Monthly Archives: May, 2017

#SOL17: Voracious Readers


“Don’t read in the dark!” (Just yesterday in a hotel room while traveling!)

It’s my Kindle on my iPad.  It’s lit.

“When did you start reading?”

Have I ever NOT been reading?

I remember reading BEFORE I went to school for kindergarten.

And according to a first grader, “Was that before Columbus discovered America?”

I remember lying in front of a south window trying to sneak in a few more minutes of twilight reading hours.  In later years I remember having a flashlight and a book under my pillow in the camper so I could read if I wasn’t sleeping.  And now, now I read from my iPad.  Sometimes I read just a page or two.  Sometimes I flip back to an old boring friend and read just a page or two. And sometimes I read until the book ends!

My mantra:

voracious reader two

I checked out and read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books available from our public library in the 1960s and I credit those series for making me a serial reader – every book published by the author. (Note:  I love the new versions now available!)

Kylene Beers and Donalyn Miller (#TCRWP Reading Institute) have told us that series readers will be life-long readers.  Encourage students to embark on the exploration of a series OR TWO during the summer and they will be on the way to slowing or even stopping the “summer slide”!

Which books?

I’m not in favor of “mandated lists” because I believe that student choice builds a love of reading.  Here’s some advice . . .

voracious reader one

These eight bullets can help you, the teacher, increase your own voraciousness as well as  that of your students!

voracious reader creating one

Of course, building in a bit of humor as in “How would I rewrite the titles to fit a different concept?” can produce a graphic like “Hungry for Books”!

voracious reader

My final words:

voracious reader four

What does your reading list look like?

 How many TBR stacks do you have?  

When will you start/continue?  

How did YOU become a voracious reader?




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

And what does this look like in a high school reading workshop???? How would you know if you have voracious readers?  Fabulous ideas from students incorporated into this rubric.

Advertisements

#DigiLitSunday: Better


better

Today’s call for slices from Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche immediately makes me think of HOW one gets better.  Previous posts about professional development are here, here, and here. I love learning.  I love learning with friends.  Therefore, one of the best tools that I use for professional development is Twitter because it truly is exemplified by this graphic.

good better best

What?

Learning.  Identifying a topic. Identifying a need.  Finding experts. Reading. Writing. Talking. Learning Together.  There are many ways to “Better Oneself” and one of the fastest routes is through TWITTER!

Start the Challenge

If you’re on Facebook, go to this post of Mary C Howard’s (author of Good to Great) for her Twitter 5-3-1 Challenge.

“TWITTER 5-3-1 CHALLENGE:
So I’m posing a summer challenge that will take very little time.

5: FOLLOW
Follow five people you admire. Just find them on Twitter and click the follow button on the far top right of their page.

3: RETWEET/LIKE
Retweet or like three comments that inspired you. Just click on the comment and then the up/down arrows at the bottom middle and hit retweet (or like with the heart at the bottom).

1: Reply
Make one comment to a tweet every day (even “Thank you.”) Just click on the left arrow at the bottom right and type.

I promise you that my 5-3-1 challenge will enrich you beyond measure this summer. Twitter is a treasure chest of inspiration, ideas, articles, posts, and dedication. If you’re not using it even to a small degree, you’re cheating yourself. This summer is a great time to dip your toe in the Twitter pool. I promise you that you’ll be grateful you did!”

My only addition is to make it the 5 -3 – 1 – 1 Challenge.

The final 1 – Find a chat

Weekly chats might be #TCRWP on Wednesdays or #G2Great on Thursdays.  Monthly chats might be #TitleTalk on the last Sunday of the month.  Additional chats like #TWTBlog may be scheduled after a series of blog posts.

Why a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter Chat will give you an opportunity to “rub elbows” with the experts and grow your own knowledge base as well as your PLN.  You will be amazed at the authors who are available to learn from as well as the inspiration, ideas, articles, and posts that Mary refers to above.

You are at the crossroad.  You must make the decision.

How will you better yourself?

good better

#SOL17 and #DigiLitSunday


cleaning+4.jpg

Recycle bin one full.

Recycle bin two full.

Recycle bin three full.

Just how much “stuff” can one person accumulate in 36,639 days?  Apparently a lot . . . As in three bins full.

