Category Archives: #SOL18

#SOL18: Reflections


I was amazed, disheartened, and ready to stop writing several years ago when I discovered and announced fairly publicly that my narrative writing skills were weak.  Maybe lower than weak.  Definitely NOT where I wanted them to be.

So what did I do?

I committed to writing more narratives.  I tracked when I wrote narratives.  I pulled out some rubrics. I studied some mentor texts. I wrote more.  I did not avoid writing narratives even though I can candidly report that I still “don’t love writing narratives.” My writing slowly and painfully improved.

And then having made some gains, I set narrative writing aside.

Does that process sound familiar?

Make a goal. Set a criteria as a measuring point.  Work towards the goal. Goal met!

DONE!

Perhaps it’s the “hurry up and git’r done” nature of many goals.  Perhaps it’s the idea of “taking your medicine quickly” to get it over with.  At any rate, I fear that I have lost some of those skills in the lack of volume in my writing and, in particular in my narrative writing.

I’m going to continue to study my writing as I also consider my “OLW” for 2019.  A couple words have fallen from the sky in front of me lately.  They are on the list.  But are they the “one“?  I don’t yet know.




PROFESSIONAL Learning Matters!

Have you checked out this work from Regie Routman?

How do you become a more effective teacher?

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Link

Out of the 10 which are you focusing on?

I’m working on these:

  • Prioritize
  • Work Toward a Culture of Collaborative Expertise
  • Focus on whole-part-whole teaching and learning



But what do I know? This data is shocking . . .

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Shared by Penny Kittle, 12.14.18  Source Link

This was looking at Middle School Writing Assignments in 2015.

How are they doing?

WE will have a state writing assessment this year.  Will our students be prepared if this is their background?  If 78% of middle school students’ work requires only short responses or a sentence or two?  Another 14% required a paragraph . . . hmmm ……. 14 out of 100 had assignments that required the student to write a paragraph.

What doesn’t this data say?

The data does not tell us whether 100% of the students attempted the task.

The data does not tell us if 100% of the students completed the task.

The data does not tell us anything about the quality of the paragraphs submitted.

The data does not tell us anything about how the paragraph was scored.

I am not advocating that all students be required to write multiple paragraphs every day.  But can we INSPIRE THEM to write more and CAN we ASPIRE to provide quality instruction that will encourage students to envision and craft stronger examples of personal writing?

But what about the 9% required to write more than one paragraph?

All four of the statements above apply if your change “paragraph” to “more than a single paragraph.”

Volume of writing does matter just as the volume of reading matters.  Based on the data above, students are still probably NOT writing enough per class period, across the day or across each semester of the year.

Where should we begin? 

What steps can we commit to for the long haul? 

What goals will we agree on?

Where is our sense of urgency?




On Friday, I sat next to sketchnote extraordinaire, Paula Bourque.  I did not know that she would be attending, but I had planned in advance to sketchnote and brought my Flairs knowing that I needed my markers in order to make progress.

Here’s my first page of notes from the day!

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My goals:

Take notes.

Add some graphics.

Use some color.

Show improvement.

More ideas than white spaces.

Find one part I really like:

  1. Distraction Addiction and Use Notebooks to slow down thinking
  2. Writing Matters – Emotional Response
  3.  Choices – We have to balance reading and writing

What are you learning that is new? 

How is it going? 

What is your goal?

Curious minds want to know! #OLW18




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

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#SOL18: Remnants


In the trails

In the hollows

In the ditches

In the shady spots

Out of the sun

In those darkened spots

Traces remain

A glimpse of what was 

Just two short weeks ago.

Flat spaces of brown

Dry and sparsely vegetated

Scattered collections of gray and white

Remnants of the great snowstorm of two weeks ago.

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Snow in the news.

20 ” shattering records

Causing accidents

Collapsing roofs and

Exploding transformers.

A blanket of snow

A fresh new covering

Quickly fades as the danger emerges

For people, animals, and vehicles on the road.




Observation and Reading the World – First four stanzas

Final two stanzas – Found poem from CBS Nightly News @ 5:30 pm on December 10, 2018.




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

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#SOL18: Cookies


It began with a tweet.

And then my #OLW, “curious” surfaced.

What would a student response be?

Quirky, out of the box. Unexpected!

How about response #2?

And again, an unexpected answer!

Now, all in, I had to ask 3 more so I had an even 5.

Small data pool.

But yet, bigger than an N of 1.

