Category Archives: Slice of Life 18

#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)

Screenshot 2018-06-25 at 7.12.38 AM

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

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#SOL18: Why #TCRWP?


Screenshot 2017-03-26 at 8.34.52 AM

Three letters

One word

Connected to my #OLW – curious

WHY?

A recurring theme on Day 1 of the 2018 June Writing Institute at #TCRWP




As the day began in typical fashion at Riverside Church with 1200 teachers strong, “You’ve come from  41 states, 36 countries, those who’ve attended 25 or 26 institutes, as children in workshop schools or those who came alone who are now back with principals and teachers… movers and shakers.”

 

If you are not on Twitter, this is a time you should be.  Because you can capture thoughts such as these:

Screenshot 2018-06-19 at 1.57.50 AM

Or these .  .  .

Screenshot 2018-06-19 at 2.14.43 AM

But you had to be there in person in that setting to capture the eloquence as three fifth graders from Tiana Silvas’s classroom stepped up to the podium.  These students were definitely a part of a level three writing workshop as they, oh so eloquently, delivered their memorized poetry and reminded us of all the many reasons that we teach writing and we continue our tireless efforts!

The enthusiasm of the beginning of the day carried the theme of

WHY?

bringing purpose as we considered the energy, independence and transfer that comes from the creation and use of tools with Simone Frazer and building bridges between reading and writing with interactive writing with Marie Mounteer.

Decisions about Choice Sessions are never easy.  They are all amazing.  But Kisha Howell rocked Horace Mann with her tips about increasing writing volume.  The big ideas centered around:  feedback, talk, clear tools, “other texts,” meaningful process, and sketching.  Exquisitely delivered in a way that my ancient brain absorbed, retained and connected the tips in true “showing not telling” fashion . . .

I’m fascinated by this chart.  Where has the feedback that I’ve received fallen short?  What about the feedback that I give?  All feedback is not equal . . .

20180619_023753

This opening day of 2018 June Writing Institute at #TCRWP satisfied my “WHY” to attend . . . . in order to continue and grow with some of the brightest literacy minds. Thank you, #TCRWP, for being a place to satisfy my “curious” and grow my thinking!




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: March 2


 

Screenshot 2018-02-28 at 2.04.40 PM

The waning days of February brought back thinking about how March would begin . . .

and how it would end . . .

The lion . . .

or the lamb?

Or in “Slicer Circles”, the “calm before the storm”.  And my curious nature took over, I just had to explore. Besides, the kids asked,

“What does that mean?  Does it really get quiet before it storms? Or did you just make that up?”

And I gulp.  I know there are days where I am filled with useless, irrelevant information that was stored away during the decades where memorization of trivia was the goal. So now, I’m stuck.

 “Do I know? Do I just think I know?”

I have no problem consulting google for an answer.  In fact we look at the screen together.

Screenshot 2018-02-25 at 9.19.44 PM

For Farlex Dictionary of Idioms:
the calm before the storm. (n.d.) Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. (2015). Retrieved February 25 2018 from https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/the+calm+before+the+storm

And then we were off to explore idioms.

“Are all idioms figurative language?  Or just the ones that have no literal meaning?”

One example that I use is “play it by ear”.  It is an idiom.  It’s also figurative language.  We talk about what it means.  And then the ultimate question:

Are there other ones?

We settle on a video with song excerpts.

Screenshot 2018-02-28 at 2.32.10 PM.png    Play

We talk about the songs, the figurative language, and what it all means.

A car pulls up, the horn honks and the kids gather up their books, backpacks, and coats.

“See you!”

And the library returns to quiet.

I’m still waiting.  Last pdf to download. Now it’s almost too quiet!

Who knew?  My “slice” was found at the public library!




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: 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.

Screenshot 2018-02-26 at 5.11.23 PM.png

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?

#SOL18: #OLW


Screenshot 2017-12-31 at 5.09.56 PM.png

Is it the luck of the draw?  The New Year?  A need for focus?

Whatever draws you to #OneLittleWord, do consider how that word will impact you for the next year.  I’ve been considering words since #NCTE17, that gathering of so many talented friends with so much learning, love, and laughter all rolled together.

Synonyms of my word from Dictionary.com:

Screenshot 2017-12-31 at 8.50.18 AM.png

Disquisitive caught my eye. (” 1. Relating to disquisition; fond of discussion or investigation; inquisitive.”)  I tested it out and thought it would score well in Words with Friends2 but it just didn’t have the “OOMPH” I wanted in my #OLW.  Prurient also caught my attention in a negative way as that was not a synonym that I was expecting.

What’s your best guess at this point? 

What one word is a synonym for those in the Word Cloud above?

It’s all about word choice.

“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.” (Link)

My history of #OLW

  • 2014    Transfer
  • 2015     Focus
  • 2016    Joyful
  • 2017    Brave

A visual for another hint . . .

Screenshot 2017-12-31 at 5.31.36 PM

Got it? 

Just seven letters . . .

__  __  __  __  __  __  __

What is your #OLW? 

How and when will you reveal your #OLW?




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

And the answer is . . .

c

u

r

i

o

u

s . . .

When were you 100% sure that you had identified the correct word?  How important are our words?  What precise meaning do your words carry?  Do your perceptions match those of your students?

So much to consider in the area of building “word knowledge” in 2018!!!

2:00 pm – Changed the background

5:00 pm – added final graphic

Screenshot 2018-01-02 at 4.50.45 PM.png

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