#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fortunate to be sitting by Kristin Ziemke and had a great time sharing some personal views on the need to consider some outdated practices that just need to end.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!
Day 3 Countdown . . .
Working with Jeff Anderson’s Patterns of Power this week in Marie Mounteer’s section has been a special treat in a section where our focus has been on Interactive Writing,
The steps for a lesson.
When to use.
Work with Conventions. Spelling. Capitalization.
Work with Grammar.
Beginning with the standards.
Using student writing to determine needs.
Formative assessment at its best.
Analyzing student writing to plan for one small group of three students with different needs.
Lifting the level of work for all.
It all began with this:
Everything you will need for planning is in Jeff Anderson’s book. Sample sentences from fabulous literature that you will be reading to your students. The only exception would be an actual sentence from the reading students are doing in your classroom.
Don’t consult other sources like TpT!
Use the research-based work from Jeff Anderson! (never a rip off) as you work and plan with a partner – Priceless!
Simone Fraser and Toolkits
What do you include?
- Mentor Texts
- Checklists from Writing Pathways
- Progressions from Writing Pathways
- Tools to do big work (micro-progressions! Also see Kate and Maggie and DIY Literacy – link)
- Anchor Chart – Anchor Charts for the whole unit as well as charts from previous years
How do you organize?
So many possibilities. By units or within bends.
“I organize by the stages of the writing process.”
Working collaboratively to create tools and share . . .
Do.not.ever.pass.on.an.opportunity.to.hear.Georgia.Heard. What an inspiring keynote!!!
Her writerly life will inspire you as she details her process and shares the final product.
Her student examples will bring you to tears.
Gaspar’s Heart Map with a single wavy line down the middle to represent the line at the Mexican border. He wrote a poem off of that map about his Mexican heart and American heart with alternating lines written in English and Spanish. Awe-inspiring.
“Heart maps are a powerful tool for writers and writing. No one has ever said, ‘I have heart map block.’ Many students have said (prior to heart mapping), ‘I don’t know what to write about.’ Small moments can change us. My writing teacher who wrote ‘add more details’ was really saying, ‘pay attention and gather ideas for your writing.'”
What are you learning this week?
How are you filling and fueling your brain?
How are you filling and fueling your writing heart?
This picture of a slide from Peter Johnston’s keynote on Saturday at #CCIRA18 has had
118 likes, and
some pushback . . .
John Guthrie’s research here
Pernille Ripp also spoke to this issue at #CCIRA18
Kate Roberts book will be out this month.
Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle’s book will be out in April. I’m not finding the preview of the cover now, but it has “180 Days” in the title and at #NCTE17, they shared their structure that includes one whole class book per semester.
What is a healthy reading diet? How would one build a “Healthier Reading Diet”?
Check out Travis Crowder’s work with Donalyn Miller’s resources here.
What is the end goal?
Students who can read?
Students who do read?
Students who have choice and voice in what they read?
Or students who pass a test and never pick up a book again?
What books should students read?
How many books should the whole class read together each year?
Does this speak to student engagement?
Does this speak to excellence in literacy?
Does this speak to equity?
What is your interpretation?
What are your expectations?
My #OLW for 2018 is “curious” and being curious led me to #CCIRA18: LIteracy Renaissance: Invention, Intention, and Close Study in Colorado. The conference keynoters, speakers, and format all made me curious about the learning opportunities. Check out the entire #CCIRA slide show on their information page! And then the registration for sessions sealed the deal – preregistration for sessions! My only regret was that I had waited and some sessions were already closed. Slides 2 and 3 were so convincing and looked just as incredible on the big screens yesterday in Evergreen Hall!
So small wonder that the ideas behind the theme were brilliantly repeated in session after session on opening day with a balmy 61 degrees outside!
Curious and Study
Ralph Fletcher talked of studying his grandson playing in order to determine the “play” elements that should also be included in writing.
