Category Archives: TCRWP

#SOL17: Silver Lake


Where do YOU begin?

Here’s a simple list of words from my writing notebook

Begun with an early morning observation

Sipping coffee

Waking up

At Silver Lake

Some words from the present.

Some from the past.

Some added over time.

words

How does a list evolve?

Grow?

Morph?

What categories would you make?

While waiting for inspiration to strike,

I’ve learned to keep my fingers moving across the keyboard.

Looking for photos

Looking for organization

and word clouds suddenly appeared in my brain.

word cloud oneword cloud twoword cloud threeword cloud fourword cloud five

Changing colors

Changing shapes

Changing colors

Adding a filter.

Using a visual as a stimulus . . .

Ready to write!

One of Those Moments

One of those moments

Etched on my cornea

Burnt into my brain

Captured in my heart

Gray sky

Combinations of clouds

White, thin, wispy

Surrounded by large and fluffy white-topped clouds

With an under girding of gray

Ready for a sprinkle or

Perhaps a shower or

Sheets of rain or

Buckets full pouring from the heavens

Harmony in thoughts shared

Rich in laughter

Engrossed in fun

So much to do!

A boat ride,

Pictionary,

Writing talk,

3 Truths and a Lie, and

Learning to play a ukelele.

Friends

Voxer Cousins

Readers

Writers

Thinkers

Teachers

Students

Bound together by a few moments in time

One of those perfect summer moments!

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June 24 – Silver Lake, MN

How do your thoughts become your ideas?  

What shapes your format?

Where does your organization come from?  

How do you share this process with your students?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      Process:

My first draft was totally a description – what I saw, heard and felt while outside

But it seemed really boring

And felt like it could be any lake anywhere

So this is Draft Two . . . after some revision!

 

#SOL17: “There’s No Place Like . . .”


Think back to a “Best Time of Your Life”.  Where were you?  What were you doing?  What made it “THE BEST”?

If you were to return to that place of your “Best Time of Your Life” right this minute, do you think it would be exactly as you remember it?

dorothy clicking her heels

“There’s no place like TCRWP!”

Picture this:

#TCRWP

Yesterday

1399 colleagues (?)

Magnificent Riverside Church

“We come from . . .”

A call to action from Lucy Calkins.

We can.

We must.

Ignite the passion

In our students.

“Don Murray: Writing is not easy nor should it be.”

We don’t just recount.

We make meaning in our writing.

And later,

To celebrate the day’s end

A thunderstorm

A double rainbow

double rainbow kitty donohoe

    A Double Rainbow:          Kitty Donohoe, Twitter

Ready to begin anew!

June Writing Institute 2013

My initiation

My trepidation

And yet, filling a hole in my teacher soul

June Writing Institute 2014

Back to fill in the holes in my knowledge

Back to “be with my tribe”

Still anxious about all I did NOT know

June Writing Institute 2015

Armed with a plan

Specific session criteria

And questions for staff developers.

June Writing Institute 2016

Finally knowing “something”

Writing before, during, and after

Adding new knowledge

Consolidating and validating previous learnings

and this year, waiting for

August Writing Institute 2017

Because there’s no place like home with your writerly friends

The Learning at

Teachers College Reading and Writing Project!

So this week I’m following along on Twitter

Checking in for “learning bread crumbs”

Planning for that return to “My Best Learning Place on Earth”!

#TCRWP Writing Institute and #TCRWP Reading Institute

I already know that even though I’m attending in August this year, #TCRWP Writing and Reading Institutes will be better than ever!  Much writing and reading (and tweets) before then . . . See you soon!

Where do you go for inspiration?  

That feeling of “belonging”?  

And yet, where you are also “pushed” to be a better you, a stronger you, a more capable you?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

#DigiLitSunday: Better


better

Today’s call for slices from Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche immediately makes me think of HOW one gets better.  Previous posts about professional development are here, here, and here. I love learning.  I love learning with friends.  Therefore, one of the best tools that I use for professional development is Twitter because it truly is exemplified by this graphic.

good better best

What?

