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
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!
Disclaimer: The ideas in this blog are not novel. They are not original. They are appropriately “sourced” where credit can be applied. What is new / different / novel is perhaps the thinking that connects the ideas. Research-based.ideas! Student-centered.ideas! Many folks KNOW this. But do the teaching practices match the teacher beliefs?
Students need to read more in order to be better readers. Volume matters. (Richard Allington)
How can students read more?
A. Donalyn Miller – 40 book challenge
B. Book logs that keep track of books read. Compare lists over time.
C. Book lists kept by students that rate the books (scale of 1-5) and list genre.
D. Independent reading during class time followed up with time to talk about what was read.
Which ones of these have you tried and abandoned?
Did they work for awhile but then student interest seemed to wane and it seemed like students were “cheating” and recording books that they really hadn’t read? Or perhaps books that students began to read but when the going got tough, the books were abandoned?
Did you REALLY understand the goal / purpose behind that undertaking? Did you read the book behind the practice pushed into the classroom? Participate in a book study? Or did you find the pages on Pinterest or TPT and “try it” as a pilot with a high degree of skepticism.
If you went to the link above for Donalyn Miller’s 40 book challenge and read and even digested that post, you read these two paragraphs.
“The 40 Book Challenge isn’t an assignment you can simply add to outdated, ineffective teaching practices. The Book Challenge rests on the foundation of a classroom reading community built on research-based practices for engaging children with reading. Assigning a 40 Book Challenge as a way to generate grades or push children into reading in order to compete with their classmates corrupts everything I have written and said about reading. The 40 Book Challenge is meant to expand students’ reading lives, not limit or define it.
The 40 Book Challenge is a personal challenge for each student, not a contest or competition between students or classes. In every competition or contest there are winners and losers. Why would we communicate to our students that they are reading losers? For some students, reading 40 books is an impossible leap from where they start as readers, and for others, it’s not a challenge at all.”
This is just a small piece of Donalyn’s 40 book challenge. Reading one blog, one tweet, or attending one hour long session at a conference is not enough for deep learning. But it is enough to whet your appetite. Your appetite for life-long learning as well as your yearning for a solution that makes sense to you, your students, and your community will grow. Your appetite may lead to a mini action research cycle as you implement a research-based strategy in your classroom.
A week ago a friend of mine asked on Twitter: “Does anyone have a genre chart they can share to encourage strong readers’ growth?” And Dayna had several results immediately.
Steve shared this:
and Julieanne shared this:
I immediately drooled over both and wondered about combining them and adding
- Quarter 1 Goal ________________
- Quarter 2 Goal ________________
- Quarter 3 Goal ________________
- Quarter 4 Goal ________________
and then Steve added that his students also do this quarterly in google slides:
Why is this important?
Dayna Wells (@daywells) a principal in California asked the question. Two 5th grade teachers replied. Steve Peterson (@inside the dog) from Iowa and Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) from California. Teachers collaborating online to share their practices. (And of course commercial #107 for WHY you really should have a professional Twitter account! ) Because if you followed them on Twitter, you would also know that they all three blog as well and you would have access to additional resources about / from each of them! (Commercial #108 for Twitter)
Relevance? What do you measure?
Matt Renwick (@ReadByExample), a public school administrator in Wisconsin, believes that “volume” is not enough for reading goals in his January 1, 2017 post “I didn’t meet my reading goal (and is that okay?)”. Goodreads said, “Better luck in 2017.” But his reading was rich. And look at all the qualities that Goodreads did include in their report as compiled by Kendra Grant:
If you go back to answer choices A, B, C, and D above, how do those match up with the goodreads list. I think 5 of the 7 data points are easily covered. Do you NEED 5 data points? Maybe. Maybe not. Do you need ALL 7 data points? Maybe. Maybe not. It all depends upon the ultimate goal of your independent reading.
Who our students are?
Who our students might become as readers?
What’s the ultimate goal?
Is the purpose for a reading goal . . . to hold a student accountable for what they read? Or provide proof that they read and understood and (gasp) remembered a boatload of details to answer a quiz?
Or is the purpose of the reading goal to provide an opportunity to NURTURE a love for reading? And to encourage / nudge EVERY student to become an avid reader? See “Let’s Not Kill the Love of Reading” by Dr. Tony Sinanis (@TonySinanis).
Is the purpose to make sure that the teacher is helping all students to “BECOME a reader” (Thank you, Dr. Mary Howard – @DrMaryHoward) ?
