So what’s been on the “FUN agenda” while in New York City?
Dining out! So many choices and so much visiting . . .
with Erika from Malaysia, Sandy from California, Allison from Arizona . . .
Riding the metro,
a Broadway show,
and spending time with friends from near and far!
Enjoying my #OneLittleWord – JOYFUL in New York City!!!
What is on your list for “JOY” this summer?
* * * *
And if you have not YET read enough about #TCRWP writing,
Past blogs about Writing Institutes:
2013 Kate Roberts and Close Reading at Writing Institute I did not blog daily. I had Lucy Calkins for large group and Colleen Cruz for my small group with coaches and administrators and I felt totally lost . . . a non-writer adrift in a sea of writers!
Twitter connections are so fabulous. Via Twitter today I found out that the focus of #Digilit Sunday was function. Check out Margaret’s post here. The part of “function” that I have been thinking about a lot lately is “executive function”.
It’s close to the end of this school year, but how can students still be increasing their own level of executive function? Isn’t this where deep learning and even transfer live? Isn’t this the whole point of moving beyond “surface learning”?
And of course, the most important factor in executive function, in my opinion, is that a student has had plenty of opportunities to “do the work”? How do teachers ensure that students are doing the organizing and the self-talk? They must “say less so readers can do more” and demonstate over and over that they really can do the work with panache and confidence!
For me, the connections from this post all began years ago during TCRWP Writing Institute with a conversation between Allison Jackson and myself about this book. That conversation grew into a book study, Twitter chats and actually meeting the authors. Completely life-changing . . .
The function of learning is that students do the hard work of making meaning. That students actually dig into surface, deep and transfer learning. That teachers are like the conductors on the train. Recognizing the signs, making them visually and verbally apparent, but that ultimately students are really the ones who need to be in charge of their learning. And that learning should always, always, always be JOYFUL!
Unfortunately, this Mark Twain quote may still be true:
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
But I can learn in spite of or even despite my education!
Is learning the FUNCTION of your work?
How do we know?
What did I learn on Sunday in New York City?
Who Knew? This is a map that lists the neighborhoods in Manhattan (sorry, Brooklyn friends). They are literally also divided into “uptown”, “midtown”, and “downtown”, as well as “east side” and “west side”.
Not this “farm girl” from Iowa!
What sparked this interest in the “make-up” of Manhattan?
“We tell the stories of 97 Orchard Street. Built on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1863, this tenement apartment building was home to nearly 7000 working class immigrants.”
Do check out the linked museum title above because the “Education” tab includes lesson plans and primary sources that history aficionados will love. The whole premise of learning about the “lives” of these families from the historical documents of the times as well as the personal stories is spellbinding! Goosebumps!
The “sweatshop” tour was our goal and Janeen was an amazing tour guide. She enabled us to time travel back to the 1890s to imagine what life what like in a 3 room 352 square foot apartment occupied by the Levine family – no running water, no electricity, privies in the back yard, . . .
When I hear the word “sweatshop” this is an example of the image that comes to my mind.
But the original sweatshops, before electricity and the “factory” model, existed in the tenement apartments where individuals would run their own business, hire workers, and work incredibly long hours in their own living quarters. Here is a photo of a postcard purchased at the museum (no pictures allowed on the tour) of an example of a dress made in this apartment rented by the Rogarshevky family.
Sewing the dress pictured above (sold for $15 retail) netted this business $0.25. How many dresses would they need to complete during their six-day work week to make $10.00? The virtual tour is linked here so you can see and hear this information yourself.
What do you know about the history of immigrants in your own family?
Where did they come from?
Where did they live and work once they arrived in the US?
How did they have to adapt in order to survive?
What is the role of “oral histories”?
We ended our day at Isabella’s with a different bit of learning. Fellow slicers, TWT bloggers, #tcrwp attendees gathered for fun and fellowship.
Vicki Vinton, Sandy Brumbaum, Julianne Harmatz, Allison Jackson, and Tara Smith and myself. What a great beginning to our “TCRWP” learning week!
TCRWP Writing Institute begins today!
Where and what will you be learning this week?
I’m in NYC!
So excited to be back, with friends, literally from around the country, to learn, live and celebrate writing this week! (Can you guess my favorite punctuation?)
The Saturday before #TCRWP Writing Institute found several “slicers” meeting up at Bank Street Bookstore. Our goal, Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) and I, was to meet Sally Donnelly (@SallyDonnelly1), a fellow slicer up from the Washington, DC area. We had met Sally, oh so briefly at the March Saturday reunion, and were interested in longer conversations. We all found ourselves purchasing Cynthia Lord’s A Handful of Stars that had been highly recommended by fellow traveler Allison Jackson (@azajacks). (sidenote: What’s up with the @? Those are twitter names to follow. If you aren’t following these three, why not? Oh, not on Twitter; well, why not? You should be!)
