Tag Archives: Katie Wood Ray

#SOL16: Capital E = Essay


There’s a glow, a rainbow, a light spirit still leaking from my pores and so much fun and learning from #NCTE16 yet to be shared! My top two sessions from the three days are a toss-up.

Poetry?     Essay?      Which will change the world?

At #NCTE16 it was readily apparent that BOTH writing forms are capable of reporting on AND changing the world.  You can read more about poetry in last week’s  “NCTE16:  Incredible Learning” here.

A focus on writing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING will of course have the power to potentially change the world because the pen is mightier than the sword.  The constant focus on assessments and screeners that produce fast yet aliterate readers has created a new tension in schools. What’s the solution for this new breed of readers who do not choose to read and who do not fall in love with the written word? Are they an unconscionable byproduct of too much focus on reading “outcomes/products” (ie, something that can be counted as in words read per minute) and too little focus on the thinking, the joy, and the love of words that result from daily writing in schools – daily writing of their own choice?  How can we regain JOY and LEARNING?  Poetry and Essay tied for first place at #NCTE in bringing JOY to my world and in igniting a quest for more learning.

The Transformative Power of Essay

This panel on Sunday was amazing (and had many noteworthy literacy celebs attending as well).  And NO moans or groans because of the word “essay”.

Essay bomer.jpg

From R to Left:  Katherine Bomer, Allyson Smith,  Corinne Arens and Matthew Harper

Story after story.

Straight from the students.

Student writing examples . . .

pages and pages and pages of writing from individual students!

Students conferencing with teachers in videos.

Students sharing what essay means to them.

Students sharing how their lives have changed.

Teachers sharing how their lives have changed.

An administrator sharing how the district has changed.

Summer week long writing institutes in the district.

Building trust.

Building communities.

Teachers doing the “writing work” expected of students.

The audience laughed.

The audience cried.

The audience applauded vociferously.

Transforming our thoughts, perhaps our future actions . . .

Essay with a capital “E”.

(NO five paragraph essays anywhere!)

Thank you, new friends from Blue Springs, MO!

What evidence of transformation?

Tweet 1:

beth-bomer

Tweet 2:

julieanne-michelle-bomer

Did you catch the date?  9-15-16

Not waiting for “routines” but beginning the year boldly with essay writing to allow student voice to “spill yourself onto the page”.

And a final piece of evidence . . . Margaret Simon’s post today found here.

The Transformative Power of Essay

Have you read The Journey is Everything?

bomer the journey is everything    Read it. Try writing an essay and then let’s talk!

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

Looking for more information?

Previous posts:

#DigiLitSunday:  The Journey is Everything!#DigiLitSunday:  The Journey is Everything!

Literacy Superheroes (I counted FIVE of these essayists + Katherine in the room!)

Photo Essay (another public  essay!)

A Favor – My essay (with a comment from Katherine Bomer – another fangirl moment)

And the common denominator for both poetry and Essay was Katherine Bomer!

No wonder they tied!

#Digilit Sunday: Intent


This weekend the Twitter stream provided many insights about Literacy, Literacy Instruction, and “Intent”.  A powerhouse line up was present at the New England Reading Association conference (#NERA2016) in Portland, Maine. You can see the speakers and topics here. This post celebrates the Twitterverse that allowed me to curate these ideas from afar.

What is reading?

what is reading glover and collins NERA 2016

At #NERA2016 Saturday, Matt Glover and Kathy Collins proposed this expansive definition.  Many questions immediately came to mind.

Who does the work of reading?

What is the intent of reading?

What does this require of a teacher?

This quote from @chrisclinewcps says so much about some of the characteristics of “INTENT”!

intent one Chris Cline chrisclinewcps

At the opening session of #NERA2016, Ralph Fletcher fired an early shot across the bow with this slide.  Think about these three questions as you read the content on his slide.

What was his intent?  

What is the message for teachers?  

