By Sunday the air is bittersweet. Farewells begin. Last conversations are passionate pleas to capture frantic final minutes. Choices are final. Options are few. Time races. No second chances to catch folks as flight departures begin before the sun is above the horizon.
And yet, gems . . .
“What is Authenticity?
Is it the same when viewed with a student lens?
How do we know?”
L. 30 Prioritizing Student Voice: Honoring Independence, Identity, and Advocacy as the Cornerstones of Learning
And from the #G2Great family:
- Samuel Fremin @The Sammer88
- Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson @kkht6912
- Susie Rolander @suzrolander
- Justin Dolcimascolo @jdolci
- Kara Pranikoff @pranikoff
Sam Fremin began with asking us to not constrain student’s creativity! He told us the story of having a two page limit to an assignment that meant he had to cut almost everything out of his original seven page response.
What is the purpose of a two page maximum assignment?
What is your response to a “page limit”?
Is that indicative of the teacher’s attention span?
Sam contrasted that with this year’s AP Lang course where they were to “Write about something important to us” as they compared and analyzed two essays. As a 15 year old, Sam, who likes The Onion wanted to write a satire about “Discrimination not really being that bad” and through multiple conversations with his teacher, worked out the details and “used a display of writing that I will never get to write again. I displayed my need to try that voice.” And the teacher, even though she wanted a tight rein on the expectations, did participate in a two-sided discussion that allowed Sam to write his satire!
And then Sam’s role (as a high school junior) was to continue to introduce each of the panel members. Such poise and great presence for a high school junior and one of the #BowTieBoys! (Sam blogs here.)
We also learned that advocacy for Native Americans is important because Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson shared a US map with reservations marked although only 22% of Native Americans live on reservations. Kathryn teaches at an Ojibwe school so she is very cognizant of appropriate language and respect for cultures. Awareness may be a great first step but Kathryn also encouraged us to be aware that work barely scratches the surface of working with folks who have different beliefs and values. How do Ojibwe students want to be named? When do we ask?
Susie Rolander shared that we need to let student input drive our work. This means we need to revise and renew our professional practice. (A plug for Coppola’s book – Renew!) It’s a Journey! But for students who are struggling there does need to be a Sense of Urgency! And that this meant as an interventionist, Susie wanted her students to be independent. “I don’t know what I would do without you!” from a student was not what she wanted so one big action in her productivity plan was to move to student goal-setting so the students themselves would know if they were meeting their goals. Their goals. Not teacher goals.
Justin had us begin by completing this statement: “I am _____”
I am a:
Am I real? Do my students know my many roles? Do other staff know our roles? Justin shared a “I am” board created in his school.
Justin’s parting challenge was to consider equity and how we build our identity every day of our school lives so that we are not just working on career education in high school. Instead of “What do you want to be?” in terms of a career, Justin said we need to shift to “What great problem do you want to solve?”
Kara Pranikoff, author of Teaching Talk: A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking and Conversation, closed out the presentation with thoughts on how to use talk in the classroom to increase student engagement and agency. And also, “Deep thinking takes time, we’ll wait. Take your time.” Students set the pace. As an instructor at Bank Street College, Kara and Susie routinely invite their students to Twitter chats!
M. 24 Rekindling Our Teacher Hearts and Minds to Reclaim Our Sense of Agency and Purpose
(Ellin Oliver Keene, Vicki Vinton, Donna Santman)
What is the purpose of education? Which of the four statements matches your thinking?
What do you value?
” We overestimate children academically and underestimate them intellectually.” ~Lillian King
Shout out to Regie Routman:
Resources will often dictate practices. (from Read, Write, Lead)
“However, we NEED to begin with Beliefs first, then our Practices, and then choose Resources that align LAST!”
Beliefs and Practices – Donna Santman @dsantman
What made your current school a match for you?
When Trouble Starts:
What do you do?
What flexibility will be required of me here?
And how will I respond when trouble happens?