Amazing book. A dog balancing a blueberry on his nose should “hook” you right into this book! Bank Street Bookstore was also the site of an amazng toddler read aloud with parents, toddlers and accompanying strollers filling the aisles. And that’s all I have to say about that topic because of another book that I purchased that I will be gifting soon. (Hint – book is by Jimmy Fallon; yes topic connected to the new addition to my family.)
We adjourned to the Silver Moon Bakery and cafe for some coffee and much, much, much conversation. Sally is returning to a third grade classroom after years as a reading specialist. We had advice about techonolgy, blogging, professional books (Good to Great: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters by Mary Howard) and fellow bloggers for additional advice.
My one little word is “Focus” so I am thinking about my own professional reading for this summer. This book and my all time favorite What Readers Really Do are my re-reads for this summer along with Colleen Cruz’s, The Unstoppable Writing Teacher, and Jennifer Serravello’s, The Reading Strategies Book, as my two new books. Only four – but rich, savory texts that will feed my soul and brain for the year to come.
What professional reading will you FOCUS on this summer?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsey for creating that place for us to work collaboratively.
Last week as I finished a PD session for some of my teachers, I was asked by the principal to compile separate lists of Informational Books for grades 3, 4, and 5 so they could be purchased for the staff. So a a “resource-full” individual, I put my question out on Twitter to see exactly which informational titles the members of my PLN would say that they could not live without. And they did not disappoint!
Here are the five books that I shared as a result of Alexis Czeterko’s (@AlexisCzeterko ) Closing Workshop “Five Mentor Texts for Information Writing – and Ways to Use Them with Power”. The variety is incredible and seems to renew teachers’ interest in quality informational texts as well. And then the opportunities for using mentor text to explore writing techniques and goals will quickly expand for all writers who study craft moves while reading!
1. National Geographic – Great Migrations: Amazing Animal Journeys
2. Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies and illustrated by James Croft
3. No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young
4. The Split History of the American Revolution
5. Elephants by Steve Bloom
Responses to my request for HELP!
Melissa Stewart provided a great list, but I loved the fact that she said these two books were necessities if only two books could be ordered. Do you know Melissa Stewart? If not, STOP, reading and just click on this link NOW!
Boy Who Loved Math – Heiligman
The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest –and Most Surprising Animals on Earth – Steve Jenkins
Melissa stressed that the actual books for a grade level would depend on the content standards currently in place. So keep that flexibility in mind as the goal is NOT to create a perfect list. Instead the goal is to put valuable mentor texts into the hands of the student authors! Check to see which ones you already own and which ones fill gaps in your current collection! (So unless your room is completely empty, you would need to check your current booklist and your standards before blindly purchasing all of these!)
|Vulture View – April Sayre and Steve Jenkins|
|An Egg is Quiet – Dianna Hutts Aston|
|If You Find a Rock – Peggy Christian|
|Plant Secrets – Emily Goodman|
|Feathers Not Just for Flying – Melissa Stewart|
|No Monkeys, No Chocolate – Melissa Stewart|
|The Sun, the Wind, and the Rain – Lisa Westberg Peters|
|Song of Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems – Joyce Sidman|
|Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci – Gene Barretta|
|Planting the Wild Garden – Kathy O. Galbraith|
|A Place for Bats – Melissa Stewart|
|Winter’s Tail – Craig Hatkoff|
|Who Lives in an Alligator Hole? – Anne Rockwell|
|Living Sunlight – Molly Bang|
|Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – William Kamkwamba|
Allison Jackson (@Azajacks), avid reader who also reviews books for the Nerdy Book Club, and teacher of third grade students submitted this list also on Twitter.
|No Monkeys, No Chocolate – Melissa Stewart|
|Locomotive – Brian Floca|
|Balloons over Broadway – Melissa Sweet|
|UnBEElievables – Douglas Florian|
|What to Do About Alice? How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Crazy! – Barbara Kerley|
|Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 – Michelle Markel|
|A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin – Jen Bryant|
|Step Gently Out – Helen Frost|
|Brothers at BatL The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team – Audrey Vemick|
Allison also included any books from National Geographic Kids and any books by Nic Bishop. Additional books for older students included:
Island by Jason Chin
books by John Hendrix
What FIVE informational books would you recommend for students in grade 3, grade 4 and grade 5?
How has your PLN helped you lately? And more importantly, how have YOU helped others in your PLN?
Special thanks Melissa and Allison!
It’s hard to believe that it has almost been a month since we had an online Twitter chat about Kate Roberts and Chris Lehman’s book, Falling in Love with Close Reading. Join us (Allison Jackson @azajacks and Laura Komos @laurakomos) tomorrow night for a follow up chat from 6:30-7:30 pm EST under the #FILWCloseReading hashtag.
Haven’t read the book?
A sample is available here: http://heinemann.sites.hubspot.com/falling-in-love-with-close-reading-sample
Wonder what we will chat about?
The questions for our chat are available here: goo.gl/yIkmQG
Will @teachkate and @ichrislehman be joining the chat?
Not on 12/9/2013 – They are speaking about their book all day long in New York!
