And the answers were:
Bob Probst: “I would give students more access to models of student discourse so they can talk about the content.”
Lucy Calkins: “I would give teachers more time for professional conversations, to dive into problems of practice together as a community and share their discoveries.”
Kylene Beers: “I would double your pay and cut the number of students in your class in half.”
This last question posed by moderator Lester Laminack who was seated on stage with the panel was: “If you had a magic wand in public education today, what would you do with it?”
Was this the most memorable question of the day? Why begin here? Because Saturday was a ginormous day of learning at #NCTE17. My day was filled with nonstop sessions and meetings from 7:30 am until 10:05 pm. It was Saturday. I was in St. Louis. And let me repeat, “my day was filled with nonstop sessions and meetings from 7:30 am until 10:05 pm.” And it was Saturday. If you do the math, the answer is something like 14+ hours.
Details: The first meeting was a breakfast. The last gathering was dinner. 15 minutes in between sessions to race from one end of the convention center and settle in for 75 minute learning opportunities… On a Saturday!
What is personalized learning?
What is the role of technology?
My answer is #NCTE17. A conference that I choose to attend, at my own expense, in order to learn and grow professionally. A conference where I renew my professional “joie de vivre“. I chose my schedule (or does it chose me?). I make a plan or two. I continually check my list of “Must Learns“. Some items are topics. Some items are names. Names of people. Names of books. And the best intersection . . . authors of books from book chats or book studies. The books in my bag in my hotel room that I forgot to match up to my schedule to bring for autographs. Those authors. Those from whom I want to learn MORE!
Personalized = my choice. Technology = those I have met on Twitter, Voxer, and blogs (that I now meet face to face). A lasting marriage of Voice and Choice on Saturday for 14+ hours of learning! Learning on my own dime and time.
So what did I learn?
“We still need a balance of technology and print in our literacy lives. There is not yet a definitive answer on when and how much screen time is appropriate for effective learning. Think balance.” Colleen Cruz, TCRWP
Lucy Calkins: “Transference of phonics is the goal. We don’t need a professor of phonics.”
“Our new work is our best work. We are always striving to improve and outgrow ourselves as a community of learners.”
To learn more about Jacqueline Woodson, Saturday General Session, check out her website. Simply gorgeous keynote!
F.38 What Matters Most About Reading and Writing
(Lester Laminack, Kylene Beers, Robert Probst, and Lucy Calkins)
What I will hold onto:
Kylene shared that 80% of adults go to text in order to be right. So we need to teach HS kids that reading, entering a text, is an opportunity to change yourself.
Lucy Calkins – “Live as if one of the pillars of your thinking is dead wrong.” Go to sessions, work with folks because if we only read our books and stay in our bubble – we will not be surprised and will not outgrow ourselves.
Lester Laminack: Our children are 21st century citizens . . . ask Siri ‘Why do bees buzz?” (and he did on stage for all of us to listen to) How do we convince Ss to fall in love w/ books? That’s a question for your, dear reader!
Lucy: We can grow as writers if we write along side our students when they are writing. We don’t have to be writers before we begin teaching writing.
Kylene: Writing to tell or Writing to discover. We can’t and don’t write enough. We shouldn’t teach kids non-fiction means not fake which then turns to true…let’s teach them non-fiction means not fiction. Non-fiction can be fake, not because you don’t agree with it though.
G.04 How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More: Developing Agentive Readers
(Jan Burkins, JoAnne Duncan, Gravity Goldberg, and Renee Houser)
We read passages at 90% accuracy. They were tough to understand. Sometimes reading is tough. We need to acknowledge that. But we also need to make sure that students DO THE WORK! We need to set up those conditions of learning!
Haven’t read it? No excuse!
You can read about it here, here, and here.
Gravity and Renee have this fiction and a nonfiction parallel book as well. Have you read them? Reflections on the books are included on a post here.
JoAnne shared the journey of a particular student in her building who learned to read and was then given books when she moved from the school. Powerful and tear jerking reminders that our relationships matter. We have to be a part of our students’ lives.
