Category Archives: Writing

#TCRWP: Farewell Final Five


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Five: 

Coffee deliveries may be the highlight of your day.  Sharing the love, being responsible for alternating days, vulnerability in early morning hours . . . exquisite moments in time!

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Life in the dorm!

Four: 

The Big Ideas of Teaching Spelling and Grammar are so important.

  • What is the purpose?  Purpose vs. rule
  • Time for practice
  • Having a focus or goal
  • Differentiation that works
  • Bite-sized pieces
  • Consider reading level
  • Provide opportunities for transfer

And then we dug into the actual lessons to find where they occur.  How can you, the teacher, make them more explicit?  Notice them during a Read Aloud or use them in  Interactive Writing before that lesson so the students have the language in their repertoire!

Three: 

Tears of laughter and joy from Colleen Cruz’s closing.  But this I will remember.

Always.

Always.

Always.

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Two:  

Use the resources in the Units of Study.  Here’s the “problem“.

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Here’s the solution.

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One:

Build your community.  Follow #TCRWP on Twitter and on Facebook.  Find your “family reunion” at TCRWP (nothing like being called out by Lucy Calkins in her speech at the closing).  There is no better support in the world than in the #TCRWP community whether you leave your red knapsack in the subway,  have questions, or are “going it alone” in your district.  Reach out.  There will be support!

What great learning! 

What great adventures? 

How will you continue your summer learning?

 

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#TCRWP: Fantastic Four


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Fantastic Four Fireballs

Fantastic learning continues and today’s countdown of learning is from Thursday at the June TCRWP Writing Institute.

FOUR: 

From Simone Fraser’s session, there are at least three different ways to teach grammar.

  1. Demonstration 
  2. Inquiry
  3. Interludes and Extravaganzas

As teachers, we need to reflect:

Who is doing the work?

Who is doing the most talking?

Do we always use the same group size?  Or do we vary whole group, small group, partners, 1:1?

Do students really have enough “work” to really understand?

When do students become more independent?

Which method leads to the best transfer?

If you are only using one method, which one would you add to your repertoire?

THREE:

From Marie Mounteer and our Interactive Writing session,

When making choices, we always want to go back to purpose.

When making choices, we always want to go back to purpose.

When making choices, we always want to go back to purpose.

The WHY? is critical.

TWO:

Marjorie Martinelli’s message in her choice session was exactly what I needed to hear.  When we consider any practices in our writing workshop, we need to consider these three lenses:

  • Remind
  • Refresh
  • Reflect

We were looking specifically at writing centers, routines and rituals, and anchor charts, but these three bulleted ideas can frame our discussions about classroom environments, all parts of the writing workshop, writing process and even genre work.  Reminding ourselves of the WHY or purpose behind our work is always a great beginning to review our goals and purposes in order to keep our eye on how all students can have increased access, agency and independence in writing.

ONE:

Katharine Bomer knocked it way out of Cowin Auditorium with her keynote titled, “With an Air of Expectancy:  Teaching Writing with Belief, Hope, and Respect”.

Expectancy:

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Expectation:

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Which one is more inviting?  Which one is more inclusive?

They aren’t the same.  Just as learning and achievement are not the same.

But this is my favorite and what every teacher needs to remember:

““Let us become ambitious about believing kids and lifting them up… let us see their knowledge, their experience, their languages as gifts. All kids.”




What are you remembering? 

What are your big ideas? 

What will you DO as a result of your learning?

What’s the key word connecting today’s “Fantastic Four Fireballs”?

#TCRWP: 3 Tips


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Day 3 Countdown . . .

Tip #3. 

Working with Jeff Anderson’s Patterns of Power this week in Marie Mounteer’s section has been a special treat in a section where our focus has been on Interactive Writing,

The steps for a lesson.

When to use.

Work with Conventions. Spelling. Capitalization.

Work with Grammar.

Beginning with the standards.

Using student writing to determine needs.

Formative assessment at its best.

Analyzing student writing to plan for one small group of three students with different needs.

