#TCRWP: Day 1 Writing Institute 2015


You might have seen my line up of events on Friday . . .

Keynote – Lucy Calkins

Advanced K-2 Session – Celena Larkey

Advanced 3-8 Session – Shana Frazin

Closing Workshop Choice  (toss -up as two were to be repeated Monday and Tuesday)  – Maggie B. Roberts

I was expecting

a LOT! 

And my expectations were exceeded!

This picture is how my head felt at 4:00 pm when I was thinking about my learning for the day.

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

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

The fire was fully ablaze by the time Lucy finished her keynote in the glorious Riverside Church.  Her stories, examples, and carefully chosen videos all told us that we must “have faith.  Faith that the student has something to say and faith that the student has the language to ‘say it'”.  (You can check the #TCRWP hashtag for additional “Lucy-isms” often identified as “LC”, “Lucy C” or “Lucy Calkins” .)

It continued to flame on all day long.  For this post, I am focusing on my upper grades Advanced Section

Using the Best, New Children’s Literature as Mentor Texts:

Support Sky High Writing (3-8)  with Shana Frazin to count as a very public “self-assignment”.

New Vocabulary and Processing: 

“ouevre” – collection of works Eve Bunting (tackling tough topics) and using Yard Sale as our demo!

(New processing angle:    Partner A – if name comes first in alphabet and Partner B – next alphabetically as it was possible to be in triads)

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 2.35.05 AM

Reading Mentor Texts as Readers (3 types)

1. Classic Interactive Read Aloud

The teacher chooses text, places, action and the kind of action we want the students to DO in the text.

2. Shared Interactive Read Aloud

“So you guys know how usually I choose the place we will stop and the work we will do. If you think we should stop – ‘stop in the name of reading’ (hold up hand) and we will stop and you will tell us what to DO with that text.”

 Advantages of Shared Interactive Read Aloud:

  • As a tool it reveals to you when the students think it is worth stopping and sets the stage to work with secondary characters and their relationships!
  • Students can use any prompt to “talk/discuss”.
  • Students are listening differently for the “shared interactive read aloud”. 

3. Read Aloud Roles

The teacher looks at data to determine what does particular reader, club, or partner need to work on (could be Turn and Talk) and the teacher assigns the role for multiple practices.

Process:  The student receives a card with the role.  Student focuses on the card as the teacher is reading.

(Data changes as do the needs of kids change, so read alouds should change across the year.)

Our group role card said:  “Change – characters and their feelings, traits, lessons learned or not learned, setting, and tone”  Our task was to talk about the part of change we could see in the text that had been read.

Delightful new learning . . . I was thinking about how and when to use these three types (and whether I would be able to explain the differences upon returning home) when the next sequence was introduced as

“Reading Mentor Texts Like a Writer”! 

1.  Classic interactive with mentor text

Our mentor texts was a teacher demonstration text, “Moving Thoughts”

and we were using ideas from a chart based on Ralph Fletcher’s thinking.

(Words are easier than subject so they are often a beginning level.)

2. Shared interactive with mentor text

“Stop in the name of reading like a writer” – Students choose places to stop and name writing craft.

(“You have read already read this once as reader. Now you are rereading as a writer, with a different lens.”)

3.  Shared Interactive Read Aloud roles with mentor text

Again, specific assigned roles on cards for partners/tables to respond to.

Example:  “Word or Phrase –  What words or phrases did the author

use that… Surprised you? Puzzled you? Inspired you?”

And finally,

Writing under the influence!

“For 5 min. – write under the influence of reading; What stories did ‘Reading Like an Author’ lead you to?”


After collecting my notes, discussing this at dinner, and then writing this blog post, I am wondering:

What data will I use to determine whether I am “Reading Like a Reader” or “Reading Like a Writer”?

Will I use the set of 3 “Reading Like a Reader” before the 3 “Reading Like a Writer” each time?

Will this be “Black and White”?