Learning.  Identifying a topic. Identifying a need.  Finding experts. Reading. Writing. Talking. Learning Together.  There are many ways to “Better Oneself” and one of the fastest routes is through TWITTER!

Start the Challenge

If you’re on Facebook, go to this post of Mary C Howard’s (author of Good to Great) for her Twitter 5-3-1 Challenge.

“TWITTER 5-3-1 CHALLENGE:
So I’m posing a summer challenge that will take very little time.

5: FOLLOW
Follow five people you admire. Just find them on Twitter and click the follow button on the far top right of their page.

3: RETWEET/LIKE
Retweet or like three comments that inspired you. Just click on the comment and then the up/down arrows at the bottom middle and hit retweet (or like with the heart at the bottom).

1: Reply
Make one comment to a tweet every day (even “Thank you.”) Just click on the left arrow at the bottom right and type.

I promise you that my 5-3-1 challenge will enrich you beyond measure this summer. Twitter is a treasure chest of inspiration, ideas, articles, posts, and dedication. If you’re not using it even to a small degree, you’re cheating yourself. This summer is a great time to dip your toe in the Twitter pool. I promise you that you’ll be grateful you did!”

My only addition is to make it the 5 -3 – 1 – 1 Challenge.

The final 1 – Find a chat

Weekly chats might be #TCRWP on Wednesdays or #G2Great on Thursdays.  Monthly chats might be #TitleTalk on the last Sunday of the month.  Additional chats like #TWTBlog may be scheduled after a series of blog posts.

Why a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter Chat will give you an opportunity to “rub elbows” with the experts and grow your own knowledge base as well as your PLN.  You will be amazed at the authors who are available to learn from as well as the inspiration, ideas, articles, and posts that Mary refers to above.

You are at the crossroad.  You must make the decision.

How will you better yourself?

good better

#SOL17: Teacher Student Promises


I can’t get these two pictures out of my mind.  They came from a MS presentation at #TCRWP Saturday Reunion.

expectations.jpg

expectations for students.jpg

How do these expectations offer VOICE and CHOICE to students?  

How do these expectations help promote student independence?  

Who is doing the work?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

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early morning slicer

#SOL17 – #DigiLitSunday – Innovation


innovation 3.19.17 digilit Sunday

Link to #DigiLitSunday posts at Margaret Simon’s blog.

Innovation

Not merely regurgitation

Not just analyzing

But moving on to . . . dare I risk it?  . . . innovation?

By reassembling ideas

Through some thoughtful reflection

Should I attempt it?

If you read my found poem yesterday here, you know that I did not attend the 92nd Saturday Reunion sponsored by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  But I did follow along in the TwitterVerse and even collected my re-tweets here in storify.  There are about 150 Tweets there if you want to see some of the quotes, ideas, and Tweets that caught my attention.

In the interest of accuracy, this is NOT my first reporting on LEARNING when I was NOT at the conference.

My Previous Learning Via Twitter instead of In Real Life

Teachers need to have many layers of skills and knowledge.  They need to be EXPERTS with their content skills and strategies (Knowledge Base – the what), pedagogy (how to teach in an interesting and engaging way), design (why and how certain aspects of environment, technology, and instruction overlap) and in student development (to understand the faces/bodies in front of them each day). Which of those gets precedence on any given day?

IT DEPENDS!

As a teacher, it’s important for you to know and understand the skills, strategies of the standards and curricula as well as your goals for your grade level so the learning targets are crystal clear.  Communication skills must be honed so that students clearly understand the purposes of today’s work and the connections that build every day to meet those end goals.  However all of these are totally influenced by teacher beliefs and expectations.  The teacher has to believe that ALL students can learn and learn at high levels.  And what is it that they must learn?

