Tag Archives: blogs

#DigiLitSunday: Mentors


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Join Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche for additional #DigiLitSunday posts here

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Mentors . . .

I’ve had a few . . .

Where do I begin

To tell the story

Of how mentors have been my guide?

Mentors . . .

Trusted

Experienced

Advisors or

Guides

Mentors . . .

Teachers. . .

Authors . . .

Speakers . . .

Bloggers . . .

Technology wizards . . .

Mentors . . .

All with a digital presence

via

Twitter

Facebook

Voxer

Blogs

Google docs

and

(gasp)

even old-fashioned

emails.

How do you connect with your mentors?

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Teacher Mentors

Allison

Julieanne

Jenny

 Mary Lee

Ryan

Sally

Sandy

Steve

Tara

Those lengthy conversations as we learned, laughed and studied together.  Asking questions, checking for understanding, and seeking new information . . . on our learning quests!

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Online Book Study Groups

What Readers Really Do:  Teaching the Process of Meaning Making by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton – It was a Twitter book study with Ryan, Allison, Julieanne, Sandy and many more included a grand finale with Vicki Vinton.

Good to Great Teaching:  Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters by Dr. Mary Howard – This continues to be a weekly chat #G2Great on Thursday evenings at 8:30 EST.

Who’s Doing the Work?  How to Say Less So Readers Van Do More by Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris  – This book study involved a combination of GoogleDocs and weekly Voxer responses.

A Mindset for Learning:  Teaching the Traits of Joyful, Independent Growth! by Christine Hertz and Kristi Mraz – Book study and Twitter Chat

The Journey is Everything:  Teaching Essays that Students Want to Write for People who Want to Read Them by Katherine Bomer – A book study that resulted in several “essay slices” that included GoogleDocs and a twitter chat.

The Book Love Foundation Podcast Summer Study Session with Penny Kittle – a Facebook group with video, readings, and responses each week.

Craft Moves:  Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts by Stacey Shubitz – This book study involved a combination of Facebook responses and conversations with authors of the mentor texts from Stacey’s book.

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Professional Development Facilitators who serve as mentors

  • Lester Laminack
  • Nell Duke
  • Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan
  • Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris
  • Vicki Vinton
  • Jennifer Serravallo
  • Melissa Stewart
  • Linda Hoyt
  • Seymour Simon
  • Dana Johansen and Sonja Cherry-Paul
  • Lucy Calkins
  • Chris Lehman
  • Kate Roberts
  • Maggie Roberts
  • Cornelius Minor
  • Colleen Cruz
  • Mary Ehrenworth
  • Kathleen Tolan
  • Amanda Hartman
  • Celina Larkey
  • Katie Clements
  • Shana Frazin
  • Katy Wischow
  • Brook Geller
  • Liz Dunford Franco
  • Brianna Parlitsis
  • Meghan Hargrave
  • Kristi Mraz
  • Marjorie Martinelli

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Bloggers

Many may be a part of the Two Writing Teachers “Slicer” group or this “DigiLitSunday group or just may be bloggers who I have learned from:

  • Vicki Vinton
  • Two Writing Teachers –  Current bloggers Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey (as well as Tara and Anna)
  • Mary, Amy and Jenn at Literacy Lenses
  • Julieanne
  • Dayna
  • Margaret
  • Mary Lee
  • Steve
  • Sally
  • Kathy
  • Erika
  • Leigh Anne
  • Ramona
  • Rose
  • Lynne
  • Linda
  • Elsie
  • Catherine
  • Shana and Katy
  • Clare and Tammy
  • Burkins and Yaris
  • Christina
  • Kari
  • Jennifer
  • Donna
  • Phyllis
  • Justin
  • Susie
  • Michelle

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Technology Mentors

  • Cornelius
  • Maggie
  • Kate
  • Chris
  • Katie and Kristin

Authors of Books about Mentor Texts

  • Ralph
  • Penny
  • Ruth
  • Kelly
  • Stacey
  • Rose
  • Lynne
  • Lisa

(If you need last names for those authors of books about mentor texts, you can check them out in this post!)

So I’m apologizing to those literacy mentors who I left out in error – one of the disadvantages of making lists – but the point of my post is that these mentors, many of whom are in MORE than one list are all people that I know in the digital world as well as the physical world.

Through Twitter, Voxer, #TCRWP, ILA and NCTE, my horizons have expanded exponentially.  Now my mentors come from many, many states across this country.  All delightful folks that I have had the priviledge of learning with and beside .  .  . Mentors and Friends!

