Category Archives: Slice of Life 14

#SOL14: Ten Days of Christmas


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

After a day on the road yesterday traveling home, it’s easy for me to envision this winter break ending soon.  What an amazing time with friends and family!  And I only took pictures at the beginning and the end so my reporting is going to be random!

Traveling by car:  the price of gas was amazing!

Friday, December 19th at the New London, Iowa Casey’s the price of a gallon of gas was $1.99.  This was en route to the Moline airport to pick up the kids when they flew in.

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On Monday, December 29th at Columbia, MO, the price of a gallon of gas was $1.89. This was on the return to Iowa signaling the last turn north to home.

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Of course there were other tank fill ups during our travels but any and all that were under $2.00 per gallon were particularly noted.

Surprises were surprises!

On our path to new memories and traditions, we held a surprise baby shower for my daughter-in-law who believed that the surprise was that she and my son were in Iowa for the family Christmas. (The family did not know that she was accompanied by her husband so there was a surprise for everyone!) Even better, the projected overseas deployment is canceled for now so there was much to celebrate! Guests brought favorite books to share so the book shelf in the baby’s room will be filling up and the “onesie-decorating” contest was fun for all.  Proud of the many artists in the family. And special thanks to my sisters for organizing and planning the shower!

Good food!

The Ruth family Christmas (my mom’s brothers and sisters and offspring) was well attended.  We had the “family that came the farthest” – sister from Florida with her boys as well as five out of six children present for a high family attendance.  My son noted that he could tell he was in Iowa as there were five different corn dishes!

And then in Kentucky, we had great meals with many contributions from family members attending!  Debbie’s turkey was marvelous (so was her potato soup- different meal!)! John’s hash brown casserole – amazing! Aunt Lisa’s pies! Julie’s peanut butter balls and cake-batter bark were automatic hits! So many choices  . . . all great cooks!

Great Family Time!

We had a total of six different Christmas congregations between Iowa and Kentucky.  These involved parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and many more! Thanks to all family members for the great conversations, gifts and celebrations together!  Making the special effort to spend time together for the holidays and for family . . . Heaven!

What new memories/traditions did you begin/celebrate?

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#SOL14: Prioritize!


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

 

               Winter Break

Bustle, hustle,

Here and there.

Traveling on,

Places to go,

People to see,

Things to do!

 

Travel?

Leisure Time?

Family?

Friends?

How do I eke out a few minutes for me?

 

Up early?

Up late?

Cooking and baking?

Straightening and cleaning?

Finish reading that book?

Or write a few lines?

 

Can I have it all?

Do I need it all?

Do I adjust my “all” and spread my goals

Over multiple days, times, and events?

 

Is it the holiday?

Christmas?

Chanukah?

Kwanza?

Or is it the togetherness?

The sense of family?

The security of beliefs held tightly?

 

Wishing YOU

peace

love

happiness

friendship

and a few moments to live

a readerly life,

a writerly life,

a family life,

however YOU best decide!

thank you languages

 

 

 

 

 

How do you prioritize during the holidays?

#SOL14 – Gratitude


success and happiness

How do you define success and happiness?

Two great posts recently include this from Kate and Maggie and this from Anna Gratz Cockerille.

As a “Slicer”. . .

I want to express my gratitude to the Two Writing Teacher blog and bloggers.  After meeting and hearing from five of them at #NCTE14, I am even more impressed with their prolific blogging, slicing, and “regular working lives”.  As with everyone, there is the need to be cautious and not burn oneself out in an attempt to do EVERYTHING!  I am very grateful for this supportive space to read, write and reflect!

As a “Blogger” . . . 

I want to express my gratitude to all those who follow my blog,  read my posts, and especially for those who comment.  I really appreciate knowing which ideas or words captured your thinking as you read my blog posts. We are all busy so I am very grateful for the extra time that you take to not only read but also to stop and comment!

As a “Tweeter” . . . 

I want to express my gratitude to my followers who RT and / or “favorite” my Tweets.  Special thanks to those who don’t moan on nights when the Twitter feed fills up during a # #T4Tchat or #TWTchat or a #TCRWP chat.  I love learning online and I am so grateful for the brilliant ideas shared!

