Category Archives: #OneLittleWord

#SOL17: #OLW Check In!


It’s mid-July.

How am I REALLY progressing with my 2017 One Little Word?

brave-word-art

I love that Melanie also has BRAVE as her #OLW because I so admire her writing, her work and her balance of work and home. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Kimberly’s Ted Talk – (@onstageKimberly) – BRAVE!  And of course this quote:

brave-olw

A quick perusal of archives finds these two posts:  my January 3rd announcement here and a March check in here that was incredibly sad.  2017 has been a year of changes.

Highs

Lows

And a lot of muddling around in between

Changes

My summer “brave” exploration has been “deep spying” on my response to reading this summer.  Some of my post public work has been with #cyberpd.

Publicly responding to this text . . .

As I read, reread, jot notes, sometimes draw pictures, reread, write, and yes, add post-its.  What does the text say?  What do I still wonder about?  What will this REALLY look like for teachers and students?

dynamic teaching book cover

My focus has been on these two areas:

  • “Experience the thrill of figuring things out”
  • “Take risks, get messy, keep learning”

When it is time for “response to reading”, who makes the decision about format?  audience?  purpose?  

Who should make those decisions?

The standard that is usually “invoked” for writing in response to reading is this:

“CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9

Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.”

Two parts – drawing evidence and then doing something with that evidence – that is the goal!  What could this look like?

Possibilities:

Chapter 5 word cloud from quotes

A. Word Art:  Most Frequent Words

Cha. 5 two

B. Specific Quotes

Ch 5 three

C. Evidence and Reflection

(larger versions here on padlet from this post)

Which version would you prefer for your evidence?  Why?  

A. Words or Phrases

B. Quotes

C. Evidence and Reflection

 

How many ways do you know/use to present evidence?




How can I “show” the thrill of figuring it out?  

How can I “show” the messiness of taking a risk and learning?  

How can I also make sure that student VOICE and CHOICE are honored?

There’s no ONE RIGHT way to share evidence.

There’s no ONE RIGHT way to share thinking.

There’s no ONE RIGHT way to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Have you done this work?  What does your “messy” work look like?

Which domain are you working in?

brave-fullan-and-dimensions-of-teacher-leadership




slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

 

#SOL17: Silver Lake


Where do YOU begin?

Here’s a simple list of words from my writing notebook

Begun with an early morning observation

Sipping coffee

Waking up

At Silver Lake

Some words from the present.

Some from the past.

Some added over time.

words

How does a list evolve?

Grow?

Morph?

What categories would you make?

While waiting for inspiration to strike,

I’ve learned to keep my fingers moving across the keyboard.

Looking for photos

Looking for organization

and word clouds suddenly appeared in my brain.

word cloud oneword cloud twoword cloud threeword cloud fourword cloud five

Changing colors

Changing shapes

Changing colors

Adding a filter.

Using a visual as a stimulus . . .

Ready to write!

One of Those Moments

One of those moments

Etched on my cornea

Burnt into my brain

Captured in my heart

Gray sky

Combinations of clouds

White, thin, wispy

Surrounded by large and fluffy white-topped clouds

With an under girding of gray

Ready for a sprinkle or

Perhaps a shower or

Sheets of rain or

Buckets full pouring from the heavens

Harmony in thoughts shared

Rich in laughter

Engrossed in fun

So much to do!

A boat ride,

Pictionary,

Writing talk,

3 Truths and a Lie, and

Learning to play a ukelele.

Friends

Voxer Cousins

Readers

Writers

Thinkers

Teachers

Students

Bound together by a few moments in time

One of those perfect summer moments!

20170624_222414.jpg

June 24 – Silver Lake, MN

How do your thoughts become your ideas?  

What shapes your format?

Where does your organization come from?  

How do you share this process with your students?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      Process:

My first draft was totally a description – what I saw, heard and felt while outside

But it seemed really boring

And felt like it could be any lake anywhere

So this is Draft Two . . . after some revision!

 

#SOL17: “There’s No Place Like . . .”


