#SOL16: Footprints


 

footprints

Straight paths to learning this summer . . .

At TCRWP Writing and Reading Institutes

Bookstudies for “Who’s Doing the Work?” and “The Journey is Everything”

Blogging

Twitter chats

Voxer conversations

Reading

Writing

Thinking

Paths to Fun . . .

Time with my son, my daughter-in-law, and my grandson

That infectious laughter

That unquenchable love

That precious 14 month old that pushed the button on the phone to make the zoo animal reappear

Paths that endure . . .

My godparents celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary

Meeting “Slicers” face to face

Hearing stories from authors

Laughing and crying simultaneously

Our journey . . .

Friends continuing to learn together

Friends and colleagues collaborating across the miles . . .

Striving to improve

To meet previously unmet needs

To grow

To learn

To respect all

As a teacher, coach and colleague, how do I live these?

How do those around me know that these are important?

mindset stances mraz and hertz

Back to learning

Two days of Student-Centered Coaching

Prepping for Professional Development

Reviewing,

Considering Possibilities,

Studying where I have been . . .

Continuous Reflection

What footprints am I leaving?

How do I know?

slice of life 2016

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

What footprints will you be leaving this week?

(Thanks Kristi and Christine for the infographic from A Mindset for Learning:  Teaching the Traits of Joyful, Independent Growth!)

#SOL16: The Zoo


Our first family trip to the zoo over Easter is documented here and it’s a great review as we plan our St. Louis Zoo trip this week for summer vacation.

Have you been there?

Where would you begin?

Which animals are on your “must see” list?

What intrigues you about the shape/layout of the zoo?

SL zoo

Planning a vacation?

How is it like planning a piece of writing?

Do we need to know purpose?  Audience?

Do we need a structure?  An organizational framework?

What research should we do?

How do we explore the possibilities?

slice of life 2016

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

What will you be reading and writing this week?

#SOL16: Who’s Doing the Work


The quality of professional development texts for 2016 has been amazing.  One book that I continue to return to time and again to deepen my understanding is this one by Jan Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris.

work

Twitter chats, Voxer discussions and Google docs have been the electronic formats that we’ve used for our conversations.  You can review the storified chats by clicking on the links to these Literacy Lenses posts:  Read Alouds, Shared Reading, and Guided Reading,and Independent Reading.  You can also see connections and learning about/from this book in my previous posts here, here, and here. Some of you may have been fortunate to be a part of this group that presented at the #ILA16 Institute “Who’s Doing the Work? last Friday or been in the audience to see the presentation.

wdtw ila16

For those of you who don’t participate in Twitter chats, Voxer discussions or Google doc conversations book studies,

YOU HAVE MISSED SO MUCH LEARNING!

I’m not saying that you have to do all three of those but if you are a teacher of reading or writing, you must be doing some reading and writing in the summer. Learning is both efficient and effective when it includes collaborative study with peers.  I still have to do the work and wrestle with my own understanding, but then I also appreciate hearing other perspectives from colleagues and coworkers.

 Here are just a few samples from my work with understanding this book!  These are some excerpts from my writing about my reading!

A. Word Splash from Chapter 1  

Write a paragraph that uses five or more of the words listed below and is related to teaching reading.

  • scaffold
  • empowered
  • energy
  • transformative – not used
  • love
  • process
  • motivation
  • risk – not used
  • learn
  • effort
  • choice
  • trust
  • Independence    (used 11)

“Reading well requires students to put many processes to work simultaneously in an effort to understand whatever material he/she is learning from.  Factors that play into success in reading are enhanced when the student is allowed choice and is trusted to spend time reading materials of his choice.  Independence in reading takes effort and energy as a reader is empowered to construct his own meaning of texts.  Too difficult text may be frustrating and may cause the student to be too dependent on teacher scaffolds.  Motivation to continue to read may come from the synergy of the right text at the right time with the right amount of practice!”

 

B. Quotes to Ponder – Chapter 1 (Respond both before reading and after reading)

“To grow and develop as readers, children need instruction that mirrors the ‘end’ goal–readers with smoothly operating, balanced reading processes who feel empowered and motivated to take charge of their reading lives.”  (p.24)

Before Reading:  Readers need to read in order to grow and develop as readers.  Answering a barrage of questions as before, during , and after reading does not make them better readers.  The right amount of instruction matched with the right texts will build independent readers who can and do read.

“Knowing a student’s reading level, however, does not tell us anything about how that student reads … .”  p.24

Before Reading:  Reading level only tells you approximately what level text the student was last successful on.  That letter or number doesn’t tell anything about the reader and what they CAN do!

After Reading:  I am so fascinated by the fact that these two sentences followed each other in the text.   All 3 cueing systems need to be firing simultaneously (like all pistons in an engine) in order to efficient, effective reading.  Instruction can’t be parsed out and over-focused on any one element! (quote 2) All three readers had same letter but different issues.  The level is only one piece of the data puzzle.  It’s not the end game.