What data do you need?
The data needs to match your ultimate goal AND the needs of the students. Are you thinking, “OK, I can keep doing what I have been doing?”
2. “Students do not need:
Programs / contests that provide extrinsic reward
Packets of activities”
Why are they missing?
Section 2 of the table of contents is included so you can see the practices that support increased student achievement.
“SECTION 2: WHY NOT? WHAT WORKS?
Why Independent Reading Matters and the Best Practices to Support It, Barbara Moss
- Does Independent Reading Influence Student Achievement?
- If We Know Independent Reading Is Effective, Why Don’t We Do It?
- A New Reason for Independent Reading: The Common Core State Standards
- What Practices Are Critical for Effective Independent Reading?
- Why Independent Reading Matters Most for Striving Readers and English Learners
- The Last Word: An Overview of Independent Reading Implementation by Teachers
Need more evidence? Check out “Three Keys to Creating Successful Reading Experiences” by Pernille Ripp (1/4/2017) and “Revisiting My One Classroom Non-Negotiable” by Christina Nosek.
YOU MUST . . .
- stop wasting students’ time,
- stop assigning “activities” in the name of accountability,
- make sure that anything you
askrequire students to do is that which YOU are willing to do as well in your own independent reading life.
DO YOU . . .
- keep a log?
- set goals?
- reflect on your goals?
- meet your goals?
- discuss how you feel about your reading?
- review the text complexity of your own reading?
Do your personal practices match your instructional practices?
You MUST utilize some “lens” or filter to sort out resources.
These are NOT all equal. A single number is NOT a goal!
How does your goal match your purpose? What are you REALLY measuring?
Process Goal for this Post:
Combine tweets; google docs, drawings, and slides; blog posts, books and Voxer conversations for a blog post with at least eight links for the reader to peruse and consider as they reflect upon whether their current teaching practices SUPPORT increased student reading! (And thanks to Dayna, Steve, Julieanne, Mary, Christina, Matt, Tony, Donalyn, Debbie and Barbara for the wonderful way that their work supports each other!)
Kylene Beers facebook post about lifetime readers!
Are you a writer?
How do you know?
Process: I began with Hamlet and “To Be or Not To Be”. I was thinking that it could easily be re-written as “To Write or Not To Write” but then I literally ran out of steam. Scratch that idea! I remembered when Julieanne (@jarhartz) wrote about being a writer here and then I searched my own posts and found a slice from last year that also answered the same question here. But I wanted a clean, crisp “pattern” so I started writing with a bit of Seuss or Yoda in my brain. I easily drafted 15 statements and then went back to add a title. Then I began revising in the form of “re-ordering” the sentences. I was satisfied with the content, but I wasn’t happy with the format. That led me to breaking the sentences into two lines with the second part indented and then creating stanzas. Then I had to find pictures for the top of the post, tag, proof and then publish!
Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!
How embarrassing! I lost my post and it was NOT one that I had composed and saved anywhere but in wordpress. Hmmm. . . thoughts for future work.
That post was based on Erin Baker’s “Since Last March” found here.
Since Last March
Since last March, I’ve been to Kentucky.
Kentucky for the birth of my grandson,
Kentucky for many holidays, 4th of July, Labor Day & Christmas,
Kentucky for the crawling, first tooth, and first steps (some via Skype).
Since March, my “baby” turned twenty five.
Twenty-five and a first time dad,
Twenty-five and an expert with bottles and burping,
Twenty-five and changing those diapers.
Since last March, I’ve said good-bye.
Good-bye to doubts and questions,
Good-bye to agreeing to impossible tasks,
Good-bye to questionable practices,
Good-bye to activities that waste precious time better spent on reading and writing!
Since last March, I’ve said hello.
hello to friends who I’ve met face to face,
hello to slicers and bloggers from #tcrwp, #ila15, #ncte15, #g2great ,
hello to books, read with friends and with kids!
It’s time to write!
I’m a newbie.
Still figuring this out . . .
This “grandma” thing . . .
It’s the little things,
With the so many possibilities!
Our list of recent celebrations:
5 months old
rolling over independently
reading (and eating books)
Mama’s red hair
that baby smell
those gorgeous red cheeks
the chunky, squishy muscles
the first trip to a pumpkin patch
the first tooth!
Although the miles separate us, I have pictures galore that celebrate every bit of cuteness and every single accomplishment!
How and what do we celebrate in our classrooms?
