#SOL17: First Day


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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

#NCTE19: The Beginning


Back to the beginning:  Baltimore again.  The crew.  Face to Face connections. Twitter. Learning, Laughing. Sharing.

NCTE18 – 10 posts

NCTE17 – 4 posts

NCTE16 – 4 posts

NCTE15 – 2 posts

NCTE14 – 5 posts

Celebrating 25 posts already written about NCTE!  Anticipating the posts and the learning from the next four days.

The program . . .  link

on Twitter #NCTE19

in Baltimore

where my ancestor was born, George Herman Ruth.

In 2014, it was a Friday presentation described here.

In 2019, it will be a Sunday presentation as listed below.

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Katelynn Giordano, Betsy Hubbard, Melanie Meehan, and myself

Challenged!  Intrigued! Sparking Inquiry Through Collaborative Research 

9-10:15 AM, Sunday, November 24 in Room 304

 

What are you anticipating for #NCTE19? 

What is your plan?

What do you plan to learn?

What will you celebrate?




 

 

 

#SOL19: Determining Importance


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I tugged at the thing in my mouth.  A string? What on earth?

I started to gag.

Someone grabbed my wrist and held it tightly. But the string in my mouth!  I know I was screaming “Take it out” but only a garbled mess came out.

My teeth hurt. Something was rubbing my lips.  My throat hurt.  And that string!

“Help me! Please!”

It was just one week after school was out for the summer. I was 9. My older sister and I were in beds in the same hospital room after having our tonsils out.  She wasn’t too thrilled about the apparent 2 for 1 discount.




Are all the events above equally important?  After a #TalkPower Twitter discussion of Chapter 4 last night I decided to practice using one of the tools from Shana Frazin and Katy Wischow’s new book from Heinemann.

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The Tool:  The Event-O-Meter

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The plan is to use this tool with events in a story or nonfiction book as students talk about the events and the category that they belong in.  In order to get a feel for this, I decided to try it with a story that I was drafting for my slice. The goal of this “game” is to discuss the thinking for the placement in a category.

Here’s how I thought about my story above. First Draft Thinking. (I wouldn’t use every sentence as I did in this first practice.)

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Is every detail or event in a story equally important? 

Who determines the importance? 

The author by its inclusion? 

The reader by their response?

(And sorry dear readers, I am still working on this story . . . )




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: A’Marek’n Veterans


How do we honor Veterans?

In past blog posts I have used:

Veteran’s Day Blackout Poem

Thankful (4 generations)

to commemorate Veteran’s Day.

It’s hard to follow any one family in our family tree.  Brothers marry sisters and double first cousins appear. Families grow. Families expand.

Yesterday was a day to stop, think, and remember. A day to celebrate Veterans.

What branches were represented? Where did they serve? What friendships grew among their peers? What friendships remain decades later?

On my dad’s side and in his generation – only two kids. Two brothers. And yet in this family line . . . four generations. My grandfather, my dad, my brother and my son . . . one line of veterans . . . Mareks!

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Two deceased and two still serving.

How did you celebrate Veteran’s Day? 

What does Veteran’s Day mean to your family?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Changes


Dark

No moon

No stars

Cloudy?  Who can tell?

Cold

Colder than usual

For over a month

Two measurable snows

Daylight arrives earlier

Nighttime arrives earlier

Tired arrives earlier

Changes

Weather

Seasons

Time

Rhythms of Life

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Last week’s “First Snow”




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Celebrate!


1. Celebrate?

Wet!

Heavy!

White!

The dreaded first s#$%fall of the year.  Will it accumulate?  Will it last? What will the impact be?

2. Celebrate?

This notice from WordPress awaited me . . .

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3. Celebrate?

Last week was a 2.25 hour (10 module training) for all the new processes . . .

in 98 days . . .

in our first in the nation process . . .

Iowa Caucus night . . .

2.25 hours of training

Training complete

4. Celebrate?

Notification . . .

Verified

Passed

100%

Quizes on each of the 10 modules in # 3 above.

5. Celebrate?

My reading goal for the year was 52 books . . . a book a week. I met that a while back. Still working on recording titles and updating the format of my “handwritten system” because I really wanted to emphasize broader categories of texts this year. Pushing on beyond:  professional, YA/children’s lit, mystery/suspense, nonfiction.  But that’s another post.

Celebrating a new source of data from Goodreads . . .

My Review Stats

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Goodreads collects the year of publication so I can view the “age” of the books that I’ve reported on that site as read. 

