Category Archives: Slice of Life 19

#SOL19: Celebrating


Celebrate has been one of my favorite #OLW as it lives in so many personal and professional aspects of my life. As #SOL19 closes out and my #OLW is close but not yet present, it’s a perfect time to revisit!

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During the Holidays . . .

Travel by car:  Celebrating 66666 on my odometer.  Love patterns and this one marked my return trip home from holiday travel.

Traveling by plane:  Celebrating the kind gentleman with his “Lady, can I help you with your bag?” as I waited for more passengers to disembark before going back two rows to the overhead compartment for my carry on bag.

Time with family members:  Listening to the stories from daily lives.  What matters today?  Coloring, building with legos, and playing dinosaurs!

During the Year . . . 

  • Birthdays, Weddings, Funerals, and More . . .
  • Collaborating with Friends and Continuing to Learn
  • Reading and Learning
  • Writing and Publishing
  • Presenting with groups at #ILA19 and #NCTE19

What are you celebrating?

How well did your #OLW serve you in 2019?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: A Volunteer?


“We need a family to volunteer.”

Eyes down.

No eye contact.

Silence.

And, then . . .

“We will host it.”

And that was the beginning of a year of thinking, planning, and talking about possibilities. Hosting a family dinner, the Sunday before Christmas, a busy time of the year!

I’ve written about our family Christmases before…

here and here

so you might have a picture in mind.

 But as with any great plans…

We needed a back up plan…

And even on Thursday,

Just three short days before the dinner,

We changed the location AGAIN!

Here’s the church basement

In the middle of setting up

Taking our turn to serve as organizers/coordinators/hosts.

The Ruth Family Christmas Dinner!

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Where will you gather over the holidays?

Will you be adding any new traditions? 

Happy Holidays to you and your family!


And connections . . .

How do volunteers in your world feel?

Do the same folks volunteer all the time?

How do you check in to see if your “process” is working?

What do those conversations sound like?

What adjustments do you make?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Beautiful Sparkles


Sparkles

Intermittently

Hitting the windshield

Gently falling from the sky

As my travel path shifts

Visibility decreases

No center line

No edge of the road

Bright lights

Ominous

Like darts pelting the windshield

Visibility nearing zero

Dim lights

Seem clearer

Creating a false sense of security

Momentum slows

A semi passes

Swirling the snow

Total white out

Wondering where and

when this weather will break

 

Perspective:

Dim lights? Bright lights? Of course it depends!  If you are driving into the snow, dim lights are often more effective. A lack of a center line removes vision, safety and security.

(Tips for driving in a white out.)

How to Avoid a “white out” in your classroom:

Reflect: During this last week before the winter holidays, what is your perspective? 

Will you be forging ahead with bright lights shining as you head straight into the heart of the action?

Or will you dim the lights, pause, observe, collect some field notes and then “ACT” on that data?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL: Best Evidence


It’s the holiday season and that means a perusal of the cookbooks. Which recipes should I pull out for snacks. the family dinner or any family feasting?  Should I do a quick survey? (Not very robust.) Do I base my decisions on my choices?  Hmm. That rules out chocolate and I already have the ingredients for both peanut butter and chocolate fudge. Do I base my decisions on food for the boys?  That would mean spoiling them with any finger foods as a part of “Grandma’s Rules.”

Or should I consider data from previous years:  What food is always completely cleaned up? Or is there food that I should just plan to make and send with family members? Vegetarian for the Floridians is a given. So is at least one chocolate something/something. And also one item with some spice . . . usually corn dip!

That’s at least four food items. Back to the cook books. Time to reorganize them. The ones that I am not using just need to go on a separate shelf. Hmm. More data. Which do I NOT use?

It’s not a scientific method but there is a collection of data points over time in my head . . . an informal longitudinal study of sorts. Definitely not a random controlled trial. Not meeting any gold standard of research. I can make a chart and list some priorities in order to make a decision.

Food for a family weekend is a low-stakes decision with equally low requirements for the evidence that I need to use.  Today’s post is considering Rule 3 from P. David Pearson’s presentation as a part of an #ILA19 panel titled: “What Research Says About Teaching Reading and Why that Still Matters.”

 

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What is the gold standard? 

What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guides . . . (Link)

A practice guide is a publication that presents recommendations for educators to address challenges in their classrooms and schools. They are based on reviews of research, the experiences of practitioners, and the expert opinions of a panel of nationally recognized experts.

A second source that I can always trust is Dr. Nell Duke.  Her article “10 Things Every Literacy Educator Should Know about Research” is a MUST READ. Every. Educator. in. EVERY. building. link

“To say that a practice, approach, or product is
research-tested, or research-proven, sounds like a
powerful endorsement…but its strength really depends
on how it was tested and what the tests found. ” (Duke and Martin, p. 18.)

