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Blog Tour: It’s All About the Books


Screenshot 2018-04-29 at 5.40.51 AM.pngAdapted from “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor
“Because you know I’m all about the books,
‘Bout the books, everywhere
I’m all ’bout books, in the bookroom, and classroom

I’m all ’bout books, in the bookroom, and classroom

I’m all ’bout reading, ’bout the books,

Because you know I’m all about reading,
‘Bout the books, Read Alouds too
I’m all ’bout independent reading, ’bout book sets.
I’m all ’bout book clubs, ’bout, partners too
I’m all ’bout the books (books)
I’m all ’bout learning, all about growing,
I’m all ’bout poetry, all about the series,
I’m all about adventure, and mystery
We gon’ read fantasy, historical fiction, and nonfiction too.
We know that books save lives
We know they make you feel
We know they take you places
We know they open up the world
We know they are a must
We know that readers have to read
We know…”
This book is a treasure trove of ideas to help teachers, buildings and districts increase student access to books and ultimately with the generosity of the authors to fund elementary and middle school classroom libraries through Penny Kittle’s #BookLove foundation.  I’ve already written about the book here before I’d finished reading the book and here after the #G2Great Twitter Chat (and when I was done reading the book).  This week, posts are also available at the sites listed above.  In the book the color pictures from classrooms and bookrooms are so detailed that you can immediately begin to think of new ways to reorganize your own book collections. Tammy and Clare talk about the need to have school libraries, classroom libraries and a bookroom.

Do you have a bookroom? 

What is the purpose of your bookroom?

There is no “ONE” right way to set up a bookroom.  Tammy and Clare suggest that you can use a closet, a room, a portion of the school library for a bookroom or “book annex”.  The initial step is to inventory your books and the forms that are available from the Heinemann Publishing online resources.

 

Screenshot 2018-04-29 at 3.25.36 PM.png

Mulligan & Landrigan. It’s All About the Books. (p. 41)

 

I’ve been reviewing these bullets as I’ve studied book rooms ever since reading this book (p. 37- 54).  Is your bookroom essentially a “guided reading library” or is it a bookroom in the sense that Tammy and Clare refer to?  Access is a key.  Easy access is even more important.  Design involves the physical aspects of the bookroom space: shelves, baskets, labels, and location as well as the uses of the books. How accessible are your books?

Do all students have enough books to read (volume) to both grow and be inspired to be a life-long reader?

Students need daily access to more books than they can read so they can have choice.  If students are to be reading independently for 30 minutes each day, they need choices from a “limitless pool” of books.  That’s the purpose of the bookroom.  Choice involves considering a redesign or redeployment of current book inventories.  Considering how to meet multiple instructional needs may require changes:  some books in six packs for guided reading/small group instruction, some books as singles for independent reading and some books in 2s/3s for book clubs.  All.without.purchasing.more.books.at.this.time!

Live dangerously.  Check out your bookroom.  Are there some books that are starting to collect dust because they haven’t been read recently?

If those are six packs of books in zip-lock baggies, Tammy and Clare suggest that you may want to consider having them redistributed as singles for independent reading.  This is especially true for the beginning levels where students will need a high volume of books to read daily.  To Consider:  Maybe not all of the books need to be in sets of six in the bookroom.  Is that a novel thought?

What are some other possibilities?

What are the key topics that your students are interested in?  If it’s animals and you are a kindergarten teacher, you may want some A and B books in a basket labeled “Animals”. The label will NOT say A/B  This may even be a basket with a mixture of fiction and nonfiction books (my thinking).  If your first grade students like animals, you may need an E/F basket of animal books or  an I/J basket of animal books.  Again, the label will be the topic. The labels might be topics, authors, or general like “Laugh Out Loud”. Think of how easy it might be to “use” these books in your classroom if the books are already organized into baskets of approximately 20 books that you would be ready to check out and go!