Learning and school CANNOT be about preparation for the next grade. Grade levels assigned by century old arbitrary calendar years are not working for students.  The goal in every classroom must be to prepare the students to be productive and independent citizens of the world.  So that means no more points taken off for papers turned in a day late (where does that REALLY happen in the real world?), and that students need more VOICE and CHOICE in the work that is done in classrooms on a regular basis. And they also need to be risk takers, entrepreneurs, brave, empathetic,  and . . .

“Wow, Fran, I was at #TCRWP and I didn’t hear any of that?”

My Take Aways from #TCRWP by Twitter:

  1.  What do you value?  How do we know?                                                                                      Set clear expectations for your students. Share your expectations for the students with them and then share what they can expect from the teacher. Here is one example from a reading teacher.  Source:  photo and tweet by Jane Losinger

    portfolio expectations                                                                               Why does this matter?  

    This is NOT the same as My Job/Your Job.  These statements share/show what you, the teacher value as a promise to the students. When I see these statements in your classroom or on your class website, I know how you will make decisions about time, resources, and even daily instruction. I can also make predictions about what I think your classroom will look like based on what you say you value!  Bonus:  This maters because of this Hattie result:

t-s-relationships

2.  Be excited, passionate, enthusiastic EVERY minute of EVERY day!

Who knows when or which connection will work for a student?  If it’s boring for you, it may also be boring for your students.  You don’t have to be an entertainer and an expert at “song and dance routines”.  But you do need to be reflective and consider your impact on your students.  Ask yourself, “Would I REALLY want to be a student in this class?”  Source:  Keynote Address – Tweet by Mike Ochs

      “Come to work every day like it’s your first day”—Drew Dudley

Why does this matter?

The first day of a new job is filled with excitement and wonder.  Share that wonder ALL the time with your students! The students deserve your very best every minute.  There really is no time in the schedule for “do overs” so make every minute count the first time. But also focus on how each student can be a future leader.  Leaders are kind. Leaders are caring. Leaders are compassionate. Teach for long-term transfer.  Know your class well so you can make wise, well-informed decisions that fuel your students’ passions and excitement.

3.  Make the learning work visible and therefore attainable for students.  

Make sure that you have a depth of knowledge about your content so that you truly understand what students need to do for the next increment of learning.  That deep understanding is your own scaffold that you can later remove when students are successful.  Tools that can help students reach for the sky and all those lofty expectations are critical. Source:  Katie Clements tweet

@missalissanyc shares an awesome progression to help Grade 3 mystery readers lift the level of their prediction work.#tcrwp”

progression for gr 3 mystery reader predictions missalissanyc.jpg

Why does this matter?

Students need to have clear learning targets in order to meet them.  They can’t be secrets. They can’t be moving targets.  Clear. Attainable. Clearly defined for self assessment because then students can figure out exactly how to improve their work in order to meet the criteria. Predictions seem like a fairly easy skill but they don’t occur in isolation and need a cycle of predicting, reading/watching/viewing, considering the degree to which the prediction was met, re-predicting (rinse and repeat) with those elements based on both explicit text references and implicit or inferred responses to the text! And to top it off a student needs to be predicting while collecting evidence to help grow other theories.  Reading is COMPLICATED and does not happen one individual skill at a time!

And this bonus from Hattie:

20160930_091010

4. Readers and Writers must be thinkers.

In your adult life are you really expected to be a “fact regurgitator”? Or are you expected to be a problem solver? A creative thinker?  Source:  Tweets from Mary Ehrenworth’s presentation.

“We are not looking for your first thinking, we are looking for your best thinking.”
Create reading notebook pages that open up thinking and develop thinking not tell what you already know.”

Why does this matter?

Thinking in life is not optional.  The twenty first century is leaving the adults in the dust and we REALLY have no clue what jobs will be available for our kiddos when they graduate from school and move into the work force.  We need to stop pretending that we have any real ideas and instead support students to make choices now.  Students need a lot of practice in making decisions and being successful as well as making decisions and FAILING.  That really is part of life.  How we respond in the face of adversity is a true sign of our character.  Let’s support students to be more cognizant of their own need to self-advocate for time, resources, and choices to increase their own learning NOW!