What other considerations should guide my thinking?

Obviously, I am still at the “new learning stage” but I love the whole concept of “Writing Under the Influence” as well as “Thank you for coming to class today!”  I feel totally blessed, as an educator to be at Teachers College learning from and with so many talented teachers!

slice of life

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

40 responses

  1. I am so jealous of your experiences there, but so grateful that you are sharing some of your new learning. I hope the rest of your week is just as mind challenging!

    1. Erika,
      It’s such a great learning experience!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your learning! I want to know more about the ways students can decide when we should stop. Eve Bunting’s books are fabulous and we did a mini study of her work this year when thinking about social issues in her books. Yard Sale, A Day’s Work, Fly Away Home, and One Green Apple led to such powerful discussions.

    1. Kathleen,
      Part of the work is developing that chart of “lenses” to view the work – can be Fletchers’, cloee reading ideas and then getting out of the way of the students!

  3. Fran, I will have to come back and reread this post a few times as there is so much good stuff in here. I loved the pic of the exploding head 🙂 So glad you are having an awesome time, just a little bit jealous too!! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Tracey!
      That picture was so perfect. Also great to have friends here to talk about our learning as well!

  4. Hi Fran! Thank you so much for sharing your learning this week. I am still in school here, and so appreciate your blog! Have a great week!

    1. Amy,
      I have a hard time with students still in school at this time of year! Wow! But I know it happens! Thanks for commenting!

  5. Fran, There is SO MUCH in this post! I LOVE it!!! Thank you for sharing your learning! I have to say…that picture is PERFECT! That’s exactly how I felt when I attended TC Summer Institute. I couldn’t stop laughing!!! Send my best to all the slicers there! Wish I was there too, but I’m happy being at the Highlights Writing Retreat this week. 🙂 Happy Learning!

    1. Michelle,
      I so hate when “everything” is scheduled on top of other events. Great that you are at Highlights with Stacey this week!

      The picture was perfect. A really good frazzled and mind-blowing experience!

  6. sallydonnelly11 | Reply

    I am do glad YOU are such a great writer!! Because of your precise dialogue, as I read, I felt like I was right there, hearing the amazing Shana! I’m inspired to go get a picture book and try out this work today. Thanks SO much for sharing!!! Through you I feel like I am there. Keep letting your head explode and then keep your head just enough to keep sharing for the folks not there!!

    1. Sally,
      Thanks! Shana is soooooo amazing! And makes it look so easy. Any of Eve Bunting’s works would be perfect for this, but Yard Sale was so awesome!

      Again, so great to see you Saturday!

  7. And I feel so blessed that you take such great notes and share your synthesis with all of us, Fran! Enjoy today!

    1. Tara,
      If I can’t explain my learning to myself (and my readers), I’m pretty sure that I can’t explain it in PD either. THANKS!

  8. Thanks, Fran! Even though I was there, it is good to hear it again (and again when I re read this post) AND through your lens! Loved every minute of yesterday can’t wait to learn more. Lucky us!

    1. We are so lucky! And it’s the conversations that help clarify, and the repetititions that help cement the learning! More practice “telling” is helpful to me!

  9. Shared Interactive Read Aloud- what a great way to provide opportunities for the students to drive the read aloud! I’m thinking that the rate of active listening would increase tremendously.

    1. Susan,
      I was so interested in this for the “upper” readers to re-engage them! YES!

  10. I see you cited Ralph, who is certainly a mentor text genius. Have you read his book, MENTOR AUTHOR, MENTOR TEXTS? It’s a gem!

    1. Stacey,
      I reread that over Memorial Weekend – so much brilliance! Since @ConferringCarl used “Last Kiss” in March, I’ve been on a major Ralph “crush”!