As a “Reader of Professional Texts” . . .

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I want to express my gratitude to the authors (their families), editors and publishers of these great books that were a part of my professional development during 2013-2014.  Even more importantly, I thank those who participated in the book chats and freely shared their thoughts and ideas.  I am amazed at the new things I learn every day as I read and reread these books, and I am grateful for having met these fabulous authors! (And I am so fortunate that I can “wear” evidence of my PD in the form of an autographed t-shirt!)

As a “Fra-mily” . . . 

I want to express my gratitude to those of you who may also be in all the categories above but who have become a part of my friends + family as a result of our personal face-to-face connections (often over a beverage or dinner), Twitter chats, blogs and Slices.  You range from Arizona, California, Washington, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland to Virginia, Georgia, and Louisiana.  It is an honor and a pleasure to “KNOW” you and I am grateful for the time spent with you sharing online, face-to-face, personally and professionally.

As a member of our “Literacy Team” . . .

I want to express my gratitude for those of you who are part of my regular work team.  Together we are better!   Sharing resources, information and learning helps us all grow.  A growth mindset allows us to be continually improving our own skills.  I am grateful for our collaborative nature.

As a “Sister” . . .

I want to express my gratitude to my siblings.  It’s been years since we have been under one roof for extended periods of time, but each family event provides many opportunities to share our hopes and dreams.  Sometimes we even reminisce about the past and we are at that stage where our memories may have faded but our enthusiasm remains.  I am grateful for our time together.

As a “Daughter” . . .

I want to express my gratitude to my parents.  Miss you, Dad, but think of you daily with so much love as I continue to appreciate all that I learned from you.  Mom, I’ll never master crocheting and quilting, but I love your work and still share hearts as I travel.  I especially appreciate your love and support across the years and the miles.

As a “Mom” and soon-t0-be Grandma . . .

I want to express my gratitude to you my readers who have graciously allowed me to share my stories.  I am proud of my growing family and can’t wait to share their brilliance with you!

I wish you all a happy, healthy, joyous, and fun-filled holiday season!

What’s your plan for sharing your gratitude?

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

 

#SOL14: The Value of Words


What is a word worth?

Individual words are added together to create sentences and then accumulated into documents, speeches, and presentations of all types.  Is one format valued or privileged over another?

A word in “Words with Friends” has a point value and is part of a competition.  Will my total point value exceed yours?  If yes, that game will be added into my total as a “win”.  But what about the words that I have evaluated and added to my own vocabulary as a result of “playing Words with Friends” and stretching my own vocabulary use?

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”  

A_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_words (1)

‘ Source: Wikipedia

 

 

 

A single visual image has a value of many words.  Is that value in the visual or in the words that are used to describe what we see in that image? Do I use the same words as you? What is the real value of a “thousand words”?  (Or by now are you saying, “Does it really matter?”)

 

“Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair; they can transfer knowledge from teacher to student; words enable the orator to sway his audience and dictate its decisions. Words are capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all men’s actions.”

– Sigmund Freud

How is the value of words shared?  Do both the author and the reader have equal responsibility?  How and and when is that “power” or “value” passed from one to the other?

What is the lens that we use to consider our words? I remember Kelly Boland Hohne at #TCRWP using the “lens of language” to see more as readers.

lens of language

 

 

 

 

These questions help a reader focus on how an author has used language.  Is their value in talking about the power of words to help, to heal, to share, to live and even perhaps to love our friends, family, and neighbors? What about that positive or negative tone? Did the message transmit as intended?  Did it perhaps go a wee bit astray?  Which words are you regularly using?  What message does your “word use” send to others?

How do you value words?

How do you share that value with others?

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

#SOL14: “You can’t always get what you want . . .”


Rolling Stones

 

 

 

 

 

If you are interested in a bit of nostalgia (AKA classic rock), you can listen and watch the following video.

 “So what’s up with the song?  Those lyrics are pretty darn old!”

#NCTE14 hosted a twitter chat for “first time attendees” early in the convention week.  I took much of the advice to heart:

“Wear comfortable shoes!” (Go Walks by Skechers ~ Thank you, friend Katie!)

“Download the convention app! (Done)

“Watch for Twitter PLN members!” (Thank you for initiating many conversations!)

