It’s only mid-February!
More snow coming tomorrow!
We’ve had 16 snow/winter storms that have been names. That means 16 storms that have affected two million people or more. So they are NOT just local storms. They don’t fade out after “the big dump”; instead they hang around trying to create new records for the longest snow, the coldest snow, the deepest snow, and the dubious
The Most Snowfall in the Winter!
We now equal the Fifth Snowiest winter in the history of winter records. More than 40 inches of snow. A lot of snow. Snow that looks pretty . . .
for maybe the first five minutes.
Snow that might be enjoyable in the right company:
snow shoveling kids
some days pretty,
some days annoying,
often creating travel hazards.
for the deluge.
on foot or on wheels!
Are you celebrating this wintery “white stuff”?
Or are you ready for it to end?
What’s your current take on the weather?
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.
The chat was amazing. Many preservice teachers from #UNILitEd in Cedar Falls, Iowa, were participating in their first Twitter chat. We hope they will continue to participate in chats, grow professionally, and find additional sources of on-line learning.
Resources for Quotes:
I quoted Donalyn Miller’s research in the chat. (link) Also Nell Duke’s Edutopia article here. Another new source during the chat was “Sustained Silent Reading: What the Research Really Says“.
Accountability for Independent Reading. Students can choose many non-invasive ways to keep track of their reading. I can’t say enough about how I love the “book stack” showing a month of reading here in Christina’s tweet via learning from Penny Kittle.
Archive from the chat – Link
And after all, what are a student’s rights?
What will you do to ensure quality implementation of Independent Reading?
What is your first step?
Clevern tweet from NY Public Library
Kelli Westmoreland – Research on Independent Reading
Barbara Moss – Independent Reading
Matt Renwick – Silent Reading vs. Independent Reading
Children’s Book Council – The Value of Independent Reading for Kids
ala.org – Independent Reading
Stephen Krashen – What Does it Take to Develop a Long-Term Pleasure Reading Habit? **
Yesterday, I introduced the ILA definition of Independent Reading and a Green IS and Red IS NOT table for you to consider. (Link)
- Study the definition: How does it match your beliefs?
- Read through the “WHY” in this Literacy Daily post from ILA:
3. Read the Literacy Leadership Brief: “Creating Passionate Readers through Independent Reading” (link)
4. Review the questions to begin thinking about your responses
5. Question 4 refers to Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s work and you can refresh your understanding here.
7. Participate in the #ILAchat!
The definition for Independent Reading from ILA
What does that mean?
How well does your independent reading align with the definition?
What have you changed or tweaked?
How has that impacted student reading, especially student joy and passion for reading?
How can you capitalize on the “Power and the Promise of Independent Reading”?
Please join the chat to share your ideas!
The grocery aisles are empty again. No bread. Little milk. Cleaned out as the storm warning map encompassed the entire state.
Excerpts from the 10 pm news on Monday night:
Yes, the purple was ice deposited first as rain and then transitioning to ice hours later . . . about two inches thick on the sidewalk.
The ticker at the bottom of the TV screen with school announcements in red and the metro schools circulating faster in blue.
What’s the verdict?
At 10 pm the night before:
It’s still early. 5 am. Not many changes.
Two hour delay?
Why does it matter?
If schools are closed all around, it’s not a good travel day. It’s probably not a good
“step outside the door day”
And the state road map (511org)
shows solid pink
Great work at home day.
Great work inside day.
Snow day 10 or 11 or 12.
What’s your snow day plan?
8 am update . . .
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.
If you have been following along, you may have already read about
Thursday here (Danny Brassell, Debbie Miller, Kate Roberts, Donalyn Miller, Kelly Williams, and Patty McGee)
Friday keynote with Regie Routman here
Saturday finale with Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle here
But I would be greatly remiss if I did not return to recap learning from Friday’s sessions and acknowledge that it was a Corwin Press day!
Session 1: Dave Stuart Jr.
These 6 Things: Focusing Our Teaching on What Matters Most
Presentation Key Ideas . . .
One of many strategies referenced and available on Dave’s web site (see link in caption) .
This presentation and book really does enable you as a teacher to think about and consider where you need to focus your energy as you read wisdom from a high school teacher.
How can you do a better job teaching a shorter list of skills and still keep instruction motivating and engaging?
Lunch with Gerry Brooks
Creating a Positive Attitude About the School Year
Session Two: Maria Walther
Fifty Nifty Picture Books to Inspire Young Writers
Maria’s actual presentation about this book (her newest) was at a different time of the day but many of the texts were included in this book. We saw 50 mentor texts that were used in a first grade classroom to teach standards, qualities of good writing, and provide exemplar texts for imitation!
Maria reminded us to pay attention to all the pages in a book. One example was the end pages from Ralph Tells A Story. What did the author do specifically on the beginning end pages vs. the closing end pages?
Another very useful tip was the writing paper that Maria shared. Each month the editing focus varies but a brief checklist is included on each page. Here is one example with additional ideas available at mariawalther.com. Learning with and from a first grade teacher.
How and when might you consider adding an editing checklist to your writing paper?