What is the message for students?

intent nera 2016 more choice ralph fletcher

As a reader, what was Ralph Fletcher’s message?

How important is choice?

Is choice just for students?

Is choice also for teachers?

And that connected to Paula’s tweet:

intent four vicki vinton beliefs

And during the panel for The Teacher You Want to Be, Vicki Vinton also said,

intent three vicki vinton kids CAN do it!

What does this mean in writing?

Paula also tweeted out this learning from Jeff Anderson (@writeguyjeff) about the role of grammar in writing.

intent nera 2016 write guy jeff

Is the intent to have students do the work?  

Are students doing the thinking?

intent nera2016  dan feigelson

Dan Feigelsen is crystal clear in his intent.

Are you?

Pernille Ripp asks this question:

intent pernille rip

Her May blog post here addressed specific steps to create writing communities.

How do your students know the intent of your writing instruction?

Empowering students to do the work is the basis of Jan and Kim’s book. If you have not yet checked out this book, you need to do so!

work

According to the #NERA2016 program, Vicki Vinton’s session was

Vicki Vinton: Beyond Book Choice: What Student-Center Reading Instruction Can Look Like

According to the educator John Holt, “Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” And in this interactive session, Vicki Vinton will share ways of ensuring that the activity of students and their thinking—versus curriculum and standards—are at the center of your reading instruction, whether you’re working with a whole class, a small group or one-on-one conference. You’ll see how to become a creator of learning opportunities, rather than a teacher of strategies and skills, which in turn will help students become powerful and insightful meaning makers, thinkers and readers.

The intent of “student-centered reading instruction” is for learning to be at the center of student work. How do you work towards this every day?

intent five vicki vinton student-centered reading

What do you notice as a reader?

What do you DO with / or make of what you noticed?

intent vicki vinton thinking opportunities for Ss and Ts

Because the intent is reading deeply, thoughtfully, and authentically!

intent vicki vinton and meeting the standards

What are your beliefs?

What is your intent?

digilit

Check out other thoughts about “intent” on #DigiLit Sunday with Margaret Simon here.

And special thanks to all who tweeted from #NERA2016 and especially to their Twitter Ambassadors:  @LitCoachLady, @literacydocent and @guerrette79.

 

#NCTE15: Beginning at the End


 

pic.jpg

The Teacher You Want to Be:  Essays about Children, Learning and Teaching was the source of the last panel presentation I attended on Sunday at #NCTE15 in Minneapolis. (Trivia note – #NCTE15 participants wrote 33,000 Tweets!)

teacher

Rock Stars on Stage:

  • Katie Wood Ray
  • Kathy Collins
  • Vicki Vinton

The session was both funny, illuminating and oh, so insightful.  After all, it was an introduction by Katie Wood Ray (who taught Matt Glover everything he knows as well as thinks of the greatest book titles EVER!), Kathy Collins and Vicki Vinton.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the illustrious crowd present:  Kylene, Donalynn, Franki, Maggie, Katie, Christina, Dani, Katherine, Ryan, and Katie and many others that I did not see from the front row!

The 13 Beliefs

beliefs

We explored these beliefs and the important qualities of readers.

 

2015-11-22 12.09.31

And the question:  How do we brand our reading?  How do we really help students understand the importance of reading?

2015-11-22 12.12.57.jpg

Kathy also spent time on belief # 3  – how do we appreciate that quirky child (annoying, yes) and make sure that he/she continue to grow and learn?  And belief # 8 – Joy!  Such a strong belief in joy that it needs to be a secret so that publishers don’t create and market “JOY kits”! And the gifs . . . oh, my!  LAUGHTER!  Here’s a gif that Kathy Collins did not use but may fit your future needs!

Vicki Vinton began  with framing several issues with quotes and examples for the audience to consider.

