Category Archives: Reading

#CCIRA18


Screenshot 2018-01-02 at 1.32.46 PMMy #OLW for 2018 is “curious” and being curious led me to #CCIRA18:  LIteracy Renaissance:  Invention, Intention, and Close Study in Colorado.  The conference keynoters, speakers, and format all made me curious about the learning opportunities.  Check out the entire #CCIRA slide show on their information page!  And then the registration for sessions sealed the deal – preregistration for sessions!  My only regret was that I had waited and some sessions were already closed. Slides 2 and 3 were so convincing and looked just as incredible on the big screens yesterday in Evergreen Hall!

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So small wonder that the ideas behind the theme were brilliantly repeated in session after session on opening day with a balmy 61 degrees outside!

Curious and Study 

Ralph Fletcher talked of studying his grandson playing in order to determine the “play” elements that should also be included in writing.

Maggie Beattie Roberts talked about being curious and her study with Kristen Warren of students’ Independent Reading Journeys to:

  • Help adolescents discover the rhythm of  thinking . . .
  • Help adolescents discover the nuances . . .
  • Help adolescents live comfortably in the gray.

Jeff Anderson talked of being curious and studying punctuation and grammar in a way that “sticks” for students and also is not black and white.

Kile Clabaugh and Keith Patterson in their “Primary Sources” work talked of using the Library of Congress format of “I see, I think, I wonder”.

At lunch, Kate and Maggie both shared some of their thinking behind DIY Literacy which grew from being curious about WHY students had problems with memory, rigor and differentiation.  And then Kate created a tool  in front of us explaining, giving tips and embracing mediocrity.

Cris Tovani talked of student curiosity driving the compelling questions that students could study to move them from disengaged to empowered.

Troy Hicks talked of curiosity as we studied a picture and a “I see, I think, I wonder” viewing format.

Other Words I heard repeated and demonstrated throughout the day: 

Questions

Student-Centered  

Joy 

Create

and so much respect for Mentors and the Research/Authors Behind their Work!

#CCIRA18

so easy to feel welcomed,

so easy to navigate,

so easy to learn.

#CCIRA18

a class act,

great speakers,

marvelous learning, and

incredible organization.

Thank YOU, CCIRA18!

And off to Day 2!!!

 

 

 

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#SOL18: MLK


One year.
Five years.
Ten years.
Twenty years.
Thirty years.
Forty years.
Fifty years.

Time slipped away.

What is the legacy that remains?

Yesterday Google displayed:

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From friends on Twitter and Facebook:

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Quotes, Speeches, Books and Resources:

15 MLK Quotes that Still Resonate (Newsweek)

Strong Quotes for MLK Day (Al Jazeera)

Inspirational Quotes for MLK Day 2018 (International Business Times)

Martin Luther King Jr. was More Radical than We Remember (TeenVogue)

Martin Luther King Jr Found Inspiration in Thoreau (Tween Tribune)

A Call to Conscience:  The Landmark Speeches of MLK (Stanford)

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The Greatest MLK Speeches You Never Heard (CNN)

Audios and Texts of His Most Famous Speeches

Celebrate?  Yes

Commemorate?  Yes

Teach about?  Yes.  We can do “Write Arounds” where students explain what each quote means to them.  We can close read the “I Have a Dream” speech.  We can analyze the effectiveness of the rhetorical devices that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used in his speeches.  But is that enough?

Not just THAT ONE DAY! Instead consider what it means to stand for equity for all living in the United States.  Consider what it means to have the same quality of life for all who live and work in the United States.

And then live the life that supports EQUITY for ALL!

That’s the legacy,

that’s the living,

that’s the WORLD

that Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed

and worked for over HALF A CENTURY AGO!

How are you living the “Dream”? 

How would we know? 

What would be our evidence?




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

 

#SOL18: #LitEssentials


What is essential in literacy instruction? 

How do you know? 

Is this something you were taught? 

Or is this something you have learned?

As you can see, “curious”, my #OLW is already in play for 2018.  It sits on my shoulder daily encouraging me to wonder about new and old issues.  So let’s take up “essential”.

What does essential mean?

“1.  absolutely necessary; indispensable:

Discipline is essential in an army.
2.  pertaining to or constituting the essence of a thing.
3. noting or containing an essence of a plant, drug, etc.

