Category Archives: #OneLittleWord

#SOL20: Harvest Celebrations


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Harvest:  what do you celebrate?

  • Is it the season?
  • The produce?
  • The process?
  • The product?

What does harvest mean to you?

Sit with your definition for a minute.  Pause.  Reflect.

Harvest: (n.)

the process or period of gathering in crops.
“helping with the harvest”   (Oxford Dictionary)
My summer sewing harvest the last four months has been bountiful:
A dinosaur glow in the dark quilt
6 “Bunny” wall hangings
6 soup bowl cozies
4 Fourth of July table runners
An assist with a quilt for a graduate
2 sets of pajamas
20 different items.
2 for me.
Is it the envisioning?
Is it the design?
Is it the construction?
Is it the gift giving?
Today’s harvest
A BLT,
corn on the cob,
pickled beets,
bread and butter pickles.
No waiting.
Ready to eat
Fresh from the garden
And from the Farmer’s Market!
Not a “FALL” harvest;
A JULY harvest! 
A concrete harvest.
A purposeful harvest.

But is there more?

Also today . .  .
I noticed . . .
The lowering of the TBR stack
The conversations about blog posts
The list of books read
The list of blogs written
My reading notebook
My writing notebook
   . . . And the ideas swirling in my head!
A plethora of reading and writing accomplished . . .
As well as a list yet to come.

What does your harvest look like? 

What will you celebrate? 

How and when will you celebrate?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#TCRWP Reading Institute 2020


I miss:

  • the participants
  • the staff developers
  • Riverside Church
  • Horace Mann
  • the up close and personal feel of the FRONT row of the auditorium
  • the subway
  • being asked for directions on the subway
  • living out of “carry on”
  • coffee meet ups
  • packing my lunch
  • dining out on the NYC cuisine
  • the bookstores
  • the impossible and usually untimely return trip home (AKA stranded in NYC on the 4th of July)
  • the conversations as we walk past our location, to the wrong Starbucks, or just wandering
  • meeting up with #TWT friends
  • meeting up with #Voxer cousins
  • squeezing in a #G2Great chat (and what time zone am I really in?)
  • meeting up with #CuriosityCrew
  • and leaving the world behind for that short interlude . . . no TV, few phone calls, few emails.

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Thanks to the pandemic, it’s truly a Brave, New World.

Conversation and chatter seems non-stop . . . even if it is typed into a box! Or in a break out room!

It’s Wednesday night. Past the mid-point. My brain is full.  It’s leaking. Time to let something out!

My choice session today was all that I envisioned. (Envision- my #OLW)

And then some.

Grand slam?

Winning game of the World Series?

Kentucky Derby winner?

Gold Medal at the Olympics?

30 minutes of pure bliss.

Head nodding,

Amen-shouting,

Fist-pumping,

Zoom waving,

YES!  YES!  YES!  YES!  YES!  YES!

Title:  The Six Most Important  Things You Can Do with Your Students Who are Reading Below Grade Level Benchmarks

Find some paper or point to your fingers.

What are your 6 Most Important Things?

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6

You don’t have to fuss over the order.  Look at them.  Are those the six most important things you believe in?

Are you sure? 

Are you really sure?

I had a difficult time choosing this session. There were three choice sessions that I needed to attend according to the titles.  This session was not #1. However, I made a guesstimate on the “Six Most Important Things” and I wanted to know if I was right. So I chose this session.

Here were my six:

Know your students / Relationship

Feedback, Self-assessment & Goal-setting

Talk about reading / Rehearse

Stuff to read

Reading, Reading, Reading every day

Was I close?

No bets.

No money.

30 minutes invested in checking my understanding.

Thoughts?




Here were Hannah’s Six Most Important Things.

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One small corner of my brain organized and ready for tomorrow’s learning.

So by tomorrow night I can be back at one of these stages . . .

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Summertime,

Summertime,

Sum, sum, sum, summertime Learning . . .

It’s the best!

 

 

 

 

 

#SOL20: Farewell, Celebrate!


New decade, new year, new days, new words!

One Little Word has a rich heritage and you can see my process in my 2019 choice here as well as my previous words.

  • 2014    Transfer
  • 2015     Focus
  • 2016    Joyful
  • 2017    Brave
  • 2018    Curious
  • 2019    Celebrate

My path to my 2020 word was lengthier than usual. Holidays. Celebrations. Family Events. Holiday Bowl. Travel. Celebrations. Joy. Travel Delays.