 

Dewey vinton

standards not goal.jpg

And an example of grade three CCSS – aligned “reading work” for teachers.

pic two.jpgBeliefs that were embedded in Vicki’s presentation included:  4, 5, 6, 7 and 10. And then we moved into a demonstration . . .  as we used a problem-solving approach to reading (like math?). “Words aren’t the problem…what does it MEAN when you put all the words together?”

maggie tweet

2015-11-22 13.11.18

And here’s the most important part of this post.  I was the first volunteer for this problem-solving small group.  Five of us – all adults and literacy folks – volunteered to participate in this demonstration.  We had roles – as students – dyslexic, ADHD, ELL, ELL, and Unmotivated. We had never seen the script and time was fleeting.  We actually read from a script and from text projected on the screen and we missed a couple of cues (“oohing” during reading) but we did “get into our parts”!

  • As a reader, I was anxious.
  • As a reader, I was worried about how well I could read and follow directions.
  • As a reader, I was worried about the task.
  • As a reader, I had no time to “think” about the text even though I scanned all my “parts” as soon as I had the script in my hands.
  • As a reader, I wondered about “how well” we would do as a group.
  • As a reader, I wondered if we would meet Vicki’s expectations.

In the interest of full disclosure, dear readers, I must tell you that I presented on a panel with Vicki Vinton last year at #NCTE14.  So I was reading a script from a trusted/respected friend/mentor.  Another group member was a respected colleague.  I provide PD to all sizes of groups so the actual speaking/performing was NOT really one of my concerns.

If I, a confident reader, was worried about how well I would read so I didn’t let the group down, how do our students feel when they aren’t sure of the task or topic?

How do students really feel when they encounter new tasks/situations?

How have we structured our work/learning so that a mindset for growth is present?

The work that we demonstrated was important.  The students were figuring out “Minneapolis Simpkin”. The teacher had not pretaught all the vocabulary words in the book.  Words from “real students” showed that they were continually revising their thinking about what “Minneapolis Simpkin”was.  This was a Peggy Parish “I Can Read” level 1 book.  It was not a “hard” text. But the reader certainly had to be thinking in order to make sense of the text.  YET, it was a tricky text where the narrator was not explicitly revealed.  The text did not say, “Minneapolis Simpkin said, ‘——-.'” Students had to do the work of figuring out the story!

Big Take Away Thoughts:

Before:  Remember to think of the student perspective when planning your instruction.

During:  Listen to the students. Follow their lead.  Don’t be the leader.  (Remember that you already know how to read.)

After: Do notice and name the work students did (“Who’s doing the work?”) and discuss where and when this work might be expected to transfer.

What are the ideas that you want to remember from this session/post?

slice

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. 

#SOL15: Beginning with Quotes


Writing quotes I’m holding onto and thinking about as I construct this post:

“I read like a teacher of writing even when I’m reading the morning paper, and I see rich text possibilities all around me.”

-Katie Wood Ray @katiewoodray

katie wood ray

AND

Steps to Using Mentor Texts

Select a text to emulate and reread – one that inspires an idea, models a structure, or demonstrates an author’s craft worth trying.

·         Read it (Read like a reader)

·         Analyze it (Read like a writer)

·         Emulate it (Write like the writer)

– adapted from Kelly Gallagher @KellyGtoGo

kelly gallagher

When I read like a writer, it feels different.  There’s a bit of anticipation and excitement because I know that I am going to be writing soon.  There’s also a bit of trepidation and anxiety.

“What if it’s not good enough?”  

“What if no one wants to read it?”

make things happen

The point of writing and especially writing like the writer is that one writes a LOT.  It’s not about the audience YET.  It’s about the words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and yes, even the poems appearing on the paper in DRAFT form!  The print version is a pre-cursor to being ready for a “reader”.

Writing . . . Writing from the heart of a writing teacher! You will be a better teacher because you can model and share exactly “how” you begin . . . or get unstuck . . . or try a new craft example.

What writers are you emulating?

What quotes are you holding?

slice

Check out the writers, readers and teachers who are “slicing” here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

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