4. being such by its very nature or in the highest sense; natural; spontaneous:

essential happiness.”  Dictionary.com
Without a doubt, Regie Routman is using all these definitions in her use of “essentials” in her newest book . . .
And the words that I want to emphasize, from the definitions, are:
“indispensable,
essence,
natural,
spontaneous,
happiness”
This book is not about following a script or a recipe for success.  This book is about empowering teachers and leaders as thinkers.

Why this book? 

Because Regie is first of all a teacher.  Working with students is her passion and she wants to help you regain, regrow and re-empower your expert teaching voice.  . . .”you – one caring and knowledgeable teacher – can make an enduring difference in a child’s life.” (Routman, Stenhouse, p. 3)

What additional information is available?

@Stenhousepub tweet:

“”…without that culture of joy and celebration of strengths…we are never going to get our students where they need to be and where they want to be.” @regieroutman talks about her new book, Literacy Essentials:”

Video LInk”

Stenhouse

What makes this book so appealing?

  1. The format of the book.

The three big “units” are Engagement, Excellence, and Equity.

You CAN begin with any of those sections.  They are very well cross-referenced so that you can dip into the pieces that you need!

       2.  The format in the chapters.

There’s a conversation with Regie with facts, questions, and anecdotes that illustrate the point.  Then there is a detailed “Take Action” section. This is repeated multiple times in each chapter which has endnotes for a closing.  A single teacher could choose actions to make changes in their classroom.  A group of teachers could choose actions to make changes in their building or district.  The possibilities for thinking teachers are endless.

         3. The teacher in the book.

Calm, practical, thoughtful and thought-provoking conversations.  Not a bunch of “mumbo jumbo” from publishers, test-writers, or those who have not been in classrooms recently or perhaps . . . EVER!  Real solutions that will NOT add hours to your day.  Real solutions that you can advocate for.  Real solutions that will bring joy back into your life!

Not yet convinced?

Join the #G2Great chat Thursday, January 11th.  Be a part of the conversation or listen in – whichever role is most comfortable for you.   Listen in to hear the essence of the text, the indispensable actions, the natural, spontaneous actions that can bring JOY back into your teaching life. Then consider your next steps!

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Why does this matter to me?

I remember meeting Regie at a Regis Literacy Institute in the late 1980’s or early 90″s.  She was the first real live, up close and personal “edu-hero” that I ever met.  She was so kind, so thoughtful and so willing to talk to me even though her coffee was growing cold in the cafe and I was totally interrupting. She’s a teacher.  She’s a leader.  She’s a reader. She’s a writer.  Regie’s amazing!

What professional reading do you have planned for 2018? 

What books are you “curious” about? 

Where will you begin?




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

Trusted Resources


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What was your “Most Trusted Resource” for 2017? 

Who do you turn to?

I listened to the local meteorologist this morning to hear that the temperature was -10 with a wind chill of -35.  I did not turn to the Weather Channel.  I did not want to see an entire country enveloped in cold.  My little region with the ticker of church cancellations across the bottom of the screen was sufficient.  It met my needs.  I did not need a second source.  I already had verification when Mya was outside for less than one minute.  It’s cold!  It’s REALLY cold!  Right now Iowa is as cold as the South Pole.

So if the local TV weather and my dog’s reaction were “enough” today . . . how do I typically make decisions about resources? Here’s the process that I typically use with my criteria.

1. What’s my learning goal? 

Begin with the end in mind.  What is the end point learning?  What do I want to be able to know and do after the use of the resource that adds to my knowledge base? Because I value this thinking, I often search for UbD resources, Understanding by Design – Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe.  Resources built on a UbD framework already encapsulate some basic learning principles that I value as shown in this ASCD resource.  How well does this learning goal align with the standards, assessments and learning targets?  How will I measure learning.  All of these questions and more are evaluated in the UbD process!

2. Are the resources accurate, useful, efficient, and relevant?

Putting four criteria together is daunting because these can and should all be evaluated separately.  But here’s the deal, if they aren’t all present to a high degree, the resource is really useless.  Not needed.  Not wanted.  Not going to be in a “fixer-upper” pile as life is too short to be re-working resources that are not accurate, useful, efficient, and relevant.

3. Have the resources been written, taught, and vetted using a process/protocol to improve them?

How were the resources developed?  Were they written by persons who haven’t been in a classroom since they were students?  Or are they written and reviewed by teachers who are constantly striving to improve their teaching practices and who are willing to work collaboratively and diligently to appropriately give credit to original authors for their ideas?  Was a template or framework used so developed materials align vertically within the content area and horizontally across grade levels and content areas?  What information is available about the process?  What information is available about the review?

