#CCIRA19 Day 1 Theme:
Are you a reader and writer?
If yes, you won’t necessarily have ALL the answers but you will be on your way.
If no, you may end up down rabbit holes, sucked into less productive work, and may feel like you are spinning your wheels! It may be more difficult to help readers and writers set goals leading to ultimate independence and transfer of learning.
What a great learning day that began before sunrise and ended well after sunset for many Denver folks who had no school today due to the weather! (a common problem in many locations across this wintry country)
Why attend CCIRA? Super Positives about CCIRA include: sessions you can choose in advance, the time between sessions to network and the folks you meet along the way! Friendly, courteous, and helpful folks EVERYWHERE! What great learning combinations!
Teachers must be knowledgeable practitioners. The more they know, the more learning they may crave in what ends up being a true life circle story.
To begin with the beginning . . .
Laughter and fun filled the hall as Danny shared stories to illustrate his points. We chanted, sang and added actions to our singing! “Teachers are valued!” Teachers need all the tricks at their disposal to teach all students to read. To read confidently. To read joyfully. To read at school and at home.
First session: Debbie Miller
Are Our Workshops More Important Than the Children in Them?
The session began with a read aloud and participant discussion. Again, what fun and a chance to get to know your neighbors. I was fortunate to be sitting by Kristin Ziemke and had a great time sharing some personal views on the need to consider some outdated practices that just need to end.
Debbie shared some planning structures from her new book that also emphasize P. David Pearson’s belief that the Gradual Release of Responsibility does NOT require a straight linear progression. We’ve heard that from Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey. It’s not a surprise, and yet some folks hang onto the predictable nature of that structure sequence that moves from mini-lesson to work time with individual conferring and ends with a share. The “Lift Off” was shown in this previous #ILA18 post before her book was available as an example of a discovery or inquiry session. (Of course, not an every day session!)
I’m fascinated by this planning guide that Debbie shared that was used with a Chris Van Allsburg author study. The Focus? Student-Centered Planning. Planning that begins with the students. Beginning with the end in mind! YES! More joy. More knowledge needed by teachers in order to think about how best to organize these sequences for Teaching and Learning that sticks for students and allows students to grow confidently toward independent reading, writing and responding.
Fun, joy, learning, reading, writing, and teacher knowledge.
Second Session: Kate Roberts
A Novel Approach
The need for this book / session stemmed from a paradox.
Students need individualized instruction.
Students need strategies & experience dealing with complex text they did not choose.”
Whole Class Novels are Good
- They build community.
- They push kids to work hard.
- They introduce commonly read texts.
Independent Reading is Good
- It builds choice, engagement, and volume.
- It encourages independence.
- It creates opportunities for growth.
What do your students need? Is it one or the other or is it a combination of the best of both? Use your data (common sense data that can serve as pre, mid, and post test) to determine how to best meet the needs of your students. How do you help them all continue to grow as literate individuals?
Kate proposed a great “boxes and bullets” argument for a combination that includes: Whole-class novel, book clubs, independent reading and a final project to integrate writing. What a win/win for knowledgeable thinking teachers! And what a way to build toward student independence if purposefully teaching skills in whole-class novels that students continue to apply with less teacher guidance in book clubs and independent reading – providing additional practice in a planful long term gradual release that builds to student independence and transfer across their reading lives.
Lunch with Donalyn Miller
How to grow readers and writers? Be readers and writers . . . The examples from students and her grandchildren illustrated the difference among readers. We need to HEAR our students and be responsive!
Session 3: Kelly Williams
It’s Showtime! The Why and How of Exhibiting Student Work
Basic premises included:
What an hour! The Hierarchy of Audience makes so much sense. A narrow focus on working for a teacher as a sole audience is at the bottom of this triangle and rightly so. Motivation and Engagement increase with real purpose and audience.This work connected strongly to Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan’s discussion of student curation in What Are You Grouping For? We drafted 6 Word Stories, created representations, and curated them in small groups within 20 minutes. What a hands-on experience that created additional conversation in the convention halls as folks viewed our work with markers, paper, cardboard, yarn and clothespins. Simple tools with a focus on learning!
