Two Saturday sessions have left me with a lot of thinking points. Thinking, processing, writing, and thinking some more. Here’s the first one!
|Capacity – Based Writing: Instruction Empowers Students – Deconstructing the Struggling Writer Label while Championing Inclusive Practices
Presenters: Kass Minor, Colleen Cruz, and Cornelius Minor
Not one to leave seating to chance, I had a two-pronged plan. A) I asked a friend to save seats and B) I mapped out the plan to access the room and literally ran to the session. So three of us had front row seats. It was packed. People on the aisles. People on the sides. People on the floor. Everywhere.
And then the audience. Carl Anderson in row two. Kelly Gallagher in row two. Dorothy Barnhouse on the floor. Katie Wood Ray in the back. And a whole room full of people I didn’t even see!
What’s in a label?
Kass had us thinking about language right off the bat. If we begin with describing our own behaviors, needs and characteristics, what’s the range of descriptors that we use? She modelled some and then put us to work with a partner doing the same work. Pay attention to the language you use. Too often schools (and the people inside the school) see what the person cannot do. This pushes a student to one extreme or the other. Then we have to spend time repairing those ideas. If we are aware of our language, we can be less dehumanizing.
|Positive Descriptor||Behaviors, Needs and Characteristics||Negative Descriptors|
|Can tap out multiple recognizable cadences – beyond beginning drummer!||Fidgets – finger tapping||ADHD – Disturbs others, Noisy|
How do we make sure that students can and are accessing the core curriculum?
Colleen batted this section literally out of the ball park. Her knowledge of kids, instruction, and the law make her a powerful connection for helping students who are experiencing difficulty in writing.
Disabled? People still don’t talk about it. Both of her last books have some sections on access: The Unstoppable Writing Teacher and Writers Read Better. Colleen began by reminding us that, “Where you are positioned is affected by your ability. It changes from place to place. Kids are only special education students at school. We are the power brokers for our kids. Not coming up with nicer synonyms for a label. Being authentic. Removing instructional obstacles.
“Do students need to sit still for writing?
Do students have to use a pencil?
Do students have to write quietly?”
These were just a few of the questions that Colleen posed. And quickly answered with my favorite, “Burn the pencils for students who are struggling with them!”
And what about the student who is using a wobble chair with a chromebook that has Dragon that does not understand his/her speech?
“Where did you do the most work?
What part do you like?
What are you working on in your writing?
Who is your audience?
What kind of writer are you?” ( with a response in a letter format)
Amplifying students’ strengths and approximations – and complying with ESSA – help students be more successful. They sit a bit taller when we call them “authors” and “writers”. What language and actions set students up for success? What language and actions set students up to advocate for themselves?
Supporting claims with well-reasoned writing
Cornelius put us to work instantly with a 30 second search on our phones for a photo to talk about. We had an oral rehearsal with our partners to tell the story of a picture. And then we practiced messing around with claims, first to support a claim of his: A – protagonist is super resilient or B – protagonist is super clumsy and silly. We examined a video text for evidence, watched the video clip twice and then stated our claim and evidence to our partner.
What did this feel like/ look like?
Quite comfortable. Skill isolation. Just like in sports. Beginning with the skill in isolation before chaining any other actions. Building the context.
Beginning with popular media, a video clip and then talking with friends. Then moving to a different text. Could be a poem. Could be a short story.
Cornelius labelled this: Standards Bearing Writing – meeting you where you are.
No annotation. Beginning with viewing and talking. Beginning where all students can experience success.
Then planning instruction based on students readiness for the next step and then the next. This does not have to consume tons of time. We practiced two different arguments in less than 10 minutes.
Talk. A plan. Setting the stage. Building context. Legitimatizing “effort” with many possible answers.
“I teach people – not a curriculum.
Love in a classroom is attention to people.
The first attempt is messy. Handwriting is not a concern.
Spelling is not a concern. Writing is a process.” Cornelius Minor, NCTE18, 11/18/18.
Improvement begins with US!
How are you improving your language?
How are you providing real choices so students will be successful?
How are you beginning your instruction so that kids are first successful, with a lot of talk, on the initial isolated skills?
How are you building your own capacity?
Colleen: @colleen_cruz and colleencruz.com
Kassandra Minor @MsMinor1 kassandcorn.com
Cornelius Minor @MisterMinor
My #OLW stood me in great steed this weekend at #ILA18.
So much to see . . .
So much to do . . .
So much to learn . . .
But What’s the Point?
