Tag Archives: curious

#SOL18: Assessment


 

What do we value?  Product? Process? Reflection?

It began with a conversation on Voxer.

How do we know?

My #OLW, Curious, led me on an interesting quest.

So how does this work in real life?


The first group began.  All brass. They blew a few sounds through their mouthpieces.  They were newcomers. Section by section. Each small group played. Then the entire brass group played two songs.

Same process for the woodwinds.  A few sounds. Section by section sound off.  Then the entire woodwind group played two songs.

BRAVE

BRAVE

BRAVE

The Premiere of THE 5th Grade Beginning Band (copied from the program) then played two songs.  Their first practice together – the brass and the woodwinds. Their first practice EVER. During a performance.  In front of a gym packed with family and friends. 

How would you assess this 5th grade group in their first public appearance?

Product? 

The number of students that participated? 

How the three groups sounded?

Process?  

How they have grown in the six weeks since 5th grade band began?

What comparisons would you make between assessing this instrumental group and other “assessments of 5th grade learners?”

I watched instrumental musicians last night representing grades 5-12 in the Central DeWitt school district.  This was my second consecutive year to attend the fall Parade of Bands. It’s a 90 minute extravaganza led by two directors that showcases the performance levels of students in October each year. This year that was a total of 325 band students in grades 5-12:  215 students in grades 5-8 (She is simply amazing!) and 115 students in high school.

Product?

Process?

Reflection?

A combination?

Screenshot 2017-03-26 at 8.34.52 AM

What if . . .

What if all students had to take an identical screener in the fall, winter and spring?

What if the results of the screener was then used to determine which instrument students should play?

What if the students had to pass a “basic knowledge test” before they could choose an instrument?

Would there be 325 students in band if a general “proficiency test” was required of all students?

Again, how is success measured?

Is it measured by the “1 Superior” rating at state marching contest?

Is it measured by the new band uniforms provided by a community drive?

Is it measured by the audience that packed the gym?

Is it measured by the funds raised during the dinner before the Parade of Bands?

Is it measured by the applause of the audience?

Is it measured by the number of students who continue to participate in band year after year?

Is it measured by the distance that audience members travel to attend the concert? (195 miles one way for me)

Is it measured by the “JOY” of the students who continue to participate?

Product?  Process? Reflection? 

Is there any ONE measure that captures the essence of success?

The original conversation began with writing.  Is this a conversation that needs to be a part of every content area in every school building?  

What do we value?

What do we support?

How do we know?




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.                                                     

        slice of life 2016




Full Disclosure: I’ve followed this band director for decades – to concerts and competitions, to the Alamo Bowl, and to the Orange Bowl so I’m a wee bit biased.  Band opened the doors for me to travel in the US and abroad. I attended this concert with his grandmother, mother, wife and daughter. I’ve known him and his work ethic for 40 years, and YET I also know that FUN and a passion for music is also a part of his agenda.  He’s my nephew!

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#SOL18: Time


The lyrics from the Byrds have been going through my brain lately as I’ve lost track of day and night, days, and now even weeks, and WOW, how did it get to be August?

“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven . . .”  Video, 1965.

What does it take to be an award winner?

This song won a Grammy back in the 1960’s.  Ah, yes, before many of you were born. So what is a classic?  What is real?  What needs to be repeated?  What needs to be retired?

Cherish . . . and another tune instantly comes to mind.

Do I have songs on my brain? 

Everything’s coming up roses and in verse! 

There’s something about the JOYFULNESS of song!

I’m hopeful that the joyfulness in my life spills over to ensure that joyfulness is a part of  every classroom this fall.  Enthusiastic teachers. Refreshed. Relaxed. Rejuvenated.

Ready for challenges.

Ready to toil anew.

Ready to advocate for EVERY student.

Ready to lose your heart to that next room full of students!

Screenshot 2018-08-05 at 7.57.22 PM

And yet, every day the clock will continue!  Can you find precious minutes for MORE reading and writing? Can you redistribute the time you have?

The students . . .

