Category Archives: Reading

#SOL18: #OLW


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After a quick search, I found that last year’s check-in on my One Little Word (#OLW) was mid-July so I’m pretty much on target again. July.  Summer.  Heat.  A time to reflect.

Where has “curious” taken me this year?

Paying attention.

Listening.

Watching.

Reading.

Writing.

Thinking.

Curious and Learning

Most recently:

Iowa Reading Association and

#TCRWP

Front row learner

Book Clubs

#BookLove, #CyberPD, and more

Curious and Joyful

Graduations

Near and Far

Birthdays

With Family

With Friends

And special serenades

Curious and Fun

Ladies Football Academy

With my sister

And finding cousins along the way

Teaching

Consulting

PD Prep

Reading, Writing, and Blogging

Curious and Books

A Novel Approach

Literacy Essentials

It’s All About the Books

180 Days

To Know and Nurture a Reader

Engaging Children

Embarrassment

Kids 1st From Day One

Brave Leadership

Being the Change

Megabook of Fluency

Reclaiming the Principalship

What are you curious about? 

How is your #OLW? 

Have you checked in lately?




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

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#SOL18: Mirrors and Windows


In kindergarten I read books about Dick, Jane, Sally, Puff, and Spot.  They lived in a town with houses, sidewalks, and fenced yards. They seemed to have fun and play a lot. The girls and Mother always wore dresses and the older characters had the longer dresses.  As for the guys, the Dad always wore long pants and the boys wore shorts and long sleeve shirts or sweaters. It wasn’t my neighborhood (a farm) or the way we dressed (church clothes, school clothes, play clothes).  I didn’t know if the stories were real or pretend.

I was reading before I went to kindergarten so I’m not sure of the impact of the environment depicted in Dick and Jane books. I already loved books. And I dearly loved reading. School was fun, for the most part. But some of it was sheer drudgery.  The silly workbooks, the round-robin reading, and reading one story a week was so . . .

excruciatingly . . .

slow.

As well as dry, dull and desperately boring. We stopped all the time to answer questions about our reading. The pacing was synonymous with a turtle and at many times, so darned tedious.  But I loved books.  And I loved reading. I loved reading for the windows into other worlds . . . enchanted, far away worlds! I didn’t see myself, my family or my neighbors in any of the stories I read.

But what if I hadn’t loved reading?

A groundswell exists for an elementary curriculum that includes both mirrors and windows for ALL our students.

“All students deserve a curriculum which mirrors their own experience back to them, upon occasion — thus validating it in the public world of the school.” (Source)

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Are ALL of our students validated?

Last week at the #TCRWP June 2018 Writing Institute I was reading Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time to a group of third grade teachers.  We were analyzing the text for “techniques” of narrative text and this book by James Howe had many. It was a new book for many of the teachers in the group, but the part that stuck with me were the brilliant words from our leader Simone Fraser:

“Read Alouds in our classrooms need to be more inclusive. It is important that ALL students are represented in our Read Alouds. We need to make sure that we read from at least ALL the bands of text that students are reading.”  Simone Fraser

Brilliant!

Deep!

Broadening the definition of inclusivity.

This sounds so much like  ‘common sense’, but are teachers doing this?

First, qualitatively. I am not saying you would start at Level H and read through to Level O (remembering that levels are only Teacher Tools), but do you purposefully read texts from bands that represent the students seated on the floor in front of you and that allow the students to ‘see themselves reading texts’ in your classroom?

And then a second issue, do the students actually see themselves, their neighborhoods and their cultures in the books in your classrooms?  What of neighborhoods that are so homogeneous that they need to see even more diverse communities? How do you build libraries that expand the world?

As teachers decompress, plan and re-plan for those first days of school next year, I would challenge each and every one to consider how those first days of school (August or September) could be more inclusive.

Planning Considerations:

What if the opening community-building Read Alouds were mirrors of the reading students did in previous years?

What if the opening community-building Read Alouds included one from each band of text – matching the students in front of the teacher?

What if the opening community-building Read Alouds were mirrors of the students and their cultures?

What if the opening community-building Read Alouds were fun, inspirational and then lovingly placed in a basket labeled “Our Favorite Books to Re-Read”?

Why Re-Read?

To feel welcomed.

To feel accepted.

To revisit old friends.

To build community.

To demonstrate the value of re-reading!

To remember the excitement of that “first read”!

How do you welcome EVERY child to your reading community?

How could Read Alouds, that correspond to your students’ previous reading, build empathy and respect as well as empower and engage your students?   

How could those beginning of the year Read Alouds strengthen and build upon student successes, positive attitudes and reading habits? 

How are you including both mirrors and windows in your classroom book collection?

