Monthly Archives: April, 2017

#DigiLitSunday: Advocacy


advocacy

Margaret Simon’s tweet announcing this week’s #DigiLitSunday topic was intriguing.  I had seen the link to Cornelius Minor’s new podcast.  Thanks to my Voxer group I also know that it is part of a series of podcasts.  I also know that  Cornelius is a powerful advocate for students and is not afraid to take on difficult topics.  But yet, I’ve not had time to actually dig into advocacy.

In order to begin this post, I had to back up and make sure that I clearly understood what advocacy is so I went to the dictionary and this is what I found.

advocacy defwebsters

So what’s the big idea about advocacy?  Everyone has rights.  If you don’t believe you have been treated fairly, you always have the right to ask about ways to remedy the situation.  Advocacy is important because it is a way for you to access what you are entitled to and have your individual rights upheld.

SO what?

Sometimes in the process of advocating for an issue unintended consequences emerge.  Sometimes it’s in the tone of voice or even a calmly stated, “Now why would you think that?”  A belief that a caring individual would diminish another person’s thoughts or ideas is unfathomable to many, “You must have misunderstood.” Communication is hard.  Precise communication is even harder because it takes time to clearly address issues.

In education, I see two basic advocacy issues that emerge in the world of advocacy.  Teachers as advocates for students.  And the actual teaching so that students can be their own advocates . . .  so they can be advocates for themselves for the rest of their lives.

Teachers as Advocates

What does this mean?  What does this look like?

Empowering students

Providing just what students need . . .

advice

encouragement

a listening ear

Believing that answers lie within the students.

What does this look like in a classroom?

Students have voice and choice in what they read, write, and learn about.  Students have the opportunity to discuss and disagree about what a text (book, story, painting, song, etc.) says and what the deeper meaning really is.  Students can choose to dig into an idea and really STUDY the facets that emerge.

Students do not have arbitrarily 10 page papers assigned.  Students do not have to read whole class books at the same time as everyone else in their class. Students do not have to use “one set format” to respond to the text.

Teachers, who are advocates, make decisions based on the needs of their students. Teachers, who are advocates, see things from a student’s perspective.  Teachers, who are advocates, take a stand for their students.  Teachers, who are advocates, create a positive environment for all the students in the classroom.  Teachers, who are advocates, really take the time to listen to their students.  Teachers, who are advocates, are role models for their students.

What about self-advocacy?

Teachers and supportive classrooms will provide opportunities for students to develop their voices.  Student voices will rise above the clamor.  They will not be silenced.  They will not be shamed. They will be supported as they grow and learn.

Skills:

  • How to disagree without being disagreeable
  • How to consider any action from more than one point of view
  • How to develop one’s own sense of identity
  • How to create checkpoints to maintain a course of action
  • How to develop personal goals including action plans
  • How to develop criteria to evaluate one’s progress in meeting goals
  • How to share learning
  • How to communicate with others
  • How to listen
  • How to play fair
  • How to clean up your own mess
  • How to say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody
  • How to ask for help
  • How to be kind

What are you thinking when you hear the word “advocacy”?

What does it mean for teachers?

 What does it mean for students?

Advertisements

#SOL17: Advice


April is fleeting.  May will soon be here.  How has your year gone?  In retrospect what advice would you give yourself for this year?  What advice do you have for the remainder of this year?

Here is some of my thinking . . .
advice.jpg

First Year Teacher:

  1. Ask for help; don’t twist in the wind when you are stuck! Find someone you can trust to help with day to day questions.  Find someone you can trust to help with instruction/curriculum issues.  (Double bonus if one person fits both.)
  2. Have a Plan A; be ready with Plan B and all the remaining letters in the alphabet!  Plan to learn as you go! Remember that FAIL is First Attempt In Learning and is not permanent.  Learning = growth.  Plan to grow!
  3. Stay out of the drama. Avoid the locations that are filled with drama each day.
  4. Try something new!  Surround yourself with innovative thinkers and doers.  Their creativity and willingness “to do/learn” will be contagious!
  5. Communicate, communicate, communicate!  Use transparency as a cloak that surrounds you.  No teacher has ever over-communicated!
  6. Build a PLN!  Locate like-minded individuals for conversations, collaboration and coaching.  
  7. Reflect daily on your learning.  Plan for each day to build upon the day before!
  8. Do what you ask your students to do:  Read and write daily!
  9. When in doubt ask your students; it’s their classroom!
  10. Be professional . . . in your words, actions, and intentions!

Veteran Teacher:

  1. Write out your mission/vision statement.  WHY are you teaching?  Be honest.  Make it personal.
  2. Figure out when and where were the last three times that you laughed with your students about something silly you did.  If it’s not in the last month, you need to lighten up and take yourself less seriously!
  3. Name three things that you have learned this last week from your students.  What have they taught you?  Or reminded you of?
  4. Check your positivity meter.  Do you hang out and learn from positive people?  Change your audience/PLN/cultivate new friendships!
  5. Do you have a growth mindset? What would your fellow teachers say about you?
  6. Be passionate. Love what you do and don’t be afraid to let it show!
  7. Find your tribe. It’s always easier to build common understanding collaboratively.  Find a group where you can problem solve, share, read and write together!
  8. Do what you ask your students to do:  Read and write daily! Make the time!
  9. Be a life-long learner! For REAL!  
  10. Practice revision in your life.  Know what it feels like to revise thoughts, plans, and actions.