Think back to a “Best Time of Your Life”.  Where were you?  What were you doing?  What made it “THE BEST”?

If you were to return to that place of your “Best Time of Your Life” right this minute, do you think it would be exactly as you remember it?

dorothy clicking her heels

“There’s no place like TCRWP!”

Picture this:

#TCRWP

Yesterday

1399 colleagues (?)

Magnificent Riverside Church

“We come from . . .”

A call to action from Lucy Calkins.

We can.

We must.

Ignite the passion

In our students.

“Don Murray: Writing is not easy nor should it be.”

We don’t just recount.

We make meaning in our writing.

And later,

To celebrate the day’s end

A thunderstorm

A double rainbow

double rainbow kitty donohoe

    A Double Rainbow:          Kitty Donohoe, Twitter

Ready to begin anew!

June Writing Institute 2013

My initiation

My trepidation

And yet, filling a hole in my teacher soul

June Writing Institute 2014

Back to fill in the holes in my knowledge

Back to “be with my tribe”

Still anxious about all I did NOT know

June Writing Institute 2015

Armed with a plan

Specific session criteria

And questions for staff developers.

June Writing Institute 2016

Finally knowing “something”

Writing before, during, and after

Adding new knowledge

Consolidating and validating previous learnings

and this year, waiting for

August Writing Institute 2017

Because there’s no place like home with your writerly friends

The Learning at

Teachers College Reading and Writing Project!

So this week I’m following along on Twitter

Checking in for “learning bread crumbs”

Planning for that return to “My Best Learning Place on Earth”!

#TCRWP Writing Institute and #TCRWP Reading Institute

I already know that even though I’m attending in August this year, #TCRWP Writing and Reading Institutes will be better than ever!  Much writing and reading (and tweets) before then . . . See you soon!

Where do you go for inspiration?  

That feeling of “belonging”?  

And yet, where you are also “pushed” to be a better you, a stronger you, a more capable you?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

BRAVE Reflection


I’m a literacy consultant who works with seven districts.

How do I know if I’m being effective?  

Doing a good job?  

Doing what really works?

I have to start with the original . . . Clint Eastwood . . . same birth year as my dad who always kept me grounded!

good bad ugly

A Short Story

I’ve been traveling a lot over the last two weeks.  Over three thousand miles in a trip to Kentucky for an adorable grandson’s second birthday, then on to Florida with Mom and an aunt and uncle who is one of my mom’s younger brothers for a nephew’s high school graduation, and then back to Kentucky for some more time with the kids.

Was the trip successful?

Four possible data points might be these:

  • The number of miles driven successfully.  That is important because it was my first out of state road trip with my new car and then many miles driving a Ford 150 which is about three times the size of my car.  

What might constitute a success?  No flashing red or blue lights and no major problems.  The number of palindromes I noticed on my odometer and particularly the one as I traversed the Missouri River bridge in St. Louis.

What data would not point to a success?  Uncle Leo might say it was the number of times I drove over a curb.

  • The number of times my GPS and Aunt Shirley’s google maps agreed.  Less successful might be our decisions about which to follow when there was a disagreement.  

Success? Google maps was definitely more up to date than GPS.

Not a Success? The “shortest” trip was NOT always the ideal route to take.

  • The number of card games played.

Success?  The variety from hand and foot to pepper.

Not a Success? The number of 9’s and 10’s I had in EVERY pepper hand!

  • The variety of experiences and places we went.

Success?  Wading in the Atlantic, time with so many precious relatives, driving to the top of Lookout Mountain in Georgia, the flea market, a little homemade wine, the food, the movies, and stories after stories.  

Not a Success? Not driving back down Lookout Mountain (remember, not my vehicle!).

Do you notice a possible pattern?  

Each data point seems to have more than one side! 

If you had to sort these data points, could you find some summative as well as formative measures?

brave-word-art

So back to the beginning . . .

I’m a literacy consultant who works with seven districts.  How do I know if I’m being effective?   Doing a good job?   Doing what really works?

