Why I write:
To deepen my understanding
To check my understanding
To analyze my thinking
To share my learning
To be a model for teachers and students and
To experience the JOY of a community . . .
Those are some of the reasons I write.
(And as soon as I hit “publish” I will think of at least 10 other “better”reasons that I wish I had thought of during the three days that I worked on this draft!)
Do these steps look familiar?
But do they match your current reality in your writing?
Do they match your current reality in your writing instruction?
I’ve been spying on my writing for over a year . . . literally in search of patterns that I could identify in my own writing. Trying to decide on that next big goal for myself – ambitious or “doable”? . . . lofty or practical?
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as finding a pattern, setting up some demos and “off you go” because writing is complicated.
Steps are added or revised . . .
If I have to stop and research.
If I have to completely scrap my draft because it is really so pathetic.
If I have to continue my “search for a topic”.
If I have to . . .
So here are some resources,
Quite literally, some food for thought!
Because all of these relate to just one simple standard in writing and yet this standard (and its intent) are often overlooked in a search for a priority or a way to reduce/simplify the writing standards!
“CCR. W.5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.”
A previous blog post that connected to this standard is in the 2014 archives here!
Planning – Where does an idea come from? – my blog post
Celebrate Celebrating – a blog post from Julieanne Harmatz (grade 5)
Learn by Writing – Lynne Dorfman’s blog post
Helping Students Plan their Writing – a blog post by Melanie Meehan
Using Technology for a Kindergartner’s Writing Process – a blog post by Melanie Meehan
Introducing a Hierarchy of Writing Goals – a blog post by Jennifer Serravallo
Goal Setting – my blog post
Drafting: Beginnings (somewhere – trying more than just one beginning – trying a new approach
The Beginning – my blog post
Strong Leads – Jennifer Wagner (2nd grade)
Drafting – Endings
Behind the Books: The Perfect Ending – blog post by Melissa Stewart
The Ending – my blog post
Drafting – Telling a Story Bit by Bit
Celebrating Story – blog post by Julieanne Harmatz
Drafting – Organization, Elaboration, and Craft
Elaboration Strategies for Information Writing Dig- Two Writing Teachers
Text Structures – blog post by Melissa Stewart
Specific Examples of the Power of Three – Stacey Shubitz
First Graders Get Crafty – Dana Murphy
DigiLit Sunday: Craft – blog post by Margaret Simon
Revising as part of the Process – blog post by Melanie Meehan
No Monkeys, No Chocolate: 10 year Revision Timeline – blog post by Melissa Stewart
Editing as a part of publication
Editing Sticks – my blog post
Editing – my blog post
- Editing stations for upper grades – Shana Frazin informed
- Daily light editing – Shanna Schwartz informed
Revising or Editing? – my blog post
Fun tool – Eye Finger Puppets (Amazon or craft stores) – Make editing time special and reminds the reader and the writer to pay close attention to the work!
Reading Units of Study Mini-Lessons
MiniLessons are strong invitations to learning! (TCRWP_
Reading and Planning MiniLessons – Rachel Tassler
A Short and Sweet MiniLesson Format – Two Writing Teachers
How to Plan a MiniLesson from Scratch – Two Writing Teachers
There are More Ways than One to Plan a MiniLesson – Two Writing Teachers
How to Read a Unit of Study – Two Writing Teachers
Fundamentals of Writing Workshop – Two Writing Teachers Blog Series August 2017
Share Time in Writing Workshop – Lynne Dorfman’s blog
Choice in Writing Workshop – blog post by Tara Smith
(Almost) Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Partnerships I Learned in Kindergarten – blog post by Shana Frazin
Why I Write – Stenhouse Blog
Banned Books – NCTE – 2017
Mentor Texts – Books that would be nice to have as Resources
Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts – Stacey Shubitz (Stenhouse)
Writers are Readers: Flipping Reading Instruction into Writing Opportunities – Lester Laminack (Heinemann)
Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature (2nd etition)- Dorfman & Cappelli (Stenhouse)
Learning from Classmates: Using Student Writing as Mentor Texts – Lisa Eicholdt (Heinemann)
What;s Your Plan?
What are you going to do NEXT?
Today’s best draft, (Kelly Gallager)
This post I wrote to organize!
