SOL 14: Back to School

ImageTuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsey for creating that place for us to work collaboratively.


It’s back to school time for many teachers this week in Iowa.

What does that mean?

Well, lots of meetings and professional development for one thing.  But also the culmination of lots of planning for teachers.  Many teachers have been reviewing and polishing their lessons from last year.  Others have attended professional development locally or even in such far away places as New York City for the #TCRWP Writing Institute.

What blogs would be good to review now?

The Blog-a-Thon at Two Writing Teachers for the last week focused on building classroom routines for both reading and writing workshops.  That link was for Tara’s first post about Writing Notebooks.  And here is the recap for the week if you want to pick and choose your topics. What routines do you establish with your students to move them to the “independent” stage?  What new routines do you plan to add this year?


What quotes are you going to hold on to as the year begins?

Lucy Calkins:  June and August Reading Institute 2014

“To lift the level of reading you are teaching, you must work on your own reading. Outgrow yourself as a reader. Start today.”

“ We are no longer teaching information, but teaching students to sort, understand and make something out of the information that is at their fingertips.”

From Brooke Geller and the July TCRWP Reading Institute:

Richard Allington:  “Many of our readers are over taught and under practiced.”

From Mr. Minor at the August TCRWP Reading Institute:

“Don’t slow down for struggling readers. Projects disrespect. Keep pace high with repetitions.”

(All of these tweets were also found n Twitter.  Just one more reason for you to check out #TCRWP this week during the August Reading Institute!) 🙂


What do those quotations have in common?
What is different about them?
Which two would you choose to compare and contrast?


What are you planning for/ holding onto as you begin this new school year?


Back to School

New room

New students

New teacher

Excited to learn!







Books on shelves

Books in tubs

Books on spinners

Books everywhere.


The bell rings.

Students race in.

Excited voices

Eager to tell their stories.

11 responses

  1. Thank you for those wonderful quotes!! Here’s one I’m holding onto this year: “Communities are not built of friends, or of groups of people with similar
    styles and tastes, or even of people who like and understand each other.
    They are built of people who feel they are part of something that is
    bigger than themselves: a shared goal or enterprise, like righting a wrong,
    or building a road, or raising children, or living honorably, or worshipping
    a god. To build community requires only the ability to see value in others:
    to look at them and see a potential partner in one’s enterprise.” Suzanne Goldsmith

    1. Michelle,
      That is so beautiful! “only the ability to see value in others” is especially my favorite!

      Thanks for commenting! I’m not sure where the summer went but back to school is here!!!

    2. Michelle – I am working on a post about community. Would you mind if I used this?

  2. Fran, I loved Lucy’s advice to “outgrow yourself as a reader” also! (Michelle’s quote, too.) My brain is full to the brim already, and it’s only the beginning of the second day! We don’t go back until the 25th, but I’ll be spending most of next week planning ways to work all the wisdom of TCRWP into our curriculum and teaching. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Catherine,
      It’s so amazing that so many brilliant minds can all be assembled in one location! I used some of the quotes today in reading PD and am itching to work on writing for ALL DAY PD on Thursday.

      So much fun for me!

      So glad that you are learning a lot and still have time to comment, my friend! 🙂

  3. Having a quote or quotes to guide a year is a fresh approach. No quotes but my keywords for this year include questioning, habits, relationships, daring and celebrations. I said goodbye to the summer yesterday. I have school thoughts floating in my mind but I need to step to my classroom to switch to school mode.

    1. Terje,
      I love your idea of keywords. My buildings all have different needs but “celebrations” is one that I am going to remember everywhere. Folks are working very hard and i want to be sure to recognize that!

      Always appreciate your thoughts!

  4. Good luck and have a great school year. I miss the first day, still even after 10 years.

    1. It’s amazing how we often like our rituals. My son and I always went out to dinner on his first night of school! It was so much fun!

  5. Although I have already started my school year, there have been many posts today which have given me many things to think about. Allington’s quote has stuck with me. This seems to be so true and is something I really want to work at. Kids need practice – I need to give it to them – administration needs to be OK with it.

    1. Leigh Anne,
      The key to practice and repetition is “small practices” so that learning is actually accelerated for those that need the 20 practices or more. In our world of “Gradual Release of Responsibility” that often may need that student or small group of students has an immediate “extra guided practice” at a table with the teacher while other students may be doing partner practice.

      Goals: Independent work by student
      Work by student is transferable – so vitally necessary learning before continuing!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Hope your year is off to a great start!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

My Zorro Circle

it is what it is

Steph Scrap Quilts

"Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads..."


A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

Tim's Teaching Thoughts

Ideas and Reflections on Teaching

Hands Down, Speak Out

Listening and Talking Across Literacy and Math

Teachers | Books | Readers

Literacy Leaders Connecting Students and Books

Dr. Carla Michelle Brown * Speaker * author * Educator

We have the perfect words. Write when you need them.

Curriculum Coffee

A Written Shot of Espresso

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.


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

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers

adventures in multiple tenses

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


Smile! You’re at the best site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

%d bloggers like this: