Category Archives: Slice of Life 17

#SOL17: Inspiration


The #SOLSC will soon be here. One of the most amazing sources of inspiration is Sally Donnelly’s padlet here.  It’s a treasure trove of writing ideas!

inspiration

What will I write about every day in March?

Narratives continue to be my personal struggle.

Poetry is always a “fall back”option.

Checking the “Call for Slices” for quotes/inspiration is another option.

Personally, where will my inspiration come from?  I’m beginning with rereading the posts in the chart from another slicing year..  Do I want to reconsider the formats?  What about the topics?  What if I rewrote from another angle?  All of these ideas are circulating in my brain. In the spirit of being “BRAVE” (my #OLW17), I plan to have fewer pre-planned posts and truly practice more extemporaneous daily writing.

What is your plan for Volume and Stamina for the #SOL17SC?  

How are you preparing?  

What will be your measure of success?
slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

#SOL17: Heart Mapping


As a reader I have many “Fan Girl” moments. The list of favorite authors is even longer and my “TBR” stack has collapsed upon itself. So it’s time to write.  Pick up the book. Test out some of those post-it marked pages and try it on.

But wait . . .

I signed up for the webinar.

Please, oh, please

Procrastinate until  the webinar.

And that gem . . .

The idea of waiting

WAS

BRILLIANT!

Have you noticed?

One of my all time favorite topics is writing about my learning!

Ahhh, you have noticed!

Thanks for traveling this learning journey with me!

As a result of my learning . . .

A Heinemann PD webinar with Georgia Heard,

I created a heart map with some of the best quotes.

Not an assignment.

My choice.

A way to collect and perhaps savor some ideas that I heard.

heart map for the webinar.JPG

And now I know that this is bigger than a topic list.

It’s bigger than just writing any old ideas into a heart shape.

It’s about REAL writing.

Writing that comes from my heart.

(Crap . . . can’t fake it . . . Must make it real . . . Writing!)

It’s about “an ache with caring”.

The passion to write comes from the connections I have to that topic that I have chosen …

Learning

Thinking

Writing

Checking out Mentor Texts . . .

What is the purpose of writing.JPG

“Heart Mapping” Webinar with @GeorgiaHeard

So many REAL reasons to write . . .

To Think,

To Dream,

To Play,

To Share,

To Dare,

To Capture Thoughts . . .

tips for writing from heart maps.JPG

I don’t just write to persuade, to inform or to entertain. (PIE)

I reject only having three reasons to write.

I write for many reasons.

Most of all, I write for me.

I write about ideas that matter to me.

Why do you write?

Plan:  To create a heart map after PD to hold onto favorite quotes or ideas. That visual learning map of the important parts that I choose to store visibly so I can return and unwrap their precious wisdom. My Learning Map.

Text Based Questions (Close Reading of my Webinar):

Phase 1:  What are Heart Maps? When would I use them?  Why would I use them?

Phase 2:  How does the design of a Heart Map support its use?

Phase 3:  How will students be able to use Heart Maps to increase their passion for writing?

How can models of Heart Maps result in crafting authentic, personal writing?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 


Additional Information about Heart Mapping:

Georgia Heard’s website

Heinemann

#SOL17: Words


Recognize this?

letter

I saw a three letter word.

Then a five letter word.

I shuffled the letters around.

I could use six letters.

Whoa!

Check out the point total.

A silent, mental, fist bump.

“Oh, YEAH!”

“48 points!”

Then I tried just again to add in that final seventh letter.

Greedy. . .

I wanted the bonus from playing all the letters in one word.

It did not work.

Once more. . .

No Go.

I quickly pulled out my six letters.

Arranged them

Pressed the send.

Pushed the button to say, “YES, I want to play this word.”

And then a scream of anguish.

“NOOOOOOOO!”

I had played “enslave”

On the wrong “e”.

Not 48 points

A mere 18.

Attention to detail.

Real life importance of “word placement”.

A game I lost by 5.

And should have, could have, won by at least 30 points.

“Can I have a redo?  Video instant replay?  Do over?”

word

The difference between absolutely no “extra point tiles”  or two “DW” tiles . . .

The difference between enslave for 18 points or 48 points.

