Category Archives: Slice of Life 19

#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.

#SOL19: Empowering Teachers


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I ripped open the envelope. So much hinged on the contents.  Where I would live.  Where I would work. My life.

Two pages: one page for my elementary ed placement and a second page for my special ed placement.

YES!

Both placements were in the location requested. Fourth grade in one building and then half day in the same building and half day in a second building for special ed.

16 weeks of student teaching would fill the spring semester of my senior year in college.  16 weeks around holidays and weekends would run from January through May.  16 weeks out of the dorm and in my own apartment. Apprehensive . . . perhaps a bit.  Excited . . . YES! Returning to my junior college town in a different role.  Trying on the role of a teacher.  YIKES!  Student Teaching!

Fast forward to my current work with teachers and graduate students . . . most but not all are teaching. And thinking about teacher growth, district professional development, and the opportunity to take courses, participate in webinars, and attend conferences. So many sources of learning!

I’m fascinated by this sketch noting by Joy Vega and thankful that she gave me permission to use it in my blog post. This is just the top third of the page from one of the #ILA19 sessions.

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IDENTIFIERS:

Date

Location

Title of Session

Participants

The BASICS!

It’s eye catching!  Innovative color choices . . . and the use of the dots!

Within five minutes of the opening, the audience was generating and discussing their own possible “Problems of Practice.”

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The first step in Action Research.  And then the actual research questions. The refinement. The revision. The data. The student responses. The curiosity. The quest for learning.

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And the reflections from the teachers – scattered across the US – were amazing.  These were the Heinemann Fellows presenting at #ILA19 who should be writing a book about their work! So easy to celebrate this group and their work! Empowering Teachers through Action Research:  Dr. Kimberly Parker, Aeriale N. Johnson, Tricia Ebarvia, Anna Gotangco Osborn, and Tiana Silvas.

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(If you are on Facebook, you can read Dr. Mary Howard’s notes about this session here.)

ACTION RESEARCH:  Validating Instruction, Pursuing Improved Instructional Practices, and Reflecting on Professional Growth

What if Action Research were a part of continuing education, continuing endorsements, and recertification processes for teachers? 

What if Action Research were a part of a “paid, 5th year experience” for novice teachers who had support for setting up a classroom at the beginning of the year and quality coaching ALL year long? 

What if we “re-envisioned teacher prep” programs to include first draft Action Research so data collection was placed back in the hands of teachers with curiosity and questions of their own?




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

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#SOL19: That Song


What is it about noise that sometimes will interrupt your sleep?

Three nights  in a row, thunder rolled and roared for over an hour straight. No hyperbole.  60 minutes (or more) with less than five seconds between booms.

Was that what was keeping me awake?

Nope, it was the song.

The song that those males make.

Specifically made to attract females.

And being nocturnal critters, it was all night.

They are attracted to dampness.

Strike one, we’re close to a week of flood watch status (that is stretching the truth),

But it seems like forever.

Strike two, each of those critters sings a song.

To their friends inside.

And their friends outside.

Tomorrow, I will research to find out if there is anything that attracts them.

Or anything that will kindly entice them back outside.

Until then, another night of crickets rubbing their back legs together,

Singing that song,

So loudly that it interrupts my sleep!




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

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#SOL19: Saving Lives


Miss Fran  Miss Fran  Miss Fran  Can you come here  We need help  Jeannie fell down and she is crying

20 simple words

Words that I had to replay in my head to understand what I had just heard

The sense of urgency The fear The need

20 simple words that were uttered totally like verbal diarrhea that can make sense in print with a rereading or two Capital letters help with sentence sense but the work is difficult when punctuation is left out

I do believe the message on this shirt that I found on Facebook

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Source:  Facebook

Punctuation can save lives as illustrated by the Tshirt above.

Punctuation. can. cause. major. headaches.

Who is punctuation for?

If you are still reading this post, how did you make sense of the text above the picture.  How were you able to read text without punctuation?  Often in a fast and furious draft, punctuation is spotty or left out.  Ideas.are.the.focus.

Thinking about punctuation brings to mind one of my favorite tools – punctuation sticks and I wrote about them here.

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Because these are clear, they can easily be inserted into several points in a line in order to determine that best location in any particular piece of writing. It’s a playful way to experiment with varying punctuation as well!

Why does it matter? 

Today is National Punctuation Day.  Try varying your “usual” punctuation today. 