Is Close Reading killing the love of reading for you and your students?
Then you really need to be on Twitter (tweetchat or tweetdeck) to follow #FILWCloseReading Monday, 12/9/13 to listen to a “different view” of close reading that will excite you and your students! We will be looking forward to seeing you!
Archive of chat = storify.com/LauraKomos/fil…
Our Twitter chat celebrating Falling in Love with Close Reading on November 11, 2013 was fabulous, and I must thank co-moderators Allison Jackson and Laura Komos (@azajacks @laurakomos) for their question development, organization, tweeting in advance, and storifying the chat afterwords. Of course, Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts (@ichrislehman @teachkate) brought a crowd to the chat with their participation. My sincerest thanks to ALL participants and readers because deep understanding is necessary in order to ensure that ALL of our students can read, do read and YES, love to read!
The last few months have been a personal quest for knowledge about close reading. I read Tim Shanahan’s blog regularly (although I don’t always agree) and I began with his model for close reading with his “three step process” outlined here. However, I felt this process was stiff, clunky, and was confusing to students who began to say, “Do we really have to read this three times? Just give me all the questions now!”
I had to admit that process was not working in my own reading. Sometimes two reads were sufficient while at other times, it seemed like 10 reads was just beginning to scrape the surface for the “right meaning.”
I loved Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey’s view of close reading in Text Complexity, Raising Rigor in Reading when they shared that close reading should come in texts of varying lengths and was not a daily diet requirement as referenced here. And then the signposts from Notice and Note (Kylene Beers and Bob Probst) were next to receive my scrutiny as a book chat and facebook page sprang up! The language of the signposts made so much sense to students and teachers across the country, and one more entry point into “close reading” was revealed!
In June/July 2013, I attended both the Writing Institute and the Reading Institute at Teachers College in New York City. I learned what I had feared – that I really had not yet understood the impact and the grade level standards for the Common Core State Standards (and, yes, I was a “hick from the sticks”). The demonstrations at #tcrwp convinced me that I had not yet begun to grasp the possibilities for depth and scope in “close reading.” Each demonstration was different as the definition of text broadened. Mary Ehrenworth brilliantly provided a “mini-PD format” for Close Reading, for use in our own buildings, that included a poem and two song videos. Kate Roberts passionately used video and text to illustrate the necessity of close reading for point of view in nonfiction text and I was captivated. When the pending publication of Falling in Love with Close Reading was announced at the June Writing Institute, I immediately pre-ordered it.
And then September arrived and Chris and Kate began the Close Reading Blog-a-thon where Chris unveiled this definition which again stretched my understanding:
“Close reading is when a reader independently stops at moments in a text (or media or life) to reread and observe the choices an author has made. He or she reflects on those observations to reach for new understandings that can color the way the rest of the book is read (or song heard or life lived) and thought about.” Sept. 2, 2013
My learning journey continued as I read brilliant posts that added to the collective blog-a-thon and my understanding and I did sigh in relief a couple of times when I discovered that I was not “way off base” in my thinking. What was so monumental? That one word – “independently” was a showstopper! Up until that point, I had wrestled with how to move to deeper understanding with wisdom from Vicki Vinton and my mates at #WRRDchat (What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton). The simplicity of “Know / Wonder” charts and looking for patterns has stayed with me as I work with students and teachers to build independence in understanding what readers and writers really do.
And then the book arrived. From Donalyn Miller’s first words about The Velveteen Rabbit in the Foreword to the closing pages of the Resources, this book is dedicated to “falling in love.” It is not just about “reading at school” but is truly a ritual for reading life.
I immediately began to tweet out some of my favorite quotes as I quickly discovered that the three part ritual described by Kate in June was at the heart of the entire book. Close Reading is not about interrogating students with text dependent questions although it is about the “Five Corners of Text.” That ritual is simply and elegantly:
- Read through lenses
- Use lenses to find patterns
- Use the patterns to develop a new understanding of the text
In love with the book, twitter conversations began. @laurakomos proposed a chat and we were asking the authors to set a date to chat with their readers. Documents were created and blog posts announced the chat.
Our Twitter Chat was a fun hour + with laughs (jinxed comments), gnashing of teeth (at some policies) and a whole lot of love, passion, respect and celebration of the close reading rituals that Chris and Kate propose in Falling in Love with Close Reading – Lessons for Analyzing Texts – and Life. You can check out the archive here.
Nurturing this love of close reading is going to be important if it really is going to be built on student independence. Teachers will need to consider and balance: types of texts read by the teacher, types of texts read by the students, complexity of student thinking, complexity of texts students are reading independently, balancing genres, balancing levels of challenge and length of texts. Careful thought and planning will be required in order to meet this goal from the book:
“Equally, move freely between analyzing texts, media and life.” (p. 124) The dream is for student independence and where you lead (especially by modeling), the students will follow for the rest of their lives!
Thanks, Chris and Kate, for such powerful learning and for sharing your ritual with your readers so students may grow in independence as they close read their minutes, hours, days, and lives!