One of my favorite pastimes – “Words with Friends”.

One of my most frustrating pastimes – “Words with Friends”.

Where do you learn your “Life Lessons”?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

#SOL17: The Story


The ball swishes through the net as the buzzer sounds.  A sigh of relief as the two points are recorded on the scoreboard.  The basket was a buzzer beater.

Final score 25 to 17.

The last second score was icing on the cake.  Another two points in the book for a seventh grade athlete.  Kids who had been running up and down the court chasing and being chased by the opposing team.

Proud Great Aunt.  My great nephew’s team wins again!

A never-ending third quarter that saw each team make only one basket.  So much energy expanded.  WAIT.  Delete that.  Wrong game. Memory mix up. Wrong details supporting the 8th grade B game. Three different games now in my memory bank.  Time to focus.

Visiting with my sister, my niece, my great niece. Receiving a hand-written note from Autumn. Enjoying the ambiance of a junior high gym, whistles blowing, athletes competing, and fans cheering.

Where do I start?  What is the heart of my story?

THE PROCESS TODAY:

I ran through the events in my mind.  I collected ideas without a single keystroke or graphic organizer.  I began to sift the details with mental rehearsal.  Decision made.  The beginning point is the basket that ended the game.

And then doubt sets in . . . And the questioning . . . Do I really want to begin with the end of the game?  The final three seconds?  Then what will be next?

What is the important part of my story? 

The important part is that I write. I write at my keyboard while my coffee is brewing.  Intent on capturing the words that I rehearsed as I hit the snooze alarm.  It’s Tuesday. It’s “Slicer Day”. I need to write a story so I’m rehearsing a story.  Not across my fingers. Not across pages.  But in my head.  Cross-checking the most important facts.

BUT, what about that  note from Autumn?  She’s three.  It’s the first writing she’s given me.  Her name – carefully printed across a small piece of paper.  Written with love. Received with love.

Some days I just HAVE to write!  

The words come pouring out. The screen fills.  Then the doubt and worry arrive.  Delete, fix up, fancy up the piece.  But it all begins with the writing.

How can I teach writing without writing?

How do I understand that there isn’t one perfect prompt?  One perfect process?  One perfect story map?   . . . If I also don’t know the joy, the agony, and the freedom of writing?

Why am I writing?

I want to win the writing game.  I know it takes practice.  I know it takes time.  Writing.  Writing.  Writing. Slicing to continue to improve my narrative writing.  (But while I write I continue to think, to study and reflect on my process. I can’t turn off the teacher side.)

Today.  Flash drafting. Metacognitively reviewing my process. Recording my thinking. And yet sometimes, it’s all about “the doing” – Just writing!

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

 

#SOL17: Choose Kind


choose kind.jpg

Be Brave; Choose Kind!

You are you!

It’s your right.

Choose how to express yourself.

Choose what to express.

Choose when to express.

Think long and hard.

Consider the consequences of your speech.

Consider the consequences of your action.

Consider the consequence of inaction.

Choose wisely.

Is listening to concerns viewed as “agreement”?

Is listening to another viewpoint viewed as “forsaking the views of others”?

You.

Your choice.

Be brave.

Choose what is right for you.

Choose your venue.

Choose your action.

Choose your speech.

But don’t forget that you don’t have to go it alone . . .

Ask for help

Ask for validation

Ask for a listening ear

But above all,

Choose Kind!

Brave, my #OLW.

Sometimes Brave is Quiet.

Sometimes Brave roars.

But above all, Brave is Kind!

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

#SOL17: Goals and Technique Cards Reprise


one-percent

I’m still reeling from the information on goals in Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris’s post about the 1% of the population that set goals and regularly review them. It’s a short post. Go read it here. The numbers are staggering and the consequences for learning are dire if teachers are NOT setting goals in their classrooms.

Let’s Review:  How important are clear learning targets for students?

Hattie, Fisher and Frey say that their effect size is .75 for “Teacher Clarity”. Teacher clarity could easily transfer to deeper student understanding of the desired learning target. Clarity in knowing what the target looks like would make the target  easier to meet..

What kind of goals should teachers be setting for writing instruction?

“Teach the writer,  not the writing.

