Category Archives: Writing

#SOL19: Day 21 #SOLSC


 

Screenshot 2019-03-01 at 4.31.25 AMI check the calendar.

Hmm.

Meeting coming up.

Do I:

a. Cheer and high five with excitement over a meeting

b. Have a mini eye roll

c.  Yawn in anticipation of a lively session

d. Plan to arrive early, stay late and be totally energized?

Which one fits your feelings toward those regularly scheduled meetings?

At the TCRWP Saturday Reunion I deliberately chose Meghan Hargrave’s session titled:  “A Session for Coaches and Teachers Leaders: Professional Development that Sticks” and like the theme for the day, Meghan talked about a clear purpose, relationships, facilitation, and cycles of learning.

The topic was important. The room was packed. People sat on the floor in the back, on the sides, and leaned in to catch every word.

What do your meetings look like?

The information that I found most intriguing was when Meghan talked about different methods for meetings.  Just like in workshop, different methods for meetings. Here are the five she shared.

Methods for Meetings

Mini-lecture 5 – 10 min.

Demonstration & practice

Role play

Make and Take

ON-demand teaching – both coaching method and meeting method

Meetings

Could be faculty meetings

Could be PLC meetings

Could be grade level meetings

Could be collaborative planning meetings

And the methods could vary.

Does that happen in your world?

Or are your meetings pretty much structured the same way, with the same method, meeting after meeting? 

What’s the best that could happen if you changed the method of the meeting?

What could be the potential impact for students?




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

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#SOL19: Day 20 SOLSC


REALLY?

I quickly scanned the area. Had I said that outloud?

Un-freaking believable!  Again!

81%

I checked the USB port.

I checked the microport.

I checked the plug in.

And waited, not very patiently.

I had time, plenty of time.

Better now than later.

Ten minutes!

74%

Major eye roll.

Checked the connections again.

Muttering under my breath.

Trying not to disturb my neighbors.

Checked and rechecked all connections.

Ten more minutes!

69%

Unbelievable!

Audible muttering.

Rechecking

All connections were solid.

And YET . . .

I looked in between the two rows of seats at Gate 12, Terminal C, La Guardia . . .

 The plug ins lay on the floor

Unconnected

No power source

I knew exactly how Charlie Brown felt!

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When have you been fooled?

How do you regain “trust” after being fooled?

Is this something you consider before April Fools’ Day?




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

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#SOL19: Day 19 SOLSC


“Hey, Iowa, how are you doing?”

My walking companion turns to face the man talking, who is also selling . . .

“Iowa State,” I forget and say, “No, Iowa Hawkeyes.” Now I’m engaging in the conversation.

Someone always asks for directions on the Metro. Inside Columbus Circle, I had no clue. A second request came outside Riverside Church so I could provide those directions.

Why do folks talk to me?  I wear my collegiate pride. (Remember we have no National Sports Teams in Iowa.) So I’m used to strangers talking to me or asking for help.

It was a pure pleasure to hear Anne Taranto Saturday at TCRWP in a session titled:  “Lifting the Level of Student’s Talking and Writing about Books:  Give Kids Tools and Tips to Talk and Jot about Books during Read Aloud, Book Clubs, and Partner Time”.

Here’s quick peek into the first three minutes.

“Talk is important.  Layer your talk.”

A turn and talk:

“In your role, what are the patterns that you are noticing around talk?  

Some of the most common that Anne shared with the packed to the gills, sit on the floor, participants in Everett Lounge were:

“They do a great job when I tell them what to do.”

“They are resistant and drag their heels.”

“We get structures up and running, but they don’t talk.”

Why is TALK important?

We need the language so we can talk. We need to share in order to display our thinking.  Community matters. So in order to raise the level of talk, we need to manage the big lofty things.  We need the bigger goal to manage the mess.  That means that we will have to let the control freak that loves quiet go in order to let the learning chaos rise. 

WE, the teachers, know our purpose.

Do our students?

Will the students ever hit the target if they don’t know the purpose? 

Try the talk . . .

Try the layers . . .

Try to see it another way . . .

When you are stuck, do you use talk?

Talk for a “process” or Talk to think deeper?

What results do you get when you don’t know the purpose? 

Is the work a bit frustrating?

How could you “reboot” talk to improve it?




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

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#SOL19: Day 18 SOLSC


“Oh, you were going down,” the maid commented. She pushed the button for a higher floor.

I remained silent.  “Should I use my typical Iowa spiel? ‘Well, I live in a town that doesn’t have any buildings taller than two stories.'”

Nah. Silence. No excuse. Too early!

The elevator dinged to announce its arrival. I moved to the elevator bank that was lit. I didn’t remember if it was a

D

O

W                                               P  arrow.