Maggie Beattie Roberts talked about being curious and her study with Kristen Warren of students’ Independent Reading Journeys to:
- Help adolescents discover the rhythm of thinking . . .
- Help adolescents discover the nuances . . .
- Help adolescents live comfortably in the gray.
Jeff Anderson talked of being curious and studying punctuation and grammar in a way that “sticks” for students and also is not black and white.
Kile Clabaugh and Keith Patterson in their “Primary Sources” work talked of using the Library of Congress format of “I see, I think, I wonder”.
At lunch, Kate and Maggie both shared some of their thinking behind DIY Literacy which grew from being curious about WHY students had problems with memory, rigor and differentiation. And then Kate created a tool in front of us explaining, giving tips and embracing mediocrity.
Cris Tovani talked of student curiosity driving the compelling questions that students could study to move them from disengaged to empowered.
Troy Hicks talked of curiosity as we studied a picture and a “I see, I think, I wonder” viewing format.
Other Words I heard repeated and demonstrated throughout the day:
and so much respect for Mentors and the Research/Authors Behind their Work!
so easy to feel welcomed,
so easy to navigate,
so easy to learn.
a class act,
marvelous learning, and
Thank YOU, CCIRA18!
And off to Day 2!!!
Which of my 131 posts during 2016 were most read?
In reverse order (10 to 1) with a few notes:
What happens when a teacher “edits” with red ink?
Five books in February that were on my “MUST READ” list from authors: Stacey Shubitz, Kate and Maggie Roberts, Kim Yaris and Jan Burkins, Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen, and Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie.
Characteristics of professional development were highlighted for four different “sessions” attended within a two-week time frame. Are these important for you?
- Learning Collaboratively with Others?
- Available 24/7 to Revisit?
- Passionate and Inspiring?
Different ways to share – a symphony and a museum share from Celena Larkey, why students need to write with a pen from Colleen Cruz, letting students lead with mentor texts with Mary Ehrenworth, and “DON”T KILL THE BOOK” with Donald Graves keynote.
The value of READING mini-lessons with Amanda Hartman, the value of “practice, practice, practice with Kathleen Tolan, What readers need in order to become AVID readers with Mary Ehrenworth, and Matt de La Pena’s keynote! “Teachers and authors don’t often immediately see the results of their work. Patience . . . you will!”
Have you read this book? You should have annotated and dog-eared it by now! This post celebrates the twitter chats (with links to the storified archives) as well as an inside look into many of the activities Kim and Jan developed in their study guide. How do you know you have “learned” something? How do you expect students to share their learning? So many DIFFERENT ways are shared here!
Learning about the many ways of shared reading with Amanda Hartman, inquiry for developing fluency with Kathleen Tolan, close reading with Kate Roberts and the keynote session with Donalyn Miller. What a fabulous learning day!
A Lucy Calkins’ keynote on developing reading community, sessions with Amanda Hartman on “one-focused teaching point” and Kathleen Tolan – a mind-blowing small group read aloud. Never.thought.of.a.read.aloud.for.a.small.group. And so obviously why I need to continue to learn. Such a privilege to have been a part of Kathleen’s June Institute.
Have you read this book? You can create your own tools after reading this book. Better yet . . . study it with a friend and then work together on creating tools. Tip: Best part of this blog post is the “summary tool” that Kate created and the links to other pages about this session (Tara, Sally and NCTE).
This post includes quotes from Lucy Calkins (opening keynote), revision across the day with Celena Larkey, the power of stories with Colleen Cruz and planning for two or three days of small group sessions at a time from Amanda Hartman. What an amazing first day of Learning for the 2016 #TCRWP Writing Institute!
