#SOL19: Dreamers


Fascinated? 

Mesmerized? 

Literary? 

Artistic? 

Amazing? 

What superlatives can even begin to describe this work of  art and majesty? 

And this author?

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I want to be in Austin today to hear Yuyi live at the Scholastic Summit.  But I’ve watched last week’s FB Live with Yuyi three times since Friday. Three times. Pausing. Writing. Watching. Writing.

Reflecting on the gifts that immigrants bring . . . and process over product.

Nerdy Book Club post about symbolism video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAiTFJaNiD8

What are you learning today? 

What are you reading or writing?   

What are you dreaming?

I’m at Hamline’s Summer Literacy Institute this week and today’s keynote is . . .

Cornelius Minor!

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Summer Learning


Summer book clubs are progressing. Fast and furious.  Another FB Live session today. Thinking about symbolism. Thinking about how to choose a Read Aloud. Thinking about the books in the pool for the Global Read Aloud in September.  Two of those are in the Elementary section of the #BookLove. I was so appreciative of Clare and Pernille’s focus on Dreamers today as I thought about my #BookLove response.

But I spent two hours reading and rereading my Tweetdeck feed for #NerdCampMI.  Reports from Twitter shared pictures of 2,000 teachers lined up for today’s sessions.  Often a theme quickly emerges and today’s was clearly about activism and putting students first. Major FOMO!

What did that theme look like?

Here’s a summary in sketchnotes from Paula Bourque.

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What struck me was the tag:  “Being inspired and challenged by @donalynbooks at #nErDcampMI”

Quality professional learning inspires, challenges and motivates teachers and, of course, the folks at #NerdCampMI were in for a treat.  Here were my three takeaways.

  1. A Statement

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2.  A Question

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3. A FERPA Consideration

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Are you educating all children? 

Are you making a difference? 

Are you allowing labels to define students?

When do you take action?


PS I am still blown away by the 10 minute speed painting by @struckevan of Jason Reynolds

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: A Mystery


My favorite series as an early reader was Nancy Drew.  Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock was the first one.

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I didn’t really understand college, the job of a defense attorney, nor a housekeeper but I devoured them all.  I did understand that there was a mystery for Nancy to solve and that she always ended up in more trouble before she actually solved the mystery named in the title. I was simultaneously working my way through the Hardy Boys and was even more clueless about what a “roadster” was other than what I saw in the picture as those didn’t exist in my world.

Courtesy of the Elementary Book Love Summer Book Club, I am rereading The Parker Inheritance.  It’s a mystery, a puzzle, and definitely historical fiction.  I’ve been fascinated by the time periods because they are similar to my life.

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There are two different sets of characters.  In the present we have:

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In the 1950’s we have:

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How will it turn out? Will Candace and Brandon solve the mystery?

Who is James Parker?  What happened to the Washingtons? 

What will happen to Candace’s family?  And what about Brandon’s future?

. . .  more sketching ideas to come.  This is totally a work in progress. The book study began Monday, July 1.  Join  summerbookclub.org and help put libraries in classrooms as well as discuss some great books!




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Celebrate Learning


Summertime . . .

Summertime . . .

Summertime . . .

Where and how will you be learning?

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In person?  Face to Face? 

The lineup includes: Jeff Anderson, Mary Howard, Maria Walther . . . Rockstars All!

Online Book Study?

Summer Book Love – Elementary and Secondary (FB Live with Cornelius Minor today from Boothbay!)  Supporting Teachers and Classroom Libraries! Register at Summerbookclub.org

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This is the lineup of authors already scheduled by Clare Landrigan for FB live sessions! (plus some surprises as well)

Literacy Essentials – Stenhouse Publishers on Facebook now

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Regie Routman:  Engagement, Excellence and Equity!

These 6 Things – Twitter Slow chat – check out the #These6Things hashtag

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Dave Stuart’s book is a must read for simplifying your teaching life!

Welcome to Writing Workshop – #cyberPD

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What a great way to revisit the basic components of Writing Workshop with Stacey and Lynne!

Reading to Make a Difference  – July book study on Facebook

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Lester Laminack and Katie Kelly . . .

Professional books abound.  These are some of my re-reads!

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And currently reading . . .

What will you be reading? What will you be learning?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: Writing Matters


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Writing:

A connectedness

A relationship

An opportunity

A process

A product

Two sides of a coin.

Can be used to learn or

Can be used to demonstrate learning.

