Category Archives: Reading

#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?

 

 

#DigiLitSunday: Possibility


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Never give up.

Say “Not YET!”

Search for other avenues.

Set a goal.

Pray.

Find like-minded friends to fuel your passion.

WHY?  

You may find that your continued growth requires new ideas that match your passion.

HOW?

It may take a plan – savings or otherwise.  It may require you to be “Brave” (#OneLittleWord) and travel alone knowing that by the end of the week you will have 1500 new friends!

It’s all about priorities    

Being a life long learner

And possibilities.

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Today marks the 5th summer in a row that I will attend #TCRWP Writing and Reading Institutes.  Exciting summers where I have grown as a writer, humbled by the craft of published authors, soaking in every morsel of knowledge about writing . . . and reading . . . and creating AVID readers and writers.

Lucky me!

Yes, lucky me!

Lucky me that I have always maintained a “summer” job so that I could “indulge” my learning habit!

I have not been given one single cent to pay my expenses in 5 years X 2 institutes.  (Yes, I have asked and I have been turned down.)  But YET the learning is so important to me that I have attended on my own in order to learn and grow professionally.

Waiting for someone else to fund my learning was an impossibility.   (I would still be waiting!)  Attending and paying for it myself was and still is my possibility and tomorrow will bring my 5th consecutive POSSIBILITY to life!

teachers college

From impossibility to possibility . . . Teachers College Reading and Writing August Institutes!

What actions do you take to move from impossibility to possibility?  

What dream do you intend to make a reality?

 

#CyberPD Week 4


cyber pd

A month of focus by #cyberPD ends tomorrow with a chat with author Vicki Vinton.

dynamic teaching book cover

With every word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, chart and chapter, Vicki has led us through her vision of a Problem-Based Approach in Reading.  I’ve posted about it here, here, here, and here and provided additional links at the bottom to lead you to other resources.




Week 4:  Chapters 9 and 10

Chapter 9 is “Creating Opportunities for Readers to Consider Ideas and Opinions in Nonfiction” and the chapter opens with this quote.

“If you’re purely after facts, please buy yourself the phone directory of Manhattan.  It has four millions times correct facts.  But it doesn’t illuminate. – Werner Herzog (p. 160)

That was the beginning of the chapter and below are three of the teaching moves to support student thinking and meaning making that ended the chapter under “Steering the Ship”.

“Invite students to sort, group, and categorize ideas that seem to have something in common.”    . . .

“Notice and name how writers show us larger ideas through the details they’ve chosen.”   . . .

“Let students react versus respond to facts and ideas in writing and in talk (knowing that facts without feelings don’t illuminate and ideas can be both beautiful and scary).”  (Excerpted from Fig. 9.6, p. 188)

 

There were 11 teaching moves in total.  But these three together gave me a road map to continue to use in our Uprooted book group.   

After bookending the chapter for you,  I now must go back to discuss a quote from this chapter (and new learning for me) that facts in a nonfiction book are not really ideas.

Is this totally new?

Have I ever thought about this before?

Hmmmm . . .

Facts.

Factoids.

Not ideas.

This was a disconcerting quote that I actually missed in my first read because I thought I knew what Vicki was saying.  But when I actually went back to collect the details/ideas, it was literally like hitting the speed bump again.

Rut. Row!

Stop.

Slow down.

Back up!

What did that say?

“… students are fuzzy about the difference between topics, facts, and ideas…That’s because readers don’t really find ideas in texts; they construct them from the details they notice…Readers of this kind of nonfiction (which includes magazine articles, investigative journalism, and many kinds of essays) have to actively draft and revise their thinking as they move through a text, adding on to their own ideas as they do…These cumulative understandings are, by their very nature, more deep and penetrating -and more nuanced and complex-than those focused on readily apparent features.”  (p. 169, 170, 171)

No wonder main ideas for students (consisting of more than a TOPIC) are so darned hard.  They do require thinking and careful study of the relationship between the words and phrases.

So as a reader

I take details

that I have noticed in the “text”

and construct meaning

by actively drafting and revising my thinking  . . .

That’s the root of an idea.

And then, as I read on and continue drafting and revising, these cumulative understandings are the deeper understanding that I am looking for.

So what does this mean?

I listed “details” above in this “parsing” of the quote.

The idea in my head is that

“the thinking I do as I pull details together (maybe in my head, on paper, or out loud) is the deeper meaning that I am searching for.”

AND that

“I will continue to add to, subtly revise, or subtract from these ideas as more details are revealed by the author.  It’s my job as the reader to pay attention to the author’s ideas and opinions and to weigh and decide their value.”

I’ve deliberately over-simplified and even left out the ideas of chunking, reading, thinking, synthesizing, etc. that Vicki so eloquently included in this chapter.  This is my first draft attempt to explain why this is really important! (So if you’ve read the book, please ignore the “holes”.)

It’s so very tempting,

surface level questions

or those already listed by DOK levels,

sound like an easier “go to”!

But what will be the results?  Students who can use the language patterns to locate and answer a question without reading the text. Is that enough?  Isn’t that the existing problem for many of our MS and HS students?


My application and pulling together of “ideas” in Uprooted  (and I am not finished reading) is leading me to think that:

Racism was behind the decision to create the Japanese internment camps during World War II specifically by FDR because of his hatred of Japanese but also because of centuries of  actions, beliefs, policies, and laws that have existed since the founding of the U.S.  (Remember, it’s a draft, and I am still reading.)


Chapter 10 had some great ideas about “coaching” so please read Tara Smith’s post here for additional brilliance from/applying the ideas in Vicki Vinton’s book.

What is your current thinking about the Dynamic Teaching of Deeper Thinking?  Join the chat, Thursday, July 27, 2017 (7:30 EST) to learn more about this brilliant book!

 



Want to join #CyberPD?

Join the Google+ Community

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Follow #cyberPD on Twitter

Follow @cathymere

Follow @litlearningzone

Or check out the “Facebook page:  Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading” here

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Vicki Vinton’s Blog:  “To Make a Prairie”

My padlet with my notes and some details and wonderings – definitely NOT ideas – LINK

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

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