Who needs this?
And what books/mentor texts are interesting and engaging your students?
Session Three: Leslie Blauman
Keeping it Real- Real Writing about Real Reading-NONFICTION
I knew Leslie as the author of these two books.
Her newest books are delightful especially with the online components. This was the basis for today’s presentation that included work from her fourth grade classroom.
As a teacher, Leslie is concerned about joy, choice and ownership of student writing. She encourages her fourth grade students to leave “Tracks in the Snow” as a metaphor for not having to write complete sentences all the time. Such a smart idea for this time of year!
To Inspire Critical Thinking these questions were our session guide:
- What is your goal?
- Who is NF important to? Who is the NF for?
- Would you want your kids to be doing your assigned tasks in your classroom?
- If no, WHY are you doing that?
- How do you teach it?
- How often do you practice?
- Why would you write about something you are not interested in?
However, one of my favorite learnings was about this site: https://www.allaboutexplorers.com/ Check out an explorer or two. What fun for students! What a great way to teach “fact-checking!
How can evidence-based nonfiction writing be fun, engaging, and something that students choose to do?
Did you detect any common themes in these sessions?
Were you in the room?
500 + educators
On a Saturday morning
In Denver, Colorado.
These “Everyday Practices”
DURING the session
With Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle!
Seriously, another session with Kelly and Penny?
How many does that make?
- Kelly and Penny with Nancy Atwell NCTE B 36 here . . .
- Kelly in Iowa . . .
- 180 Days Resources and #G2Great Chat here . . .
- Summer Book Love Club with Penny . . .
- Kelly and Penny in Iowa here . . .
- Penny with Linda Reif here . . . (wakelet)
Why do I continue to grow my knowledge and understanding?
Because this is the learning that our students deserve. Because this is the learning environment that our students need in order to thrive. Because this is the learning environment that our students need in order to be successful as students. Because this is the learning environment that our students need in order to transfer to being successful adults . . . in the real world . . . after school . . . in LIFE!
What else do I want to hold onto?
And . . .
What matters in Reading and Writing?
Conferring / Feedback
But without volume . . . nothing else matters. And if your kids are NOT reading WITH you, they are not reading WITHOUT you!
How will you increase the volume of reading and writing and yet honor student choice?
(Other gems of wisdom can be found on Twitter!)
180 Days and A Novel Approach are a perfect pairing!
What a treat!
I knew for over a year who the keynote speaker would be . . . and it was so frustrating to get weather alerts from United this week that seemed to jeopardize my travel!
NOT going to happen!
NO weather delays! Not sleet, nor snow, nor flight delays!
Check your bookshelves.
Are these familiar?
Or this more recent one?
If you said,
“Yes, YES, and YES! You can probably understand my excitement!
Regie Routman, teacher, teacher, teacher, teacher . . . and such a brilliant writer about all things literacy!
Literacy and Life Essentials: What Matters Most for Achievement, Fulfillment, and the Pursuit of Happiness
At times, I forgot to collect notes. I was enthralled, wrapped up in the cocoon of stories, embraced by the warmth and serenity that is quintessential Regie Routman.
Regie began by thanking everyone, including the tech guys who she named. Individually. Each one. With her thanks. That graciousness was just one small sliver of the atmosphere in Evergreen Ballrooms A-D. I felt like I was a treasured guest being treated with the utmost care and attention. You.needed.to.be.in.the.room!
Wisdom from Regie Routman:
Culture is not just being collegial. Staff have to like each other.
Previous tweets from Regie:
Current research from Lindsey Moses about grade 1 and reading that makes a difference for young learners! Lindey Moses and Laura Beth Kelly, Reading and Writing Quarterly, published online Jan. 2019
To get a copy of “supported independent reading” go to
@drlindseymoses or email Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org (Tweet from Regie)
A treat to learn from a literacy giant who has served in many roles, who continues to grow and learn, who stretches herself and who is candidly herself.
Most recent blogs by Regie Routman:
EQUITY MATTERS: https://ccira.blog/2018/12/11/equity-matters/
What You Need To Know About Professional Learning:
10 Essentials for Becoming a More Effective Teacher:
Rethinking Guided Reading to Advantage ALL Our Learners (10.2.18)
#CCIRA19 Day 1 Theme:
Are you a reader and writer?
If yes, you won’t necessarily have ALL the answers but you will be on your way.
If no, you may end up down rabbit holes, sucked into less productive work, and may feel like you are spinning your wheels! It may be more difficult to help readers and writers set goals leading to ultimate independence and transfer of learning.
What a great learning day that began before sunrise and ended well after sunset for many Denver folks who had no school today due to the weather! (a common problem in many locations across this wintry country)
Why attend CCIRA? Super Positives about CCIRA include: sessions you can choose in advance, the time between sessions to network and the folks you meet along the way! Friendly, courteous, and helpful folks EVERYWHERE! What great learning combinations!
Teachers must be knowledgeable practitioners. The more they know, the more learning they may crave in what ends up being a true life circle story.
To begin with the beginning . . .