What else is on my list/mind? 

  • My part in our NCTE presentation.
  • Choosing sessions to attend at NCTE.
  • Wrapping Christmas gifts.   

What’s on your list?  What will you be celebrating?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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Random celebratory events that were all possibilities for a blog post.

Process: Beginning with one word (#OLW). Brainstorming. Collecting ideas. Sifting through thoughts. Vignettes of celebrations curated in one post. Reflecting on my #OLW:  Celebrate! (How do we demonstrate this for students?)  Opposite process of beginning with many words in this post.

Celebrate – published post!

 

 

#SOL19: Words Count


“I’m done.  I read from the green to the red and back. I’m done,” echoed from Joey’s corner.  Abbie, with her back to Joey, kept reading.

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Demonstration Reading Mat

Joey pulled out the slip and a pencil. He started counting. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”

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He wrote a “10” under Monday in both blanks because he had read 10 books twice. Abbie was still reading. Joey started going through his stack. He knew he needed to choose partner reading books. He picked up several books. He read two from the first page to the end and put both of them in a pile to read with Abbie.

As Abbie picked up her recording slip, she recorded “10”, “10” and quickly chose her last two books for her partner reading books. (Noted: Efficient use of time) Abbie and Joey turned side by side, chorally read all four books and both recorded 4 books under Partner on the recording slip.

DATA:

Abbie read 24 “E level books” ranging from 100-125 words.

  • Total words read = 2400 – 3000.

Joey also recorded 24 books but actually read 26 ranging from 100-125 words.

  • Total words read = 2600 – 3250.

Reading Volume: Why is it important?  

Gladwell’s research found experts put in approximately 10,000 hours of practice in order to be experts. What expertise do our students when they graduate from high school?  Working with some “round numbers” let’s consider the total number of hours a student spends in school.

6 hours each day x 180 days each year x 13 years (K-12)  =  14,040 total hours

Understanding that some instructional time will be lost. Lunch. Recess. Early outs. Late starts. Fire drills. Tornado drills. Active shooter drills. Assemblies. Field trips. I’m sure you can add to the list of what interrupts instructional time.

10,000 hours = experts so student expertise at graduation must be in “being students” as they haven’t had 10,000 hours to be readers, writers, listeners, talkers, thinkers, AND mathematicians, social scientists, scientists and fine arts experts.

Why does it matter?

Consider first graders Abbie and Joey in late September. Their books are primarily a Level E in order to concentrate practice with fairly predictable text to build accuracy, fluency and automaticity as well as confidence and independence.

Joey is in an intervention group where he chooses 5 of the books and often practices a shared reading from his classroom. 6 more books = a range of 600 – 650 more words.  Total today from 32 books = 3200 – 3900 words.

Is the difference in words read an inequity?

Before your eyes glaze over . . . Over the course of the week, the potential discrepancy will widen; the range for Abbie may be 12,000-15,000 words read in a week while Joey may read 16,000-19,500 words. Is it “fair” or “equitable” that Joey may read about another day’s worth of words during the week.

Here’s what you need to know about Joey:  No one at home reads in English. Joey is deliberately scheduled for extra practice at school to maintain a high reading volume.

Our first draft question:  What is the range in daily reading volume (books/words read) that builds successful habits, joy, competence and confidence in fall of first grade?

How do you check in on reading volume?

How do you make decisions about who needs practice?


Additional Resources:

  • Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The Story of Success. Little, Brown and Company.
  • McVeigh, F. (2013). Volume of Reading: How much is enough?  link
  • Robb, L. Volume in reading still matters!  edublog.scholastic.comScreenshot 2019-10-22 at 4.44.39 AMScreenshot 2019-10-22 at 4.45.04 AM



Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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Addendum:  The reading conferences with this student will address this practice reading because of Regie Routman’s words, “deliberate practice without effective teaching and coaching doesn’t guarantee growth.”

Routman, R. (2018). Literacy Essentials: Engagement, Excellence, and Equity for ALL Learners. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

#WhyIWrite19


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After 738 posts on this blog, I am a writer who puts marks on paper for so many reasons. Some days I celebrate stories of joy, family events, and life. Some days I invite learning: new ideas, clarification of previous learning, or to synthesize the thinking after learning. Some days I review and revise my own ideas, updating a post or adding in new ideas, thoughts, and applications. Some days I share resources and books that are a match to my current understanding of reading or writing.  And some days I write because of a compulsion to open up the faucet of ideas and let them flow.

