Category Archives: Writing

#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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#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

#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. 

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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. 

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#SOLSC17: 13.31



palindrome

 

                     Day 13 of 31

Forwards

Backwards

13.31

Still the same

Like a palindrome

Like my odometer last week

Quietly it slipped over

As I anxiously awaited . . .

167761

No picture captured

A silent recognition

Yes, I caught it

The miles are adding up!

And then it happened again. . .

Another day or two or three

168861

Miles and miles and miles!

What “word play” do you use? 

How do you model playing with words?


Palindromes for readers, writers, and teachers:

madam

nurses run

stressed desserts

A website dedicated to palindromes

Palindrome poems – shadow poems, poetry soup, and tips for palindrome poem writing

Slicer Dogtrax (Kevin) palindrome / mirror poems

My Post –Playing with words

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: Friday Morning


15 minutes

Every Friday morning I wish I had just 15 more minutes.

15 more minutes to read or write.

15 more minutes to get organized for the day.

15 more minutes to chat with Mya.

15 more minutes to review lessons for my day.

15 more minutes to talk to the kids in the classroom.

15 more minutes to get organized before the weekend.

Oh…. just 15 more minutes.

What would you do with 15 minutes?

What would you do with that hour by the end of the month?

Or is this your wish for every day?


Reader notes:  Today’s blog post is based on Romeo Lit Coach’s post, “15 More Minutes March 6 #SOL17” here.

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: Currently


(This format has been one of my favorites each year of the March Slice of Life Story Challenge.)

Currently:

Waiting impatiently for my coffee to brew.

Rejoicing in the silence.

Peering out the window for an indicator of today’s weather.

Chatting with Mya as she rubs her nose against my leg.

Mentally checking my list to see if I REALLY have everything planned for today’s PD.

Remembering that printing is required for my PD on the next two days.

Absorbing the heat from my coffee cup with both hands.

Checking my work bag to see if my handouts are there.

Studying my “Words with Friends” boards for possible “next steps”.

Sifting mentally through ideas for today’s slice.

Rejecting complicated topics.

Searching through previous slices.

Recording ideas as fast as I can type.

Previewing my post.

Rereading to see if the post makes sense!

Pushing the publish button for today!

What are you doing, currently?


Bonus for the Reader:

Previous “Currently” posts can be found here, here, and in the classroom here.

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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#SOLSC17: Planning


I search my computer.

My starting point.

What do I already have?

Think.

Take a walk.

Come back and dig in.

A PLAN!

What does this connect to?

Who are my go to authors?

The most accurate sources?

So many tabs open that I can only see a letter on each.

What to keep?

What to file?

What to read?

Which books do I put on my stack?

And the big question:

What to use?

I’m working on my PD for Monday.

What’s my plan? 

What’s my process?

Be not dismayed!

I have books.

I have professional books.

I have shelves and shelves and shelves of books!

books-first

But sometimes my book is on my desk at the office . . .

And sometimes someone has borrowed my book and is reading it!

Have you seen my secret weapon?

This was new to me just last month.  It’s the Heinemann Digital Library and it’s already been a lifesaver.  Understand this. I greatly admire the many authors that can narrow down their “5 Most Influential Book Lists”. I really, really do!  However, I struggle to narrow down my “Top 5 Books for Fluency” or “My Top 5 Books for Conferring” or My Top 5 Books for Small Group Instruction”. (Is it too many books or too many favorites?)

What’s the Heinemann Digital Library?

It’s an annual subscription resource for unlimited and searchable access to books, articles, videos and even courses to learn more about reading, writing, assessment, early childhood, math, school improvement, and many more topics.

Why am I so fascinated with the Heinemann Digital Library?

Well, I am often known to have TWO copies of my well-used, beloved professional books.  One is marked up with questions, comments, “!”, “*”, and other annotations.  Pages will be dog-eared.  Some may be tabbed.  And yes, there will be sticky notes but those notes don’t remain sticky for long if I’m constantly peeling them off to peer at the words underneath.  Access to the digital library now means that I can access the resource from my computer which is so handy when quite frankly, I don’t really remember where the book is right now.

How have I used this resource?

Here’s one example.  I needed to add more information to my knowledge base and find some specifics for increasing student engagement during writing workshop.  I have several resources on my stack on my desk:

Writing Pathways by Lucy Calkins

The Unstoppable Writing Teacher by Colleen Cruz (also in the Digital Library)

The Writing Strategies Book:  Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers by Jennifer Serravallo

But I now also have these books, articles and a video courtesy of the Heinemann Digital Library.

students-onestudents-twostudents-three

students-four

One video, two articles, and three books . . . plus the resources that I already have.  I’m pretty confident that I have a wide range of professional resources from recognized literacy researchers, experts and teachers.  I have my resources and I’m now ready to work!

How does this connect to classroom work?

This is also the work that I would expect high school students to complete independently (after providing the groundwork in elementary) for the following ELA College and Career Ready Anchor Standards.

Reading:

“CCRA.R.1  Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCRA.R.2 Determine central odeas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCRA.R.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.”
“CCRA.W.2  Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCRA.W.4  Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCRA.W.5  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCRA.W.6  Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
CCRA.W.7  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCRA.W.8  Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
CCRA.W.9  Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CCRA.W.10  Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.”

I would not presume to say that “working on the standards ONCE” would allow me to determine whether the standard has been met.  I would want a body of evidence but that’s a whole different series of blog topics!

If you plan professional development, what’s your process?

Where do you get your quality resources?


Additional Resources:

Heinemann Digital Library Link here

@HeinemanPub

@HeinemanPD

and, in the spirit of disclosure, Yes, this was written after conversations with Cathy Brophy at Heinemann after I purchased my own personal membership to the Heinemann Digital Library and tweeted about it.

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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#SOLSC17: Biopoem


One of the BEST things about the writing Slice of Life Story Challenge is the source of inspiration from so many other writers.  This is from Erin Baker’s “Hello” post on Day 1 found here. (Neither snow nor deer can keep this intrepid slicer from posting but computer troubles made me feel like Lemony Snicket yesterday!)

biopoem-one

Fran

Flexible, Competitive, Passionate

Lover of books, writing, and professional development

Who wonders if I’ll ever figure out how to just say “no” when life gets busy

Who fears that I will miss the students and teachers when I move on to the next chapter in my life

Who feels happy when I’m learning beside, with, or from students.

Who cares about the rights, quality of life, and the many needs of ALL the people residing in this great country

Who dreams of writing a book, telling family stories and yet continuing to promote literacy.

Who resides in Unionville, Iowa.

McVeigh


Additional Information about Biopoems here

biopoem

And did you know that Outsiders was written by a teenager?  More here

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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