“Each instructional context, from read-aloud through independent reading, makes a unique contribution to students’ growth in proficiency and agency.” (p.27)

Before Reading:  The student is a product of all instructional contexts so each, ind. Reading – read-aloud, are important to his/her development.  Those contexts help build the “want to read” motivation so that students are successful later!

“Teaching across the gradual release of responsibility with an emphasis on reading process–versus an emphasis on reading level–will change the way you teach reading forever.” (p.27)

Before Reading:  Reading level is limiting – reading processes open up the universe to the student! Process will help focus on what the student is capable of and will provide the information needed to keep the student moving forward.  Reading is not about a certain % to pass a leveled book test.

After Reading:  Fascinating, again, that these two sentences were also back to back in the text.  Balance in reading processes requires a balance in instructional contexts that creates the internal motivation to read/learn . . that want to read.  And when you focus on reading process (within GRR), your teaching will be changed forever!!!

Subtle shift to “What can you try?”

C. Poem – Chapter 5 (Independent Reading)

Choose from these words to create a poem.

skill independent encounter conferences
learning difficult agentive struggles
automaticity quiet responsibility community
apply strategy differences evolved
solve pleasure assessment books
observe benefits selecting zone
transfer problems passions guidance
strengths exchange reading titles
support individual opportunities energy
habit performing levels just-right
glitches ideas stamina choice

Which words would you choose?

What would your poem look like?  

What would be your evidence of learning?

Here’s mine.

Independent Reading

Choice.

Choice in what I read

Choice in when I read

Choice in where I read

Choice in ideas I explore

Choice in whether I want to or need to reread

Choice.

Choice in community in which I share

A habit, deeply ingrained in my readerly life

My responsibility to monitor

Building on my strengths, my passions, my pleasure in learning

Growing as a reader

Joyful . . .

Choice.

Of those three activities, which would you consider:

A:  Word Splash

B. Quotes to Ponder

C. Poem

And WHY?

How do you work on your learning?

Twitter, Voxer, Google Docs, Blog Posts = Evidence of my learning

Low Tech would be paper, pencil, markers, notes . . .

What’s your evidence of learning / thinking?

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  The hardest step is the first step of your learning journey!

 

 

 

#SOL16: Ready to Travel Again


unpacking.jpeg

Two carry-on bags

One on wheels

One that lived on my shoulder or by my side at #TCRWP.

The Vera Bradley bag . . .

Notebook,

Pens,

Markers,

Mac,

Phone,

Power strip with five plugs,

Killer Whales,

On Market Street,

DIY Literacy,

companions for the last two weeks.

Empty now and ready to be refilled.

What will be the next adventure?

The roller carry on . . .

What treasures you carried!

Books,

Books,

And more books,

Who’s Doing the Work,

The Journey is Everything,

Craft Moves – 

all accompanied me from Iowa.

New items . . .

Reading Chart post its and

Read Aloud post its,

Plus receipts to be filed.

Minimal space for

Maximum learning.

Clothes and shoes all re-closeted.

It’s time to repack to be ready for the next adventure.

All pockets emptied.

Refilling the shampoo.

Restocking the personal items.

Ready for the next adventure.

Ready to travel again.

Next destination?

Planned?  Unplanned?

Ready! 

 

unpacking

 

slice of life 2016

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

 

#TCRWP Travel


travel

3:47 am landing in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday.

Before that,

we had drinks and snacks served on the nonstop Delta flight.

Before that,

we actually departed LaGuardia.

Before that,

Our captain, with flying hours left, arrived from Canada and was released from his previous plane.

Before that,

we had libations comped courtesy of the captain.

Before that,

we wondered if a captain could be found or if we would be required to deplane.

Before that,

we watched as passengers in the first bus returned because the catering truck left without filling water, ice, and the necessities for flight.

Before that,

we entered a bus to head to our plane scheduled for a non-stop flight to Des Moines.

Before that,

the long awaited announcement that our flight was ready to board.

Before that,

the announcements of restricting the number of flights in NYC airspace.

Before that,

the announcement that the FAA closed the airport due to lightning strikes within 3 miles of the runaways.

Before that,

resettling at a new gate without electrical plug ins.

Before that,

the announcement that our flight would now be leaving from Gate D12.

Before that,

I began writing my blog post for Saturday.

Before that,

As flights resumed, I was finally able to find a seat in a “re-charge” area.

Before that,

I considered myself lucky to have a seat in the terminal packed with folks like me ~ eager to travel ~ but grounded when the FAA closed the airport runways due to a tornado warning.

Before that,

I was recording reading notes and sobbing while reading.

Before that,

I sat and devoured . . .  What a great pairing!  Thanks, Justin, Susie and Sally for recommending such great choices!

 

 

Before that,

I was at the #TCRWP Closing for the 2016 June Reading Institute!  Surrounded by friends and so many folks who LOVE reading!