Is thinking out loud

Typically on paper.

Thoughts

Sometimes painfully etched

Sometimes spewing out voluminously

Faster than any ability to capture.

Can be long

Or short,

Traditional

Or creative,

Personal

Or public,

With form

Matching the purpose,

Reveling in the need

To create,

To rise like a phoenix,

To leave shadows,

Whispers in the wind,

Songs in the air.

Writing . . .

a compulsion

a living/breathing requirement

a necessary component of life

What purposes do writing serve?

Consider these:

  • The Magna Carta
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Constitution
  • The Bill of Rights

What do they stand for? 

Why were they written? 

Why do they matter?

A survey of Americans resulted in a list of these Top 10 Milestones in US history.  Do you agree?

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Writing Matters.

In.So.Many.Ways

I am missing the #TCRWP Writing Institute. It’s hard to not have #TCRWPEnvy so I revisited some notes from last year’s Writing Institute to consider for my own writing this summer.

In last year’s keynote, Lucy Calkins addressed levels of writing workshop.  Link 

Where are you?

“Level 1:  Start and Stop.  Do a few days of minilessons.  Do a few worksheets to ‘master the skill’, and then back to some stale writing. No investment. It feels like pulling teeth.”

“Level 2:  The Good Student Writing Workshop filled with compliance. Open any notebook and you will find that students are doing the work. Safe work. They respond to all school assignments, but they never take any risks and share themselves.”

“Level 3: Passion and intensity flow through the notebook, drafts and published writing. There are notebook entries that do not come from a response to day to day instruction.  Students want to write. It’s an ALL IN Writing Workshop.”

What level was your 2018-19 workshop? 

What is your goal for 2019-20 workshop? 

Where will you begin?

(And don’t forget to follow #TCRWP this week for highlights from 1200+ Writing Institute participants!)

(#cyberPD – Welcome to Writing Workshop by Stacey Shubitz and Lynne Dorfman)

Celebrate that your journey has begun and focus on Learning!




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

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#SOL19: What Counts?


What do I read?

Mail, Blogs, Tweets, Chapters . . . and Books

I have always envied those who kept a list and reported out like Regie Routman here, here and here. Currently many are reporting out #BookADay now on Twitter or Facebook. For more information about #BookADay created by Jillian Heise in 2014 go here.

So during the winter break I decided one goal of mine was going to be to “celebrate” my reading in 2019.  And of course that would mean that I had to keep track of it somehow. So being ever mindful of this quote, I’m tracking my reading. (Note the key word: I)

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William Bruce Cameron

 

We aren’t quite to the midpoint of the year, but here is what my reading life looks like through most of May  . . .

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Search for a “balance” with NF labels a la Melissa Stewart

I’ve written about reading goals before here, but I found that round chart didn’t have enough spaces for my book count.  Holding on to one single list has not been helpful. I create stacks of the “done” books and record them every two, or three or four weeks. Based on my records thus far for 2019, I believe that I can confirm that I am a voracious reader.  But are there other ways to display the data as I think of students who want to make sense of their own reading lives.

So again this week, I saw a tweet that caught my eye about reading circle graphs and I replied. And then the learning began when Steve Peterson (@Steve1Peterson) replied with the fact that Excel and Google Sheets could make radar graphs.

And the same data above looks like this.  Fiction = 72, Nonfiction  = 52, Professional  = 50.

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This graph is quite interesting.  Having all professional books in one category quickly made it into an outlier in this format.  Five of the 10 remaining categories were in the 20-ish category with four in the single digits and only one category reporting a zero. (Radar chart)

No external pressure other than the public announcement.

No public accountability required.

No summative assessment.

Just recording a snippet from my life . . .

I am Wondering . . .

Is my reading varied enough?  

Varied enough? The good news is that I still have time to have a mid-course correction.  I will purposefully pick up some titles for those four single digit categories.  (And I am already plotting to combine some so that I will have fewer gaps – Yes, manipulating the categories.)

What does not show in this data?

What does concern me is that the data does not show my growth.  This year I have made a conscious effort to read more graphic novels, cartoons, and even narrative prose. Those books are represented in the totals for F and narrative NF but not as separate categories because they are not separate genres.   

What else?

The data also doesn’t share my frustration that tracking my books read over a year is cumbersome.  It’s easy to make a “pile” when reading at home.  But when I’m not there where and when do I record the data?  Do I really only have one list?  NOPE!  I have some post-its with some scribbles, some lists in my Kindle app, and who knows what else!