5. Circling back around to values – How are you going to put them into action?

What is your plan?  Where will you start?  What will you do?  “Talk is cheap.” Time is precious! How do you make your actions match your “Professed Values”? Source:  Mr. Minor tweeted by Julie Jee

vision to action.jpg

Why does it matter?

Without specific actions, what will change?  Keep it simple and doable.  Don’t make it another form to be filled out and submitted to the accountability committee for leadership committee for change.  Make it a focus for face to face conversations.  Build a plan with someone else to increase your own accountability!

Ultimately . . .

I am ending with my thoughts after reading many of the quotes from Lucy Calkin’s closing.  I’ve been there. Inspired. Mesmerized. Prepped for action. Ready to conquer the world.  Ready to slay dragons after a day at a Saturday Reunion. And yet I can also imagine the tears shed for our beloved friend, Kathleen Tolan.

Choose something.

Something you believe in.

Support it.  

Work for change.  

The Democracy in your classroom and in the world still needs your voice and the voice of your students who will inhabit this earth for many years to come!

Where will you begin?

Values?

Actions?

How will we know you are using your gift of learning?

gift


Innovation = My application of doing new things as a result of what I thought/believed I heard today in my #tcrwp Twitter Feed.

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

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early morning slicer

#SOLSC17: #TCRWP Saturday Reunion


(Not attending the 92nd Saturday Reunion but slicing this Found Poem from the information posted on the #tcrwp website here.)

tcrwp

92nd Saturday Reunion

Saturday’s agenda  –

Drew Dudley,

keynote speaker –

powerful TED talk,

“Everyday Leadership,”

(Ted Talk link)

(Transcript)

over 2 million views,

voted one of the most inspirational of all time.

This day

literacy educators

across the globe

come together

to learn.

Fast-paced day,

brimming with horizons to work towards,

a focus . . .

higher level comprehension,

content area literacy,

units of study in writing,

assessment-based instruction,

increasing student engagement, or

bringing books to life.

You stand

on the shoulders of the profession

with Lucy Calkins,

senior leaders,

staff developers,

Kathy Collins,

Carl Anderson, and

many others.

Riverside Church.jpg

The day begins at Riverside Church,

Teachers College,

free of charge,

without registration.

A gift

to the TCRWP community.


Will you be there?  

Have you been there for the magic of a Saturday reunion?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

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early morning slicer

#SOLSC and #DigiLitSunday


digilit-button

This week’s theme for #DigiLitSunday is “Slicing our lives”.  Head on over to Margaret Simon’s “Reflections on the Teche” for additional posts.

Slicing our lives is what many bloggers do each Tuesday throughout the year.  But when March arrives (whether like a lion or a lamb), it’s time for the “Story Challenge” where bloggers write each day of the month.  So that’s 31 consecutive posts to write as well as to respond to fellow bloggers in the community!  This year is the 10th annual SOLSC so that’s a whole lot of stories.

Why Slice?

It’s an opportunity to write stories every day and live a more writerly life . . . in public. Sharing stories allows us to build a community of writing friends.  Perhaps in the first year of slicing, you only read the posts of those persons who post just before and after you.  But after a while, you branch out and look for those who write about similar topics, teach the same grade, have similar jobs, people you follow on Twitter or those you have met in real life (IRL) or face to face (F2F).

What is a community?

It’s often considered to be a group of people joined together for a common purpose or passion.  Today I celebrate both the Slice of Life Community and the DigiLitSunday Community. Friends from around the world that I rely on when I’m looking to learn more.  Friends that I often meet in both the blogosphere and the Twitterverse.  Friends with whom I enjoy spending time!

community-three

Members of both communities that I have met face to face at NCTE and/or TCRWP Institutes or Saturday Reunions include:

  • Margaret Simon
  • Tara Smith
  • Carol Versalona
  • Julianne Harmatz  (We even presented on a panel together at NCTE15!)