Before that,

I was at the #TCRWP 2016 June Writing Institute!

 

Screenshot 2016-07-03 08.15.20

 

Eventful travels home from #TCRWP June Reading Institute?  

Still in NYC? 

Safe travels for all learners!   And especially for those soon heading to ILA16 in Boston!

 

#TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 5


Amanda Hartman

Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini-lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)

Practice, practice, practice was the focus of our small group work.  Sometimes it was the role of the teacher. Other times it was the role of students.  Our workshop model provided multiple opportunities for practice in our groups with quick tips from Amanda. We always referred back to these criteria.

Powerful Whole Class Instruction for K-2 Students

  1. Clarity and Concise Language
  2. Engaging and Engaged
  3. Assess and Give Feedback
  4. Links and Skills (Strategies) to Independent and Partner/Club Work
  5. Opportunities for Oral Language Development “

 

Takeaways:

  1. “If Reading Workshop was the Olympics, I would have a gold medal in Read Alouds.”  AH
  2. “As you are reading aloud make sure that you have transferable skills for the unit that will TRANSFER to any book.  REPLICABLE!” AH
  3. “Try out a whole class conversation at the mid-point of the Read Aloud book. You do not have to wait for the end of the book!” AH
  4. I think “Think Alouds” are weird because lean and meaningful is hard! Getting students to think with you as well as help them know how and where to think is just not easy!!!
  5. Reading Workshop will follow the lead of the teacher.  There is room for engaging, fun, joyful, active, learning side by side with students!

 

Kathleen Tolan

Beyond Guided Reading: Expanding Your Repertoire of Small Group Work in Nonfiction (3-8)

Today we looked at more tools and saw a simple goal sheet for a first grader that listed 3 goals for Fiction and 3 goals for Informational texts.  Six goals for a first grader.  Six goals chosen by a first grader. Six goals written by a first grader.  Six goals. Attainable goals. Clear goals. Skills a first grader DOES need to work on.

Students at other grade levels CAN set their own goals.  Teacher expectations are critical.  Goals based on self-assessment of the progressions or some work with tools that lift the level of student writing is the right work.  The work could go more than one way.  Choices for students.  Choices for teachers. Choices!

Takeaways:

  1. Magic is coming back together – planned, taught, revised so it goes better – Now ready to go when need it again!
  2. Who is doing the work?  It needs to be the students!
  3. The job of the tool is to provide reminders so the student can do the work without an adult.
  4. A lean, clear Teaching Point makes the small group most effective.
  5. Have realistic expectations, consistent practice, and work towards multiple goals to maximize small group work.

 

Closing:

Singing

Reading

Sharing

Thanking,

The staff developers with a standing ovation

All the support staff

Special thanks to Tim and the tech support staff

Shanna, Brooke and Audra for their lead work

Kathleen Tolan for the oversight of all institutes

and then – the finale

A speech with one-liners, audience participation, singing, pictures . . . and all that jazz!

On Getting Good at Goodbye

(a found poem from Natalie Louis’s speech)

It all begins with a Hello

There is so much advice about how to begin

Goodbye is another thing.

Everything is a process

Meaning-making, problem-solving and in that order

Do note that I got to the title  – That’s a  craft move

Productive process

Everything begins with a goodbye . . . real powerful change

Need someone to “git-er” done and hold your heart

A partner can be the difference between crying alone in the corner or beginning that small group

When something is big and truly new, it is okay to approximate!

“Ish it!”

A moment of goodbye

Ready, Fire, Aim

Doing new teaching is the learning!

It takes a lot of slow to grow – I know!

We all come from places of the heart!

Getting good at goodbye . …

What are you getting good at?  

What life progressions have you studied?  

passion

Dear friends,

Any errors in reporting from #TCRWP are mine

This blog represents what I thought I heard . . .

It’s only one view of the learning

Filtered through my eyes and ears,

A fun-filled week of writing and a week of reading!

 

 

#TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 4


Writing about Day 4,

Anticipating how Day 5 will go,

Downloaded Nine, Ten.

Opened Nine, Ten.

Everyone will mention the same thing, and if they don’t, when you ask them, they will remember. It was a perfect day.”

Rush, Rush, Rush.

Pack, Toss, Go.

Downloaded Raymie Nightingale.

Opened Raymie Nightingale.

“There were three of them, three girls.”

Revise, Plan, Revise – Finish that homework.

Worry just a bit about the weight of the carry on suitcase.

Tweet about need for book 3 for flight.

Boarding pass screenshot saved in gallery.

Repack day/work bag.

What do I REALLY need for today?

Checking to see if there’s a long-lost “un-read” book on my kindle.

Procrastinating

Something about writing Day 4 post that seems too rushed . . .

Not ready for Day 5

It’s too soon . . .

The beginning of the end!

Enough!  What about Day 4?

