The link up to other #DigiLit Sunday posts can be found at Margaret Simon’s Reflections On the Teche. Please check out what other bloggers are writing about today!
And today’s topic:
What does agency mean to me?
It means choice. Yesterday I chose #TheEdCollabGathering created by Chris Lehman (definition one below) and I made sure that I acted on that agency (definition two) by attending sessions live all day. Barely pausing for conversation, my brain on fire, I moved from one session to the next, each one carefully chosen as a tapestry of confirmation.
Topics I needed to revisit. Topics I needed to dig deeply into again. Topics I needed for inspiration and affirmation seven weeks into this new year. Welcoming learning with friends. Welcoming new friends in the Twitterverse. Welcoming a day of JOYFUL learning from my home on a Saturday. (Agenda for #TheEdCollabGathering here.) The sessions were free. The sessions will remain free and accessible. The sessions can be accessed at your leisure. The.sessions.are.well.worth.your.time! TRUST ME! Check them out!
Evidence of Agency for me yesterday?
- That I could choose the free sessions to attend from the comfort of my home.
- Attending the sessions, tweeting out and having conversations with fellow attendees, presenters, and colleagues from around the world . . . and then Blogging about my attendance and learning today!
No . . . er . . . I don’t know YET!
Kind of . . .
I have been working with Webb’s Depth of Knowledge lately. Those four levels that in some circles have replaced Bloom’s Taxonomy. I don’t think either one is exclusionary and in fact believe that there are some positives in each. Both invite thinking in order to move up the levels.
These Depth of Knowledge levels are available about writing at this Edutopia resource.
Level 1 (Recall) requires the student to write or recite simple facts. This writing or recitation does not include complex synthesis or analysis but is restricted to basic ideas. The students are engaged in listing ideas or words as in a brainstorming activity prior to written composition, are engaged in a simple spelling or vocabulary assessment or are asked to write simple sentences. Students are expected to write and speak using Standard English conventions. This includes using appropriate grammar, punctuation, capitalization and spelling.
Level 2 (Basic Application of Concepts & Skills) tasks require some mental processing. At this level students are engaged in tasks such as first draft writing for a limited number of purposes and audiences. At Level 2 students are beginning to connect ideas using a simple organizational structure. For example, students may be engaged in note-taking, outlining or simple summaries. Text may be limited to one paragraph. Students demonstrate a basic understanding and appropriate use of such reference materials as a dictionary, thesaurus, or web site.
Level 3 (Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning) tasks require higher-level mental processing. Students are engaged in developing compositions that include multiple paragraphs. These compositions may include complex sentence structure and may demonstrate some synthesis and analysis. Students show awareness of their audience and purpose through focus, organization and the use of appropriate compositional elements. The use of appropriate compositional elements includes such things as addressing chronological order in a narrative or including supporting facts and details in an informational report. At this stage students are engaged in editing and revising to improve the quality of the composition.
Level 4 (Extended Thinking & Complex Reasoning) tasks may incorporate a multi-paragraph composition that demonstrates synthesis and analysis of complex ideas or themes. Such tasks will require extended time and effort with evidence of a deep awareness of purpose and audience. For example, informational papers include hypotheses and supporting evidence. Students are expected to create compositions that demonstrate a distinct voice and that stimulate the reader or listener to consider new perspectives on the addressed ideas and themes.
As I reflect on my agency and my learning today, I am confident that most of my Tweets fall into the Level 1 category. I often try to capture exact words – the very essence of the speaker’s thoughts – and that is totally recall. No doubt. Level 1. And yet sometimes, I’m pulling in background knowledge or shortening the exact quotes when there are long hashtags and I must cut down the number of symbols. Is that always Level 1? Probably not. Is it sometimes Level 2? Perhaps yes.
And what of this blog post? Where would it rate? Ideas from the day are flowing through my brain. Some pictures are already uploaded. Others are paused. Too few? Too many? Which serve the meaning and the understanding of the reader? Which are examples of MY thinking?
Right now I think that I am approaching or possibly just peering over the ledge of DOK 3. Your thoughts?
As I consider all the meaning embedded in Level 4 (Extended Thinking and Complex Reasoning), I believe this is where Katherine Bomer’s thinking lies when she said,
“Capital E, Essay equals thinking!”
