In Real Life:
“Gramma, sit here.”
“H’mm. It’s a long way down to the floor.”
I sit. I can guess the activity by reading the clues in the area.
I don’t know for sure the plan but does it matter?
Doesn’t the world revolve around my grandson?
How do I wait, without talking/leading, to see what “our play” is going to be?
In My Professional Life:
Book studies have popped up everywhere. Which ones should I join? Which ones are quite intriguing? Which ones should I avoid?
My professional “shelfie” looks like this: (+Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst)
How do I determine what groups to participate in?
For example, I know of three different groups reading and responding to Disruptive Thinking. Do I just jump in? It’s summer after all and I do have more “time” to spend on reading and writing. Do I develop criteria? What could/should that look like?
Last week’s #G2Great chat was with Patty Vitale-Reilly (@pattyvreilly) about her book, Engaging Every Learner: Classroom Principles, Strategies, and Tools. You can read Chapter 6 of her book from Heinemann here, check out the storify here, or even read my blog post about the chat here.
Where do I think problems with “being an engaged learner” might arise? Where should I begin? Right now I believe I need to pay attention to actions 1, 3, 5 and 6 below as I develop my plans to participate in book studies this summer.
- Consider the three dimensions of engagement
- Cultivate engagement in the classroom
- Establish routines to cultivate high engagement
- Use assessments to build engagement!
- Use choice to build engagement
- Cultivate my own engagement
My decision is to see which of the aspects of “engagement” hook me into summer book groups and provide the incentive for me to continue participating. By planning to “problem solve” in advance, both when I get stuck when reading and when my participation wanes, I can gather additional information about both my problem solving and my engagement!
What are you going to learn / study this summer to move your literacy life forward?
When do I want/need/crave choice and creativity and what role will that play in my decisions/actions?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Additional #DigiLitSunday: Problem Solving posts with Margaret Simon and Reflections on the Teche.
At the beginning:
Stories . . . ahh . . . the dreaded narratives. Those writing pieces with story arcs or mountains, plots, characters, . . . already stuck so I’ve googled and love this post What is a Story, and Where Does it Come From?
Second Start – Google Images
Typing on a typewriter. This was seen at the opening or closing of some TV shows when the writers were given credit.
The places that you can go and see when you can imagine the story.
That extra dimension when the reader takes you, quite literally, into the story!
Still in search of a story . . .
- There was once a young man who knew a lot about dinosaurs. (In fact he knew more than his grandmother.) When you named a dinosaur he would point to the correct one. Tyrannosaurus Rex (T Rex), brontosaurus, stegosaurus, triceratops, and pterodactyl to name a few. This amazing two year old also knew that dinosaurs liked ice cream as he had the T Rex order ice cream at the shoppe. His T Rex was partial to chocolate ice cream in a chocolate cone with chocolate sprinkles. Chocolate all the way!
- Ten kids. During the Depression. One pair of shoes per child. Of course they went barefoot at home, outside, while doing farm chores. The extra warmth from the fresh cow pie was appreciated when frost covered the ground.
- Father, grandfather, uncle, great uncle, brother. All describe Uncle Leo. But what I didn’t know about Uncle Leo was all the folks that he “rubbed elbows” with. Strong family ties connect us across the ages, but now I know that he met and talked with Bobby Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and many other political and presidential folks.
- My shirt-tail cousin, one of the most famous baseball players of all time, Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth was infamous both on the field and off the field.
Does it need to be MY story or can I retell someone else’s story?
I can make the story MY story by including the details that I find most fascinating. I can leave out the details that are boring and get right to the heart of the story. I can elaborate on the most unusual parts or where I “show, not tell” to develop the details.
What are your stories?
How and when will you share?
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.
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.
Follow five people you admire. Just find them on Twitter and click the follow button on the far top right of their page.
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).
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?
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 . . .
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.
Additional #DigiLitSunday posts at Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche here.
Is this your belief?
For your students?
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.
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.
There are many different infographics outlining summer slide. Which one will motivate you to action?
What can teachers and parents do? Ask questions!
Decorate new journals
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
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)
How will you share this information with your students and their families?
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”?
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.
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.
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?
Providing just what students need . . .
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.
- 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?
What does the “science” say?
Greenpeace – “9 Reasons to March for Science this Earth Day”
Is it really black and white?
What if the Earth Treated us the way we treat the 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 . . .
Clean up after yourself
CELEBRATE . . .
All living things
CONSERVE . . .
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?
What’s your plan for Every Day Earth Day?
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.
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:
Poem Farm – Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
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!
Requires time to reflect
Requires student work!
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 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 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.
The #1 Why: The Ultimate Goal
Not mere regurgitation
But taking ideas,
With the goals of
Shaping the World!
And their own Futures!
How do you use “WHY”?
Why do you do what you do?
Additional posts at Reflections on the Teche
Not merely regurgitation
Not just analyzing
But moving on to . . . dare I risk it? . . . innovation?
By reassembling ideas
Through some thoughtful reflection
Should I attempt it?
If you read my found poem yesterday here, you know that I did not attend the 92nd Saturday Reunion sponsored by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. But I did follow along in the TwitterVerse and even collected my re-tweets here in storify. There are about 150 Tweets there if you want to see some of the quotes, ideas, and Tweets that caught my attention.
In the interest of accuracy, this is NOT my first reporting on LEARNING when I was NOT at the conference.
My Previous Learning Via Twitter instead of In Real Life
- May 2016 – New England Reading Association (#NERA2016) in Portland, Maine
- April 2015 – #TCRWP in Paris and #NCTE and Poetry
- and that doesn’t even include Ed Collaborative Gatherings here and here
- And yes, I had a Tweet Deck column following the PAWLP Spring Day today #PAWLPARTS17
Teachers need to have many layers of skills and knowledge. They need to be EXPERTS with their content skills and strategies (Knowledge Base – the what), pedagogy (how to teach in an interesting and engaging way), design (why and how certain aspects of environment, technology, and instruction overlap) and in student development (to understand the faces/bodies in front of them each day). Which of those gets precedence on any given day?