These words and this process were a part of my final review as I continued to search for graphics that would help depict my #OLW for 2020.

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I tested out graphics on google docs.  Which would make the best blog wallpaper?

I continually returned to . . .

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The continuous cycle.

The “compactness” of the process.

Envision,

Execute,

Empower . . .

Yes, interrelated!

But, it all begins with Envision!

Without Envision, there is no goal, no target, no objective!

From Vocabulary.com, here’s the definition:

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“Imagine a cause to be seen”

Envision!

What’s your #OLW?

How will it guide you in 2020?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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Envisioning a “Happy Birthday” for my brother today!

#SOL19: Fueling the Soul


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I returned to #NCTE19 in the same site as #NCTE14 to present as part of a different panel group.  Excited to rejoin face-to-face friends and colleagues. Exhilarated to learn with new friends and colleagues and just a bit exhausted from the prep and planning to take advantage of every single moment.  Celebrating friends. Celebrating peers. Celebrating communities. Celebrating learning. So ready to lean into my #OLW: Celebrate!

NCTE:  National Council of Teachers of English. So many folks from so many places. One night around the table, we represented Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Virginia, Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, Connecticut, and Michigan.  That was the night of the Slicer dinner.  Two new friends. Many face to face friends. Slicers all who intersect with #G2Great, #TCRWP, #CCIRA and our #NCTE presentation – the four of us together for the first time! Talking. Sharing. A laughing video of a grandson. Sharing of children’s artwork. Shared quotes. Food, drink, conversation, and fun. With just a touch of rain that did not dampen our spirits!

There is nothing like scintillating conversation, learning with peers, celebrating with authors, and after hours gatherings to fuel the soul . . . sparking a joyous celebration of friends, families, and ever increasing meet ups of social media friends.  As the world shrinks when we write and speak collaboratively on social platforms, our knowledge base grows exponentially.

As I continue to reflect on my travel and learning while I sift through my notes, I will add three outside sources here.

One of my favorites from NCTE is Kelly Gallagher’s Top Ten Things he heard at NCTE:

Melanie Meehan, co-author of Two Writing Teachers wrote about three sessions here.

Stop and Think Reading List and Resources here.

How do you collect and organize your learning? 

How are you refueling your professional soul?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Celebrate!


1. Celebrate?

Wet!

Heavy!

White!

The dreaded first s#$%fall of the year.  Will it accumulate?  Will it last? What will the impact be?

2. Celebrate?

This notice from WordPress awaited me . . .

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3. Celebrate?

Last week was a 2.25 hour (10 module training) for all the new processes . . .

in 98 days . . .

in our first in the nation process . . .

Iowa Caucus night . . .

2.25 hours of training

Training complete

4. Celebrate?

Notification . . .

Verified

Passed

100%

Quizes on each of the 10 modules in # 3 above.

5. Celebrate?

My reading goal for the year was 52 books . . . a book a week. I met that a while back. Still working on recording titles and updating the format of my “handwritten system” because I really wanted to emphasize broader categories of texts this year. Pushing on beyond:  professional, YA/children’s lit, mystery/suspense, nonfiction.  But that’s another post.

Celebrating a new source of data from Goodreads . . .

My Review Stats

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Goodreads collects the year of publication so I can view the “age” of the books that I’ve reported on that site as read. 

What else is on my list/mind? 

  • My part in our NCTE presentation.
  • Choosing sessions to attend at NCTE.
  • Wrapping Christmas gifts.   

What’s on your list?  What will you be celebrating?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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Random celebratory events that were all possibilities for a blog post.

Process: Beginning with one word (#OLW). Brainstorming. Collecting ideas. Sifting through thoughts. Vignettes of celebrations curated in one post. Reflecting on my #OLW:  Celebrate! (How do we demonstrate this for students?)  Opposite process of beginning with many words in this post.

Celebrate – published post!

 

 

#SOL19: Empowering Teachers


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I ripped open the envelope. So much hinged on the contents.  Where I would live.  Where I would work. My life.

Two pages: one page for my elementary ed placement and a second page for my special ed placement.

YES!

Both placements were in the location requested. Fourth grade in one building and then half day in the same building and half day in a second building for special ed.

16 weeks of student teaching would fill the spring semester of my senior year in college.  16 weeks around holidays and weekends would run from January through May.  16 weeks out of the dorm and in my own apartment. Apprehensive . . . perhaps a bit.  Excited . . . YES! Returning to my junior college town in a different role.  Trying on the role of a teacher.  YIKES!  Student Teaching!