H.08 Harnessing the Power of Multicultural Literature and Critical Literacy to Generate Authentic and Enjoyable Writing Spaces That Bring Writers Back into the Workshop
(Brian Kissel, Kristina Kyle, and Lauren Rudd)
The two first grade international teachers shared the influences of their work:
- James Paul Gee
- Paulo Freire
- Vivian Maria Vasquez
Social action (for a Better World)
- Randy Bomer
- Katherine Bomer
- Stephanie Jones
And then Brian had us read and think alongside his reflections on his student work! For more information about Brian and his work, check out this post.
Thought to Ponder:
What would happen if you read every piece of student work just like you read every published book?
I.20 Recapturing Assessment: Student Voices in Aiding Our Mission
(Jason Augustowski, Dr. Mary Howard, Dr. Katie Dredger, Cindy Minnich, Sam Fremin, Ryan Hur, Joseph O’Such, Christian Sporre, Dawson Unger, Spencer Hill, Jack Michael, Ryan Beaver, Sean Pettit, and Kellen Pluntke)
Take aways from the #BowTieBoys:
- Students do not want multiple choice tests.
- Students do not want to regurgitate facts.
- Students do not want to write essays every time to show evidence of their learning.
- Students do not want to sit in rows of desks.
- Students do not want to listen to lectures.
- Students do not want a two page writing limit.
Students want choice.
Students want voice.
Students want opportunities to negotiate HOW to share their learning.
Students want to explore their own interest.
Students want to use technology.
Students want to learn even if that takes more work.
Students are less concerned about “fairness in grading” then they are about having choices in open-ended rubrics.
(edited) For additional details about the individual presentations from this round table see Mary C Howard’s Facebook post here.
J. 21. Beyond Levels: Choosing Texts to Scaffold Instruction for Engagement and Agency
(Clare Landrigan, Tammy Mulligan, Terry Thompson, and Dorothy Barnhouse)
It was such a pleasure to see the cover of Clare and Tammy’s new book and then to have Dorothy read Yo, Yes to us. We can find authentic ways to build in engagement and agency without “cute” worksheet pages! Tammy and Clare’s blog is here.
And of course, ending with the Slicer Dinner! 16 bloggers (weekly and each day in March) meet up for food, fun, continued learning, and conversation. (Again . . . Personalized Learning and Technology) Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!
What is your personalized learning plan?
Does technology play a part?
Are you ready to sign up for #NCTE18 in Houston?
As many of you know, this has been a driving summer . . .
Florida, Florida, Florida, Florida (it’s a long way from the top to the bottom)
and back plus
Not commuter miles but trips that included LONG days.
So think about this driving analogy.
My trip to Sioux City today.
When to stop / break / gas?
Can I beat the GPS arrival time?
By Des Moines, I had gained three minutes according to the GPS.
And then semi-trucks passing semi-trucks going uphill . . . slowed both lanes down.
And then there was road construction with one lane of traffic and a reduced speed limit of 55 mph.
Results (but I REALLY wanted this to be Synthesis)
Exploring alternate routes.
Considering overall rates of travel and the amount of travel in both lanes.
Learning new vocabulary
- Rest Stop – Parking Only
- Rest Stop – Modern
- Rest Stop with Internet Access (including symbols for phone, Vending Machines and Camper Dump Stations
So the short part of this is that I arrived one minute before my GPS said and my route, although with some adjustments, was successfully completed.
What if ? ? ?
A. What if I had to record notes
Before the trip?
During the trip?
After the trip?
B. I had to record the skills I had mastered
Processes? (Hat tip to Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson for that idea after a Voxer #G2Great conversation)
Have you made the inference about where this is headed? . . .
Hint – Reread Choices A and B
And Oh, My Goodness!
I forgot the Planning that happened prior to the trip including checking for my registration, insurance card, and having the car serviced (oil change & tire rotation) prior to the trip as well as googling the distance from point A and B so I could begin to draft the specifics.
All of these little details matter when driving a motor vehicle. There are big details that have life or death consequences like safely managing a vehicle, keeping it in the right lane, accelerating and decelerating with traffic flow, smooth lane changes WITH a turn signal, safe distances between vehicles, and paying attention to merging lanes, road signs, and . . .