The icing on this week’s #TCRWP Reading Institute was the final keynote by Jennifer Serravallo. Seeing Jen in Cowin Auditorium, back where she was once a staff developer, was amazing. The main metaphor for her speech was SNL – Saturday Night Live – and when in her life she has been different characters.
But this tweet has really sparked interest.
(And I did not look to see who else tweeted it out!)
How much professional development does it take to LEARN something new?
You can explore the source yourself here.
And at “What Works Clearinghouse” here.
Does that fit into your knowledge base?
I search my computer.
My starting point.
What do I already have?
Take a walk.
Come back and dig in.
What does this connect to?
Who are my go to authors?
The most accurate sources?
So many tabs open that I can only see a letter on each.
What to keep?
What to file?
What to read?
Which books do I put on my stack?
And the big question:
What to use?
I’m working on my PD for Monday.
What’s my plan?
What’s my process?
Be not dismayed!
I have books.
I have professional books.
I have shelves and shelves and shelves of books!
But sometimes my book is on my desk at the office . . .
And sometimes someone has borrowed my book and is reading it!
Have you seen my secret weapon?
This was new to me just last month. It’s the Heinemann Digital Library and it’s already been a lifesaver. Understand this. I greatly admire the many authors that can narrow down their “5 Most Influential Book Lists”. I really, really do! However, I struggle to narrow down my “Top 5 Books for Fluency” or “My Top 5 Books for Conferring” or My Top 5 Books for Small Group Instruction”. (Is it too many books or too many favorites?)
What’s the Heinemann Digital Library?
It’s an annual subscription resource for unlimited and searchable access to books, articles, videos and even courses to learn more about reading, writing, assessment, early childhood, math, school improvement, and many more topics.
Why am I so fascinated with the Heinemann Digital Library?
Well, I am often known to have TWO copies of my well-used, beloved professional books. One is marked up with questions, comments, “!”, “*”, and other annotations. Pages will be dog-eared. Some may be tabbed. And yes, there will be sticky notes but those notes don’t remain sticky for long if I’m constantly peeling them off to peer at the words underneath. Access to the digital library now means that I can access the resource from my computer which is so handy when quite frankly, I don’t really remember where the book is right now.
How have I used this resource?
Here’s one example. I needed to add more information to my knowledge base and find some specifics for increasing student engagement during writing workshop. I have several resources on my stack on my desk:
Writing Pathways by Lucy Calkins
The Unstoppable Writing Teacher by Colleen Cruz (also in the Digital Library)
The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers by Jennifer Serravallo
But I now also have these books, articles and a video courtesy of the Heinemann Digital Library.
One video, two articles, and three books . . . plus the resources that I already have. I’m pretty confident that I have a wide range of professional resources from recognized literacy researchers, experts and teachers. I have my resources and I’m now ready to work!
How does this connect to classroom work?
This is also the work that I would expect high school students to complete independently (after providing the groundwork in elementary) for the following ELA College and Career Ready Anchor Standards.
“CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCRA.R.2 Determine central odeas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
CCRA.R.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.”
“CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.”
I would not presume to say that “working on the standards ONCE” would allow me to determine whether the standard has been met. I would want a body of evidence but that’s a whole different series of blog topics!
If you plan professional development, what’s your process?
Where do you get your quality resources?
Heinemann Digital Library Link here
and, in the spirit of disclosure, Yes, this was written after conversations with Cathy Brophy at Heinemann after I purchased my own personal membership to the Heinemann Digital Library and tweeted about it.
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Making Powerful Connections Across the Twitterverse Using Social Media to Become Agents of Change
Amy Brennan, Jill DeRosa, Jenn Hayhurst, Mary Howard, and Jeanne Marie Mazzaferro shared how Twitter, a book Good to Great, and Voxer has led to changes in instruction and professional development. Read more about their session here on Jennifer’s blog.
Embracing Trouble: Problem Solving and Responsive Teaching in the Reading and Writing Classroom
Colleen Cruz, author of The Unstoppable Writing Teacher: Real Strategies for the Real Classroom, presented a series of steps to problem solve writing difficulties. This was interactive as we were working on a problem of our own as we learned about the steps.
- Name your trouble.
- How do you know it’s a problem?
- Where do you feel stuck? Why is it keeping you up at night?
- What are you most afraid will happen?
