#SOL18: Hello, friends!

Literacy is important.  It’s been a part of my life for years.  Teaching, modeling, teaching, modeling, demonstrating!  And yesterday was no different,


I was a learner in the audience.  A learner.

Here’s just a window into the learning:

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If you are on twitter, you may know where I was and who I was with for my learning fun. but if you were not online, think about these quotes.

What surprises you?

What is worth talking about?

What would you say to a thought partner?

What would you write?

Instruction needs to change.  Students need to be engaged.  That doesn’t mean teachers need to do “a song and a dance” every day.  But teachers do need to think about the needs of their students.  And how students’ needs and teachers’ needs can both be met in better ways. Responsive teaching is hard.  It means that the data from today drives the instruction for tomorrow. That data comes from a variety of sources:  conferences, book talks, flipgrid responses, book check ins, student goals, teacher goals, the questions students ask, the questions students do NOT ask, student writing, and teacher writing.

It’s not a unit per quarter.  It’s not a whole class novel per quarter.  It’s not low level responses.  It’s not fake reading. It’s not giving up accountability.  It’s not about abdicating responsibility for learning.

It’s also not easy.

Teachers are change agents

Teachers change the world.

What was the message?

Here is a quick glimpse . . .


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Who were these masterminds of change?

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In West Des Moines, Iowa

About 340 of us . . .



 Great learning!

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                              slice of life 2016

Additional Resources:

Literacy Lenses:  Link

180 Days

Sample Chapter

Heinemann podcast 1

Heinemann podcast 2

Facebook page

Podcast part 1 – Read Aloud

Resourceful – Planning

Travis Crowder Review

Kelly Gallagher website

Penny Kittle website

15 responses

  1. They speak the truth from a place of experience and passion. And the more we hear it the more likely it is that this kind of teaching becomes reality for students who have the right to be challenged in a meaningful way.

    1. Julieanne,
      So true. How do we really empower and encourage students? Truthfully! And it’s not about making all the work HARD. You are so right . . . “challenged in a meaningful way.”

  2. I love the idea of teachers being change agents. We are making sure our students know that they are change agents too. #togetherwearebetter

    1. Erika,
      So many important truths for students and teachers in that “quest to engage and empower adolescents” – not just one way, not just one path!

  3. These are great questions!

    1. Tammy,
      Thanks! The questions were Penny and Kelly’s. I was just practicing using them. So critical to think, process and figure out what “real change” is! 🙂

      1. I have the book! It is on the pile! Thanks for the clarification

      2. Tammy,
        It’s a great book. The first half is for all teachers everywhere. The second half gets into the nuts and bolts of HOW that are so helpful for literacy folks! 🙂

  4. Yes, we need to engage our students. OK, it might not be the way we were taught (and in some cases I say “Thank Goodness”. If we keep our students needs in the forefront we3 can engage them, motivate them, give them what they need and want, and still get across the skills and learning we need to expose them to.

    1. Amen!
      Thank goodness it is NOT the way I was taught! We have to re-frame the purpose of school and learning in general because we are losing kids! And they are both our future and our hope!

  5. Fran, you continue to be a gift to the world. Thank you for this inspiring post and bringing forth a few questions that have been on my mind: “What if we cared about what kids felt? Thought? What if their perceptions of (our) teaching and (their) learning mattered to all of us?” I loved your post that you linked as “Literacy Lenses.” Now I have to go buy 180 Days… thank you!

    1. Lanny,
      Both A Novel Approach and 180 Days have greatly impacted secondary literacy this year. Real authors, authentic teachers who go beyond lip service to engage and empower adolescents!

      After Penny’s book talks yesterday I have a whole cart full of books to consider! Learning has a price emotionally, thoughtfully, and economically. 🙂

  6. Yes, I love Kate’s new book! But you’re right, learning comes with a price, and with trying to raise 3 little girls, I can’t always partake as much as I would like. Thanks for keeping us all in the loop 🙂

  7. […] and Penny in Iowa here . . […]

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