Category Archives: Reading

#SOL17: JOYFUL


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A rainbow peeked out between clouds.  “Has it been raining?”

“Not here. Not yet.”

“Wow!  And yet you still have a rainbow!”

Such a joyful and auspicious beginning to 24 hours filled with joy.

An hour.

Sixty minutes.

3600 seconds.

Conversation

Traveling together

Talking together

Three months since our last gathering and a full day of professional learning.

And more precious time with dinner and continued conversation.

A prelude . . .

Excitement

Happiness

Joy

Learning again.

Joyful!

During our opening hour keynote with Jan Millers Burkin on Monday morning in Cedar Falls, Iowa at the Jacobsen Center for Comprehensive Literacy at UNI:

we danced,

we practiced the four intentions, alignment, balance, sustainability, and joy, with actual movements from Reading Wellness:  Lessons in Independence and Proficiency,

and we  lifted weights: 3 pounds, 5 pounds, 8 pounds, and 10 pounds from Who’s Doing the Work?  How to Say Less so Readers Can Do More, 

and we thought about what we should continue to do MORE OF from past literacy education in order to “refocus” and “reframe” our work.

Are the keynotes you attend always this joyful?  

Make a note to NOT miss out on a keynote by either Jan Burkins or Kim Yaris.  It will be memorable!

It was also my pleasure to sit in on Jan’s session about “Who’s Doing the Work?”  When our students have plateaued, we need to rethink our instruction.  One apparent cause is often “over-scaffoldization” in a rush to put “hard text” in front of students.  Jan and Kim provide some incredible thinking points for you to consider as you think about the gradual release of responsibility and Read Alouds, Shared Reading, Guided Reading and Independent Reading.

There is much to consider in this rich text and 90 minutes was a great “teaser”. How do you absorb information?  Do you like to hear it first?  Read it first?  Combinations?

I’ve read the book three times now and I’m set to reread it again.  Some parts I may skim as I look for specifics about which students at which time as well as marking up some of the bullets.  I am not doing this to “get ready to present this information” to others, but in order to better understand the processing of reading.  That invisible work that happens in a student’s head. That invisible work that is often “magical” for some students and so elusive for other students.

Teaching reading is complex.  There’s no “ONE way” (methodology, purchased program, or philosophy) that works for all students which is why “thinking teachers” are necessary in every classroom to meet this goal.

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Students need to read (write and talk) a lot in order to meet this goal. And Shared Reading is one of the most overlooked possibilities for student growth.  But beyond that, thoughtful BALANCE is also required!  Balance in literacy instruction, balance across the day and in “real life” – not just a schedule that portions out bits of labeled reading without careful attention to the interaction of the student work.

Professional growth is one of my passions.  I have absorbed a lot of trivia from a lot of meetings during my decades of work.  I read; I read a lot.  I talk about my reading.  I write this blog in order to check my understanding.  I participate in books studies, Twitter chats, and Voxer conversations in order to grow and learn.  I cannot and have not ever relied on professional development to appear on my doorstep.  As a professional I have to continue to grow my understanding. I know when I need to learn more That means continued conversations.  That means continued work on my part.  Every day. Read. Write. Talk. Reflect. Intentionally. Purposefully.

It’s WORK.

It’s NOT a google search, hunting through Pinterest, or buying stuff from TpT.

It’s above and beyond scheduled work hours.

It’s a commitment to personal learning.

What are you reading?

What are you talking about?  And with whom?

What are you learning?  How are you growing?  How do you know?

How are you seeking out professional development?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016




Additional Information:

The books referenced:

Are you following Jan and Kim on Twitter?

@janmillerburk

@kimyaris

@burkinsandyaris

Their blog?  https://www.burkinsandyaris.com/

Shared Reading – #G2Great chat and subsequent blog post

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#SOL17: Beginnings


Beginnings:

I’ve had a few. (Especially on this post today with technology gremlins!)

More than 50 “First Days of School” as a student, teacher, principal, or literacy consultant.

As a Mom, so many firsts, so much joy, pride and love.

As a Grandma, every visit is an adventure with new accomplishments.

I was in search of song lyrics and found these “Top 10″ but they didn’t include the melody that was bouncing in my brain.  Was it a real song or a “#wanttobeasongIthoughtIknew”?

“Where do I begin to tell the story?”

With two parts to my new “Beginnings”, life will be busy.  The first is going to focus on

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No Eye Roll.

No, “Duh!”

No, “Really, Fran, is this just another excuse to read more books?  Buy more books?

This acronym is complicated!