A student or adult is agentive and completing that “extended thinking and complex reasoning” when totally engaged in a task of their own choice. When writing, it may be an essay, a poem, or some great work of literature. But it’s something the student knows and knows well due to their passionate study. It may be a study of their own thinking and problem solving as suggested by Burkins and Yaris in Who’s Doing the Work? when the students are actually working harder than the teachers as they problem solve and persevere in forging their own learning paths when “given the time to do so”.
Jan’s metaphor of shopping was played out in this chart and compared to choosing a just right book. Students choosing their own books . . . not being handed books by the teacher brings up a question: “Who SHOULD be choosing the books?”
Tara Smith tweeted out that “agency = knowing how to make choices.” How often do our students struggle with making decisions? When should they be “practicing” quality decision-making skills? Is that not a skill that should be part of the daily routines during the school day?
Consider how engagement and accessibility play into these four elements. Jan actually framed and labeled them for the viewers. But at any point there could be a mismatch. Clare and Tammy would also point out that the mismatches are opportunities for learning and even ownership of their learning. A celebration of learning. Every data point can also bring hope, joy and agentive power to the students.
And what if students were publishing regularly for real audiences? #TWT authors and bloggers, Beth Moore, Deb Frazier and Dana Murphy literally hit the game-winning touchdown with their sharing and feedback strategies! (It was a Saturday after all-so there was some collegiate football in the background.) Deb suggested feedback to young writers on day one, Dana said it could be ‘fancy like “Wow and Wonder”, “Glow and Grow”, or like “slicers” -1. feel, 2 notice, 3. connection’ and Beth Moore said that someday a student writer might tell friends about how special their teacher made them feel as a writer. Honoring students and their writing work doesn’t cost a lot of time or money. Celebrating student learning should be an every day constant.
After all this is “their” learning! Fewer behavior management systems might be needed if there was more emphasis on “student choice” and so much less emphasis on “compliance” and “silly tasks” but those are both topics for another day!
The intersection of agency, choice, engagement and learning seems to be a good fit for students who are “doing the work” and not passively watching others engaged in the work. Even kindergarten students want to share their thinking . . . not their fault that sometimes their symbols and/ or work needs translation for our adult brains to make better sense (Clare and Tammy’s story about Zachary) .
But what if the entry point for all students was simply choice?
What if the responsibility and accountability lies with students?
Lucy Calkins reminded us this summer that “To teach well, we do not need more techniques and strategies as much as we need a vision of what is essential.”
What if agency is essential? How does that change instruction and assessment?
(Did I make it to Level 4 -Extended Thinking and Complex Reasoning? You be the judge!)
Rain . . .
No outside work.
Rain . . .
Time to read.
(Gotcha – definitely NOT inside work!)
After two glorious days of temps in the 70’s and 80’s, I was so happy that this was waiting at my doorstep yesterday after a long day of work. Perfect timing! Relaxing with friends . . .
It’s available online courtesy of Stenhouse Publishers here. I have been reading (albeit slowly) the online version, but it’s tedious. Reading online means that I have one device open to read and another device open to take notes. No split screen. There’s a limit to the size that I like to view pages in professional texts. Slow. Absorbing. Delighted.
I love this infographic.
“This book does not advocate the simple idea of the teacher doing less. Rather it is a guide to being intentional about what we do less of.” – Joan Moser (Foreword)
This book is truly a gem as it guides the reader to think, and to think deeply about whether teacher scaffolds unintentionally cause greater student dependence. If our goal is joyful, independent, capable readers . . . what should we really do more of? What should we do less of?
I’m savoring this book and pages 14 and 15 are my current favorite because the section is “What Do Reading Levels Mean, Anyway?” and wordlover me is mesmerized by the use of “ubiquitous”. And the thought leaders . . .
Fountas and Pinnell”
Ready for some “next generation literacy instruction“? Ready to learn about “saying less” so students do the work to learn more?
You need to read this book!
And check out how long you resist figuring out where the words come from that are the background for half the page of the book cover. It’s another favorite section of mine. (Truthfully, I thought I would be farther in the book. But I’m rereading. Marking. Post-it-ing! Thinking!)
What’s it like to get that book you have been eagerly anticipating?
Do your students know that joy?
Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thank you for this weekly forum!
This post is shared with Margaret Simon in DigiLit Sunday here at Margaret’s request to share our reflections on #TheEdCollabGathering.
It was a sunny golden April Saturday. Maybe a tad bit windy as winds up to 50 mph were reported in Des Moines. But no rain . . . no snow . . . perfect day for yard work, gardening or The Ed Collaborative Gathering. In Iowa it’s toooooo early for outside plants to escape frost so it was easy to log on to the computer for a free day of professional development provided by Chris Lehman and friends! Here’s the schedule.