How do we know the impact that your mentors have had?

These pictures reflect my most recent thinking with some of my mentors! Can you name them?

Collecting Snippets from #NCTE15


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From Twitter and Kelly Gallagher’s “Top Ten Takeaways” (and he said – in no particular order):

kelly one

kelly two

kelly three

kelly four

 

 

Blog Posts:

Julieanne Harmatz  NCTE15  A Necessity

Mary Lee Hahn  My NCTE Top Tens

Joellen McCarthy  The Literacy Super Bowl NCTE15

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan (Assessment in Perspective) Slice of Life:  Some Slices from #NCTE15

Jennifer Sniadecki   Slice of Life Tuesday:  NCTE Lives On

Carol Varsalona   Celebrating Professional Growth

Middle English   #NCTE15:  Disney For English Teachers

Donna Friend  Dear #NCTE15

Sarah Zerwin  My Top Takeaways from #NCTE15

Dana Huff  NCTE 2015 Reflections

Audrey Fisch and Susan Chenelle Day 2 at NCTE: Critical Encounters with Non-Fiction

My Faves:

Visiting with old and new friends

Our volunteer guide the first morning in the skywalk

Learning with a co-worker and friend

The skywalk and the inside path to the convention center

IKEA  (first timer)

Crave

Hell’s Kitchen

Sessions

Sharing #NCTE15 love with @Tara_Smith5 and @Azajacks

Thousands of attendees and thousands of views of #NCTE15 . . . What will you remember?

 

 

 

Best of #ILA15: Did you see these resources?


International Literacy Association 2015 

Did you see all of these resources posted on Twitter this last week? Just one more reason that you all should be on Twitter for the professional resources and connections! (Check out the 30 blue live links!) In the interest of “organizing my files” from #ILA15, here are some resources that you might want to review!

ILA:  The Start of a Literacy Movement

Shiza Shahid – This is her TED talk, not her ILA speech, but well worth your time!

Professor Nana’s  “Summing it Up”

The Best of Twitter Quotes

ILA Literacy Daily:

Pam Allyn’s  “Reading is Like Breathing In; Writing is Like Breathing Out”

“Electric Opening Session Kickstarts ILA 2015 Conference”

“It Starts with You!” 

“Another Conference for the Books” 

“Literacy Conference Panel Weighs Teacher Prep”

Bruce Lansky’s  Poetry Olio Recap  “Saturday Night Live”

Education Week:  “Focus on the Standards without the Words ‘Common Core'”

Teachers for Teachers (Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan):

Slice of Life:  Making Connections Through Laughter

“International Literacy Association 2015 – Be the Change You Want to See in the World!”

Pernille Ripp’s “The Five Truths of Reading”

Heinemann #ILA15 Live Blog

Saturday

Sunday

Katheleen Smith’s Notes from 7/18 at ILA

Miss Miller’s  “Because of ILA: Take Aways and Bring Backs” 

Carol Varsalona’s  “Positively Undone and Renewed”

Professor Nana’s  “What the ‘L’, Part 2”

Vicki Day’s  “Reflecting on #ILA15 – Number 1 Take Away”

and then in case you missed them, my posts about #ILA15:

  1. #ILA15: One Week and Counting
  2. #ILA15 Begins Tomorrow!!!
  3. #ILA15 Begins . . . Reading with Rigor
  4. #ILA15: Pre-Conference Day Learning
  5. #ILA15: Day 1 Treasure Trove
  6. #ILA15: Treasures Continued
  7. #ILA15: Sunday Treasures
  8. #ILA15: Monday Finale
  9. #ILA15 Reprise

Have you added any new blogs to follow?

Will you plan to attend #ILA16 in Boston next July?

ELA, Common Core, and Summer Plans


It is officially summer!  In Iowa that means that the temperature and humidity are creeping up!

What are you planning for this summer?

I am fortunate to have been accepted into the June Writing Institute and the July Reading Institute @TCRWP (Teachers College Reading and Writing Project) at Columbia University in New York City.  As Eva Gabor said in Green Acres, “New York is the place for me!” (You will recognize me as I will probably look and act more like Eddie Albert!)

So what will my focus be for those two weeks (and beyond)?

1) Read:   I will be continuing to read the new Units of Study by Lucy Calkins and all the authors at #TCRWP.  They are phenomenal.  I am already rereading parts because they are so well crafted. Other books are downloaded on my iPad including The One and Only Ivan and Teach Like a Pirate (#educoach twitter chat book study beginning July 10 at 9 pm CST).