Slice of Life Community members that I have met face to face at NCTE and TCRWP (Institutes and / or Saturday Reunions)

  • Stacey
  • Dana
  • Betsy
  • Deb
  • Michelle
  • Melanie
  • Lisa
  • Catherine
  • Paula
  • Glenda

Slicers that I have met face to face at TCRWP Institutes or Saturday reunions:

  • Sally
  • Erika
  • Phyllis
  • Lanny
  • Dayna

Slicers that I have met face to face at ILA or NCTE:

  • Clare
  • Lynne
  • Rose
  • Elsie
  • Jennifer
  • Leigh Anne
  • Linda
  • Ramona

Slicers in my neighborhood that I see at local/Iowa events:

  • Kathy Scuitema
  • Deb Day

community

Slicers that I am looking forward to meeting:

Everyone of you that I have not yet met.  I so enjoy reading the “About” section of blogs to see where you are from and whatever additional information you provide.  I have gone with you to quilt shows, Africa, France, to family events, to dinner and have so enjoyed learning with and from so many talented writers!

My life is richer for all the slicers that I know around the world IRL (F2F) or online!  Thanks for being so generous with your time and stories! I’m honored to have so many great “blogging mentors” in my life!  Thanks to so many of you for stopping by, reading and commenting.

(And my sincere apologies, in advance, for anyone I’ve accidentally left off the list.  I started it two days ago and I’ve been checking my blog posts and my ILA, NCTE, and TCRWP notes to try to be as accurate as possible.  However, the mind is the first thing to go . . . with old age!)

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

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Reflection: Top 10 Posts for 2016


top 10.jpg

Which of my 131 posts during 2016 were most read?

In reverse order (10 to 1) with a few notes:

10.#SOL16: #WhyIWrite – No More Red Ink!

What happens when a teacher “edits” with red ink?

9. #SOL16: What are you planning to read?

Five books in February that were on my “MUST READ” list from authors: Stacey Shubitz, Kate and Maggie Roberts, Kim Yaris and Jan Burkins, Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen, and Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie.

8. #SOL16: Professional Development

Characteristics of professional development were highlighted for four different “sessions” attended within a two-week time frame.  Are these important for you?

  • Choice?
  • Free?
  • Learning Collaboratively with Others?
  • Available 24/7 to Revisit?
  • Passionate and Inspiring?

7. #TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 2

Different ways to share – a symphony and a museum share from Celena Larkey, why students need to write with a pen from Colleen Cruz, letting students lead with mentor texts with Mary Ehrenworth, and “DON”T KILL THE BOOK” with Donald Graves keynote.

6. #TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 2

The value of READING mini-lessons with Amanda Hartman, the value of “practice, practice, practice with Kathleen Tolan, What readers need in order to become AVID readers with Mary Ehrenworth, and Matt de La Pena’s keynote!   “Teachers and authors don’t often immediately see the results of their work.  Patience  . . . you will!”

5. #SOL16: Who’s Doing the Work?

Who's doing the work

Have you read this book?  You should have annotated and dog-eared it by now!  This post celebrates the twitter chats (with links to the storified archives) as well as an inside look into many of the activities Kim and Jan developed in their study guide.  How do you know you have “learned” something?  How do you expect students to share their learning?  So many DIFFERENT ways are shared here!

4. #TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 3

Learning about the many ways of shared reading with Amanda Hartman, inquiry for developing fluency with Kathleen Tolan, close reading with Kate Roberts and the keynote session with Donalyn Miller. What a fabulous learning day!

3. #TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 1

A Lucy Calkins’ keynote on developing reading community, sessions with Amanda Hartman on “one-focused teaching point” and Kathleen Tolan – a mind-blowing small group read aloud.  Never.thought.of.a.read.aloud.for.a.small.group.  And so obviously why I need to continue to learn.  Such a privilege to have been a part of Kathleen’s June Institute.