Our favorite authors?
A read aloud by the author? (with Julieanne)
A new accomplishment?
Drafting a new piece?
Reflecting on our work?
Considering our small group work? (Kari’s Small groups: So much more than a level and a kidney table)
Tara’s slicing . . . Slice of Life year round with our students?
focused learning . . .Keep it Simple, Get it Right from Kate and Maggie’s “Indent”
the magic and the newness . . . The Back to School Honeymoon is Waning from Shana
and a true treasure from Vicki . . . celebrating The Beliefs Behind the Shoulds
There are many, many, many wonderful blog posts but each of the five above included celebrations of learning and teaching and the oh, so right work!
Have you stopped to celebrate lately?
Are you celebrating often?
How would we know?
And more importantly, what WILL you celebrate next?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Tuesday night at 7:30 pm (EDT), you may want to check out the twitter chat Writing About Reading (#WabtR).
For the past week about 20 of “us” have been writing about reading. The text: A Handful of Stars but you can substitute any title and NO, you don’t have to have read the book to join the chat!
What: On-line Book Club
Organizer: Necessary! Ours wa Julieanne Harmatz!
Process: Google form to solicit members
Agreement: Read 4 chapters each day, respond to the chapters on google docs for each set of chapters, return to the documents to reread and respond to fellow readers, and participate in a chat at the end.
As a reader, I learned:
- That I hated to stop reading to jot notes or record ideas.
- That stopping to “record” meant that I had to reread to re-ground myself in the text.
- That stopping at pre-set chapter ends was not comfortable when it was in the middle of story action/conflict (the pageant).
- That I had many questions about how students responded to these same tasks/requests.
- That it was absolutely imperative that I have CHOICE in my purpose for reading.
- That when I “got behind” in reading and writing, I panicked and felt like I had let the entire group down.
- That I could not read the other comments until I had posted my own ideas.
- We all had many, many different tools that we used to process our thinking while reading.
- That I REALLY hated to stop reading to jot notes or record ideas and even resorted to recording voice messages so that I could continue to read.
- That I wondered about WHERE and WHEN I would do this work (Writing about Reading) out in the real world (Is it a transferable skill?)
- That rereading for a purpose was fun and something that I often do in real life.
As a writer, I learned:
- That I had to reread in order to write about the story, the characters, golden quotes or my thinking about reading,
- That I had to redraft my thoughts and that also required thinking time.
- That it was easy to comment on other’s thoughts, but I felt extremely vulnerable when sharing my own thoughts.
- That it was VERY, VERY, VERY easy to QUIT writing!
- That even adults respond differently to reading: Margaret – a poem below; Julieanne – a game “Capture the Quote”; many-writing long about a jot, written notes, and drawings; and me – a digital write around based on an image.
What are the Implications for Teaching:
Honoring many different paths is important!
Collaboration / conversation among learners is critical!
Teachers MUST use the same methodology they ask students to use to truly understand how the process feels (even as an adult reader)!
Being a part of a community of Readers and Writers is necessary for the success of all!
Additional Thoughts / Questions?
What did I learn on Sunday in New York City?
Who Knew? This is a map that lists the neighborhoods in Manhattan (sorry, Brooklyn friends). They are literally also divided into “uptown”, “midtown”, and “downtown”, as well as “east side” and “west side”.
Not this “farm girl” from Iowa!
What sparked this interest in the “make-up” of Manhattan?
“We tell the stories of 97 Orchard Street. Built on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1863, this tenement apartment building was home to nearly 7000 working class immigrants.”
Do check out the linked museum title above because the “Education” tab includes lesson plans and primary sources that history aficionados will love. The whole premise of learning about the “lives” of these families from the historical documents of the times as well as the personal stories is spellbinding! Goosebumps!
The “sweatshop” tour was our goal and Janeen was an amazing tour guide. She enabled us to time travel back to the 1890s to imagine what life what like in a 3 room 352 square foot apartment occupied by the Levine family – no running water, no electricity, privies in the back yard, . . .
When I hear the word “sweatshop” this is an example of the image that comes to my mind.
But the original sweatshops, before electricity and the “factory” model, existed in the tenement apartments where individuals would run their own business, hire workers, and work incredibly long hours in their own living quarters. Here is a photo of a postcard purchased at the museum (no pictures allowed on the tour) of an example of a dress made in this apartment rented by the Rogarshevky family.