Our core beliefs about children;
Our core beliefs about ourselves.
We are humbled in the face of children;
We are humbled by our children.
There has been a huge language slide in our country.
How do we convert deficit language to asset language?
Check out the asset mapping resources on Ellin Keene’s website Mosaicliteracy.com
N.O8 Redefining Authenticity: Empowering Student Ownership
(Do you know their Twitter names? @acorgill @katiedicesare @ruth_ayres @coloreader)
I was expecting to be blown away by Ruth Ayres because I can’t stop talking about her new book just out, Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers. It’s an amazing personal heart-wrenching narrative about her children who struggled with life and then also a “how to” deal with teaching writing. And yet all three of the other panel members complemented that presentation.
Skills and dispositions for writing are the same for real work. We have to get the heart right. Students need to write. Yes, kids are afraid! Writing is where I can help kids see the different ways a story can go.
If we have authentic writing projects, teachers cannot make all these decisions. Students need some choice and voice. This is NOT a free-for-all! You don’t have to leave ALL open! But you must leave SOME open!
How do you ensure that students have an authentic voice?
How do you know that students REALLY believe that they have a voice and some choice?
What did you learn on Sunday at #NCTE17?
Margaret Simon’s tweet announcing this week’s #DigiLitSunday topic was intriguing. I had seen the link to Cornelius Minor’s new podcast. Thanks to my Voxer group I also know that it is part of a series of podcasts. I also know that Cornelius is a powerful advocate for students and is not afraid to take on difficult topics. But yet, I’ve not had time to actually dig into advocacy.
In order to begin this post, I had to back up and make sure that I clearly understood what advocacy is so I went to the dictionary and this is what I found.
So what’s the big idea about advocacy? Everyone has rights. If you don’t believe you have been treated fairly, you always have the right to ask about ways to remedy the situation. Advocacy is important because it is a way for you to access what you are entitled to and have your individual rights upheld.
Sometimes in the process of advocating for an issue unintended consequences emerge. Sometimes it’s in the tone of voice or even a calmly stated, “Now why would you think that?” A belief that a caring individual would diminish another person’s thoughts or ideas is unfathomable to many, “You must have misunderstood.” Communication is hard. Precise communication is even harder because it takes time to clearly address issues.
In education, I see two basic advocacy issues that emerge in the world of advocacy. Teachers as advocates for students. And the actual teaching so that students can be their own advocates . . . so they can be advocates for themselves for the rest of their lives.
Teachers as Advocates
What does this mean? What does this look like?
Providing just what students need . . .
a listening ear
Believing that answers lie within the students.
What does this look like in a classroom?
Students have voice and choice in what they read, write, and learn about. Students have the opportunity to discuss and disagree about what a text (book, story, painting, song, etc.) says and what the deeper meaning really is. Students can choose to dig into an idea and really STUDY the facets that emerge.
Students do not have arbitrarily 10 page papers assigned. Students do not have to read whole class books at the same time as everyone else in their class. Students do not have to use “one set format” to respond to the text.
Teachers, who are advocates, make decisions based on the needs of their students. Teachers, who are advocates, see things from a student’s perspective. Teachers, who are advocates, take a stand for their students. Teachers, who are advocates, create a positive environment for all the students in the classroom. Teachers, who are advocates, really take the time to listen to their students. Teachers, who are advocates, are role models for their students.
What about self-advocacy?
Teachers and supportive classrooms will provide opportunities for students to develop their voices. Student voices will rise above the clamor. They will not be silenced. They will not be shamed. They will be supported as they grow and learn.
- How to disagree without being disagreeable
- How to consider any action from more than one point of view
- How to develop one’s own sense of identity
- How to create checkpoints to maintain a course of action
- How to develop personal goals including action plans
- How to develop criteria to evaluate one’s progress in meeting goals
- How to share learning
- How to communicate with others
- How to listen
- How to play fair
- How to clean up your own mess
- How to say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody
- How to ask for help
- How to be kind