Back in the Dark Ages,
In the late 2oth Century!
I remember the value placed on
Whole-Part-Whole in education.
The goal was always LEARNING!
The intent was for ALL to be LEARNING!
After #ILA18 I feel that many empowered teachers have been set free in the universe to “change the world” and continue learning. We haven’t learned it all. There is a real need to continue to grow and build our knowledge base.
And that brings me to one of my Sunday sessions. We were learning about the Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (4th edition) under the leadership of Diane Lapp and Douglas Fisher. It has 18 chapters. Chapters that could be used in schools for professional development.
18 Must Reads.
18 Invitational Conversations.
Exploring the tight connections between research and best supported practice that promotes literacy for every learner.
This was not a book available to purchase in the Exhibit Hall.
But could it? Dare it be a lens to consider best practices? A lens to consider What? How? or even WHY we do what we do in instruction?
In its entirety this is one side of a handout from a round table at that session . . .
8 Essential Components of Comprehensive Language Arts Instruction.
Any surprises for you?
As I reviewed the list, I found it quite interesting that this list of components included nine, or exactly half of the chapters. Curiosity, of course, won out. What on earth could the other nine chapters be about if this is “the list of components for instruction” and if THIS is the book for teachers to study.
So I was off researching.
In a classroom, I would have been in major trouble because I was on my computer and might have appeared to NOT be on task. But I was in search of more information. What is the other half of this book about? This book we should study? This book we should use? This 499 page book!
This post is titled “Why?” not to just allow me to pose my own questions but also to perhaps begin to develop some of my own theories. Why these eight components? Why do two of the eight (25%) not have chapter resources supporting them?
What are the “Whys?” that are circling in your brain?
What format will the chapter take?
Will there be recommendations of “amounts of time” per component?
Will there be “recommendations of additional resources”?
Were any teachers involved in updating this handbook?
Is there any support for how to put these 8 components into action?
Or how to “know” when the components are all aligned?
Will this text continue to treat each component as a separate silo? What about the reciprocity of reading and writing? How will we grow readers and writers?
Why this text now?
What’s so compelling about this text, right now, that this book should be a part of a district’s professional development?
It was a pleasure to hear much rich conversation around real reading and writing at #ILA18. Real, rich, robust reading that is NOT about single standard instruction or assessment. It’s actually quite refreshing to go back to the “Whole” of language arts instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening that moves stedents to take action in the real world.
Doing school must end. It’s time to capitalize on any instruction that promotes high learning and engagement that challenges students without mind-numbing page after page of annotation, Cornell notes, and skills-based minute particles that can easily be googled. Why do adults think these decisions can be made without broader input from our communities?
If the whole is our entire language arts program
and the part is the eight components,
what “WHY?s” will you need answered before you can implement these 8 components?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
He moves his arms.
He kicks some more.
He sputters as he swallows some water.
Arms are present to lightly hold . . . a scaffold . . . for safety’s purpose!
Not every swimming stroke is perfect.
He is two and a half years old.
Does he need floaties?
Will those make him more dependent or independent?
When it comes to the spoken word
Not every word is perfect.
He is two and a half years old.
I have to listen closely to decipher some words.
And yet other words are crystal clear . . .
“Missippi River” and “quesadilla”!
Five and six sentence words are the average.
He is two and a half years old.
Why do we encourage approximation in
many physical actions
but reject them in reading and writing?
Let me offer two scenarios:
A student is reading and says “kitten” for cat.
The teacher stops the child by tapping on the table, the error cue, and the child is to have another go, correct the error and continue on. Kitten is more specific than “cat” so the child is positive that the utterance matches the picture of a small cat as a “kitten.” And the child repeats “kitten” and continues on.
If we were to focus on what the child can do, we might celebrate:
“He knows more than one name for cat.”
“He knows that a baby cat is a kitten.”
“He knows that he can check the picture for clues.”
“He has some knowledge of cats.”
“He is not changing his mind easily.”
“He is persistent.”
And most importantly, he REALLY is not saying this as a personal attack against the teacher who has been working on words like cat and dog for awhile.
The opportunity to find out what the child knows and why he is calling it a kitten instead of a cat exists. The child just told us what he knows. Now we need to explore his thinking instead of immediately moving to a “correcting” mentality. Responding with a simple, “How do you know?” puts the student in the driver’s seat to explain their thinking and let the adults in on the big secrets of life. (It’s not really about US!) It’s really about what the child is showing us they are using. Will someone really stand next to a reader correcting reading errors as they orally read? What does that teach a child? What is the role of self-correction?