“Plan for multiple sessions in case you can’t get into your first choice session.” (I had multiple choices for Thursday and Friday – before I left home. That took me through our presentation time.)

But I didn’t really believe that I would not ” get into my session” once I made my final choice.  It was my first trip to NCTE, but I have attended IRA multiple years and even the World Literacy Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2002.

Imagine my shock when I didn’t get into my first session choice or my last session choice.

Bummed!  Yes!

I assumed that due to the notoriety of the speakers, the presentation would be in a ballroom at least.  Not so!  Small room! Full room!  Some chairs were eventually brought in and a few others were allowed in to sit on the floor.

The door guard was adamant about observing the “fire code” rules.

I knew I was missing out.  I sat on the floor and logged into wi-fi and hopped onto TweetDeck on my pc.  It was soooooooo slow.

Plan B:  I closed my Dell and pulled out my iPad.  Mumbling a bit because I had not brought my keyboard for my iPad, I waited for it to fire up and to get connected.  Even three columns of Tweet Deck was slow. . . .wow . . . Home . . . #NCTE14 . . . Notifications.  Three columns.  “C’mon on. This is ridiculous!”

I often live by data. (Sorry!  I know that is shocking!)  But 140 character tweets were “averaging” three minutes to send.  Connectivity was not a strength of the convention center.  Without a calculator that meant approximately 50 characters sent per minute! .  .  . .  SSSSSSSLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

By this time, I had been asked:

  • “Who is in that room?”
  • “Is that really a line for people trying to get in?”
  • “How do I get to the parking garage?”

and I really had little to do BUT answer questions.  (I was sorry, though, as I had no clue where the parking garage was as I had no vehicle and was not staying in the Gaylord Convention Center hotel!)

Plan C:  I closed my iPad and pulled out my personal Mac Air Book that was my reliable all day lightweight tech friend for two weeks of Writing and Reading Institutes at #TCRWP last summer.  Another series of log ins in order to connect to the wireless for NCTE. Password in. Tweetdeck up on Google Chrome.

Nope. Frozen.

Google Chrome was frozen.

No tweeting . . .

Plan D: ?#!/(*?

So what did I do?

As the song says, “Sometimes you get what you need!”

I took advantage of my first gift of time.  I was the first of the 5 of us on our panel to arrive and I had volunteered to make sure we had “tech” so I decided to use time wisely and:

1) check out the room for our presentation – hmmm, table set in center, not set in rows of chairs . . . . . looking small . . . room located!

2) check out how well technology worked and preview our google presentations (3) and pdf formats (2).  Google was sssssssllllllllloooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww!  My presentation (heavy on pics) did not load.  I tried Julieanne’s.  After about 15 minutes, all but four pages had loaded.  Technology was not cooperating very well.  However (glass half full), it’s only Thursday and I have more than 24 hours to come up with a plan!

The plan for converting from google presentation to an offline format worked (combo of pcs and Macs) so we went with PDFs in a common google folder (not everyone had Office so powerpoint download was not going to work).

Reality:  Not getting into my first Thursday session meant that I had the information that I needed in order to scope out our presentation room, check out weak tech and devise a work around and check into our hotel room before the next session.  The sun, earth and moon continued to revolve and rotate as they always do. . . Life was good!

Sunday afternoon session:

What I wanted:  To attend the Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle session on Voices in Democracies on Sunday.

However, the doors were closed and once again the doorkeeper was not allowing anyone in. (One poor teacher who had entered earlier, left her bags on her chair, and then gone to the restroom was ALMOST denied re-entrance!)

So instead, I went to a poetry session.  It was fabulous.  Multiple poets and teachers  shared student writing that made us laugh and cry.  Mary Lee, Catherine, Cornelius, Katie. . . were all there.  Words, images, and voices filled my soul!

I still had books to pack to ship home.  I decided this gift of poetry from the heart would be my last session.

Reality:  Poetry, and the power of words, was one theme of #NCTE14. It fit in with the “Be Kind” theme from Lester, Colleen, and James Howe where “laughter meant learning was taking place”! I had time to hang out and chat a bit with my roomie as she packed up to leave. Another gift of time.  Time to chat about our learning and our plans to use that learning.