Data is so interesting. I was not surprised at the popularity of the #TCRWP posts as the June learning has been quite high on the list in previous years. Some of those posts continue to be “all-time” highs as well. I was surprised that the top 10 was split evenly between #SOL posts and #TCRWP posts and absolutely delighted to see that three of the posts where Kathleen Tolan really stretched my brain were in the top 10. I learned so much from Kathleen this past summer and YET had so much more that I needed to learn. It’s time to practice, practice, practice. I do write more “slices” than any other “type” of posts so I thank my slicer readers for boosting those stats! It was great to reread those posts with a “reader’s eye” as I considered WHY those posts were read more often than others!
What are you reading? What are you writing?
How do you set goals and reflect on those goals?
And as always, dear readers . . .
And today’s theme across the day was:
Do what it takes to BUILD a community of Readers!
. . .
Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini-lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)
Spending more time studying shared reading is definitely NOW on my “To Do” list for this summer as we heard (and experienced) the benefits of shared reading where the teacher has a large text (big book, chart, smart board, doc camera) that the teacher and students read chorally. The three basic purposes that we explored for shared reading were: introduce a new text, reread a text, or as a warm-up text. As with many reading components, the amount of time spent on shared reading can vary as long as students are ENGAGED! And to learn that the time could be just five minutes here or there makes the plan to include shared reading so much easier!
The benefits for students are many. The most obvious is that accuracy, fluency, and comprehension all improve with rereading so beginning approximations are celebrated. Students are rereading with their friends so they have built in support from the teacher and fellow students. And shared reading helps build that sense of a community of readers in the classroom.
We participated in demonstrations and we demonstrated. Just a few of the skills we considered:
- guess the covered word
- 1:1 correspondence
- slide the word
- the word begins with
- the word ends with
- rhyming word
- clues from the picture
- cross-checking print
- retelling – comprehension
- rereading for fluency – “let’s reread that together”
- what do you predict next
- look for patterns
- build vocabulary
One book we used was Brown Bear, Brown Bear. This shared reading could end with writing our own book.
______, _____ what do you see?
I see ______ looking at me.
If student names are on post its and the class practices reading this with their own names, they are also beginning to get in the repetitions needed for some sight words. Will some be memorizing? Of course! It’s so important that auditory memory gets involved, but the teacher can, by pointing to the words, have students match her pacing!
- Shared reading is a valuable use of readers’ time when students are reading!
- Interactions can include gestures and movements during shared reading.
- Text variety is important: listening centers, You tube video with text or Raz kids. You don’t have to wait until you have little copies of the text!
- Shared reading is a safe way for students to “join in” reading. Not everyone’s voice will be heard the first time but the goal is to encourage student voices to become the voice heard in shared reading.
- Shared reading is fun, exciting, and joyful. What a great way to sneak in a bit of content/holiday/fun that just doesn’t fit elsewhere!
Beyond Guided Reading: Expanding Your Repertoire of Small Group Work in Nonfiction (3-8)
I love that Kathleen starts a bit each day with the WHY we need to be doing this work. And it’s all about “Just DO it”! If instruction is responsive we need to have “way more conversations with our colleagues” in order to be more cohesive. “Responding to the needs of your students requires content knowledge and planning! (not showing off tools)”
For this reason, supervisors need to understand workshop and reading processes! When they are in classrooms, they need to KNOW what they are seeing. In repertoire teaching, the teachers also need to be specific. You would hear the teacher say something like “I expect to see some of you doing . . . . and some of you will be doing the work of the lesson.” Teachers need to be educating supervisors by setting up lessons for “repertoire” in connection and link. “What’s one old way? What’s one new way? What are the two things you will do as a student? (BRILLIANT!)
Two teaching methods that we worked with today were inquiry (fluency demo) and reminder – definitely coaching light! We have to continue to know how to help students meet their goals and build the habits of readers. Again this requires deep content knowledge.
- Organize your small group materials. Have extra copies of all tools out for students with a student as “Tool Monitor”.
- Study the progressions with colleagues. Develop the “cheat sheets” – four levels on a page to be cut apart.
- Reading notebooks have the evidence of work towards student goals. That can be an index in the back.
- Make sure that a student does the work during small group time. They have to be practicing and doing the work for it to transfer. And group time does mean LESS reading time!
