Tag Archives: #G2Great

#SOL18: “psst . . . I’m reading . . .”


2018 is the year of books!

These are just some of the books that I have read (and blogged about) during the last school year.  I’ve left out Ellin Keene’s Engaging Children, Tom Marshall’s Reclaiming the Principalship, and Kristi Mraz and Christine Hertz’s Kids 1st From Day One. So much to continue to learn.  So much to continue to read and write about.  So much to continue to be curious about.

And then another new book emerges  . . .

This week’s #G2Great chat will be about this new book from Stenhouse by Kari Yates and Christina Nosek.  And I’ve been waiting

and waiting

and waiting.

Conferring is still an area where I need to improve.  Where I need to listen more and talk less.  Where I need to grow.  And conferring about reading!

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The title is captivating:  “to know and nurture a reader: Conferring with Confidence and Joy”.  I love the conventions, and their use in the title.  I love “confidence and joy”.

Have you checked out the resources?

Book

Website

Help! My students want to choose books I’m afraid are too hard!

How can I support readers who pick the same types of books over and over again?

How can I use conferring to connect with students who are very new to English?

Some of my students just hop from book to book! What can I do to support them?

Why Confer with Readers? 10 Compelling Reasons

I have two chapters left to read and then I will be ready for the chat Thursday night.  I can’t wait to spend more time practicing and improving my conferring skills with students and teachers. The videos, the tips, and all the problem solving has thus far been on target.

What are you reading? 

What are your working on? 

How will we know?




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

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#SOL18: Being the Change


Me.

I’m a product of my background.

I grew up on a farm in southeast Iowa. I went to school in a small town of approximately 6,000 citizens.  We were a homogeneous community.  Our biggest disagreements were between Democrats and Republicans or Catholics and Methodists.  Words.  Not anger. Not distrust. Words. There was one African American family.  One family. Although I graduated as one of 171 students in my class, there was no diversity at my grade level. None.

When I attended junior college, I was in a town of 20,000+. Diversity, some. And yet, our school was small enough that I knew people as individuals and not as a “racial group”. So it was a culture shock when at 19, I moved on to a university dorm in a town of 30,000+ with girls who didn’t look like me, didn’t talk like me, and who didn’t want to talk to me.  I was totally unprepared.

What could have prepared me? 

Relationships matter.  People matter.  When we understand our own relationships, we are better able to support the students in our classrooms. What happens when students want to talk about topics like race, gender, politics, religion and sexuality?  Are you comfortable with those topics?  What if their need to discuss those issues is so powerful that they can’t focus on learning until their conversation takes place.  What are your options?  One beginning point is to pick up Sara K Ahmed’s book, Being the Change:  Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension. It’s an EASY read.  What’s tough is actually “doing the work” yourself in order to become “comfortable with the discomfort” that comes with learning and growing.
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Here are just a few quotes from Sara  for you to think about:

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If you read and loved Upstanders, Sara K. Ahmed, will be no surprise to you.  She’s bright, articulate and so ready to challenge the complexities of the world. Heinemann has a podcast here where you can hear directly from Sara about this book.

What are you learning? 

What do you know about “social comprehension”?

Join the #G2Great chat Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 8:30 EST to learn from Sara!

Wakelet archive from #G2Great chat here.

 

 




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: North Star


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That big star?  Always in the North?

Shining brightly

Easier to see out in the country

Away from “city” lights

Easily 100 carats bright

A stationary beacon.

It was a lab extra credit.  We took turns looking through a telescope.  But we really liked the view from the quilt on the ground.  The sky sprinkled with twinkling lights was mesmerizing.  And the “city slickers” slowed down to observe just a bit of nature.  I didn’t want to be there.  The ground was hard.  It was late.  A book was surely calling my name.

Read me. Read me.

But the uncertainty of whether I needed the extra credit made me linger.  I knew my lab partner probably needed my points as well.  That night – a peaceful view, a bit of learning and the company of friends and classmates.