Celebrate that the child was in the right animal family. Precision in word use is often celebrated in writing but berated in reading. Why is that so? Over correction on the part of the listener, may lead to a student who patiently waits for someone to TELL them that word. Is that the reader that we want?
A student is writing.
The teacher says, “Where are your sentences? Your capital letters? Your beginnings? Your end punctuation? This is all one sentence. Please use everything you know about sentences in your writing.”
If we were to focus on what the child can do, we might celebrate:
“The child wrote without prompting.”
“The child had something to say.”
“The child wrote a lot.”
“The child told a story,”
“The child had a great beginning and middle to her story.”
“The child used mostly lower case letters.”
“The child had spaces between all words.”
“The child had a lot of details.”
“The child wrote most of the story that she had orally recounted.”
Instead of a belief that the child is out to torture you by leaving out all punctuation marks, what happens when you ask her to read it to you? Does the child pause and or stop in the appropriate places? That is more information for the teacher that doesn’t require a teacher led inquisition in a totally exasperated voice. Less questioning and more listening seems to be one way for a teacher to “hack into” a child’s thinking. A lack of punctuation by the child doesn’t mean that she knows absolutely nothing about punctuation. On this day, it was probably less important to the author than it is to the teacher. Considering when this child has previously used punctuation and capital letters in writing may lead to some important discoveries. Is that a teacher process? A student process? Or should it be a shared process? Maybe the expectation of perfect punctuation stops some students from writing. What a sad unintended consequence that may be for children!
As we consider the quickly advancing winter break, do think about your own learning. What’s new? What’s still uncomfortable? What are all the things you can do? What are you still working on? How much practice do you need in order to be confident? What’s one area that you might study about your own learning? What wonders will you explore?
When do we celebrate the “can do” part of life at school?
When do we celebrate approximations?
When do we celebrate the habits of mind that keep a student working through struggles?
When do we celebrate the MANY, MANY daily successes?
What happens if the focus is truly on MANY “can do” moments and only one or two goals at a time?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
And the answers were:
Bob Probst: “I would give students more access to models of student discourse so they can talk about the content.”
Lucy Calkins: “I would give teachers more time for professional conversations, to dive into problems of practice together as a community and share their discoveries.”
Kylene Beers: “I would double your pay and cut the number of students in your class in half.”
This last question posed by moderator Lester Laminack who was seated on stage with the panel was: “If you had a magic wand in public education today, what would you do with it?”
Was this the most memorable question of the day? Why begin here? Because Saturday was a ginormous day of learning at #NCTE17. My day was filled with nonstop sessions and meetings from 7:30 am until 10:05 pm. It was Saturday. I was in St. Louis. And let me repeat, “my day was filled with nonstop sessions and meetings from 7:30 am until 10:05 pm.” And it was Saturday. If you do the math, the answer is something like 14+ hours.
Details: The first meeting was a breakfast. The last gathering was dinner. 15 minutes in between sessions to race from one end of the convention center and settle in for 75 minute learning opportunities… On a Saturday!
What is personalized learning?
What is the role of technology?
My answer is #NCTE17. A conference that I choose to attend, at my own expense, in order to learn and grow professionally. A conference where I renew my professional “joie de vivre“. I chose my schedule (or does it chose me?). I make a plan or two. I continually check my list of “Must Learns“. Some items are topics. Some items are names. Names of people. Names of books. And the best intersection . . . authors of books from book chats or book studies. The books in my bag in my hotel room that I forgot to match up to my schedule to bring for autographs. Those authors. Those from whom I want to learn MORE!
Personalized = my choice. Technology = those I have met on Twitter, Voxer, and blogs (that I now meet face to face). A lasting marriage of Voice and Choice on Saturday for 14+ hours of learning! Learning on my own dime and time.
So what did I learn?
“We still need a balance of technology and print in our literacy lives. There is not yet a definitive answer on when and how much screen time is appropriate for effective learning. Think balance.” Colleen Cruz, TCRWP
Lucy Calkins: “Transference of phonics is the goal. We don’t need a professor of phonics.”
“Our new work is our best work. We are always striving to improve and outgrow ourselves as a community of learners.”
To learn more about Jacqueline Woodson, Saturday General Session, check out her website. Simply gorgeous keynote!