What resources meet this criteria?

One FREE source is found with the Massachusetts Department of Education.  You will need to create an account (good for 30 days) and agree to honor copyright – you can’t profit from the work!  Here’s the link – doe.mass.edu    

“Why these resources?”  

  1.  Massachusetts is getting results in literacy.
  2. This resource comes from their state department of education website and was the result of a collaborative process Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe and hundreds of teachers.
  3. You can begin by using a unit and adding or subtracting learning activities based on the needs of your students.
  4. There is a TRANSFER goal in every unit.
  5. FREE
  6. Outcomes, Assessment, Standards, and Instruction are aligned.  Resources are the last to be chosen.  That’s a part of the UbD model!
  7. The resources are accurate, useful, efficient, and relevant.
  8. FREE
  9. The materials reference sources and are not plagiarized intellectual property.
  10. The units only require a registration (and renewal after 30 days).

Check out the resources NOW! 

Access to multiple grade levels can help you with pre-requisite skills and learning expectations!

Grade 2 Example ELA Units:

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Grade 9-10 Example ELA Units:

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What are YOU waiting for? 

How could using these units as “mentor” units help you increase student learning? 

What process are you using when you search for learning resources?

#NCTE17: Saturday


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And the answers were:

Bob Probst:  “I would give students more access to models of student discourse so they can talk about the content.” 

Lucy Calkins:  “I would give teachers more time for professional conversations, to dive into problems of practice together as a community and share their discoveries.”

Kylene Beers:  “I would double your pay and cut the number of students in your class in half.”

This last question posed by moderator Lester Laminack who was seated on stage with the panel was:  “If you had a magic wand in public education today, what would you do with it?”

Was this the most memorable question of the day?  Why begin here?  Because Saturday was a ginormous day of learning at #NCTE17.  My day was filled with nonstop sessions and meetings from 7:30 am until 10:05 pm.  It was Saturday.  I was in St. Louis.  And let me repeat, “my day was filled with nonstop sessions and meetings from 7:30 am until 10:05 pm.” And it was Saturday.  If you do the math, the answer is something like 14+ hours.

Details:  The first meeting was a breakfast. The last gathering was dinner. 15 minutes in between sessions to race from one end of the convention center and settle in for 75 minute learning opportunities… On a Saturday!

NCTE

What is personalized learning?

What is the role of technology?

My answer is #NCTE17.  A conference that I choose to attend, at my own expense, in order to learn and grow professionally.  A conference where I renew my professional “joie de vivre“.  I chose my schedule (or does it chose me?).  I make a plan or two. I continually check my list of “Must Learns“. Some items are topics.  Some items are names.  Names of people. Names of books.  And the best intersection . . . authors of books from book chats or book studies. The books in my bag in my hotel room that I forgot to match up to my schedule to bring for autographs.  Those authors.  Those from whom I want to learn MORE!

Personalized = my choice.  Technology = those I have met on Twitter, Voxer, and blogs (that I now meet face to face).  A lasting marriage of Voice and Choice on Saturday for 14+ hours of learning! Learning on my own dime and time.

So what did I learn?

“We still need a balance of technology and print in our literacy lives.  There is not yet a definitive answer on when and how much screen time is appropriate for effective learning.  Think balance.”  Colleen Cruz, TCRWP

Lucy Calkins:  “Transference of phonics is the goal. We don’t need a professor of phonics.”

“Our new work is our best work.  We are always striving to improve and outgrow ourselves as a community of learners.”

To learn more about Jacqueline Woodson, Saturday General Session, check out her website. Simply gorgeous keynote!

F.38 What Matters Most About Reading and Writing 

(Lester Laminack, Kylene Beers, Robert Probst, and Lucy Calkins)

What I will hold onto:

Kylene shared that 80% of adults go to text in order to be right.  So we need to teach HS kids that reading, entering a text, is an opportunity to change yourself.

Lucy Calkins – “Live as if one of the pillars of your thinking is dead wrong.” Go to sessions, work with folks because if we only read our books and stay in our bubble – we will not be surprised and will not outgrow ourselves.

Lester Laminack:  Our children are 21st century citizens . . . ask Siri ‘Why do bees buzz?” (and he did on stage for all of us to listen to) How do we convince Ss to fall in love w/ books?  That’s a question for your, dear reader!

Lucy:  We can grow as writers if we write along side our students when they are writing.  We don’t have to be writers before we begin teaching writing.