Laughter and fun filled the hall as Danny shared stories to illustrate his points. We chanted, sang and added actions to our singing! “Teachers are valued!” Teachers need all the tricks at their disposal to teach all students to read. To read confidently. To read joyfully. To read at school and at home.
First session: Debbie Miller
Are Our Workshops More Important Than the Children in Them?
The session began with a read aloud and participant discussion. Again, what fun and a chance to get to know your neighbors. I was fortunate to be sitting by Kristin Ziemke and had a great time sharing some personal views on the need to consider some outdated practices that just need to end.
Debbie shared some planning structures from her new book that also emphasize P. David Pearson’s belief that the Gradual Release of Responsibility does NOT require a straight linear progression. We’ve heard that from Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey. It’s not a surprise, and yet some folks hang onto the predictable nature of that structure sequence that moves from mini-lesson to work time with individual conferring and ends with a share. The “Lift Off” was shown in this previous #ILA18 post before her book was available as an example of a discovery or inquiry session. (Of course, not an every day session!)
I’m fascinated by this planning guide that Debbie shared that was used with a Chris Van Allsburg author study. The Focus? Student-Centered Planning. Planning that begins with the students. Beginning with the end in mind! YES! More joy. More knowledge needed by teachers in order to think about how best to organize these sequences for Teaching and Learning that sticks for students and allows students to grow confidently toward independent reading, writing and responding.
Fun, joy, learning, reading, writing, and teacher knowledge.
Second Session: Kate Roberts
A Novel Approach
The need for this book / session stemmed from a paradox.
Students need individualized instruction.
Students need strategies & experience dealing with complex text they did not choose.”
Whole Class Novels are Good
- They build community.
- They push kids to work hard.
- They introduce commonly read texts.
Independent Reading is Good
- It builds choice, engagement, and volume.
- It encourages independence.
- It creates opportunities for growth.
What do your students need? Is it one or the other or is it a combination of the best of both? Use your data (common sense data that can serve as pre, mid, and post test) to determine how to best meet the needs of your students. How do you help them all continue to grow as literate individuals?
Kate proposed a great “boxes and bullets” argument for a combination that includes: Whole-class novel, book clubs, independent reading and a final project to integrate writing. What a win/win for knowledgeable thinking teachers! And what a way to build toward student independence if purposefully teaching skills in whole-class novels that students continue to apply with less teacher guidance in book clubs and independent reading – providing additional practice in a planful long term gradual release that builds to student independence and transfer across their reading lives.
Lunch with Donalyn Miller
How to grow readers and writers? Be readers and writers . . . The examples from students and her grandchildren illustrated the difference among readers. We need to HEAR our students and be responsive!
Session 3: Kelly Williams
It’s Showtime! The Why and How of Exhibiting Student Work
Basic premises included:
What an hour! The Hierarchy of Audience makes so much sense. A narrow focus on working for a teacher as a sole audience is at the bottom of this triangle and rightly so. Motivation and Engagement increase with real purpose and audience.This work connected strongly to Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan’s discussion of student curation in What Are You Grouping For? We drafted 6 Word Stories, created representations, and curated them in small groups within 20 minutes. What a hands-on experience that created additional conversation in the convention halls as folks viewed our work with markers, paper, cardboard, yarn and clothespins. Simple tools with a focus on learning!
Session 4: Patty McGee
Feedback that Moves Writers Forward
One of my thought partners for this session was Leslie Blauman who you will be hearing more about after tomorrow’s sessions. Setting learning intentions right at the start of the session allowed me to actually focus on my own learning goal (and less on the fact that I had been awake since 4 am due to the old “too excited to sleep”)!
The definition of feedback that we were using is this.
Patty layered in this research to allow us to consider the implications.
“…no statistical difference between the group given written feedback and no feedback.” (Think about that and your own writing history!)
Definitely a quote worth revisiting. I love the concept of feedback with a “mentory” feeling as evidenced by my deliberate repetition in this tweet.
“MENTORY”: “in this together, side by side, not doing the work for students, providing a possible strategy so students become better writers. Mentoring – finding that sweet spot of feedback that is meaningful and helps kids grow; not mean. With a goal of long term growth, joyful writers (teachers and students) lift the rock and see the critters underneath.”
One huge take away: Removing the “but” from feedback and replacing it with “because”
“Because you have written a lot,
You are ready for some structure… One strategy . . .”
Feedback is complicated. It involves knowing end goals, keeping the research above in mind and building a “mentory” role in conferencing with a long term goal of student independence and transfer of the skills and strategies of writing!
What a day! And tomorrow is equally packed!
Closing Thoughts on Thursday sessions:
I value reading (I’ve read these books.)
I value hearing the oral WHY from the author!
I value the opportunity to revisit the learning in order to grow my knowledge and my thinking!
I value the opportunity to build connections between what I think I heard and what I think I know!
What do YOU value?
#CCIRA19 . . . a great place to learn!
Here’s what my schedule looks like for #CCIRA. Many Denver teachers are here even though their schools are closed or delayed. Yes, it happens even in Colorado!
What will you be learning today?