- Celebrate what students CAN do! Focus on the CANS! Celebrate all the things the readers CAN DO! (They already know what they can’t do!)
Falling in Love with Close Reading in Nonfiction – Kate Roberts
Kate began with a bit of background about close reading. What it is. What it isn’t. How long we have been close reading – “since the monks were in caves with candle lights flickering trying to determine the meaning of the divine”.
Engaged . . .
If you need background on Falling In Love with Close Reading, do go to Kate or Chris’s blog here. It’s so NOT boring to do some close reading with Kate.
Lyrics for: “Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Justin Timberlake
Step 1. Listen to the song twice. What would my kids say the message or meaning is? Listen again and make a vertical list of all the words or phrases in the song that speak to you and go with your current message.
Step 2. Sync up your list with a partner and look for patterns. What words or phrases are the same? Use this list of evidence to find patterns (This is the HARD work of close reading.) Which words or phrases go together? Color code!
Step 3. Think some more – what is the message in this song?
Step 4. Transfer to written text. Practice with nonfiction text.
- We do “close read” the things we love – pay attention and even “hyper attention” to those things we love. Let’s build upon that awareness/attention/attraction.
- Close reading should be fun and joyful.
- Close reading with a song or poem is a wonderful entry point. It can’t be drudgery!
- Close reading is about beginning with the text for evidence. Don’t leap to interpretation or “guessing” what someone / test writer wants!
- An act of close reading is taking the rough draft idea to a more interesting idea for you!
Voice and Choice: Fostering Reading Ownership
This slide sums up much of what Donalyn Miller said to us. I have so many responses to Donalyn’s presentation: as a teacher, coach, mother, grandmother, and most of all, as a reader.
I listened to the heartbreak in her description of her daughter – an avid early reader – whose reading life diminished in middle school because “that’s just not so important here” to the joy of being at a Montana reading meeting when Sarah called her, “I just finished The Great Gatsby and I need to talk about it but Dad doesn’t remember it.”
What harm is being done to students in the name of inappropriate actions, beliefs and practices? Well-intentioned? Yes. Mis-guided? Yes.
To support you, go to Donalyn’s most popular posts.
or to hear about books – The Nerdy Book Club!
- To be better readers, kids need to read every day.
- Provide access to books that kids CAN and WANT to read.
- Access to books should not depend on teacher’s ability to fund his/her own library. “NO ONE asks the basketball coach to provide his own basketballs.”
- Books need to be mirror, windows, and doors to lead readers to connections.
- “We are in the hope business. Now more than ever there is a need for critical reading. For a better world, send more readers out in the world. It is never to be late to be a reader.”
How are you building communities of readers?
What actions support your beliefs?
What is your plan to build even stronger communities that love to read and choose to read?
And so it begins . . . this week I am attending the #TCRWP June Reading Institute and it’s off to an amazing start! This is what my brain felt like about 2 pm on Monday . . . with an hour and a half YET to go.
Just plug that CAT 6 cable directly into my brain and let me power on all the assistance I can. It’s going to be an exhilarating experience!
Lucy Calkins Keynote
Why do we read? How does reading benefit us as a community? How does the community benefit when we are readers? These questions weren’t posed by Lucy but so many questions ran through my mind today during her “Call to Action.”
“We come from 38 countries and 41 states . . . 1300 of you to learn about teaching reading . . . to learn about yourselves . . . to learn from each other . . . From places in the heart . . .To say no . . . To say yes”
TCRWP isn’t just an event. It’s not about attending for a week, soaking up knowledge, returning home, and regurgitating that knowledge to a welcome (or unwelcome) audience. TCRWP is about the community – face to face this week – on Facebook and Twitter in the future and even on blogs like this between institutes and Saturday reunions. If you take risks, are vulnerable this week, you will never be the same reader or teacher of reading in the future. You will grow. You will stretch. You will fly. Empathy is built day by day. We can and we must learn and understand by thinking ourselves into other’s places.