I knew this.  I didn’t have to be there.  But it was Easy. No challenge  No stress.  Just time, a different location, and an opportunity for an out of the ordinary instructional experience.

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There’s something magical about the North Star. I’m not sure if it’s the “constancy”, the fact that it doesn’t move, or just the symbol that guides us that sparks my curiosity (#OLW18).

What is your guiding star?

One of mine is my insatiable need to continue learning… and reading …and writing … I’m currently stuck on E’s

Engagement

Effectiveness

Equity

Embarrassment

and these quotes from our #G2Great chats:

My current North Stars – my source of direction comes from:

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What is your North Star?

Where does it come from?

What sustains it?




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: #LitEssentials


What is essential in literacy instruction? 

How do you know? 

Is this something you were taught? 

Or is this something you have learned?

As you can see, “curious”, my #OLW is already in play for 2018.  It sits on my shoulder daily encouraging me to wonder about new and old issues.  So let’s take up “essential”.

What does essential mean?

“1.  absolutely necessary; indispensable:

Discipline is essential in an army.
2.  pertaining to or constituting the essence of a thing.
3. noting or containing an essence of a plant, drug, etc.

4. being such by its very nature or in the highest sense; natural; spontaneous:

essential happiness.”  Dictionary.com
Without a doubt, Regie Routman is using all these definitions in her use of “essentials” in her newest book . . .
And the words that I want to emphasize, from the definitions, are:
“indispensable,
essence,
natural,
spontaneous,
happiness”
This book is not about following a script or a recipe for success.  This book is about empowering teachers and leaders as thinkers.

Why this book? 

Because Regie is first of all a teacher.  Working with students is her passion and she wants to help you regain, regrow and re-empower your expert teaching voice.  . . .”you – one caring and knowledgeable teacher – can make an enduring difference in a child’s life.” (Routman, Stenhouse, p. 3)

What additional information is available?

@Stenhousepub tweet:

“”…without that culture of joy and celebration of strengths…we are never going to get our students where they need to be and where they want to be.” @regieroutman talks about her new book, Literacy Essentials:”

Video LInk”

Stenhouse

What makes this book so appealing?

  1. The format of the book.

The three big “units” are Engagement, Excellence, and Equity.

You CAN begin with any of those sections.  They are very well cross-referenced so that you can dip into the pieces that you need!

       2.  The format in the chapters.

There’s a conversation with Regie with facts, questions, and anecdotes that illustrate the point.  Then there is a detailed “Take Action” section. This is repeated multiple times in each chapter which has endnotes for a closing.  A single teacher could choose actions to make changes in their classroom.  A group of teachers could choose actions to make changes in their building or district.  The possibilities for thinking teachers are endless.

         3. The teacher in the book.

Calm, practical, thoughtful and thought-provoking conversations.  Not a bunch of “mumbo jumbo” from publishers, test-writers, or those who have not been in classrooms recently or perhaps . . . EVER!  Real solutions that will NOT add hours to your day.  Real solutions that you can advocate for.  Real solutions that will bring joy back into your life!

Not yet convinced?

Join the #G2Great chat Thursday, January 11th.  Be a part of the conversation or listen in – whichever role is most comfortable for you.   Listen in to hear the essence of the text, the indispensable actions, the natural, spontaneous actions that can bring JOY back into your teaching life. Then consider your next steps!

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Why does this matter to me?

I remember meeting Regie at a Regis Literacy Institute in the late 1980’s or early 90″s.  She was the first real live, up close and personal “edu-hero” that I ever met.  She was so kind, so thoughtful and so willing to talk to me even though her coffee was growing cold in the cafe and I was totally interrupting. She’s a teacher.  She’s a leader.  She’s a reader. She’s a writer.  Regie’s amazing!

What professional reading do you have planned for 2018? 

What books are you “curious” about? 

Where will you begin?




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

#SOL17: Brave


“Bravery is not always a roar; sometimes it’s the quiet strength that we possess when we need it most.” ~@OnStageKimberly

Are you brave?