What interests you?
Theme for the day:
Embrace your passion, your curiosity and your dreams
and let your students do the same!
Opening session with Smokey Daniels
and Sara Ahmed
From Dr. Mary Howard – Session 3, # 11
and Linda Hoyt
“Be picky, picky, picky!”
What this means?
The teacher needs to model passion, curiosity and the entire “quest to learn” EVERY DAY.
The student is the center of the learning. Not standards, not curriculum.
Students and teachers thrive on choices. (Consider the 10,000 hits on #TheEdCollabGathering yesterday. How many teachers were REQUIRED to be there?)
Learning is joyful when it involves passion and curiosity.
The depth of learning increases for students and teachers with choice in exploration, demonstration and inspiration.
The teacher needs to be thoughtful and have every action well planned. That doesn’t mean serendipitous learning doesn’t have a place. In fact, with the student as a focus, all learning will be totally relevant for the students. With a plan, the teacher will know exactly how much time can be freed up.
Did you attend?
What did you learn?
Sometimes learning takes thought and reflection. There were other ideas I heard yesterday that I need to continue to think about . . .
Other posts/resources about the day:
The talented and amazing Kim Yaris (@kimyaris of @burkinsandyaris) took us on a whirlwind tour of books and classrooms for fifty minutes of FREE learning via Chris Lehman’s (@ichrislehman) Education Collaborative free online PD all day Saturday, September 19th.
Did you miss it?
Here’s a brief glimpse of some of the characteristics that Kim showcased!
So much to think about as you make sure that you have a supportive learning community in your classroom/building!
It’s not too late to follow along live (or later). Here is the agenda for #TheEdCollabGathering!
Learning on a Saturday!
Are you familiar with Jan and Kim’s book, Reading Wellness? Their blog?
What learning treasures did I find on a Sunday in St. Louis at #ILA15?
1. “I Hate Reading: Strategies Transforming Negative Self-Perceptions into Confidence
I find Justin’s work with #contraliteracy to be fascinating.
The sources are common. These “unintended negative effects” surround students, especially at the middle school age who are already both hyper-sensitive and hyper-critical of themselves and any “perceived’ slights.
How do we move beyond the many faces of shame?
1. Build Relationships with our readers. Admit, Acknowledge and Absolve them of past practices.
2. Use Self-Perception Scales to help students understand their own perceptions.
3. Have students tell their reading histories. Listen for the patterns.
4. Plan quality instruction
Be passionate about your invitation to ALL students to reading and writing
Remove all competition from reading
Provide access to print – print that students beg to read
Define what students can control – when and where can they find minutes to read?
Provide a reading mentor not a reading dictator (x number of pages, only this text, etc.)
One strategy that Justin has found to be successful for his readers is 30 Books in 30 Days Read Alouds. This promotes intimacy, relationships with characters, and connections with life as students practice strategies, form opinions, discover new interests and allows some above grade level reading.
Take Away: Independent and Autonomous Readers are Needed
2. Literacy Changed Their Lives: Teaching Reading as Writing with Picture Biographies
Jan Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris
Because I love their book, Reading Wellness, this session was an automatic choice as soon as I saw the #ILA15 program! From the opening, “What are you on about?” to our ending dance, this session was absolutely FUN learning!
Which character in the picture is most like you?
There is a relationship between posture and success and creating positive change is important. This can be done through: 3 Gratitudes, Journaling, Exercise, Meditation, or Random Acts of Kindness. How do we define happiness? Have you seen this TED talk? The Happy Secret to Better Work with Shawn Achor
The whole concept of “Lean in, Lean Out” was explored with some adult pictures as well as student pictures. More information in their book, Reading Wellness: Lessons in Independence and Proficiency. As we moved on, Jan modeled the thinking from a Heart, Head, Hands, and Feet lesson using Ken Robinson’s The Element.
The real learning came when we partnered, read a picture biography and created a “Heart, Head, Hands, and Feet” drawing for our book. What a fun way to REALLY provide hope, inspiration and the power of positive thinking for career choices for students. There truly are actions that students can begin to take NOW to more fully explore possible careers.
Take Away: Biographies need to be carefully chosen to include childhood actions and balance of the four elements (alignment, balance, sustainability, and joy) is critical.
