Tag Archives: Cris Tovani

#SOL22: Goals

I’m channeling my #OLW: Be patient. But it’s hard. So what are my options?
  1. Jump in the deep end. The water is fine.
  2. Develop a plan. List out the steps.
  3. Combine 1 and 2. Jump in, assess the status, and then develop a plan.
Do I sound conflicted? Of course, I am! Are you ready to help me decide? Here’s my goal pattern (the colors are different).
I have two years to construct this. Right now, two years does not feel like enough time I’m beginning with a three day retreat with an instructor that has taught this pattern before and who also has a model to share (Also with different colors!). Experience and knowledge. It’s only my fourth solo big quilt. It will be my first with a new machine. I’m nervous. I’m excited. And I’m definitely feeling challenged.

When have you felt the excitement of new learning? What “new thing” have you learned lately?

A couple of my Friday sessions at #CCIRA22 are still swirling in my brain: Cris Tovani’s: “Matching Literacy Targets with Worthy Tasks” and Mark Overmeyer’s: “Interrogating Assessment Practices in the Writing Workshop”. Mark began with some provocative questions: “What can you control? What can you not control?” And then we explored different articles from a teacher and student perspective. One article was an interview with Cornelius Minor “Turn and Talk: Antiracist Grading Starts With You” link It’s a super article. Short. Sweet. And to the point. The part I’m still thinking about is the five ways that students share their learning.
One thing we understand from Universal Design for Learning is that there are multiple ways a kid can express their knowing. And so if you know 2+2=4, one way you can express your knowing is by writing it. Another way you can express your knowing is by discussing it. A third way is by creating a model that shows it. A fourth way is by illustrating it and a fifth way is by performing a play. But in too many schools, only one way is considered legitimate. Cornelius Minor, 2020, link
And then when I connect that “one way is considered legitimate” to Cris Tovani’s work around learning targets . . . First of all, if you are not familiar with her new book, Why Do I Have to Read This? (link), and the masks of “Dis-engagement”, you need to check it out. The masks and the three kinds of engagement all have a direct impact on student learning. But so does the teacher knowledge, skill and planning. Ron Berger’s quote was the perfect lead in to this section of learning.
“The process of learning shouldn’t be a mystery.” “The student becomes the main actor in assessing and improving his or her learning. “ Ron Berger, Expeditionary Learning
The teacher has to begin by articulating what they want students to know and be able to do. That’s the goal. Then the learning target can be developed. Is it a long range target? Or a short term target for today only? The key to a concise, manageable target is to use ONLY 1 VERB per target! Short, sweet and concise with only one verb. And then the final step is to connect the learning targets to the assessments. How do they match? If students were asked to “express their knowing” as Cornelius said, by writing, does that match the learning target? I’m continuing to think about this alignment and this idea of long-term and short-term learning targets. My long term goal with this quilt is “successful completion of the Meteor Storm” pattern, but what are my short term targets? The process begins with reading and understanding the pattern, then cutting the millions of required pieces, and then assembling pieces – some into repetitive patterns (72 diamond shapes) and others into new and different configurations – the center star, then the expanded white border, the four stars and then another border . . .and more rows and borders! Success criteria in the form of short-term “I can” learning targets will keep me on track as I construct this quilt. It feels like the “process” for learning targets is the same in academia as it is in the process of constructing a quilt. (And I’m thinking the quilt is a 3 from Cornelius – making a model – that will visibly share how well I do at meeting the learning targets.

When might you develop learning targets for your personal learning? Have you tried a non-academic goal?

_____________________________________________________ Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.
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Update: Sewing Day 1 this week Quilt is cut out and pieces are labeled. Millions of pieces.


Screenshot 2018-01-02 at 1.32.46 PMMy #OLW for 2018 is “curious” and being curious led me to #CCIRA18:  LIteracy Renaissance:  Invention, Intention, and Close Study in Colorado.  The conference keynoters, speakers, and format all made me curious about the learning opportunities. 

Check out the entire #CCIRA slide show on their information page!  And then the registration for sessions sealed the deal – preregistration for sessions!  My only regret was that I had waited and some sessions were already closed. Slides 2 and 3 were so convincing and looked just as incredible on the big screens yesterday in Evergreen Hall!

Screenshot 2018-02-09 at 5.55.28 AMScreenshot 2018-02-09 at 5.56.11 AM

So small wonder that the ideas behind the theme were brilliantly repeated in session after session on opening day with a balmy 61 degrees outside!

Curious and Study 

Ralph Fletcher talked of studying his grandson playing in order to determine the “play” elements that should also be included in writing.

Maggie Beattie Roberts talked about being curious and her study with Kristen Warren of students’ Independent Reading Journeys to:

  • Help adolescents discover the rhythm of  thinking . . .
  • Help adolescents discover the nuances . . .
  • Help adolescents live comfortably in the gray.

Jeff Anderson talked of being curious and studying punctuation and grammar in a way that “sticks” for students and also is not black and white.

Kile Clabaugh and Keith Patterson in their “Primary Sources” work talked of using the Library of Congress format of “I see, I think, I wonder”.

At lunch, Kate and Maggie both shared some of their thinking behind DIY Literacy which grew from being curious about WHY students had problems with memory, rigor and differentiation.  And then Kate created a tool  in front of us explaining, giving tips and embracing mediocrity.

Cris Tovani talked of student curiosity driving the compelling questions that students could study to move them from disengaged to empowered.

Troy Hicks talked of curiosity as we studied a picture and a “I see, I think, I wonder” viewing format.

Other Words I heard repeated and demonstrated throughout the day: 





and so much respect for Mentors and the Research/Authors Behind their Work!


so easy to feel welcomed,

so easy to navigate,

so easy to learn.


a class act,

great speakers,

marvelous learning, and

incredible organization.

Thank YOU, CCIRA18!

And off to Day 2!!!




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