Category Archives: Writing

#DigiLitSunday: Summer Slide


summer slidedigilit-button

Is this your belief?  

For your students?  

For yourself?  

How would we know?

What is summer slide?

Summer slide reports what students lose over the summer if they don’t read or write.  Reading and writing over the summer can promote growth for students.  But is that growth equitable?  Does it work for all students?  How much do they need to read and write?  Renown educator and researcher Richard Allington addresses this issue in School Library Journal here.

WRITING

There isn’t a lot of research about summer slide and writing.  Graduate students might want to consider that for an action research project.  What is the effect of “not writing” for a student after they write daily for 180 days?  How could we measure that? This may just be a cartoon but think about this from a student perspective for just a minute.

summer slide three

READING

There are many different infographics outlining summer slide. Which one will motivate you to action?

summer slide repeat.JPG

summer slide info.JPG

What can teachers and parents do?  Ask questions!

Writing:

Decorate new journals

Wonder logs for the summer

Writing stories with your child

Make a summer writing heart map of ideas to write about

Continue blogging – slice of life/ kidblog

Keep Learning Going Through the Summer series – #TWTBlog

Student or Adult Writing Partners

Reading:

Brain Chase

TBR Lists – (To Be Read)

Establish Reading Partnerships for conversations about the book

Set personal reading goals

Start a series (or two)

5 Apps for Summer Learning (not all are free)

summer slide four

How will you share this information with your students and their families?

summer slide five

 How will YOU continue your own learning over the summer?  

What professional book will you read?  

What book study will you join?

How will you model that “love of learning”?

summer slide six

#CelebrateLu: Reprise


The sun is shining. The temp is in the 60’s and rising. What a fabulous weather report that takes me back to my farming roots! It’s spring and I’m thinking of home (after a writing workshop last Saturday)!

And yet . . .

Spring is a time to celebrate . . .

rebirth  as plants nudge their way through the ground cover

life as baby animals appear with their families

longer days of leaving home in the daylight and still having daylight on the return at the end of the day

end of the year activities . . . concerts, track events, music contests

And all those dreaded LASTS . . .

The last time the seniors . . .  before they graduate

The last time the juniors . . . before they move to the senior world

And so on . . .

But today I celebrate last Sunday’s reprise . . .

All seven of us who went to Rome . . .

Together . . . plus a few more!!!

“We set off on a journey to Rome, yes a religious trip, but also a trip to the heart of civilization.  This is a city of 300 churches with 200 more in the suburbs.  It’s a city of many diverse nationalities and personalities.  It was a pleasure to be in a group of seven . . .

Mom

Brother

Sister

Brother

Uncle

Aunt

within a community of 52 pilgrims from an Iowa sponsored tour (plus folks from IL, WI, MO, and FL).”   “SOL16:  Travel Trivia”

Other posts about Rome are here, here, here, here, and here with this one quick photo from O’Hare before our international departure.

2016-08-30-13-54-06

and here we were again . . .

But this time in Iowa

A band concert

Taking advantage of time together

Eight months later to gather for a celebratory meal (Leo & Shirley’s upcoming 9th anniversary)

And a high school band concert directed by a son / grandson / nephew/ husband / father   . . .

Central DeWitt:  Sunday, April 30, 2017

Copy of 20170430_190022.jpg

band program

band zero

band one

band three

band four

And always, one of the fans in the seats!

concert

Home can be family.

Home may not be one specific physical place.

Where do you celebrate and call home?




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Check out for celebrations at the link with Ruth!

#SOL17: Advice


April is fleeting.  May will soon be here.  How has your year gone?  In retrospect what advice would you give yourself for this year?  What advice do you have for the remainder of this year?