Just go to www.burkinsandyaris.com to see more information about “HHHF” lessons! It will be time well spent!
3. Writing From Sources is More Than “…the Text Says”: Support Thoughtful, Engaging Writing about Texts
Encouraging students to move beyond BORING information writing is a passion of mine so this session was also on my must attend list and then the fact that it was “CHRIS LEHMAN” presenting meant that I had high expectations that were completely MET! (Note: This session was so full that Penny Kittle was even sitting on the floor in the front! Amazing!)
I first met Chris Lehman at a 50 minute closing workshop during a Teachers College summer institute so I know just how much compelling information he can pack into an hour. And WOW! What a lesson in “passionate” reading, writing, viewing, speaking, and listening!
Chris’s basic premise was: What happens if we switch from this argumentative stance in writing
to a more invitational stance?
This invitational stance can still be persuasive and/or meet the requirements of claim, evidence, etc of the grade level standards in CCSS.W.1. The writing from this stance will be much more interesting while providing compelling information for the reader.
Chris provided the opportunity for us to practice using this invitational stance with a topic of our own choice or the topic of Pluto that he introduced us to in the opening minutes of the session. The stance carried over into sources as well. “What is it like to have a conversation with a source when you feel something about the topic/text?” Do we provide that opportunity for students? The whole idea of “reading with someone in mind (to share the information with later) led to some LOUD partner practice in a jam-packed room. Curiosity. Passion. Interest. Not copying. Not plagiarizing.
And then some masterful thinking about the “source” of information.
- “Teach appositive phrases, which is what this is, to students.
- Study mentor texts that TEACH about sources
- Bring learning about sources into your teaching (who is NASA?)”
Chris modeled this by describing his friend Barb who taught him about Bitmoji. Knowing a bit more about the background of the source in the introduction changed the whole tone of the piece. Check this example out!
“In 1920, before Fitzgerald was Fitzgerald, before the Great Gatsby, before Paris, before Hollywood, before most English literature lessons of today, Mr. Fitzgerald was a struggling alcoholic writer from Minnesota.”
That was just one sentence but think of the context, tone, mood and information that was conveyed. Was this “copied” from a book?
If you need more ideas about research, you won’t go wrong with Chris’s book, Energize Research Reading and Writing: Fresh Strategies to Spark Interest, Develop Independence and Meet Key Common Core Standards, Grades 4-8 and you can read an excerpt here.
Take Away: Be passionate about learning and writing and move writing to an invitational stance that shows students how authors provide facts and information about sources without “copying”!
4. Metacognition: The Transformative Power of Reflective Thinking
Is “metacognition” just a buzz word?
The National Academy of Sciences in their report “How Students Learn” said that the key to effective learning, after 600 pages of research findings, was metacognition. John Hattie lists metacognitive strategies as 14th out of 138 influences on achievement and Marzano says that metacognition is the “mission control” of the thinking process. Metacognition is more than just a buzz word and in fact, is necessary for students to be reading writing, speaking, listening, and thinking at high levels.
With instruction and time for practice, students in even the primary grades can learn about metacognition and practice their thinking skills. It may look gimmicky at first, especially if the teacher dons a “thought bubble” to model and show their thinking to students. Talk, sketching, images, video, the use of complex text – all of these can be used to enhance thinking and reflection for our students.
Take Away: Students can use a silhouette of a head with a “brain-shaped” space to write their thinking to emphasize that it comes from the brain!
5. A Non-Freaked Out Approach to Literacy Instruction Across the Content Areas
4:45-5:45 (Still here learning!)
Are you a middle school or high school teacher? Do you work with middle school or high school teachers? Do you know Dave Stuart? His blog? His “Non-Freaked Out Approach to the Common Core?
This hour spent with Dave was an hour of pure gold and many, many ideas to consider about both the volume and the quality of literacy activities, reading, writing, speaking, and listening, across the day for students in middle schools and high schools.
Dave asked us to share our responses first with a partner, then with the group and /or on twitter to this question:
What, in one sentence, is your ultimate goal for students?
Dave also talked about getting past “argument’s baggage” because “…the goal is not victory but a good decision…in which a participant takes seriously and fairly the views different from his or her own.” (CCSS, Appendix A). Dave shared his “pop-up method” where he teaches or assesses 1-2 specific skills every time. So this time might be a claim and a paraphrase. Next time it might be adding on to someone else’s comment so that the skills for quality discussions/arguments/debates are specifically taught over time. His management tips:
1. No cross talk.
2. Teacher = coach
3. Every kid needs to speak.
4. “Great debaters can debate all sides.”