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Answer 1: “He will have to take the 98 burned cookies sprinkled in powdered sugar because Cameron’s friends and family ate the 185 good cookies!”

Answer 2: “If he promised to take 283 cookies, Cameron will go to the store and make 98 more cookies so he can take the cookies he promised.”

Answer 3:  “Cameron wanted to make sure the cookies were good, so he ate four.  Then he could only fit 135 cookies into his container.  He took 135 cookies to the cookie swap and left the rest for his brother.”

Answer 4:  “Cameron will be so embarrassed that he burnt the cookies that he will not go to the cookie swap.  He won’t be taking any cookies.”

Answer 5:  “Cameron was taking the 185 cookies that were fine to the cookie swap. Along the way, he met a man who was hungry so he gave the man five cookies.  Then he met his friend Albert who was not going to the cookie swap because he didn’t have any cookies.  Cameron gave him 80 cookies.  Cameron took the 100 he had left.

Thinking? 

Reasoning? 

If any of these students “chose” a multiple choice answer and filled in the bubble, would we have known WHY they missed the answer?

100% accurate according to the stories.  Hmmm. When a wrong answer is a RIGHT answer!  




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

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#SOL18: Which View?


Fluffy

Pellety

Pristine

Early

Pretty

Accumulating

Blanketing

Warning

Caution Urged

“Tow Ban”

Travel Not Advised

White Out

Weather Channel personnel on site

Millions under “Blizzard Warning”

3″ in Pella

15 miles away – 12″

Busy Travel Day

Flights Cancelled

Cautious Early Travelers Rewarded

Overturned bus stranded passengers at casino

Early snowstorm

Snowmaggedon

Blizzard of the Century

Depending upon your snowfall

Pretty – Hazardous

Snowball packing snow

0 Visibility

Better inside

Off the roads

YAY! Snow Day!

Rats! Off to work . . . Slowly . . . Cautiously!

“Bruce” according to the Weather Channel

Travel conditions deteriorate

Screenshot 2018-11-26 at 10.40.00 PM

Maybe as bad as the “Blizzard of 73” . . . Maybe . . .

I’m in the gold; fortunately not in the orange!

Which view of the winter activity matched your area?

Why does perspective or point of view matter?

Can it change over time?  Can you “choose” your response?

What’s your prediction for the winter?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

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#SOL18: #NCTE18 Family


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‘Tis the season to be Thankful.  ‘Tis the season to count my blessings. #NCTE is the perfect kick-off for family events.  #NCTE brings my work family together!

This year’s theme was:

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But, for me, it has also ALWAYS been about finding my own voice. My own family of voices.  A family that allows me to have a voice.

#G2Great

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Slicers

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Teach Write

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Presenters and Authors

 

 

 

Students

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so many facets to MY FAMILY!

How do you nourish your “work family”? 

How do you continue to grow and learn?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

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Additional Links to #NCTE18

Conference of Revolution

Kelly Gallagher’s Top 15

NCTE Sunday

Miss Magee’s Letter to Students

Proud, Fierce Papa Bear

Statement Against Oppression

#NCTE18: Friday


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Moments in time

Moments suspended

Moments desired

Moments expected

Moments shared

Magical because of the connections

Across time

Across states

Across texts

Across interests . . .

Magical Mentor Moments

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“We come from:  Oklahoma, Iowa, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Canada.  Mentors All.” (10 points to you if you know the context of this quote.) TY: #G2Great for so many magical moments at #NCTE18.

Writing in the Wild = Margaret Simon

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“Slicer” Dinner = Mentor Writers

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An annual tradition from #TWTBlog. Three of the authors from #TWT and some of the bloggers at dinner and sharing literary gifts!

And then the sessions:

Choices

Difficult choices.

So many great ones.

So little time.

What fuels the choices?

Friday, November 16, 2018

Passion and Power

Be you.

Be real.

Activism means thinking, talking, reading, writing, and growing your passions.

I love this 5th grader’s quote shared by Justin Dolci.

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And the people . . .

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Mentors

Readers

Writers

Thinkers

Storytellers

Magical #NCTE18 Moments

Where have you found your magic? 

And your mentors?




NCTE Highlights

#SOL18: New Learning


New ideas

New thinking

Try, Try, Try again

 

Title (1).png

Last week, #G2Great hosted Tanny McGregor with a lively chat about representing ideas in #sketchnotes. I participated, watched, and on Sunday dug out Paper 53 on my mini iPad.