R-Readers,

E- Everywhere, Taking

A-Action,

D-Daring to Dream

 

My Plan

As I’ve refined my thinking and yes, my writing in the last few weeks, I have faced many surprises. One of the biggest was that I was going to continue to focus on being a reader. The reality is that I’ve been reading for a very long time because I was reading before kindergarten. Yet, I propose to pay more attention to the craft I encounter in daily reading in order to continue my exponential growth as a writer. I don’t have reading or writing notebooks that cover decades of ideas.  Instead, I have bits, fits and dozens of beginnings where I waste precious time falling down rabbit holes as I try to remember where I wrote something. I have now made the conscious decision to move to an electronic notebook. I believe attainment of the bigger goal of being “Writers Extraordinaire” means that we all must be thinking “wide-awake readers” as we construct the meaning behind the words, pictures, videos and texts of the present and the future. Reading as a writer is SO different from the way I used to devour texts.

Reading (and Writing) is not just a school task.  Literacy requires life-long learning. Readers need to continue to choose to read long after they walk out of a school building, video conference or job site.  More careful attention to the world around us will result in a more informed citizenry everywhere in the world – not just in the U.S. With every technological advance the world shrinks and we need to stay connected with our colleagues around the globe to continue to grow as literate citizens of the world.

Joy surrounds us when we are “lost” in the pages of a book.  But even beyond the pleasure of exploring new worlds is the responsibility to think critically and consider sources, biases and points of view.  Thinking often demands taking action – both a right and a responsibility to apply our literacy skills.

As I work on this plan, I am “Daring to Dream” and using my #olw “Brave” to dream big for everyone everywhere.  I don’t know exactly what I will be doing myself but my goal will be to empower others on this journey as I continue to promote literacy for all citizens everywhere.  Current possibilities include:  more writing, adopting a classroom, and always more work with writing.




(Revision Note:  There were so many possibilities for this acronym.  Perhaps you prefer other word choices that better fit you . . .

R – Reflective, Reflection, Responsibility

E – Empower, Empowering, Encouragement

A – All,  Access, Actionable

D – Dare, Dream, Do, Denial)




The second part of my “Beginnings” is focused on Retirement.  August was bittersweet this year when I did not return to a classroom or to professional development in a building.  But I’m looking forward to exploring the opportunities listed in the acronym below (plus “Grandma activities”) that arrived on a retirement card last week. While not the same 8-4 schedule, I will be returning to independent literacy consulting work later this fall and I’m excited for the adventures that await!

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What are your new beginnings?

What new chapters of your life are you exploring?

Where are your literacy journeys taking you?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                                          slice of life 2016

 

 

#SOL17: August


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What’s your future?

Lazy days of summer continuing?

Shear panic as school soon starts?

Last days of vacation?

A room to assemble?

Weeks to go?

Days?  Hours?  Minutes?

According to Your Students:

Is school their safe place?

Is school a friendly place?

Is school a kind place?

Who is welcomed?  Who is not?

Who are the heroes?  Who is not?

What do we read?

What do we write?

Whose interests are included?

Whose ideas are reflected?

Who matters?  

Will you bravely include ALL?  




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

August #TCRWP Reading: Day 5


The icing on this week’s #TCRWP Reading Institute was the final keynote by Jennifer Serravallo.  Seeing Jen in Cowin Auditorium, back where she was once a staff developer, was amazing.  The main metaphor for her speech was SNL – Saturday Night Live –  and when in her life she has been different characters.

But this tweet has really sparked interest.

(And I did not look to see who else tweeted it out!)

How much professional development does it take to LEARN something new?

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You can explore the source yourself here.

And at “What Works Clearinghouse” here.

Surprised?  

Does that fit into your knowledge base?

 

August #TCRWP Reading: Day 4


Keynote:  David Booth

Reader

Author

Researcher

Today’s learning is a view of notes via my Tweets

Title Slide:

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Principles:

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What was “Between” the Principles?

The Humor.

The Stories.

Real conversations with Students.

A genuine person.

So many rich quotes:

  “The hardest thing about teaching is understanding that a teacher’s world is not a student’s world.”

“When kids see themselves reflected in texts they think, ‘I am here’.”

“Kids who choose what they read double their understanding in their reading.”

“We read what matters in spite of complexities.”

“Read a novel once a year.  Use it to build community.”

We have decisions to make and we have to begin with our principles or non-negotiables before we can begin to make decisions about

“What to lose?  What to keep?  What to adapt?”