5. ” We all win with a great debate.”
6. Teach and assess 1-2 skills at a time.
7. Content and delivery.
I especially found his three types of writing to be helpful when thinking of ELA and Content Teachers. More conversation about the purpose of writing (to solidify or extend learning) could make this less “threatening” for content area teachers.
Provisional – DAILY – warm ups and exit tickets
Readable – WEEKLY – 1 paragraph compositions
Polished – monthly – longer essays
If you need more information about writing more and grading less go to mikeschmoker.com
TAKE AWAY: Debates and more writing can help build thinking and communication skills that will transfer to real-world success!
What “Treasures” did you find today?
What thinking / ideas do you want to carry forward into the next school year?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
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?
Two blog posts this week caught my eye and lingered in my brain. They were Jessica Lifshitz’s “A Different Kind of PD (AKA Thank You Kate Roberts and Chris Lehman)” linked here and Lisa Saldivar’s “Assigning vs. Teaching” here. Jessica is a 5th grade teacher in Chicago and Lisa is an Elementary ELA Coordinator in Los Angeles.
How do I know Jessica and Lisa? I follow them on Twitter and they participated in online chats last week.
How did I find out about their blogs? The links were both tweeted out on Twitter.
Have I ever met them? No, not YET!
Stop for a second.
What was the content of the last Professional Development session where you left energized, inspired and ready to move forward with implementing the learning?
Energy, enthusiasm and excitement were present in both their posts. The three presenters referenced above, Kate Roberts, Chris Lehman (Falling in Love with Close Reading), and Cornelius Minor, are awe-inspiring and passionate about increasing literacy learning for students without drudgery. They are also FUN to listen to in a PD setting! You can hear Cornelius Minor in a podcast here. If you haven’t yet seen them in person, you need to add them to your “must do” list!
Focus: What is professional learning?
I shared this model back in September because the work of Joyce and Showers is embedded in the thinking and development of this model that has “Student learning – at the center of school improvement and staff development”! (Research-based, YES! and a model of how good things can be!)
You can read more about the model here and also about CCSS.Writing Anchors 1-3 here for content of a two hour PD session with absolutely 0 power point slides but a lot of talk and “studying of texts”. Teachers had the opportunity to read new/revisit familiar texts to deepen their understanding of writing techniques and build a common language, K-5, across argument, informational and narrative texts.
Where can you find joyful and inspiring PD on your own?
There are many quality sources of PD. I encourage you to leisurely explore the following resources until you find one that you cannot live without! Additional details are listed for: blogs, twitter hash tags, twitter book chats, twitter blog chats, scheduled Twitter chats, and face-to-face presentations.
Reading a steady diet of blogs can inform your work. Leaving comments on the blogs can also lead to conversations and even other blogs you might want or need to follow!
Must read literacy blogs include:
- Vicki Vinton’s blog “To Make a Prairie” – Of interest to you might be this specific post “Learning vs Training – The Power of Real Professional Development“
- Melanie Meehan’s blog – one of the two authors of “Two Reflective Teachers” and this post “Exploring a Fabulous Mentor Text”
- Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan’s blog, “Teachers for Teachers”, where they describe themselves as “… staff developers who are still teachers at heart. We believe that effective professional development includes side by side teaching; discussions of current research; analysis of student work; and mutual trust and respect.” A post that may be of interest is “Applying Some ‘Brain Rules’ to Professional Development“
- Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris’s blog, “Burkins & Yaris Think Tank for 21st Century Literacy” and a favorite post, “The Power of Job-Embedded Coaching” that contains additional references to the work of Joyce and Showers
- Two Writing Teachers (and that will also lead you to the amazing blogs written by the SIX authors!)
- and many great teacher blogs like Julieanne’s “To Read, To Write, To Be“; Mary Lee’s “A Year of Reading“; Steve’s “Inside the Dog“; Christina’s “The Teacher Triathlete“; and Taylor’s “The Formative Feedback Project“.
2. Twitter hashtags
Twitter hashtags begin with the “#” sign and can be real or made up. Some hashtags exist for a long time (not saying forever because who REALLY knows what “forever” means in the “TwitterVerse”) or they can be hashtags created for a specific event (and possibly linger after through posts/discussions).
