Category Archives: #SOL18

#SOL18: New Year’s Resolutions


Read.

Reread.

Re-reread.

Yes, New Year’s Resolutions on August 14th!

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publicdomainpictures.net

What are YOUR Resolutions for the New School Year?


Where will you begin?

___ Online query (Facebook, twitter, instagram)

___ Professional Learning Community (Summer book study or Back to school updates)

___ Texts Read this Summer (180 Days, A Novel Approach, Kids First from Day 1, Engaging Children, Writers Read Better, Sparks in the Dark, To Know and Nurture a Reader, What’s the Best that Could Happen? Teach Like Yourself, What are you Grouping For?)

___ Blog posts ( TWT Blog Series – Dreaming Big in this Year’s Writing Workshop)

___ Personal mission/vision statement

___  Searching for a Fun, New, Community Building Activity

___ Other


Why does it matter?

Time is the most precious commodity in your classroom.  How will your use of time reflect your priorities?

Rules?  or Expectations?

Fun?  or Meaningful?

“Will your students READ, WRITETALK, and THINK on Day 1?  Day 2?  Day 3? . . .

What will your students LEARN this year?

What processes will you put in place to help set the stage?”

YOU, the teacher

Not you, the entertainer

You, the teacher

Teaching

Growing and Learning

Reading

Writing

Thinking

Respectfully,

Thoughtfully,

Kindly,

Setting the Stage

Crafting Experiences

What is on your list of New School Year’s Resolutions? 

What are your priorities? 

Will you be the “best teacher” that you can be?




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

For more information, this is the blog post I read before writing my post. Thanks for the inspiration, Mr. G:   I might just teach   

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#SOL18: Time


The lyrics from the Byrds have been going through my brain lately as I’ve lost track of day and night, days, and now even weeks, and WOW, how did it get to be August?

“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven . . .”  Video, 1965.

What does it take to be an award winner?

This song won a Grammy back in the 1960’s.  Ah, yes, before many of you were born. So what is a classic?  What is real?  What needs to be repeated?  What needs to be retired?

Cherish . . . and another tune instantly comes to mind.

Do I have songs on my brain? 

Everything’s coming up roses and in verse! 

There’s something about the JOYFULNESS of song!

I’m hopeful that the joyfulness in my life spills over to ensure that joyfulness is a part of  every classroom this fall.  Enthusiastic teachers. Refreshed. Relaxed. Rejuvenated.

Ready for challenges.

Ready to toil anew.

Ready to advocate for EVERY student.

Ready to lose your heart to that next room full of students!

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And yet, every day the clock will continue!  Can you find precious minutes for MORE reading and writing? Can you redistribute the time you have?

The students . . .

Excited students. Excited and eager for routines. Eager for learning.  Eager to make a difference.  Eager and enthusiastic to be back at school.

A time to be curious and focus on their brilliant minds and all the great things they do know. A time to think about next steps and small nudges of growth that will start spinning the success wheel.

 

time

Time shows what we value.

I love this quote from Ralph Fletcher.

“Time is a new kind of poverty. A schedule

that features daily writing communicates to

students: ‘Writing is one of my non-negotiables.

It’s too important for me to squeeze in

once in a blue moon’” (p. 45).

~ Ralph Fletcher

The Writing Teacher’s Companion

Scholastic, 2017.

What is on your daily schedule? 

What are your non-negotiables? 

How will we know?  

And just to come to a full circle . . . “So what is a classic?  What is real?  What needs to be repeated?  What needs to be retired?”

What is really necessary in your classroom?

What do students really need to learn?

How will you know?

Life is all about decisions.  Time is in your favor.  Many have just begun.  Many begin soon. Others have about three weeks.  How will you use every precious second in honor of worthwhile and necessary learning?

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Before we can ask for MORE TIME, we must make sure that we use our existing time wisely!




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: It’s About Time!


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The heat and summer weather continues but visions of classrooms are filling many heads as teachers and students begin the final stretch of “vacation” and “It’s the last time, I can . . . this summer” routines.

I attended a research round table at #ILA18 in Austin  and posted the first side of the hand out from one 15 minute segment about Chapter 16, “It is About Time for Comprehensive Language Arts Instruction (We’ve Tried Everything Else!)” in this post.

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This book.

487 pages.

I’m still reading.

How will those “8 Components” be implemented?

Well, that was side two of the handout and some brief discussion. This post is going to focus on just three of the 8 sections on implementation. (The numbering is mine so that I could keep the sections in order.)

The first implementation I am highlighting was the first on the page.