I’m lucky because I’ve been driving for over four decades and I had a refresher when my son would point out driving errors while he was in a driver’s education course. Your driving experience may include more total miles or more city miles than me. That’s a “number” or data-based comparison. But what about “quality”?
In my opinion it all boils down to “my confidence in my driving abilities” because I have experienced a wide variety of situations that have contributed to the automaticity of my driving habits and patterns that also allow me to be responsive and THINK when I must make “in the second/minute” adjustments.
I very deliberately chose this comparison because this “automaticity” is what we want for our students in reading.
How much time does this take?
How will we measure this success?
WHEN will a reader be successful?
And what does this mean for TEACHERS, the adults in the classroom?
They must be equally prepared, confident, and ready for challenges.
That is why I am in several book clubs this summer. Probably too many. But I am pushing my own Planning, Questioning, Reflecting and Synthesizing especially as I work through professional books.
I wrote about the beginning of #CyberPD and Vicki Vinton’s Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading here. This thinking fits with a Facebook and Twitter study of Disrupting Thinking by authors Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. Margaret Simon wrote about both of those today here. As discussed at the last #G2Great chat with Linda Rief, Reading is about the meaning that the reader understands as a result of his/her transaction with the text. Reading is NOT extracting factoids.
Without spending a great deal more words, I believe that when students can and do
on their own (P,Q,R,S) in real authentic work (not just school work), they WILL BE Skilled, Competent, Strategic, Confident, and Experienced Readers!
What do you do daily to help students “transact” with text in the form of stories, books, poetry, nonfiction, art works, video, and audio?
How will you know when students have reached automaticity?
How will you know your students are skilled, competent, strategic, confident and experienced readers?
#DigiLitSunday: More posts from Margaret Simon and Reflections on the Teche.
#DigiLitSunday: “Possible Sentences
Join Margaret Simon at “Reflections on the Teche” for additional #DigiLit Sunday reading here.
Kylene Beers and Bob Probst are both speakers that I can listen to time and time again I’ve seen them at ILA, NCTE, and Kylene more than once at #TCRWP. One strategy that I participated in that has stuck with me is “Possible Sentences”. As a workshop participant, it went as Melanie Swider of “Two Reflective Teachers” described here although the session I attended was on a different date.
How can students more “authentically” USE vocabulary words and do more of the vocabulary “heavy lifting” in understanding and owning the words?
Possible Sentence Basic Process:
The teacher chooses vocabulary words.
The students, doing the work, predict and use the words in sentences.
*Then as a class, all the sentences are compiled and then questions are generated for each sentence.
Students return to their sentences and questions to revise them based on the understanding of the topic after reading.
How could we start using “Possible Sentences” in Book Clubs or in Content Area classes and add in some meaningful, very purposeful, use of technology?
Here’s what I proposed for our first learning practice:
You can go to the actual documents through the links below and save your eyesight:
Google Drawing Student Task Card link
Google Drawing Teacher Card linklink
Tools: NewsELA article, Wordcounter.com, Google Drawings cards, Google Docs – Response
Are you using “Possible Sentences”?
Have you added a technology component to increase student collaboration?
What tools did / would you use?
#NCTE15 Involving Students!
A common theme in these four sessions that I attended at #NCTE15 was the importance / necessity of involving students in their own learning. (It’s a connection that I could make about ALL of my #NCTE15 sessions in retrospect.)
1. Bring Students into the Conversation: Goal-Setting, Tool-Making that Supports Transfer
#TCRWP Staff Developers: Valerie Geschwind, Marjorie Martinelli, Ryan Scala, Amy Tondeau began this session with a “Turn and Talk”.
Think of a recent goal that you have achieved.
What were the conditions that helped you to reach that goal?
Motivation is a Result of . . .
- Social interaction
Tools that Support Self- Assessment
- Tools created from Mini-Lessons
Goal Setting with Students and Language that Honors Choice
And then Val introduced the cycle of learning. . . in student language.
- I am working towards a new goal.
- Sometimes it goes well and sometimes it is really hard!
- I need my tool to know each step.
- I am practicing my goal all the time: in every book or in every piece of writing.
- I use my tool as a check-in.
- I can use my goal in lots of places.
- I can teach other people what my goal is and help them do it.