It may depend on how you define brave.

I eagerly anticipated “Brave” in 2017 because my word had found me in mid-December.   I tried it out quietly, drafted some ideas, rechecked my understanding, watched this video of Kimberly Davis and finally announced it here.  I embraced, Brave, and changed the wallpaper on my blog.

I checked in often.

Here

Here

Here  and

Here in this post today.

Little did I know how BRAVE was going to test me in 2017.

Test me personally.  Test me professionally.

Test me mentally. Test me spiritually.

And it was a roller coaster because there were days that went by in a fog and days where time stood still . . . and minutes became months.  And then there were the days that seemed to barely last one hour.   What a strange construct time can be . . .

Pulled.Stretched.Elongated.

Shortened.Retracted.Truncated.

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And as the calendar pages have turned, I’ve embraced:

“courageous,

valiant,

 intrepid,

heroic,

 bold,

fearless,

gallant,

daring,

plucky, and

audacious.”

(Courtesy of Dictionary.com here)

Amid gnashing of teeth, crying, whimpering, screaming, and yelling . . .

I did not always go quietly into the night.

But as each night faded into daylight,

I welcomed the chance to begin each day anew.

And NOW, I celebrate!

We don’t have to be perfect!

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Watch for more wisdom from this source (Released January 16, 2018):

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Available January 16, 2018

 

What will my 2018 #OLW be?

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How are you preparing for your 2018 #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

#NCTE17: Sunday


By Sunday the air is bittersweet.  Farewells begin. Last conversations are passionate pleas to capture frantic final minutes.  Choices are final.  Options are few.  Time races. No second chances to catch folks as flight departures begin before the sun is above the horizon.

And yet, gems . . .

“What is Authenticity? 

Is it the same when viewed with a student lens? 

How do we know?”

L. 30 Prioritizing Student Voice:  Honoring Independence, Identity, and Advocacy as the Cornerstones of Learning

And from the #G2Great family:

  • Samuel Fremin   @The Sammer88
  • Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson  @kkht6912
  • Susie Rolander   @suzrolander
  • Justin Dolcimascolo  @jdolci
  • Kara Pranikoff   @pranikoff

Sam Fremin began with asking us to not constrain student’s creativity!  He told us the story of having a two page limit to an assignment that meant he had to cut almost everything out of his original seven page response.  

What is the purpose of a two page maximum assignment?

What is your response to a “page limit”?

Is that indicative of the teacher’s attention span?

Sam contrasted that with this year’s  AP Lang course where they were to “Write about something important to us” as they compared and analyzed two essays.  As a 15 year old, Sam, who likes The Onion wanted to write a satire about “Discrimination not really being that bad” and through multiple conversations with his teacher, worked out the details and “used a display of writing that I will never get to write again.  I displayed my need to try that voice.”  And the teacher, even though she wanted a tight rein on the expectations, did participate in a two-sided discussion that allowed Sam to write his satire!

And then Sam’s role (as a high school junior) was to continue to introduce each of the panel members.  Such poise and great presence for a high school junior and one of the #BowTieBoys! (Sam blogs here.)

We also learned that advocacy for Native Americans is important because Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson shared a US map with reservations marked although only 22% of Native Americans live on reservations.  Kathryn teaches at an Ojibwe school so she is very cognizant of appropriate language and respect for cultures.  Awareness may be a great first step but Kathryn also encouraged us to be aware that work barely scratches the surface of working with folks who have different beliefs and values. How do Ojibwe students want to be named? When do we ask?

Susie Rolander shared that we need to let student input drive our work. This means we need to revise and renew our professional practice.  (A plug for Coppola’s book – Renew!) It’s a Journey! But for students who are struggling there does need to be a Sense of Urgency!  And that this meant as an interventionist, Susie wanted her students to be independent.  “I don’t know what I would do without you!” from a student was not what she wanted so one big action in her productivity plan was to move to student goal-setting so the students themselves would know if they were meeting their goals.  Their goals. Not teacher goals.