Excited students. Excited and eager for routines. Eager for learning.  Eager to make a difference.  Eager and enthusiastic to be back at school.

A time to be curious and focus on their brilliant minds and all the great things they do know. A time to think about next steps and small nudges of growth that will start spinning the success wheel.

 

time

Time shows what we value.

I love this quote from Ralph Fletcher.

“Time is a new kind of poverty. A schedule

that features daily writing communicates to

students: ‘Writing is one of my non-negotiables.

It’s too important for me to squeeze in

once in a blue moon’” (p. 45).

~ Ralph Fletcher

The Writing Teacher’s Companion

Scholastic, 2017.

What is on your daily schedule? 

What are your non-negotiables? 

How will we know?  

And just to come to a full circle . . . “So what is a classic?  What is real?  What needs to be repeated?  What needs to be retired?”

What is really necessary in your classroom?

What do students really need to learn?

How will you know?

Life is all about decisions.  Time is in your favor.  Many have just begun.  Many begin soon. Others have about three weeks.  How will you use every precious second in honor of worthwhile and necessary learning?

Screenshot 2018-08-05 at 7.55.30 PM

Before we can ask for MORE TIME, we must make sure that we use our existing time wisely!




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: Why?


My #OLW stood me in great steed this weekend at #ILA18.Screenshot 2018-07-23 at 11.14.01 PM

So much to see . . .

So much to do . . .

So much to learn . . .



But What’s the Point?



Back in the Dark Ages,

In the late 2oth Century!

I remember the value placed on

Whole-Part-Whole in education.

The goal was always LEARNING!

The intent was for ALL to be LEARNING!

Students

Teachers

ALL!



After #ILA18 I feel that many empowered teachers have been set free in the universe to “change the world” and continue learning.  We haven’t learned it all.  There is a real need to continue to grow and build our knowledge base.

And that brings me to one of my Sunday sessions.   We were learning about the Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (4th edition) under the leadership of Diane Lapp and Douglas Fisher. It has 18 chapters.  Chapters that could be used in schools for professional development.

18 Must Reads.

18 Invitational Conversations.

Exploring the tight connections between research and best supported practice that promotes literacy for every learner.

This was not a book available to purchase in the Exhibit Hall.

Screenshot 2018-07-23 at 6.02.34 AM



But could it?  Dare it be a lens to consider best practices?  A lens to consider What?  How?  or even WHY we do what we do in instruction?

In its entirety this is one side of a handout from a round table at that session . . .

Chapter 16

20180723_234838

8 Essential Components of Comprehensive Language Arts Instruction.

Any surprises for you?



As I reviewed the list, I found it quite interesting that this list of components included nine, or exactly half of the chapters.  Curiosity, of course, won out.  What on earth could the other nine chapters be about if this is “the list of components for instruction” and if THIS is the book for teachers to study.

So I was off researching.

In a classroom, I would have been in major trouble because I was on my computer and might have appeared to NOT be on task.  But I was in search of more information.  What is the other half of this book about?  This book we should study?  This book we should use? This 499 page book!



This post is titled “Why?” not to just allow me to pose my own questions but also to perhaps begin to develop some of my own theories.  Why these eight components?  Why do two of the eight (25%) not have chapter resources supporting them?

WHY? 

What are the “Whys?” that are circling in your brain?



What format will the chapter take?

Will there be recommendations of “amounts of time” per component?

Will there be “recommendations of additional resources”?

Were any teachers involved in updating this handbook?

Is there any support for how to put these 8 components into action?

Or how to “know” when the components are all aligned?



Will this text continue to treat each component as a separate silo?  What about the reciprocity of reading and writing? How will we grow readers and writers?

Why this text now? 

What’s so compelling about this text, right now, that this book should be a part of a district’s professional development?

It was a pleasure to hear much rich conversation around real reading and writing at #ILA18.  Real, rich, robust reading that is NOT about single standard instruction or assessment.  It’s actually quite refreshing to go back to the “Whole” of language arts instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening that moves stedents to take action in the real world.