The lesson here was to give myself grace. My list does NOT have to be perfect.  The data is for me. It’s not a “controlled study” so error is fine.

So my final advice to myself . . .

Take a breath.

Take another breath.

LET IT GO!

NEXT!

Where, why, and when might giving yourself “grace” free up positive energy? 

When could you TRY something without trying it “forever”( so you have room to modify to match the needs)? 

When will you commit to JUST being the best that you can




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

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#SOL19: A Performance


The music and slideshow ended with a flourish, the curtain slowly rose, the house lights dimmed, and the director appeared. Show time.

The anticipation was over.

The audience quiets as we are welcomed and encouraged to share our appreciation with applause, whistling, and noise of our choice. Encouraged. Perhaps even challenged by her, “Let the performers know what you like!”

And so it began. 64 acts. Music that I sometimes sang the words to. Music that I cried to. And music that I’m still not sure of the words. Music, motion, and costuming designed for specific effects.  An orchestration of performances, directors, stage hands and groups of children on a Sunday afternoon.

Where?

A dance recital. The second performance in as many days.  Short glimpses of student work spaced out over 2 hours and 40 minutes for 320 minutes of performance. I wondered how they kept the attention of the adorable little “lions” in between their dances.

I applauded for the students when they were older and completely in sync; yet I also applauded for the children who were so excited to dance that they “did their own thing.”  I chuckled at the friend who guided another into the right spot. I commiserated with the child who just stood there the entire first routine but managed to “dance” during her next appearance. I heard one counting “five, six, seven, eight” for her group as the music ended abruptly.  Appearances mattered. Matching outfits, accessorized with bows and jewelry.  Variations quickly stood out. Those who “lip synced”. Those who were a step too fast. Those who were a step too slow. A slip. A fall. A gap in the staging. And yet, it was POETRY in colorful motion.

A splashy intro with a large group.  Varying sizes of groups. Partners. Solos.

Hmmhmm. You know where I am going with this.  What did it resemble?

An environment . . . an auditorium – not where they practiced.

A spotlight and dimmed auditorium . . . stage fright anyone?

Special outfits . . . not what they wore for practice.

And I have it on good authority (great niece) that some outfits “itched.”

Performing alone . . . an off-stage assist, but no one on stage except the performers side by side.

Immediate feedback . . . applause and yelling (and some that was not heard over the music).

At least 3 separate distinct measures . . . distributed over time (total of 6 over the two days)

No one single “gotcha” moment for anyone on stage!

Progress? What to measure?  How to measure?

Could be measured from the FIRST time they attended dance class (summative), or from the first dance class this year (summative), or from the first performance to the 6th, 10th, 12th, etc. Video performances are easy to review in order to notice and name a few specific behaviors.

Symmetry from the audience view? There were times when the line straight down the center of the stage was perfectly in sync. Beautiful moments.

What is most important?

Skills?

Habits?

Collective effort?

Same measure for all?

Cut points? Averages?  Growth? A portfolio of video examples?

NOT high stakes . . .

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What qualities of instruction readied them for this performance?

What qualities of assessment could perhaps better serve education?

When do we “applaud” all students for their learning? 

When does the pleasure and enjoyment of the participants matter?




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

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#SOL19: Who’s Doing the Work?


Who’s Doing the Work?

Seven little bodies.

Three coaches.

Wouldn’t that be a lovely classroom ratio?

Met at the beginning

With a high five

a personal greeting

by name

and definite eye contact.

Personal Greeting.

For 45 minutes

A delightful mix:

Whole group

and individual work.

Teams

and individual work.

Familiar groupings?

Skill work:

“Knock the cones over with your ball.”

And they did.

Formative assessment & feedback from the coaches.

“Return to base.”

“Reset the cones.”

“Return to base.”

And again.

Knock the cones over with your ball.”

“Feet.”

And they did.

Formative assessment & feedback from the coaches.

Repetition:

“Return to base.”

“Reset the cones.”

“Return to base.”

“Once more.” 

Transition warning.  Activity will be ending.

Knock the cones over with your ball.”

And they did.

Formative assessment & feedback from the coaches.

Scrimmage time:

Two teams

Attempting to score

Two teams

Alternating possession

In patterns of threes.

With a transition warning before the final time.