We collect a lot of data.  We spend a lot of time with data.  We spend a lot of time talking about data.  But do we EVER really address these questions?  Or does each question have multiple data points similar to those listed above.  This post is the result of many miles of driving and a push from Elizabeth Moore at Two Writing Teachers when she wrote this post last week, “Literacy Coaches:  How do you assess your impact?”  Beth talks about using goals, student-centered data, survey data and quantitative data in her post.

good bad ugly two

I have a ton of quantitative data to share.  At our agency we have had team Wildly Important Goals (WIGS) for two years focusing on our K-3 readers and using screener data to determine the effectiveness of our goals. I like to use them also as a beginning point when I reflect on my own effectiveness although they are only a small portion of my K-12 job.

WIG.jpg

PART ONE:

Here’s my data for four different types of my work in buildings by each month.

  • PDC = Professional Development in Core Literacy Instruction K-3
  • OCC = Observation/Coaching in Core Literacy Instruction Implementation K-3
  • PDI = Professional Development in Research-Based Interventions K-3
  • OCI = Observation/Coaching in Research-Based Intervention Implementation K-3

one data

The green boxes show that I met my goals which are also outlined below:

goal two

Good:

  • I met all four of my goals in December and in February.
  • I met my monthly goals 21 times.
  • I met my Observation/Coaching Intervention goal in December (after 5 months).
  • I met my PD Core and Observation/Coaching goals in January (after 6 months).
  • I met my total goal in January (after 6 months).

And to make me feel better . . .

  • My annual total for PDI was 94% so it was close.
  • Average percentage of goals met is 96.8%.
  • Total number of interactions was well above the annual goal just in a different distribution.  (146% above the goal)

Bad:

I missed my monthly goal 19 times. (19/40)

I met either one or zero monthly goals in August, March, April, and May. (4 months/10)

There were zeros in four categories across the 10 months. (4/40)

i did not meet my PDI annual goal.  (141/150)

Ugly: The hard reality of the data

August was not required for data collection but because it was almost a full month of work I decided to include the data.

I can offer excuses for the spring – horrific sudden death of my nephew and his wife in March and then my brother at the end of April, but the fact is that I only missed one PD session during either of those times – so excuses don’t change the data.

And if you would like to see the data in a larger format  – Data Here

good bad ugly three

PART TWO – How did students do on the screener administered in the fall, winter, and spring?  

Data is reported in terms of green boxes for buildings by grade levels if 80% of the students or more met the benchmarks set by the state. (Red if below 60% or fewer of the students met the benchmark criteria.) Districts can choose from several approved screeners but the state of Iowa only pays for one.

new data threenew data four

Good:

  • The total number of grades meeting benchmark by 80% or more by building increased from 7 in fall to 8 in winter with changing criteria.
  • The number of grades meeting benchmark criteria by 80% or more (green) building increased for kindergarten from 2 in fall to 4 in winter.
  • The number of first and third grades remained the same from fall to winter (3- first, 1-third).
  • The number of grades below 60% benchmark criteria decreased from 8 in fall to 3 in winter.
  • The number of grades below 60% benchmark criteria decreased from 8 in fall to 4 in the spring.

Bad:

Grades 1 and 3 did not have any buildings meeting 80% benchmark criteria in the spring and kindergarten and second had 2 and 1 respectively.

The spring green (80% benchmark criteria) was the lowest of the three reporting periods.

Ugly:

The 8 grade levels by building meeting 80% benchmark criteria in the winter dropped to 3 for the spring.

The 3 grade levels by building below 60% benchmark criteria at winter increased to 4 in the spring.

What questions arise?

How does this data compare to state-wide Iowa totals?

Which specific buildings have multiple levels of green?  or red?

What is working?  What is not working?

Is more practice needed across the day (distributed practice)?

Are discrete skills transferring to reading passages?

What about fidelity of implementation?  What does that data reveal?

Did we over rely on our winter successes that did NOT appear to transfer to spring benchmarks?

Brave = sharing this data publicly.

 It’s not all roses and sunshine.  What works in one building doesn’t necessarily transfer to what works in another building.