I loved the idea of the three stages. I believe Brook Geller first introduced me to the belief at #TCRWP 2013 July Reading Institute that most “students are over taught and under practiced.” Many students seem to need more practice time with specific feedback and a lot less “teacher talk”. In this case a practitioner is someone who is actively engaged in the doing, who repeatedly exercises or performs an activity or skill to acquire, improve, or maintain proficiency, or who actually applies or uses an idea, a method, or a skill across many scenarios. In other words, our students are the practitioners!
Practice does not have to be boring. There are many methods (see picture below) that can be used to reach “expert” status but the key to this entire presentation was that students would be working on a goal of their own choice and moving from novice, to practitioner, to expert. What wonderful language to put into the mouths of students . . . How motivating and empowering!!!
Caution: These are not stages to be RACED through. They will take time to develop. Students in charge of their own assessment of these stages will definitely be students who know exactly what skills and strategies that they do have in their repertoire.
Be the Force! Help students
- Take on their own learning
- Take on their own change
- Cultivate a growth habit of mind
- See each other as experts
Tools: Checklists, rubrics, progressions, charts from mini-lessons. However, a new look . . . Bookmarks with 3 or 4 choices. Students marked the choice that they were using with a paperclip. Clearly visible!!!! AWESOME!
And then a final reminder .. . .
You’ve met your goal. Now what?
- Maintain your skills
- Teach others
- Get critical
- Set new goals
It was the first time for me to hear #TCRWP Staff Developers Valerie, Marjorie, Ryan, and Amy and I’m definitely looking forward to learning from them during future opportunities!!!
2. Responsible and Responsive Reading: Understanding How to Nurture Skill and Will
Kylene Beers, Teri Lesene, Donalyn Miller, Robert Probst
Of course this was a popular session so I was willing to sit on the floor (don’t tell the fire marshal) because I wanted to be able to be up front and see!
Donalyn’s presentation is here for you to review at your leisure. A very powerful activity included these questions: “What books and reading experiences would form your reading autobiography?” Donalyn explained that: What matters is WHY you chose the book? Insights from these responses lead to deep conversations with students. Convos for Ss
Teri Lesene’s presentation is here. This fact was startling to me! Obviously I need to read more than a book a week!
Kylene Beers and Bob Probst shared a great deal of information about nonfiction reading that has come from the process of writing their new book. This slide is something I want to remember. . . “when I have answers I need to question”.
And this one on the importance of reading.
3. Finding Their Way: Using Learning Tools to Push Rigor, Increase Independence and Encourage Learning in Your Classroom
TCRWP Staff Developers: Mike Ochs, Kate Roberts, Maggie Beattie Roberts
Maggie began this session with many great connections. “We haven’t seen teachers work harder than they currently are, YET sometimes students aren’t working so hard! ” Tools can help students buy into learning. Tools, in our daily life, extend our reach, meet our needs, help us tackle big problems and personally get better! Tools connect, access, build community . . . should change over time!
- Rigor and motivation
- Memory . . . Why don’t we remember things? (short and long term memory) “I’ve taught this 1000 times. I know they learned this!”
“A great coach never achieves greatness for himself or his team by working to make all his players alike.” Tomlinson
And then a typical problem from narrative writing. . . How to stretch out a frozen moment. Kate created a demo page in front of us and told us it was, “Messy!” Lean on a menu of ways, decide the color scheme, and title.
Another tool might be a Micro-Progression. It provides a clear description of behaviors that are expected so students will know where they stand. Middle level is good. Students don’t always have to think they should be at the top level of performance.
Bookmark – 5 or 6 most important things for students to work on. Let students create this for themselves. They can be different!
Mike – Framework for creating tools adapted from The Unstoppable Writing Teacher with a shout out to Colleen Cruz.
Do not plan to use a tool forever. Have a plan to remove the tools. Some tools we will always need (the hammer), some we want to go away/become automatic (steps to hammer a nail) Some tools become references, set aside until needed. Sometimes need an additional/alternate tool. Most writing tools are not designed to be used indefinitely.
Kate: “You find yourself getting as smart as the toolmakers as you use the ‘tools of others’ and you get better as teacher! You don’t want to teach without a sidekick. Your tools can be a sidekick.”