Amanda Hartman

Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini-lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)

We brainstormed a list of all the things that could go wrong in shared reading and then came up with some solutions.  What fabulous work for a grade level PLC or vertical PLC?  How many different ways can we solve those recurring issues?   If we don’t have the solution, we can reach out and pose the question on Twitter or check into the topics of the weekly #TCRWP Twitter Chats!

Pace . . . speeding up our instruction, and adding a bit more enthusiasm and excitement did help meet the “Engaging and Engaged” criteria.  It’s not about being a “mini-Amanda”(which would be amazing!),  but it is about considering exactly which behaviors contribute to the success of a lesson.  So many ways to check in on students – thumbs up, turn and talk, act out, share outs – without slowing down to wait for 100% of the students!

Takeaways:

  1. Teaching students how to self-evaluate  is so important ~ Even on Day One in kindergarten!
  2. Lean teaching – less teacher talk and more student talk and work is critical – I already know it!
  3. Shared Reading – Use a story telling voice; not a point to every word boring voice!
  4. Not every Read Aloud book has a book introduction.  Don’t kill your Read Alouds. Know your purpose!
  5. Do you know Houndsley and Catina?  Such great characters with so many problems!

 

Kathleen Tolan

Beyond Guided Reading: Expanding Your Repertoire of Small Group Work in Nonfiction (3-8)

Today we saw some different options for note taking for small groups.  The key is to record the information that is vital for continuing on.  Did you check in on Joey? Ok? Not?  Quick notes – no complete sentences needed – that will keep the groups and you moving forward.

We also presented our series of three lessons and had some superb coaching that led to our revision assignment for tomorrow!  YAY, Revision!  Fixing and making stronger YET leaner! What a challenge. Not more words  . . . but more precise words! Clarity in the Teaching Point and Link!

But the amazing part was watching Kathleen, quite masterfully, run three different groups in the room at the same time in 12 minutes.  Simply amazing.  All three groups were working on different goals.  All three groups had some group and individual time with the teacher.  It did NOT seem rushed.  But yet there was a sense of urgency and a need to get busy and accomplish the work!

Takeaways:

  1. Written Teaching Points keep you focused!
  2. Try 2 simultaneous groups.  Assign locations and then get all students working on reading first!
  3. Know what your end goal is!
  4. Have your tools and texts organized with extras handy!
  5. Give it a go!  Nothing ventured; nothing gained!

Choice Session

Katie Clements

The Intersection of Guided Reading, Strategy Lessons and Book Clubs

Key Principles of Small Group Work:

  1. Kids do the heavy lifting.
  2. Small group work is flexible.
  3. Small group work is assessment – based. 
  4. Small group work is for EVERYONE. (so is independent work)
  5. Small group work empowers kids.  (set goals, work with partners, or lead own group)
  6. Small group work builds skills over time. (cannot master in 10 min.  – or expect transfer)

I loved creating this chart  (putting Katie’s info into the boxes) to compare the three types of small group instruction that we typically see in classrooms.  How are they alike?  How are they different?

Guided Reading Strategy Lessons Book Clubs
Who? Kids reading at or close to same reading level Kids who need help with the same skill, goal, or reading habit

Not level dependent

Kids who read at or near the same reading level
What? Teacher – selected texts

Slightly above independent reading level

Usually kids’ independent reading books Kids have limited choice over the books

Multiple copies of the same title

Why? Move kids up levels Help kids strengthen reading skills, goals, habits

Support transference

Deepen engagement

Deepen reading, writing, talk about books

Provide authentic reading experiences

How it goes? Book introduction

Kids read/teacher coaches responsively

Ends with conversation and a teaching point

Begins with a teaching point and brief teach

Kids try to do the work with teacher coaching

Ends with a link

Kids develop agendas for reading, thinking, jotting

Teachers coach in to support skill work and talk

Takeaways:

  1. Book clubs provide so much student choice and need to be used more frequently.
  2. Book introductions can definitely go more than one way – so helpful to SEE two different ones for the same book.
  3. Scaffold student work – figurative language can be found on this page that I have pre-posted for you. (Student finds word -Teacher has narrowed down to this page, and this one, and this one! – So smart!)
  4. All students reading before teacher starts coaching tends to lead to lean coaching. (Not answering task questions)
  5.  Think as you read.  When do you wish for a tool? Something to help you through a tricky part?  That’s what students need!

How important is community to adult readers?  To our novice readers?  

How do teachers practice enough to be “skilled” at their teaching/coaching craft?

 

 

#TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 3


And today’s theme across the day was:

fired up

Teachers,

Do what it takes to BUILD a community of Readers!

. . .

Amanda Hartman

Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini-lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)

Spending more time studying shared reading is definitely NOW on my “To Do” list for this summer as we heard (and experienced) the benefits of shared reading where the teacher has a large text (big book, chart, smart board, doc camera) that the teacher and students read chorally. The three basic purposes that we explored for shared reading were:  introduce a new text, reread a text, or as a warm-up text.  As with many reading components, the amount of time spent on shared reading can vary as long as students are ENGAGED!  And to learn that the time could be just five minutes here or there makes the plan to include shared reading so much easier!

