#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

Advertisements

#SOL19: Day 22 SOLSC


Katie Clement’s session at #TCRWP’s 96th Saturday Reunion was titled Teaching Literary Essay as a Vehicle for Teaching High-Level Opinion and Argument Writing Skills” and it was packed with gems of information.

What is the purpose of the writing?  

When students are thinking about the audience for their writing, they are also thinking through the lens of what will appeal to that audience.  Sounds easy.  But is it?  This may be the part that gets messy and then means that the essay may become a blend of other formats including packing in some information or a microstory.  Mining a story for ideas for a claim/thesis and then supporting that claim/thesis would allow students to practice  building compelling opinions and arguments beyond just listing their ideas.

What mentor text might you use?

I love Katherine Bomer’s The Journey is Everything found here. This text helped me grow my own knowledge of an essay.  Katie also suggested this resource.  Have you seen it?

Screenshot 2019-03-22 at 4.59.08 AM.png

What are some qualities of essays? 38 Total Essays.  Sounds like fun inquiry that I need to dig into! (I’m waiting for the book to arrive.)

How have you studied essay? 

What do your own essays look like? 

What do “essays in the world” look like?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL19: Day 21 #SOLSC


 

Screenshot 2019-03-01 at 4.31.25 AMI check the calendar.

Hmm.

Meeting coming up.

Do I:

a. Cheer and high five with excitement over a meeting

b. Have a mini eye roll

c.  Yawn in anticipation of a lively session

d. Plan to arrive early, stay late and be totally energized?

Which one fits your feelings toward those regularly scheduled meetings?

At the TCRWP Saturday Reunion I deliberately chose Meghan Hargrave’s session titled:  “A Session for Coaches and Teachers Leaders: Professional Development that Sticks” and like the theme for the day, Meghan talked about a clear purpose, relationships, facilitation, and cycles of learning.

The topic was important. The room was packed. People sat on the floor in the back, on the sides, and leaned in to catch every word.

What do your meetings look like?

The information that I found most intriguing was when Meghan talked about different methods for meetings.  Just like in workshop, different methods for meetings. Here are the five she shared.

Methods for Meetings

Mini-lecture 5 – 10 min.

Demonstration & practice

Role play

Make and Take

ON-demand teaching – both coaching method and meeting method

Meetings

Could be faculty meetings

Could be PLC meetings

Could be grade level meetings

Could be collaborative planning meetings

And the methods could vary.

Does that happen in your world?

Or are your meetings pretty much structured the same way, with the same method, meeting after meeting? 

What’s the best that could happen if you changed the method of the meeting?

What could be the potential impact for students?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL19: Day 20 SOLSC


REALLY?

I quickly scanned the area. Had I said that outloud?

Un-freaking believable!  Again!

81%

I checked the USB port.

I checked the microport.

I checked the plug in.

And waited, not very patiently.

I had time, plenty of time.

Better now than later.

Ten minutes!

74%

Major eye roll.

Checked the connections again.

Muttering under my breath.

Trying not to disturb my neighbors.

Checked and rechecked all connections.

Ten more minutes!

69%

Unbelievable!

Audible muttering.

Rechecking

All connections were solid.

And YET . . .

I looked in between the two rows of seats at Gate 12, Terminal C, La Guardia . . .

 The plug ins lay on the floor

Unconnected

No power source

I knew exactly how Charlie Brown felt!

Screenshot 2019-03-19 at 11.07.28 PM

When have you been fooled?

How do you regain “trust” after being fooled?

Is this something you consider before April Fools’ Day?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL19: Day 19 SOLSC


“Hey, Iowa, how are you doing?”

My walking companion turns to face the man talking, who is also selling . . .

“Iowa State,” I forget and say, “No, Iowa Hawkeyes.” Now I’m engaging in the conversation.

Someone always asks for directions on the Metro. Inside Columbus Circle, I had no clue. A second request came outside Riverside Church so I could provide those directions.

Why do folks talk to me?  I wear my collegiate pride. (Remember we have no National Sports Teams in Iowa.) So I’m used to strangers talking to me or asking for help.

It was a pure pleasure to hear Anne Taranto Saturday at TCRWP in a session titled:  “Lifting the Level of Student’s Talking and Writing about Books:  Give Kids Tools and Tips to Talk and Jot about Books during Read Aloud, Book Clubs, and Partner Time”.

Here’s quick peek into the first three minutes.

“Talk is important.  Layer your talk.”

A turn and talk:

“In your role, what are the patterns that you are noticing around talk?  

Some of the most common that Anne shared with the packed to the gills, sit on the floor, participants in Everett Lounge were:

“They do a great job when I tell them what to do.”

“They are resistant and drag their heels.”

“We get structures up and running, but they don’t talk.”

Why is TALK important?