Does anyone notice? 

Is punctuation more important for a Reader or a Writer?




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

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Screenshot 2019-09-25 at 11.32.16 AM   Interrobang          Screenshot 2019-09-30 at 6.10.39 AM.png

#SOL19: Just a few seconds


A prone form.

Alone.

On the 48 yard line.

Unmoving.

Silent.

Two coaches run out.

The crowd quiets.

An EMT arrives in the circle.

He talks to the coaches.

He motions to the ambulance.

My stomach drops.

It’s hard to breathe normally.

I check the program.

I check the sideline.

A sigh of relief when it is not my great nephew.

Time

moves

so

slowly. . .

The parents are NOT in attendance.

Some of the crowd are NOT so silent.

Time moves so slowly.

Memories

Slam into the present.

Over shadowing the current reality.

Days gone past:  broken bones, concussion protocols, and arranging transportation.

Such is the life of a football parent.

But what if . . . ?

Regretfully . . .

Preventable . . .

Time moves so slowly when

a young man is eventually loaded onto a backboard.

And then a stretcher.

And then into an ambulance.

But the ambulance sits there.

Unmoving

No flashing lights

Silence is deafening.

Time moves so slowly.

16 minutes before it moves.

When does every minute count? 

When is “the first response” critical? 

What information is needed by whom?  And when?

Who controls the safety of these youngsters?

Just a few seconds

A bit of inattention

A lasting impact.

What is the level of vigilance in our classrooms?

Fortunately, classrooms are not contact sports.

But . . .

What do we see?

What do we miss?

How do we keep our focus when the needs are so many? 

What is the impact of just a few seconds?

How do we make sure we focus on learning? 

How do we make every second count? 




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

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What if, for our 35% of our students with test anxiety, that this is how they feel, knocked down and unable to move?

#SOL19: Patterns


When you look at 9/10/19, what do you see?

91019

More clues:

What about:

9/11/19?

9/12/19?

9/13/19?

9/14/19?

9/15/19?

9/16/19 . . . ?

How many does it take before you recognize the pattern?

I’ve written about palindromes before here, here and here.

“A word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backwards as forwards, e.g. madam or nurses run.” – Oxford Dictionary

I find it fascinating that I notice it first in numbers that give me pause.

Is it the one time occurrence that fascinates me or is it the pattern? While I ponder my response, many questions about patterns and configurations emerge.

In a rush to immediately solve problems, be efficient, and worry over so little time, do I rush to judgment too quickly?

A pattern . . .

More than once  . . .

Is twice enough?

Three times?

Over what period of time?

Today’s burning questions:

Would we really begin an intervention based on one piece of data on one single day?

Would we really teach something one day, assess it and plan for additional instruction or not, based on that ONE day of instruction without any additional practice?

Perhaps we need to slow down, think, formulate a question, observe, revise our question, collect evidence of patterns and then act . . .




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

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#SOL19: #OLW Celebrate


My One Little Word (#OLW) was out in force this holiday weekend.

Celebrate

So many choices . . .  It was a family weekend . . .

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Relatives  and a funeral

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Saturday Wedding

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The beginning of the NCAA football season . . .

Sunday AMarekN Family

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Monday Labor Day Dinner and 15 Mareks/Ruths

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A blog post for Literacy Lenses:  All Learning is Social and Emotional:  Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom and Beyond.  (link)

It began with a text!

“Good morning, Fran. Just realized you’re in the great state of Iowa and so am I this weekend!  My brother lives in Kalona.  How far am I from you?”

The irony.

And so noteworthy!

On Saturday we were playing cards at my aunt Janie’s in Kalona which is about 100 miles from my home.  I was there in Kalona the day before.  Kalona, a town in the northwest part of the county where I grew up.

It was an irresistible invitation. We solved the problems of the world, literacy, schools, and the state of education on Sunday when I met up with Dayna Wells, from California, that I met in real life in New York City at a TCRWP Saturday reunion over four and a half years ago (Link). A reader. A writer.  A blogger.  A Slicer. A TCRWP learner!

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How did you celebrate Labor Day weekend 2019?

What were your choices?  




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

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#SOL19: “Testing, 1, 2, 3”


Which season of the year is it?

Do I hear the echo of “Testing 1, 2, 3” as a microphone check from the press box before the announcer begins pre-game festivities?  Or do I hear “Testing 1, 2, 3” as a part of Test Prep?