- How will you support your reading community?
- Maybe we need a new educational story. To reach, to dream, to grow strong . . What do you need in order to grow yourself?
- How can you grow your own version of #TCRWP? Your own nest?
- There’s important work to be done. It will be hard work. We as educators are asked to outgrow our own work. How will you outgrow your own work?
- It’s not just about naming the strategies, but inducting kids into the identities and values of READERS! How will you create a safe community for your readers?
Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)
Explanation and Demonstration.
“Powerful Whole Class Instruction for K-2 Students
- Clarity and Concise Language
- Engaging and Engaged
- Assess and Give Feedback
- Links and Skills (Strategies) to Independent and Partner/Club Work
- Opportunities for Oral Language Development “
Read and Study Mini-lesson individually. (1st grade, lesson 10 – Readers learn new words as they read.) Mini-lesson Practice with Partners. Mini-lesson planning table group. Mini-lesson Delivery. Debrief. Discuss Goals. Video of Mini-lesson. Discussion of how that was the same and how that was different. Mini-lesson Delivery. Discussion of Goals.
. . . and in all that “What were we studying in the Mini-lesson?”
Pacing – Vitality, Having students think alongside us, Student talk/listen/feedback
- Whole class teaching – staying focused is critical! Don’t let student responses lead you down the rabbit hole!
- Knowing the Teaching Point is critical. Forward, backward, what comes next? What came before? What it looks and sounds like when a reader REALLY does this.
- Focus on one Teaching Point. Not a “Never ending Teaching Point”
- Growing students means lots of practice. That lesson won’t have teacher demonstration but will instead have tons of student practice – PLAN.FOR.IT.
- Study lessons together. Discuss the work together. Build your own community to support your learning about the teaching of reading!
Beyond Guided Reading: Expanding Your Repertoire of Small Group Work in Nonfiction (3-8)
“Small group work is hard. Our goal this week is to open up our repertoire about different methodologies to deliver small group instruction.”
What is your vision of small group work? I’m most familiar with guided reading groups but also like literature circles and book club work.
What’s preventing small group work?
Management – What are the rest of the kids doing?
Fear – I’m not good at it! (not enough practice)
Results – It doesn’t really work for my kids. Or took 40 minutes to “drag that group through the lesson.” There’s no time to do that every day!
Today, I saw, heard and was a part of . . .
- Demonstration Small Group
- Read Aloud Small Group
We watched Kathleen in action and then “copycatted that exact same lesson” into our small groups with two different members as the teacher (not me, not me!)
Remember that brain on fire at the top of this blog . . . this was the first time I’d ever seen a Read Aloud Small Group. So new. So much to absorb and process. My mind was swirling. . . Where would this happen? When? With which students? Why?
I had to take a deep breath. And then another one. The engagement of the students in the Read Aloud Small Group was intense. No student could hide. Everyone had to do the work – in order to contribute to the learning. What a way to know exactly what kids are thinking and to “get them unstuck” and moving!
- On any given skill I could be the top, middle, or bottom. The goal of small groups is to grow and move ALL readers – not just the “struggling readers”.
- TC – Kathleen – said that they have been studying small group work for the last year and a half. It’s okay that I don’t know this!
- Increase your accountability for small groups with a public, visible schedule. That will push you as the teacher as well as the students.
- Teachers over plan small group work. The small group work should be a continuation of the mini-lesson. It’s not about going out and finding new, wonderful text to use. It’s about more practice – more student practice and way less “teacher talk”.
- Feedback is hard. It is about tone. It is about the length of the message. It’s also about giving and receiving feedback. So very complicated!
What new skill/strategy are you practicing?
Have you found / created a safe community to practice?
How does what you are learning from your own learning impact your planning for instruction for your students?
This is my story of learning.
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Writing makes us all more human!
My learning from the 90th TCRWP Saturday Reunion continues . . .