As a teacher, it’s important for you to know and understand the skills, strategies of the standards and curricula as well as your goals for your grade level so the learning targets are crystal clear. Communication skills must be honed so that students clearly understand the purposes of today’s work and the connections that build every day to meet those end goals. However all of these are totally influenced by teacher beliefs and expectations. The teacher has to believe that ALL students can learn and learn at high levels. And what is it that they must learn?
Learning and school CANNOT be about preparation for the next grade. Grade levels assigned by century old arbitrary calendar years are not working for students. The goal in every classroom must be to prepare the students to be productive and independent citizens of the world. So that means no more points taken off for papers turned in a day late (where does that REALLY happen in the real world?), and that students need more VOICE and CHOICE in the work that is done in classrooms on a regular basis. And they also need to be risk takers, entrepreneurs, brave, empathetic, and . . .
“Wow, Fran, I was at #TCRWP and I didn’t hear any of that?”
My Take Aways from #TCRWP by Twitter:
- What do you value? How do we know? Set clear expectations for your students. Share your expectations for the students with them and then share what they can expect from the teacher. Here is one example from a reading teacher. Source: photo and tweet by Jane Losinger
Why does this matter?
This is NOT the same as My Job/Your Job. These statements share/show what you, the teacher value as a promise to the students. When I see these statements in your classroom or on your class website, I know how you will make decisions about time, resources, and even daily instruction. I can also make predictions about what I think your classroom will look like based on what you say you value! Bonus: This maters because of this Hattie result:
2. Be excited, passionate, enthusiastic EVERY minute of EVERY day!
Who knows when or which connection will work for a student? If it’s boring for you, it may also be boring for your students. You don’t have to be an entertainer and an expert at “song and dance routines”. But you do need to be reflective and consider your impact on your students. Ask yourself, “Would I REALLY want to be a student in this class?” Source: Keynote Address – Tweet by Mike Ochs
“Come to work every day like it’s your first day”—Drew Dudley
Why does this matter?
The first day of a new job is filled with excitement and wonder. Share that wonder ALL the time with your students! The students deserve your very best every minute. There really is no time in the schedule for “do overs” so make every minute count the first time. But also focus on how each student can be a future leader. Leaders are kind. Leaders are caring. Leaders are compassionate. Teach for long-term transfer. Know your class well so you can make wise, well-informed decisions that fuel your students’ passions and excitement.
3. Make the learning work visible and therefore attainable for students.
Make sure that you have a depth of knowledge about your content so that you truly understand what students need to do for the next increment of learning. That deep understanding is your own scaffold that you can later remove when students are successful. Tools that can help students reach for the sky and all those lofty expectations are critical. Source: Katie Clements tweet
“@ shares an awesome progression to help Grade 3 mystery readers lift the level of their prediction work.#tcrwp”
Why does this matter?
Students need to have clear learning targets in order to meet them. They can’t be secrets. They can’t be moving targets. Clear. Attainable. Clearly defined for self assessment because then students can figure out exactly how to improve their work in order to meet the criteria. Predictions seem like a fairly easy skill but they don’t occur in isolation and need a cycle of predicting, reading/watching/viewing, considering the degree to which the prediction was met, re-predicting (rinse and repeat) with those elements based on both explicit text references and implicit or inferred responses to the text! And to top it off a student needs to be predicting while collecting evidence to help grow other theories. Reading is COMPLICATED and does not happen one individual skill at a time!
And this bonus from Hattie:
4. Readers and Writers must be thinkers.
In your adult life are you really expected to be a “fact regurgitator”? Or are you expected to be a problem solver? A creative thinker? Source: Tweets from Mary Ehrenworth’s presentation.
“We are not looking for your first thinking, we are looking for your best thinking.”
Create reading notebook pages that open up thinking and develop thinking not tell what you already know.”
Why does this matter?
Thinking in life is not optional. The twenty first century is leaving the adults in the dust and we REALLY have no clue what jobs will be available for our kiddos when they graduate from school and move into the work force. We need to stop pretending that we have any real ideas and instead support students to make choices now. Students need a lot of practice in making decisions and being successful as well as making decisions and FAILING. That really is part of life. How we respond in the face of adversity is a true sign of our character. Let’s support students to be more cognizant of their own need to self-advocate for time, resources, and choices to increase their own learning NOW!
5. Circling back around to values – How are you going to put them into action?
What is your plan? Where will you start? What will you do? “Talk is cheap.” Time is precious! How do you make your actions match your “Professed Values”? Source: Mr. Minor tweeted by Julie Jee
Why does it matter?
Without specific actions, what will change? Keep it simple and doable. Don’t make it another form to be filled out and submitted to the accountability committee for leadership committee for change. Make it a focus for face to face conversations. Build a plan with someone else to increase your own accountability!
Ultimately . . .
I am ending with my thoughts after reading many of the quotes from Lucy Calkin’s closing. I’ve been there. Inspired. Mesmerized. Prepped for action. Ready to conquer the world. Ready to slay dragons after a day at a Saturday Reunion. And yet I can also imagine the tears shed for our beloved friend, Kathleen Tolan.
Something you believe in.
Work for change.
The Democracy in your classroom and in the world still needs your voice and the voice of your students who will inhabit this earth for many years to come!
Where will you begin?
How will we know you are using your gift of learning?
Innovation = My application of doing new things as a result of what I thought/believed I heard today in my #tcrwp Twitter Feed.
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.