The waning moments of the school year . . . what advice do you have?  

What would you add?




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

#DigiLitSunday: Fragile Earth


digilit Sunday Fragile Earth

What does the “science” say?

Seattle’s March for Science

New York City

Greenpeace – “9 Reasons to March for Science this Earth Day”

Mobile, AL

Boulder, CO

earth day

Is it really black and white?

What if the Earth Treated us the way we treat the Earth . . .

blog fragile earth

Link to watch the YouTube video here.

How do we know?

Here’s what NASA says and the graph on carbon dioxide emissions should REALLY get your attention!

What sparked global warming?

Burning carbon fuels, cutting down forests, . . .  link

Whatever the cause . . .

THINK . . .

Recycle

Reuse

Clean up after yourself

CELEBRATE . . .

Earth’s beauty

Earth’s mysteries

All living things

CONSERVE . . .

Ask yourself:

Is it really necessary?

Is there another way that is better for the planet?

Another way that is better for fellow mankind?

Am I leaving my “space” on Earth in better shape?

For future generations?

make every day

What’s your plan for Every Day Earth Day?

 

 

 

 

 

#SOL17:  Structure


I had to go back. my fifth time to reread the opening chapter.  This is the first paragraph:

” She stood at the window of the Manhattan apartment, peeking through a slit In the drapes. Her hands trembled.”

I knew the “she” was Gabriela. That was obvious from the first reading. But what did I know about Gabriela. Or more importantly, what had I MISSED about Gabriela?

MY task . . . Self-imposed . . . To make sense of Jeffery Deaver’s The October List. 

I had already read the preview on my kindle. I was going to check the library for a print version, but there it was at eye level at the Dollar Store with a $3 yellow sticker.

The inside flap:

“Gabriela waited desperately for news of

Her abducted daughter.

At last, the door opens.

But it’s not the negotiators.

It’s not the FBI.

It’s the kidnapper

And he has a gun.”

How did Deaver create suspense?

He chose Structure.

He began with the ending and went backwards one scene at a time.

As a reader, I had to figure out which details were important in the past and where were the red herrings that led me off the path? Rocket science? No! BUt I was reading this book as I began Vicki Vinton’s,  Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Learning, and I did not want to merely read it as a “plot junkie” as mentioned in chapter five.  I wanted to consider HOW I deliberately made sense of this text in order to better inform my reader lay self (and perhaps borrow the idea for a longer writing task).

I started a list. Basic jots of key details.

I wished for a talking partner to share ideas.

I made some oral notes on my phone.

I began to look for patterns.

How much time and how many chapters elapsed between key details?

Tally marks were replaced with questions

And then with possible solutions.

But how could they be solutions when I already knew the ending?

Events revealed.

Important?

Too soon to know.

But the compelling story line . . .

Two days,

A mother, a kidnapped six year old daughter,

A half million dollar ransom

And “The October List” to be delivered within 30 hours

OR . . .

Narrative Structure?

Typical structures include:

Plot Line

Story Arc

Story Map

Sequential

Flashback

Episodic

Scene by scene

Beginning, Middle, End

How does an author decide?

And even more importantly, how does a reader make sense of the structure?

What works for you?

And thanks to fellow slicer”Arjeha”, I already knew the key to the Structure, but not the key to the kidnapping!  Check out additional slices at TwoWritingTeachers.wordpress.com

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

#SOL17: Service?


“I can understand complete sentences.  Please speak in complete sentences.”

Please connect me with a service representative.

“I can help you with that.

I need your first name and last name.

I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that.

Would you please repeat your first name and last name?”

First name. Last name.

Slower and Louder the second time.

“What is your billing address?

Please include your full address:

Street,

Apartment number,

Town,

State,

Zipcode.

Please clearly state your full address now.”

Full Address

“Please tell me the first name and last name of the person on the account.”

First name. Last name.

“And who am I speaking to today?

Please tell me your first name and your last name.”

First name. Last name.  A.G.A.I.N.  Seriously?

“What is the phone number associated with your account?

Please state the entire 10 digit number.”

Phone number.

“What is your account number?

This is the 10 digit number associated with your account.

There are no letters.

They are all numbers.

Please tell me if you need time to get your account number.”

Account number.

“How can I help you today?”

I have no phone or internet service.  Please connect me with a service representative.

“I can help you with that.”

Today is DAY NINE.  One service tech visit later and two hours of working internet.

One brief interlude.

Now gone.

Anatomy of phone calls . . .

The shortest time from a call to a “real person” is five minutes and two seconds.

And guess what that conversation is once I am connected to a “live” person:

“Could I have your first and last name?

Could I have your 10 digit phone number?

Can I have your address?

. . .

What is acceptable in terms of service response time?  

A lack of internet is a HUGE problem for me.