What books do you need more of in your classroom?  Books for independent reading?  Books for book clubs?  Books for small group instruction?  Your classroom needs and student interests can help you figure out additional ways to organize books that may include your science and social studies curricula support as well. Sharing and redistributing books will keep the dust off and provide more reading for more students! What if you were able to reorganize your bookroom with a variety of combinations of books in order to enhance the readerly lives of your students?

If students are going to read a lot and become readers who love to read, they need access to books.  A lot of books. Single books for independent reading are needed in many classrooms because “rereading” the guided reading books are boring after awhile as are the Xeroxed books at the low levels, and perhaps FEWER books are needed for guided reading, especially after Level K.  (Moving to “strategy groups” for instruction allows the teacher to use the same mini-lesson for all students and provide practice in a text that shows they fully understand the strategy.) Practice, practice, practice in texts allows the student to build confidence and a skilled teacher can also consider how to close the gap for striving students.  That means fewer books will really need to be stored in groups of six.  Instead, baskets of books could be set up in the bookroom so teachers are able to rotate baskets to provide “new” titles for classroom libraries without depleting the school library. Independent student reading books can be refreshed and reinvigorated for immediate access in the classroom. (And it books are reassigned, perhaps the school book budget can now include some “new” purchases as new titles are published!)

Check out this April 29, 2018 Facebook Live session with Tammy and Clare here.

What ideas about bookrooms have intrigued you? 

What books could maybe be read more often if some changes were made in your current book collections?

Are you using your books in the most productive ways for students?




Heinemann has graciously donated a copy of It’s All About the Books for each stop on the blog tour. To enter, comment below and either post a picture of some part of your classroom library or your bookroom with the link in a comment or write about your thinking or your questions about bookrooms.  At the end of the week (Friday after 8 pm),  a random winner will be chosen to receive a copy of this fabulous new book!

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#SOL18: A Ripple


When do you speak up? When do you take action?  When have you “had enough”?  


I have a question. 

I see an injustice. 

Do I remain quiet? 

Do I speak up? 

What if my question is not accepted? 

What if  . . . 

What is the worst that can happen?

 

risk.PNG

I love this poem that Vicki Vinton posted on Twitter (as well as a new source for poetry)!  It can apply to so many situations in life.

Inaction . . .

Inertia . . .

No longer acceptable . . .

What is the tipping point?

Relative Truths:

Do no harm?

Truth?

What will be the cost of speech?

What will be the cost of inaction?

ripple.PNG

“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water,

the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.”  Dalai Lama

“This is what kindness does, Ms.Albert said. Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.” Jacqueline Woodson

What will your “ripple” be?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: March 12


How much do typos bother you?

In Blogs?

On Facebook?

On Twitter?

I hate spelling errors in any form of social media.  Some formats are particularly difficult because revision provisions do not exist.  So careful review is necessary before hitting the button that sends the message out into the world.




This tweet . . .

Screenshot 2018-03-11 at 10.54.26 PM.png

is proof that money obviously cannot buy you an education.

Not even billions of dollars.

If this was your mentor text . . .

How many errors can you find?  What needs to be fixed?

Let’s parse it by sentences.

  1. “Great public schools will always work well for many kids, but if it’s not working for an individual child, they should have access to options.”

2. “No one should ever feel trapped or stuck.”

3. “No parent should have to feel like they are settling when it comes to their       child’s education.”

And in case you missed it, here was her interview on CBS 60 minutes last night.

What a train wreck!

And that’s probably the kindest way that I can phrase my complete and utter disbelief!




There are several ways you could “fix” this tweet.  Here’s just one view.

  1. “Great public schools will always work well for many kids, but if it’s the schools are not working for an individual child, they he/she should have access to options.”

2. “No one should ever feel trapped or stuck.”

3. “No parent should have to feel like they he/she are settling when it comes to their               his/her    child’s education.”




3:45 pm correction.  Courtesy of Donalyn Miller: “they is singular nonbinary.”

correction 

  1. “Great public schools will always work well for many kids, but if it’s the schools are not working for an individual child, they  should have access to options.            (error – contraction/possessive/or pronoun) and then 2 and 3 are correct! So there is a reason not to overreact toooooooooo quickly!