F.38 What Matters Most About Reading and Writing
(Lester Laminack, Kylene Beers, Robert Probst, and Lucy Calkins)
What I will hold onto:
Kylene shared that 80% of adults go to text in order to be right. So we need to teach HS kids that reading, entering a text, is an opportunity to change yourself.
Lucy Calkins – “Live as if one of the pillars of your thinking is dead wrong.” Go to sessions, work with folks because if we only read our books and stay in our bubble – we will not be surprised and will not outgrow ourselves.
Lester Laminack: Our children are 21st century citizens . . . ask Siri ‘Why do bees buzz?” (and he did on stage for all of us to listen to) How do we convince Ss to fall in love w/ books? That’s a question for your, dear reader!
Lucy: We can grow as writers if we write along side our students when they are writing. We don’t have to be writers before we begin teaching writing.
Kylene: Writing to tell or Writing to discover. We can’t and don’t write enough. We shouldn’t teach kids non-fiction means not fake which then turns to true…let’s teach them non-fiction means not fiction. Non-fiction can be fake, not because you don’t agree with it though.
G.04 How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More: Developing Agentive Readers
(Jan Burkins, JoAnne Duncan, Gravity Goldberg, and Renee Houser)
We read passages at 90% accuracy. They were tough to understand. Sometimes reading is tough. We need to acknowledge that. But we also need to make sure that students DO THE WORK! We need to set up those conditions of learning!
Haven’t read it? No excuse!
Gravity and Renee have this fiction and a nonfiction parallel book as well. Have you read them? Reflections on the books are included on a post here.
JoAnne shared the journey of a particular student in her building who learned to read and was then given books when she moved from the school. Powerful and tear jerking reminders that our relationships matter. We have to be a part of our students’ lives.
H.08 Harnessing the Power of Multicultural Literature and Critical Literacy to Generate Authentic and Enjoyable Writing Spaces That Bring Writers Back into the Workshop
(Brian Kissel, Kristina Kyle, and Lauren Rudd)
The two first grade international teachers shared the influences of their work:
- James Paul Gee
- Paulo Freire
- Vivian Maria Vasquez
Social action (for a Better World)
- Randy Bomer
- Katherine Bomer
- Stephanie Jones
And then Brian had us read and think alongside his reflections on his student work! For more information about Brian and his work, check out this post.
Thought to Ponder:
What would happen if you read every piece of student work just like you read every published book?
I.20 Recapturing Assessment: Student Voices in Aiding Our Mission
(Jason Augustowski, Dr. Mary Howard, Dr. Katie Dredger, Cindy Minnich, Sam Fremin, Ryan Hur, Joseph O’Such, Christian Sporre, Dawson Unger, Spencer Hill, Jack Michael, Ryan Beaver, Sean Pettit, and Kellen Pluntke)
Take aways from the #BowTieBoys:
- Students do not want multiple choice tests.
- Students do not want to regurgitate facts.
- Students do not want to write essays every time to show evidence of their learning.
- Students do not want to sit in rows of desks.
- Students do not want to listen to lectures.
- Students do not want a two page writing limit.
Students want choice.
Students want voice.
Students want opportunities to negotiate HOW to share their learning.
Students want to explore their own interest.
Students want to use technology.
Students want to learn even if that takes more work.
Students are less concerned about “fairness in grading” then they are about having choices in open-ended rubrics.
(edited) For additional details about the individual presentations from this round table see Mary C Howard’s Facebook post here.
J. 21. Beyond Levels: Choosing Texts to Scaffold Instruction for Engagement and Agency
(Clare Landrigan, Tammy Mulligan, Terry Thompson, and Dorothy Barnhouse)
It was such a pleasure to see the cover of Clare and Tammy’s new book and then to have Dorothy read Yo, Yes to us. We can find authentic ways to build in engagement and agency without “cute” worksheet pages! Tammy and Clare’s blog is here.
And of course, ending with the Slicer Dinner! 16 bloggers (weekly and each day in March) meet up for food, fun, continued learning, and conversation. (Again . . . Personalized Learning and Technology) Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!
What is your personalized learning plan?
Does technology play a part?
Are you ready to sign up for #NCTE18 in Houston?
Dipping into the facebook group here
@HeinemannPub resources here
and original blog posts at “To Make a Prairie” here.
It’s a delicate dance similar to a waltz.
Think: “How does this fit into my current beliefs?”
Write down questions, changes, fleeting thoughts . . .
To be absorbed into the mental stream of consciousness
A new belief
Test it out
And with reading, writing, thinking, and more practice . . . It’s time to begin sharing!
