If you have been following along, you may have already read about
Thursday here (Danny Brassell, Debbie Miller, Kate Roberts, Donalyn Miller, Kelly Williams, and Patty McGee)
Friday keynote with Regie Routman here
Saturday finale with Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle here
But I would be greatly remiss if I did not return to recap learning from Friday’s sessions and acknowledge that it was a Corwin Press day!
Session 1: Dave Stuart Jr.
These 6 Things: Focusing Our Teaching on What Matters Most
Presentation Key Ideas . . .
One of many strategies referenced and available on Dave’s web site (see link in caption) .
This presentation and book really does enable you as a teacher to think about and consider where you need to focus your energy as you read wisdom from a high school teacher.
How can you do a better job teaching a shorter list of skills and still keep instruction motivating and engaging?
Lunch with Gerry Brooks
Creating a Positive Attitude About the School Year
Session Two: Maria Walther
Fifty Nifty Picture Books to Inspire Young Writers
Maria’s actual presentation about this book (her newest) was at a different time of the day but many of the texts were included in this book. We saw 50 mentor texts that were used in a first grade classroom to teach standards, qualities of good writing, and provide exemplar texts for imitation!
Maria reminded us to pay attention to all the pages in a book. One example was the end pages from Ralph Tells A Story. What did the author do specifically on the beginning end pages vs. the closing end pages?
Another very useful tip was the writing paper that Maria shared. Each month the editing focus varies but a brief checklist is included on each page. Here is one example with additional ideas available at mariawalther.com. Learning with and from a first grade teacher.
How and when might you consider adding an editing checklist to your writing paper?
Who needs this?
And what books/mentor texts are interesting and engaging your students?
Session Three: Leslie Blauman
Keeping it Real- Real Writing about Real Reading-NONFICTION
I knew Leslie as the author of these two books.
Her newest books are delightful especially with the online components. This was the basis for today’s presentation that included work from her fourth grade classroom.
As a teacher, Leslie is concerned about joy, choice and ownership of student writing. She encourages her fourth grade students to leave “Tracks in the Snow” as a metaphor for not having to write complete sentences all the time. Such a smart idea for this time of year!
To Inspire Critical Thinking these questions were our session guide:
- What is your goal?
- Who is NF important to? Who is the NF for?
- Would you want your kids to be doing your assigned tasks in your classroom?
- If no, WHY are you doing that?
- How do you teach it?
- How often do you practice?
- Why would you write about something you are not interested in?
However, one of my favorite learnings was about this site: https://www.allaboutexplorers.com/ Check out an explorer or two. What fun for students! What a great way to teach “fact-checking!
How can evidence-based nonfiction writing be fun, engaging, and something that students choose to do?
Did you detect any common themes in these sessions?
Fellow blogger Dave Stuart, Jr. published this fabulous blog post “12 Skills the Common Core and Employers Want” on January 4, 2014. Please go read it and then come back.
Here is the book that Dave was quoting from:
I am in the process of reading the book, but I couldn’t wait to get to the end before posting this!
Here’s my shortened “Cliff-Notes” version of Dave’s post that I have been analyzing for the last ten days. Did you notice which Common Core Anchor Standards were most important to employers?
Which skills were #1, #2, and #3? Did you notice that those were all three Speaking and Listening Standards? And the content is way beyond an obligatory, one semester “Speech” class.
Study the chart for a few minutes and notice the color coding for the Anchor Standards? What patterns do you notice? (ahem, a bit of #close reading required!) Are there other standards that you would consider adding based on the full quotations in Dave’s blog?
For the 12 features, the following ELA anchor standards were listed:
- 4 Speaking and Listening Standards (yellow)
- 10 Writing Standards (green)
- 4 Language Standards (blue)
- 4 Reading Standards (white)
Is that what you expected? Granted, some standards are included in more than one feature. In the world of English Language Arts, there are 32 Anchor Standards. An unduplicated count above has 13 or 41% of those standards as skill areas that employers want.
Do your students have these skills when they leave your school? Why or Why not?
Do your students have opportunities to begin to develop these skills every day in every grade?