  11. So thrilled you chose to share your learning with us today! Love the idea of a shared interactive read aloud and the read aloud roles. I can’t wait to try them! I love how they will invite kids to take more ownership in the learning. Keep blogging about what you learn! It is a great way for you to synthesize what you learn and a wonderful way for the rest of us to learn alongside you. 🙂

    1. Erin,
      My one little word “focus” on sharing resources! That’s my life!

  12. Love your graphic of the head. I always feel the same way anytime I attend a workshop or conference. There is so much to take in…so many new ideas I want to try…so much I want to bring back and share with my team. Conferences really do reignite the flame that burns in all educators.

    1. I am so excited about two weeks of cohesive learning! Wonderful! But it is necessary to get back into the learning mode!

  13. Once again..it feels like we are there. You should really just travel to conferences and blog for a living — the rest of us would truly benefit. You have a true craft for providing the information in a clear, concise, engaging manner. Thank you! Will you be at ILA? It would be great to see you.

    Clare and Tammy

    1. Thanks so much!
      Yes, Clare and Tammy, I will be at ILA. I am so looking forward to our time there! Less than a month.

      And Informational text is my love! Glad you think it’s clear, concise and engaging! ❤

  14. Thank you so much for sharing your learning with us Fran! As always, your posts are generous and thoughtful!

    1. You are welcome, Beth!
      Still working on tomorrow’s assignments for both sections so the next post is in the “gelling” stage. (AKA – “still figuring it out!”)
      I so appreciate the generosity of the #TCRWP staff developers who allow the info to be shared!!! We are all on our learning journey together – just at a variety of places!

  15. […] long PD kicked off yesterday and I happen to be following a Blog of one of these lucky participants (Resource – Full).  What I LOVE about Fran’s blog right now is that she is SHARING her key learning from each […]

  16. I am wanting to hear more about writing under the influence–I’d love to share that idea with the teachers who are working at our Summer Writing Academy. I hope you write long on that concept! That’s my vote. Hope your brain is cooling off enough to let you sleep!

    1. Melanie,
      My brain just keeps buzzing. I could write for a week off of any one day! I forgot that part of #tcrwp. It’s, in my thinking, Shana’s way of having us to respond to the task at hand. We read. We read as readers and then as writers and then while thinking about that experience – before it got away from us! She’s amazing!

  17. My brain is exploding just from trying to process your post and Julieanne’s! So much learning in one day. Your thoughts about reading a mentor text like a writer are so helpful. I’m going to share that and “Writing Under the Influence” with a group of teachers I’m working with this week. Thank you for sharing your learning, Fran. I feel totally blessed to be able to learn from you!

    1. Thanks, Catherine! I am going to need the weekend to get my brain caught up with my ears! I love our schedule with both sessions before lunch so lunch-time “buzz” is also our decompression time. There is great power in learning together!

  18. […] Expectations? You might have seen my line up of events on Friday . . . Keynote – Lucy Calkins Advanced K-2 Session – Celena Larkey Advanced 3-8 Session – Shana Frazin Closing Workshop Choice (toss…  […]

  19. Thanks so much for sharing, Fran! Love the idea of the ‘Shared’ Interactive Read Aloud. Never heard that one. I’ll be back to carefully read through all your posts. You’re a wonder!

    1. So much great learning at #tcrwp!

  20. […] third in a series of posts from the Teachers College June Writing Institute.  Day 1 is available here.  Day 2 is available […]

  21. Slowly I am catching up on my reading after All-Write and company. I saved your posts because I knew they would contain so much great information. I was not wrong. You are a gem to share this valuable thinking and learning. Love the idea of students creating the stopping points for a read aloud! Thank you for processing your thoughts through your blog. May I add, totally jealous of your time in New York and the people you have been mingling with. 🙂

    1. Well, we are NOT an elite group. All are welcome (at least to apply)! It has been the most fabulous week of learning. I’m not sure that I have it all straight, but I am going to have a great deal of fuel for the upcoming year!

  22. […] 10. #TCRWP:  Day 1 Writing Institute 2015 […]

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