Innovation: Imagining the future of Literacy is the theme of the CCIRA 2020 Conference on Literacy currently underway in snowy Denver, Colorado. The outside weather is not hampered by the excitement of learning! This conference is a favorite of mine because of their preregistration process that allows me to choose my sessions in advance.
Innovation began with a keynote for all on Wednesday evening, “On Writing and Reading” with Colleen Cruz and Donalyn Miller, stellar literacy leaders who rocketed us to the stars.
Reflections on Colleen Cruz’s keynote
Colleen talked about her current project with mistakes and then had us writing within the first ten minutes. Participants writing during her 45 minute portion of the keynote . . . what does that tell you about what she values? I appreciated hearing the difference between mistake and intentional wrongdoing, but I was very interested in the responses to mistakes that she shared.
Some common ways we deal with mistakes:
We can make the best of the situation (shake it off)
We can try to fix the mistake (apologize)
We don’t fix the mistake (leave it)
We don’t fix it AND we maintain it (protect and build it up)
Stop and think of a recent mistake that you made.
How did you respond? Is that your typical response? What “patterns” do you see in your response to mistakes?
A Thomasson is an architectural element that is:
And then the relevance? Thomassons appear to be mistakes. What practices in your classroom are Thomassons?
- Is it a graphic organizer?
- The ubiquitous hamburger organizer?
- “Said is dead” bulletin board?
What Thomassons could you remove from your practices that would improve writing for your students?
Reflections on Donalyn Miller’s keynote – Access and Choice: Supporting Young Readers
This question struck a chord with me: If school is the primary access point, what do our students do when school is closed?
Access is critical and NOW is the perfect time to be planning to prevent summer slide. Donalyn shared research and statistics about summer slide and then reminded us that access to public libraries is not FREE for all students. Working parents may not be able to ferry children to the library. The family may consider the requirements for a library card to be too invasive into family circumstances. Confusion about the role of government bodies and their influence may exist. And dreaded fines for lost or missing library books may prohibit students and families from accessing library books.
What did your summer program look like last year? What were your results? What should you change for this summer? What is your plan?
As expected the learning trajectories were high!
What is your definition of literacy?
What does access mean to you?
What innovations are you planning for?
What innovations are pushing your beliefs about literacy?
Celebrating 2019 Reading
29 books listed for my 52 book goal in Goodreads
7 of 29 books are professional books.
Celebrating Writing and 2019 Publications
Two posts at Literacy Lenses: “Creating a Conversational Thread: Engaged Reading, Writing and Talking Across the Curriculum” and Game Changers!
Here at Resource – Full: 22 posts this year in 56 days
Celebrating 2019 Talking (Twitter Chats)
Cohosting an #ILAchat on Independent Reading on 2/14/19 http://bit.ly/ILAchat_IndependentReading
Cohosting #G2Great chats – 7
Celebrating 2019 Learning Destinations
Minneapolis with Kathryn, Kari and Cornelius Minor
TOTAL 29 + 25 + 8 + 2 = 64 literacy reasons to celebrate
Evidence of Reading, Writing, Talking (Chats), and Learning . . .
What are you celebrating in 2019?
How are you progressing with your #OLW?
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.
Were you in the room?
500 + educators
On a Saturday morning
In Denver, Colorado.
These “Everyday Practices”
DURING the session
With Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle!
Seriously, another session with Kelly and Penny?
How many does that make?
- Kelly and Penny with Nancy Atwell NCTE B 36 here . . .
- Kelly in Iowa . . .
- 180 Days Resources and #G2Great Chat here . . .
- Summer Book Love Club with Penny . . .
- Kelly and Penny in Iowa here . . .
- Penny with Linda Reif here . . . (wakelet)
Why do I continue to grow my knowledge and understanding?
Because this is the learning that our students deserve. Because this is the learning environment that our students need in order to thrive. Because this is the learning environment that our students need in order to be successful as students. Because this is the learning environment that our students need in order to transfer to being successful adults . . . in the real world . . . after school . . . in LIFE!
What else do I want to hold onto?
And . . .
What matters in Reading and Writing?
Conferring / Feedback
But without volume . . . nothing else matters. And if your kids are NOT reading WITH you, they are not reading WITHOUT you!
How will you increase the volume of reading and writing and yet honor student choice?
(Other gems of wisdom can be found on Twitter!)
180 Days and A Novel Approach are a perfect pairing!
I wrote about Reading Research here and Dr. Mary Howard capped our #G2Great chat with this post on 11.03.18. As I reviewed the #NCTE18 program in the weeks before the conference, I thought about my “research filter” and the sessions available. I also thought about previous conferences and this post. What factors would drive my decisions about sessions to attend?
Before I even arrived in Houston, I had perused the app and added many of my favorites to my list. At first glance about half of our crowd-sourced experts would be present.