- Rename the problem as a realization or goal.
- Name the roadblocks that might get in the way.
- How might you deal with those roadblocks? Find a small little piece to start with.
- Plan first step. Second step. Send yourself a text with your plan as a reminder.
Barb Golub reminded us that “No matter what, Independent reading time needs to happen every day.” EVERY.DAY.INDEPENDENT.READING.EVERY.STUDENT
“Be true to yourself.”
“Teaching is hard.”
“You need to find your group or tribe for both celebrations and in times of trouble.”
Jennifer Serravallo, author of The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers, began with a description of her previous typical classroom of 32 children, 10 with IEPs, 5 Ells, and parents who felt disconnected from schooling.
Because it was chaotic, she knew that she needed an action plan to fix the problem. She relied on experiences from her father, a chemist, to develop a plan.
1. Get to know the student. Stuff inside a messy desk may tell us more than the assessments. Use an engagement inventory to consider student stamina/ability to re-engage. How do you use running records? Not use for process, not as summative, but for formative information, but for next steps in teaching.
Where is the student pausing?
What patterns in pauses, miscues, . ..?
What is the student thinking about?
2. Decide on a goal for each reader. Honor student strength and potential when determining next steps. Jen referenced both Petty and Hattie for research in goal setting and specific feedback focused on goals. She reminded us that you must have a goal in order to be impactful. Look at the Hierarchy when making decisions about goals. “Have one goal for kids.”
3. Teach a strategy that aligns to goals. The strategy will have actionable steps with a verb. It will literally break down the work in a skill. (The newest publication has the goals color coded like the picture above!)
4. Make the goals visible. The goals need to be visible for the reader, other teachers, and parents. Pictures can help. Information on class website / blog can also provide visible goals.
“Have Student notes in a two pocket folder. Put reading information in one pocket and writing in the other pocket. Write notes. Have this chart ready at all times for communication purposes. Make it be like a “chart” at the hospital that hangs on the end of the bed. The doctor comes in and picks it up – One chart that travels with the student. (BRILLIANT coordination of information about the student!)”
5. Stay focused on the goal during conferences and small group work. So if you are working on fluency, you will make sure the student reads text.
“Teachers: You matter! You make a difference!”
The Art of Knowing Our Students: Action Research for Learning and Reflection
Matt Renwick – Elementary principal in Wisconsin
We began with Matt’s question, “What do you think of when you hear the word ‘research’?” Research should actually include listening, talking and even laughter as everyone learns from each other. Action Research – be a renegade / individual who rejects conventional behavior. Matt shared examples of research that both he and the teachers in his building are engaged in
Karen Terlecky – literacy coach for teachers of grades 3-5
“The stories behind children are important! It’s not all about the numbers!” Karen’s research question is “How might stamina and choice increase student reading engagement and achievement?” Observational data might include taking pictures/video, listening to students read. Additional information from “status of the class” can tell about stamina, where stuck, favorite genres, and whether students are just “skipping around.” And a shout out to Cathy Mere, “How might celebration within the literacy block incrase student motivation and engagement?”
Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan
Clare and Tammy speak and write so eloquently about assessment and making sense of all the data that is collected – and so much more than just the numbers! How do we get “Wonder” as a regular piece of teacher work? In other words getting past issues of time, learning, questions, AND not having ALL the answers!
- More than a number
- Assessment and instruction are inseparable
- Instruction can meet high standards and be developmentally appropriate.
“Students want to know how they are doing. They don’t want to just hear about the errors that have been recorded.” Triangulating data must include teaching. Ask: “What do you notice? What do you wonder?”
I loved our work where we looked at the data pictured below and listed what we knew and wondered about this student who had scores below the benchmark and above the benchmark as well. What do you notice and wonder?
Take aways for today:
Learning is complex, for adults and students
Assessment is complex, more than a number
Students are complex.
Quality literacy instruction is hard because no script can meet the needs of all students.
What messages am I hearing every day at #ILA15?
Ask students what they need
Data is more than a number
What treasures remained from Saturday’s sessions at #ILA15?
1. The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing
Ruth Culham, Kate Messner, and Lester Laminack
Mentor texts in the form of fiction and nonfiction picture books provide teachers with a powerful teaching strategy to help students of all ages learn to write. Good models come in many forms: picture books, chapter books and everyday texts that allow students to study craft techniques in order to create their own strong writing using the writing process.