2) Write:  I will, of course, tweet from #TCRWP. I believe that one day with Lucy Calkins in January was the source either four or five blogs. I cannot even imagine how much I will have to share after 10 days with Lucy and the #tcrwp tweeps on their home turf!   

And then there is this other little thing called #teacherswrite.  It begins on June 24th and the goal is to write and share every day. As @azajacks said last week, “I am putting my money where my mouth is!”  Time, or lack thereof, cannot be an excuse. In order to continue to grow as a teacher of writing, I need to write more.  (Intrigued?  Information about #teacherswrite can be found here http://www.katemessner.com/teachers-write/ ) Check it out yourself!

3) Continue to grow my technology skills!  I have a love/hate relationship with technology as I have used/owned my own personal technology for more than half my life.  When it goes well, it is a blissful honeymoon.  But when the computer exercises its control, my frustration level rises faster than the temperature!

I need to explore more tools to help teachers increase their efficiency and effectiveness.  I think I was one of the last people to know about Read and Write (Google extension that requires Google Chrome, Google Docs, etc.) and its quick conversion of spoken words to text. Eliminating the need for a scribe sounds both efficient and effective to me!!! Three or four tools that are VERY user friendly are exactly what I need to use well before I share with teachers!

*  *   *   *   *   *   *   *

And in the interest of full disclosure, the three items on this list came from a blog I follow at http://chartchums.wordpress.com/ that was posted on June 17th.  Check it out!  Their explanations were much more eloquent than mine.  (And borrowing ideas matched my fortune cookie: “Imitation is a sincere form of flattery.”) Their blog and book are fabulous. Both have totally expanded my view of how “charts” can make learning “visible” for students.  Their charts are a perfect match for gradual release of responsibility that results in student independence!

What are you going to plan to do this summer to improve your knowledge of ELA?

 And the Common Core? 

Record your plans below!  Let’s encourage each other to meet our goals!

Common Core Must Reads


When you consider CCR.RI.1 how do you decide what evidence is most relevant, accurate, and informative?  Does it need to parallel or mirror your own existing thoughts so you can cheer, “Good job!” when you get to the end?

Or does the evidence get you to stop and think?  Perhaps reread?  Talk to a friend?  Write a blog? Does it ever make you wonder what you really “know?”

There are many wonderful blogs on a variety of topics.  The two blogs that have increased my level of understanding of the Common Core English Language Arts Anchor Standards with files of evidence of learning are:

(drum roll, please . . .)

1. Burkins and Yaris Think Tank for 21st Century Literacy

http://www.burkinsandyaris.com/

or in Twitterdom @burkinsandyaris

Go to the second button “Our Favorites” and pull down the menu to see such choices as:

  • Article Archive
  • Assessments
  • Close Reading
  • Common Core Resources
  • Common Core Work in the States

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Climbing the Staircase of Complexity (Parts 1 and 2) might be a blog post of special interest to you!  Wander around a bit to see what’s available!

2. Teaching the Core

http://www.teachingthecore.com/

or in Twitterdom @davestuartjr

Dave Stuart Jr. will help your brain cells grow when you read his blogs about all 32 English Language Arts CCR Anchor Standards.  The header for his blog is posted below.  Time spent with all of the CCSS posts will be an incredibly good use of your time.  As you read them, please do think about your own applications of the CCR Standards ESPECIALLY if you are a high school ELA teacher.  If you work in an elementary or middle school, think about how you truly do help create that staircase of learning so students can meet the end goal – College and / or Career Ready!

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What did you learn from reading these blogs?  Please “Leave a Reply” below!

MUST FOLLOW Blogs


(As I write this post, I am going to practice CCR Anchor Writing Standard 1, “Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.” )

As I reviewed the blogs listed here on my page as well as the ones on my google reader, I thought about the power of technology.  I eagerly look forward to catching up on my “online blog reading” in order to see what is happening with many friends that I know in the virtual world. I have found that a “support system” exists that helps me increase my own understanding of literacy and the bigger educational world. This post takes a look inside some of those blogs that are a part of my own support system that range from a Twitter chat group and some of its specific members to a blog from work that greatly influences my literacy specialist work to a blog that makes me think about how students should be using blogs for real world writing. The topics and content may vary but blogs are powerful sources of learning as well as reflections of learning; just check these out!