But, stop! 

Is all data equal?

  • How many students made growth?
  • How many students made significant growth?
  • How many teachers changed instruction based on the data?
  • How many teachers changed interventions based on the data?
  • What if the summative data (Iowa Assessments) shows a different picture of these same students?
  • How many students have reading goals for the summer?
  • How many students love reading?
  • How many students read at school by choice?
  • How many students read at home by choice?
  • How many students can name their favorite books?
  • How many students can name their favorite authors?
  • How many students can name their favorite illustrators?
  • And how do the students REALLY feel about school?

What data is missing from this snapshot?

Another short story

I am in total grandmother heaven.  He meets me at the door, takes my hand, leads me into the living room, and tells me what to do/play/where to sit.  “Gramma play.”  “Gramma here.” “Gramma ice cream.”  Gramma choo choo.” “Gramma dinosaur train.” I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I heard, “Where Gramma go?” during the last two weeks.  I count that as a success.  To disappear into another room and to be missed makes my heart melt!

Those are all data points that convince me that I’m doing a GREAT job as a grandma.  Are they numbers?  Are there specific criteria or cut points?

What data points match your school values and core instructional principles?  When do you need to make sure that you are triangulating data and not over relying on any one source?


If I had only shown you fall and spring student screener data, you would not have seen the growth that doesn’t seem to have been sustained.  That’s why my #OLW “BRAVE” is a part of this post.  This is our third year with this process. Because the cut points for benchmarks change annually, we can’t compare each grade level year after year but we can look at trend data to see whether grade levels of students continue to grow as the move up through the grades.

How are you reflecting on successes?  The good?  The bad?  The ugly?  

AND who are you reflecting with?

challenge

#DigiLitSunday: Better


better

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.

good better best

What?

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.

5: FOLLOW
Follow five people you admire. Just find them on Twitter and click the follow button on the far top right of their page.

3: RETWEET/LIKE
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).

1: Reply
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?

good better

#SOLSC17: #OLW Brave


The past week has tested my #OLW – brave.  I really can’t write much about it YET.  But I’m here to tell you that last week had some REAL Highs countered by one humongous abysmal low!

Highs

Time with my son, daughter-in-law and 22 month old grandson

Time with my nephew, niece by marriage, great nephew and great niece

Time with my niece, great nephew and great niece

Time with my mother

Time with my sister

Time with my ex-brother-in-law

Time with my sister, brother-in-law and three short nephews

Time with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and step-niece

Time with my brother, sister-in-law and niece

Time with aunts, uncles and cousins galore

Seconds, minutes, hours, days and days!

time

Google images, retrieved 3/13/17

Talking

Eating

Laughing

Shopping

Eating

Swimming

Laughing

Playing cards

Eating

Checking math homework

Laughing

Talking with friends

Time well spent!

One of my favorite roles

aunt

 

Warning:



Lows

Last Tuesday’s news

Calling

Telling Mom

Two new angels

My godson (nephew) and his wife

No time for a last goodbye

No time for a last hug

No time for a last joke

A double funeral

Hug your loved ones

Tell them you love them

Every minute

You never know . . .

Don’t leave any “could have”, “should have”, “would have”. . .

All in! 

Family!


Folder from Funeral Service

slice of life

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. 

welcome-wagon-volunteer-with-border.jpg

early morning slicer

#SOL17: #OLW


one-little-word

As 2017 begins there are many sources for information about #OLW and this video may add to your own knowledge base.  The authors of Two Writing Teachers are revealing their words daily and many additional words have been revealed this week.

Last year I celebrated “Joyful” and added “Joy” to the background of my blog so I would see it every time I made a post or responded to a comment.  I loved the constant reminder and the way that I seemed to spend more time deliberately reflecting on the joy that I found in reading, in writing, in my work and in my family.  2016 was truly a JOYFUL year.

Sometimes #OLW is elusive and sometimes it finds an author.  My words have been

  • 2014    Transfer
  • 2015     Focus
  • 2016    Joyful

How do I impact the teachers and coaches that I work with?