Justin had us begin by completing this statement:  “I am _____”

I am a:

Mother

Grandmother

Sister

Aunt

Great aunt

Daughter

Cousin

Friend

Reader

Writer

Blogger

Advocate

Learner

Thinker

Observer

Questioner

Dreamer

Reader

Am I real?  Do my students know my many roles?  Do other staff know our roles?  Justin shared a “I am” board created in his school.

Justin’s parting challenge was to consider equity and how we build our identity every day of our school lives so that we are not just working on career education in high school.  Instead of “What do you want to be?” in terms of a career, Justin said we need to shift to “What great problem do you want to solve?” 

Kara Pranikoff, author of Teaching Talk:  A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking and Conversation,  closed out the presentation with thoughts on how to use talk in the classroom to increase student engagement and agency.  And also, “Deep thinking takes time, we’ll wait. Take your time.”  Students set the pace.  As an instructor at Bank Street College, Kara and Susie routinely invite their students to Twitter chats!

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M. 24  Rekindling Our Teacher Hearts and Minds to Reclaim Our Sense of Agency and Purpose 

(Ellin Oliver Keene, Vicki Vinton, Donna Santman)

What is the purpose of education?  Which of the four statements matches your thinking?

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What do you value?

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Take aways:

” We overestimate children academically and underestimate them intellectually.” ~Lillian King

Shout out to Regie Routman:

Resources will often dictate practices. (from Read, Write, Lead)

“However, we NEED to begin with Beliefs first, then our Practices, and then choose Resources that align LAST!”

Beliefs and Practices – Donna Santman @dsantman

What made your current school a match for you?

When Trouble Starts:

What do you do?

Outright resistance

Passive aggression

Assimilation

Flexibility

What flexibility will be required of me here?

And how will I respond when trouble happens?

Ellin Keene

Our core beliefs about children;

Our core beliefs about ourselves.

We are humbled in the face of children;

We are humbled by our children.

There has been a huge language slide in our country.

How do we convert deficit language to asset language?

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Check out the asset mapping resources on Ellin Keene’s  website Mosaicliteracy.com


N.O8  Redefining Authenticity:  Empowering Student Ownership

(Do you know their Twitter names?  @acorgill    @katiedicesare  @ruth_ayres      @coloreader)

I was expecting to be blown away by Ruth Ayres because I can’t stop talking about her new book just out, Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers.   It’s an amazing personal heart-wrenching narrative about her children who struggled with life and then also a “how to” deal with teaching writing.  And yet all three of the other panel members complemented that presentation.

Quotes:

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Skills and dispositions for writing are the same for real work. We have to get the heart right. Students need to write.  Yes, kids are afraid! Writing is where I can help kids see the different ways a story can go.

If we have authentic writing projects, teachers cannot make all these decisions.  Students need some choice and voice.  This is NOT a free-for-all!  You don’t have to leave ALL open!  But you must leave SOME open!

Project Idea

Audience Purpose Topic

Genre

Teacher Teacher Teacher
Teacher Teacher

How do you ensure that students have an authentic voice?   

How do you know that students REALLY believe that they have a voice and some choice? 

What did you learn on Sunday at #NCTE17?

#NCTE17: Celebrate!


A new day. Typical.  Some leaving home. Some already arriving at their destination. Snow on the mountain pass.  Video from walking through the rainforest. And the ubiquitous, “Are we there yet?” Pictures of the first two arrivals at the airport: Kathryn arriving from MN and Justin from PA. They trickle in.  The #G2Great Cousins are arriving from literally across the nation and within 24 hours all attendees will be present.

First mini-gathering

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And then the Gala Event . . .

#NCTE17 began with celebrations divided by grade levels:  elementary, middle, and secondary.  The Elementary session recognized many attendees for their current work as well as their past work.  First time attendees were equally applauded for their presence. The stars were aligned.  Ones that I saw and or spoke to included:

Yetta Goodman

Katie Ray Wood

Ralph Fletcher

Carl Anderson

Kathy Collins

Vicki Vinton

Dorothy Barnhouse

Mary Lee Hahn

Franki Sibberson

Ruth Ayres

Patty McGee

Dan Feigelson

Literacy Rock Stars!