The benefits for students are many.  The most obvious is that accuracy, fluency, and comprehension all improve with rereading so beginning approximations are celebrated.  Students are rereading with their friends so they have built in support from the teacher and fellow students. And shared reading helps build that sense of a community of readers in the classroom.

We participated in demonstrations and we demonstrated.  Just a few of the skills we considered:

  • guess the covered word
  • 1:1 correspondence
  • slide the word
  • the word begins with
  • the word ends with
  • rhyming word
  • clues from the picture
  • cross-checking print
  • retelling – comprehension
  • rereading for fluency – “let’s reread that together”
  • what do you predict next
  • look for patterns
  • build vocabulary

One book we used was Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  This shared reading could end with writing our own book.

______, _____ what do you see?

I see ______ looking at me.

 

If student names are on post its and the class practices reading this with their own names, they are also beginning to get in the repetitions needed for some sight words.  Will some be memorizing?  Of course!  It’s so important that auditory memory gets involved, but the teacher can, by pointing to the words, have students match her pacing!

Takeaways:

  1. Shared reading is a valuable use of readers’ time when students are reading!
  2. Interactions can include gestures and movements during shared reading.
  3. Text variety is important:  listening centers, You tube video with text or Raz kids.  You don’t have to wait until you have little copies of the text!
  4. Shared reading is a safe way for students to “join in” reading.  Not everyone’s voice will be heard the first time but the goal is to encourage student voices to become the voice heard in shared reading.
  5. Shared reading is fun, exciting, and joyful.  What a great way to sneak in a bit of content/holiday/fun that just doesn’t fit elsewhere!

 

Kathleen Tolan

Beyond Guided Reading: Expanding Your Repertoire of Small Group Work in Nonfiction (3-8)

I love that Kathleen starts a bit each day with the WHY we need to be doing this work.  And it’s all about “Just DO it”!  If instruction is responsive we need to have “way more conversations with our colleagues” in order to be more cohesive. “Responding to the needs of your students requires content knowledge and planning! (not showing off tools)”

For this reason, supervisors need to understand workshop and reading processes!  When they are in classrooms, they need to KNOW what they are seeing.  In repertoire teaching, the teachers also need to be specific.  You would hear the teacher say something like “I expect to see some of you doing . . . . and some of you will be doing the work of the lesson.”  Teachers need to be educating supervisors by setting up lessons for “repertoire” in connection and link.  “What’s one old way?  What’s one new way?  What are the two things you will do as a student?  (BRILLIANT!)

Two teaching methods that we worked with today were inquiry (fluency demo) and reminder – definitely coaching light!  We have to continue to know how to help students meet their goals and build the habits of readers.  Again this requires deep content knowledge.

Takeaways:

  1. Organize your small group materials. Have extra copies of all tools out for students with a student as “Tool Monitor”.
  2. Study the progressions with colleagues.  Develop the “cheat sheets” – four levels on a page to be cut apart.
  3. Reading notebooks have the evidence of work towards student goals.  That can be an index in the back.
  4. Make sure that a student does the work during small group time.  They have to be practicing and doing the work for it to transfer. And group time does mean LESS reading time!
  5. Celebrate what students CAN do!  Focus on the CANS! Celebrate all the things the readers CAN DO!  (They already know what they can’t do!)

Choice Session
Falling in Love with Close Reading in Nonfiction – Kate Roberts

Kate began with a bit of background about close reading. What it is. What it isn’t. How long we have been close reading – “since the monks were in caves with candle lights flickering trying to determine the meaning of the divine”.

Witty,

Articulate,

Planned,

Engaging,

Engaged . . .

Learning and

Laughing Together!

If you need background on Falling In Love with Close Reading, do go to Kate or Chris’s blog here.  It’s so NOT boring to do some close reading with Kate.

Process:

Lyrics for:  “Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Justin Timberlake  

Step 1. Listen to the song twice. What would my kids say the message or meaning is?            Listen again and make a vertical list of all the words or phrases in the song that speak to you and go with your current message.

Step 2. Sync up your list with a partner and look for patterns.  What words or phrases are the same?  Use this list of evidence to find patterns (This is the HARD work of close reading.)  Which words or phrases go together?  Color code!

Step 3. Think some more  – what is the message in this song?

Step 4. Transfer to written text.  Practice with nonfiction text.

falling in love

Takeaways:

  1. We do “close read” the things we love – pay attention and even “hyper attention” to those things we love. Let’s build upon that awareness/attention/attraction.
  2. Close reading should be fun and joyful.
  3. Close reading with a song or poem is a wonderful entry point.  It can’t be drudgery!
  4. Close reading is about beginning with the text for evidence.  Don’t leap to interpretation or “guessing” what someone / test writer wants!
  5. An act of close reading is taking the rough draft idea to a more interesting idea for  you!