“Richard Allington; Donald Graves; Don Murray; Peter Johnston; Marie Clay; John Hattie; P David Pearson;Lucy Calkins; Tom Newkirk; Taffy Rafael; Nell Duke; Ken and Yetta Goodman; Louise Rosenblatt;Kylene Beers; Bob Probst; Carol Lyons;Ellin Keene; Donalyn Miller; Kathy Collins; Fountas and Pinnell; Stephen Krashen;Stephanie Harvey; Regie Routman; Debbie Miller;Jennifer Serravallo; Gravity Goldberg; Kate Roberts; Maggie Roberts; Ralph Fletcher; Nancie Atwell; Penny Kittle; Kelly Gallagher; Kara Pranikoff;Dave Stuart Jr.; Cornelius Minor; Katie Wood Ray; Anne Goudvis; Georgia Heard; Jan Burkins; Kim Yaris; Susan Zimmerman “(Literacy Lenses 11.03.18)
And I added others:
Tom Marshall, Kari Yates, Christina Nosek, Clare Landrigan, Tammy Mulligan, Lester Laminack, Colleen Cruz, Justin Dolcimascolo, Jess Lifshitz, Jeff Anderson, Smokey Daniels, Sara Ahmed, Carl Anderson, Ruth Ayres, Stacey Shubitz, Katherine Bomer, Donna Santaman, Dorothy Barnhouse #BowTieBoys, #TeachWrite, Lynne Dorfman and Rose Capelli. (Representational list and not meant to exclude anyone.) And then there were teachers, authors, poets, “Slicers” and friends as presenters.
What was the reality?
With luck, I would be able to choose about 15 sessions.
The names above represented about 65 sessions.
I had four time slots with five possible sessions to attend. Without Hermione Granger’s “time-turner” that was not going to happen. So how was I going to make decisions? What would I use as my filters?
Research-Based Decision-Making Filter
Why was I interested in research? I wanted the best quality experience that #NCTE18 had! Research, classroom-based and empirical has always fascinated me. I’m pretty picky about my educational research. I believe in being an “informed educator” as espoused by Nell Duke and Nicole Martin’s 10 Things Every Literacy Educator Should Know about Research. The work presented at #NCTE18 would be research-based. Much would not be research-tested. It is easy to get lost in the misrepresentation and misuse of research. Of course, there are limitations. But one only has to read this gorgeous new text by Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp to connect with the research about the need for book access for all! And just like a book and movie pairing – I want to read the book before hearing Colby and Donalyn talk any more about it – so one decision made!
I was pretty sure that sessions at #NCTE18 would not be guilty of these misleading uses of research that Mary Howard listed in her blog post.
“Citing research to sell products
Citing research to justify practices
Citing questionable research to support an agenda
Citing flawed and outdated research”
But I do want to remind you that some national conferences have sessions that seem to be at cross-purposes with the beliefs and values listed for the conference! Careful reading of program descriptors and sponsors is always a good idea.
How would I use research as a filter?
One of my criteria for session selection was NEW and recent work, perhaps something that has become an addendum or just a continuing evolution since the last book was published or their July #ILA18 presentation. That was the purpose behind my attendance at both Responsive Teaching: The Courage to Follow the Lead of the Reader and Capacity – Based Writing: Instruction Empowers Students – Deconstructing the Struggling Writer Label while Championing Inclusive Practices. I knew some individual pieces of their work and wanted to see how the “presentation package” brought in the research, the work with students, and increased my knowledge.
What other criteria did I use?
Who have I not seen lately? So after spending an entire day with Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher and 350+ best friends in Iowa in October, 300 minutes . . . Was I going to try to catch them as a part of a 75 minute panel? . . .
Ellin Keene was with Debbie Miller in July at #ILA18, so I heard about her new book there after reading it.
Have I already registered to see them at CCIRA in Denver in February? There are another 10 slots or so where I will see presenters alone . . . no panels, no roundtables, just the speaker and a room full of learners. And with preregistration everyone should have a seat.
Where are there gaps in my knowledge base? This question led me to sessions about equity, mentor texts, and literacy mentors on Friday. And then there was the second session about the 4th edition of the Handbook of Research on Teaching of the English Language Arts.
Am I under-utilizing available resources? Of course that led to the featured student panel, the ubiquitous #BowTieBoys that I heard three times at #NCTE17, and #TeachWrite friends.
Will I be able to make it to the room in time to actually be in the room for the program? We tried five different sessions on Thursday and ALL were overcrowded and packed with “bouncers” on the door to keep additional attendees out. Many times the lack of seating in the room was a decision point as well. Sometimes I deliberately chose a session that I believed would have fewer attendees.
#NCTE18 often had over 60 sessions per time slot. That means there were many choices. Some might even argue that there were too many choices. However, 7,000 + attendees had to be somewhere so “choice” of sessions is crucial. I believe that filters to sort out expertise and research wer helpful for me when I had to make final decisions about the sessions where I would learn the most. And the sessions that I was curious about. And the sessions that challenge me to stretch and grow!
How do you make decisions about competing sessions?
What criteria do you use?
What criteria will you consider at your next conference?