Here is some of my thinking . . .
advice.jpg

First Year Teacher:

  1. Ask for help; don’t twist in the wind when you are stuck! Find someone you can trust to help with day to day questions.  Find someone you can trust to help with instruction/curriculum issues.  (Double bonus if one person fits both.)
  2. Have a Plan A; be ready with Plan B and all the remaining letters in the alphabet!  Plan to learn as you go! Remember that FAIL is First Attempt In Learning and is not permanent.  Learning = growth.  Plan to grow!
  3. Stay out of the drama. Avoid the locations that are filled with drama each day.
  4. Try something new!  Surround yourself with innovative thinkers and doers.  Their creativity and willingness “to do/learn” will be contagious!
  5. Communicate, communicate, communicate!  Use transparency as a cloak that surrounds you.  No teacher has ever over-communicated!
  6. Build a PLN!  Locate like-minded individuals for conversations, collaboration and coaching.  
  7. Reflect daily on your learning.  Plan for each day to build upon the day before!
  8. Do what you ask your students to do:  Read and write daily!
  9. When in doubt ask your students; it’s their classroom!
  10. Be professional . . . in your words, actions, and intentions!

Veteran Teacher:

  1. Write out your mission/vision statement.  WHY are you teaching?  Be honest.  Make it personal.
  2. Figure out when and where were the last three times that you laughed with your students about something silly you did.  If it’s not in the last month, you need to lighten up and take yourself less seriously!
  3. Name three things that you have learned this last week from your students.  What have they taught you?  Or reminded you of?
  4. Check your positivity meter.  Do you hang out and learn from positive people?  Change your audience/PLN/cultivate new friendships!
  5. Do you have a growth mindset? What would your fellow teachers say about you?
  6. Be passionate. Love what you do and don’t be afraid to let it show!
  7. Find your tribe. It’s always easier to build common understanding collaboratively.  Find a group where you can problem solve, share, read and write together!
  8. Do what you ask your students to do:  Read and write daily! Make the time!
  9. Be a life-long learner! For REAL!  
  10. Practice revision in your life.  Know what it feels like to revise thoughts, plans, and actions.

The waning moments of the school year . . . what advice do you have?  

What would you add?




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

#SOL17: It’s Time to . . .


time

It’s time to . . .

Write a slice and post it before the sun comes out.

Reflect on 32 straight days of blogging.

Read and comment on some student slices.

Add a video reflection to Kathleen’s flip grid.

Take a breath and choose one task to complete – something left to slide!

Comment on fellow “slicer” posts

Loudly and vociferously say

thank you pic

To fellow “Slicers” for their love and support this month.

Bid Adieu to daily blogging but not to daily writing in order to keep those writing muscles in shape.

What will you say “goodbye to on this last day of slicing?  

What will you say “hello” to ?  

What will you be continuing to do as a result of this new and yet “different” writing for a month?


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.

#SOL17: And before that . . .


 

 

deer deer deer

Three deer strolled casually across the road.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  No slamming of brakes.  No sliding bags.  No coffee spilled.  I had already hit my brakes when the rear outer red lights flashed on the car in front of me.

And before that, I had just mentioned to a friend on Voxer that it was either

  0: dark : thirty OR

0: deer : thirty.

I guess I knew the most accurate time.  No rain so deer were moving.  Slow and steady for the next four miles down Deer Alley.

And before that, I had just commented on an open gate:  “Will those cows be out on the road, in the ditch, or behind the house?”

And before that, I was driving down the road en route to the office for my early morning appointment in the tech department.  I was sick and tired of issues with posting my slices 3/4 of the days of the March SOLSC.

And before that, I was racing Mya to the end of the driveway and amazed (daily) by the fact that her four legs regularly beat my four cylinder Vibe.

And before that, I was packing my work bag.

  • a Dell laptop
  • a Chromebook plus
  • an iPad mini
  • a Samsung phone

“Did I have all the necessary devices for the day?” I wondered.

And before that, I was enjoying a peaceful second cup of coffee.  Silence.  Coffee.  Peace. Thinking time.  No noise.  No devices.  No conversation with Mya.