This week marks the beginning of #cyberPD for the summer of 2017. Check out the hashtag and the blogs and hold onto your brains as the pace is quick, the thinking is challenging, and you will question your own beliefs about reading! Be prepared for the provocative nature of this book, the discussion, and the debate!
Here’s the challenge from Ellin Oliver Keene in the Foreword:
Why were Chapters 1-4 challenging?
Because I didn’t begin with them. I began with Chapter 5.
Check the text.
Vicki gave readers to start with either part 1: background, values and changes or part 2: problems and practices. Of course, I began with Part 2. It’s my favorite. But in order to sustain changes, I know that I have to understand the “why” in order to stay the course and continue to “steer the ship”. (page xix)
Values and Beliefs:
Reading is meaning.
Meaning is constructed by the reader.
Use inquiry or a problem-based approach. What I do 1:1 with striving readers.
Inquiry or problem-based approach with all – that’s new!
Students doing the work.
Ditch assigned patterns of close reading. (AMEN!)
Creative thinking. Hit the brakes! Do I really get the difference?
Real meaning of read closely and deeply. (YES!)
Teaching vs. learning (including over scaffolding and too much priming the pump)
I’m still learning about problem-solving. I understand the basic principles. As I read this summer, I’m keeping track of what I do when I get stuck, tangled up in the words or tangled up in the ideas. How do I work through the “stuck” and the “tangles”. I need to continue to practice on my own reading.
Same for creative thinking and critical thinking. Such a delicious thought that they are not the same. I’ve had
years decades of imitating, patterning, and coasting in the shadows. Am I really creative? Too early to tell.
What do you value in reading?
What will you read that will be provocative this summer?
Do you dare break out of your complacency?
Want to join #CyberPD?
Join the Google+ Community https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/107711243109928665922
Follow #cyberPD on Twitter
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.
What messages am I hearing every day at #ILA15?
Ask students what they need
Data is more than a number
What treasures remained from Saturday’s sessions at #ILA15?
1. The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing
Ruth Culham, Kate Messner, and Lester Laminack
Mentor texts in the form of fiction and nonfiction picture books provide teachers with a powerful teaching strategy to help students of all ages learn to write. Good models come in many forms: picture books, chapter books and everyday texts that allow students to study craft techniques in order to create their own strong writing using the writing process.
Ruth Culham shared some of her beliefs about mentor texts that are elaborated in Writing Thief. She read Bully to us as we focused on the reader’s view and then had us “re-read” paying attention to the author’s craft and studying the writing as an author.
She also shared a video from the author about the book. Her text includes Author Insights from: Lester Laminack, Lola Schaefer, Nicola Davies, Toni Buzzeo, Ralph Fletcher, David Harrison, and Lisa Yee.
Kate Messner shared her writing mentors: Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. They taught her how to read like a writer and how to find mentors on her own bookshelf when there were not live mentor authors in her hometown. Kate also shared that her own daughter knows how to find mentors. Merely by asking, “How are you doing that?” she found her own hula-hoop mentor. We should use that question with students and encourage students to query authors using that question to grow their own knowledge of the skills and strategies that authors use. Kate reminded us that mentor texts are found in the books that we love, so students who are readers will also have the background necessary to be a writer!
Lester Laminack wants Read Alouds to be FUN for students. He does not want every Read Aloud to be an “interactive read aloud” and even said that you can only “unwrap” the gift of a book once – let kids get lost in the story the first time. Lester is fun, funny and literally pulls no punches. My favorite quote was that “Read Alouds should be like drug dealers: deliver a little somethin’ somethin’ today, then come back tomorrow and deliver a little more somethin’ somethin’ on a schedule.” Showing up, delivering, creating a deep need and continuing to meet that need.
Read Alouds feeding the soul.
Read Alouds helping students grow.
Read Alouds for fun.
Take Away: Mentors are all around us: books, authors, teachers, and yes, even students! Choose and use wisely!
2. In Defense of Read-Aloud
Steven Layne literally had to stop his presentation to wipe the tears, from laughter, from his own eyes. Steven provided an overview of some of the instructional highlights from his book. Chapter one, In Defense of Read Alouds, is basically an overview of Why Read Alouds are needed. This is one of two slides listing benefits.
Launching a book requires intentional planning. Teachers carry an invisible backpack that includes their schema, but care needs to be included in developing schema with students. An example that Layne used was The Giver which would need two and a half 40 minute class periods to launch WELL! It’s a complex text.