And in all fairness to Ms. Betsy, here is her response to 60 Minutes.

:“She asked me one thing about schools, and then another, and another,” she said. “If I had to answer every question she had about schools, I would have had to bone up on education for a month.” (Betsy DeVos, NewYorker)

Well, Duh!  You should have known the answers to those questions before you took the job.  Then you wouldn’t have had to “bone up on education for a month.”  THAT’S YOUR JOB!




This is called pronoun – antecedent agreement.  Khan Academy has a video here.

Practice with the Online Writing Academy can be found here.

Here’s a quiz from Oxford in case one would like to consider a proficiency level.  Link




Data:

Total Words:

  • 50 words
  • 4 errors 1 error
  • 92%   98 % correct grammatically

Pronouns:

  • 4 words
  • 4 errors   1 error
  • 75 % correct grammatically

And what about the message in her tweet?

She was not talking about “failing schools.”  She was talking about “Great public schools” that might not work for an individual child . . .




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily forum each March. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016




Addendum:

This week:  I was going to comment about this . . . but the Washington Post beat me to it.

I had already passed on this . . .

 

#SOL18: It Depends!


 

Screenshot 2018-02-20 at 7.41.25 AM.png

 

We should do it!

It depends . . .

Was it our choice?

We are already doing our best.

It depends . . .

Is it our “Freedom of choice” or “Required”?

It does work.

It depends . . . 

How it is implemented?

It may suck the JOY out of life.

It depends . . .

Who makes the choices?

The purchase price was high.

It depends . . . 

How are time and resources valued?

Our decision-making criteria are in place.

It depends . . .

When must we decide?

It’s time for research.

It depends . . .

When will we begin?


Today I am curious.  A tweet from @rrcna_org.

Gravity Goldberg.

Same words I heard 10 days ago at #CCIRA . . .

Screenshot 2018-02-19 at 9.02.58 PM

Do we ask the right questions? 

Do we wait for the answers? 

Do we begin to shop around? 

Do we give up our autonomy? 

Are we outsourcing our teaching decisions?

Have we lost our faith in our own decisions? 

Have you named your non-negotiables?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                     slice of life 2016

Curious?


Read back through but start with “When will we begin?” and read UP.

Does it change when the question for each verse is first instead of last?

Do you like it better the first way or the second?

#SOL18: Volunteering


There was a box.

“Would you like to volunteer?”

Hmmm.  What’s the likelihood?

Oh, well, nothing ventured.

Nothing gained.

Click, box checked.

Submitted.

Time passed by.

No more thought of that little box.

That little check.

And then . . . an email.

“Would you be a monitor?”

A monitor?

Sounds simple.

Sure.

I replied affirmatively. 

Marked it on my calendar.

Linked the email.

Time passed by.

A few wonderings about the role of a monitor.

But not much thought.

And then . . . a second email.

A different question this time.

“Would you be a chair?”

A chair?

Sounds simple.

But wait . . .

For whom?

More details?

I read the email.

I checked the email again.

I reread carefully.

What a treat!

What an honor!

The email was an invitation to be a chairperson for a session at #CCIRA18.  Who knew?  An out-of-stater was going to be the chair.  And to introduce an #eduhero of mine!

Friday,

February 9, 2018

in Humboldt Peak

9:15 – 11:15

at #CCIRA18,

Session 318

“Dynamic Teaching for the Deeper Reading of Fiction”

Presenter: Vicki Vinton

Screenshot 2018-02-12 at 10.12.40 PM

Heaven! Pure Delight!

What’s your experience with volunteering at literacy conferences? 

What’s your experience with volunteering at non-educational activities? 

Do you continue to volunteer?





Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

 

#CCIRA18: Disrupting Thinking


Satuday at #CCIRA18 meant three hours with Kylene Beers and Bob Probst.