N  arrow or an       U

Simply too late to matter.

By the time all my thinking was done, the elevator was going down, down to my destination. Trivia. Let it go!

Tell Your Story . . .

Shanna Schwartz is a master storyteller and she delivered a powerful keynote when she used stories to offer tips to help teachers, coaches, and administrators in Cowin Auditorium understand what will make TEACHING STICK.

Old School . . .

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I noted and appreciated the delivery of the keynote. . .  Stories, a  document camera, and anchor charts created in front of us.  No powerpoint, google slides or Prezi.  These were the presentations I remember from the first sessions I attended at #TCRWP Institutes. (Lucy Calkins also addresses the atmosphere and delivery of mini-lessons in Leading Well.)

Three memorable quotes . . .

STUDENTS

Children like all humans do not just learn things whole and then do it perfectly. They do it partially, making approximations, and gradually showing more learning.” (Shanna B Schwartz, 3.16.19. TCRWP) (Check out her book for the exact wording.)

TEACHERS

“Have to be planned enough so I can watch students, to know what to do, and be flexible enough to change to meet kids needs!” (Shanna B Schwartz, 3.16.19. TCRWP)

TEACHING

“Sometimes teaching feels like a performance. Teaching should be a relationship, a warmth, and closeness that you are building together.” (Shanna B Schwartz, 3.16.19. TCRWP)

Timeless . . .

One of Two Keynotes at the #TCRWP 96th Saturday Reunion was “Making Your Teaching Stick” by Shanna Schwartz.

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Shanna referred to this book (as did Sarah Picard Taylor in her introduction of Shanna) that she wrote 11 years ago as a base for her keynote.  It might be a quick book to pull out and review with your staff. Every single book from the Help Desk series has tips worth revisiting and the price is right.

So when something isn’t right in life, do you choose silence as I did on the elevator or do you study the situation in order to figure out alternatives?  If it’s a short interval, time may solve the issue.  But what if it isn’t?  Then what do you choose to do?  What is your default?  Your knowledge? Your skill set? What stories do you lean on?

What are the principles that you hold onto dearly? 

How do you deliver your instruction (and your PD)?

What are the areas you continually return to for problem solving because they don’t seem “to stick”?




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

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#SOL19: Day 17 SOLSC


Friday we walked, talked, walked and finally checked GPS.

“I think we need to turn here.”

Not quite sure, we made a turn. We walked and talked some more. The weather was balmy.

The conversation: Kids. Family. Work. Life. Catching up on life changes. On slicing. On plans for the weekend.

We walked, talked, and walked some more.

“Oops, let’s recenter the map.”

“And now that means retracing our steps.”

It was enough that the daily goal was met. Better yet, we laughed at mis-steps and retracing our steps when we made wrong turns. The destination was talk and enjoying NYC – not our physical location.

The errors were not totally “user errors” as Google Maps on my phone has only ever given driving directions. (And Google loves to volunteer information based on past information.) It wasn’t “set” for walking directions so a three or four block walk was over 10,000 steps by the end of the afternoon. The directions were a source of laughter. After all the weather was comfortable, the company was delightful, time was plentiful, and the conversations connected on so many levels.

Screenshot 2019-03-16 at 10.51.25 PM

So how does this GPS/Google Maps story connect to Saturday and the 96th Saturday Reunion at TCRWP?

Before the final Saturday keynote at Riverside Church, I was quizzed by the master.  After telling Lucy Calkins that it was a fabulous day, of course, she asked me what made it so good.

Gulp. . . On the spot . . .

Every session talked about purpose.  Purpose for teachers. Purpose for students. Joyful purpose. Not “git’er done, struggle through it” purpose! And make no mistake about it, it’s also all about student choice. Student choice in what to read and write is the foundational framework that motivates more reading, more writing, more thinking and sustains it at deeper levels when it gets tough.  It’s not about FUN, it’s not about cute activities, and it’s not about the chevron-themed classrooms. Instead it is  about following interests and passions of students, allowing students to blossom and grow . . . And it is also about relationships. Our relationships with each other as learners, as readers, as writers and thinkers, as coaches of teacher leaders, coaches and administrators. Our relationships with books, writers’ notebooks and the work that we ask students to do.  Life work, not just compliant school work. And of course it’s not easy, but with a group and the continued support of our community, WE can do this together. We can rise to the challenge because our expectations are the students’ ceiling!

HELLO, isn’t that why thousands of teachers were REALLY in New York City on a Saturday for a day of free learning at the 96th Saturday Reunion at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project?

The literacy levels that your students reach are in your grasp. Stop fussing about the *$&@$/ tests and all the “things” outside your control.