Lifting the level of work for all.

It all began with this:

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Everything you will need for planning is in Jeff Anderson’s book.  Sample sentences from fabulous literature that you will be reading to your students.  The only exception would be an actual sentence from the reading students are doing in your classroom.

Everything

is

in

Jeff 

Anderson’s

book.

Don’t consult other sources like TpT!

Use the research-based work from Jeff Anderson! (never a rip off) as you work and plan with a partner – Priceless!

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Tip #2 

Simone Fraser and Toolkits

What do you include?

  • Mentor Texts 
  • Checklists from Writing Pathways
  • Progressions from Writing Pathways
  • Tools to do big work (micro-progressions! Also see Kate and Maggie and DIY Literacy – link)
  • Anchor Chart – Anchor Charts for the whole unit as well as charts from previous years

How do you organize?

So many possibilities. By units or within bends.

“I organize by the stages of the writing process.” 

Working collaboratively to create tools and share . . .

Tip #1

Do.not.ever.pass.on.an.opportunity.to.hear.Georgia.Heard.  What an inspiring keynote!!!

Her writerly life will inspire you as she details her process and shares the final product.

Her student examples will bring you to tears.

Gaspar’s Heart Map with a single wavy line down the middle to represent the line at the Mexican border.  He wrote a poem off of that map about his Mexican heart and American heart with alternating lines written in English and Spanish.  Awe-inspiring.

Heart maps are a powerful tool for writers and writing.  No one has ever said, ‘I have heart map block.’ Many students have said (prior to heart mapping), ‘I don’t know what to write about.’ Small moments can change us.  My writing teacher who wrote ‘add more details’ was really saying,  ‘pay attention and gather ideas for your writing.'”

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What are you learning this week? 

How are you filling and fueling your brain? 

How are you filling and fueling your writing heart?

 

 

 

 

#TCRWP: Day 2 Highlights


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One

Read Alouds are to be savored and today was a day to be all in because after hearing the back story, we had the distinct pleasure of having Matt de la Pena read Love to us.

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It won’t be the same. You won’t be in Cowin Auditorium with 600+ best friends.  You won’t be in the front row.  But here’s your opportunity to have the book read to you. Read by Matt de la Pena.

The hope

The joy

The love

That came from one little poem

About seeing “love” in the mirror.

Need more? Interview with author Matt de la Pena and illustrator Loren Long here.

Tissue Alert!  Tissues Needed!




Two

Pure Delight for those of you that work with the precious “littles” in kindergarten.  I attended Marie Mounteer’s Choice Session on the new kindergarten writing unit out in July – “Show and Tell: From Labels to Pattern Books”.  The room was packed with teachers and the excitement bubbled within the room as Marie previewed some of the 17 sessions in the unit.

I am totally in love with this progression of spelling development.

Nerd out over spelling.

YES!

I see that eye roll!

But how do we explain this to colleagues?  That first, yes, there is a progression and second, that not all students arrive at the same time on the same day.  I believe that the explicitness in this chart makes it easier to describe ALL the things that a student can do on their journey as they develop as spellers.

The key is growth.

The key is celebrating growth along the progression so a child who enters kindergarten may be at a different stage than peers, but just look at the journey.  It’s not about color coding whether a child is green, yellow, or red at any one stage.  Instead it’s all about building on what the child can do . . . writing in kindergarten . . . so important to recognize that it is a journey.  A journey students will love!  A journey we will love!

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And this unit gives students so many access points to be successful writers who can explore their passions.  Thanks, Marie Mounteer and Lizzie Hetzler for authoring such an important unit and for all the wisdom from Natalie Louis and Lucy Calkins (and other staff developers and teachers) that helped bring this joyful unit to life.

What were your top 2 Highlights from Day 2 at the 2018 June Writing Institute at #TCRWP?

 

#SOL18: Why #TCRWP?


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Three letters

One word

Connected to my #OLW – curious

WHY?