This was just one question I asked when I began thinking about my #OLW. Teacher Leadership is always a focus.  All teachers can grow as both teachers and leaders because leaders truly come from the teaching ranks.

brave-fullan-and-dimensions-of-teacher-leadership

As I have been working with teachers and coaches this year, I have revisited these domains as organized by Michael Fullan.  Most of the coaches have a great deal of knowledge and learning experiences that have provided growth and strength for improving student learning.  Less time and energy has been spent on the fifth and sixth domains:  management of the change process and the sense of moral purpose.

Are all 6 domains evenly balanced?  Should they be?

I’ve been wondering about balance again for awhile.  Should there be a sense of teacher agency and urgency for more actions in domains 4, 5, and 6?  Are more “successful” teachers/coaches aware of these domains?  What would their own rating be?

Where are your strengths?

Many words surfaced. My blog posts are testaments to many actions/learning especially in domains one and three.  Domain two is evident in conferences and PD attendance as well as on-line and face to face work with teachers and coaches.

Change is often necessary as different results require a change in instruction and perhaps a different focus for assessment.  Moral purpose may be offset by a sense of urgency. For sure, students must be at the center of all decision-making so that requires student-centered thinking/planning/organizing.  An action research cycle with student learning as the focus could very well be an avenue to increase the use of those top two domains.

What will that change take?

Honesty

Courage

Reflection

Soul-Searching

Data

A plan

A goal

Constant Adjustment

and the ability to be

BRAVE!

brave-olw

In order to be ready for growth and learning, my word found me

brave word art.JPG

This may mean going against the mainstream beliefs.

This may mean constantly checking my mindset.

This may mean that there will be some bumps in the road.

This may mean longer periods of silence in a “no excuses” role.

This may mean abandoning “but we’ve always done it this way”.

This will mean that students will always be the number 1 consideration.

Because the end result for students  . . .

brave-rainbow

is a rainbow of possibilities!

What’s your #OneLittleWord?  How did it find you?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

(And so exciting to know that Melanie and I share the same word – BRAVE! for 2017!)

Ted Talk – Kimberly Davis (@onstageKimberly) – BRAVE

 

#SOL16: JOY


joy

My #OneLittleWord for 2016 has been JOY and this past weekend at #NCTE16 was packed with joy every minute of every day. Surrounded by professionals that I know, admire, and constantly learn with, it was quite easy to forget the policies, problems, and politics that have rocked the U.S. landscape lately.

See how many “Slicers” you recognize at the Saturday dinner.

(Bonus:  How many of the blogs can you name?)

Slicer Satu.JPG

“Slicer” dinner at Amalfi’s Pizza Saturday

JOY

The JOY began with a #G2Great meetup Thursday night at Max’s Coal Pizza.  This group chats online on Thursday evenings with Mary Howard, Amy Brenneman, and Jenn Hayhurst as co-moderators.

g2great-thursd

Thursday night #G2Great meetup at Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria

Do you know which 4 are in both groups?

Can you name the states represented?

joy gift pic

And of course another night of conversation and JOY.

friday-night

Friday night at Legal Seafood 

joyful

On Sunday we actually found time to visit before leaving Atlanta!

sunday

Julieanne, Tara, Margaret and me!

One of the highlights of my travels was my great roommate, Dani Graham Burtsfield, from Kalispell, MT. Thanks so much for all your great work as our “historian”!

dani

Joy with some of the audience members for the poetry session are found here!

poetry.jpg

At poetry with Mary Lee, Julieanne and myself – just missing Steve!

And even MORE JOY with some of the presenters!

Have you checked in on your “One Little Word” lately?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

#NCTE16: Celebrate


Atlanta . . .

The home of a fabulous Civil Rights Museum

The home of Martin Luther King Junior

The home of thousands of teachers this weekend

Spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday together

Learning together

Feeding their souls

Fueling their passions

Collecting their energy

Forging a future

In this fabulous #NCTE16 family!