Kylene:  Writing to tell or Writing to discover. We can’t and don’t write enough. We shouldn’t teach kids non-fiction means not fake which then turns to true…let’s teach them non-fiction means not fiction. Non-fiction can be fake, not because you don’t agree with it though.

G.04  How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More:  Developing Agentive Readers

(Jan Burkins, JoAnne Duncan, Gravity Goldberg, and Renee Houser)

We read passages at 90% accuracy.  They were tough to understand.  Sometimes reading is tough.  We need to acknowledge that.  But we also need to make sure that students DO THE WORK!  We need to set up those conditions of learning!

who is

Haven’t read it?  No excuse!

You can read about it here, here, and here.

what

Gravity and Renee have this fiction and a nonfiction parallel book as well.  Have you read them? Reflections on the books are included on a post here.

JoAnne shared the journey of a particular student in her building who learned to read and was then given books when she moved from the school. Powerful and tear jerking reminders that our relationships matter.  We have to be a part of our students’ lives.

H.08 Harnessing the Power of Multicultural  Literature and Critical Literacy to Generate Authentic and Enjoyable Writing Spaces That Bring Writers Back into the Workshop

(Brian Kissel, Kristina Kyle, and Lauren Rudd)

The two first grade international teachers  shared the influences of their work:

Critical Literacy

  • James Paul Gee
  • Paulo Freire
  • Vivian Maria Vasquez

Social action  (for a Better World)

  • Randy Bomer
  • Katherine Bomer
  • Stephanie Jones

brian

And then Brian had us read and think alongside his reflections on his student work! For more information about Brian and his work, check out this post.

Thought to Ponder:

What would happen if you read every piece of student work just like you read every published book?

I.20 Recapturing Assessment:  Student Voices in Aiding Our Mission

(Jason Augustowski, Dr. Mary Howard, Dr. Katie Dredger, Cindy Minnich, Sam Fremin, Ryan Hur, Joseph O’Such, Christian Sporre, Dawson Unger, Spencer Hill, Jack Michael, Ryan Beaver, Sean Pettit, and Kellen Pluntke)

Take aways from the #BowTieBoys:

  • Students do not want multiple choice tests.
  • Students do not want to regurgitate facts.
  • Students do not want to write essays every time to show evidence of their learning.
  • Students do not want to sit in rows of desks.
  • Students do not want to listen to lectures.
  • Students do not want a two page writing limit.

Students want choice.

Students want voice.

Students want opportunities to negotiate HOW to share their learning.

Students want to explore their own interest.

Students want to use technology.

Students want to learn even if that takes more work. 

Students are less concerned about “fairness in grading” then they are about having choices in open-ended rubrics.

(edited)  For additional details about the individual presentations from this round table see Mary C Howard’s Facebook post here.

J. 21. Beyond Levels:  Choosing Texts to Scaffold Instruction for Engagement and Agency

(Clare Landrigan, Tammy Mulligan, Terry Thompson, and Dorothy Barnhouse)

It was such a pleasure to see the cover of Clare and Tammy’s new book and then to have Dorothy read Yo, Yes to us. We can find authentic ways to build in engagement and agency without “cute” worksheet pages!  Tammy and Clare’s blog is here.

And of course, ending with the Slicer Dinner!  16 bloggers (weekly and each day in March) meet up for food, fun, continued learning, and conversation. (Again . . . Personalized Learning and Technology) Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

slicers

What is your personalized learning plan? 

Does technology play a part? 

Are you ready to sign up for #NCTE18 in Houston?

#NCTE17: Friday


NCTE

Keynote:  Jimmy Santiago Baca

Jimmy Santiago Baca’s said that reading and poetry saved his life in the NCTE opening keynote filled with his stories as well as a call to action for teachers:  “If not teachers, who should be teaching our kids to take action!”  He also shared a deep appreciation for teachers and the work they do.  Jimmy told of teaching reading to kids even if it meant bringing in pizza to first meet their physical needs.  He also spoke about the need to involve parents and communities in our work and that would mean meeting them where they are. . . not always waiting for them to come to a school event.  You can learn more about him here.

A45.  Conferring as a Path to Help Students Develop Voice and Agency:  Today, Tomorrow and Forever

(Christina Nosek, Jennifer McDonough, Kristin Ackerman, Patricia Vitale-Reilly, Lisa Eickholdt, Kari Yates)

What a start to the conference.  Some friends in real life, or from books, blogs or Twitter chats.  These six each offered round table sessions where you could choose three 20 minute sessions.  Here are a few of my key take aways.

