Category Archives: Reading

#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.

180 days chat.PNG

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

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#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


Screenshot 2018-03-27 at 10.44.27 PM

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?

Screenshot 2018-02-26 at 5.03.34 PM.png

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?

#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!

Screenshot 2018-02-09 at 5.55.28 AMScreenshot 2018-02-09 at 5.56.11 AM

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!!!

 

 

 

#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?

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