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The big, big crowd was there to honor and salute the work of Katherine and Randy Bomer, who in their own inimitable style rallied us to action after Kathy Collins’ hilarious introduction of the honorees because she has known and worked with them for year.  An interesting factoid is that their November interview is the most retweeted NCTE article. (link)

Critique and resistance are necessary.

What are our values in teaching?  How do we translate those into practice?

In a time of resistance, what are we ADVANCING into the world?

Katherine encouraged us to:

  1. Meet every child with an air of expectancy: open heart, open mind with respect.  Awe, wonder, and love. (Maxine Green – TC – “Humans are never done becoming.)
  2. Delight in students’ voices: “Does it bring joy?” “Student writing is the place where I know I am doing something meaningful.” “Best place to fall in love with student writing is in the notes you find in your room.“   From her mentors:  Lucy Calkins,  “Children can write, children have stories, and children can write with laser like vision”; and  Donald Graves “Children will write if we let them.” 

Randy shared that it’s not enough to resist.  It has to be part of an action. He proposed that we advance justice and respect.

  •  Advancing Justice – Critical Lenses – Writing for Change

“Doing critical work is how we continually check the differences among people.  How we restratify our relationships.  Big concepts are:  Groups, Power, and Relationships.  Where do we find these in stories?”  Student voice, agency, and thinking about hard things in the social world. . . Advancing more critical perspective.  Reading our shared lives to see when we see something that someone should do something about – our actions, habits, and lenses. 

  • Advancing Respect – Appreciative Stance – Critique of Deficit Stance

“Listen to a reader to understand them. Readers come with enough.”
“No deficit perspectives.This has fueled me.” Hold up a mirror to check for an appreciative stance.  Call people’s attention to injustices.  DO something about them! Polarization that may have begun on internet but have moved to the street.  Continue to resist injustice.  “White folks are obliged to do that!”  

bomers

You can hear more from both Katherine and Randy at 9:30 Friday, today, at NCTE.  Or check out #NCTE17.  Follow the hashtag through Sunday for the best and most important happenings from St. Louis, Missouri.

Final thought I tweeted out before we left the convention center:

“Do we tell teachers? . . .

You are enough!

You don’t need a basal.

You don’t need Pinterest.

You don’t need TpT.

You are enough.

Make decisions for the students in front of you!”

And with that the #G2Great celebration began . . .

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Rumor has it that the Friday evening #G2Great meet up will include ukeleles.

How do you celebrate students? 

How do you celebrate your own learning? 

Who are your ELA heroes?

 

#DigiLitSunday: Automaticity


As many of you  know, this has been a driving summer . . .

Iowa,

Missouri,

Illinois

Indiana

Kentucky

Tennessee

Georgia

Florida, Florida, Florida, Florida (it’s a long way from the top to the bottom)

and back plus

Minnesota.

Not commuter miles but trips that included LONG days.

So think about this driving analogy.

driving

Free from Pixabay; Retrieved 7.9.17

My trip to Sioux City today.

Questioning

What route?

When to stop / break / gas?

Can I beat the GPS arrival time?

Reflection

By Des Moines, I had gained three minutes according to the GPS.

And then semi-trucks passing semi-trucks going uphill . . .  slowed both lanes down.

And then there was road construction with one lane of traffic and a reduced speed limit of 55 mph.

Results (but I REALLY wanted this to be Synthesis)

Exploring alternate routes.

Considering overall rates of travel and the amount of travel in both lanes.

Learning new vocabulary

  • Rest Stop – Parking Only
  • Rest Stop – Modern
  • Rest Stop with Internet Access (including symbols for phone, Vending Machines and Camper Dump Stations

So the short part of this is that I arrived one minute before my GPS said and my route, although with some adjustments, was successfully completed.