Fast forward to my current work with teachers and graduate students . . . most but not all are teaching. And thinking about teacher growth, district professional development, and the opportunity to take courses, participate in webinars, and attend conferences. So many sources of learning!

I’m fascinated by this sketch noting by Joy Vega and thankful that she gave me permission to use it in my blog post. This is just the top third of the page from one of the #ILA19 sessions.

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IDENTIFIERS:

Date

Location

Title of Session

Participants

The BASICS!

It’s eye catching!  Innovative color choices . . . and the use of the dots!

Within five minutes of the opening, the audience was generating and discussing their own possible “Problems of Practice.”

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The first step in Action Research.  And then the actual research questions. The refinement. The revision. The data. The student responses. The curiosity. The quest for learning.

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And the reflections from the teachers – scattered across the US – were amazing.  These were the Heinemann Fellows presenting at #ILA19 who should be writing a book about their work! So easy to celebrate this group and their work! Empowering Teachers through Action Research:  Dr. Kimberly Parker, Aeriale N. Johnson, Tricia Ebarvia, Anna Gotangco Osborn, and Tiana Silvas.

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(If you are on Facebook, you can read Dr. Mary Howard’s notes about this session here.)

ACTION RESEARCH:  Validating Instruction, Pursuing Improved Instructional Practices, and Reflecting on Professional Growth

What if Action Research were a part of continuing education, continuing endorsements, and recertification processes for teachers? 

What if Action Research were a part of a “paid, 5th year experience” for novice teachers who had support for setting up a classroom at the beginning of the year and quality coaching ALL year long? 

What if we “re-envisioned teacher prep” programs to include first draft Action Research so data collection was placed back in the hands of teachers with curiosity and questions of their own?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Celebrate Life


Live, Laugh, Love, Linger . . . and Learn

Celebrate . . .

Between conferences, sessions at ILA, NCTE, CCIRA, and . . . family, it seems like I have many days and nights on the road.

Hotels

Amenities

What comes with the room?

What did I forget?

What does that schedule really look like?

Life is often complicated.

There’s the community from #G2Great.

Voxer Cousins

The Slicers

TWT Educators as Writers

#TeachWrite

#TCRWP

and last week #HUSLI19.

Social media groups  . . . (another post here “Social Media as a Purposeful Professional Learning Tool”)

Rockstars:  Colby Sharp, Cornelius Minor, Jennifer Serravallo and Lester Laminack. Hours of Life. Laughter. Book Loving and Lingering over stories shared and learning, learning, learning!

A bit of rain. Yes a business center. Not a restaurant. Some minor inconveniences.

While in a neighboring state, my mind is with Mia, her family, and her “communities” at the Calivista Motel.  I didn’t stay long enough to be a “weekly” but how do I move adeptly in and out of groupsWhat can I learn from Mia?

When I sketch it out, how does it look in Front Desk?  

In one view I have the Calivista Motel, the “front desk”, the school Mia attends, and then China.  The second page has Mia and her parents, including their hopes and fears.

Is Mia really on a “point of a triangle” or is she in the middle of every community? And how many individuals does it take to “form” a community?


I was wishing for a 3-D representation (or at least a page of chart paper as 8.5 x 11 was severely limiting. Barely drafted and I am looking to revise. I am not a fan of covering every inch of the page YET. Still admiring white space.  Perhaps that will continue to evolve.

And how am I doing with my goals for #BookLove in its last week? 

Where is my Writing About Reading headed? 

Is it improving?

Slowly moving forward is today’s celebration of life and learning! 

What is yours?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: What Counts?


What do I read?

Mail, Blogs, Tweets, Chapters . . . and Books

I have always envied those who kept a list and reported out like Regie Routman here, here and here. Currently many are reporting out #BookADay now on Twitter or Facebook. For more information about #BookADay created by Jillian Heise in 2014 go here.

So during the winter break I decided one goal of mine was going to be to “celebrate” my reading in 2019.  And of course that would mean that I had to keep track of it somehow. So being ever mindful of this quote, I’m tracking my reading. (Note the key word: I)

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William Bruce Cameron

 

We aren’t quite to the midpoint of the year, but here is what my reading life looks like through most of May  . . .