You are the GPS, the Google Map, the roadmap for your students’ success.

YOU!

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!

What will you do to ensure that you grow and learn in order to be the best YOU that you can be? 

What will you read? 

What will you write? 

What will you think? 

What words can you go back to?

Who will you partner with to sustain your work?

You will have to return for details in future posts . . . fun in NYC beckons!




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

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#SOL19: Day 16 SOLSC


Four years ago I was headed to Riverside Church;

Today I’m headed to #TCRWP for the keynote.

Four years ago I took the Red #1 to TC;

Today I’m taking the Red #1 to TC.

Four years ago I headed to the Kitchenette for a Slicer Meet Up;

Today I’m spending the day with Clare and our Slicer Meet Up began on Friday.

Just one of the many venues today;

For sure with the closing so grand!

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How are you spending your Saturday?

What will you be learning today?




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

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#SOL19: Day 14 SOLSC


Screenshot 2019-03-14 at 12.03.13 AM

UGH!

Will the weather make it two in a row? 

Hope?

Disappointment? 

Which will reign?

Cyclone bomb in Colorado? 

Winter has not been following a predictable pattern . . .

What’s next?

What will happen . . . ?




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

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How do you REALLY feel about cliffhangers? 

Have you identified the characters?  setting? possible solution? 

You will have to stay tuned for the solution!

#SOL19: Day 10 SOLSC


Comfort Food

It’s a rainy, rainy, rainy, windy Saturday and time to cook.  Cook just one part of my favorite.  One that I’ve made but never from scratch. And today it’s only the filling. Not the dough.  The dough would require another trip to the grocery store . . .

Kolaches

A family staple.

Fillings vary.

Poppyseed

Prune

Cherry.

Bake in rows

By the dozens

Assembly line production

 A family tradition.

Many required for the first are inhaled. Taste buds reactivated.

Kolaches.

Family treat.

Family necessity. Always a quick reminder of so many events. So many treasured days.  Today I made my own poppy seed filling and served it up on toast – idea courtesy of my brilliant younger sister.

 

Comfort food = kolaches

5 minutes . . .

Spark! From Paula Bourque

“Word Sparks

Words are a vessel for meaning. A single word can conjure up thoughts, stimulate memories, and/or stir emotions. Providing a single word as a quick write spark can demonstrate the power of a single word. It need not be profound like Patriotic, it can be as simple as Chair, in which thoughts of snuggling with a loved one, or shopping for a family one, or being forced to sit in one as punishment might be conjured in a flash.

You can find words in a dictionary, randomly point to one in a text, or use my friend Jennifer Laffin’s Word of the Day on her TeachWrite Facebook Page. She also has an Email List with tips, ideas and inspiration for teacher writers.”  Link

What is your comfort food?  Your family tradition?







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

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#SOL19: Day 7 SOLSC


Lucky Day 7

Screenshot 2019-03-07 at 12.45.11 AM.png

On Day Seven . . . Using the Throwback Time Machine . . .

Quality Instructional Practices

  • How do teachers improve?
  • How do they know what to improve?
  • How can teachers be given an opportunity to rethink, reflect, and revise with support?

This post began four years ago today, March 7, 2015. But the content remains pertinent.

What is the source of teacher improvement?  Is it “Professional Development”? Is it “Professional Learning”? Is it time for “Reflection”? Are there some features that should be present for all teachers?

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Doug Fisher, Visible Learning

 

Collective Teacher Efficacy – John Hattie – effect size of d=1.57 (approx. 4 years growth)

Feedback – effect size of d=0.72 ( half of Collective Teacher Efficacy)

The message seems to be clear: together teachers can achieve more, especially if they collectively believe that they can do so!

How Leaders Inspire Teachers . . .

But what if . . .

These discussions / conversations were a part of “regular business” in all our schools . . .

How do I know I am using my instructional time wisely? 

How do I know my students are learning?

One professional filter might be Good to Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters . . .

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Good to Great Teaching by Dr. Mary C.Howard

Where is the learning?

Are pendulum swings the result of information overload or the lack of solid grounding in the research/understanding WHY?

A search for FUN?

A search for the EASY button?




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

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#SOL19: Day 5 SOLSC


A Day of Learning

The joy

The pleasure

The fun

And learning

Kate and Maggie for an entire day

Keeping it real

Learning

Having fun

How does this help me as as learner?

How does this help  the learner?

Which tools help the memory?

Which tools keep the learner learning?

Tools?

Ready?

Paper

Check

Sharpies

Check

Post Its

Check

Ideas

Check

Create on!!!

When does PD stir your heart, soul and mind? 

How does learning spark your own creativity?




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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