Session 2: DIY Toolkits for Reading Workshop Teachers!!! with Kate Roberts
Please check out what fellow slicers said about this session:
- Tara Smith’s blog post on #dothework is here.
- Sally Donnelly’s notes on this session are here. Scroll down to “Kate”.
- And my own notes – Session 3 here from NCTE 15 with Kate, Maggie and Mike
The book will be available in APRIL and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival!
So I’m deviating from the norm here as I’m not going to recapture all the information from the session (see the links above). Instead I want you to think about what I heard as the spirit and the intent behind this session, at the TCRWP’s 90th Saturday Reunion.
Kate began with laughter. The whole point of the book that she and Maggie have written is to “make our teaching go better! Make it easier! ‘I said it!’” After 17 years of teaching “every single year it feels like our jobs get harder!” “We want to raise the bar because our students will rise to the challenge.”
“It has never been easy to teach WELL!”
There is an art to being a good teacher and teaching well. Now more than ever, all students need good teachers. How do we do that? How do we teach the content and meet the individual needs of our students that seem to be a never ending task every year. You have to “Do The Work.” But you don’t have to do it alone!
The tools in Kate and Maggie’s book will help us. How?
“Tools extend our reach and help us tackle big problems!!!”
For students, the tools put the work in their hands. They provide prompts so students can and do “Do the work”.
But more importantly, for teachers these tools will also serve as “mentor tools” so that we can create the “just right” tools that our students need.
Will there be a tool for every student? Every situation?
Only if the book is 1,000+ pages long and has perpetual updating. But what this book will do is provide a framework and enough models that you will be comfortable with adapting and / or one day creating your own tools! Kate even suggested that groups of teachers should get together to create tools!
This was the second time that I watched Kate create a tool in less than 5 minutes for a topic drawn from the audience. Let me repeat. . . a topic from the audience . . . create a tool based on a request from the audience . . .The sheer recollection of that tool-making takes my breath away. Kate’s ability to have a conversation with a packed room of teachers and administrators and simultaneously create a tool – a demonstration notebook page – is awe-inspiring. Here’s what that page looked like as it was developed.
Step one: Draft text
Step 2: Add Title – Cloud like color around it
Step 3: One strategy
Step 4: Second strategy
Step 5: Post-its = space for student practice =Final page
The goal for the page:
- Match the purpose (Increase your confidence in being able to make your own page)
- Make in 4 minutes or less
- Be visible
- Kids should see text as quickly as possible (My interpretation – not after 30 minute lecture!)
How would a page like this help you, the teacher?
How would a page like this help your students?
The goal of this post was not to simply recount the workshop content. I gave the reader two links for additional information and the book that will be released in April. I really wanted to focus on the “WHY”! And then share just how quickly Kate created the demonstration notebook page. In order to meet those goals, I reread my notes, Tara’s post, Sally’s post and crossed off the “how – to” details for everything but those 4-5 minutes of creation. Truth: Today it took me longer to locate the pictures that I wanted to use than it did to write the blog post.
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 posts are DAILY!
New professional books in the field of literacy are headed your way this spring from the following authors: Stacey Shubitz; Jan Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris; Kate and Maggie Roberts, Dana Johanson and Sonja Cherry-Paul; and Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey and John Hattie. Get ready for some amazing learning!
Stacey, Two Writing Teachers, has this book out from Stenhouse this spring: Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts. Stacey blogged about her book here.
Jan and Kim’s book (available May 2nd from Stenhouse):
Kate and Maggie’s book (available April from Heinemann):
Dana and Sonja’s book also available in April from Heinemann :
And from Doug, Nancy and John (March, Corwin Press):
Coming later this year a new book from Vickie Vinton . . .
Waiting is so hard . . . sometimes waiting on “new friends” is harder than waiting on Christmas.
Where will you start?
What books are on your professional reading list?
Do you share “your reading plans” with your students?
