Celebration: Learning

March is finished.  I have studied my #sol14 data.  31 days of writing charted.  Goals reviewed.  New goals considered.

Write for the weekly “slice”?


Time for a break.

Done with “Slicing” for a bit.

Time to get caught up with housework, laundry, cleaning  .   .   .   .   .


April Fool’s!


I’m back!

What?  Slicing Again?

It’s Tuesday.  Slice of Life – regular schedule!  Once a week!

I loved the routine of writing daily.  I did worry about tasks left hanging while I “sliced” daily.  Just how far behind did I get?

It doesn’t matter because I need to share this story with you.  No, I have to share this story with you!  I really want to share this story with YOU!



Yesterday was the seventh and final day of our standards – based grading sessions (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).  It was a smaller group because sixth grade is middle school for many of our districts but we still had sixth grade teachers from nine districts working collaboratively to deepen their understanding of the Iowa Core ELA Standards.  Our purposes for the day were

Today, I can:

•Increase my knowledge of standards-based reporting
•Increase my skill at determining standards-based proficiency of a writing piece
•Locate quality sources for instruction and assessment for grade 6 ELA standards to increase student learning
•Begin to plan for communication processes for this continued work
It was a great day of professional development.  I literally talked for less than an hour at the beginning of the day.  (“What a change from the old days of PD when I was yakkkkkkkkking all day long!”)  Then the teachers moved in to the writing analysis task stage.  I wrote a bit about that process with our third grade teachers last month in this post three weeks ago.
The next big chunk of time had teachers working in table teams and multiple table groups to locate quality resources for ELA instruction and assessment.  Teachers worked collaboratively, “Have you seen xxx?” and shared freely.  The opportunity to dive into resources and share the results was a great use of time.  With a Google doc as the teacher resource, all had multiple opportunities to add exactly what they needed to their own knowledge.  Excited conversation was the “unofficial rule” of the day during this work!
The final learning chunk was about communicating changes with standards – based reporting and considering the appropriate frequency and the messenger for each level .  A tight alignment of both would also increase parents’ knowledge and inform the public.  “Have we ever ‘over-communicated’ our message to parents?”    What if that became a focus for our schools?
After participants had completed a three question evaluation/planning response, I had them line up in two lines facing each other.  We literally practiced “communication lines” (live link) with our “favorite learning from today.”  Participants had an opportunity to experience this “increased talk” or “increased practice” that could also get middle schoolers up and moving!  They worked with their first partner and one other rotation and clearly understood the value of “oral rehearsal” of a learning task.
But the best part of the day for me, was my new learning.  Yes, “My New Learning!”  A fantastic day with new learning for me!
New Learning # 1

Our new literacy specialist shared this  with me, posted it on our working site and then shared it with the entire group:



This icon (comfy red chair) is then placed on your toolbar and is readily available to turn any “article” on the web into a “better” print version that can be enlarged or even shrunk to make it fit the “reader’s needs!”


New Learning # 2 (also shared by our new literacy specialist):
From a sixth grade teacher:  Viewpure.com
Why would I want or need it?  It removes the comments and all the “clutter” around a YouTube video.  All you need is the URL of the video!
Although I was the facilitator for the day’s work, I learned about these two new tech applications from a colleague who shared one source of her own and a source shared with her by a teacher seated at her table.  Collaboration and learning at its best!
I love learning!  Yesterday’s celebration: learning about readability, learning about pureview, learning from “participants”

It was a fantastic day because I was ALSO a learner!  That’s the best part of professional development!

And thanks for feeling comfortable enough to share so everyone could learn, including me!


12 responses

  1. Ha! Ha! Funny joke! So glad you came back today to share this information of learning. I will have to explore your new learning links. Sounds like it was a great day for all participants and leaders.

    1. Thanks! Some days there is such a compulsion to think, to write, and to share!

      It was a great learning day to end our series!

  2. What a cute way to start. I read and it and I thought you were so clever, because you had written, but still you were going to start getting caught up too. And a perfect little joke for today. Thanks so much for sharing your day and your learning. It’s interesting to see what other districts are doing, and how you handle a PD day. I look forward to trying the communication lines and the two websites you shared.

    1. Thanks, Lee!

      I am most appreciative of the collaborative efforts that we are sharing. There is so much power in working together and our end products ARE better together!

  3. Wow. First of all, we need you in my district, or maybe I need to be in yours. What a great day for teachers and you. And secondly you have really done a job when teachers talk more than the facilitator and they are sharing resources you don’t know of! Wow! Thanks for the app recommendations. I have AD block for but need that Pure View so the crazy stuff won’t come up at the end! Readability sounds great too (love the comfy read chair).

    Good to see you here.
    Happy April!

    1. Julieanne,
      Notice I said that has been a shift for me! It’s hard not to be “the voice” when that is your job! And of course, the “up front” work takes longer to organize and set up as well!

      Happy April to you as well!

  4. Ha! April Fool’s certainly came around rather perfectly this year. I’m with Julieanne – wish you were in my district.

    1. Those that are doing the talking are the ones doing the learning! ❤

      Thanks, Tara!

  5. Allison Jackson | Reply

    I have to admit, you had me going for a while, although it made no sense to me that you weren’t going to keep slicing. 🙂
    Happy for you that you had such a great day. Your excitement and enthusiasm is palpable. Great job!

    1. Thanks, Allison!
      Just a bit of April Fool’s Day on line. It won’t make so much sense after today, but I decided to take advantage of the day!

      It was a hard series of PD days because they were all held off-site so there were all sorts of additional details plus hauling stuff hither and yon in order for the days to turn out so well!

      I am so thankful for all the support I had from our tech folks, our secretary and the print shop! Takes all of them to help me look good!

  6. I agree about the unfinished tasks that have piled up, but couldn’t let the day go by without writing. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful resources shared at your PD!

    1. You are welcome, Catherine! I love sharing! I emailed the tech info out to some of “my” teachers today as well!

      I decided that the “tasks” will wait!

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