A recurring theme on Day 1 of the 2018 June Writing Institute at #TCRWP




As the day began in typical fashion at Riverside Church with 1200 teachers strong, “You’ve come from  41 states, 36 countries, those who’ve attended 25 or 26 institutes, as children in workshop schools or those who came alone who are now back with principals and teachers… movers and shakers.”

 

If you are not on Twitter, this is a time you should be.  Because you can capture thoughts such as these:

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Or these .  .  .

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But you had to be there in person in that setting to capture the eloquence as three fifth graders from Tiana Silvas’s classroom stepped up to the podium.  These students were definitely a part of a level three writing workshop as they, oh so eloquently, delivered their memorized poetry and reminded us of all the many reasons that we teach writing and we continue our tireless efforts!

The enthusiasm of the beginning of the day carried the theme of

WHY?

bringing purpose as we considered the energy, independence and transfer that comes from the creation and use of tools with Simone Frazer and building bridges between reading and writing with interactive writing with Marie Mounteer.

Decisions about Choice Sessions are never easy.  They are all amazing.  But Kisha Howell rocked Horace Mann with her tips about increasing writing volume.  The big ideas centered around:  feedback, talk, clear tools, “other texts,” meaningful process, and sketching.  Exquisitely delivered in a way that my ancient brain absorbed, retained and connected the tips in true “showing not telling” fashion . . .

I’m fascinated by this chart.  Where has the feedback that I’ve received fallen short?  What about the feedback that I give?  All feedback is not equal . . .

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This opening day of 2018 June Writing Institute at #TCRWP satisfied my “WHY” to attend . . . . in order to continue and grow with some of the brightest literacy minds. Thank you, #TCRWP, for being a place to satisfy my “curious” and grow my thinking!




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

#SOL18: Why Practice?


It was a simple comment.

It brought me to a complete stop.

“We practice to build proficiency.”

Is that the goal?

Proficiency?

If we build or meet proficiency, what does that mean?

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Retrieved from dictionary.com

In education, there seem to be points in time when proficiency has become a form of a new longer, four-letter word.  It causes a pain in my stomach.  It brings up visions of charts where students are color coded green, yellow or red that result in assignments to specific interventions.

Proficiency, in education,  now often implies an ability to meet an arbitrary cut point.

A “Yes”,  I made it or a “No”, not yet?

Once?

Twice?

Three times and that’s good?

What does proficiency look like in football?

One example

These descriptors come to mind:

Self- assessment

Goal-setting

Beginning with the end in mind

Time

Repetition

 EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Why do readers need to read (practice) every day?

Why do writers need to write (practice) every day?

To meet external goals?

To meet personal goals?

Is there a sense of urgency?

Is there a sense of joy?

A feeling of accomplishment?

Has it become drudgery?

What is the real goal?

Do readers and writers EVER stop practicing?  Should they?




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

 

 

 

#SOL18: Planning


planning

Do you love to plan? 

Do you hate to plan? 

Planning can take many forms.  Planning to write in the form of creating an outline and then following it point by point . . . just the thought of it, makes me nauseous.  In the vernacular of “slicers”, then am I a “pantser” meaning I plan by the seat of my pants . . . in the moment?  Actually not.  I’m somewhere in between.

It all depends . . .

What’s your process for planning in your personal life? 

It’s time for a weekend get away or a family vacation.  Do you investigate possibilities on line via “The Google”? When and where do you plan?  As you are packing? Or in advance so you can make sure that everything fits?  That might necessitate packing that “carry on” bag in advance to make sure everything fits.  That might mean “lists” depending on the length of the stay.  That might mean a careful assessment of “technology needs” in order to be prepared.

What’s your process for planning in your work life?

As the school year winds down are you preserving those notes?  More of “x”. Less of “y”.  Scrap a, b, and c. How do you make those decisions?  That might mean lists of “If . . . , then . . .”, T charts of pros and cons that precede the inner debate, or even basic boxes and bullets.

Lists of lists???

Again, it all depends . . .