2. #SOL16: March Challenge Day 23 – DIY Toolkits

Do it yourself

Have you read this book?  You can create your own tools after reading this book.  Better yet . . . study it with a friend and then work together on creating tools.  Tip:  Best part of this blog post is the “summary tool” that Kate created and the links to other pages about this session (Tara, Sally and NCTE).

1. #TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 1#TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 1

This post includes quotes from Lucy Calkins (opening keynote), revision across the day with Celena Larkey, the power of stories with Colleen Cruz and planning for two or three days of small group sessions at a time from Amanda Hartman. What an amazing first day of Learning for the 2016 #TCRWP Writing Institute!

Reflection:

Data is so interesting.  I was not surprised at the popularity of the #TCRWP posts as the June learning has been quite high on the list in previous years.  Some of those posts continue to be “all-time” highs as well.  I was surprised that the top 10 was split evenly between #SOL posts and #TCRWP posts and absolutely delighted to see that three of the posts where Kathleen Tolan really stretched my brain were in the top 10. I learned so much from Kathleen this past summer and YET had so much more that I needed to learn. It’s time to practice, practice, practice.  I do write more “slices” than any other “type” of posts so I thank my slicer readers for boosting those stats! It was great to reread those posts with a “reader’s eye” as I considered WHY those posts were read more often than others!

What are you reading?  What are you writing?

How do you set goals and reflect on those goals?

And as always, dear readers . . .

thank you languages

#SOL16: #NCTE16 Friday Takeaways


Bookended by our Thursday and Friday evening dinners . . .

are over 16 pages of notes, hundreds of storified tweets, pictures galore and thousands of words.  Words Matter.  Words matter whether spoken or written.  Words in the heart matter as well. As a #TCRWP aficionado stunned by the passing of Deputy Director Kathleen Tolan this weekend, I celebrate my learning about small group reading instruction last summer with Kathleen even though I still yearn for more.  That gritty, passionate, talented, brilliant and sometimes “pushy” Deputy Director would want us to carry on . . . Make the students in front of you YOUR PRIORITY! FOCUS on students!

FRIDAY at #NCTE16

The Heinemann Breakfast on Friday honoring the Legacy of Don Graves was a star-studded celebration.  I felt like the red carpet was rolled out to recognize the literacy superstars in the room who all had stories to tell that encouraged us to roll up our sleeves, pay attention to students and get to work.  From Penny Kittle’s, “When Don asked me to do something, I did it!” to her credo “NCTE is a place to settle your soul” we were entranced!  Katherine Bomer reminded us that “Writing to discover what we care about is brave and that writing is a way a student’s voice comes into power and reminds us that we are all human.”  Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O’Dell shared that their “mentor text drop box – a way to organize and access mentor text – represents the generosity of Don Graves.” This breakfast was a family breakfast that reminded us of who we are and where we are going together. ( Heinemann Podcast Link)

Charts as Tools for Conversation, Advocacy and Action (Martinelli, Schwartz, & Luick)

The focus of this presentation was on the purpose of charts, ownership and environment, reflection and action.  The two words that I heard over and over were “purposeful planning”!  This is embodied in sketching out the steps to check clarity, the vocabulary used, and the ability of the chart to act as the teleprompter for the teacher.  Of course, a crystal clear teaching point helps!

One caution was to make sure that students’ voices were included in discovering learning together . . .students could contribute definitions, examples, and even make their own tools to use.  Tools that begin in the minds of teachers become ideas that can eventually be handed over to the students. (Isn’t that what transfer is REALLY all about?) I’ve heard many, many, many TCRWP staff members say that when we introduce a tool, coach and provide support for a tool, we MUST have a plan for the tool to go away. Graphics in a chart are really meant to be replaced by pictures or names of your own students. Or even better, by students who make their own charts because they know the purpose and that’s good for teachers, students, and LEARNING!

