A second look at a Saturday session because I’m still trying to define “Responsive Teaching” and I saw it masterfully executed in this session. And I am still in awe. And so thankful that these readers, writers, and educators are in my life.
|Responsive Teaching: The Courage to Follow the Children
Presenters: Kim Yaris, Jan Miller Burkins, Dani Burtsfield, Christina Nosek, and Kari Yates
Jan began with having us close our eyes to “Think about a teacher who loved you into being” and then having us share that story with a partner. It’s often easy to remember those who did NOT love you into being but responsiveness begins with the heart . . . Don’t rush to “check it off.” Skill and expertise has to come behind.
What’s the focus if you view student work through the lens of “Love”?
What’s the focus if you view student work through the lens of “Expertise”?
This was the student work we viewed.
Not just judging and reacting, but thinking in terms of what the student “can do”!
- Phonological awareness
- Most of the alphabet and how to write it
- Knows how words work
- Knows onset
- Knows rime
- Knows rhyme
- Understands what is socially appropriate communication!
Kim also read “Daisy” from Who’s Doing the Work and we considered what we knew about Daisy as a person and as a reader. It was extremely helpful to have a partner to add more ideas. (My immediate thought that went into my notes: And what if PLCs operated more with this type of data?)
|Being responsive is about seeing students, understanding and responding based on the love and expertise of the teacher.|
Students doing the work. Teachers stepping back and admiring student work first before responding.
To Know and Nurture a Reader
Conferring is a path to responsive teaching, raising and following the voice of one student at a time.
Using Four Quadrants – so visually appealing and helpful . . .
There are many questions that fit into each of those boxes and those are available in Christina’s and Kari’s book.
If a conference begins with:
What’s going on?
What is my response? It may vary . . .
“I wonder, I jot a note or
I wonder, I affirm, I jot a note or
I wonder, I affirm, I remind, I jot a note or
I wonder, affirm, extend, remind, take note”
And then those basic responses in a visual format. . .
What if they are coded by thought bubbles for “wonderings” or talk bubbles for “affirmations” and boxes for the notes/glueing reminders?
This format could be my conferencing format.
I might have 4 of these boxes on a page.
Depending on our conference content, a box might hold different colored ink entrees or dates as I record the content from the conference in this format.
Thinking about the application of THIS work. How does it make sense?
And what a treat. Dani had examples of work in all four quadrants for a kindergarten student. Here’s an example of one kindergarten student’s “Healthy Habits” . . .
As I listened to Dani’s examples from a kindergarten level, I thought of Christina’s fifth graders. I wondered if they could complete a reflection about themselves as a reader. Christina said, “Just wait” and then she shared a fifth grade student page from which I am only sharing the book choice portion.
Have teachers done this work?
Where do teachers stand in these four quadrants?
How aware are they?
How would this move teacher confidence and competence in coaching readers forward?
My Take Aways:
- Responsive teaching – you will know it when you see it. It’s hard to describe but pure magic when you see it in action. Today: Being responsive is about seeing students, understanding and responding based on the love and expertise of the teacher. Conferring is a path to responsive teaching, raising and following the voice of one student at a time.
- “Step back so your students can step forward.” Jan and Kim
- “Don’t wait for perfection. Start now.” Christina and Kari
Jan Burkins: @janmillburk Kim Yaris: @kimyaris
Twitter @ChristinaNosek @kari_yates
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 . . .
The link up to other #DigiLit Sunday posts can be found at Margaret Simon’s Reflections On the Teche. Please check out what other bloggers are writing about today!
And today’s topic:
What does agency mean to me?
It means choice. Yesterday I chose #TheEdCollabGathering created by Chris Lehman (definition one below) and I made sure that I acted on that agency (definition two) by attending sessions live all day. Barely pausing for conversation, my brain on fire, I moved from one session to the next, each one carefully chosen as a tapestry of confirmation.
Topics I needed to revisit. Topics I needed to dig deeply into again. Topics I needed for inspiration and affirmation seven weeks into this new year. Welcoming learning with friends. Welcoming new friends in the Twitterverse. Welcoming a day of JOYFUL learning from my home on a Saturday. (Agenda for #TheEdCollabGathering here.) The sessions were free. The sessions will remain free and accessible. The sessions can be accessed at your leisure. The.sessions.are.well.worth.your.time! TRUST ME! Check them out!
Evidence of Agency for me yesterday?
- That I could choose the free sessions to attend from the comfort of my home.
- Attending the sessions, tweeting out and having conversations with fellow attendees, presenters, and colleagues from around the world . . . and then Blogging about my attendance and learning today!
No . . . er . . . I don’t know YET!
Kind of . . .
I have been working with Webb’s Depth of Knowledge lately. Those four levels that in some circles have replaced Bloom’s Taxonomy. I don’t think either one is exclusionary and in fact believe that there are some positives in each. Both invite thinking in order to move up the levels.
These Depth of Knowledge levels are available about writing at this Edutopia resource.
Level 1 (Recall) requires the student to write or recite simple facts. This writing or recitation does not include complex synthesis or analysis but is restricted to basic ideas. The students are engaged in listing ideas or words as in a brainstorming activity prior to written composition, are engaged in a simple spelling or vocabulary assessment or are asked to write simple sentences. Students are expected to write and speak using Standard English conventions. This includes using appropriate grammar, punctuation, capitalization and spelling.
Level 2 (Basic Application of Concepts & Skills) tasks require some mental processing. At this level students are engaged in tasks such as first draft writing for a limited number of purposes and audiences. At Level 2 students are beginning to connect ideas using a simple organizational structure. For example, students may be engaged in note-taking, outlining or simple summaries. Text may be limited to one paragraph. Students demonstrate a basic understanding and appropriate use of such reference materials as a dictionary, thesaurus, or web site.