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Search for a “balance” with NF labels a la Melissa Stewart

I’ve written about reading goals before here, but I found that round chart didn’t have enough spaces for my book count.  Holding on to one single list has not been helpful. I create stacks of the “done” books and record them every two, or three or four weeks. Based on my records thus far for 2019, I believe that I can confirm that I am a voracious reader.  But are there other ways to display the data as I think of students who want to make sense of their own reading lives.

So again this week, I saw a tweet that caught my eye about reading circle graphs and I replied. And then the learning began when Steve Peterson (@Steve1Peterson) replied with the fact that Excel and Google Sheets could make radar graphs.

And the same data above looks like this.  Fiction = 72, Nonfiction  = 52, Professional  = 50.

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This graph is quite interesting.  Having all professional books in one category quickly made it into an outlier in this format.  Five of the 10 remaining categories were in the 20-ish category with four in the single digits and only one category reporting a zero. (Radar chart)

No external pressure other than the public announcement.

No public accountability required.

No summative assessment.

Just recording a snippet from my life . . .

I am Wondering . . .

Is my reading varied enough?  

Varied enough? The good news is that I still have time to have a mid-course correction.  I will purposefully pick up some titles for those four single digit categories.  (And I am already plotting to combine some so that I will have fewer gaps – Yes, manipulating the categories.)

What does not show in this data?

What does concern me is that the data does not show my growth.  This year I have made a conscious effort to read more graphic novels, cartoons, and even narrative prose. Those books are represented in the totals for F and narrative NF but not as separate categories because they are not separate genres.   

What else?

The data also doesn’t share my frustration that tracking my books read over a year is cumbersome.  It’s easy to make a “pile” when reading at home.  But when I’m not there where and when do I record the data?  Do I really only have one list?  NOPE!  I have some post-its with some scribbles, some lists in my Kindle app, and who knows what else!

The lesson here was to give myself grace. My list does NOT have to be perfect.  The data is for me. It’s not a “controlled study” so error is fine.

So my final advice to myself . . .

Take a breath.

Take another breath.

LET IT GO!

NEXT!

Where, why, and when might giving yourself “grace” free up positive energy? 

When could you TRY something without trying it “forever”( so you have room to modify to match the needs)? 

When will you commit to JUST being the best that you can




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

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#SOL19: Really?


I blew it! What was I thinking?

Twitter Chats are easy. A few questions. A few responses. Let’s talk. And then taking my turn on writing a summative blog post.  Predictable patterns.

Book clubs . . . What’s the format?  What’s the end goal?  What’s my role?  More questions than answers. And each club . . . renegotiating the roles and the expectations.

Check. Deadlines met.

Check. Responses entered.

Check. Make no waves. Agree with the participants

Check. Check. Check.

I was focused on the product and got lost in FEAR!

I was worried if it was good enough and was frozen in time!

I rushed to task completing and forgot it was about the thinking!

This was the format for my early book club participation and it has followed me around worse than the groundhog’s shadow ever since.  Book clubs were a place of similar thinking; thinking outside the box resulted in social ostracism.

I went underground as a reader as I have had a LOVE/HATE relationship with book clubs.  Some have been fun. Some have been tedious. All have provided learning. But what was that learning?

I love talking about books. Mary Howard and I talk about a tweet, a blog post, or a book on a regular basis.  Her reading is also voracious! At CCIRA, Regie Routman handed me a book, I thumbed through it, and I had to order it. Penny Kittle told me about a book and I forwarded the title also to my sister and a niece.  I hadn’t even left Maria Walther’s session and I was forwarding the book list. Reading and talking about books is fun!

And then last night I watched this video of Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher. You can watch it too if you are a member of the Summer Book Love Club 2019.  What do you notice?  What would you name as the key points of the video?

Link

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A photo clipped from the video

And because the link does NOT work if you are NOT a member, here are the TOP 10 REASONS you should join Summer Book Love 19 from the Nerdy Book Club here.

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Elementary Book Club Books July 2019

Here’s what Penny said about the FB Live session:

“From Concord, CA… I’m here with Kelly Gallagher, my co-author and friend, to talk about the importance of book clubs in his professional life.”

The importance of book clubs in his professional life.

The sheer joy.

The number of books he has read as a part of a book club.

The fact that he, a good reader, learns something from every book club meeting and that they celebrate the different ideas everyone brings to the book club.

Somewhere

Somehow

Sometime

I lost the sheer joy of talking about books in a book club.

The book club became about the process of my notes, my annotations or my writing about reading.

The book club became more about compliance than learning!

I became that “kid” who completed the work but maybe didn’t invest very much of myself.

