#SOL15: March Challenge Day 29 – 88th Saturday Reunion #TCRWP

It’s the little things that make life wonderful!

Little things can seem like insurmountable objects . . .

like navigating the NYC subway system to arrive at Teachers College EARLY!  I was actually more successful than navigating through my “home” deer country!

like organizing for a day run on an hourly schedule with 50 minute sesions (10 minutes to sprint to the next location) and NO time in the schedule for lunch (encouraged to pack and yes, you may eat in the sessions – ignore the signs that say no food!)

like finding your way among 4,000 friends engaged in learning on a Saturday at Teachers College

like worries about the wi-fi (had some overloads and would kick you off – How many total devices would 4,000 strong have?  REALLY?)

and the ability to have a back up plan – First choice closed because you actually stopped to use the restroom?  What were you thinking?

Other slicers who have posted about yesterday include:






and of course the many Tweets that emanated from the halls of the Teachers College campus.  Right this minute, this tweet says it all:

@ReadingTeachNC: We cried with @PatriciaPolacco, we laughed with @KyleneBeers, and we reminded ourselves why we love what we do! #TCRWP

What a day!
What a glorious day!
What a glorious day filled with laughter, love and learning!

(Notice how I worked on my elaboration there!)

Instead of an “All About Everything Post” the remainder of this post is dedicated to my #OLW “Focus” and will just focus on one key take away from the sessions I attended. (I promise – I will write more about what I learned.  Some of it has to percolate!)


Patricia Polacco – Keynote Opening (Row 5)

“Teachers are my heroes.  You devote your lives to the minds and hearts of others.  What a wonderful calling”

Carl Anderson – Mentor Texts

We take the perfect text and we have to pull the curtain away.   We need to love the mentor text.  You wouldn’t marry someone you didn’t love.  You are going to live with this mentor text day in and out.  You have to know it inside and out.  Work with a colleague to analyze the text.  Make sure that kids will be moved by the mentor text (Not just one that you LOVE)!

Kylene Beers – Nonfiction Sign Posts

kylene's picture -signposts

This is the picture that Kylene took from the speaker’s podium to show what the audience was doing as she displayed the slide listing the nonfiction signposts.  By the way, the book will be out in October and we all had to promise to buy it!  The nonfiction signposts are not ALWAYS found in each nonfiction piece of material because of the very nature of nonfiction.  (more on that in another post) Here are the signposts in the order of frequency and importance:

Extreme and absolute language

Like this examples

Experts and Amateurs Words

Stats and Numbers

Contrasts and Contradictions

Again and Again

Cornelius Minor – Struggling Students

Cornelius began with an analogy about teaching skateboarding where one will fall the first 5-8 times.  So he has to give you 20 opportunities to practice.  “My job as a teacher is NOT mastery. Nothing will cultivate practice. Teaching sets you up for practice. Repeated practice sets you up for mastery.  Engagement – how do I keep you moving! Multiple and intellectual energy to get some learning going!  My job is ‘Teaching light and Practice heavy!'”

The brilliance of that philosophy!

Kylene Beers – Closing (Front Row)

Literacy is about power and privilege.

Choice, relevancy, volume. Wantability is more important than readability. @KyleneBeers#tcrwp” Can’t be said/heard enough.

Slicer meet up at the Kitchenette! – So much fun to visit, share, decompress!

My head and my heart are both full from the learning.  Much more to see and do while in NYC so “adieu” for now!


Check out the writers, readers and teachers who are “slicing” here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

32 responses

  1. Great job “focusing” on the key take away. I will have to do the same as I relish in all my notes! Incredible day. I was bummed I couldn’t make the kitchenette but maybe next time! Thanks for the summary as my head and heart are still so full I may need another day or two 🙂

    1. Thanks, Marcie!
      I just reread and feel like I shortchanged Patricia Polacco because that was the shortest quote.

      I have some learning to do around Mentor Texts before I can write that post. However, right now I am feeling quite good as I only ordered four books yesterday. That’s a record! Last summer’s institute had me shipping boxes home!


  2. Samantha Marquardt | Reply

    This sounds like an amazing day and opportunity! I love the quotes you shared and your format was successful at giving a really good overview of your day.

    1. Thanks, Samantha!
      This was my first Saturday reunion. It felt like a “booster shot” for the remainder of the year. The notion of a free day with 125 possible workshops from incredibly talented folks – priceless!

      I’m glad that you appreciated the format! I will have much more to say in the future!

  3. Just enough snippets of the day to create anticipation for what you will process and share. I can only imagine what an incredible day this was. Love the word wantability! Your elaboration built up the excitement of your day. Perfect use of taffy sentence strategy! You did a great job of keeping your OLW close.