Examples for meetings / conferences:
#NatRRConf – National Reading Recovery Conference
#WSRA15 – Wisconsin Reading Association 2015 Conference
#NCTE14 – National Council of Teachers of English 2014 Conference
Examples of enduring hashtags (may want to have a dedicated column in Tweetdeck or Tweetchums):
#tcrwp – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
#wonderchat – Wonder Chat
#tlap – Teach Like a Pirate
3. Twitter Book Chats
Twitter Book Chats are on line discussions of books (often with questions posted in advance in a google document) where readers and lurkers meet to answer questions and grow their own knowledge. Powerful twitter book chats often include the authors responding to the questions as well!
#filwclosereading – Falling in Love with Close Reading (book and presentations by @teachkate and @ichrislehman linked above)
#wrrdchat – What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton
#NNNchat – Notice and Note @kylenebeers and @bobprobst
#wildreading – Donalyn Books
#booklove – Penny Kittle
#G2Great – Good to Great @DrMaryHoward
4. Twitter Blog Chats
Twitter Blog Chats are often used to introduce an upcoming series of blog posts or to even wrap up a series of blog posts where the readers can interact with the blog authors.
#TWTBlog – Aim Higher: Outgrow old goals and set new ones with the chat archive here
#T4Tchat – sponsored by Teachers for Teachers with the last chat storified here – Mid-Year Assessments Got You Down?
5. Scheduled Twitter Chats
#tcrwp – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (Wed. 7:30 pm EST)
#educoach – Educational Coaches (Wed. 9:00 pm CST)
#titletalk – Promote reading and book titles that engage students (Last Sunday of each month from 8-9 pm EST)
#iaedchat – Iowa Educators (Sundays 8 am and 8 pm CST)
Many content areas and grade levels host their own chats – check out this list! (36 chats on the list last night between 5:30 and 10:00 pm!)
6. Face to Face Presentations
Face to Face Presentations are often jazzed up to include a hashtag so participants can follow along or a back channel like “Today’s Meet” where participants can be posting favorite quotes or questions in real time while the session is taking place. Today’s Meet is often used when there are multiple presenters so the non-presenter is monitoring the channel to feed to other partners/panel members or to address /build purposeful connections for all parts of the presentation.
Which of these 6 have you used to find your own joyful and inspiring professional development?
What about your peers? Where do they find joyful and inspiring PD?
(If you didn’t answer these questions in three seconds or less, click on a link above and find something you are interested in . . . NOW!!!)
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 Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work.
Last week was a big week for writing assessments as well as professional development planning. I was also working on some planning for future demonstrations. . . typical multi-tasking for a fairly typical week! I actually kept a post-it open on my desktop to keep track of my writing process for this blog because it was the purest “creation” that I was developing. Most of the other pieces were revisions or combinations of other past work.
The picture below from Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris fascinated me last week! Stop and read that blog about the writing process if you haven’t yet, because there is so much wisdom about what each of these “steps” really looks like! Not every single second of writing is visible so take a deep breath and consider your own writing process as you develop a piece of writing from planning to publication.
My mini-research: Does my writing parallel this?
What was my topic for this next slice?
I had spent some time in December looking at my blog data and wondering what my top blog posts were for 2014 when I wrote an average of two posts per week or at least one “slice” each week as well as a daily “slice” during March.
To begin my planning for this post, I went to my data to double check the top five blog posts and then created this table in Word. After previewing it, I decided that I didn’t like the “picture of the table” so I went with a word version so the links would be clickable. This caused a major discussion with myself about how I would classify adding links to the table. Was that Revision or Editing? (I went with editing due to “surface changes”!)
|5||#TCRWP Day One: Reading Institute|
|4||#TCRWP: Informational Writing Goals|
|3||#TCRWP and a Teacher’s Toolkit for Teaching Writing|
|2||Lexile Level is NOT Text Complexity CCSS.R.10|
|1||Close Reading in Kindergarten? Is it Possible?|
My top topics for 2014 were: Close Reading, Text Complexity, and #TCRWP Writing (2) and Reading (1). . . a mixed list. Looking back at blog data for previous years revealed that “Close Reading in Kindergarten? Is it Possible?” was also my top blog post for 2013. (As a side note “Close Reading and the Little Ones” was also a great presentation at #NCTE14 by Chris Lehman, Kate Roberts, and Kristi Mraz. Check out Catherine Flynn’s post here about the presentation and how she used it.)
I learned two things about my process for writing blog posts.