Keynote  

Voice and Choice: Fostering Reading Ownership

Donalyn Miller

donalyn

This slide sums up much of what Donalyn Miller said to us.  I have so many responses to Donalyn’s presentation:  as a teacher, coach, mother, grandmother, and most of all, as a reader.

I listened to the heartbreak in her description of her daughter – an avid early reader – whose reading life diminished in middle school because “that’s just not so important here” to the joy of being at a Montana reading meeting when Sarah called her, “I just finished The Great Gatsby and I need to talk about it but Dad doesn’t remember it.”  

What harm is being done to students in the name of inappropriate actions, beliefs and practices?  Well-intentioned? Yes.  Mis-guided?  Yes.

To support you, go to Donalyn’s most popular posts.

“Guess My Lexile”

“No More Language Arts and Crafts”

 

“I’ve got research. Yes, I do. I’ve got research.  How about you?”

or to hear about books – The Nerdy Book Club!

Takeaways:

  1. To be better readers, kids need to read every day.
  2. Provide access to books that kids CAN and WANT to read.
  3. Access to books should not depend on teacher’s ability to fund his/her own library. “NO ONE asks the basketball coach to provide his own basketballs.”
  4. Books need to be mirror, windows, and doors to lead readers to connections.
  5. “We are in the hope business. Now more than ever there is a need for critical reading.  For a better world, send more readers out in the world.  It is never to be late to be a reader.”

How are you building communities of readers?  

What actions support your beliefs?  

What is your plan to build even stronger communities that love to read and choose to read?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 2


The joy of Advanced Sessions is that you choose the topics you are interested in and then hope and pray that you get your first choice. I’m in my first choice sessions and they are exactly what I need for myself and for the teachers/buildings I work with.

However, my learning curve has been straight up this week.  And that intensity and upward knowledge increase has caused some mental confusion and had me thinking deeply about what I know, what I think I know and what I actually can DO myself!  Perfect learning . . . sometimes painful learning.

Amanda Hartman

What are the methods that we can use to teach our mini-lessons?

  • Demonstration
  • Guided Practice
  • Inquiry

And what details are most important?  It depends upon the purpose!  Inquiry can be the most engaging for the Teacher and also provide high engagement for students.  Guided practice works best when students need the practice and aren’t learning a “new – new” skill.

 

In two days, we have been reading, writing and teaching mini-lessons.  Some lessons we have read four times under Amanda’s directions.  We have, more than have half of us, taught our own mini-lesson to another table group in the room.  Our prep time has been minimal.  That’s been a good thing – we can’t obsess over perfection.

But we can quickly review our work through the lenses of Powerful Whole Group Instruction:

  1. Clarity and Concise Language
  2. Engaging and Engaged
  3. Assess and Give Feedback
  4. Links and Skills (Strategies) to Independent and Partner/Club Work
  5.  Opportunities for Oral Language Development

In two days, our teaching points are more explicit.  Our coaching is more specific.  On the spot feedback keeps us on track. Our mini-lessons are improving because of our partner work and our large group work!

Takeaways:

  1. A mini-lesson does not need to be fully scripted but it is helpful to have a plan that includes anticipating approximations.
  2. Why do my students need this lesson?  When I can list multiple reasons both the connections and the links are stronger.
  3. ONE, ONE, ONE teaching point.  Keep it simple silly!  ONE!
  4. What coaching can you plan for?
  5. Practice, practice, practice.  I loved that Molly’s lesson was like 5,000 times better than mine – such a great demonstration!   I need to see, hear, and teach MORE lessons!

 

 

Kathleen Tolan 

Kathleen began today with a story about playing cards in her family and then compared it to our small group work.

“Down and dirty”

Serious.

Take a risk.

Get in the game.

Do it!

Great words of advice for me!

We spent time on pacing.  Small groups often become bogged down when it’s about the teacher (which it isn’t)!  Teachers feel compelled to impart great wisdom and sometimes forget to listen and follow the lead of the students.  Again in this session, I had the privilege of coaching a demonstration lesson in a small group after four minutes of planning with a wonderful partner.  More than 4 minutes wouldn’t have made it better; I needed to teach it!  I envy friends who do teach more than one class in a day because, with practice, the lesson/coaching improves each time.  But sometimes you do just have to jump in and do it!

Kathleen challenged us to work smarter. If we meet in a grade level group or vertical groups with all the Units and a copier, we can create resources that will help us be prepared for small groups.

Example:

Perspective  – Where and what does this look like in first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade?  Copy the charts, any prompts onto resource pages.  Add a text to practice – Voila!

Practice turning a chart into a cheat sheet for students.  How would this look?

Study a mini-lesson on vocabulary.  How does this go in all the other grades?  Copy those charts – shrink them down so charts from three or four grades can be on the same page.