News : Spring 2016 a book from Kate and Maggie!!!! SO EXCITED!
4. Transforming Informational Writing: Merging Content and Craft
Seymour Simon, Kelly Boswell, Linda Hoyt
I think I know this boy!
Seymour’s part was actually titled: Celebrating the Wonder in Nonfiction Storytelling. He began with a discussion of what nonfiction really means. If nonfiction is really “not true” than fiction should be “not real”. There is something about the use of “non” that marginalizes the texts that are labeled nonfiction. After all, who takes anything with “non” in the title seriously?
Not much difference between teaching F and NF. . .
- Who am I?
- What am I?
- What about me?
Mystery, wonder, poem, the universe!
Seymour read aloud many great fiction and nonfiction pairings. One of my favorite pairings was:
Kelly: How Mentors and Modeling Elevate Informational Writing
Mentor texts plus teacher modeling equals quality student writing. When teaching writing, FOCUS! If the target lesson is about leaving spaces between words, only teach “leaving spaces between words.” Don’t teach everything in the world of writing.
Kelly’s example for the text went “something” like this as an example of what NOT to do! “Class, we are going to work on leaving spaces between words today as we write. What does a sentence begin with? Good! Yes, a capital letter. (writes The) Our next word is ‘butterfly’. Let’s clap the syllables in butterfly. How many? Yes, three. What sound does it begin with?”
If the focus is “leaving spaces between words” – that’s the teacher talk!
On mentors and models – read the book once to enjoy, then mine for craft. Use a favorite book over and over and don’t forget to use it for conventions! Here’s an example from Hank the Cowdog.
- Create a culture of Curiosity.
- Provide time for students to ask questions
- Immerse learners in fascinating informational topics and sources
- Focus on content and craft in the writing they see, hear, and produce
- “Float the learning on a sea of talk.” – James Britton
- Teach research strategies
- Teach visual literacy – First grade writing example
8. Writers Workshop Every Day
9. Make sure learners are writing all day long. Write to remember. Write to question. Write to think. Write to express yourself. Write to share your learning. In every subject area.
10. Write Using Elements from Real World Informational Texts (lists, emails, letters, notes, newsletters)
Involving Students Take Aways:
Students can set real goals and self-assess their progress toward their goals.
Students are motivated when they have control and real choices in their work.
Models and tools aid students in moving through a cycle of novice to practitioner to expert.
What are your thoughts about involving students at this point?
#ILA15: One Week and Counting!
This summer is a FEAST of professional development for me. I had the great fortune of being accepted for two weeks of learning at TCRWP for Writing and Reading Institutes. (You can check out my public learning log under the “Recent Posts” at the right.) Next weekend I will be in St. Louis for ILA.
How are you preparing for your learning?
What information do you need to KNOW before you look at specific sessions?
Do you look for specific PEOPLE?
Do you look for specific TOPICS?
Here’s the link to the 16 page preview guide pictured above.
I used the search tool to create a DRAFT LIST of those I know that I MUST see.
Chris Lehman – Sunday, Writing from Sources is more than. . .”The Text Says”
Jennifer Serravello – Sunday, Accountability, Agency, and Increased Achievement in Independent Reading
Nell Duke – Saturday, A Project-Based Place
Lester Laminack, Linda Rief, and Kate Messner – Saturday, The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Text to Teach the Craft of Writing
Penny Kittle and Donalyn Miller – Sunday, Complex, Rigorous and Social: Fostering Readerly Lives
and then added in others previously marked in the program:
Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan – They are authors of the book Assessment in Perspective: Focusing on the Reader Behind the Numbers.
Dana Johansen and Sonja Cherry-Paul – Preconference Institute – Friday, Reading with Rigor: Interpreting Complex Text Using Annotation and Close Reading Strategies
Kim Yaris and Jan Burkins – They are the authors of Reading Wellness. Check out a bit of their work here.
Kylene Beers and Bob Probst – Notice and Note and Nonfiction version to be out in October.
Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey – Many, many ELA texts involving Gradual Release of Responsibility
Other faves that I hope to see at ILA15 include: Vicki Vinton and Dorothy Barnhouse – What Readers Really Do; Dr. Mary Howard – Good to Great; and ANY and ALL TCRWP folks!