REPRISE:

Rolling Stones

 

 

 

 

When have you gotten what you needed instead of what you wanted?

What’s your story?

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

#SOL14 Friends + Family = Framily


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

During a weekend of exhilarating conversations and sessions at #NCTE14, someone mentioned the word “Framily” based on our personal and professional relationships.

So what does this really mean?
So what does this look like?

Friday

On Friday, it looked like this after our presentation . . .

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and we also had to capture this sign that was posted saying our session was full!

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The conversation continued and our “Framily” grew at Aloft . . .

NCTE-14-drinks-with-friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday

Saturday evening our “Slicer Dinner” also provided more conversation and a larger group of “Framily”.

Sol dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the fun continued out on the beach at National Harbor.

Do you know the story of this art work?

National Harbor beach

How many “Slicers” can you name in these pictures?

How did your “Framily” grow as a result of #NCTE14?

 

 

 

 

 

#SOL14: Writing Techniques and Goals


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

Are you one of the 18 “slicers” who will be dining together this Saturday night at #NCTE14?  If not, check out the slicing posts and become a regular slicer so you will be ready next year!

 

*  *  *

What’s important in writing?  One answer is,

“Teach the writer, not the writing!” 

For additional information, go to this post!)

So in writing (narratives, informational, arguments), what transfers (#OLW14)?

Is it the hook, the organization, the voice, or the purpose?

               You decide!

share learning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goals for Professional Development:

I can identify writer’s techniques and goals in order to READ like an author for deeper understanding!

I can use those techniques and goals to dig deeper into the elements of the written genres under review.

I can use author “language” to increase my knowledge of writing techniques and choose quality texts to share with students.

In order to stimulate thinking, create conversations, and pay attention to commonalities and similarities, I chose to introduce writing techniques and goals for informational, argument, and narrative all in the same session.

A.  Informational Texts and Writing Techniques and Goals

Back in July, 2014, I wrote this post about how we used “goals” to look for examples in mentor texts.  Take a minute to reread that post here.

What do we actually do in PD?  We use combinations of National Geographic’s Wolves and Seymour Simon’s Wolves to play bingo with the entire card (3 x 4 array) using the techniques side.  The small rectangular post it covers the technique and allows one to add the page number for the location of the technique in the text. The deliberate use of two texts on the exact same topic where each one has a different style and purpose creates fun conversation for teachers.  Then we wrap up with a “Know/Wonder”(source: What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton)  chart to summarize our findings and consider which book would best meet which goals as well as a myriad of reasons why/where/when we would choose which text. (More subtle, less reliance on text features? Find another book where an author has written like Seymour Simon’s Wolves!)  Result = fabulous conversations around common literary techniques and goals using the same “naming words” across all grade levels.

Process:  Everyone looked at both books with a bit more structure (12 cards each) and less independence for this first round.  Goal = identify the techniques and name those that “surprised” the reader.

wolves goals overview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 B. Argument / Opinion Writing Techniques and Goals

In this activity, teachers look at one column of the “techniques for writing arguments” page for texts that had recently been read in class, either by the teacher or by fellow students.  Again, we use a “Know/Wonder” chart to summarize our learnings from this section.

Process:  Each partner group had one of the “I Wanna . . .” series by Karen Kaufman Orloff and illustrated by David Catrow with either the vertical Column A, B, or C from the Argument Techniques cards  to look for specific techniques with room to “jot” evidence for “Know/Wonder” chart. Each partner group has only 4 technique cards to look at books in a “series” by the same author. Goal = discuss patterns the author uses across her series and consider how this information can inform readers AND writers.

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C. Narrative Text Techniques and Goals

In this activity, teachers look at just three of the “techniques for writing narratives” and the narrative “goals page” in order to consider how the authors used dialogue, actions and inner thoughts to achieve their narrative writing goals.  Each participant jots down page numbers and goals on a response sheet and then discusses what they notice in their books.  Whole group debrief is through the continuation of the “Know/Wonder” chart.

Process:  Each partner group had a different narrative. Each group chose one technique they wanted to explore and then following a “write-around”, the book and notes were passed on to the next partner group.  Each group had time to analyze two books. Goal = Readers and writers will recognize that techniques look very different when considering differences in authors’ styles, audience, and purposes for writing.