Sorting . . .

To keep for myself because I purchased it

Free to a good home although I had purchased it

Extra copies that teammates or districts might not have

GONE . . . no need to keep  . . .

Organization is a tricky thing.  Keeping what is necessary. Eliminating waste.  But what if I need . . .?  In a digital world life does seem simpler. But yet, do I put this file in a generic location or file it under the group with who it was used.

Decisions, decisions, decisions . . .

If my focus is to be on working with students and staff, was I to borrow from their precious time to organize and clean up?  Did I use my own time?  But wait . . . my own time was already spent on travel and so at the end of the ten hour day I was done with work.

Vocabulary.com says clean is

“The meaning of clean usually refers to removing something unwanted: you clean your hands by washing them, then you can clean some grapes.

This word has many meanings related to being pure or empty. You clean a chicken by plucking its feathers, or get cleaned out when you lose all your money at poker. If a drug addict is clean, he’s no longer using. You can clean someone’s clock, clean up your act, or clean out a safe and make a clean getaway. If the floor is clean enough to eat off, it’s very clean. A clean life is morally pure.”  (link– and do note that I am interested in a clean manuscript as some point!)

How do we build this habit?

Daniel Tiger of PBS fame has it right with these lyrics:

“Clean up, pick up, put away
Clean up everyday”

And if you’re not around a small child, check out the video here!

A little bit every day . . .

Or memesuper says it another way . . .

ys073

Link

How do you end your work year?  

Have you cleaned and organized every day?  

Or do you need to have a deep cleaning to reorganize before leaving this year in the rear view mirror?




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

digilit-button Additional #DigiLitSunday posts at Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche here.

#SOL17: Learning Again


“Ma’m, I’m trying to help you.”

Trying. Yah. Right. Do you understand how frustrated I am?

“A service technician is scheduled for Thursday.”

But will he really show up? It’s been 40 days and I have ZERO patience left.

“I’m trying to do the best I can.”

That “trying” word again. When will this be fixed?  For real?  No more “trying”.

On a GOOD day, this is what my speed test looked like during the month of April.

5.9.17 1 pm speed test

And GOOD is  a relative description, because there were days when I could NOT even connect to run a speed test. The night that I spent more than an hour online with Customer Service because I was sitting at MacDonald’s in order to participate in a Twitter Chat.

Not at home.

21 miles away.

Waiting impatiently.

Because I had 0 connectivity.

No phone, no internet, NOTHING!

I was NOT a happy camper!

The issue:  internet connectivity  

The problem: too far from the “REAL” connections  

My issue:   day after day of dealing with customer service folks (after the computer) not linked to the program engineers/planners who schedule service repair calls

 What I have learned:

  1. My modem is a wireless modem.  
  2. The wireless router inside my house was redundant.  It cut the speed in half.
  3.  My modem does not have to be in the garage wired to the outside phone box.  It does not have to be subject to the extreme temperatures in the winter or summer. The modem now lives in the house where I can watch the flashing lights.
  4. All devices do not test the same on speed tests.  My Samsung phone and iPad mini routinely display faster times than my laptop.  However, my chrome book is not faster than my DELL.
  5. Unplugging my Verizon phone booster increases the speed; however, cell phones then do not work in the house so at best it’s a short term fix.

This morning’s speed test:

5.16.17 speed test

It’s not high speed internet service.  But it’s more than THREE times the download speed that I had last week.  It works best when only one device is running.

Lessons Learned:

Just like with “testing” or daily measurement ~

Growth does matter.

Growth cannot be discounted.

If there had been an arbitrary cut score, I would have given up days ago.

Multiple data points are needed.

“Trying” . . . when I couldn’t SEE any visible progress or effort quickly became a VERY ugly word!

Information is power.

Learning is important!

Result:  Back in the groove with a slice completed in 30 minutes from start to finish this morning!  

joyful




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

And ALWAYS remembering . . .

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and

not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein

#DigiLitSunday: Summer Slide


summer slidedigilit-button

Is this your belief?  

For your students?  

For yourself?  

How would we know?

What is summer slide?

Summer slide reports what students lose over the summer if they don’t read or write.  Reading and writing over the summer can promote growth for students.  But is that growth equitable?  Does it work for all students?  How much do they need to read and write?  Renown educator and researcher Richard Allington addresses this issue in School Library Journal here.