And before that, I was packing my lunch of a granola bar and a turkey and jalapeno cheese wrap.  Plus a travel cup of coffee.

And before that, I was drinking that first cup of coffee for the morning. Savoring the smell of those coffee beans.  Hearing the drip.  And waiting eagerly for that first jolt of caffeine!

And before that, shower . . . shampoo . . . and the rest of the story is not available for print.

Do you always tell a story in chronological order?  

Have you tried reverse order?  

Does it feel uncomfortable to you?  

What structure might you try as an innovation?



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.

#SOL17: A Box


Brown cardboard box.

Inside the front door.

Big enough?

Ah, small package in front.

Another book.

Not unusual.

The bigger box?

4 x 18 x 12

IS IT?

My arms are full.

Mya wants in.

The ground is wet from the steady rain.

What do I do?

The Amazon delivery at my door?

The bags in my hand?

Major decision.

I want to rip the box open.

I need to set other bags down.

Is it possible to handle all simultaneously?

Nope.  Only two hands!

Push the door open, set down bags in hands inside the door, pick up Amazon items, carry in, and open, ooh and ah, YES!, open, open, open, plug in, wait,

NOT PATIENTLY WAIT,

MUST WAIT . . . .


This morning,

Joyfully,

With occasional twinges of anxiety-

All that newness,

Crafting my post

On my new chromebook plus.

Bells and whistles not understood

But adjusting to the new keyboard

A new “touch feeling”

A new sound to my fingers pressing the keys

More of a thud.

Not a click, click, click.

Celebrating double clicks.

A new language on the tool bar.

Learning

AGAIN!

chromebook-plus-open-pen_675403

learn more about chromebook plus here

How do you merge anticipation and reality?

How do you learn new things?  

Just dive in OR read all the materials first?

What are you looking for in your next NEW device?



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.

#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. 

welcome-wagon-volunteer-with-border.jpg

early morning slicer

#SOLSC17: Then and Now


I have totally lost where I saw this idea last week.  My apologies for not crediting the author/slicer whose idea I have borrowed.

My Godson

THEN:

1980

October

Top Song: “Lady” by Kenny Rogers

Second Marek grandson

Middle child of three

My first godchild

joe now threejoeashley g.JPG

NOW:

2017

36

father of Lexi, Ashton, and Keely

husband of Ashley

brother, uncle, and cousin to many

ornery

“favorite grandson”

coach, cheerleader and fan

Until we meet again . . .

Our Angels in Heaven!

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. 

welcome-wagon-volunteer-with-border.jpg

early morning slicer

#SOLSC17: #OLW Brave


The past week has tested my #OLW – brave.  I really can’t write much about it YET.  But I’m here to tell you that last week had some REAL Highs countered by one humongous abysmal low!

Highs

Time with my son, daughter-in-law and 22 month old grandson

Time with my nephew, niece by marriage, great nephew and great niece

Time with my niece, great nephew and great niece

Time with my mother

Time with my sister

Time with my ex-brother-in-law

Time with my sister, brother-in-law and three short nephews

Time with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and step-niece

Time with my brother, sister-in-law and niece

Time with aunts, uncles and cousins galore

Seconds, minutes, hours, days and days!

time

Google images, retrieved 3/13/17

Talking

Eating

Laughing

Shopping

Eating

Swimming

Laughing

Playing cards

Eating

Checking math homework

Laughing

Talking with friends

Time well spent!

One of my favorite roles

aunt

 

Warning:



Lows

Last Tuesday’s news

Calling

Telling Mom

Two new angels

My godson (nephew) and his wife

No time for a last goodbye

No time for a last hug

No time for a last joke

A double funeral

Hug your loved ones

Tell them you love them

Every minute

You never know . . .

Don’t leave any “could have”, “should have”, “would have”. . .

All in! 

Family!


Folder from Funeral Service

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. 

welcome-wagon-volunteer-with-border.jpg

early morning slicer

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