What if ? ? ?

A. What if I had to record notes

Before the trip?

During the trip?

After the trip?

B.  I had to record the skills I had mastered

Skills?

Strategies?

Processes? (Hat tip to Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson for that idea after a Voxer #G2Great conversation)

Have you made the inference about where this is headed? . . .  

Hint – Reread Choices A and B

And Oh, My Goodness! 

I forgot the Planning that happened prior to the trip including checking for my registration, insurance card, and having the car serviced (oil change & tire rotation) prior to the trip as well as googling the distance from point A and B so I could begin to draft the specifics.

All of these little details matter when driving a motor vehicle.  There are big details that have life or death consequences like safely managing a vehicle, keeping it in the right lane, accelerating and decelerating with traffic flow, smooth lane changes WITH a turn signal, safe distances between vehicles, and paying attention to merging lanes, road signs, and . . .

I’m lucky because I’ve been driving for over four decades and I had a refresher when my son would point out driving errors while he was in a driver’s education course.  Your driving experience may include more total miles or more city miles than me.  That’s a “number” or data-based comparison.  But what about “quality”?

In my opinion it all boils down to “my confidence in my driving abilities” because I have experienced a wide variety of situations that have contributed to the automaticity of my driving habits and patterns that also allow me to be responsive and THINK when I must make “in the second/minute” adjustments.

I very deliberately chose this comparison because this “automaticity” is what we want for our students in reading.

Skilled

Competent

Strategic

Confident

Experienced

Readers

How much time does this take?  

How will we measure this success?  

WHEN will a reader be successful?




And what does this mean for TEACHERS, the adults in the classroom?  

They must be equally prepared, confident, and ready for challenges.

That is why I am in several book clubs this summer.  Probably too many.  But I am pushing my own Planning, Questioning, Reflecting and Synthesizing especially as I work through professional books.

I wrote about the beginning of #CyberPD and Vicki Vinton’s Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading here.  This thinking fits with a Facebook and Twitter study of Disrupting Thinking by authors Kylene Beers and Bob Probst.  Margaret Simon wrote about both of those today here.  As discussed at the last #G2Great chat with Linda Rief, Reading is about the meaning that the reader understands as a result of his/her transaction with the text. Reading is NOT extracting factoids.

Without spending a great deal more words, I believe that when students can and do

Plan

Reflect

Question

Synthesize

on their own (P,Q,R,S) in real authentic work (not just school work), they WILL BE Skilled, Competent, Strategic, Confident, and Experienced Readers!

What do you do daily to help students “transact” with text in the form of stories, books, poetry, nonfiction, art works, video, and audio?  

How will you know when students have reached automaticity?   

How will you know your students are skilled, competent, strategic, confident and experienced readers?




#DigiLitSunday:  More posts from Margaret Simon and Reflections on the Teche.

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#SOL16: JOY


joy

My #OneLittleWord for 2016 has been JOY and this past weekend at #NCTE16 was packed with joy every minute of every day. Surrounded by professionals that I know, admire, and constantly learn with, it was quite easy to forget the policies, problems, and politics that have rocked the U.S. landscape lately.

See how many “Slicers” you recognize at the Saturday dinner.

(Bonus:  How many of the blogs can you name?)

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“Slicer” dinner at Amalfi’s Pizza Saturday

JOY

The JOY began with a #G2Great meetup Thursday night at Max’s Coal Pizza.  This group chats online on Thursday evenings with Mary Howard, Amy Brenneman, and Jenn Hayhurst as co-moderators.

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Thursday night #G2Great meetup at Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria

Do you know which 4 are in both groups?

Can you name the states represented?

joy gift pic

And of course another night of conversation and JOY.

friday-night

Friday night at Legal Seafood 

joyful

On Sunday we actually found time to visit before leaving Atlanta!

sunday

Julieanne, Tara, Margaret and me!