Doing school must end.  It’s time to capitalize on any instruction that promotes high learning and engagement that challenges students without mind-numbing page after page of annotation, Cornell notes,  and skills-based minute particles that can easily be googled.  Why do adults think these decisions can be made without broader input from our communities?

If the whole is our entire language arts program

and the part is the eight components,

what “WHY?s” will you need answered before you can implement these 8 components?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

 

#SOL18: #OLW


Screenshot 2018-01-02 at 4.50.45 PM

After a quick search, I found that last year’s check-in on my One Little Word (#OLW) was mid-July so I’m pretty much on target again. July.  Summer.  Heat.  A time to reflect.

Where has “curious” taken me this year?

Paying attention.

Listening.

Watching.

Reading.

Writing.

Thinking.

Curious and Learning

Most recently:

Iowa Reading Association and

#TCRWP

Front row learner

Book Clubs

#BookLove, #CyberPD, and more

Curious and Joyful

Graduations

Near and Far

Birthdays

With Family

With Friends

And special serenades

Curious and Fun

Ladies Football Academy

With my sister

And finding cousins along the way

Teaching

Consulting

PD Prep

Reading, Writing, and Blogging

Curious and Books

A Novel Approach

Literacy Essentials

It’s All About the Books

180 Days

To Know and Nurture a Reader

Engaging Children

Embarrassment

Kids 1st From Day One

Brave Leadership

Being the Change

Megabook of Fluency

Reclaiming the Principalship

What are you curious about? 

How is your #OLW? 

Have you checked in lately?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: Why #TCRWP?


Screenshot 2017-03-26 at 8.34.52 AM

Three letters

One word

Connected to my #OLW – curious

WHY?

A recurring theme on Day 1 of the 2018 June Writing Institute at #TCRWP




As the day began in typical fashion at Riverside Church with 1200 teachers strong, “You’ve come from  41 states, 36 countries, those who’ve attended 25 or 26 institutes, as children in workshop schools or those who came alone who are now back with principals and teachers… movers and shakers.”

 

If you are not on Twitter, this is a time you should be.  Because you can capture thoughts such as these:

Screenshot 2018-06-19 at 1.57.50 AM

Or these .  .  .

Screenshot 2018-06-19 at 2.14.43 AM

But you had to be there in person in that setting to capture the eloquence as three fifth graders from Tiana Silvas’s classroom stepped up to the podium.  These students were definitely a part of a level three writing workshop as they, oh so eloquently, delivered their memorized poetry and reminded us of all the many reasons that we teach writing and we continue our tireless efforts!

The enthusiasm of the beginning of the day carried the theme of

WHY?

bringing purpose as we considered the energy, independence and transfer that comes from the creation and use of tools with Simone Frazer and building bridges between reading and writing with interactive writing with Marie Mounteer.

Decisions about Choice Sessions are never easy.  They are all amazing.  But Kisha Howell rocked Horace Mann with her tips about increasing writing volume.  The big ideas centered around:  feedback, talk, clear tools, “other texts,” meaningful process, and sketching.  Exquisitely delivered in a way that my ancient brain absorbed, retained and connected the tips in true “showing not telling” fashion . . .

I’m fascinated by this chart.  Where has the feedback that I’ve received fallen short?  What about the feedback that I give?  All feedback is not equal . . .

20180619_023753

This opening day of 2018 June Writing Institute at #TCRWP satisfied my “WHY” to attend . . . . in order to continue and grow with some of the brightest literacy minds. Thank you, #TCRWP, for being a place to satisfy my “curious” and grow my thinking!




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: Process? Product?


“I don’t know what to write.”

Is that a struggle with the process?

I don’t have a beginning point, a topic, an idea, or even a glimmer of a slice growing in my brain.

I don’t have an outline.

I don’t have a plan (other than to publish a blog post).

I don’t have a graphic organizer to fill in the blanks.

Is that a struggle with the product?

I know I need to produce a blog post,

but I had no idea percolating in my brain as I fell asleep.

No inspiration emerges from my sleep-heavy brain

as I peruse  at least a dozen slices this morning.