  1. Make Time for Self-Selected Reading and Teacher Read-aloud
  • Replace “morning work” with self-selected reading
  • Reduce time for “packing up” and end the day with self-selected reading
  • Read aloud to children during “snack time”
  • Read topic-related books and magazine articles aloud in subject areas

Four different options for “making time” were listed.

Will one of those work for you?  Which one?  More than one?

If your students need to increase their reading volume, time is an issue.  How can you ensure that they will have more time to read? What is within your control?  How are your priorities visible for yourself, your students, and your entire learning community?

The second implementation:

4. Teach Handwriting along with High-Frequency Words

  • Focus students on each letter during high-frequency word learning by integrating it with handwriting instruction

Sight Words?  High-Frequency Words?

What are you having students learn and why?

How will you know that students have learned the words?

I’m a believer that sight words are “known” when they are used and spelled correctly in writing. Not just the quick, fast recognition for reading but also the accurate recall and correct spelling when the words are written.  Part of the practice to get the word into long-term memory can be handwriting.  What a win/win for students!

And what a way to achieve my goal:    No more students spelling “said” as /sed/ because that is the way it sounds!!!

And for today, the final and perhaps most important recommendation . . .

8. Stop Doing Things We Know Don’t Matter

  • Stop doing activities, skills or lessons in traditional grammar
  • Stop teaching cursive handwriting
  • Stop teaching dictionary location skills

This last section is probably the most critical in my thinking.  Why on earth do we keep doing “stuff” that we know either a) is not effective? or b) does not matter?

Here’s the link to the document (both pages).

How will this inform your instruction?

What conversations do you need to have prior to sweeping changes?

How will you know if you are using time wisely?

How will you continue to “check in” on your own use of time?




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: THANKFUL


joyful

Joyful

Pleased

Relieved

Blog post # 603 – Cause to celebrate?

Yes, but . . .

End of June

End of July

Ready to acknowledge waning of summer

August break – Nothing planned – Cause to celebrate?

Yes, but . . .

Rainy day

Computer log in would not cooperate

Tasks to complete

Deadline met – Cause to celebrate?

Yes, but . . .

Plans made

Flight, hotel, and rental car,

One phone message

All plans scrapped – Cause to celebrate?

Yes, grandson # 2 is home with 2 parents, 1 Big Brother, 2 pups and 2 grandmothers!

Oh, HAPPY DAYS!




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: Why?


My #OLW stood me in great steed this weekend at #ILA18.Screenshot 2018-07-23 at 11.14.01 PM

So much to see . . .

So much to do . . .

So much to learn . . .



But What’s the Point?



Back in the Dark Ages,

In the late 2oth Century!

I remember the value placed on

Whole-Part-Whole in education.

The goal was always LEARNING!

The intent was for ALL to be LEARNING!

Students

Teachers

ALL!



After #ILA18 I feel that many empowered teachers have been set free in the universe to “change the world” and continue learning.  We haven’t learned it all.  There is a real need to continue to grow and build our knowledge base.

And that brings me to one of my Sunday sessions.   We were learning about the Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (4th edition) under the leadership of Diane Lapp and Douglas Fisher. It has 18 chapters.  Chapters that could be used in schools for professional development.

18 Must Reads.

18 Invitational Conversations.

Exploring the tight connections between research and best supported practice that promotes literacy for every learner.

This was not a book available to purchase in the Exhibit Hall.

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But could it?  Dare it be a lens to consider best practices?  A lens to consider What?  How?  or even WHY we do what we do in instruction?

In its entirety this is one side of a handout from a round table at that session . . .

Chapter 16

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8 Essential Components of Comprehensive Language Arts Instruction.

Any surprises for you?



As I reviewed the list, I found it quite interesting that this list of components included nine, or exactly half of the chapters.  Curiosity, of course, won out.  What on earth could the other nine chapters be about if this is “the list of components for instruction” and if THIS is the book for teachers to study.

So I was off researching.

In a classroom, I would have been in major trouble because I was on my computer and might have appeared to NOT be on task.  But I was in search of more information.  What is the other half of this book about?  This book we should study?  This book we should use? This 499 page book!



This post is titled “Why?” not to just allow me to pose my own questions but also to perhaps begin to develop some of my own theories.  Why these eight components?  Why do two of the eight (25%) not have chapter resources supporting them?

WHY? 

What are the “Whys?” that are circling in your brain?



What format will the chapter take?

Will there be recommendations of “amounts of time” per component?

Will there be “recommendations of additional resources”?

Were any teachers involved in updating this handbook?

