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.
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:
Katie Ray Wood
Mary Lee Hahn
Literacy Rock Stars!
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:
- 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.)
- 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!”
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 . . .
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?
As many of you know, this has been a driving summer . . .
Florida, Florida, Florida, Florida (it’s a long way from the top to the bottom)
and back plus
Not commuter miles but trips that included LONG days.
So think about this driving analogy.
My trip to Sioux City today.
When to stop / break / gas?
Can I beat the GPS arrival time?
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
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.
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
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.
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?)
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.
Do you know which 4 are in both groups?
Can you name the states represented?
And of course another night of conversation and JOY.
On Sunday we actually found time to visit before leaving Atlanta!
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”!
Joy with some of the audience members for the poetry session are found here!
And even MORE JOY with some of the presenters!
Have you checked in on your “One Little Word” lately?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
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
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.
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?
It comes in many forms.
In many places.
A journey of
And like a pile of legos
Rebuilt in another shape
A different shape
A synthesis of ideas!
The past week has been a journey into read alouds. Perhaps you participated in the #G2Great chat last week. Check out Jenn’s post about that chat, please. With the title, “Teachers Doing the Work: Thoughtful Planning for Intentional Read Aloud“, you must stop and check it out!
And then I’ve continued to read in this new book.
Chapter 2 is all about Read Alouds and the title is magical, “Read-Aloud: Giving Students a Reason to Learn to Read”.
I’m lingering with this idea, ” Next generation read-aloud focuses on read aloud’s power of engagement while still leaving room for intentional but limited teacher talk. It follows the lead of students as much as possible making space for responsive teaching, reflective connections to standards or isolated strategies, and celebrations of productive effort.”
And then this post from Susie Rolander completely consumed my thinking as I continued to wonder about how we help students find their voice and path in literacy learning.. It is about the students and the learning they can show us IF and WHEN we tap into and “turn on their smarts”.
To top it off, I just learned about the research tool in google last night from my colleague Dyan. Where have I been? Why did I not know this? Inside any google document or slide show, you can research straight from the document WITHOUT opening another tab? How, you ask?
Under the tool bar – select research and then you have a myriad of choices.
Images – those that are free to use. Scholar for that quick look at resources . . . .And the link will be inserted with a picture or a reference . . . And MLA or APA style can be added.
As a result of this tool, here’s how I’m feeling:
as I wonder when WordPress will incorporate this feature?
Here’s a portion of my search for Read Aloud under Google Scholar inside a google document.
So much that I can now do without opening 10 other tabs . . . one for a search, one for an image, one for whatever distracted me . . . .
Always learning! Thanks to my friends at #G2Great, @hayhurst3, @burkinsandyaris, @suzrolander and @DyanSundermeyer !
Have you used the google research tool?
Do your students?
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!
What is Professional Development?
Are those groans that I’m hearing? Does professional development bring a bit of a frown to your face or a sinking feeling in your stomach?
I’ve had the privilege of engaging in powerful professional development (PD) over the course of the last two weeks. I’m going to cite four specific examples of PD that have been powerful for me and then explain the critical attributes that contributed to my learning!
- #TCRWP 90th Saturday Reunion
- #TWT Blog Series on Professional Development
- #G2Great Twitter Chat on Thoughtful Decision-Making
What made these four instances powerful learning experiences?
All of these examples were freely chosen by me. I chose to travel to the #TCRWP 90th Saturday reunion. Once there, I had approximately 150 sessions to choose from – a veritable buffet of choices that was incredibly difficult. (You can read about those sessions here, here, here, here and here.) The #TWT Blog Series could be read in order or as I had time to savor the content. The #G2Great Twitter Chat involved choices about which questions I responded to as well as conversations that were extended. And #TheEdCollabGathering on Saturday offered multiple sessions in four different time frames so I could choose the sessions of greatest interest.
There was no cost for any of these PD offerings. Of course, the #TCRWP 90th Saturday reunion involved travel to New York City – but the PD was a gift from Lucy Calkins and colleagues just as #TheEdCollabGathering was a gift. I attended the Saturday reunions from my living room for several years before live attendance! The #TWT blog series and the #G2Great Chat were free – only required my time! Free is a nice selling point for my frugal mind!
Learning Collaboratively with Others
Whether it was a turn and talk with Tara or Erica, or tweets to attendees or those at home, or even reading and collecting blog posts from others, #TCRWP is ALWAYS about learning collaboratively with others. We kept talking over lunch at the end of the day – not yet ready to end the day. Twitter chats are also always about learning with others. Retweeting, or finding “frame-worthy” tweets, is all about rejoicing in the language precision of friends’ 140 characters that just must be repeated verbatim. And a blog post series allowed me to respond to the #TWT authors and their posts directly or on twitter.
Available 24/7 to Revisit
The learning continues after each of the events above. My notes, multiple blog posts and conversations on Twitter or Voxer are available 24/7 to revisit #TCRWP’s 90th Saturday Reunion. I can continue to revisit the #TWT PD Series and send links to friends for conversations. I can review the #G2Great twitter chat in a column of my Tweetdeck as well as read Amy’s wonderful analysis blog post here. And all of the Hangouts on Air by #TheEdCollabGathering are available for viewing . . . anytime . . . anywhere.
Passionate and Inspiring Presenters
Not only were each of the presenters above passionate and inspiring, but they were also knowledgable and skilled at “pushing” for action. It was never enough to learn because the learning wasn’t the terminal point – that was reserved for the plan for “How are you going to use this?” Masterful, experience, and models of reflective practices . . . EACH.AND.EVERY.ONE!
So a tough question . . .
If those are characteristics that I value in my quest for PD that fuels my heart, soul and mind, how does that match up with PD that I provide?
Learning Collaboratively with Others?
Available 24/7 to Revisit?
Passionate and Inspiring?
Choices are built into the task that teachers are asked to complete. They have to “do” something but they have choices. Free? Yes! Learning collaboratively with other? Yes, with pair-share and productive group work. Available 24/7 to revisit? Yes, thanks to google docs and slides there is always some artifact to leave behind. Passionate? Yes! Inspiring? I hope so!
If nothing else, naming these characteristics that I value will push me to make sure they are included in future PD sessions!
What characteristics do you value in PD?
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!