Patricia Vitale-Reilly    How to Make Conferences for those who struggle REAL!

R – Relevant

E – Engaging

A – Authentic

L – Lasting

Each part of the acronym was supported  with items from her toolkit. (And a few were even marked up as figures from her books.) It was great to see her mentor texts and some examples of her student tools and checklists.

Kari Yates – Four Ways to Know and Nurture a Reader

Book Choice

Healthy Habits

Strategic Answers

Responsive

These characteristics are NOT hierarchical but Book Choice can and will impact all the rest.  In order to have confident and competent readers book choice will often be the first area for teachers to begin their conferring work.  Kari shared some key questions that teachers would use to focus their conferring work.

Christina Nosek – The Language of Conferring

Enter as a gracious guest

Wonder

Affirm

Step it Up

Make it Stick

If you are following along on Twitter, you saw those five!

Christina’s videos of her conferring work with students from her fifth grade classroom illustrated each of the five points above. (Extra bonus:  Watch for the book, currently in publication, from Christina and Kari that will be out in early 2018.)

B. 36  Reading as a Personal Art

(Anne Atwell Merkel, Nancie Atwell, Kelly Gallagher, Penny Kittle)

Seats were scarce on the first floor and both balconies of the Ferrara Theater as Anne Atwell Merkel began with some basic information about the status of readers, reading in schools, and a deep appreciation for her mother’s gift to their school.  Passion and activism as themes continued in Nancie Atwell’s speech.  “Activism is a teacher’s right and responsibility.  What do you do and why?” Kids are readers when they leave her K-8 school but they come back to share that they don’t read in high school. why not?  Because in high school reading is often still about whole class novels, usually chosen by a teacher, with packets and/or art work that is wasting students’ precious reading time.  Blunt, practical, and yet Nancie continues to be an advocate for student choice and voice in order to have a reading life.

Check out this quote from Nancie Atwell:

“Inexperienced unenthusiastic readers NEED workshop, not strategy instruction or digital platforms. Give them time to read.”

And then Kelly and Penny stepped to the podium.  The cover picture of their new book (February?) has been on Twitter this week, so it was no surprise to me that their duet was a perfect mixture of their classrooms and their thoughts as they easily highlighted their main points.  Flipgrid videos literally showed us how they were working together as well as with a class of college students for two purposes: to build connections to help students be more successful in college and to challenge each other, respectively, to think deeper about the ELA work they are doing in their classrooms.  Secondary folks, you will want this book just for their thoughts on HOW MANY whole class books, scheduling, and  the amount of independent reading time that literally will help craft the citizens of tomorrow that we need today. (HINT:  New book also coming soon!)

C.37 Learning Process and Craft Strategies from Authors

Jennifer Serravallo – Learning Process and Craft Strategies from Authors

Strategy:

A series of actionable steps

Break down the skill (How to show not tell)

Make the way I say it generalizable   

Authentic – show what I do

Something to outgrow

How to develop writing strategies

  1. Spy on yourself.
  2. Notice what writers do in mentor texts

Kate Messner – 15 yrs. as a MS teacher before moving to full time authorship

Structure is Kate’s niche.  She found a structure for Over and Under the SnowThen she used that text as a mentor text to write more texts. I’m looking forward to the “document” format in Breakout.

Sarah Weeks – Beginnings

“That’s my favorite part of writing. Haven’t messed up anything yet!”

“Ideas come from unusual places.”

“Always have my eyes and ears open.”

“When working with young students and grad students, photo prompts let us see what happens. Start with talk— what do you notice?

“What are you thinking?”

“How does it make you feel?”

“Let your emotions come out your pencil – not your mouth!”

Kat Yeh – Find the Emotions

“When you write from an emotional truth, the fiction that you put around it becomes believable for the reader.”

“No matter how ridiculous something is . . . there’s a way to connect them so even in the not working, you will have something to add to your story.”

“Write without lifting pen from paper. . . .Start writing.  Cannont stop and cannot lift your pen.”

“What are you feeling?”

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater  @amylvpoemfarm

Amy shared that Poem Farm began as a poem for every day for a month and then expanded to a poem every day for a year. Since then she has gone on to catalogue the poems. Amy’s advice included:

“In order to write, do stuff in the 22 hours away from your desk. Not just watching shows but up and moving around.

Use photo prompts. Take pictures when you see something that strikes you.  