Gold standard?  Silver standard? Bronze standard?

Or “Fess Up” because there is no data? 

What is your criteria for research? 

How do you share that criteria with others?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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Rule 1 #Headlines

Rule 2 #Research Applied Evenly

#SOL19: Fueling the Soul


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I returned to #NCTE19 in the same site as #NCTE14 to present as part of a different panel group.  Excited to rejoin face-to-face friends and colleagues. Exhilarated to learn with new friends and colleagues and just a bit exhausted from the prep and planning to take advantage of every single moment.  Celebrating friends. Celebrating peers. Celebrating communities. Celebrating learning. So ready to lean into my #OLW: Celebrate!

NCTE:  National Council of Teachers of English. So many folks from so many places. One night around the table, we represented Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Virginia, Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, Connecticut, and Michigan.  That was the night of the Slicer dinner.  Two new friends. Many face to face friends. Slicers all who intersect with #G2Great, #TCRWP, #CCIRA and our #NCTE presentation – the four of us together for the first time! Talking. Sharing. A laughing video of a grandson. Sharing of children’s artwork. Shared quotes. Food, drink, conversation, and fun. With just a touch of rain that did not dampen our spirits!

There is nothing like scintillating conversation, learning with peers, celebrating with authors, and after hours gatherings to fuel the soul . . . sparking a joyous celebration of friends, families, and ever increasing meet ups of social media friends.  As the world shrinks when we write and speak collaboratively on social platforms, our knowledge base grows exponentially.

As I continue to reflect on my travel and learning while I sift through my notes, I will add three outside sources here.

One of my favorites from NCTE is Kelly Gallagher’s Top Ten Things he heard at NCTE:

Melanie Meehan, co-author of Two Writing Teachers wrote about three sessions here.

Stop and Think Reading List and Resources here.

How do you collect and organize your learning? 

How are you refueling your professional soul?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Determining Importance


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I tugged at the thing in my mouth.  A string? What on earth?

I started to gag.

Someone grabbed my wrist and held it tightly. But the string in my mouth!  I know I was screaming “Take it out” but only a garbled mess came out.

My teeth hurt. Something was rubbing my lips.  My throat hurt.  And that string!

“Help me! Please!”

It was just one week after school was out for the summer. I was 9. My older sister and I were in beds in the same hospital room after having our tonsils out.  She wasn’t too thrilled about the apparent 2 for 1 discount.




Are all the events above equally important?  After a #TalkPower Twitter discussion of Chapter 4 last night I decided to practice using one of the tools from Shana Frazin and Katy Wischow’s new book from Heinemann.

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The Tool:  The Event-O-Meter

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The plan is to use this tool with events in a story or nonfiction book as students talk about the events and the category that they belong in.  In order to get a feel for this, I decided to try it with a story that I was drafting for my slice. The goal of this “game” is to discuss the thinking for the placement in a category.

Here’s how I thought about my story above. First Draft Thinking. (I wouldn’t use every sentence as I did in this first practice.)

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Is every detail or event in a story equally important? 

Who determines the importance? 

The author by its inclusion? 

The reader by their response?

(And sorry dear readers, I am still working on this story . . . )




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: A’Marek’n Veterans


How do we honor Veterans?

In past blog posts I have used:

Veteran’s Day Blackout Poem

Thankful (4 generations)

to commemorate Veteran’s Day.

It’s hard to follow any one family in our family tree.  Brothers marry sisters and double first cousins appear. Families grow. Families expand.

Yesterday was a day to stop, think, and remember. A day to celebrate Veterans.

What branches were represented? Where did they serve? What friendships grew among their peers? What friendships remain decades later?

On my dad’s side and in his generation – only two kids. Two brothers. And yet in this family line . . . four generations. My grandfather, my dad, my brother and my son . . . one line of veterans . . . Mareks!

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Two deceased and two still serving.

How did you celebrate Veteran’s Day? 

What does Veteran’s Day mean to your family?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Changes


Dark

No moon

No stars

Cloudy?  Who can tell?

Cold

Colder than usual

For over a month

Two measurable snows

Daylight arrives earlier

Nighttime arrives earlier

Tired arrives earlier

Changes

Weather

Seasons

Time

Rhythms of Life

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Last week’s “First Snow”




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Celebrate!


1. Celebrate?

Wet!

Heavy!

White!

The dreaded first s#$%fall of the year.  Will it accumulate?  Will it last? What will the impact be?

2. Celebrate?

This notice from WordPress awaited me . . .

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3. Celebrate?

Last week was a 2.25 hour (10 module training) for all the new processes . . .

in 98 days . . .

in our first in the nation process . . .