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As a reader, when do I name those techniques in order to increase my understanding?  As a writer, when do I “try out” those techniques in my own writing?  As a teacher, how does knowledge inform my deliberate choices for Read Aloud texts?

Were there “absolute right answers” for these three types of text reviews?  No!  The focus was conversations among the teachers about the techniques to deepen understanding first and then book selection will continue to be future work. The three different ways to use the techniques were just a beginning point!  Also consider the following three anchor reading standards dealing with “craft and structure” that allow the reader to make sense of “reading”:

Craft and Structure:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4   Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.5   Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6   Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
What writing techniques and goals do you point out in Read Alouds?  How do you use your knowledge of “author’s craft” to help you select your Read Alouds?

#SOL14: Pushing Ourselves


 

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

 

As professionals, how do we show that we are learning and growing?  

Is it in our annual professional growth plan?

Is it a part of our daily work?

For those of us who are PD providers, how do we maintain that trust with teachers that is evidence that we are continually learning and growing?

How do I continually push myself?

My evidence would include:

  • over two years of blogging here at Resource-Full
    • daily participation in the March 2014 Slice of Life Story Challenge (My goals and my writing)
    • weekly participation in Slice of Life 14
  • regular participation in weekly #TCRWP chats
  • regular participation in the #Fallinginlovewithclosereading chats and blogs
  • infrequent participation in #ira, #noticeandnote, #ncte, and #educoach chats
  • daily responses to questions and concerns that arise from teaching situations

 

After a two day UbD training opportunity, my partner and I received the following comment from a teacher:  ““This was very beneficial. It was one of the best PD experiences that I have participated in. I can walk away saying that I learned a lot. This is the first time that I have actually been able to put the Iowa Core Standards into action!”   What a compliment for both of us! One reason that we both “pushed” for the UbD work was to literally help our teachers gain a deeper understanding of the Iowa Core as they aligned the desired results with the assessments and the learning plan!

Where did the question about learning, growing, and pushing ourselves come from?

A tweet last week . . .

“If we aren’t pushing ourselves everyday to be a better version of ourselves, how can we ask kids to do that for us?”

The author of that tweet was @venspired shown below!

venspired

How do you continually push yourself?  What does your evidence look like?

#OLW14 Meets #SOL14


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

 

My One Little Word (#OLW14) for this year is

transfer

 

Our focus for curriculum development for all content areas is Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design (UbD).  UbD is one of three models typically used in Iowa.  Since June, we have worked with four different groups of ELA teachers and administrators to begin development of “units” through the UbD planning process.  We have also worked with two content area groups on how to use the ELA Standards for all content areas as required by the Iowa Core Standards.   Jay McTighe will be in Iowa next week for the fall ASCD conference to work with educators on unit design to improve understanding.  What a great opportunity to increase our own understanding of UbD.

 

In the UbD model, what is transfer?

Grant Wiggins says it is the “Point of Education” as teachers plan, teach and assess for transfer including long-term goals.  In a post that includes that phrase, Wiggins defines transfer as:

“[Transfer is] the ability to extend what has been learned in one context to new contexts. Educators hope that students will transfer learning from one problem to another within a course, from one year in school to another, between school and home, and from school to workplace. Assumptions about transfer accompany the belief that it is better to broadly “educate” people than simply “train” them to perform particular tasks.”  (“Transfer as the Point of Education”)

 

Does transfer happen automatically?

As a teacher have you ever taught something, given students time to practice, used a formative assessment, but still had students fail the summative task?  I think that the typical ubiquitous spelling list often led this category for many students.  Transfer can only happen when there is reflection, analysis, and generalization from the lessons learned as “rote memory tasks” do not typically “transfer” learning.

 

So are hands-on projects conducive to “transfer” of learning for students?

Wiggins says,  “The typical hands-on project – done for all the right reasons – does not assess for transfer if the student 1) gets help all along the way in completing the project, 2) the work is highly contextualized, and 3) little demand is typically made whereby the student must draw general and transferable lessons from the doing of this and other projects.”  The thought that projects are often not about transfer can also be a reason to stop and think about the purpose of the performance task that is being used.  Is it a new, real, and relevant situation?  (“Transfer as the Point of Education”)

 

What does transfer look like?