The shared letters were my favorites, letters and responses to:
Witless in Walla Walla
Addled in Anchorage
Troubled in Telluride
Crazy in Calabasa
And if you are relatively new to Read Alouds, you may want to check out chapter 4, “The Art of Reading Aloud”.
Take Away: All students deserve carefully planned Read Alouds that introduce them to all genres of texts in order to find personally loved texts.
3. Accountability, Agency, and Increased Achievement in Independent Reading
Hundreds of teachers attending a session at this hour of the day on the first full day of the conference? REALLY?
Yes, it’s true!
Jennifer Serravallo masterfully led us through some possibilities for instruction and conferring to meet student self-chosen goals. With accomplishment of these goals, students will also increase their motivation to read and their student reading growth.
How much time is spent on reading?
Do classrooms have books?
Great questions that can jump start student reading!
I love this look at Hattie’s rating scale. It’s a great visual to remind us of the importance of that .40 effect size lynch pin (the light blue area). Kids need to read a ton but with goals and feedback they will be successful. Jennifer referenced some of the visuals from her book.
As with her previous texts, Conferring with Readers, Teaching Reading in Small Groups, The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook K-2 or 3-5, I knew this was a great book but I have an even greater appreciation now that I understand the depth of care and attention given to each of the strategies.
I also believe that we need to “Teach strategies based on student needs – not just off of Pinterest randomly”. And the fact that we need to use common language in our buildings that matches the assessment language was clearly explained with “not slip and slide that may have come from Pinterest.” We must work on consistency of language in our classrooms for STUDENT success, not just because “I like this idea that I found somewhere”! Student learning is at stake!
Prompts fit these basic five categories. Do you know the differences?
- sentence starter
When and why would you vary your use of these five types of prompts?
This is a great text that is going to be so helpful for teachers!!!
Take Aways: The goal of strategies is to learn the skill so well that the reader uses the strategy automatically on a regular basis! Students must be a regular part of goal setting!
Many sessions still remain at #ILA15. Did you attend any of these sessions?
What would you add?
What are you hearing at #ILA15?
IRA now ILA = International Literacy Association
I’ve skipped over this paragraph in the ILA materials (probably 100 times now), but please slow down and read it . . .
“Illiteracy is a solvable problem, and together, we can make a difference! Amplify your efforts by joining forces with us at ILA 2015 in St. Louis, where you’ll get information and inspiration to transform your students’ lives. Register now for this can’t-miss event, where you’ll experience endless opportunities to network and learn—and leave feeling part of a meaningful movement, resolved to end illiteracy.”
And this . . .
“Literacy—across all sectors, mediums, and channels—is increasingly critical. In order to effectively prepare children and adults for the future, teachers must be well prepared to help diverse students improve their literacy skills.”
Whether illiteracy or aliteracy is a concern for you, follow the twitter stream on #ILA15 to LEARN from July 17 pre-conferences to the sessions on July 18-20 in St. Louis! Who defines well-prepared? Are your current efforts REALLY working for ALL your students?
What are you learning this summer that will improve student literacy?
How will you use your learning?
How will you share your learning?
What thoughts run through your mind when you hear the word “poetry”?
Like to read it?
Hate to write it?
Those thoughts are probably directly connected to your previous experiences. If you remember “being required” to write in iambic pentameter for example, you might not be on the “love” side. If you believed that free verse or the way poetry “looked” was as important as what it said like Anastasia Krupnik, poetry may not have been your favorite writing unit. (Creativity week excerpt from Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik here) Encountering a real-life Mrs. Westvessel may have harmed the poetry writer in you. But don’t despair! You can still read, write and enjoy poetry and yes, even change your attitude about poetry!
April is National Poetry month. I hope that poetry is embedded into your English Language Arts work every month of the year because poetry is included in CCSS.Reading Anchor 10. April might just be that month to “Celebrate” the joy of poetry and turn to poetry writing as another way for students to share specific work with language, rhyme and rhythm.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has a whole month of celebration going on that includes song at Poetry Farm here. Continue to scroll down the left hand side of her blog for the vast resources available including the Poetry Friday links.
Mary Lee Hahn at Poetrepository is another great source of poetry ideas for teachers and students. Her April Po-emotions series is quite fun!
Steve Peterson also is posting poems here at Inside the Dog.
One of my favorite posts from Reading At the Core is this one featuring Walt Whitman.
Who are some of your favorite poets?
What poetry anthologies do you recommend?
Are you celebrating Poetry Month?