As an elementary student, I loved multiple choice assessments.  Yes, those ovals were sometimes a challenge.  Filling them in neatly.  Not over-coloring.  Staying inside the lines.

On testing days my bifocals would get a work out because I would literally almost put my nose on the passages as I absorbed the stories.. I put my heart and body into those tests and I loved getting the scores back because I would be praised for my work.

Because I scored well.  I was typically able to make good guesses when I narrowed down the choices.  Because I read quickly, I always had enough time to double check the passage to verify my answers. I agonized over my  answers and spent time trying to do my very best work.

When tests are used to SORT students, it’s really hard to figure out if groups of students are actually progressing.  And labels don’t help.

Case in point:  NAEP Scores

Let’s look at a few characteristics of the NAEP test that is used as the “Nation’s Report Card”.

PERFORMANCE LABELS:

Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, or Advanced.

But what does this label tell me? Here is what “Basic” looks like for 4th Grade:

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Many of the tasks listed in CCSS RL4.1-3 and RI.4.1-3 are included in “Basic” level.  The NAEP page even contains a caution: “It should be noted that the NAEP Proficient achievement level does not represent grade level proficiency as determined by other assessment standards (e.g., state or district assessments).”        -Source

Why then does everyone think that “Proficient” is the goal?

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So “below basic” still means a student can “demonstrate a literal understanding of what they read, understand a main idea from expository text, or follow a simple plot. “Below Basic” does not mean that the students cannot read.  And that is worth repeating.

“Below Basic” does not mean that the students cannot read. 

I’m not saying that high expectations and goals are not a part of our targets.  But what I am asking you to do is think about the criteria, who sets it, and what they have to gain by reporting that “education is failing” as the press seems to quite often do.

Let’s take a bit of time to explore NAEP assessments.

QUESTIONS:

Each test item in reading is labeled as one of these three:

  •  locate/recall,
  • integrate/interpret, or
  • critique/evaluate.

And the NAEP website shows this:

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So by percentage distribution (and for the sake of a conversation with 10 questions as an example):

2 out of 10 are locate/recall

6 out of 10 are integrate/interpret and

2 out of 10 are critique/evaluate

So what does this look like?  Are they all multiple choice (multiple guess) questions?   Here’s a released sample from 2017 for fourth grade.   You can check out additional samples or grade levels.

As you check out the sample, think about the skills and strategies that you, a proficient reader, use when you are reading.

Here are a few I thought of:

  • preview the questions before beginning
  • reread when stuck
  • be sure to check out headings
  • what do I need to remember about folk tales?
  • wonder the impact of character’s names
  • ask questions:  What exactly is a “merchant”?
  • reread to eliminate mc answers
  • reread to affirm possible multiple choice answers
  • reread to check your spelling for a constructed response

What is the ratio of the work that you ask students to do in your classroom on a daily basis?  Is it

  • 2 out of 10 are locate/recall
  • 6 out of 10 are integrate/interpret and
  • 2 out of 10 are critique/evaluate?

CONTENT:

How much does the content of the assessment matter?  How would you explain this to your students?  Your fellow teachers?  Your community?  How are you thinking you would fare on this assessment?

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And of course, the assessment is timed.  Readers have 30 minutes to read one story and respond to 10 questions.  They can reread.

But they seldom do.

They can reread, but they seldom do.

What is the thinking that students need to be able to do to be successful on this test? 

What is the thinking that students need to do to be successful in life?




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

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2019/11/02/the-one-and-only-lesson-to-be-learned-from-naep-scores/#2a92ff337501 

NAEP’s “proficient” is set considerably higher than grade level, as noted on the NAEP site. (This is a lesson that has to be relearned as often as NAEP scores are released.) – Peter Greene

NAEP is extraordinarily clear that folks should not try to suggest a causal relationship between scores and anything else. Everyone ignores that advice, but NAEP clearly acknowledges that there are too many factors at play here to focus on any single one. – Peter Greene

#SOL19: Kindness


“Here, have this seat.”

“Please, go in front of me.”

“Is that the announcement you were waiting for?”

“We’ll share this plugin with you since yours isn’t working.”

Celebrating kindness.

It was an airport delay.

It could have resulted in

frustration,

anger,

hurt feelings,

unkindness.

Choosing to look for kindness.

Choosing to search for  signs of thoughtfulness.

Choosing the positive.

Celebrating kindness!

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What will you choose?




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

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