(Teaching an online class, work tasks, twitter, messages & pix from all) 

To Windstream?

Apparently not!

On the upside, I have read more in the last week.

On the downside, my patience with any technology issues is now -10 and dropping rapidly!

Advice?  Suggestions?  Similar situations?



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

#DigiLitSunday: Digital Poetry


Screenshot 2017-04-08 at 6.51.19 PM.png

What is digital poetry?

As technology evolves so does digital poetry.  The sky is the limit in poetry creation. Form, shape, music, movement, color . . . all of these add special dimensions to the written words of poetry.

The dance

The twist

The music

The tone

The lift

The chorus

The melody

The coda

All contribute to poetry!

Do you need further inspiration?

Check out this progressive poem and the new line added by Mary Lee Hahn –

poetry created digitally!


Resources to learn more about digital poetry:

Slam poetry

Digital poetry genre

Hypertext poetry

Poem Farm – Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

#SOL: Palindromes & Learning


And the landscape has changed:

I saw 15851 roll over today.

I did a little “cheer” as I traveled down the road.

But wait, you just cheered  167761 in this 13.31 post here.

“How did that work?”

Well, Friday afternoon after a week filled with 8 different PD sessions . . .

I stopped by my favorite car dealership just to see what was available.  I rode in one, contemplated several others, thought about my needs  . . .

And today I am back to new learning . . .

My Questions are many!

Which side has the gas tank?

How big is the gas tank?

Why doesn’t Toyota make headlights turn on automatically?

How do I sync my phone?

How does GPS work?

Where will I plug in my phone charger?

Where will I put my ID?

How will I organize my stuff?

And then my list:

sunglasses (HA – rain in the forecast for all week)

umbrella

electric wheel

speaker

insurance

At 15851 it still has that new car smell.

How long will it have that new car look?

How long will it have that new car clean?

(And as far as I know . . . it does not TALK to me!)



Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

#DigiLitSunday: Why?


 

why five.png

     Why?

Three simple letters

One short little word

“For what purpose?”

“Help me understand!”

“For what reason?”

Why . . .

Never confused with my cousins

The other 4 W’s and the H

Who?  What?  Where?  When? and How?

One little word that asks you to DIG deeper!

Simple

Elegant

Requires thinking

Requires time to reflect

Requires student work!

why one

An amazing question:  Why?

In order to have life-long learners, we must ensure that curiosity is front and center for our students.  Students should be asking questions (and seeking answers) every day. (Ask and answer questions – CCR.RLK.1. Standard) Multiple questions. Every day.  Wonderopolis may be a source of more student choice and voice in the topics explored.  However, even during reading and writing workshop students need to be asking questions.  Questions are a source of learning if one is confused, one is clarifying, one is making connections to real life.  In student-centered classrooms, student questions should be as necessary as breathing if students are doing the work!

why two

Why this instruction?

The instruction should support high levels of student learning.  The use of scaffolds can ease the transition to more difficult strategies or materials, but the ultimate goal is that students will be able to independently DO the WORK!  That means they need just in time instruction, that meets their needs, that increases in complexity and has student work and practice at the heart.  No boring monologues, no arts and craft instruction, no mindless worksheets.  Real questions generated by the students that they can and do answer.

why three

Why this assessment?

Assessment that measures learning, moves students forward, and informs instruction has to be a part of the instructional cycle that has students at the heart or center.  Educators must move beyond the “I have to use these assessments” to the ones that are pedagogically sound, that matter to students and provide clear evidence of student learning.  That takes teacher advocacy and teacher depth of knowledge of instruction, assessment and curricula.  There are no easy shortcuts in education and creating specific, engaging, real-world tasks are not easy but are so necessary for student learning.

why four

The  #1 Why:    The Ultimate Goal

Thinking

Student thinking

Every day

Not mere regurgitation

But taking ideas,

Creating

Innovating

With  the goals of

Student Thinking!

Taking Action!

Shaping the World!

And their own Futures!

How do you use “WHY”?  

Why do you do what you do?

digilit-button

Additional posts at Reflections on the Teche

 

 

 

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers

Present Perfect

adventures in multiple tenses

Leadership Connection

from Great Prairie AEA

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

arjeha

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson

adventuresinstaffdevelopment

All Things Literacy! Brianna Parlitsis

TWO WRITING TEACHERS

A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

elsie tries writing

"The problem with people is they forget that that most of the time it's the small things that count." (Said by Finch in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. These are my small things that count.

I Haven't Learned That Yet

This blog serves to document my path of learning and teaching.

Simply Inspired Teaching

A blog by Kari Yates

Reflections on Leadership and Learning

Sharing my learning experiences

AnnaGCockerille Literacy

The Generative Power of Language: Building Literacy Skills One Word at a Time

Reading to the Core

Just another WordPress.com site

Karen Gluskin

My Teaching Experiences and Qualifications

To Read To Write To Be

Thoughts on learning and teaching

Books and Bytes

Exploring the best of literature and edtech for the middle grades.

To Make a Prairie

A blog about reading, writing, teaching and the joys of a literate life

Raising Voices

Thoughts on Teaching, Learning, and Leading