    1. Elsie,
      Thank you so much. I so appreciate when you “name” the things I’ve done in my writing.

      The intensity of the day – indescribable! Well worth the trip from IOWA!

  4. Thanks for sharing some of your main take aways! I can not even imagine the day!

    1. Erika,
      I had “guessed” what it would be like based on following tweets for at least the last four reunions, but that prediction missed the mark!

      So incredibly powerful to sit with peers that you highly respect and be a part of a learning community that is focused on literacy – the true 21st century skill as pointed out by Kylene Beers!


  5. You’ve captured the day perfectly, Fran! It was so wonderful to spend time with you yesterday. As you said, “My head and my heart are both full from the learning.” Have fun today!

    1. Thanks, Catherine!

      I loved your poem! The non-conformist in me seldom writes “rhyming poetry” but yours was so perfect!

      Thanks for being my greeter yesterday! What a perfect beginning to the day!

  6. Thank you so much for all the vicarious learning. I love Cornelius’s philosophy. I’m going to need to spread that around. Missed you yesterday!

    1. Melanie,
      Missed you so much as well. You have a knack for getting to the heart of many issues – and of course, would have loved all that Kylene had to share!

      Cornelius – brilliant! And that whole idea of quick, focused practice – not the teacher standing in front of the class talking all the time. . . . so important!

  7. It sounds like you are having a lovely time and learning so much. I love the focus take-aways you shared at the end. Of course, I had to sit with Kylene Beers’ signposts for awhile to visualize and internalize those. Talk about a much anticipated book release! But I love Cornelius Minor’s words about struggling students and practice. That makes so much sense, yet we tend to do the opposite. We teach more instead of teaching less. I can’t wait to hear more.

    1. Erin,
      I atually think if we take Cornelius’s words to heart that we can teach more if we intentionally provide enough practice time so students can get the learning and then we can stop the re-doing or re-teaching because it doesn’t stick!

      Thanks for commenting!

  8. Saw your post earlier on twitter (but haven’t learn to comment on my phone yet). So many wonderful ideas. Kylene Beers’ signposts have been on my mind a lot lately. I think her work will be part of my summer learning!

    1. Thanks, Jaana.
      This is my first reply from my phone….New day. New skill.

  9. What a full and exciting day you had. So much to process. Thank you for sharing these highlights.

    1. An incredible day of learning. More slices to come!

  10. Allison Jackson | Reply

    Great post, Fran. A little slice of each of your sessions. Thanks for listing the NF signposts. Look forward to reading your future posts on the day.
    So happy you were able to attend the Saturday Reunion.

    1. Thanks, Allison. We have definitely learned from some of the best!

  11. Fran,
    You so quickly summed up some of your gems of learning yesterday!! I was a bit longer in my slice!! But what a great day of learning. And it continues today by reading the notes from the sessions I couldn’t attend because I had to pick and choose among the many options. I loved learning from Cornelius and Kylene/NF via you! Sorry I couldn’t sit with you at lunch but couldn’t ditch my non-slicing friend. So glad to see you in person and next time, I’ll linger and chat. I have a feeling there will be a next time. Until then, I’ll enjoy learning from you via your blog and tweets. Thanks for sharing ideas so willingly. You’re a great mentor to me, a lover of all things TCRWP in VA!

    1. Sally, next time we will create some time to visit. The F2F time is so upliftinG!

  12. What a day! I’m basking in the heart part for now, remember the head part will come tomorrow. So glad to have spent time with you, Fran, and here’s to the next time we see each other.

    1. Tara,
      So grateful for the four times that we have met up. Thanks again for organizing the “Slicer” time at the Kitchenette! So great to spend time with you!

  13. Enjoyed your speedy snippets- gave the feeling of being on the run! But then you and us (your slice readers) have the wonderful quotes to ponder slowly. Thanks for sharing! Each of the “slicers” who wrote about the reunion did so very differently!

    1. Isn’t it just lovely to have so many perspectives and formats. I love the “uniqueness” of our responses to the day! Common learning and sharing but ZERO essays! No cookie cutter responses!

  14. […] Kylene and Bob Probst are universally known for their 6 signposts for fiction from Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading. Their new book with nonfiction signposts will be out in October and those signposts are listed here. […]

  15. It was our first Saturday Reunion too and you absolutely caught the essence of the day. Can’t wait for the 89th reunion!

    1. Jackie,
      It’s a long way from Iowa for every Saturday! But so well worth it! ❤ Hope to meet you there soon!

  16. […] The Kitchette!! Hi Tara, Catherine and Fran!! Far right is Fran – see her reunion reflection HERE Middle is Catherine – see her blog HERE Far left is Tara – see her blog HERE So glad I […]

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