Varian Johnson – Author of The Parker Inheritance

Look for inspiration in:

History

Memory

Other people’s work

Two examples of real life events were the: Uke Medical Varsity  team – 1944 North Carolina College Eagles and a secret tennis game in 1957. 

And is that was NOT enough, check out some of the books generated by this panel.

js author panes

D.18 Choice Matters:  Perspectives of Students and Teachers

(Lester Laminack, Jason Augustowski, Linda Rief and the #BowTieBoys:  Ryan Beaver, Sam Fremin, Ben Hawkins, Ryan Hur, Joseph O’Such, Sean Petit, Kellen Pluntke, Jack Selman, and Dawson Unger.

If you haven’t seen the #BowTieBoys, then it has totally been your loss.  In this panel session, Lester Laminack quizzed the two teachers and the gentlemen students.  Ranging from eighth graders to juniors in high school, they were:

poised

confident

skilled communicators,

with thoughtful responses,

provided suggestions and solutions to add MORE choice the day!

E.12  The Secret of Crafting Engaging Nonfiction

(Alyson Beecher, Candace Fleming, Deborah Heligman, Melissa Stewart)

With 190 published books to her credit, Melissa Stewart drew my attention in this session.  Some gems that I gathered:

“Concept books: what is the Concept? What is the connection for students? What is my emotional commitment in order to work on this book?  (Hear the backstory for Can an Aardvaark Bark?)”

“Where do my ideas come from:  What I see, What I hear, and What I experience. How do we “teach” this to students?”

“If you write broadly, you are not going to get good research.”

“”Research is like a treasure hunt. Research is fun. What interesting facts can you find? How can you find a community person to interview?”

“Have students use sources they can’t copy during research like watching a webcam video of animals.”

Did you have a great learning day Friday at #NCTE17?

What else did you learn?

 

 

 

#SOL17: It was one of those mornings


Alarm.

Snooze.

Alarm.

Snooze.

Alarm.

Snooze.

“Is it really morning?”

“I have a really long list.  I have to get back in the routine.”

It was one of those mornings.

“The clock read 4:15 am.”

Failure 1 

Strike 1

strike one

Filter.

Coffee

Water.

Hit the button.

“No smell.”

“No dripping.”

“No coffee.”

It was one of those mornings.

Failure 2 

Strike 2

strike two

Turned on the laptop.

Ready to read and write.

One hour of my choice.

“No power light.”

“No light on the extension cord.”

It was one of those mornings.

Failure 3   

Strike 3

three strikes

I didn’t read emails.

I didn’t check Twitter.

I didn’t check Facebook.

I didn’t check out my agenda for #NCTE17

It was the second day of real time. 

The return to regular time. 

No more daylight savings time.

I changed my alarm clock.

I put the missing water in the coffeepot.

I plugged in the extension cord.

I read on my iPad until 5 am.

WIN 1

Touchdown!

touchdown

The gift of time.  It was one of those mornings!




What do you do on days that start out disastrously? 

How do you turn them around?




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: Wondering


Do you believe this?  What’s the evidence of your belief?

every.PNG

Doug Fisher, SDSU, August

Just Wondering . . .

How much “LEARNING” do you engage in during a year?

I learn daily as I read and write.

No one says “I have to”.

No one pays me for my time.

I learn weekly in Twitter chats.

No one says “I have to”.

No one pays me for my time.

I learn weekly as I blog.

No one says “I have to”.

No one pays me for my time.

I learn weekly in my Voxer groups.

No one says “I have to”.

No one pays me for my time.

I learn monthly, semi-annually and even annually from some major events.

Last week led me to learning in Davenport, IA on Monday with Dr. Mary Howard and

in Des Moines, IA on Thursday with Lucy Calkins.

Passionate speakers sharing research-based ideas.

Tirelessly

Leading

Encouraging

Thoughtful

Implementation of Best Practices in Literacy Instruction and

Assessment.

In three weeks I will be at #NCTE17.

No one says “I have to”.

No one pays me for my time.

I’m “retired” from a full-time job and yet since retirement, I have engaged in

15 days

of professional learning of my choice!

No one says “I have to”.

No one pays me for my time.

That does not include book clubs (6 this year).

That does not include Twitter chats (often 2 per week).

That does not include reading . . .

That does not include writing . . .

WHY?

Learning is growing.

Learning is addictive.

Learning is necessary . . . breathe in, breathe out, read, write!

Living a learning life!

What does your learning life look like?




slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, 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. 




What is the Bill of Rights for Writers according to Lucy Calkins?

Link

#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

#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

 

 

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