Vocabulary Matters!  – Valerie Geschwind, Shana Frazin, Katy Wischow and Char Shylock

How do students ever learn enough words to improve their vocabulary?  How do students become invested in their OWN learning?  Who’s really doing the work in vocabulary learning?

Step 1.  Listen carefully.

Step 2.  Wait.  

Too often when students say things that are untrue or unbiased, teachers jump in. Instead of the teacher teaching 24/7, maybe students should teach us so that they have the skills that they need for the rest of their lives!  

Step 3.  Think.   What do we know ( or What do we think we know) about …”

Step 4.  Audition what you know.  Try it on.  Is this idea never true? Sometimes true? Always true?  (or True for me? True for us? True for you?)  Set up a place or way for students to go do this!!!

Step 5. Revise and rename.  What assumptions changed?

Step 6. Spread the word.

This presentation included opportunities for us to think about shifting our beliefs, taking note of vocabulary words, increasing our word curiosity and consciousness and “settling our souls in teacher church”.  Shana Frazin told us that “English is her superpower and Hebrew is her kryptonite.”  If  we think of a word in another language, how does that add to our repertoire? How does working with “categories” help students access MORE words.  And then Katy  illuminated some FUN, JOYOUS ways to find a few minutes to incorporate vocabulary work. . . in a closure – share, in a mid-class tip, in spare 5 minutes before the bell rings or even a simple conversation like . . .

“Wow guys,  you are doing such fascinating work with characters… let’s talk about…. which would you rather be, character A or character B and why?”

Some activities take time:

  1. Sentence game
  2. Grid game  – person and question
  3. Play with words –  Beck’s Bringing Words to Life  (Would you rather?  How much would you like to ?  Which is more important to ? When/ how should you?)
  4. Word sorts – content words for open or closed sorts
  5. Other work – paintings or artwork.

Vocabulary work that has student learning and ownership as the goal WILL stick with students.  Vocabulary work that has “correct answers on the quiz” as an end goal . . . NOT so much!

The Power of Low Stakes Writing with Ralph Fletcher 

Fun

Laughter

Advice from students

“Use top shelf adjectives and verbs”

Metaphorically

Like a big balloon…

Real choice

Audience (beyond the teacher)

A sense of fun and adventure

Teachers  who value

Invention, originality and voice

So what happened to the big beautiful balloon?

Student Choice increases energy and excitement to make the balloon soar.

Test prep brings the balloon back to the ground.

There is a battle between freedom and discipline

But teachers do have choice and must be

BRAVE to bring choice back with any of these . . . (and also low-stakes)

  • Free Choice Fridays
  • The Writer’s Notebook
  • Class Writer’s notebook- Students inspired by what others write
  • Classroom blogs
  • Slice of Life Challenge
  • Open Cycles – where students chose the topic and genre
  • Need writing green belts – tap into the writing Ss are doing
  • FERAL writing
  • Study Driven Writing (Source  Katie Wood Ray)

Recklessly wonderful writing.

Students choose to work on writing because

The ideas of writing give them energy.

Multiple Layers of Literacy Learning – 

(Amy Brennan, Dani Burtsfield, Jill DeRosa, Kim Gosselin, Jennifer Hayhurst, Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson, Marissa Moss, Stefani Nolde, Erica Picarole, David Schultz, and Kari Yates)

What do you think of when you hear professional development?  Who is it for?  This session included conversations about learning for teachers, parents, and students. Learning, fun, and choice are necessary ingredients for multi-dimensional opportunities for all to grow! Summer school included learning for teachers and the students!

Advocating for Revision in Reading: Meaning Making as a Journey, Not a Destination  – Ellin Keene, Matt Glover, Dan Feigelson and Kathy Collins

Students who are reading and writing A LOT know a lot.  Ellin had an example of a six year old who understood the use of metaphor.  Students who read and write have the tools to share their thinking at deeper levels than we may have considered.  How do we help them revise their thinking?  Sometimes it means the adult must close his/her mouth in order for the student to take the lead!  Students need to learn to be comprehension decision makers! Students have to be flexible thinkers and not seekers of “right” answers.  Building a “Reader’s Identity” is a desired outcome, not a letter of a level! What are the characteristics of a reader that you admire?  That’s a different question than those that are typically part of a story inquisition! Product and process do matter so

“Privilege all texts”

” Our attention shows what we value!”