I am so humbled to rub elbows among so many talented readers and writers who are so willing to chat, to dig into answering those clarifying questions and to help out in so many ways.  And who in their lives have chosen “kind”.

Thanks for Voxer cousin Erica, the MARTA directions were perfect. Wowza!  What an easy way to travel from the airport to the hotel.  Thanks to the #G2Great dinner organizers – such a treat to meet up together before the sessions began.  Looking up and down the table at all the JOY (my #OLW) amidst the hugs and conversations, there was a moment when I wanted to hit the pause button. Just a few short seconds to admire my companions and the many paths that brought us together from across the country.  Together we are better.  We bring our knowledge, our skills and our hearts together to improve literacy in our communities.

We are activists.

We are here.

We are learning together.

We are reading together.

We are turning and talking.

We are growing together.

And the rich conversations continue long after the sessions as we naturally have t0 share our learning with each other.

Friday was the first full day of #NCTE16 and it was a long day. It was a joyful day from the first navigation of the convention space to the Donald Graves Legacy Breakfast.  Thanks to Heinemann for such a wonderful gathering. In the same space on stage:  Tom Newkirk, Penny Kittle, Georgia Heard, Katherine  Bomer, Smokey Daniels, Cornelius Minor, Allison Marchette, Rebekah ODell and Kim Parker.

Sharing memories.

Sharing credos.

Tweet worthy quotations.

Watching a master at work on a video.

Writing our own credos.

And then we were off.

Every session has close to 50 choices.  Hard choices for learners.  Who do I REALLY need to hear?  Who will affirm my beliefs?  Who will push me to new understandings?

Learning from Ralph Fletcher, Ellie Keene, Kathy Collins, Matt Glover, Marjorie Martinelli, Shanna Schwartz, Alecia Luick, Shana Frazin, Katy Wischow, Val Geschwind, the amazing #G2Great crew (Erica, Amy, Jenn, Jill, Dani, Kari, Kathryn) and the many gracious Heinemann and Stenhouse authors filled my brain, my heart and my soul.

One of my favorite sessions was “Low Stakes Writing” with Ralph Fletcher.  If we want joyful student writers, Ralph proposes that we must add some green belt writing for our students. The metaphor that he used to describe writing energy was the hot air balloon and he challenged us to think of when the balloon would rise – when writing workshop is going merrily along and when the balloon would sink back to earth – with the addition of test prep work and mandatory writing tasks that literally suck the JOY out of writing.  As teachers, parents, administrators, we do need to be aware of our own limitations but we also need to stretch ourselves as readers, writers and thinkers. We must be the models of the writing that we want our students to do.   The concept of “feral writing’ is fascinating.  A feral animal – one who was once domesticated who has now returned to the wild. Writing that students choose to do on their own time. The creation of new genres of writing that arise from choice as students do find their writing voice. How can we honor those voices?

No pictures here in this blog post.  My computer is taking a break so I’m composing this on my iPad mini.  It’s not my favorite device.  It’s challenging as I type in the dark out of kindness to my roommate at zero dark thirty.

Day Two begins at 8 am and goes until 5:30 pm.

Decisions  about sessions.

Decisions about when to visit the exhibit hall.

And what about those favorite authors and those friends from twittter who we have not yet connected with?

Much more joy and learning ahead!

How will you spend your Saturday?

 

 

#DigiLitSunday: Focus


digilit-buttonJoin the #DigilitSunday authors at Margaret Simon’s blog here.

focus Nov. 6..jpg

Welcome, old friend.

FOCUS

My #OneLittleWord for 2015.

I wrote about you here, here, and here.

So enough said?

Not so fast!  Let’s reconsider “Focus” with a different lens – or two!

Focus on Who?

Simple . . .

Focus on Students

Who will focus? 

The teachers and the school community

This two-fold approach ensures that students are the center of the work.  And as teachers and the school community focus on students, the teachers will collaboratively work together as they learn, grow and share ideas and techniques to best meet the needs of students.

Maintain status quo?