One of the highlights of my travels was my great roommate, Dani Graham Burtsfield, from Kalispell, MT. Thanks so much for all your great work as our “historian”!

dani

Joy with some of the audience members for the poetry session are found here!

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At poetry with Mary Lee, Julieanne and myself – just missing Steve!

And even MORE JOY with some of the presenters!

Have you checked in on your “One Little Word” lately?

slice of life

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#NCTE16: Celebrate


Atlanta . . .

The home of a fabulous Civil Rights Museum

The home of Martin Luther King Junior

The home of thousands of teachers this weekend

Spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday together

Learning together

Feeding their souls

Fueling their passions

Collecting their energy

Forging a future

In this fabulous #NCTE16 family!

I am so humbled to rub elbows among so many talented readers and writers who are so willing to chat, to dig into answering those clarifying questions and to help out in so many ways.  And who in their lives have chosen “kind”.

Thanks for Voxer cousin Erica, the MARTA directions were perfect. Wowza!  What an easy way to travel from the airport to the hotel.  Thanks to the #G2Great dinner organizers – such a treat to meet up together before the sessions began.  Looking up and down the table at all the JOY (my #OLW) amidst the hugs and conversations, there was a moment when I wanted to hit the pause button. Just a few short seconds to admire my companions and the many paths that brought us together from across the country.  Together we are better.  We bring our knowledge, our skills and our hearts together to improve literacy in our communities.

We are activists.

We are here.

We are learning together.

We are reading together.

We are turning and talking.

We are growing together.

And the rich conversations continue long after the sessions as we naturally have t0 share our learning with each other.

Friday was the first full day of #NCTE16 and it was a long day. It was a joyful day from the first navigation of the convention space to the Donald Graves Legacy Breakfast.  Thanks to Heinemann for such a wonderful gathering. In the same space on stage:  Tom Newkirk, Penny Kittle, Georgia Heard, Katherine  Bomer, Smokey Daniels, Cornelius Minor, Allison Marchette, Rebekah ODell and Kim Parker.

Sharing memories.

Sharing credos.

Tweet worthy quotations.

Watching a master at work on a video.

Writing our own credos.

And then we were off.

Every session has close to 50 choices.  Hard choices for learners.  Who do I REALLY need to hear?  Who will affirm my beliefs?  Who will push me to new understandings?

Learning from Ralph Fletcher, Ellie Keene, Kathy Collins, Matt Glover, Marjorie Martinelli, Shanna Schwartz, Alecia Luick, Shana Frazin, Katy Wischow, Val Geschwind, the amazing #G2Great crew (Erica, Amy, Jenn, Jill, Dani, Kari, Kathryn) and the many gracious Heinemann and Stenhouse authors filled my brain, my heart and my soul.

One of my favorite sessions was “Low Stakes Writing” with Ralph Fletcher.  If we want joyful student writers, Ralph proposes that we must add some green belt writing for our students. The metaphor that he used to describe writing energy was the hot air balloon and he challenged us to think of when the balloon would rise – when writing workshop is going merrily along and when the balloon would sink back to earth – with the addition of test prep work and mandatory writing tasks that literally suck the JOY out of writing.  As teachers, parents, administrators, we do need to be aware of our own limitations but we also need to stretch ourselves as readers, writers and thinkers. We must be the models of the writing that we want our students to do.   The concept of “feral writing’ is fascinating.  A feral animal – one who was once domesticated who has now returned to the wild. Writing that students choose to do on their own time. The creation of new genres of writing that arise from choice as students do find their writing voice. How can we honor those voices?

No pictures here in this blog post.  My computer is taking a break so I’m composing this on my iPad mini.  It’s not my favorite device.  It’s challenging as I type in the dark out of kindness to my roommate at zero dark thirty.

Day Two begins at 8 am and goes until 5:30 pm.

Decisions  about sessions.

Decisions about when to visit the exhibit hall.

And what about those favorite authors and those friends from twittter who we have not yet connected with?

Much more joy and learning ahead!

How will you spend your Saturday?

 

 

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