We need the language so we can talk. We need to share in order to display our thinking.  Community matters. So in order to raise the level of talk, we need to manage the big lofty things.  We need the bigger goal to manage the mess.  That means that we will have to let the control freak that loves quiet go in order to let the learning chaos rise. 

WE, the teachers, know our purpose.

Do our students?

Will the students ever hit the target if they don’t know the purpose? 

Try the talk . . .

Try the layers . . .

Try to see it another way . . .

When you are stuck, do you use talk?

Talk for a “process” or Talk to think deeper?

What results do you get when you don’t know the purpose? 

Is the work a bit frustrating?

How could you “reboot” talk to improve it?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL19: Day 18 SOLSC


“Oh, you were going down,” the maid commented. She pushed the button for a higher floor.

I remained silent.  “Should I use my typical Iowa spiel? ‘Well, I live in a town that doesn’t have any buildings taller than two stories.'”

Nah. Silence. No excuse. Too early!

The elevator dinged to announce its arrival. I moved to the elevator bank that was lit. I didn’t remember if it was a

D

O

W                                               P  arrow.

N  arrow or an       U

Simply too late to matter.

By the time all my thinking was done, the elevator was going down, down to my destination. Trivia. Let it go!

Tell Your Story . . .

Shanna Schwartz is a master storyteller and she delivered a powerful keynote when she used stories to offer tips to help teachers, coaches, and administrators in Cowin Auditorium understand what will make TEACHING STICK.

Old School . . .

Screenshot 2019-03-17 at 3.52.04 PM

I noted and appreciated the delivery of the keynote. . .  Stories, a  document camera, and anchor charts created in front of us.  No powerpoint, google slides or Prezi.  These were the presentations I remember from the first sessions I attended at #TCRWP Institutes. (Lucy Calkins also addresses the atmosphere and delivery of mini-lessons in Leading Well.)

Three memorable quotes . . .

STUDENTS

Children like all humans do not just learn things whole and then do it perfectly. They do it partially, making approximations, and gradually showing more learning.” (Shanna B Schwartz, 3.16.19. TCRWP) (Check out her book for the exact wording.)

TEACHERS

“Have to be planned enough so I can watch students, to know what to do, and be flexible enough to change to meet kids needs!” (Shanna B Schwartz, 3.16.19. TCRWP)

TEACHING

“Sometimes teaching feels like a performance. Teaching should be a relationship, a warmth, and closeness that you are building together.” (Shanna B Schwartz, 3.16.19. TCRWP)

Timeless . . .

One of Two Keynotes at the #TCRWP 96th Saturday Reunion was “Making Your Teaching Stick” by Shanna Schwartz.

Screenshot 2019-03-17 at 3.53.45 PM.png

Shanna referred to this book (as did Sarah Picard Taylor in her introduction of Shanna) that she wrote 11 years ago as a base for her keynote.  It might be a quick book to pull out and review with your staff. Every single book from the Help Desk series has tips worth revisiting and the price is right.

So when something isn’t right in life, do you choose silence as I did on the elevator or do you study the situation in order to figure out alternatives?  If it’s a short interval, time may solve the issue.  But what if it isn’t?  Then what do you choose to do?  What is your default?  Your knowledge? Your skill set? What stories do you lean on?

What are the principles that you hold onto dearly? 

How do you deliver your instruction (and your PD)?

What are the areas you continually return to for problem solving because they don’t seem “to stick”?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL19: Day 17 SOLSC


Friday we walked, talked, walked and finally checked GPS.

“I think we need to turn here.”

Not quite sure, we made a turn. We walked and talked some more. The weather was balmy.

The conversation: Kids. Family. Work. Life. Catching up on life changes. On slicing. On plans for the weekend.

We walked, talked, and walked some more.

“Oops, let’s recenter the map.”

“And now that means retracing our steps.”

It was enough that the daily goal was met. Better yet, we laughed at mis-steps and retracing our steps when we made wrong turns. The destination was talk and enjoying NYC – not our physical location.

The errors were not totally “user errors” as Google Maps on my phone has only ever given driving directions. (And Google loves to volunteer information based on past information.) It wasn’t “set” for walking directions so a three or four block walk was over 10,000 steps by the end of the afternoon. The directions were a source of laughter. After all the weather was comfortable, the company was delightful, time was plentiful, and the conversations connected on so many levels.

Screenshot 2019-03-16 at 10.51.25 PM

So how does this GPS/Google Maps story connect to Saturday and the 96th Saturday Reunion at TCRWP?

Before the final Saturday keynote at Riverside Church, I was quizzed by the master.  After telling Lucy Calkins that it was a fabulous day, of course, she asked me what made it so good.

Gulp. . . On the spot . . .