We need to deeply understand the interconnected relationships between our students, their families, their communities and their literacy lives.  We must be respectful of their time at school and leverage the high-return actions that grow literate adults who read, write, speak, listen and think successfully in the world.

Laughter, learning, fun, talk.

Maybe we need to take ourselves just a little less seriously!

Thank you, David Booth, for those important reminders!  

“What will you lose?  What will you keep?  What will you adapt?”




Additional Information about David Booth:

Professional Speaking

Stenhouse

Till All the Stars Have Fallen

David Booth Goodreads

The Dust Bowl – Kirkus Reviews

August #TCRWP Reading: Day 3


“We’re done for the week!” announced Natalie Louis.

And I knew I had the first line of my blog post!

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(To think I thought it was going to be, “I don’t need a roller coaster, I teach kids!”)

The questions Natalie had just addressed were:

How do I get better at the Mini-Lesson so it’s a super-duper imprint on the brain?

Like a tattoo instead of a sleep mark?

And the answer was,

Demonstrate LIVE how to get ready for a mini-lesson from the UoS

What will this look like? What are the steps?

  1. Read the teaching point out loud.
  2. Ask what it means?  Bumble around
  3. Practice delivering the teaching point.

(Warning:  It may take more “practice”  before you are ready to say the teaching point out loud to your class.)

4. Go back and Read the connection (Tip: Read the bolds out loud) 

5. Teaching – Read the bolds out loud (Ask questions as you think of them out loud)

6. Active Engagement – Read the bolds out loud 

7. Link – Read bold out loud (Do you need any materials?)

How do you practice Mini-Lessons?  

How do you check your time frames?

You can and should practice collaboratively.  The “out loud Think Alouds” are critical because delivery of a quality Mini-lesson that sticks with the students takes more effort and thinking than merely reading from the spiral-bound page.  That’s a good beginning!  However, the point is to provide a short, focused intimate lesson.  You don’t get that by reading the lesson word for word.  You also don’t get that from whipping up power point / google slides.  The whole group lessons are designed for delivery straight to students’ eyes, ears and mouths from your own eyes, ears and mouth!

Quality practice can involve rehearsing without students and actual instruction with a room full of students.  You could video tape your mini-lesson and view it with a trusted colleague.  This would require leaving out the “But . . .” commentary and just discovering some of the data that is easily observable:

  • Were all 4 components observed?
  • Was the entire lesson less than 10 minutes?
  • How many times did you hear the teaching point?
  • Was there a bit of engagement during the connection?
  • Did you hear the teaching point in all four parts?
  • Was the goal approximation or master?
  • What key phrases did you hear for each of the parts?
  • What were the last three words?

Audio-recording on your phone could be one step prior to the 21st century skill of video-recording your lesson and/or feedback.

How have you worked on improving your mini- lessons?




What are the parts of a Mini-Lesson at TC?

The architecture of a Mini-Lesson at TC looks like this:

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Source of Session Information:

Natalie Louis

Bolstering Your Nonfiction Units of Study with Mini-Lessons,

Shared Reading and Read Alouds

This was just one small part of my August #TCRWP Reading Institute Workshop learning!

It was an 11 minute demo that was packed with both learning and laughter that will ever linger in my brain!  A demo from a staff developer who was at TC when the architecture of Mini-lessons was developed.  Tips. Gems to be treasured.  Powerful learning!

August #TCRWP Reading: Day 2


My joy of advanced sections during the August Reading Institute at the #TCRWP centers around the thoughtful and deliberate choice of sections to meet my needs.  As soon as I saw this title I was hooked because of the focus on “progressions” and “independence”.  Transfer is always in the back of my mind as well.  If a student doesn’t transfer the literacy work to both other content areas AND life, a lot of time has been wasted for minimal gains.

“Using Learning Progressions and Performance Assessments to Increase Student Skills and Independence” – Kelly Boland Hohne

On Day 1, less than 30 minutes into our first session, we were unpacking a strand.  In a group of five other new friends, digging deeper into the meaning of just one reading strand with this process:

Unpacking  a strand – do 3 things

  1. Study between the levels of the strands and note differences.  What is the key work of this level?
  2. Try to put into own words or use keywords from description.
  3. Try to imagine how that would look in a student’s writing about reading or talk or what it  would look like if the student is doing that work.

I appreciate so many things about the #TCRWP Institutes as the brilliant staff developers each have a different style.  And though my brain felt like it was melting, I was so excited (and yet a bit apprehensive) about digging into this work immediately. As in one strand with gradual release (Teacher modeling, Group Practice) and then a second strand in our group with constant check ins and support (if needed).  All On Day One!  I think this was the point where I tweeted out that I was getting my $$$ worth at #TCRWP.  However, it could also be where I first thought it, but had zero seconds to actually tweet it out!  The pace is not for the faint at heart!