Little athletes helping set up the environment

Always moving,

Always with a purpose for actions,

Four year olds learning soccer with drills and scrimmages

And perpetual action, feedback and coaching!

As a grandmother sitting in the stands, I was mesmerized.  These coaches had children athletes of varying knowledge, skills, and developmental levels, practicing and working together.

Was it perfect?  No.

Were they learning?  Yes.

How could I tell?  Each repetition improved. Each round of applause fueled their excitement.

Athletes doing the work.

Coaches could have reset the cones, but they didn’t because it was one more opportunity for the athletes to move. One more opportunity for the athletes to “do the work.”  No scaffolding required. Just part of the expectations.

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Why does this matter? 

What work are your students “doing for themselves”? 

What work can they do independently? 

What work should they be doing independently?

What work has “transferred” because you have taught the work to independent levels? 

Check out your “suppositions” as you reflect on this year’s learning and plan for “Who’s Doing the Work” next year!




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

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#SOL19: Celebrate!


“Almost 90 cards. So close. Can we count the card sitting at your sister’s?” (The goal was 90.)

Of course, I agree.  Doesn’t every family have one member that keeps time in a different fashion?  Later arrivals?  Later mailing dates?

I’ve written about my family before.  One of my favorite posts is this one with a few of our Christmas traditions.

A family that celebrates:

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Our family

Descendants of Grandma Ruth

But as time has marched on, change has been happening.  We communicate by family Facebook, my immediate family and the Ruth family.  We hold tight to our Christmas celebration as we lose elders and gain littles.  And we have added “Cousins” meeting monthly.

Yesterday was special as the Ruth cousins celebrated Aunt Janie’s birthday.  Of course the 5 sibs were the first ones there . . .

BEFORE the scheduled time!

They may be the elders but EARLY is how they roll.

I don’t have a picture of the cake or the honoree.  But use your imagination!

A cousin’s breakfast at 7 in the morning complete with birthday cake.

Currently the eldest of the “Baby Ruths”;

With 5 siblings – two brothers, their wives, and a sister;

With all 5 children celebrating again with cousins;

(With the possibility of 50 first cousins . . . )

The second oldest cousin up from Danville;

Five Droll cousins;

A Jenn cousin;

A cousin from Frances and Emily’s family;

My sister and I . . .

And even a cousin of the honoree!

Eight families represented . . .

Twenty three was the count .  .  .

Celebrating a 90th birthday . . .

Celebrating the joy of a Mom, Sister, Aunt, Godmother, Cousin . . .

Stories, past and present;

Conversations;

Perusing pictures;

Connecting times and places.

So many reasons to celebrate family, fun, and food!

What family birthdays do you celebrate? 

What makes family time extra special? 

What are your favorite stories?




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

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#SOL19: 100% Guarantee


“How was your stay?”

“Do you need anything for your travel? Water?”

Those are questions that I hear often at a hotel chain with 100% guarantee. And not just at check out. Reminders of the daily events.  Check ins. A call from the front desk to see if I have everything I need. A call initiated by the hotel. Daily conversations.  Helpful staff. Friendly staff. And always, there is a survey to rate the services used – products and processes.

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What is the daily guarantee at schools? 

1.  A kind, warm welcome by name 

Being met with a “We’re glad to have you here at school” attitude sets the stage for a day of possibilities. Welcomed. Every. Day. In spite of or despite the events between the last visit, a warm, gracious welcome is extended to every student every day. This is especially important when many schools now have more formalized processes for school entry with buzzers and cameras as the daily norm.

2. Formative Assessments

Check ins. In the moment. “How did that go? Thumbs up? Across?  Down?” Instruction that changes based on the information received from the learners. An expectation that learning is not a “one and done event” but involves processes and practices with time to improve and learn. A collection of unobtrusive assessments and observations.

3. Two way communication

A variety of forms for feedback – nonverbal, oral, and verbal. Questions and concerns are addressed. The process for dealing with questions and/or concerns is shared and consistent. Agreement is not the goal. Building understanding. Deepening commitment to common goals. Listening to diverse opinions. Listening to understand. Not just rules and “thou shall nots” handed down as edicts. Everyone is asked for input.  Everyone is included. Input from all!

Expected?

Nothing new? 

But are those expectations for all levels of interactions? 

Students? 

Teachers and staff? 

Families? 

Community?

How are all voices heard?

How are all voices valued?

How do you know?  




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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