1) I keep a list of possible blog topics. By the time a topic is put on this list, I have already begun the pre-writing process. I’m not sure that I can accurately record how often I work on “prewriting” because the list often includes two or three specific ideas about the topic.
2) I needed to add another step to the writing process. Sometimes I do collect some information/evidence collaboratively with others. However, that is NOT the step that I added as I developed this post. This post included both a picture and a table import with multiple opportunities to “check” or “preview” my work. I included that as another step in the writing process. Typically, I try to check to see what my post looks like on both a PC and a Mac because it is never the same. Maybe the “preview” is important because I worry about the “publish” button. It is still scary to push that button and then see that my post does not match my “vision” for writing.
So here’s my best representation of my process for writing this blog post.
Does everyone use the same exact process?
What does your writing process look like?
What are the implications for your students?
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 Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work.
Wow! It’s been over a year since Chris Lehman (@ichrislehman) and Kate Roberts(@TeachKate) published Falling in Love with Close Reading. There have been Twitter chats, presentations, Twitter book study chats, PD sessions and much continued conversation about the many facets of close reading.
It has also been more than a year since the Close Reading Blog-a-thon! This post “Close Reading is not THAT important!” is one of my favorites. Have you read it? What about the series of posts between Chris and Kate? Check out the thought-provoking posts and reread CCR Reading Anchor Standard 1.
So today, it was back to work on reading for a bit. This is a short look into my thinking since Chris, Kate and Kristi Mraz’s (@MrazKristine) presentation at NCTE14!
- Reading –
- Close Reading –
- Reading Closely,
- Still thinking about!
- How Often?
- Wondering . . .
- Hopeful . . .
- Silent . . .
- Watchful . . .
- Listening . . .
- Fun . . .
- Thoughtful . . .
- Effective! ❤
Close Reading Session – Not starting with a song . . . (sigh!) but here are screenshots from a presentation that made us laugh, cry, and cheer for its thoughtful work with “The Little Ones”! The presentation – “Close Reading and the Little Ones: How it’s Different (And Incredibly Fun and Effective) in Early Elementary Grades” from #NCTE14
Think about “HOW” you make sense of these pictures . . . where and when do you linger?
I was excited to try out the routine. Amazed! It’s all that Chris, Kate and Kristi promised. And even more! What an empowering tool for students! Supportive of curiosity, wonder, and so much talk – what a wonderful way to frame paying close attention to “read” the world! (NOT a bloody hammer for teachers!)
Check out these notes! @ShawnaCoppola has the most beautiful notes. Here is her visual of the session! If you are on Twitter and are following Shawna, you would have already seen this! If you are not on Twitter, you should be. Lurking is encouraged. Explore the possibilities!
What questions remain?
You may have an answer for that question in the title. But do you know for sure? Definitely? Unequivocally? How did you research this issue?
The possibilities for bias in text are endless because text is all around us. Literally and loosely, text is the scenery around us whether it is print or not. The texts that comprise our daily lives may include a variety of print or non-print sources including electronic emails, blogs, newspapers, magazines and books. I want to focus on one of those – the writing found in news sources, typically in newspapers and how we can help students examine that question as they continue to build their reading skills for life.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6 – Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 – Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.5 – Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
One event. Three articles. Three different stories.
How do you know whether the news is being reported or if the news is being shaped by the authors and publishers? Let’s investigate further!
To begin, we will just look at the pictures from the three stories:
What do you know? What do you wonder?
(Questions from What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton)
Hold onto those thoughts as you look at the titles. (And the titles are NOT listed in the same order as the pictures!)
“Obama tells Central American leaders most children will go home”
“GOP lawmakers fight plan to bring more illegal immigrant children to military bases”
“White House pursuing plan to expand immigrant rights”
What do you know? What do you wonder?
What theories are you now ready to begin building?
The sources in alphabetical order are: Fox News, LA Times, and Reuters
Which sources go with which pictures and article titles? Are you already considering revising your theory? That process of continually questioning and researching based on what you know and wonder allows a reader to demonstrate flexible thinking. Thinking really is one essential by-product of the “act of reading and understanding printed messages.”
What words/phrases do you notice in the opening paragraphs of the article covering the same event – news about immigrant children on this date? Read and jot notes about those words.
Opening paragraphs in the LA Times:
“Even as President Obama grapples with the crisis of immigrant children arriving at the Southwest border, White House officials are laying the groundwork for a large-scale expansion of immigrant rights that would come by executive action within weeks.