Isn’t this the “Engagement, Excellence and Equity that should be quaranteed for ALL students?




And as you are planning, remember these words from Lin Manuel’s tweet . . .

“You’re gonna make mistakes.

You’re gonna fail.

You’re gonna get back up.

You’re gonna break hearts.

You’re gonna change minds.

You’re gonna make noise.

You’re gonna make music.

You’re gonna be late, let’s GO”  @Lin_Manuel




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

#SOL18: Why Practice?


It was a simple comment.

It brought me to a complete stop.

“We practice to build proficiency.”

Is that the goal?

Proficiency?

If we build or meet proficiency, what does that mean?

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Retrieved from dictionary.com

In education, there seem to be points in time when proficiency has become a form of a new longer, four-letter word.  It causes a pain in my stomach.  It brings up visions of charts where students are color coded green, yellow or red that result in assignments to specific interventions.

Proficiency, in education,  now often implies an ability to meet an arbitrary cut point.

A “Yes”,  I made it or a “No”, not yet?

Once?

Twice?

Three times and that’s good?

What does proficiency look like in football?

One example

These descriptors come to mind:

Self- assessment

Goal-setting

Beginning with the end in mind

Time

Repetition

 EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Why do readers need to read (practice) every day?

Why do writers need to write (practice) every day?

To meet external goals?

To meet personal goals?

Is there a sense of urgency?

Is there a sense of joy?

A feeling of accomplishment?

Has it become drudgery?

What is the real goal?

Do readers and writers EVER stop practicing?  Should they?




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

 

 

 

#SOL18: “psst . . . I’m reading . . .”


2018 is the year of books!

These are just some of the books that I have read (and blogged about) during the last school year.  I’ve left out Ellin Keene’s Engaging Children, Tom Marshall’s Reclaiming the Principalship, and Kristi Mraz and Christine Hertz’s Kids 1st From Day One. So much to continue to learn.  So much to continue to read and write about.  So much to continue to be curious about.

And then another new book emerges  . . .

This week’s #G2Great chat will be about this new book from Stenhouse by Kari Yates and Christina Nosek.  And I’ve been waiting

and waiting

and waiting.

Conferring is still an area where I need to improve.  Where I need to listen more and talk less.  Where I need to grow.  And conferring about reading!

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The title is captivating:  “to know and nurture a reader: Conferring with Confidence and Joy”.  I love the conventions, and their use in the title.  I love “confidence and joy”.

Have you checked out the resources?

Book

Website

Help! My students want to choose books I’m afraid are too hard!

How can I support readers who pick the same types of books over and over again?

How can I use conferring to connect with students who are very new to English?

Some of my students just hop from book to book! What can I do to support them?

Why Confer with Readers? 10 Compelling Reasons

I have two chapters left to read and then I will be ready for the chat Thursday night.  I can’t wait to spend more time practicing and improving my conferring skills with students and teachers. The videos, the tips, and all the problem solving has thus far been on target.

What are you reading? 

What are your working on? 

How will we know?




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

#SOL18: Planning


planning

Do you love to plan? 

Do you hate to plan? 

Planning can take many forms.  Planning to write in the form of creating an outline and then following it point by point . . . just the thought of it, makes me nauseous.  In the vernacular of “slicers”, then am I a “pantser” meaning I plan by the seat of my pants . . . in the moment?  Actually not.  I’m somewhere in between.

It all depends . . .

What’s your process for planning in your personal life? 

It’s time for a weekend get away or a family vacation.  Do you investigate possibilities on line via “The Google”? When and where do you plan?  As you are packing? Or in advance so you can make sure that everything fits?  That might necessitate packing that “carry on” bag in advance to make sure everything fits.  That might mean “lists” depending on the length of the stay.  That might mean a careful assessment of “technology needs” in order to be prepared.

What’s your process for planning in your work life?

As the school year winds down are you preserving those notes?  More of “x”. Less of “y”.  Scrap a, b, and c. How do you make those decisions?  That might mean lists of “If . . . , then . . .”, T charts of pros and cons that precede the inner debate, or even basic boxes and bullets.

Lists of lists???

Again, it all depends . . .

If you are a secondary teacher (grades 6-12), then you need to immediately order this book and join one of the many book studies that are planned for this summer. (Note that I did not say, if you are a secondary ELA teacher, because I believe there is merit in the principles and ideas in this book for social studies teachers, instructional coaches, principals, and curriculum directors.)

180 days book

The hashtag for this book is #180Days.  But I want to draw your attention to the subtitle:  “Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents.”

And in case you missed it, the full title is 180 Days:  Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents. 

Let’s face it.

A “How to” book with QUEST, ENGAGE, and EMPOWER in the title.