(*Truth: I have some 2015 books to finish soon to clear the decks for spring break reading!)
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. Get ready to share your writerly life in one week with the March Slice of Life Challenge!
A common theme in these four sessions that I attended at #NCTE15 was the importance / necessity of involving students in their own learning. (It’s a connection that I could make about ALL of my #NCTE15 sessions in retrospect.)
1. Bring Students into the Conversation: Goal-Setting, Tool-Making that Supports Transfer
#TCRWP Staff Developers: Valerie Geschwind, Marjorie Martinelli, Ryan Scala, Amy Tondeau began this session with a “Turn and Talk”.
Think of a recent goal that you have achieved.
What were the conditions that helped you to reach that goal?
Motivation is a Result of . . .
- Social interaction
Tools that Support Self- Assessment
- Tools created from Mini-Lessons
Goal Setting with Students and Language that Honors Choice
And then Val introduced the cycle of learning. . . in student language.
- I am working towards a new goal.
- Sometimes it goes well and sometimes it is really hard!
- I need my tool to know each step.
- I am practicing my goal all the time: in every book or in every piece of writing.
- I use my tool as a check-in.
- I can use my goal in lots of places.
- I can teach other people what my goal is and help them do it.
I loved the idea of the three stages. I believe Brook Geller first introduced me to the belief at #TCRWP 2013 July Reading Institute that most “students are over taught and under practiced.” Many students seem to need more practice time with specific feedback and a lot less “teacher talk”. In this case a practitioner is someone who is actively engaged in the doing, who repeatedly exercises or performs an activity or skill to acquire, improve, or maintain proficiency, or who actually applies or uses an idea, a method, or a skill across many scenarios. In other words, our students are the practitioners!
Practice does not have to be boring. There are many methods (see picture below) that can be used to reach “expert” status but the key to this entire presentation was that students would be working on a goal of their own choice and moving from novice, to practitioner, to expert. What wonderful language to put into the mouths of students . . . How motivating and empowering!!!
Caution: These are not stages to be RACED through. They will take time to develop. Students in charge of their own assessment of these stages will definitely be students who know exactly what skills and strategies that they do have in their repertoire.
Be the Force! Help students
- Take on their own learning
- Take on their own change
- Cultivate a growth habit of mind
- See each other as experts
Tools: Checklists, rubrics, progressions, charts from mini-lessons. However, a new look . . . Bookmarks with 3 or 4 choices. Students marked the choice that they were using with a paperclip. Clearly visible!!!! AWESOME!
And then a final reminder .. . .
You’ve met your goal. Now what?
- Maintain your skills
- Teach others
- Get critical
- Set new goals
It was the first time for me to hear #TCRWP Staff Developers Valerie, Marjorie, Ryan, and Amy and I’m definitely looking forward to learning from them during future opportunities!!!
2. Responsible and Responsive Reading: Understanding How to Nurture Skill and Will
Kylene Beers, Teri Lesene, Donalyn Miller, Robert Probst
Of course this was a popular session so I was willing to sit on the floor (don’t tell the fire marshal) because I wanted to be able to be up front and see!
Donalyn’s presentation is here for you to review at your leisure. A very powerful activity included these questions: “What books and reading experiences would form your reading autobiography?” Donalyn explained that: What matters is WHY you chose the book? Insights from these responses lead to deep conversations with students. Convos for Ss
Teri Lesene’s presentation is here. This fact was startling to me! Obviously I need to read more than a book a week!
Kylene Beers and Bob Probst shared a great deal of information about nonfiction reading that has come from the process of writing their new book. This slide is something I want to remember. . . “when I have answers I need to question”.
And this one on the importance of reading.
3. Finding Their Way: Using Learning Tools to Push Rigor, Increase Independence and Encourage Learning in Your Classroom
TCRWP Staff Developers: Mike Ochs, Kate Roberts, Maggie Beattie Roberts
Maggie began this session with many great connections. “We haven’t seen teachers work harder than they currently are, YET sometimes students aren’t working so hard! ” Tools can help students buy into learning. Tools, in our daily life, extend our reach, meet our needs, help us tackle big problems and personally get better! Tools connect, access, build community . . . should change over time!