Officials signaled strongly Friday that Obama’s move would shield from deportation large numbers of immigrants living in the country illegally, as advocacy groups have demanded.” (LA Times, 7/26/14)
The same story from Reuters begins this way:
“President Barack Obama urged the leaders of three Central American countries on Friday to work with him to stem the flow of child migrants who have surged across the U.S. border and warned that most of them would not be allowed to stay.
In a White House meeting with the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Obama had a tough-love message: his administration had compassion for the children, but not many would qualify for humanitarian relief or refugee status. Many of the migrants have fled poverty and crime at home.” (Reuters, 7/26/14)
And the third story from Fox News begins with:
“Republican lawmakers are challenging the Obama administration over a newly announced plan to expand the use of U.S. military bases to house illegal immigrant children, warning that it will put a strain on troops and threaten military readiness.
The Pentagon confirmed this week that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services to house an additional 5,000 minors at DOD facilities.”
Do you notice any patterns? What are you wondering about at this time?
There are many ways to continue reading these articles. The length is conducive to having each student read all three, but a student may only be an “expert” on the actual writing techniques used in one or two of the articles. Do remember that it is sometimes easier to analyze two articles through simultaneous comparing and contrasting rather than just one article by itself.
I was wondering about the “experts” and the sources of quotes within the articles. Who does each author use?
“Obama said last month that because Congress had failed to act on comprehensive immigration reform, he would take executive action to ‘fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own.'”
“When the decision is announced, it will ‘increase the angry reactions from Republicans,’ Peiffer said.” (White House senior advisor – two other quotes as well)
“‘There may be some narrow circumstances in which there is a humanitarian or refugee status that a family might be eligible for,’ Obama said after talks with the leaders. ‘But I think it’s important to recognize that that would not necessarily accommodate a large number.'” (plus two more quotes by President Obama
President Juan Orland Hernandez of Honduras, “’They have rights, and we want them to be respected,’ he said.”
“‘The idea here is that in order to deter them from making that dangerous journey, we’d set up a system in coordination with these host countries to allow those claims to be filed in that country without them having to make that dangerous journey,’ said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.”
paraphrased information (no quotes in article)”The Pentagon confirmed that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel . . . request from Dept. of Health and Human Services. . . ”
Direct quote – “Donelle Harder, a spokeswoman for Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told FoxNews.com.”
“Alabama lawmakers . . . ‘ongoing talks’ . . . . . . “Alabama GOP Reps. Martha Roby and Mike Rogers ” . . . . ‘The housing, feeding and caring of immigration detainees would severely compromise the critical mission at Maxwell-Gunter,’ they wrote.” (also a second quote)
“Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., said the request poses a very real threat to U.S. military readiness,’ noting the base is the ‘primary artillery training center for troops before deployment.'” (second quote also)
What might instruction/inquiry look like at this point?
I might begin to model comparing specific words and phrases that were used in the articles and also begin to discuss the sources. Which words/phrases seem to be the most simple form of reporting (without opinions/emotions) in comparison to words or phrases that seem to have been chosen for their emotional nuances? What could those comparisons look like?
Paint chips, a visual way to show the progression of vocabulary words, could be used. Students in 1:1 districts could simply create these using a chart and add color gradations to the boxes. Or students could consider how to use “shapes” to show the different layers of word meanings / nuances or phrases and words that explicitly provide evidence of the biases and or point of view of the reporters/publishers. Words could then be added as text boxes inside each color.
For additional discussion or to see an explanation of this vocabulary activity, see Sarah Brown Wessling, 2010 Teacher of the Year, at the Teaching Channel here.
If you have not yet googled the articles, here is the link to each one where all advertisements have been stripped courtesy of the readability app (with more information here):
So what are some other choices?
If you are a devotee of “Falling in Love with Close Reading” by Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts, you may have been thinking of all the connections between the lenses of text evidence, vocabulary and point of view! That would be another way to conduct a close reading of these articles in order to see how they were “reported differently”.
Or, if you are interested in adding in some writing, you might have partner groups of students “summarize” their article in two or three sentences while asking them to include evidence that will help them “defend” their summary as “The Best Summary”.
OR you might consider this question – Can you predict how additional topics will be “covered/handled” by Fox News, LA Times and Reuters? After making your prediction (and writing it down), pick a topic, pull up the three different articles and see if your predictions are accurate!
Or consider where your own local newspaper fits within this “range” or reporting!
Does every text that you read contain some bias? What do you think? What would you need to do to unequivocally answer that?
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.