Teachers and schools are constantly considering what is working and what is not.  It’s 2016 so schools and “learning” don’t look the same as they did in the 1960’s, 1980’s or even in 2000.  The adults in the community have already “DONE” school and years of schooling don’t make them experts. The students currently in the building are the FOCUS.

Focus on What?

Learning . . .

Student Learning

Teacher Learning

How does an educator decide “WHAT” to focus on?  There are many lists/features that are all “research-based” and even appear to have “gold stickers”.

Which one is best?  There’s no “clear cut” answer for the best or even the “one” that will have the greatest impact because many of the “whats” that teachers can work on can also be combined for even greater student results.  Instead of searching for the best, look within.  What can you the teacher, add to your repertoire to increase your impact or effect?

What happens when a teacher uses data to study what is working currently in the classroom with the current students and then decides to change one variable and measure that effect?

Any of these could be a target of district or personal teacher study (and could overlap):

  • Hattie’s effect sizes,
  • Art of Comprehension via Trevor, Rich, Donna, & Justin’s graphic, or
  • questioning (DOK).
focus-hattie

John Hattie, Visible Learning Effect Sizes.

focus-art-of-comprehension

Art of Comprehension, Bryan, Donner & Dolci #40CF                                                                      “Art of Comprehension” Voxer Conversation

focus-dok

Webb’s DOK, Questioning

The key is using several data points (never just one) to determine where a change needs to occur, developing a plan and then working that plan!  Quality instruction, quality teachers, and a quality use of time!

Focus on How?

How are decisions made about instruction, learning and teaching? How is technology involved? (I know you were waiting for the “DigiLit” connection!)  How can technology be a TOOL that allows equitable access for ALL students?  How can technology level the playing field for students and for student learning? How can technology allow students to APPLY their learning outside of school settings?

Methodology varies from classroom to classroom, building to building, and district to district.  Some have local choice and some have state mandates.  Within all situations one factor remains, professional responsibility!  The professionals in the classroom have a responsibility to provide the environment and instructional opportunities that enable ALL students to learn at high levels!

WHY Focus?

And now I’ve gone full circle.  The answers to Who? What? and How? have brought me to the Why? which brings me back to my 2016 #OneLittleWord:  Joy.

There is JOY for students when students are the focus.  There is JOY for students when learning is the focus.  There is JOY for students when teachers are growing, learning and sharing those practices that have data to support that they increase students’ desire to learn and their learning.  There is JOY for teachers when students and teachers have learning as the focus. Teaching is NOT for the faint of heart; teaching is FOR the students! All students must be growing and learning every day and that’s no easy task!

End Goal?

Learning

Every Day

Joyful Learning

Joyful Learning Every Day!

What do you focus on?   How do we know that is your focus?

focus-what-if

And what if?

What if . . .

Teacher Clarity (Hattie), The 6 Things We Teach Every Day (coming soon in a book by Trevor Bryan) and Questioning at higher levels (DOK) were all strengthened simultaneously?  How would that look for the students?  How would that make a difference for students?

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers

Present Perfect

adventures in multiple tenses

Leadership Connection

from Great Prairie AEA

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

The oft bemused (or quite simply amused) musings of Krista Marx -- a self-professed HOPE pursuing Pollyanna

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together

arjeha

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson

adventuresinstaffdevelopment

All Things Literacy! Brianna Parlitsis

TWO WRITING TEACHERS

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.

I Haven't Learned That Yet

This blog serves to document my path of learning and teaching.

Simply Inspired Teaching

A blog by Kari Yates

Reflections on Leadership and Learning

Sharing my learning experiences

AnnaGCockerille Literacy

The Generative Power of Language: Building Literacy Skills One Word at a Time

Reading to the Core

Just another WordPress.com site

Karen Gluskin

My Teaching Experiences and Qualifications

To Read To Write To Be

Thoughts on learning and teaching

Books and Bytes

Exploring the best of literature and edtech for the middle grades.

To Make a Prairie

A blog about reading, writing, teaching and the joys of a literate life

Raising Voices

Thoughts on Teaching, Learning, and Leading