Every session talked about purpose.  Purpose for teachers. Purpose for students. Joyful purpose. Not “git’er done, struggle through it” purpose! And make no mistake about it, it’s also all about student choice. Student choice in what to read and write is the foundational framework that motivates more reading, more writing, more thinking and sustains it at deeper levels when it gets tough.  It’s not about FUN, it’s not about cute activities, and it’s not about the chevron-themed classrooms. Instead it is  about following interests and passions of students, allowing students to blossom and grow . . . And it is also about relationships. Our relationships with each other as learners, as readers, as writers and thinkers, as coaches of teacher leaders, coaches and administrators. Our relationships with books, writers’ notebooks and the work that we ask students to do.  Life work, not just compliant school work. And of course it’s not easy, but with a group and the continued support of our community, WE can do this together. We can rise to the challenge because our expectations are the students’ ceiling!

HELLO, isn’t that why thousands of teachers were REALLY in New York City on a Saturday for a day of free learning at the 96th Saturday Reunion at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project?

The literacy levels that your students reach are in your grasp. Stop fussing about the *$&@$/ tests and all the “things” outside your control.

You are the GPS, the Google Map, the roadmap for your students’ success.

YOU!

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!

What will you do to ensure that you grow and learn in order to be the best YOU that you can be? 

What will you read? 

What will you write? 

What will you think? 

What words can you go back to?

Who will you partner with to sustain your work?

You will have to return for details in future posts . . . fun in NYC beckons!




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL19: Day 16 SOLSC


Four years ago I was headed to Riverside Church;

Today I’m headed to #TCRWP for the keynote.

Four years ago I took the Red #1 to TC;

Today I’m taking the Red #1 to TC.

Four years ago I headed to the Kitchenette for a Slicer Meet Up;

Today I’m spending the day with Clare and our Slicer Meet Up began on Friday.

Just one of the many venues today;

For sure with the closing so grand!

Screenshot 2019-03-15 at 9.22.09 PM

How are you spending your Saturday?

What will you be learning today?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL19: Day 15 SOLSC


The View

Perspective . . .

What did I learn in geometry?

What is the role of a triangle?

So much glass

So many shapes

Is it to see in?

Is it to see out?

Everything open?

Everything closed?

How many are there?

How many should there be?

What is the strongest shape?

How high can it go?

What if one suffers from acrophobia?

20190315_061210

Just a few wonderings from a small town resident . . .

What are you wondering today? 

What have you noticed that has you curious?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL19: Day 14 SOLSC


Screenshot 2019-03-14 at 12.03.13 AM

UGH!

Will the weather make it two in a row? 

Hope?

Disappointment? 

Which will reign?

Cyclone bomb in Colorado? 

Winter has not been following a predictable pattern . . .

What’s next?

What will happen . . . ?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png




How do you REALLY feel about cliffhangers? 

Have you identified the characters?  setting? possible solution? 

You will have to stay tuned for the solution!

#SOL19: Day 13 SOLSC


The door closed behind the principal and the parents.

I looked around the table.

This is it.

“So what’s the verdict?”

The silence was ominous.

No one made eye contact.

Really? 

“Okay. So here’s the deal. You all signed for

19

20

21

22

23”

and I raised the fingers on my second hand as I slowly named them.

“24

25

26

27

28.

I’m 10 over my legal limit and it’s the sixth week of school.  What’s your plan?  Keep going ’til 30? 40?  What’s your final number? Is this what’s best for these kids?

Are you still signing this rule exception?”

No words. 

Each tick of the clock felt like an hour.

Still no eye contact.

Finally, without a word, he picked up the pen, marked “no“, scrawled a signature, and passed the paper across.  A second “no”, another signature, and the paper was placed in the file.

The decision was out of my hands.  I did not have to go on the record.

My palms were sweaty.  This was not the end of the issue.  Delayed? Yes. Instigated by me? Yes.

But no longer alone.

Others were standing up for the best interests of the students.




When have you had to make a difficult decision to best meet the needs of students?

How did it turn out?

Did you have any advocates on your side?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

Curriculum Coffee

A Written Shot of Espresso

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.

doctorsam7

Seeking Ways to Grow Proficient, Motivated, Lifelong Readers & Writers

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers

Present Perfect

adventures in multiple tenses

Leadership Connection

from Great Prairie AEA

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

The oft bemused (or quite simply amused) musings of Krista Marx -- a self-professed HOPE pursuing Pollyanna

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together

arjeha

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson

adventuresinstaffdevelopment

All Things Literacy! Brianna Parlitsis

TWO WRITING TEACHERS

A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

elsie tries writing

"The problem with people is they forget that that most of the time it's the small things that count." (Said by Finch in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. These are my small things that count.

I Haven't Learned That Yet

This blog serves to document my path of learning and teaching.

Simply Inspired Teaching

A blog by Kari Yates

Reflections on Leadership and Learning

Sharing my learning experiences

AnnaGCockerille Literacy

The Generative Power of Language: Building Literacy Skills One Word at a Time

Reading to the Core

Just another WordPress.com site