It’s book club season. I will be in several this summer. I will be watching my own learning.  And just as I detailed the process for “Professional Learning” in the last 5 posts about Repeated Reading, so will I also monitor my own learning, processes and products.  I think it will be critical to be brutally honest with myself.

And I can do that personally with a process that is also set up for bigger systems work.

How will I find the gold and the JOY in book clubs?



What is the process for professional learning?

  1. Set a Goal – Participate productively in book clubs
  2. Selection of Content which includes Checking the Research – Talk about the books
  3. Design a Process for Professional Development/Learning – Check the schedule and allow plenty of time. Refusing to allow lack of time to be an excuse.
  4. Teaching / Learning Opportunities – Checking in. What do teachers need to learn?           How will they learn it?  How can we set some measurable targets? – Pay attention to my “joy” meter.  When does it stop being fun?
  5. Collaboration / Implementation  Reading and Participating
  6. Ongoing Data Collection including Listen to the Students – Consider my responses to students with actions similar to mine
  7. Program Evaluation – Going back to the teacher data: Has there been growth? How do we know? Plan ahead – what will I do if  when I get stuck?
  8. Collecting / Analyzing Student Data – Is the gap closing? Are students growing          more capable?  Are students more independent?  Balancing “habits” of reading, attitudes, processes and products
  9. (WHY would I use a different process?)


I will be a part of at least three book clubs this summer and as the summer wanes, I will let you know if I was successful and how and when I will be celebrating the continuous JOY in reading and talking about books!

What is your experience with book clubs? 

What motivates you to continue to learn and grow as a reader? 

What learning targets would you consider?




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.

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Coming Soon

#SOL19: What do you rate?


The plate looks gorgeous. Colorful. Artistically arranged. White space. Yet organized. How well did it match my expectations when I placed my order?

Do I dive in?

Confirming and correcting my prediction?

Do I admire?

Savoring the physical attributes before it is consumed?

Do I snap a quick picture and send it off?

I take a picture but don’t send it anywhere.

Dinner

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Prime rib, baked potato &                corn on the cob

 

I have a friend who often uses snapchat or messaging to share her dining cuisine. It’s not a typical go to for me. But sometimes, I think, “Wow. I should take a picture of that.” It’s not that I am thinking of an award for cooking but awards have been on my mind.

Do I fill out surveys about food and service at restaurants?  Sometimes.  How consistent are my ratings from each time to time? And is the criteria the same?  That goes to reliability and validity.  How critical are these ratings?  Are they contextual?

How does this apply to life?

Awards:  Who is included?  Who is excluded?

Who gets nominated for the CMA Entertainer of the Year?  There were 5 male candidates? Why only men?

Part of the criteria is crowd size in large venues, meaning tours, so if women are not out on the road for long tours . . .  criteria is not met.

Wow!  Criteria for audience rating the winner is . . . audiences putting their bottoms in seats at concerts. So different from having a captive audience where the buses deliver students to school.

What about books?

Books:  How do you rate them?

Informal rating? Formal rating?

In your head?  On Goodreads?  On Amazon with formal reviews?

How do you share your response to books?

Book Rating:  What works for you? A? B? C? 

A.

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B.

   MUST READ!

   REALLY, YOU MUST READ!

   DESPERATE, YOU MUST READ!!!

C.

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My Goodreads account consists of mostly books rated 5 with a few 4’s sprinkled in.  Does that mean that all books I read are automatically that good?  I’m sure that you will be disappointed but books that would be below a “4” or “5” star rating on Goodreads, just don’t get entered. Selective memory?  Or was it once a conscious choice to only include the top books.  But you wouldn’t know that unless you knew my methodology for reporting. A bit erratic!  A bit unplanned. My concession to compliance and using someone else’s rating system.

Daily life decisions: Using skills and strategies steeped in literacy. Determining importance. Predicting. Confirming predictions. Re-predicting. Aligning expectations with the “real” thing. Comparing and contrasting. Developing criteria. Communicating.

How do your students rate their books? 

How do your students share their response to books?

What do they prefer?




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.

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Added:

And yes, the vegetarians in my family would rate the meal pictured above as a -10. The devout pork producers might rate it a 0. The poultry eaters might rate it a -5.  And then you all who hate any medium rare meat might not have gotten past the “shudders”!

It all depends on perspective . . .

and your own definition of a quality meal!

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A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

elsie tries writing

"The problem with people is they forget that that most of the time it's the small things that count." (Said by Finch in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. These are my small things that count.