There are probably days when you scratch your head and wonder, “WHY?  Why am I doing this to myself?”  Other days in moments of honestly, your first period class really sucked, second period was better, and third period rocked.  WHY?

That opportunity to practice.

That opportunity to tweak the lesson.

A different beginning.

A different ending.

That opportunity to re-vision the lesson.

Some teachers have the opportunity to adjust and discuss situations as they occur with collaborative teaching partners.  But in this book you have the collective wisdom of Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle as they share how they planned, the basis for their decisions, their varied class periods (each day, Kelly and every other day – block schedule, Penny) as they taught and collaborated across the country, NH and CA.

Not sure if this is the book for you?  Resources that may help you decide are:

Book

Sample Chapter

Heinemann podcast 1

Heinemann podcast 2

Facebook page

Travis Crowder’s Review

Podcast part 1 – ReadAloud

And if that’s not enough, please join the #G2Great Twitter Chat this Thursday night.

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Added – Literacy Lenses post about 180 Days #G2Great Chat  5.20.18

Do you “engage and empower” your adolescents on a regular basis? 

Do you worry about being responsive to life and also “fitting it all in”?

This book will show you how to make better decisions about your students  – based on the needs of your students – so that you can and do ENGAGE and EMPOWER them!

WHY does it matter?

180 quote.PNG

How will you be planning for next year?




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

#SOL18: What to read?


Book Birthdays Abound; What should I read?

If you also wonder, “How do we create lifelong readers?”,  then this is the book for you because it all begins with books!  Yes, books!

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One book that’s hot this week is:  It’s All About the Books!  

Event 1:  Heinemann Publications is hosting a Facebook live session with Tammy and Clare today, Tuesday, April 3rd. Information here! *7:30 pm EST  (podcast link)

Event 2:  #Good2Great chat at 8:30 EST on Thursday, April 5 will have Tammy and Clare as guests hosts. (Literacy Lenses post with storify & Tweets from chat- Link)

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What’s the book about?

This book helps teachers figure out how to maximize their resources (classroom libraries and bookrooms) in order to have the most engaging books available for students when they need them. And you will soon know what Tammy and Clare’s signature quote is when asked how to get the money for more books!  It will make you laugh!

Resource 1:  Heinemann Web page

Resource 2:  Podcast with Tammy and Clare (Link Here)

Resource 3:  Sample chapter

Not YET convinced?

Tammy and Clare are donating their royalties to Penny Kittle’s Book Love Foundation in order to put additional books into the hands of elementary and middle school students.

And in Clare’s own words, the power of books:

Slice one – “A Reader Reminds Me”

Slice two – “The Power of a Book”

This book explains how to inventory, assess and reassemble your book collections so more books are in your students’ hands across the entire year.  This is the week to learn about books with several resources at your fingertips!

What professional books are you reading? 

What’s on your TBR stack?




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

#SOL18: March 28


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Drip! Drip! Drip! Drip!

Gently, slowly,

Each drop distinctly different.

Read, comment, read, comment,

Catch up, catch up, catch up,

A slicer’s work is never done!

Booming thunder

Loud and rhythmic

Not just white noise.

Write, read, write, revise

Let it rest, let it brew

A writer’s work is never done!

Pounding, roaring, louder and louder

Mya crouching and hiding

Lightning has arrived.

No time to nap, relax

Or read for fun today

A PD presenter’s work is never done!




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

#SOL18: March 15


Stuck,

Not moving.

Stuck,

Reading is a struggle.

Stuck,

Beginning to avoid reading.

Stuck,

Now hates reading.

What do we do as reading coaches when students get stuck? 

What do we prioritize? 

What are our go to resources? 

 

Earlier this week, I asked . . . 

How do you make decisions about changing instruction?  Or Practice?  Or Allocation of Time? in the writing context.  Think about that post. link

I’m a process person so in reading my first step is to consult the research.  If students are stuck, I’m going back to Richard Allington’s 6 Ts of Effective Reading Instruction.

  1. Time
  2. Texts
  3. Teaching
  4. Talk
  5. Tasks
  6. Testing

When a student is struggling, what’s our first instinct?  Often it seems like we want to “double down” and do “more.”  But again, how do we prioritize and make sure that we double down and do more of the RIGHT stuff?

After participating in a brilliant #TCRWP Twitter chat last night led by Staff Developers, Shana Frazin, Marie Mounteer, and Cheney Munson, here’s what I believe.

Here’s where I will begin  . . .

  1. Know all the students and build a relationship with each and every one . . . yes, even the prickly one(s).   That means that I can answer these questions about barriers in order to operate from a “strengths-basis” as much as possible.