Ruth Culham shared some of her beliefs about mentor texts that are elaborated in Writing Thief. She read Bully to us as we focused on the reader’s view and then had us “re-read” paying attention to the author’s craft and studying the writing as an author.
She also shared a video from the author about the book. Her text includes Author Insights from: Lester Laminack, Lola Schaefer, Nicola Davies, Toni Buzzeo, Ralph Fletcher, David Harrison, and Lisa Yee.
Kate Messner shared her writing mentors: Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. They taught her how to read like a writer and how to find mentors on her own bookshelf when there were not live mentor authors in her hometown. Kate also shared that her own daughter knows how to find mentors. Merely by asking, “How are you doing that?” she found her own hula-hoop mentor. We should use that question with students and encourage students to query authors using that question to grow their own knowledge of the skills and strategies that authors use. Kate reminded us that mentor texts are found in the books that we love, so students who are readers will also have the background necessary to be a writer!
Lester Laminack wants Read Alouds to be FUN for students. He does not want every Read Aloud to be an “interactive read aloud” and even said that you can only “unwrap” the gift of a book once – let kids get lost in the story the first time. Lester is fun, funny and literally pulls no punches. My favorite quote was that “Read Alouds should be like drug dealers: deliver a little somethin’ somethin’ today, then come back tomorrow and deliver a little more somethin’ somethin’ on a schedule.” Showing up, delivering, creating a deep need and continuing to meet that need.
Read Alouds feeding the soul.
Read Alouds helping students grow.
Read Alouds for fun.
Take Away: Mentors are all around us: books, authors, teachers, and yes, even students! Choose and use wisely!
2. In Defense of Read-Aloud
Steven Layne literally had to stop his presentation to wipe the tears, from laughter, from his own eyes. Steven provided an overview of some of the instructional highlights from his book. Chapter one, In Defense of Read Alouds, is basically an overview of Why Read Alouds are needed. This is one of two slides listing benefits.
Launching a book requires intentional planning. Teachers carry an invisible backpack that includes their schema, but care needs to be included in developing schema with students. An example that Layne used was The Giver which would need two and a half 40 minute class periods to launch WELL! It’s a complex text.
The shared letters were my favorites, letters and responses to:
Witless in Walla Walla
Addled in Anchorage
Troubled in Telluride
Crazy in Calabasa
And if you are relatively new to Read Alouds, you may want to check out chapter 4, “The Art of Reading Aloud”.
Take Away: All students deserve carefully planned Read Alouds that introduce them to all genres of texts in order to find personally loved texts.
3. Accountability, Agency, and Increased Achievement in Independent Reading
Hundreds of teachers attending a session at this hour of the day on the first full day of the conference? REALLY?
Yes, it’s true!
Jennifer Serravallo masterfully led us through some possibilities for instruction and conferring to meet student self-chosen goals. With accomplishment of these goals, students will also increase their motivation to read and their student reading growth.
How much time is spent on reading?
Do classrooms have books?
Great questions that can jump start student reading!
I love this look at Hattie’s rating scale. It’s a great visual to remind us of the importance of that .40 effect size lynch pin (the light blue area). Kids need to read a ton but with goals and feedback they will be successful. Jennifer referenced some of the visuals from her book.
As with her previous texts, Conferring with Readers, Teaching Reading in Small Groups, The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook K-2 or 3-5, I knew this was a great book but I have an even greater appreciation now that I understand the depth of care and attention given to each of the strategies.
I also believe that we need to “Teach strategies based on student needs – not just off of Pinterest randomly”. And the fact that we need to use common language in our buildings that matches the assessment language was clearly explained with “not slip and slide that may have come from Pinterest.” We must work on consistency of language in our classrooms for STUDENT success, not just because “I like this idea that I found somewhere”! Student learning is at stake!
Prompts fit these basic five categories. Do you know the differences?
- sentence starter
When and why would you vary your use of these five types of prompts?
This is a great text that is going to be so helpful for teachers!!!
Take Aways: The goal of strategies is to learn the skill so well that the reader uses the strategy automatically on a regular basis! Students must be a regular part of goal setting!
Many sessions still remain at #ILA15. Did you attend any of these sessions?