Today’s story is the final installment in this week’s recounting of a focused professional development opportunity that our literacy team developed and delivered that included Quality Instructional Practices, ELA Iowa Core Standards and Assessment for Learning. To recap, the first post began with much Anticipation on Day 5.
And then based on learning with Dave Burgess, Teach Like a Pirate, I shared the Instructional Strategies Bracket on Day 6 that Dyan Sundermeyer created and used to refocus attention on common strategies in a building.
On Day 7 I shared the work that we did around Quality Instructional Practices based on scenarios in Chapter 1 of Dr. Mary Howard’s Book.
So for those of you that live and breathe in the world of professional development or coaching, here are a few more details to whet your appetite.
Modeled Grade 5 Scenario
The scenario you read about yesterday was used on our second day with leadership teams. The thinking behind the grade 5 scenario was modeled after everyone had a chance to read and reflect (gradual release of responsibility) Then participants had a choice – scenarios from first grade, third grade or even title 1. Their task was to read the initial scenario and record the “Great, Good and Bad”, reflect on some questions, read the follow-up teaching scenario and consider the deliberate changes made by the teacher to move more actions to “Great”. At that point the teachers and administrators found a partner in the room and talked about the scenario and their understanding of the teaching sequence, student learning, and teacher changes. (Each scenario was color coded so it was easy to find a partner with the same color pages.)
Deepened Understanding of the Iowa Core ELA Standards
Our PD work continued with looking at two specific ELA standards through the K-5 range and considering these questions. How do they build on the previous grade level learning? What do they require of teachers? What do they require of students?
- Anchor Standard RL.3: Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
- Anchor Standard RL.7: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Close Reading of the Scenarios
Participants ended the “Standards Learning” portion with an application piece. Here was their task:
The teachers and administrators reread the scenario through the lens of “which standards” and then checked for grade level standards on those color coded documents. Possible answers for grade 5 include: RL.5.10, W.5.10 and SL.5.1.
Assessment for Learning – Learning Targets
Time was going to be an issue so our plan was to just begin with Learning Targets and provide an opportunity for our participants to work on those before we meet again. I’m going to stay with the “plan” as time did necessitate some shifting. We had some learning around the big definition of “Assessment for Learning” including Learning Targets and the fact that “clear goals” is .75 Effect Size (Hattie). Clear learning goals are absolutely essential for learning and assessment but we did not go into the difference between “goals” and “targets” at this time. Here is how the scenarios were used for the third time (close reading).
And the finale learning activity for the session involved watching a video of classroom instruction and in a triad looking for 1) “Great, Good and Bad; 2)Iowa Core ELA Standards and 3) Learning Targets. Can you identify the iterative nature of our work?
How do you have teachers grapple with the HOW – Quality Instruction and the WHAT – ELA Core Standards simultaneously?
How important is our design of GREAT work?
How do you model GREAT work in your PD?
Professional Development – Always a work in progress . . . Our state model
Two blog posts this week caught my eye and lingered in my brain. They were Jessica Lifshitz’s “A Different Kind of PD (AKA Thank You Kate Roberts and Chris Lehman)” linked here and Lisa Saldivar’s “Assigning vs. Teaching” here. Jessica is a 5th grade teacher in Chicago and Lisa is an Elementary ELA Coordinator in Los Angeles.
How do I know Jessica and Lisa? I follow them on Twitter and they participated in online chats last week.
How did I find out about their blogs? The links were both tweeted out on Twitter.
Have I ever met them? No, not YET!
Stop for a second.
What was the content of the last Professional Development session where you left energized, inspired and ready to move forward with implementing the learning?
Energy, enthusiasm and excitement were present in both their posts. The three presenters referenced above, Kate Roberts, Chris Lehman (Falling in Love with Close Reading), and Cornelius Minor, are awe-inspiring and passionate about increasing literacy learning for students without drudgery. They are also FUN to listen to in a PD setting! You can hear Cornelius Minor in a podcast here. If you haven’t yet seen them in person, you need to add them to your “must do” list!
Focus: What is professional learning?
I shared this model back in September because the work of Joyce and Showers is embedded in the thinking and development of this model that has “Student learning – at the center of school improvement and staff development”! (Research-based, YES! and a model of how good things can be!)
You can read more about the model here and also about CCSS.Writing Anchors 1-3 here for content of a two hour PD session with absolutely 0 power point slides but a lot of talk and “studying of texts”. Teachers had the opportunity to read new/revisit familiar texts to deepen their understanding of writing techniques and build a common language, K-5, across argument, informational and narrative texts.