Iowa Caucus night . . .

2.25 hours of training

Training complete

4. Celebrate?

Notification . . .

Verified

Passed

100%

Quizes on each of the 10 modules in # 3 above.

5. Celebrate?

My reading goal for the year was 52 books . . . a book a week. I met that a while back. Still working on recording titles and updating the format of my “handwritten system” because I really wanted to emphasize broader categories of texts this year. Pushing on beyond:  professional, YA/children’s lit, mystery/suspense, nonfiction.  But that’s another post.

Celebrating a new source of data from Goodreads . . .

My Review Stats

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Goodreads collects the year of publication so I can view the “age” of the books that I’ve reported on that site as read. 

What else is on my list/mind? 

  • My part in our NCTE presentation.
  • Choosing sessions to attend at NCTE.
  • Wrapping Christmas gifts.   

What’s on your list?  What will you be celebrating?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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Random celebratory events that were all possibilities for a blog post.

Process: Beginning with one word (#OLW). Brainstorming. Collecting ideas. Sifting through thoughts. Vignettes of celebrations curated in one post. Reflecting on my #OLW:  Celebrate! (How do we demonstrate this for students?)  Opposite process of beginning with many words in this post.

Celebrate – published post!

 

 

#SOL19: Words Count


“I’m done.  I read from the green to the red and back. I’m done,” echoed from Joey’s corner.  Abbie, with her back to Joey, kept reading.

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Demonstration Reading Mat

Joey pulled out the slip and a pencil. He started counting. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”

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He wrote a “10” under Monday in both blanks because he had read 10 books twice. Abbie was still reading. Joey started going through his stack. He knew he needed to choose partner reading books. He picked up several books. He read two from the first page to the end and put both of them in a pile to read with Abbie.

As Abbie picked up her recording slip, she recorded “10”, “10” and quickly chose her last two books for her partner reading books. (Noted: Efficient use of time) Abbie and Joey turned side by side, chorally read all four books and both recorded 4 books under Partner on the recording slip.

DATA:

Abbie read 24 “E level books” ranging from 100-125 words.

  • Total words read = 2400 – 3000.

Joey also recorded 24 books but actually read 26 ranging from 100-125 words.

  • Total words read = 2600 – 3250.

Reading Volume: Why is it important?  

Gladwell’s research found experts put in approximately 10,000 hours of practice in order to be experts. What expertise do our students when they graduate from high school?  Working with some “round numbers” let’s consider the total number of hours a student spends in school.

6 hours each day x 180 days each year x 13 years (K-12)  =  14,040 total hours

Understanding that some instructional time will be lost. Lunch. Recess. Early outs. Late starts. Fire drills. Tornado drills. Active shooter drills. Assemblies. Field trips. I’m sure you can add to the list of what interrupts instructional time.

10,000 hours = experts so student expertise at graduation must be in “being students” as they haven’t had 10,000 hours to be readers, writers, listeners, talkers, thinkers, AND mathematicians, social scientists, scientists and fine arts experts.

Why does it matter?

Consider first graders Abbie and Joey in late September. Their books are primarily a Level E in order to concentrate practice with fairly predictable text to build accuracy, fluency and automaticity as well as confidence and independence.

Joey is in an intervention group where he chooses 5 of the books and often practices a shared reading from his classroom. 6 more books = a range of 600 – 650 more words.  Total today from 32 books = 3200 – 3900 words.

Is the difference in words read an inequity?

Before your eyes glaze over . . . Over the course of the week, the potential discrepancy will widen; the range for Abbie may be 12,000-15,000 words read in a week while Joey may read 16,000-19,500 words. Is it “fair” or “equitable” that Joey may read about another day’s worth of words during the week.

Here’s what you need to know about Joey:  No one at home reads in English. Joey is deliberately scheduled for extra practice at school to maintain a high reading volume.

Our first draft question:  What is the range in daily reading volume (books/words read) that builds successful habits, joy, competence and confidence in fall of first grade?

How do you check in on reading volume?

How do you make decisions about who needs practice?


Additional Resources:

  • Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The Story of Success. Little, Brown and Company.
  • McVeigh, F. (2013). Volume of Reading: How much is enough?  link
  • Robb, L. Volume in reading still matters!  edublog.scholastic.comScreenshot 2019-10-22 at 4.44.39 AMScreenshot 2019-10-22 at 4.45.04 AM



Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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Addendum:  The reading conferences with this student will address this practice reading because of Regie Routman’s words, “deliberate practice without effective teaching and coaching doesn’t guarantee growth.”

Routman, R. (2018). Literacy Essentials: Engagement, Excellence, and Equity for ALL Learners. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
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