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2. I will self assess my balance of Allington’s 6 T’s with what I know about the student.  Everything is connected and interrelated.  What are my “absolute musts” for reading instruction every day?  Always read alouds.  Always workshop time. More time, but less texts = counterproductive.  More Talk by Teachers  = Less time for reading  which is also counterproductive.  So I might consider how some of these questions would add to my knowledge base about what I know about reading instruction, practice, and the curriculum for this particular striving student.

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3. I will ask for help.  I will continue to think about the whole child but will not be so proud that I can’t ask for help or so “unaware of the urgency (“Hello, it’s February and Susie is on a E and her goal is J, but no worries.”)  I will find my tribe that I can safely ask:  “Hey, what should I do when I have a student who does this, this, and this, but struggles with __, __, and __?”

Every day that Susie feels like she is is failing is a day too many!

4. But I will ALWAYS remember that my goal is to ensure that students can read, will read, and above all else, LOVE to read!  So remembering that Susie will be a great reader is critical!  I will not advocate for a program, a basal, a Pinterest or TpT resource.  I will begin with the child, the child’s family, and the community of the classroom. (The WHY which has to be behind every decision.)

How does this match your thinking? 

Where do you start when a student is stuck? 

What are your priorities?




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




Marie Mountneer’s storify of the #TCRWP chat here

During the chat Shana Frazin posted this chart of Harvey and Ward’s from Striving to Thriving.  What a great tool to think about during text selection for our striving students!

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#SOL18: March 1


Since Last March

Since last March, I’ve been everywhere.

Everywhere for time with the kids in Iowa, Kentucky, holidays and the State Fair,

Everywhere for family events – high school graduations, visiting cousins, and traveling with the elders,

Everywhere for stretching and growing my mind.

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Since last March, my grandson turned two.

Two and can name a herd of dinosaurs,

Two and a fish in the swimming pool,

Two and totally wrapped in our hearts!

 

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Since last March, I’ve said good-bye.

Good-bye to my work of 19 years,

Good-bye to students, teachers and staff,

Good-bye to fellow AEA staff,

Good-bye to forty years of daily working from 7 to 5 or more!!!

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Since last March, I’ve said hello.

Hello to friends who I’ve met face to face,

Hello to slicers, bloggers, and voxers from or at #tcrwp, #ncte17, #g2great , and #ccira18,

Hello to a daily reading and writing routine

Hello to the #g2great planning, chatting, and blogging team.

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Hello, March.

It’s time to write!




The idea from this post came from Erin Baker’s “Since Last March” here in 2016.  I first used it March 2, 2016.  It was fun to reflect on the changes since last March!

Do you use other “years” besides a school year or a calendar year? 

How do you reflect on what has happened “since last year”?




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

Welcome to the Slice of Life Story Challenge 2018!

#SOL18: Goals


Yesterday was the intersection of my #OLW:  Curious and my reading goal of 52 books for the year.  One per week.  Paralleling a student goal of 40 books during the year.

How does Goodreads summarize my reading?

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So how am I doing?

We are in the ninth week of the year and I’ve read 18 books so I have a good lead on the year.  Never having set a “books read per year goal”, I have no clue what is realistic.

What’s in the future?

March is #SOLSC.

March is blogging daily.

Reading and writing daily.

Both with public goals.

How do I feel about my progress in 2018?

I’m pleased that only 1 / 3 books are professional books.  That’s better than I had anticipated.  Here’s a look at the professional books.

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What’s their focus?

Literacy,

Reading,

Reading,

Reading,

Writing,

Writing,

Writing

Looks like a pattern or two.  I must admit that not all of the books are first reads; in fact, five are rereads.  A few more quotes collected for PD work.  A bit more solid foundation and many, many more post its and tabs to mark my place.  Five are also signed by the authors.  That means they reside on a special shelf of honor (when shelved) and are treated royally. Not allowed to be stacked on the carpet or the table.  Gentle, loving treatment!  Books displayed preferentially!

What’s different about 2018?

I joined a book club group.  There are 192 strong of us from across the country. One title came from a student’s blog recommendation.  I had to “guess” what the solution to the mystery would be (Alibi) and so I had to buy the book.  But 1 / 3 of the books came from watching what others were reading, checking out the recommendations and reading the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

What’s your process for choosing a book?  Is it the same as the one you teach students?

What’s your goal?   What’s the goal for your students? 

Should you meet or exceed their goal?




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




Note:

Personal goal setting.

No prizes, no trinkets, no stickers.

No points.

No quizes.

No book reports.

Yes, some comments on Goodreads or back to the book club members to respond to questions.

No dioramas, no art work, no projects.

Accountability to myself.

Some accountability to my #G2Great team and chat authors.

Public sharing of my choice – my selection, my format, my idea.

How do you model the expectations that you have for your students?

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

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