In this UbD video, Wiggins talks about soccer and education.  “The goal is not to see if they got what you taught; the goal is to see if they can use it when you are gone.  The goal is NOT to be better at school.”  Specific information about Transfer Goals can be found in this video by Jay McTighe.  Additional articles and blog posts include:

Long-term Transfer Goals

From Common Core to Curriculum: Five Big Ideas

TCRWP featured speaker Grant Wiggins

 

So how does transfer fit into my life as a Reading Specialist? What are my expectations?

Considering Transfer and Professional Development. . . .

I will model a lesson / strategy / practice and then:

  • Teachers will practice and use modeled lesson in PD..
  • Teachers will use lesson  in classrooms.
  • Teachers will independently use lesson in other content areas/situations in their lives!

Considering Transfer and Students . . . .  

Teachers will model a lesson / strategy / practice and then:

  • Students will practice and use the lesson in class.
  • Students will use the lesson in other classrooms where not taught.
  • Students will apply the learning on their own, in any situation, without help!

 

Possibilities for transfer  . . .

There are many paths for instruction,  further work with UbD and even this post by Anna Gratz Cockerille,  “Using assessment tools  to teach transference”.  with my “One Little Word” I am looking for transfer every day.

What is your understanding of “transfer”?  Do you see teachers or students “transferring” their learning?

 

 

How do we know students are making progress in writing?



Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

 

Writing has become a more “urgent” focus in many schools due to the College and Career Ready K-12 Anchor Standards listed here:

W.1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
W.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
W.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
W.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
W.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
W.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
W.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
W.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
W.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
 How do you KNOW when students meet these standards?
What about instruction?

There are specific grade level standards that further illuminate the expectations for the end of the grade for each of the 13 years that students are in school.  Materials can be found for both instruction and assessment at all grade levels.  As a critical consumer, you can sift through those resources to find the ones that provide authentic writing opportunities for ALL students and a plethora of evidence of student growth.

What about assessment?

A three page checklist with a variety of “levels” describing writing for students in grades K-5 can be found here. This checklist is aligned with the Common Core writing standards that are outlined above.  Districts using standards-based reporting systems also have several variations of checklists or rubrics designed to measure “growth”.  Can you tell if a student is “making progress” from this checklist?

. . . Student Role in Assessment?

However, a system of measurement would be remiss if it did not provide student self-assessment of writing progress.  That progress can be captured in the children’s own words as in Dana Murphy’s blog here:  “What Do You Know About Being a Writer?”  The words of kindergartners remind us that reflection on learning needs to begin early – In kindergarten!

Are all students developmentally ready for writing when they enter kindergarten?  The chart below would suggest that there are many levels that can be “named” for early writing stages.  Waiting for “readiness” is not the answer.  Lack of quality writing experiences prior to school is also not an acceptable excuse.

Building a need for writing is critical from the first day of kindergarten.  How and when can and should the student be writing?  The end goal for the kindergarten year is “writing” and will require both instruction and practice each and every day of school. However, quality writing instruction can and should accelerate student writing because kindergartners are encouraged to “draw and write” all year long.

Will EVERY student go through every stage?

Perhaps not.  Maybe splitting out so many stages really just slows down the learning for students.

Will it be hard work?

Sure!

Will it require change?

Quite possibly!

Do kindergarten writers deserve quality instructional opportunities that engage them in authentic learning?

dev. stages of writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ABSOLUTELY! 

Consider this:  “Revision may seem like something older kids do, but really kindergartners revise in the block center so why not in writing.” -Lucy Calkins (TCRWP Saturday Reunion, 10.18.2014)  Check your beliefs at the door.  Open your eyes and mind to the standards to see which ones are “Mission Possible” for kindergartners.

Are teacher beliefs holding students back?
Is growth about counting the levels or writers who who read, talk, and do the real work of writing EVERY day?

Once students are sure that they have stories to share, they will be able to write those stories!  Once writers are TAUGHT at all grade levels, writing quality will improve.  No more assigning writing.  No more teaching writing.

Assigning writing vs. teaching writers

 

TEACH WRITERS!

 

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