WRITING

There isn’t a lot of research about summer slide and writing.  Graduate students might want to consider that for an action research project.  What is the effect of “not writing” for a student after they write daily for 180 days?  How could we measure that? This may just be a cartoon but think about this from a student perspective for just a minute.

summer slide three

READING

There are many different infographics outlining summer slide. Which one will motivate you to action?

summer slide repeat.JPG

summer slide info.JPG

What can teachers and parents do?  Ask questions!

Writing:

Decorate new journals

Wonder logs for the summer

Writing stories with your child

Make a summer writing heart map of ideas to write about

Continue blogging – slice of life/ kidblog

Keep Learning Going Through the Summer series – #TWTBlog

Student or Adult Writing Partners

Reading:

Brain Chase

TBR Lists – (To Be Read)

Establish Reading Partnerships for conversations about the book

Set personal reading goals

Start a series (or two)

5 Apps for Summer Learning (not all are free)

summer slide four

How will you share this information with your students and their families?

summer slide five

 How will YOU continue your own learning over the summer?  

What professional book will you read?  

What book study will you join?

How will you model that “love of learning”?

summer slide six

#SOL17: Thanks!!!


thanks

Every day is a day to cherish and give thanks!

Thanks for the guidance

And for NOT saying, “I told you so!”

Thanks for being there . . .

When I had questions

Thanks for modeling grace

In times of trouble

Thanks for listening

To what I didn’t say as well as the words.

Thanks for loving books

And allowing me to bury my nose in books.

When this arises . . .

mom

I wonder . . .

What would Mom say or do?

Sometimes I don’t listen so well to that inner voice

And I think there might be a different, better way

But often I find that

Mom was right.

Each sunrise brings me joy, thanks to you.

Each time we talk is joyful, thanks to you.

Degrees I have four, thanks to you,

I can be brave, thanks to your example.

Every breath I take, I give thanks to you.

This week, I wish you joy, love and peace!

happy mothers day

This day was meant for YOU!

20170505_055722




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

Just found this AGAIN.  Here’s my “placeholder” . . . real moms!

cartoon

#DigiLitSunday: Wonder


What is left to accomplish at school?

Building stamina as a reader:

Reading Volume

Reading Choice

Joy Reading

Talk about Reading

Writing About Reading

Building stamina as a writer:

Writing Volume

Writing Choice

Joy Writing

Talk about Writing

Writing About Reading

Why is stamina important at the end of the year?

Stamina in both reading and writing is one way to counteract the “summer slide”. Reading and writing are NOT just “something to do” at school.  Reading and writing are both tools for living and need to be a part of everyone’s life . . . every day.  We need to find and celebrate the richness and relevancy that reading and writing bring to our “everyday” lives!

Important Wonderings:  

How much reading should students do in the summer?  

How much writing should students do in the summer?  

How much “talk” should students do in the summer?

 Is “talk” equally as important as writing about learning?

Encouragement, Advice, and Plans for Students for the rest of this year . . .

  1.  Build TBR plans
  2.  Build monthly Literacy action/Bingo Boards (Writing Bingo Board from TWT) or the Wonder Board below where students generate their own questions to answer
  3.  Schedule school library “open” days
  4.  Coordinate literacy events with the public library
  5.  Continue Family Literacy events

wonder board

What are your wonders?


Check out Margaret Simon’s “Reflections on the Teche for more posts about “Wonder”.

digilit-button

 

#CelebrateLu: Reprise


The sun is shining. The temp is in the 60’s and rising. What a fabulous weather report that takes me back to my farming roots! It’s spring and I’m thinking of home (after a writing workshop last Saturday)!

And yet . . .

Spring is a time to celebrate . . .

rebirth  as plants nudge their way through the ground cover

life as baby animals appear with their families

longer days of leaving home in the daylight and still having daylight on the return at the end of the day

end of the year activities . . . concerts, track events, music contests

And all those dreaded LASTS . . .

The last time the seniors . . .  before they graduate

The last time the juniors . . . before they move to the senior world

And so on . . .

But today I celebrate last Sunday’s reprise . . .

All seven of us who went to Rome . . .

Together . . . plus a few more!!!