1) #educoach  The #educoach Twitter chat takes place at 9 pm CST each Wednesday night. The chats are co-moderated by @KathyPerret @PrincipalJ and @shiraleibowitz. Because all three are very talented leaders, I am including all of their blogs under number one #educoach . The reasons for reading them are uniquely different and important! (Yep, cheating already!)

A) Kathy Perret’s “Learning Is Growing “ blog is a place where she records her reflections and new learnings. In the “About” section, Kathy explains that the name was inspired by the book Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. Kathy is an aspiring elementary principal who currently serves as a Reading Consultant for NWAEA in Sioux City, Iowa. As I reviewed Kathy’s blog for specific posts to recommend I noted that the archives extend to August 2010 with 70,829 hits recorded. This seems to be a blog with a great following! Favorite posts that extended my thinking included: “Discover Writing” posted on July 14, 2012,  “Angry Birds” – A Lesson in Assessment FOR Learning posted on February 15, 2011  and “ Think-Pair-Share Variations” posted on March 21, 2012.  These three posts represent thoughtfully written articles for teachers that include the background theory, actual implementation steps, and resources that would benefit a teacher implementing the strategies in a classroom.

B) @PrincipalJ’s blog is “Reflections from an Elementary Principal.  Jessica Johnson reflects on her practice, her learning and connects with other school administrators as an elementary principal in Wisconsin. Favorites of mine include:  “Ready for the First Day of Bucket Filling!”(Sept. 2012),    October 3, 2012,  “Do my teachers know how amazing they are?” that was about nominating a teacher for a state award who didn’t feel she was a viable candidate, and  “The decision to go school-wide with Daily 5” posted on February 9, 2011  that details how Daily 5 began with one second grade teacher the previous year. With blogs dating back to 2009 a reader could find many topics that would build upon his/her own understanding of life as an administrator or lead teacher in any building.

C) “Sharing Our Blessings” is Shira Leibowitz’s blog shared in her own words “because for Educators and Parents, Counting Our Blessings Just Isn’t Enough.” Shira is a lower elementary principal in New Jersey. A special favorite of mine is the post “Who’s Afraid of Principals?” posted 10.09.12 that so aptly conveys a student vision of adults and reminds adults to stop and think about the perceptions of our students!  Posted on 04.22.12 is “The Learning Walk Shuffle” which details an evolution of learning walks to the current foci of differentiation and student engagement.  That is one post that I have reread multiple times! “A Team of Coaches” posted on 02.13.12 provides information about the specific roles of the math, Hebrew, science, educational tech, enrichment, media and literacy, and literacy and learning strategies coaches found in her building. All of these coaches work together as a coaching team to support meaningful professional learning.  Shira talks frankly about professional learning required to design and support all students and teachers.

2)  Quick Reviews and Ideas is a blog by @ksteingr (Kristin Steingreaber) who is the media director at Great Prairie AEA (Ottumwa and Burlington) where I work. The purpose of this blog is to connect students with new media resources. Teachers and/or students will be interested in the reviews. The October 24th post is a review of the book, The giant and how he humbugged America by Jim Murphy. Publisher information is included as well as why this may appeal to students in Iowa:  “Hull claimed that he got the idea to create the giant while on a business trip to Ackley, Iowa” (page 47). Curriculum connections to books from the National Council of Social Studies are also included in the book reviews found in the October 21st post as way to increase reading within curricular areas. The blog archives list 53 posts for 2012, 56 for 2011, 67 for 2010 and 78 for 2009 as further evidence of the long standing tradition of book reviews. Busy teachers will appreciate that the reviews are succinct.  Looking for a specific title?  There is a “search” available on this blog that allows one to focus on specific titles and/or topics.

3) This last specific post “Ideas for Integrating a Student Blog into Your Curriculum” by @penilleripp is on the “Blogging through the Fourth Dimension” site and is a “Must Read/Follow” because it includes education musings, technology and lessons as well as Pernille Ripp’s Life as a Teacher.  Need ideas on how to incorporate student blogging in order to make writing as authentic and as meaningful as possible without it becoming another homework burden?  If yes, then this is the post  you need to read.  Thinking about student blogging?  Then this is the blog for you to follow.  Mrs. Ripp has 150 posts archived for this year alone which could greatly inform any reader looking to add to their own knowledge of technology and writing. Any teacher who is considering student blogging will find additional resources and food for thought on this blog!

So this was quite lengthy. Did I support my claims that these were great “must follow/read” blogs? Was the reasoning valid? Was there sufficient and valid evidence? Where could I have improved my argument?

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