If you are a secondary teacher (grades 6-12), then you need to immediately order this book and join one of the many book studies that are planned for this summer. (Note that I did not say, if you are a secondary ELA teacher, because I believe there is merit in the principles and ideas in this book for social studies teachers, instructional coaches, principals, and curriculum directors.)

180 days book

The hashtag for this book is #180Days.  But I want to draw your attention to the subtitle:  “Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents.”

And in case you missed it, the full title is 180 Days:  Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents. 

Let’s face it.

A “How to” book with QUEST, ENGAGE, and EMPOWER in the title.

There are probably days when you scratch your head and wonder, “WHY?  Why am I doing this to myself?”  Other days in moments of honestly, your first period class really sucked, second period was better, and third period rocked.  WHY?

That opportunity to practice.

That opportunity to tweak the lesson.

A different beginning.

A different ending.

That opportunity to re-vision the lesson.

Some teachers have the opportunity to adjust and discuss situations as they occur with collaborative teaching partners.  But in this book you have the collective wisdom of Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle as they share how they planned, the basis for their decisions, their varied class periods (each day, Kelly and every other day – block schedule, Penny) as they taught and collaborated across the country, NH and CA.

Not sure if this is the book for you?  Resources that may help you decide are:

Book

Sample Chapter

Heinemann podcast 1

Heinemann podcast 2

Facebook page

Travis Crowder’s Review

Podcast part 1 – ReadAloud

And if that’s not enough, please join the #G2Great Twitter Chat this Thursday night.

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Added – Literacy Lenses post about 180 Days #G2Great Chat  5.20.18

Do you “engage and empower” your adolescents on a regular basis? 

Do you worry about being responsive to life and also “fitting it all in”?

This book will show you how to make better decisions about your students  – based on the needs of your students – so that you can and do ENGAGE and EMPOWER them!

WHY does it matter?

180 quote.PNG

How will you be planning for next year?




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

#SOL18: Signs of Spring


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Signs of Spring

What do I see?

I see slivers of green

peeking through the brown grass

in the yard, the fields, and along the road.

Hopeful for fresh asparagus, daffodils and mushrooms.

What do I hear?

I hear choruses of birds

loud and excited

quiet and steadily constant.

Hopeful for woodpeckers and their staccato beat.

What do I smell?

I smell the earth

fresh-plowed and ready for seeds

anticipating the new growth.

Hopeful for abundant, fruitful crops to feed the world.

What do I feel?

I feel the sun’s rays

as day temps finally rise to 70s

and nights remain in the 50s.

Hopeful for no more sleet, slush, or snow.

Signs of Spring

What signs of spring are present in your region? 

How will you celebrate spring?




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

#SOL18: Pinning


15 minutes.

A Pinning . . .

Yes, in nursing,

Yes, in sororities,

Yes, in service,

Specifically in the Army

We sit in a row:  wife, mother, daughter, sister, sister.

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Others slowly gather and fill rows behind us.

Ready and yet waiting.

Adjusting the controls on the screen and listening to the prep work behind the scenes.

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The promotion . . . (yes, via webcam)

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A speech . . .

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Changing rank . . .

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The celebratory cake for the new Command Sergeant Major . . .

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the highest non-commisioned rank in the Army!

And that’s just a small part of “How I Spent My Monday”!




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

Poetry: Love/Hate


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Today’s post is based on the mentor text, “I Hate Poetry”, by a Virginia middle school student.  Her poem can be found here (and all the comments that she responded to individually.  The comments tell exactly why she “hates” poetry!).

How do you feel about poetry? 

Which version best matches your experiences?

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Happy Poetry Friday!

( Click here for more info about Poetry Friday.)




Process:

  • Read student’s poem.
  • Studied the rhyme scheme.
  • Jotted down some ideas to include.
  • Decided that I wanted definite stanzas (so drafting outside of WordPress).
  • Used the student’s ideas for the first stanza.
  • Decided to repeat part of the first stanza in the closing stanza.
  • Drafted, revised, drafted!

 

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