Writing as a process takes many forms. Some are familiar and comfortable, while others are still stiff and rigid. Defaulting to poetic forms means that I can avoid rules of correctness and conventions that seem so stifling. When the goal is expression, rules become the fog in the brain that STOPS production. Frozen – unable to move forward or backward. Time stolen away, minute by minute, until the fear of “incorrectness” or death by “red ink” recedes. Unrecoverable time. Time lost unnecessarily because there is no one process, no one way to research, no one way to put marks on the paper!

Today is the National Day on Writing. You can read more about it here including an interesting fact about how much email writing an average office worker does in a year or just check out writing trivia.

Why do you write?

Why does writing matter?

#SOL19: Empowering Teachers


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I ripped open the envelope. So much hinged on the contents.  Where I would live.  Where I would work. My life.

Two pages: one page for my elementary ed placement and a second page for my special ed placement.

YES!

Both placements were in the location requested. Fourth grade in one building and then half day in the same building and half day in a second building for special ed.

16 weeks of student teaching would fill the spring semester of my senior year in college.  16 weeks around holidays and weekends would run from January through May.  16 weeks out of the dorm and in my own apartment. Apprehensive . . . perhaps a bit.  Excited . . . YES! Returning to my junior college town in a different role.  Trying on the role of a teacher.  YIKES!  Student Teaching!

Fast forward to my current work with teachers and graduate students . . . most but not all are teaching. And thinking about teacher growth, district professional development, and the opportunity to take courses, participate in webinars, and attend conferences. So many sources of learning!

I’m fascinated by this sketch noting by Joy Vega and thankful that she gave me permission to use it in my blog post. This is just the top third of the page from one of the #ILA19 sessions.

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IDENTIFIERS:

Date

Location

Title of Session

Participants

The BASICS!

It’s eye catching!  Innovative color choices . . . and the use of the dots!

Within five minutes of the opening, the audience was generating and discussing their own possible “Problems of Practice.”

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The first step in Action Research.  And then the actual research questions. The refinement. The revision. The data. The student responses. The curiosity. The quest for learning.

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And the reflections from the teachers – scattered across the US – were amazing.  These were the Heinemann Fellows presenting at #ILA19 who should be writing a book about their work! So easy to celebrate this group and their work! Empowering Teachers through Action Research:  Dr. Kimberly Parker, Aeriale N. Johnson, Tricia Ebarvia, Anna Gotangco Osborn, and Tiana Silvas.

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(If you are on Facebook, you can read Dr. Mary Howard’s notes about this session here.)

ACTION RESEARCH:  Validating Instruction, Pursuing Improved Instructional Practices, and Reflecting on Professional Growth

What if Action Research were a part of continuing education, continuing endorsements, and recertification processes for teachers? 

What if Action Research were a part of a “paid, 5th year experience” for novice teachers who had support for setting up a classroom at the beginning of the year and quality coaching ALL year long? 

What if we “re-envisioned teacher prep” programs to include first draft Action Research so data collection was placed back in the hands of teachers with curiosity and questions of their own?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#ILA19: Research


Third time’s a charm!  It was so helpful to dig into additional chapters from this book.

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I wrote briefly about the #NCTE18 session here and assessment and vocabulary as well as #ILA18 here about Chapter 16 Comprehensive Literacy Instruction and 8 essential components.

Assessment:  Peter Afflerbach Handout

So much to think about from this outline. Some key takeaways to discuss:  What do you know about your assessments?  What do they claim to measure?  How well does the assessment align with your “needs”?  What are the challenges?

How do we get quality, informed research in the hands of teachers and administrators around the world?

  1. Know the source.  What Works Clearinghouse 
  2. Know the researchers and their reputations and experience as researchers and practitioners.  Reading Hall of Fame is one trusted source.
  3. Know the goals of research.  Nell Duke and “10 Things Every Literacy Educator Should Know about Research”
  4. Attend the #ILA19 Research session with P. David Pearson and Nell Duke at 7 AM on a Saturday morning in New Orleans!

 

 

#ILA19: Images


Powerful words and images from Institute Day at #ILA19 that promise thoughtful reflection throughout the convention!

From Diane Lapp and Kelly Johnson (Breakout Workshop B)

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Afternoon Keynote

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 #earlylitILA19 pm keynote: Juli-Ann @julieB224

What images are you thinking about?

What are your Top 3 sessions for #ILA19?

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