Practice, practice, practice.  You will be better at “responding to students” by responding to students.

Takeaways:

  1. Practice teaching in a small group is like going to weekly Toastmasters meetings.  Frequent practice will increase your confidence.
  2.  There is no ONE right method for small group instruction. Focus on what your students need.  Follow up with partner work and a second or third group meeting on the same content to ensure more practice.
  3. Sometimes we notice something else and go off a tangent.  Use the cheat sheet / resources to stay focused.
  4. Check your prompts. Are they transferable?  Or are they too specific?  (borrow them from the progressions)
  5. Practice time means the students are doing the work. Set the conditions. Let them work!  They, too, must do the work in order to become better, stronger, and more confident readers.

Mary Ehrenworth – What Readers Need

May began by asking us several questions to have us think about what defines our strongest readers. Then she said to consider that, “Potential avid readers are EVERYWHERE.  Think of those who could become AVID readers. Not just the readers who are already reading at the highest levels in our classrooms.  It’s all about expectations.  Some kids are just waiting to be recognized.  What if we don’t see them?

Alligton’s “What Readers Need” supports this work by providing the conditions:

  1. Access to books they find fascinating 
  1. Protected time to read
  1. Expert instruction.

 

And then thinking about the structures that will help more readers be extraordinary readers:

  • Choose books more purposefully
  • Series, series, series
  • Strong reader partnerships and club
  • Start informal social clubs around reading

Takeaways:

  1. 400 million kids read 4,000 pages in the Harry Potter series. Those students may have worked on their synthesis skills – How did Harry Potter change?  How did others’ perceptions of him change? Have you studied a series?
  2. We need to study our classroom libraries.  If my 5th grade library looks almost identical to the fourth grade collections there may not be many choices for students.
  3. We need MUST teach students how to find books everywhere so that they can always be reading because extraordinary readers DON’T just read for 30 minutes each day in class.
  4. Our classrooms need to be where our students flourish!  They can’t flourish in spite of us – after our assigned readings, after a book that takes 3-4 weeks to read as a whole class novel . . .
  5. Of the three conditions, which one do you need to work on?   Access to books they find fascinating? Protected time to read?  Expert instruction?   When will you start?

Matt de La Pena – Keynote

To have an autographed and stickered book;  yes, it is worth having more than one copy of this book.  Especially now.  Matt closed his speech Tuesday to the rapt attention of hundreds of teachers, administrators and even authors in Cowan Auditorium, by reading this book to us.

last stop

Matt inspired us with his story and his humility. He talked about his beginnings in National City (even asking who was from that area) and sharing that his Mexican-American heritage is not reflected in books.  Matt connected his growing up with two completely different sets of families was like “code switching” and also the impetus for this book.

mexican whiteboy

His ticket out of his neighborhood was basketball.  His message of needing more books that reflect our students’ culture is critical.  But his story of hope and aspiration is also important.  I, too, know what it was like to be the first graduate from a four year university in my family.  Education is powerful and sometimes we get there through totally unexpected paths.

What book did Matt read 12 times during his public school career? (If it’s good, why not reread rather than starting a new book?)

The House on Mango Street

What book did he read in two days while on a basketball out of town trip,  upon invitation by a college instructor, before he graduated?

The Color Purple

More on his books and his background can be found on his website here. While autographing my copy of Market Street, Matt mentioned that he was headed to Iowa for appearances in Ames and Cedar Rapids so I was especially pleased to read about a previous trip (2014) to Cedar Falls, Iowa here.  If you have not yet read his Newbery acceptance speech, it is here.

Takeaways:

  1. “Teachers and authors don’t often immediately see the results of their work.  Patience  . . . you will!”
  2. “Books do not include the diversity that reflects our kids!” Help kids find themselves in books!
  3. “You need to consider the possibilities in your self-definition.”  Don’t let your background limit you.
  4. “Some of the best books you will read will start out uncomfortable!”  Readers need to know this!
  5. “Books make me feel emotional.”  Books need to connect.  Books can be a lifesaver.  Find the books that connect.

What book(s) have been the inspiration or possibilities for you?  

How do you help students find those books/stories?  

How do you continue to “outgrow yourself” as a reader, thinker, or writer?

 

 

 

 

#TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 1


And so it begins  . . . this week I am attending the #TCRWP June Reading Institute and it’s off to an amazing start! This is what my brain felt like about 2 pm on Monday . . . with an hour and a half YET to go.

Exploding head

08 May 2001 — Exploding head — Image by © John Lund/CORBIS

WHY?

Information Overload!

Just plug that CAT 6 cable directly into my brain and let me power on all the assistance I can.  It’s going to be an exhilarating experience!

Lucy Calkins Keynote

Why do we read?  How does reading benefit us as a community?  How does the community benefit when we are readers?  These questions weren’t posed by Lucy but so many questions ran through my mind today during her “Call to Action.”