Where can you find joyful and inspiring PD on your own?
There are many quality sources of PD. I encourage you to leisurely explore the following resources until you find one that you cannot live without! Additional details are listed for: blogs, twitter hash tags, twitter book chats, twitter blog chats, scheduled Twitter chats, and face-to-face presentations.
Reading a steady diet of blogs can inform your work. Leaving comments on the blogs can also lead to conversations and even other blogs you might want or need to follow!
Must read literacy blogs include:
- Vicki Vinton’s blog “To Make a Prairie” – Of interest to you might be this specific post “Learning vs Training – The Power of Real Professional Development“
- Melanie Meehan’s blog – one of the two authors of “Two Reflective Teachers” and this post “Exploring a Fabulous Mentor Text”
- Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan’s blog, “Teachers for Teachers”, where they describe themselves as “… staff developers who are still teachers at heart. We believe that effective professional development includes side by side teaching; discussions of current research; analysis of student work; and mutual trust and respect.” A post that may be of interest is “Applying Some ‘Brain Rules’ to Professional Development“
- Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris’s blog, “Burkins & Yaris Think Tank for 21st Century Literacy” and a favorite post, “The Power of Job-Embedded Coaching” that contains additional references to the work of Joyce and Showers
- Two Writing Teachers (and that will also lead you to the amazing blogs written by the SIX authors!)
- and many great teacher blogs like Julieanne’s “To Read, To Write, To Be“; Mary Lee’s “A Year of Reading“; Steve’s “Inside the Dog“; Christina’s “The Teacher Triathlete“; and Taylor’s “The Formative Feedback Project“.
2. Twitter hashtags
Twitter hashtags begin with the “#” sign and can be real or made up. Some hashtags exist for a long time (not saying forever because who REALLY knows what “forever” means in the “TwitterVerse”) or they can be hashtags created for a specific event (and possibly linger after through posts/discussions).
Examples for meetings / conferences:
#NatRRConf – National Reading Recovery Conference
#WSRA15 – Wisconsin Reading Association 2015 Conference
#NCTE14 – National Council of Teachers of English 2014 Conference
Examples of enduring hashtags (may want to have a dedicated column in Tweetdeck or Tweetchums):
#tcrwp – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
#wonderchat – Wonder Chat
#tlap – Teach Like a Pirate
3. Twitter Book Chats
Twitter Book Chats are on line discussions of books (often with questions posted in advance in a google document) where readers and lurkers meet to answer questions and grow their own knowledge. Powerful twitter book chats often include the authors responding to the questions as well!
#filwclosereading – Falling in Love with Close Reading (book and presentations by @teachkate and @ichrislehman linked above)
#wrrdchat – What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton
#NNNchat – Notice and Note @kylenebeers and @bobprobst
#wildreading – Donalyn Books
#booklove – Penny Kittle
#G2Great – Good to Great @DrMaryHoward
4. Twitter Blog Chats
Twitter Blog Chats are often used to introduce an upcoming series of blog posts or to even wrap up a series of blog posts where the readers can interact with the blog authors.
#TWTBlog – Aim Higher: Outgrow old goals and set new ones with the chat archive here
#T4Tchat – sponsored by Teachers for Teachers with the last chat storified here – Mid-Year Assessments Got You Down?
5. Scheduled Twitter Chats
#tcrwp – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (Wed. 7:30 pm EST)
#educoach – Educational Coaches (Wed. 9:00 pm CST)
#titletalk – Promote reading and book titles that engage students (Last Sunday of each month from 8-9 pm EST)
#iaedchat – Iowa Educators (Sundays 8 am and 8 pm CST)
Many content areas and grade levels host their own chats – check out this list! (36 chats on the list last night between 5:30 and 10:00 pm!)
6. Face to Face Presentations
Face to Face Presentations are often jazzed up to include a hashtag so participants can follow along or a back channel like “Today’s Meet” where participants can be posting favorite quotes or questions in real time while the session is taking place. Today’s Meet is often used when there are multiple presenters so the non-presenter is monitoring the channel to feed to other partners/panel members or to address /build purposeful connections for all parts of the presentation.
Which of these 6 have you used to find your own joyful and inspiring professional development?
What about your peers? Where do they find joyful and inspiring PD?
(If you didn’t answer these questions in three seconds or less, click on a link above and find something you are interested in . . . NOW!!!)
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work.