What was my goal? 

Responding to these two quotes from Tanny (and our chat) and a Facebook post by Dr. Mary Howard after her RTI keynote in St. Louis Saturday.

Quote OPEN (1)

Quote CLOSE (1)

Here’s Draft 1 (first attempt with Paper 53, no stylus, and 0 video tips):

Screenshot 2018-11-12 at 8.12.42 PM.png

Here’s Draft 2 (the old fashioned way with paper and Flairs:

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And here’s the same concept in an old familiar format:  Google Drawings

– – – – Can Do – – – – Can Do – – – – Can Do – – – – Can Do – – – – Can Do – – – –

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– – – – Can Do – – – – Can Do – – – – Can Do – – – – Can Do – – – – Can Do – – – –

This was the picture in my brain that captured many of the basic concepts from this Facebook post by Dr. Mary Howard.

What I learned?

Jumping in and using an app with just trial and error did not work.  I was frustrated because I wanted a background color.  Without a stylus, drawing and writing with my finger was not always legible. I’ve typed notes for over 20 years in order to make them legible so a stylus is needed.

I tried.

I watched three videos and downloaded an app to my Samsung phone.  I watched two videos and entered three questions in the “help center”.  The automated reply said that I would receive a response within 72 hours and between 9 to 5 when the offices were open.

I went back to paper and pencil and posted that second effort in the thread on Mary’s post.  I thought about all the things that went wrong with Draft 1 and Draft 2.

I went to Google Drawings and created using a familiar format to capture basic ideas. Approximately two and a half hours on this representation of Mary’s FB post.

Stuck in that cycle

from when 

my first grade teacher

tore up my paper 

in front of me

because she didn’t like

my red sun

my purple sky

and flowers with green blooms.

What do you do when learning doesn’t go as planned? 

How do you continue? 

What helps you push past your self-doubts? 

How do you teach your students to persevere?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

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Wakelet from our #G2Great chat:  Link

Jenn’s post about our chat will be on Literacy Lenses soon.

Heinemann podcast here

 

 

#SOL18: Literacy Superbowl


 

Which memory stands out?

The first attendance?

The first “Slicer” dinner?

The first presentation?

The first sighting of _______?

The first time meeting ______ IRL (In Real Life)?

The roller coaster ride by many #G2Great friends?

The first signed book by a #G2Great author?

Meeting up with #WRRD chat mates?

Catching up with #TCRWP friends?

Meeting “Slicers” IRL?

Seeing and hearing about upcoming publications?

The incredibly cold, cold, cold weekend?

Impressed by the articulate #BowTieBoys?

The amazing learning?

Sitting on the floor in an auditorium learning with and from literacy giants?

Not being allowed by venue staff to sit on the floor?

Packing devices to tweet and record notes at the speed of light?

Meeting and learning with authors of student books?

Too many memories to make a decision

Which story to tell?

Which one will be left out?

Embracing the past five years of attendance

Learning, Laughing, and following literacy giants

Receive awards and humbly elevate friends

And peers who made all things possible.

Reading, Writing, Talking, Thinking,

Sharing as we meet,

Celebrating each other’s accomplishments

Celebrating our uniqueness

Celebrating our differences

Celebrating our similarities

Celebrating our togetherness!

Houston, home of #NCTE18 in 10 days!

Will you be there?

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Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

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#SOL18: Reading Research


What was the first thing that came to mind when you saw that blog title?

Which emoji matches your thinking?

Screenshot 2018-10-30 at 12.07.33 AM

Reading the Research 

that someone else has done?

Research about Reading?

These are not necessarily the same.  So let’s explore just a bit.  If I put “reading research” into “The Google” – this is what I get:

Screenshot 2018-10-30 at 12.08.20 AM

Think about it.  695,000,000 results and the first one that comes up is Reading Rockets.  It’s a “.org” so I can breathe a sigh of relief.  It’s not a commercial site so I don’t have to worry about ads or someone selling things. Reading Rockets link

How reputable is Reading Rockets?

Who runs it?

Where does the information come from?

What biases exist?

When would I use this site?

Some of those questions can be answered from the “About Page”. Some require a bit more clicking.  The information is reasonable and the classroom strategies might be a source to use as a quick survey or “screen” of what’s available.

And just in case you did not click and go to Reading Rockets, here is part of their home page.

Screenshot 2018-10-30 at 12.22.45 AM.png

But is this a source you can trust?

.  .  .   It depends.