“We set off on a journey to Rome, yes a religious trip, but also a trip to the heart of civilization.  This is a city of 300 churches with 200 more in the suburbs.  It’s a city of many diverse nationalities and personalities.  It was a pleasure to be in a group of seven . . .

Mom

Brother

Sister

Brother

Uncle

Aunt

within a community of 52 pilgrims from an Iowa sponsored tour (plus folks from IL, WI, MO, and FL).”   “SOL16:  Travel Trivia”

Other posts about Rome are here, here, here, here, and here with this one quick photo from O’Hare before our international departure.

2016-08-30-13-54-06

and here we were again . . .

But this time in Iowa

A band concert

Taking advantage of time together

Eight months later to gather for a celebratory meal (Leo & Shirley’s upcoming 9th anniversary)

And a high school band concert directed by a son / grandson / nephew/ husband / father   . . .

Central DeWitt:  Sunday, April 30, 2017

Copy of 20170430_190022.jpg

band program

band zero

band one

band three

band four

And always, one of the fans in the seats!

concert

Home can be family.

Home may not be one specific physical place.

Where do you celebrate and call home?




celebratelu.jpg

Check out for celebrations at the link with Ruth!

#SOL17: My Brother


farm

There’s something about a farm and a farmer.  A sense of resiliency.  A sense of pride.  A sense of worth at the end of the day.

The end of the day for my older brother was last Tuesday.  The corn was in the ground.  He laid down to rest.

And our hearts are broken again.

He’s with dad.

He’s with our brother Joe.

He’s with nephew Joe and his wife Ashley.

He’s with our grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.

No doubt, encouraging them to think of his view.  His stories. His love of family.

But our hearts are broken again.

We didn’t have the chance to say goodbye out loud to him.

We didn’t get to talk one last time.

It’s been a tough year.

An aunt,

An uncle,

My godfather (also an uncle)

My nephew

My nephew’s wife

And now my brother.

And our hearts are broken again.

Thank you, my friends, for your love and support.

Thank you, my friends and co-workers for your kind words and offers of assistance.

Thank you again, dear Lynn (and Bruce), for trekking across the state (and do remember that we take TREKS seriously in the town of Riverside).

A salute to farmers everywhere.  The salt of the earth.

The Life of a Farmer

Jim

Our stories are many:

Growing up . . . In a family of six kids

Birth order, #2 in the family, BUT the oldest boy

Sharing a bedroom with 2 sisters on one side of the wall and another brother on the boys side

Chores:  milking cows, raising pigs, feeding chickens, planting potatoes, watering small foot high evergreen trees one bucket at a time  . . .

Remembering . . . About age 8, ONLY getting one half of a hamburger when Grandma Ruth took the kids to MacDonalds

In 1970 working ALL the time on the new house and then being chief worker on tearing down the old house

Being 16 when the Mareks got a color TV . . . and the weekend shows were Lawrence Welk and Ed Sullivan

Chopping up Fran’s knee instead of the cockleburrs in the bean field

Being in the Washington HS Jazz Band when it went to Switzerland

Playing chauffeur and playing Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer” for his younger brother on the ride to school

Paying his sister $2.00 at least twice a year to wash and wax the outside of his car

Playing ball out by the barn with our double first cousins

Roller skating on the cement in front of the machine shed, hopping the pipe, and completing the skating circle inside

As a prankster:  “Pass the green beans” at dinner to Frank (and it was really asparagus);

Putting baby powder in the vents of Gerard’s car at his wedding.  That car always smelled like baby powder.

Shaking and bouncing up and down on the suspension bridge at the Royal Gorge; and

Complaining about his oldest sister’s “pancakes” – EVERY Saturday night  – and a bit flat!

As an uncle . . .

Making sure the kids always had NOISY toys at Christmas.

Telling 3 year old Neel Chary to eat the chocolate kiss out of the peanut butter blossom and put the rest of the cookie back on the tray at Christmas

Telling the Chary boys to pinch off the frosting on Josh and Amanda’s wedding cake because no one would miss it

Promising to give Evan a horse and then forgetting it until the next time he saw Evan (Fran says “Thanks – for real”)

Being a godparent for Jessica Marie

And our hearts are broken again . . .

 




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

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