Three hours.

Amazing three hours.

Tears.

Laughter.

Stories.

And most of all learning.

But I’m still struck by this . . .

Teachers know more about the teaching of reading than ever before.

Textbooks are better.

More books published for kids.

Yet more kids leave high school saying, ‘I will never read a book again.'”

WHY is this?

We know more.

Out teaching has improved.

The materials and resources have improved.

And yet, when students leave school, they aren’t reading.

The data is here.

Go wade through the data.  It’s been sliced, graphed and discussed from number of books to types of characters to choice.  Two that caught my eye are here.

Frequency of Reading and Number of Books

Screenshot 2018-02-12 at 7.53.51 AM.png

Frequency of Student Selection of Book and Likelihood of Finishing a Book

Screenshot 2018-02-12 at 7.55.47 AM.png

How do you interpret this data? 

How important is student self-selection of books according to the students? 

How might this data impact your work?

#CCIRA18: What do students read?


This picture of a slide from Peter Johnston’s keynote on Saturday at #CCIRA18 has had

63 retweets,

118 likes, and

some pushback . . .

Guthrie

John Guthrie’s research here

Pernille Ripp also spoke to this issue at #CCIRA18

pernille

Kate Roberts book will be out this month.

kate

Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle’s book will be out in April.  I’m not finding the preview of the cover now, but it has “180 Days” in the title and at #NCTE17, they shared their structure that includes one whole class book per semester.

What is a healthy reading diet?  How would one build a “Healthier Reading Diet”?

Check out Travis Crowder’s work with Donalyn Miller’s resources here.

What is the end goal?

Students who can read?

Students who do read?

Students who have choice and voice in what they read?

Or students who pass a test and never pick up a book again?

What books should students read?

How many books should the whole class read together each year? 

Who decides?

Does this speak to student engagement?

Does this speak to excellence in literacy?

Does this speak to equity? 

What is your interpretation? 

What are your expectations?

 

#CCIRA Day 2: Aha’s


How did I feel at the end of Day 2?  After another 11 hour day of learning . . .

Which picture?

I couldn’t decide so I had to include all three as my brain truly is full and there is more learning ahead.  My heart is happy because I need some space to think, write and share  in order to free up some brain space for Day 3!

Change is Necessary and Teachers Must Be Change Agents

Eric Sheninger led the final session, “Inspiring Students Bringing Awe Back to Learning” in which we looked at some of the changes in our lives/world and compared them to changes in schools.  Are our schools really preparing students who are ready for the rest of their lives?

So this hits me personally as I can remember a crank phone on the wall with a party line, a black and white TV and maybe three shows we watched during a week, and a wringer washer with separate rinse tubs that was used on “wash day”.  Yes, that old!

The change in phones is pretty obvious even though the picture makes them look similar in size.  So what has changed in education?  What looks the same?  What looks different? Think about that for a minute before you continue on!

The Teacher is Responsible for the Awe

“Awe is a huge component of life – it’s hardwired into our brains…Awe is a driving force for learning…However, traditional views and functions of school deprives many students from experiencing the joy and power of awe as a catalyst for meaningful learning.”     ~ Eric Sheninger, CCIRA18 program, p. 43

Not Technology, But the Teacher!

  • The teacher sets the conditions for learning.
  • The teacher sets up the environment for learning.
  • The teacher makes the decisions about next steps.
  • The teacher makes sure play is included.
  • The teacher facilitates the learning.
  • The teacher has a purpose in mind.
  • But the teacher has a mindset that allows the students to “wonder” outside the corners of the page.
  • And then the teacher steps back and the students do the work.
  • NO graphic organizers.
  • NO fill in the blank activities.
  • Real Reading.
  • Real purposes.
  • Real Writing.
  • Real purposes.
  • Talk required.
  • Thinking required.

Yesterday, I heard this over and over and over.