- Rigor and motivation
- Memory . . . Why don’t we remember things? (short and long term memory) “I’ve taught this 1000 times. I know they learned this!”
“A great coach never achieves greatness for himself or his team by working to make all his players alike.” Tomlinson
And then a typical problem from narrative writing. . . How to stretch out a frozen moment. Kate created a demo page in front of us and told us it was, “Messy!” Lean on a menu of ways, decide the color scheme, and title.
Another tool might be a Micro-Progression. It provides a clear description of behaviors that are expected so students will know where they stand. Middle level is good. Students don’t always have to think they should be at the top level of performance.
Bookmark – 5 or 6 most important things for students to work on. Let students create this for themselves. They can be different!
Mike – Framework for creating tools adapted from The Unstoppable Writing Teacher with a shout out to Colleen Cruz.
Do not plan to use a tool forever. Have a plan to remove the tools. Some tools we will always need (the hammer), some we want to go away/become automatic (steps to hammer a nail) Some tools become references, set aside until needed. Sometimes need an additional/alternate tool. Most writing tools are not designed to be used indefinitely.
Kate: “You find yourself getting as smart as the toolmakers as you use the ‘tools of others’ and you get better as teacher! You don’t want to teach without a sidekick. Your tools can be a sidekick.”
News : Spring 2016 a book from Kate and Maggie!!!! SO EXCITED!
4. Transforming Informational Writing: Merging Content and Craft
Seymour Simon, Kelly Boswell, Linda Hoyt
I think I know this boy!
Seymour’s part was actually titled: Celebrating the Wonder in Nonfiction Storytelling. He began with a discussion of what nonfiction really means. If nonfiction is really “not true” than fiction should be “not real”. There is something about the use of “non” that marginalizes the texts that are labeled nonfiction. After all, who takes anything with “non” in the title seriously?
Not much difference between teaching F and NF. . .
- Who am I?
- What am I?
- What about me?
Mystery, wonder, poem, the universe!
Seymour read aloud many great fiction and nonfiction pairings. One of my favorite pairings was:
Kelly: How Mentors and Modeling Elevate Informational Writing
Mentor texts plus teacher modeling equals quality student writing. When teaching writing, FOCUS! If the target lesson is about leaving spaces between words, only teach “leaving spaces between words.” Don’t teach everything in the world of writing.
Kelly’s example for the text went “something” like this as an example of what NOT to do! “Class, we are going to work on leaving spaces between words today as we write. What does a sentence begin with? Good! Yes, a capital letter. (writes The) Our next word is ‘butterfly’. Let’s clap the syllables in butterfly. How many? Yes, three. What sound does it begin with?”
If the focus is “leaving spaces between words” – that’s the teacher talk!
On mentors and models – read the book once to enjoy, then mine for craft. Use a favorite book over and over and don’t forget to use it for conventions! Here’s an example from Hank the Cowdog.
- Create a culture of Curiosity.
- Provide time for students to ask questions
- Immerse learners in fascinating informational topics and sources
- Focus on content and craft in the writing they see, hear, and produce
- “Float the learning on a sea of talk.” – James Britton
- Teach research strategies
- Teach visual literacy – First grade writing example
8. Writers Workshop Every Day
9. Make sure learners are writing all day long. Write to remember. Write to question. Write to think. Write to express yourself. Write to share your learning. In every subject area.
10. Write Using Elements from Real World Informational Texts (lists, emails, letters, notes, newsletters)
Involving Students Take Aways:
Students can set real goals and self-assess their progress toward their goals.
Students are motivated when they have control and real choices in their work.
Models and tools aid students in moving through a cycle of novice to practitioner to expert.
What are your thoughts about involving students at this point?