What do you need?  What are you looking for?

If instead I go to Google Scholar (which is on my toolbar for quick access), here’s what the same “reading research” search results look like.

Screenshot 2018-10-30 at 12.09.13 AM

The results are fewer.  About 5,030,000. And the very first citation is the National Reading Panel Report from 2000.  I can see the number of times this source has been cited as well as related articles. If you’ve moved on to a major eye roll because you did not need “Research 101′ in this blog post, just stop and think. How many of your peers know the difference?  How many of your administrators know the difference? (And if you think it’s old, 2000, do remember that it was the last independently convened panel to study reading research . . . despite its flaws!) (Krashen, S. (2004) False claims about literacy development. Educational Leadership 61: 18-21.

Why does it matter?

If the solution to a questions is a Google search, I have just shown you the difference.  Terms that are thrown around in the education world a lot are “research-based, evidence-based, and scientifically research-based.”  And they are NOT without a great deal of controversy.

A Second Example

The following blog post was referenced on both Twitter and Facebook.  Hmmm . . . sometimes nefarious social media platforms. Sometimes NOT.  Sometimes a great source.  In my farming background, again, how do we sort out the wheat from the chaff?

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LINK

I don’t know Lindsay, but I do plan to find out if she will be at #NCTE18 to connect.  DOL is one old, out-dated practice that has to stop. Over 50 years of research has proven that grammar instruction does NOT improve writing.  Writing improves writing. Showcasing “golden sentences” in personal work and patterning writing after others. Some brilliant minds like Jeff Anderson and Dan Feigelson have published examples as well as many chapters in other books have research-based examples.

A Third Example

This list.  Research-Based Programs

“Where did it come?

What criteria was used to curate the list?

Who developed the “protocol” that was used to evaluate the programs?

Where are the reviews/protocols of the programs on the list?

What can I learn from the URL?

What questions remain after a quick perusal of the list?

How do I find answers to these questions?”

Who do I turn to when I need answers?  Who are my sources? Who are my most trusted sources?  Who are my experts? Who are my “super-experts”?

RESEARCH EXPERTISE

One 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

Tune in Thursday night to the #G2Great chat at 7:30 CST/ 8:30 EST for a lively conversation about just this topic. #BetterTogether

Screenshot 2018-10-30 at 12.09.47 AMPer usual, my #OLW “Curious” brought me to this point.  On October 2, 2013, I blogged about the research on the “Effectiveness of K-6 Supplementary Computer Reading Programs” here.  Do those same considerations apply?  Do you now have data that supports that those programs work for your students in your building? Or are you still in search of the one perfect program?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

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Another Resource:      Link      

Truth & Research: What to Consider Before Selecting Literacy Curriculum and Programs

The Straw Man aka Balanced Literacy is NOT Whole Language Link

Problems with the National Reading Panel Report – From the Teacher in the Room – Link

 

 

#SOL18: The Turtle and the Hare


Remember the old, old, old tale.  The turtle challenged the rabbit (of course it may have been called a hare) to a race because he was so tired of hearing the rabbit brag about how fast he was.  So the rabbit took off, ran a great part of the race and then decided to take a short nap to literally rest on his laurels. The noise of the animals cheering for the tortoise woke up the hare who ran to the finish line, but the turtle had already crossed and won.

Lesson:  Slow and steady can beat fast and inconsistent.

Many longer versions talk about the rabbit annoying all the animals by his bragging about his speed. Finally, totally disgusted the tortoise challenged the hare to a race.

Lesson:  Pride goeth before a fall.

Another version suggests that after the race the turtle tells the rabbit that their friendship is more important than winning a silly race. And they are best friends, BFF, forever.

Lesson:  Of course, the rabbit does not believe that because WINNING is everything!

So not everything in life is always black and white or absolutely the opposite.

And YET . . .

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Are you usually an early person?

Are you usually a late person?

Do you measure that time in minutes?

Do you cut it down to the very last second?

Is it a familial trait?

Is it a learned behavior?

What’s the degree of annoyance when timelines aren’t met?

When does “time’ matter enough to be “on time?

Does your timeliness depend on the situation?

When is it okay to be late?

When is it a good time to be early?

How do you know?

What social cues tip you off?

How do our beliefs about time impact others?

When do others have to “wait” for us?

How do our beliefs about “late” impact others?

When do your “time issues” become an issue for those around you?

Does time really matter?

(Just for you, DS!)

Don’t Blink!




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                     

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