“Show reading identities.”

“Elevate the book.”

“Elevate the readers of the book.”

Dear Reader, Are you still here with me?

At this point we were off to the #HeinemannPub reception for the #TCRWP Reading Units of Study Libraries, the #StenhousePub reception for authors, and then dinner with #G2Great Voxer cousins!  Many miles of words and ideas heard, considered and studied!

So what caught your attention on this overview of Friday’s learning at #NCTE16?  

When were you nodding your head and saying, “YES”!

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

And a “Paul Harvey – the Rest of the Story” video here . . . How Friday ended!

#DigiLitSunday: The 3 P’s


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It’s DigiLitSunday.  Head over to Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche for additional posts on this topic.

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Saturday was the 91st #SaturdayReunion at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  A FREE day of professionald development as a gift to thousands of teachers and administrators.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t there.  My fall schedule has been challenging.  But I am going to borrow from Tweets from the day to illustrate my thinking about the 3 P’s.

Why is “Patience” important?

As teachers it is important that students “do the work” and often that means that teachers need to step back, close their mouths, and listen to students as they share what they can and cannot do.  These were some tweets that spoke to me about patience in order to slow down, let the students work, and not solve all the problems of the world in one day! (Yes, there is a need for urgency but solutions aren’t required every day!)

patiencepatience-twopatience-threepatience-fourpatience-fivepatience-sixpatience-seven

Why is “Practice” important?

My favorite quote for this fall has been one from Brooke Geller about our students being “over taught and under practiced”.  I believe that this means that we need to make sure again, that students are doing the work and that we make sure that they practice the “work” multiple times.  Sometimes that practice can come in discussion prior to writing and other times that practice will require trying out five or six different introductions to a piece.  Are you familiar with this video? Austin’s Butterfly from Expeditionary Learning Students do get the value of practice after seeing this video. (Even if they would rather NOT practice that many times!)

These tweets spoke to me about practice.

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practice-six

And what about those regular practices of teachers?  How we allocate time is a reflection of our values.  Are we facilitators?  Are we leaders? What is our role?

practice-fourpractice-five

Why is “Persistence”important?

If I had attended, I would have been in the front row for Katy Wischow’s opening keynote, “The Intersection of Passion and Expertise: Fangirling Over Alexander Hamilton”.  I watched “Hamilton’s America” on PBS Friday night and was again awed by the magnificence of the show, the historical implications, and the access to documents that led to the authenticity of this Broadway musical.

Why this keynote?  Because I believe that  “passion” is the KEY resource for teachers when we have to be “PERSISTENT” as we work with striving adolescents who do not want to be lured into literacy lives.  These students are resistant to reading and writing even when choice is offered.  “It’s boring.”  “I can’t do it.” “Why do I have to do this?”  All of these statements are now even coming out of the mouths of our babes – our second and third graders. Students who don’t know the passion and joy that comes from learning.  Students who don’t know the power that comes from learning.  Students who don’t know that the focus of learning is finding and following a passion of the heart. We can and must do better at igniting and fueling that passion in our students.

Persistence by building Passion for Learning in Students:

(Thank you, Mike Ochs, for the tweets!)

katy-onekatie-two

katie-three

katie-four

katy-five

If students are passionate about their learning, won’t your job as a teacher be done?

Thanks to all the tweets on Twitter that allowed me to curate these tweets from afar. Thanks to Lucy Calkins and Colleagues at #TCRWP for the learning that generated the tweets so I could both RT and collect them from 1101 miles away in Iowa! Without a digital world, this learning wouldn’t have been possible!

How do patience, practice, and persistence fit into your life?

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