Sewing the dress pictured above (sold for $15 retail) netted this business $0.25. How many dresses would they need to complete during their six-day work week to make $10.00? The virtual tour is linked here so you can see and hear this information yourself.
What do you know about the history of immigrants in your own family?
Where did they come from?
Where did they live and work once they arrived in the US?
How did they have to adapt in order to survive?
What is the role of “oral histories”?
We ended our day at Isabella’s with a different bit of learning. Fellow slicers, TWT bloggers, #tcrwp attendees gathered for fun and fellowship.
Vicki Vinton, Sandy Brumbaum, Julianne Harmatz, Allison Jackson, and Tara Smith and myself. What a great beginning to our “TCRWP” learning week!
TCRWP Writing Institute begins today!
Where and what will you be learning this week?
I’m in NYC!
So excited to be back, with friends, literally from around the country, to learn, live and celebrate writing this week! (Can you guess my favorite punctuation?)
The Saturday before #TCRWP Writing Institute found several “slicers” meeting up at Bank Street Bookstore. Our goal, Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) and I, was to meet Sally Donnelly (@SallyDonnelly1), a fellow slicer up from the Washington, DC area. We had met Sally, oh so briefly at the March Saturday reunion, and were interested in longer conversations. We all found ourselves purchasing Cynthia Lord’s A Handful of Stars that had been highly recommended by fellow traveler Allison Jackson (@azajacks). (sidenote: What’s up with the @? Those are twitter names to follow. If you aren’t following these three, why not? Oh, not on Twitter; well, why not? You should be!)
Amazing book. A dog balancing a blueberry on his nose should “hook” you right into this book! Bank Street Bookstore was also the site of an amazng toddler read aloud with parents, toddlers and accompanying strollers filling the aisles. And that’s all I have to say about that topic because of another book that I purchased that I will be gifting soon. (Hint – book is by Jimmy Fallon; yes topic connected to the new addition to my family.)
We adjourned to the Silver Moon Bakery and cafe for some coffee and much, much, much conversation. Sally is returning to a third grade classroom after years as a reading specialist. We had advice about techonolgy, blogging, professional books (Good to Great: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters by Mary Howard) and fellow bloggers for additional advice.
My one little word is “Focus” so I am thinking about my own professional reading for this summer. This book and my all time favorite What Readers Really Do are my re-reads for this summer along with Colleen Cruz’s, The Unstoppable Writing Teacher, and Jennifer Serravello’s, The Reading Strategies Book, as my two new books. Only four – but rich, savory texts that will feed my soul and brain for the year to come.
What professional reading will you FOCUS on this summer?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.
During a weekend of exhilarating conversations and sessions at #NCTE14, someone mentioned the word “Framily” based on our personal and professional relationships.
So what does this really mean?
So what does this look like?
On Friday, it looked like this after our presentation . . .
and we also had to capture this sign that was posted saying our session was full!
The conversation continued and our “Framily” grew at Aloft . . .
Saturday evening our “Slicer Dinner” also provided more conversation and a larger group of “Framily”.
And the fun continued out on the beach at National Harbor.
Do you know the story of this art work?
How many “Slicers” can you name in these pictures?
How did your “Framily” grow as a result of #NCTE14?
All good things must end. But must they really?
What if we added another day to NCTE?
What if we wrote another chapter?
What was the story of NCTE14?
Everyone at NCTE14 was the author of their own story: where they came from, why they came, what they wanted to learn, and what they learned. Each person was able to write his/her own story to share (or not) upon return to classrooms, colleges, and family across the country.
What story will I share?
Members of NCTE are dedicated teachers who spent an entire weekend soaking up knowledge from their peers. They laughed (a la Lester Laminack), they cried (Marian Wright Edelman) and rejoiced as stories boldly claimed learning paths for the children of this great nation. Our students are our hope and our future. We must nurture them and encourage them ALL to grow.
A theme of inquiry filled the hearts and souls of participants. Everyone was seeking knowledge and affirmation and yet also questioning that we are on the path of learning – that right path for our students.
Our panel presentation
Vicki Vinton asked what if teachers explored their curiosity?
I (Fran) asked what if Know and Wonder charts were used with text to explore understanding (and not text dependent interrogations)?
Julieanne asked what if students were asked how read alouds helped them in their independent reading?
Steve asked what if students search for theme and bigger ideas in informational texts?
Mary Lee asked what if students blogged to increase community?
Have you asked “What If?” lately?
How are you embracing your curiosity?