When dealing with the progressions:  Do I have to do everything listed in the level to be “in” the level?   (Have you ever had this question about the rubrics or the checklists?)

No, No, No.   You just need to do more than the previous level.  This is why demonstration texts are critical.  If and when you make the thinking and the writing visible, students can figure out how to rise to the next level.  However, teachers do need to unpack these strands themselves for deep understanding.  Making a copy of someone else’s chart does NOT give you the background knowledge to help a student.  After all you, as a teacher, are more flexible when you understand the tool which is why you need to do this work yourself.

Where might you begin?  Which progressions stand out?

Focus on some key strands to begin with because they are repeated a lot (via Kelly Boland Hohne):

Literal – Envisioning/Predicting

Interpretive – Character Response/Change

Interpretive – Determining Themes/Cohesion

Analytical – Analyzing Parts of a Story in Relation to the World

Analytical – Analyzing Author’s Craft

We worked on these topics in small groups.  Our group focused on “Character Response/Change”, What does this look like across grades?  What would a demonstration piece of writing look like across the grades?  Here’s what the draft of my chart looks like!

Screenshot 2017-08-09 at 4.38.12 AMAs we use the chart, it’s highly probable there will be some revisions.  It’s also possible that there will be continued discussion about “quantity” and “quality” of responses.  Those are some of the common issues in trying to measure/assess learning. The key is to:

 

  • Make a plan.
  • Think about the information you plan to use.
  • Work collaboratively to consider theories about student work.

Making the invisible visible in reading comprehension is a lofty, noble and worthwhile goal.  It CANNOT be handed to you in a book, a set of standards, or even a set of progressions.  The meaning comes from digging into the work.

What work are you doing to build students’ independence?  

Transfer?  

How will you know you are on the learning journey?  

How will you know when you are successful?

 

 

August #TCRWP Reading: Day 1


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Monday arrives with rain and yet the fire in my brain flames on . . .

Lucy Calkins keynote . . .

Laughter with Natalie Louis . . .

Learning with Kelly Boland Hohne

Illumination with Cornelius Minor

Such was the Monday in my life!

Today’s post is a recap of information from Cornelius Minor from his closing session: “Using Digital Tools to Offer Access to Students with IEPs”

Access for all Kids – Why is Access Important?  (AKA “Research to Weaponize”) 

  •        UdL – more inclusive
  •        On heels of Civil Rights
  •        Architects – ADA compliant – door width, door knob  (designed from inception)
  •        Knowledge of the three networks that access the brain:
    • Recognition (input – see, hear, perceive);
    • Strategic (executive functioning); and
    • Attitude (and feelings about teacher and learning)

 

Here is a chart I developed to organize some of the information shared by Cornelius.

                                                             What is the main thing?  
Skills Instruction
Vocabulary

Alfred Tatum – Teaching Reading to Adolescent Black Boys  (Chicago) (EL)
Start with verbs – most common  (not ameliorate)  to speak, to move, to think

Build on strengths!

Synonyms:  Ponder, saunter, exclaim – derivatives of most common words.

Camera  saunter A , B photographer

Video ponder B, A videographer

Develop criteria together.

Make pic for word wall – Use students in the class

Social – Doing and Talking

Fluency

The sound of my voice when I am reading text I care about.  (have to like my audience as well as my text)

Teen ink  is a source

“The day I met you was a bad hair day”

Need texts that are worthy of practice.

“Going to play Simon says. You are going to read the poem like I do!”

3 different emotions:

  1. “You just ate the last Dorito” and I wanted it
  2. “Cutest baby” – change voice to match your meaning
  3. Accused, but didn’t throw paper ball!

   Annotate text for emotion

Specific Chrome Tools

  • Announcify
  • Read and Write for google
  • Ginger – grammar checker
  • Google dictionary – define and save
  • Text compactor – summary
Have 3 or 4 that are extremely effective.

More is NOT better.

Can also change readability

Effort

Behavior mirror

Transfer – Use contexts that are familiar – Audio / Video – Students use daily!

Do what the leader does!  SELL it!

Effort lives in our methodology.

What was something tried and true?  

What was new?  

What will you do next?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

August #TCRWP Reading & Celebration


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Published Blog Posts as of 08/06/17

What a milestone to celebrate!  500 blog posts.  Little did I imagine that!

