in order to answer these questions.

How will you “Strengthen Your Writing”?

slice of life

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

 

 

#DigiLitSunday: Focus


digilit-buttonJoin the #DigilitSunday authors at Margaret Simon’s blog here.

focus Nov. 6..jpg

Welcome, old friend.

FOCUS

My #OneLittleWord for 2015.

I wrote about you here, here, and here.

So enough said?

Not so fast!  Let’s reconsider “Focus” with a different lens – or two!

Focus on Who?

Simple . . .

Focus on Students

Who will focus? 

The teachers and the school community

This two-fold approach ensures that students are the center of the work.  And as teachers and the school community focus on students, the teachers will collaboratively work together as they learn, grow and share ideas and techniques to best meet the needs of students.

Maintain status quo?

Teachers and schools are constantly considering what is working and what is not.  It’s 2016 so schools and “learning” don’t look the same as they did in the 1960’s, 1980’s or even in 2000.  The adults in the community have already “DONE” school and years of schooling don’t make them experts. The students currently in the building are the FOCUS.

Focus on What?

Learning . . .

Student Learning

Teacher Learning

How does an educator decide “WHAT” to focus on?  There are many lists/features that are all “research-based” and even appear to have “gold stickers”.

Which one is best?  There’s no “clear cut” answer for the best or even the “one” that will have the greatest impact because many of the “whats” that teachers can work on can also be combined for even greater student results.  Instead of searching for the best, look within.  What can you the teacher, add to your repertoire to increase your impact or effect?

What happens when a teacher uses data to study what is working currently in the classroom with the current students and then decides to change one variable and measure that effect?

Any of these could be a target of district or personal teacher study (and could overlap):

  • Hattie’s effect sizes,
  • Art of Comprehension via Trevor, Rich, Donna, & Justin’s graphic, or
  • questioning (DOK).
focus-hattie

John Hattie, Visible Learning Effect Sizes.

focus-art-of-comprehension

Art of Comprehension, Bryan, Donner & Dolci #40CF                                                                      “Art of Comprehension” Voxer Conversation

focus-dok

Webb’s DOK, Questioning

The key is using several data points (never just one) to determine where a change needs to occur, developing a plan and then working that plan!  Quality instruction, quality teachers, and a quality use of time!

Focus on How?

How are decisions made about instruction, learning and teaching? How is technology involved? (I know you were waiting for the “DigiLit” connection!)  How can technology be a TOOL that allows equitable access for ALL students?  How can technology level the playing field for students and for student learning? How can technology allow students to APPLY their learning outside of school settings?

Methodology varies from classroom to classroom, building to building, and district to district.  Some have local choice and some have state mandates.  Within all situations one factor remains, professional responsibility!  The professionals in the classroom have a responsibility to provide the environment and instructional opportunities that enable ALL students to learn at high levels!

WHY Focus?

And now I’ve gone full circle.  The answers to Who? What? and How? have brought me to the Why? which brings me back to my 2016 #OneLittleWord:  Joy.

There is JOY for students when students are the focus.  There is JOY for students when learning is the focus.  There is JOY for students when teachers are growing, learning and sharing those practices that have data to support that they increase students’ desire to learn and their learning.  There is JOY for teachers when students and teachers have learning as the focus. Teaching is NOT for the faint of heart; teaching is FOR the students! All students must be growing and learning every day and that’s no easy task!

End Goal?

Learning

Every Day

Joyful Learning

Joyful Learning Every Day!

What do you focus on?   How do we know that is your focus?

focus-what-if

And what if?

What if . . .

Teacher Clarity (Hattie), The 6 Things We Teach Every Day (coming soon in a book by Trevor Bryan) and Questioning at higher levels (DOK) were all strengthened simultaneously?  How would that look for the students?  How would that make a difference for students?

#SOL16: Observing


“Writers look closely at the world, they see and feel things intensely.”

magnifying-glass-clip-art

My gaze is outward.

My gaze is inward.

The coffee gurgles.

The wind is blowing.

The sky is beginning to brighten.

Time is fleeting; time to move.

A faint shape; a daily appearance.

My daily path.

Finally, the coffee is done. I pour a cup.

I sniff the air.

I wrap my hands around my mug and embrace the warmth.

No rain today; I embrace the crisp air.

I look again, outside my window.

I check for scents, again.

I reach for my phone, punch in the code, click on the camera.

I study the window. Did I see movement?

My morning and evening visitors.

That two-legged creature stuck inside.

What do you see when you look closely?

slice of life

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

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