Any Two Writing Teacher Slicers? – please say hello in person!
Any #G2Great chatters?
Any #TCRWP afficionados?
I’m ready to rename ILA15 as “Gateway to the STARS!” as I look at this line up of literacy greats. What great learning opportunities and I’m still at the pre-planning stage. (Maybe I will find Hermione’s secret so that I can be in at least two locations at the same time!)
Who would you add to this list?
Fitting the Puzzle Pieces of Close Reading Together
(Photo: 123RF #21054105)
The Blog-A-Thon for Close Reading hosted by Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts has resulted in thoughtful conversations around two words in CCSS Reading Anchor Standard #1. We are all eagerly awaiting elaboration from Chris and Kate’s book ‘Falling in Love With Close Reading‘ that will add to our knowledge. Blog posts have discussed close reading as a noun, a verb and with very specific cautions about being very careful to not destroy “the love of reading.”
So, a quick review that close reading is:
- Not every story
- Not dragging a two page story out to a week’s worth of lessons
- Not 999 text dependent questions
- Not the teacher scaffolding the work all the time
- Not the students being ‘assigned’ text to read and reread and reread
- Not a scripted procedure
- Not surface learning
- Not limited by the four corners of the page
- Not worksheets
- Not independent reading
- Not scripted lesson plans
- Not just a “school activity “
- Not isolated work with the CCSS reading standards one at a time
- Not always rereading three times
- Not . . .
In the first post for the Blog-A-Thon, Chris told us last week that:
“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.”
Which words or phrases caused you to stop, pause, or reread as you read that definition?
Or (gasp!), did you tell yourself that you had already read that definition last week so you just kinda, sorta glossed over it? Did you notice any “patterns?”
Inherent in this definition is the belief that the reader will read like an author while observing the author’s choices within text, media or life. That means that the reader will probably “know and wonder” (Barnhouse & Vinton, What Readers Really Do) or “notice and note” (Beers & Probst, Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading) as he/she traces patterns from the text. Pattern tracing may evolve through the use of post-its, reading notebook entries or even on chart paper or interactive white boards. Student reflection on the meaning of the pattern would seem to be essential for “new understandings” to be constructed!
What routine(s) should be used?
The routine that the reader uses will be based on teacher instruction explicitly designed for independent application by the reader. The instructional format may include conversations about the “stance” or lens that the student is using to view the text: text evidence, word choice, structure, or figurative language. But it could also involve the lens of “character development and change over time.” (CCSS Reading Anchor #3 – Scroll down to the chart about “lonely characters and then go back to read the blog for the chart context.“) In the search for a theme (CCSS Reading Anchor #2), the lens could be the signpost “Again and Again” (Beers & Probst) or “Searching for Meaning”in Dea Conrad-Curry’s post.
Desired outcome = students independently and capably engaged in close reading of text, media and life
The path for instruction may be varied but it has to include authentic reading experiences. At times instruction may be inquiry with the teacher carefully observing students and the patterns they discover in their reading. At other points a more direct instructional framework may be Fisher and Frey’s gradual release of responsibility that includes: productive group work, guided instruction, focus lesson (including modeling), and independent work until the ultimate goal of close reading and “constructing new understanding” is TOTALLY dependent on the text and the student!
So how do we get to our final destination?
Observe the current status of our students. Provide explicit instruction that will “nudge” students to reach new understanding. Continue to “construct” meaning – not just identify it. Use the phrase, “Tell me more” instead of a barrage of questions. Sometimes the learning path will be whole class, small group or 1:1, but the journey needs to begin now. It’s 2013 and we can improve instruction and student learning as we work and learn together with a sense of urgency that will propel student thinking beyond current levels!
“We read forward and think backward, making within-text connections to notice patterns” (Barnhouse & Vinton, p.113) as we “trust student talk around texts to support our thinking goals” (p. 122). Reading, observing, talking, thinking about text, media, and life will help construct meaning and fit the puzzle pieces together!
It’s complicated! It’s messy! And close reading is definitely a big puzzle with no ONE right way to accomplish it!