Teach strategies for elaboration and development.

Teach for transfer.

Teach for increased student independence.”

What could goal setting look like?

One way it could go is through the use of the goal and technique cards from this post. As a writer I could pull out the techniques that I have already taught for the writing types this year.  I could list them in descending order by the frequency with which students are using the techniques.  Then I could check the on-demand writing for the new unit and see which techniques are present. This is one example of using data to determine goals.

Another way it could go would be to set up an inquiry study.  Students could have the technique cards and could self-assess their use and / or understanding of the writing techniques.  Then these students could use the goal cards to set some writing goals for themselves.  Maybe the goals will be about structure, development OR transfer!  Maybe students can begin to be “better than the 1%” if they have:

choice

voice

and time

to practice using the techniques

and goal-setting to improve writing across the text types.

Win/Win in Student Goal-Setting and Teacher Clarity!

narrative-goals-and-techniques

20160930_091010

Are goals for the day, month, or year?

Won’t there be a variety of goals and time lines?  Perhaps there will be an over arching goal that all students will love to write that will have its own steps or mini-goals. Perhaps it will be to improve the quality of the students’ narrative writing during this unit. Perhaps it will be the goals for this week.  But without clear goals . . .  what learning path are you on?

How could you use the techniques cards, goal cards and teacher clarity of work to improve your own writing and/or student writing?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

 

#SOL17: #OLW


one-little-word

As 2017 begins there are many sources for information about #OLW and this video may add to your own knowledge base.  The authors of Two Writing Teachers are revealing their words daily and many additional words have been revealed this week.

Last year I celebrated “Joyful” and added “Joy” to the background of my blog so I would see it every time I made a post or responded to a comment.  I loved the constant reminder and the way that I seemed to spend more time deliberately reflecting on the joy that I found in reading, in writing, in my work and in my family.  2016 was truly a JOYFUL year.

Sometimes #OLW is elusive and sometimes it finds an author.  My words have been

  • 2014    Transfer
  • 2015     Focus
  • 2016    Joyful

How do I impact the teachers and coaches that I work with?

This was just one question I asked when I began thinking about my #OLW. Teacher Leadership is always a focus.  All teachers can grow as both teachers and leaders because leaders truly come from the teaching ranks.

brave-fullan-and-dimensions-of-teacher-leadership

As I have been working with teachers and coaches this year, I have revisited these domains as organized by Michael Fullan.  Most of the coaches have a great deal of knowledge and learning experiences that have provided growth and strength for improving student learning.  Less time and energy has been spent on the fifth and sixth domains:  management of the change process and the sense of moral purpose.

Are all 6 domains evenly balanced?  Should they be?

I’ve been wondering about balance again for awhile.  Should there be a sense of teacher agency and urgency for more actions in domains 4, 5, and 6?  Are more “successful” teachers/coaches aware of these domains?  What would their own rating be?

Where are your strengths?

Many words surfaced. My blog posts are testaments to many actions/learning especially in domains one and three.  Domain two is evident in conferences and PD attendance as well as on-line and face to face work with teachers and coaches.

Change is often necessary as different results require a change in instruction and perhaps a different focus for assessment.  Moral purpose may be offset by a sense of urgency. For sure, students must be at the center of all decision-making so that requires student-centered thinking/planning/organizing.  An action research cycle with student learning as the focus could very well be an avenue to increase the use of those top two domains.

What will that change take?

Honesty

Courage

Reflection

Soul-Searching

Data

A plan

A goal

Constant Adjustment

and the ability to be

BRAVE!

brave-olw

In order to be ready for growth and learning, my word found me

brave word art.JPG

This may mean going against the mainstream beliefs.

This may mean constantly checking my mindset.

This may mean that there will be some bumps in the road.

This may mean longer periods of silence in a “no excuses” role.

This may mean abandoning “but we’ve always done it this way”.

This will mean that students will always be the number 1 consideration.

Because the end result for students  . . .

brave-rainbow

is a rainbow of possibilities!

What’s your #OneLittleWord?  How did it find you?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

(And so exciting to know that Melanie and I share the same word – BRAVE! for 2017!)

Ted Talk – Kimberly Davis (@onstageKimberly) – BRAVE

 

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