“We come from 38 countries and 41 states . . . 1300 of you to learn about teaching reading . . . to learn about yourselves . . . to learn from each other . . . From places in the heart . . .To say no . . . To say yes”

TCRWP isn’t just an event. It’s not about attending for a week, soaking up knowledge, returning home, and regurgitating that knowledge to a welcome (or unwelcome) audience.  TCRWP is about the community – face to face this week –  on Facebook and Twitter in the future and even on blogs like this between institutes and Saturday reunions.  If you take risks, are vulnerable this week, you will never be the same reader or teacher of reading in the future.  You will grow. You will stretch. You will fly. Empathy is built day by day.  We can and we must learn and understand by thinking ourselves into other’s places.

Takeaway Questions:

  1. How will you support your reading community?
  2. Maybe we need a new educational story.  To reach, to dream, to grow strong . . What do you need in order to grow yourself?
  3. How can you grow your own version of #TCRWP?  Your own nest?
  4. There’s important work to be done.  It will be hard work.  We as educators are asked to outgrow our own work.  How will you outgrow your own work?
  5. It’s not just about naming the strategies, but inducting kids into the identities and values of READERS! How will you create a safe community for your readers?

 

Amanda Hartman

Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)

Funny.

Fast-paced.

Articulate.

Explanation and Demonstration.

Powerful Whole Class Instruction for K-2 Students

  1. Clarity and Concise Language
  2. Engaging and Engaged
  3. Assess and Give Feedback
  4. Links and Skills (Strategies) to Independent and Partner/Club Work
  5.  Opportunities for Oral Language Development “

 

Read and Study Mini-lesson individually. (1st grade, lesson 10 – Readers learn new words as they read.) Mini-lesson Practice with Partners.  Mini-lesson planning table group. Mini-lesson Delivery. Debrief. Discuss Goals. Video of Mini-lesson. Discussion of how that was the same and how that was different. Mini-lesson Delivery. Discussion of Goals.

. . . and in all that “What were we studying in the Mini-lesson?

Teaching Point

Pacing – Vitality, Having students think alongside us, Student talk/listen/feedback

Assessment

Feedback

Takeaways:

  1. Whole class teaching – staying focused is critical! Don’t let student responses lead you down the rabbit hole!
  2. Knowing the Teaching Point is critical. Forward, backward, what comes next? What came before? What it looks and sounds like when a reader REALLY does this.
  3. Focus on one Teaching Point. Not a “Never ending Teaching Point”
  4. Growing students means lots of practice.  That lesson won’t have teacher demonstration but will instead have tons of student practice – PLAN.FOR.IT.
  5. Study lessons together. Discuss the work together.  Build your own community to support your learning about the teaching of reading!

Kathleen Tolan

Beyond Guided Reading: Expanding Your Repertoire of Small Group Work in Nonfiction (3-8)

“Small group work is hard.  Our goal this week is to open up our repertoire about different methodologies to deliver small group instruction.”

What is your vision of small group work?  I’m most familiar with guided reading groups but also like literature circles and book club work.

What’s preventing small group work?

Management – What are the rest of the kids doing?

Fear – I’m not good at it! (not enough practice)

Results – It doesn’t really work for my kids. Or took 40 minutes to “drag that group through the lesson.” There’s no time to do that every day!

Today, I saw, heard and was a part of . . .

  1.  Demonstration Small Group
  2. Read Aloud Small Group

We watched Kathleen in action and then “copycatted that exact same lesson” into our small groups with two different members as the teacher (not me, not me!)

Remember that brain on fire at the top of this blog . . . this was the first time I’d ever seen a Read Aloud Small Group. So new. So much to absorb and process.  My mind was swirling. . . Where would this happen?  When?  With which students?  Why?

I had to take a deep breath.  And then another one. The engagement of the students in the Read Aloud Small Group was intense.  No student could hide.  Everyone had to do the work – in order to contribute to the learning. What a way to know exactly what kids are thinking and to “get them unstuck” and moving!

Takeaways:

  1.  On any given skill I could be the top, middle, or bottom. The goal of small groups is to grow and move ALL readers – not just the “struggling readers”.
  2. TC – Kathleen – said that they have been studying small group work for the last year and a half.  It’s okay that I don’t know this!
  3. Increase your accountability for small groups with a public, visible schedule.  That will push you as the teacher as well as the students.
  4. Teachers over plan small group work.  The small group work should be a continuation of the mini-lesson.  It’s not about going out and finding new, wonderful text to use. It’s about more practice – more student practice and way less “teacher talk”.
  5. Feedback is hard.  It is about tone.  It is about the length of the message.  It’s also about giving and receiving feedback.  So very complicated!

 

What new skill/strategy are you practicing?  

Have you found / created a safe community to practice?  

How does what you are learning from your own learning impact your planning for instruction for your students?

slice of life 2016

This is my story of learning.

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  Writing makes us all more human!

 

 

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