Is there any support for how to put these 8 components into action?

Or how to “know” when the components are all aligned?



Will this text continue to treat each component as a separate silo?  What about the reciprocity of reading and writing? How will we grow readers and writers?

Why this text now? 

What’s so compelling about this text, right now, that this book should be a part of a district’s professional development?

It was a pleasure to hear much rich conversation around real reading and writing at #ILA18.  Real, rich, robust reading that is NOT about single standard instruction or assessment.  It’s actually quite refreshing to go back to the “Whole” of language arts instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening that moves stedents to take action in the real world.

Doing school must end.  It’s time to capitalize on any instruction that promotes high learning and engagement that challenges students without mind-numbing page after page of annotation, Cornell notes,  and skills-based minute particles that can easily be googled.  Why do adults think these decisions can be made without broader input from our communities?

If the whole is our entire language arts program

and the part is the eight components,

what “WHY?s” will you need answered before you can implement these 8 components?




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: Summer Vacation


July

Hot days

Rising Steady HIGH humidity

Corn on the cob

That first BLT

Already anticipating

That dreaded question . . .

“How did you spend your summer vacation?”

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Book Club 1:  4 books scheduled . . . just finished book 3

Book Club 2:  Writing about Reading . . . jotting, writing long, trying to create visuals

Book Club 3:  Rereading, jotting, applying, thinking, and writing

Writing Project 1:  Notes, resources, writing, writing, writing

Writing Project 2:  Daily writing, reading, and responding

Online Writing Class: Video and writing

Online Writing Class:  Daily checking in

Summer Class 1:  Teaching

Summer Class 2:  Developing

When does vacation start?

And what did I forget?

Screenshot 2018-07-17 at 6.02.11 AM.pngTreading Water . . .

Hanging On . . .

Typical Summertime Fun!

What does your summer fun look like?




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




I totally forgot it was Tuesday and Slice of Life!  This was my 10 minute flash draft this morning.

Because

10 minutes

No more room in the schedule

The clock is ticking

On my summer work vacation!!!

#CyberPD: Being the Change


To read.

Surface Learning

To absorb and think about applying.

Deep Learning

To really consider the impact of my own words and the power of my actions, thoughts, and words.

Transfer Learning

We have a phrase in Iowa. It’s “Iowa Nice.”  When are we “too nice” and when do we need to stop and consider the impact of our words?  When do we need to step out of our comfort zone?  Some issues seem easier to advocate for?  Is that my background?  Or just my comfort level?

I wrote about this book just two short months ago before the #G2Great chat with author Sara Ahmed.  It feels like more than two months.   So many changes . . . locally, nationally, and internationally.

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I’m rereading it now for #cyberPD . . . just one of several book clubs that I am currently in.  As I thought about “What” to write, it dawned on me.

I read it.

But I didn’t really think it was “about me”.

Being the Change!

I acknowledged my background

And checked it off my list.


Back to the drawing board.

Rereading.

Digging deeper.

Not just doing.

But thinking.

And reading.

And writing.

And determining what actions I need to take.

How will others know this is important to me?

What does it mean to “see the humanity”  and to “activate your empathy”? 

How do I remove the “us” and “them” from my vocabulary?

Screenshot 2018-04-30 at 8.57.39 AM

Paying lip service is not good enough. 

Nodding my head is not good enough. 

I must do better. It requires change.

Mea Culpa!




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: #OLW


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After a quick search, I found that last year’s check-in on my One Little Word (#OLW) was mid-July so I’m pretty much on target again. July.  Summer.  Heat.  A time to reflect.

Where has “curious” taken me this year?

Paying attention.

Listening.

Watching.

Reading.

Writing.

Thinking.

Curious and Learning

Most recently:

Iowa Reading Association and

#TCRWP

Front row learner

Book Clubs

#BookLove, #CyberPD, and more

Curious and Joyful

Graduations

Near and Far

Birthdays

With Family

With Friends

And special serenades

Curious and Fun

Ladies Football Academy

With my sister

And finding cousins along the way

Teaching

Consulting

PD Prep

Reading, Writing, and Blogging

Curious and Books

A Novel Approach

Literacy Essentials

It’s All About the Books

180 Days

To Know and Nurture a Reader

Engaging Children

Embarrassment

Kids 1st From Day One

Brave Leadership

Being the Change

Megabook of Fluency

Reclaiming the Principalship

What are you curious about? 

How is your #OLW? 

Have you checked in lately?




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: 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)

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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

#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:

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Or these .  .  .

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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 . . .

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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

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