And where, oh where, is my idea file?

You know, that list of, “ideas and topics” to write about!

Or my heart map?

The one with pretty colors and fancy word art,

that writing notebook,

Out in my work bag, in my car, in the freezing cold.

And I, snug in the house, barefoot, sipping my coffee.

“No words appear on the page (or screen). “

Is that a struggle with the process?

Just write.

Anything.

Rearrange and fix it later.

Begin something.

The clock is ticking.

Rewrite the prompt.

Repeat the quote.

Reread last week’s post.

And still, no words appear on the page (or screen).

Is that a struggle with the product?

Am I really still stuck on “What should I write?”

Or is it fear that what I write will be unworthy?

My words will remain unread.

My thoughts will not be validated by comments.

Inside, my brain is cluttered with ideas, words, phrases,

but, YET, no clear starting point emerges.

What word should be first?

“My grammar and the conventions of language are atrocious.”

Is that a struggle with the process?

Should I not have words on the page before I worry about spelling, subject/verb agreement, and writing a post with the same verb tense?

After all, wordpress will give me red underlines when it doesn’t like my draft, my first revision, my second go, or my “Oh, silly Word press, Now are you happy?

Is that a struggle with the product?

As soon as a red line appears under a word, do I respond and immediately fix it?

Or do I let my fingers remain ever moving across the keyboard

in an attempt to quickly capture some words, any words,

because after all, in my mind . . .

I’ve missed my personal deadline to post my blog.

Lack of 

Ideas,

Production,

Grammar  and the Conventions of Language

Is an intervention in order? 

Do I need a writing intervention? 

I’m dying here.  I don’t know what to write.  My mind is fuzzy. More coffee please.

What do you notice when a student is sitting quietly and not producing “writing”?  What do you name? 

How do you use your own writing (process or product) to gently nudge the writer onward?  

Just curious . . .

Is it black or white?  Process or Product?

Or are there shades of gray?  Shades of both?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: #OLW


Screenshot 2017-12-31 at 5.09.56 PM.png

Is it the luck of the draw?  The New Year?  A need for focus?

Whatever draws you to #OneLittleWord, do consider how that word will impact you for the next year.  I’ve been considering words since #NCTE17, that gathering of so many talented friends with so much learning, love, and laughter all rolled together.

Synonyms of my word from Dictionary.com:

Screenshot 2017-12-31 at 8.50.18 AM.png

Disquisitive caught my eye. (” 1. Relating to disquisition; fond of discussion or investigation; inquisitive.”)  I tested it out and thought it would score well in Words with Friends2 but it just didn’t have the “OOMPH” I wanted in my #OLW.  Prurient also caught my attention in a negative way as that was not a synonym that I was expecting.

What’s your best guess at this point? 

What one word is a synonym for those in the Word Cloud above?

It’s all about word choice.

“CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.” (Link)

My history of #OLW

  • 2014    Transfer
  • 2015     Focus
  • 2016    Joyful
  • 2017    Brave

A visual for another hint . . .

Screenshot 2017-12-31 at 5.31.36 PM

Got it? 

Just seven letters . . .

__  __  __  __  __  __  __

What is your #OLW? 

How and when will you reveal your #OLW?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

And the answer is . . .

c

u

r

i

o

u

s . . .

When were you 100% sure that you had identified the correct word?  How important are our words?  What precise meaning do your words carry?  Do your perceptions match those of your students?

So much to consider in the area of building “word knowledge” in 2018!!!

2:00 pm – Changed the background

5:00 pm – added final graphic

Screenshot 2018-01-02 at 4.50.45 PM.png

Opening Doors to be Curious in 2018

 

#SOL16: Teacher Appreciation


teacher appreciation

Teacher Appreciation is every day, every week but a special mention is definitely appropriate as the school year winds down!

teacher acrostic.JPG

What characteristics of a teacher are most important for you?

What do you want to “hold onto” this week?

(And for an added bonus, can you name some of the authors / texts that influenced the words and descriptors above?)

slice of life 2016

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!

 

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