Session 4: Patty McGee
Feedback that Moves Writers Forward
One of my thought partners for this session was Leslie Blauman who you will be hearing more about after tomorrow’s sessions. Setting learning intentions right at the start of the session allowed me to actually focus on my own learning goal (and less on the fact that I had been awake since 4 am due to the old “too excited to sleep”)!
The definition of feedback that we were using is this.
Patty layered in this research to allow us to consider the implications.
“…no statistical difference between the group given written feedback and no feedback.” (Think about that and your own writing history!)
Definitely a quote worth revisiting. I love the concept of feedback with a “mentory” feeling as evidenced by my deliberate repetition in this tweet.
“MENTORY”: “in this together, side by side, not doing the work for students, providing a possible strategy so students become better writers. Mentoring – finding that sweet spot of feedback that is meaningful and helps kids grow; not mean. With a goal of long term growth, joyful writers (teachers and students) lift the rock and see the critters underneath.”
One huge take away: Removing the “but” from feedback and replacing it with “because”
“Because you have written a lot,
You are ready for some structure… One strategy . . .”
Feedback is complicated. It involves knowing end goals, keeping the research above in mind and building a “mentory” role in conferencing with a long term goal of student independence and transfer of the skills and strategies of writing!
What a day! And tomorrow is equally packed!
Closing Thoughts on Thursday sessions:
I value reading (I’ve read these books.)
I value hearing the oral WHY from the author!
I value the opportunity to revisit the learning in order to grow my knowledge and my thinking!
I value the opportunity to build connections between what I think I heard and what I think I know!
What do YOU value?
#CCIRA19 . . . a great place to learn!
Labor Day weekend has come and gone. All schools are in session. Some have been for a week or so. Others have over a month in. It’s that time of transitions. No more “wearing white”. Getting out the college football colors and fall clothes. Trying to prep fo hot weather in un-airconditioned buildings.
I remember kindergarten in a country school. It was less than four miles from our house. Easy access. A true neighborhood school. The old “be careful what you wish for” as it was a small building and classes were combined. I loved that I was allowed to read. I hated that we wasted our time on silly worksheets and coloring pages and so much Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff. Their lives didn’t match our rural farm lives.
And then first grade was in town. In an addition to the school. First grade with other first grade classes. First grade where I could only read books off the first grade shelf in the library. First grade where I read all the books by the end of the first quarter. First grade where my teacher tore up my page with a red sun, a purple sky and green flowers. That wasn’t her picture. First grade where it didn’t matter what I needed or wanted to learn. First grade where I was going to conform. First grade where I was sick. A lot. first grade where I can still remember the number of tiles on the bathroom walls, the floor, and even the ceiling.
First grade when I hated school.
Hated the Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff stories that I already read the year before. They were awful the first time. They were an even bigger waste of time the second time around. I didn’t excel at coloring inside the lines. I wanted the task to be done. I wanted to be able to read, write and draw. Creativity was not prized. My pictures never made the wall. I know exactly how Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik felt when her teacher gave her an F for her free verse poem and this poem by Robert Gianni was praised.
“I have a dog whose name is Spot.He likes to eat and drink a lot.When I put water in his dish,He laps it up just like a fish.” *(Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry)
Which school better met my needs?
Access and Equity matter. All students need access to quality education. Equity is huge. The books that I was mining this holiday weekend are here. There are many others I could have consulted, but these were at the top of my stack!
What’s our goal?
If it truly is to “grow readers and writers” – students who want to read, who do read, and who love to read – kids need access to books. That’s an equity issue whether the school doesn’t even have books – due to their zip code! Or because the students have a new teacher and of course there is NO classroom library set up magically waiting for new teachers!
And then time to read glorious books. Self-selected books. Books that match their interests! Books that make sense to them!
Literacy for ALL . . . What does that mean?
Communicating as a priority. Classrooms not existing as rooms of silence!
Books that reflect the composition of the classroom and the communities around the world. No more “Boy Books” or “Girl Books”! Has you thinking been challenged?
A focus on learning NOT assessing.
The real tangible goal. Are ALL students progressing? Are all students learning self-assessment? Are students developing their own goals and agency? Are students transferring their literacy work to other content areas? What are your students telling you? Do they love learning? Are they curious?
Here are a few of the quotes I’m still holding onto . . .
How did you grow your knowledge and skills this summer?
What are you still wondering about?
What questions do your need answered?
What quotes would you add?
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.