And today marks the beginning of the 2017 August #TCRWP Reading Institute!  I’m looking forward to the the opening keynote by Lucy Calkins and then sessions with Natalie and Kelly all week!

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This would be a great week to follow #TCRWP on Twitter!  Great learning ahead!

What’s on your learning agenda for this week?

 

#DigiLitSunday: Stamina


 

Last August, the most difficult day of our trip to Rome was the very first day because it was not a typical day of just 24 hours.  We traveled on the plane overnight.  The perfect opportunity to rest.  Yes, restful, if you were used to traveling like a sardine.  Space between seats was extremely limited when reclined as most passengers were so inclined.  At the airport it was “Hurry Up and Wait” to get baggage collected and through customs.  And then the rain. All.Day.Long! The bus was always parked “just a little ways away” on this day where we had three stops scheduled but yet no “sense of the flow of travel or the schedule” on a bus with 50+ new best travel friends. Our sleep cycles disrupted, dining on new schedules, and walking, walking, walking.  On this day we discovered that the “step” measurements by my siblings were not the same; however, they agreed, we walked over ten miles.  Several of us had to call on every last fraction of an ounce of our stamina just to crawl into our hotel rooms.  Our energy had ebbed with the waning hours, the uncertain schedule and the never ending first day of travel.

I tell that story because any new adventure brings a bit of angst.  Last Monday was the first day of the August #TCRWP Writing Institute which began with a stirring keynote by Lucy Calkins for 1300 attendees, large group sections, simultaneous lunch schedule for all, small group sections and closing sections.  Content may have been familiar or unfamiliar, but the intensity of the schedule both physically and mentally could also make one question one’s personal stamina.

YET have high expectations.Stamina:

Synonyms include “endurance, staying power, fortitude, strength,toughnessdeterminationtenacityperseverancegrit”

Although it’s August, there are many stages of “school life” across the country:  students who have been in session for over a week, those who are returning this week, those that return in the looming weeks of August, and of course those who don’t return until after Labor Day in September.

Is back to school “stamina” a teacher issue?  A student issue? Both?

Already, I can hear the voices . . .”My kids can’t sit still that long.”  “I can only start with five minutes.”  “I’ll be lucky if they are able to sit for two minutes.”

It’s not about torture and being mean. Be realistic. 

YET have high expectations!

Plan for your situation!  And be purposeful!

Reading Workshop

Begins Day One.

Reading.Happens.EVERY.Day.

NO.EXCUSES!

If it’s a “Non-negotiable”, plan for how it will go on Day 1.  Plan for some book exploration.  Think about a soft start.  Think about how your respect for your students, their time and their year will be evident in all that you say AND all that you do!

It’s not about cutesy perfectly organized classroom libraries.

It may be about having students organize the library

as they review the books.

Do you have a book bin of “Favorite Treasures from Years Past”?

It may be that the students have book baggies

that were filled at the end of the last school year.

It may be that you create book baggies for your students . . .

ready and waiting for eager hands to cherish! 

When is it a physical challenge?

When is it a mental challenge?

How do we merge the two challenges?

What series of “work” will you begin on Day 1 in order to build stamina?

Writing Workshop

Begins Day One.

Writing.Happens.EVERY.Day.

NO.EXCUSES!

If it’s a “Non-negotiable”, plan for how it will go on Day 1.  Plan for some small “bits of writing”.  Think about a soft start.  Think about how your respect for your students, their time and their year will be evident in all that you say AND all that you do!

No rushing off to buy “The First 20 Days” .

No “cutesy” worksheet of “interests to fill in.

Writing Units of Study are written to begin on Day 1.

If you change the order, read the first bend of book 1.

What habits do you need to build?

What writing of your own will you share?

When is it a physical challenge?

When is it a mental challenge?

How do we merge the two challenges?

What series of mini-lessons might you use across the day to build stamina?

Read Aloud

Begins Day One.

READ ALOUD.Happens.EVERY.Day.

NO.EXCUSES!

If it’s a “Non-negotiable”, plan for how it will go on Day 1. Think about how your respect for your students, their time and their year will be evident in all that you say AND all that you do!

What book?

When?

Where?

So many decisions?

When is it a physical challenge?

When is it a mental challenge?

How do we merge the two challenges?

How will your Read Alouds progress so that your students 

will be independently sharing THEIR OWN Read Alouds by the end of this year?

What are your classroom non-negotiables?  

How will you build your stamina?  

How will you help your class build stamina?  

What’s your plan?

 

 

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