I heard it from Vicki Vinton as we, the teachers, did the reading work six minutes into the session (yes, six minutes in) that incorporated a different version of close reading, analysis, and interpretation that met the demands of the first six reading standards. Read. Talk. Read. Talk.  Read. Talk.  Constructing meaning.  Working together.  Building on each other’s ideas.  Revising our ideas.  Refining our thinking. No highlighting.  No three readings.

I heard it from Gravity Goldberg as she encouraged teachers to “do the work” and be their best source of “next steps”. Teachers’ best use of time is spent searching student work for the “awe and possibilities” that are NOT found online in any free, pretty, or even paid for resources. Use the time wisely in the best interests of your students!  You must trust your data, student work, for the next steps.

And I heard it from Kristi Mraz as she presented

research,

research,

research,

research,

and more research

(Link ) (and here PK)(and here)( and here – Best K design)

(and sneak peak at Kristi and Christine’s new book)

that clearly showed that play has longer term positive effects than “academic learning” at pre-school and primary ages!  Building play into the schedule is the teacher’s responsibility and it’s not, “PLAY, NOW!” in a demanding tone either.

This does fit with everything I know and believe about “students doing the work” in order to own the learning.  With frameworks like this . . .

  • Students do have MORE choice.
  • Students do have MORE voice.
  • Students do have MORE time to explore their own AWE.
  • Students do have more time to think and learn at deeper levels.

How do these classrooms look?

The classrooms are buzzing with learning, excitement, and student voices.  Walls include student work.  Students are able to access the materials they need.  Books are everywhere. Students aren’t vessels waiting for their brains to be filled like turning the tap on the water faucet pictured above.  Students are proposing topics and formats of their choices in ways that will demonstrate their learning. Students are invested in the work because they chose their own compelling work!

Learning MUST include Joy, Wonder, Relevancy, Engagement, Inspiration, Real-World Connections and AWE.

It begins with You, the teacher!

Screenshot 2018-02-10 at 4.59.43 AM

You are more important than any device!

You must know the WHY and then stay the course, check your data, and work in the best interests of ALL your children as every minute of every day is a precious learning resource.  The students’ future is literally in your hands!

If you are at #CCIRA18, what did you learn on Day 2?

How will your learning impact your work next week?

#CCIRA18 Begins


Anticipation

It’s like the first day of school

But it’s February!

But it was 53 degrees in Denver when I arrived.

That’s not winter weather.

Brown grass.

No snow.

Hmmm . . .

What season is this?

Here’s my agenda for the day . . .

Beginning at 7:30 am in Denver with Ralph Fletcher.

What an absolute delight!

Thinking brain needed by 7:30 am.

Before that in order to be in the right room in a great seat!

Screenshot 2018-02-07 at 8.46.26 PM

What will you be learning today? 

Where will you be learning? 

How will we know?

Plan to follow #CCIRA18 tweets for some great learning!

#Celebratelu: Life


Screenshot 2017-12-09 at 10.21.44 AM.png

In the waning days of 2017, it is important to celebrate LIFE.

When I say that it’s been a tough year, tears begin.  It was an absolutely awful year because we lost so many . . .

suddenly,

and without that last farewell.

Black holes of despair.

My godfather, my godson (nephew) and his wife, my brother, my mother-in-law, and now another cousin’s spouse.

And, YET,

Life continues.

We celebrate our memories, we laugh at the stories, and we remember with our shattered hearts.  We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and celebrate every precious moment.  We don’t know how long we have, so we celebrate the life we live. The events:  concerts, football, basketball, wrestling . . . The food.  The locations.

We bring our memories with us.  We wallow in out love.  We share. We cry. We laugh. We love.  We live.

I’m sharing a poem from a memorial service last week.

Screenshot 2017-12-09 at 10.32.27 AM

Easy?  Heck, no! 

But necessary?  Yes! 

Choose to celebrate their Love! 

Choose to celebrate their Lives! 

Choose to celebrate your LIFE! 

And anticipate that 2018 will be a year of LIFE like no other!   🙂

 

 

 

 

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