Level 3 (Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning) tasks require higher-level mental processing. Students are engaged in developing compositions that include multiple paragraphs. These compositions may include complex sentence structure and may demonstrate some synthesis and analysis. Students show awareness of their audience and purpose through focus, organization and the use of appropriate compositional elements. The use of appropriate compositional elements includes such things as addressing chronological order in a narrative or including supporting facts and details in an informational report. At this stage students are engaged in editing and revising to improve the quality of the composition.
Level 4 (Extended Thinking & Complex Reasoning) tasks may incorporate a multi-paragraph composition that demonstrates synthesis and analysis of complex ideas or themes. Such tasks will require extended time and effort with evidence of a deep awareness of purpose and audience. For example, informational papers include hypotheses and supporting evidence. Students are expected to create compositions that demonstrate a distinct voice and that stimulate the reader or listener to consider new perspectives on the addressed ideas and themes.
As I reflect on my agency and my learning today, I am confident that most of my Tweets fall into the Level 1 category. I often try to capture exact words – the very essence of the speaker’s thoughts – and that is totally recall. No doubt. Level 1. And yet sometimes, I’m pulling in background knowledge or shortening the exact quotes when there are long hashtags and I must cut down the number of symbols. Is that always Level 1? Probably not. Is it sometimes Level 2? Perhaps yes.
And what of this blog post? Where would it rate? Ideas from the day are flowing through my brain. Some pictures are already uploaded. Others are paused. Too few? Too many? Which serve the meaning and the understanding of the reader? Which are examples of MY thinking?
Right now I think that I am approaching or possibly just peering over the ledge of DOK 3. Your thoughts?
As I consider all the meaning embedded in Level 4 (Extended Thinking and Complex Reasoning), I believe this is where Katherine Bomer’s thinking lies when she said,
“Capital E, Essay equals thinking!”
A student or adult is agentive and completing that “extended thinking and complex reasoning” when totally engaged in a task of their own choice. When writing, it may be an essay, a poem, or some great work of literature. But it’s something the student knows and knows well due to their passionate study. It may be a study of their own thinking and problem solving as suggested by Burkins and Yaris in Who’s Doing the Work? when the students are actually working harder than the teachers as they problem solve and persevere in forging their own learning paths when “given the time to do so”.
Jan’s metaphor of shopping was played out in this chart and compared to choosing a just right book. Students choosing their own books . . . not being handed books by the teacher brings up a question: “Who SHOULD be choosing the books?”
Tara Smith tweeted out that “agency = knowing how to make choices.” How often do our students struggle with making decisions? When should they be “practicing” quality decision-making skills? Is that not a skill that should be part of the daily routines during the school day?
Consider how engagement and accessibility play into these four elements. Jan actually framed and labeled them for the viewers. But at any point there could be a mismatch. Clare and Tammy would also point out that the mismatches are opportunities for learning and even ownership of their learning. A celebration of learning. Every data point can also bring hope, joy and agentive power to the students.
And what if students were publishing regularly for real audiences? #TWT authors and bloggers, Beth Moore, Deb Frazier and Dana Murphy literally hit the game-winning touchdown with their sharing and feedback strategies! (It was a Saturday after all-so there was some collegiate football in the background.) Deb suggested feedback to young writers on day one, Dana said it could be ‘fancy like “Wow and Wonder”, “Glow and Grow”, or like “slicers” -1. feel, 2 notice, 3. connection’ and Beth Moore said that someday a student writer might tell friends about how special their teacher made them feel as a writer. Honoring students and their writing work doesn’t cost a lot of time or money. Celebrating student learning should be an every day constant.
After all this is “their” learning! Fewer behavior management systems might be needed if there was more emphasis on “student choice” and so much less emphasis on “compliance” and “silly tasks” but those are both topics for another day!
The intersection of agency, choice, engagement and learning seems to be a good fit for students who are “doing the work” and not passively watching others engaged in the work. Even kindergarten students want to share their thinking . . . not their fault that sometimes their symbols and/ or work needs translation for our adult brains to make better sense (Clare and Tammy’s story about Zachary) .
But what if the entry point for all students was simply choice?
What if the responsibility and accountability lies with students?
Lucy Calkins reminded us this summer that “To teach well, we do not need more techniques and strategies as much as we need a vision of what is essential.”
What if agency is essential? How does that change instruction and assessment?
(Did I make it to Level 4 -Extended Thinking and Complex Reasoning? You be the judge!)
The quality of professional development texts for 2016 has been amazing. One book that I continue to return to time and again to deepen my understanding is this one by Jan Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris.
Twitter chats, Voxer discussions and Google docs have been the electronic formats that we’ve used for our conversations. You can review the storified chats by clicking on the links to these Literacy Lenses posts: Read Alouds, Shared Reading, and Guided Reading,and Independent Reading. You can also see connections and learning about/from this book in my previous posts here, here, and here. Some of you may have been fortunate to be a part of this group that presented at the #ILA16 Institute “Who’s Doing the Work? last Friday or been in the audience to see the presentation.
For those of you who don’t participate in Twitter chats, Voxer discussions or Google doc conversations book studies,
YOU HAVE MISSED SO MUCH LEARNING!
I’m not saying that you have to do all three of those but if you are a teacher of reading or writing, you must be doing some reading and writing in the summer. Learning is both efficient and effective when it includes collaborative study with peers. I still have to do the work and wrestle with my own understanding, but then I also appreciate hearing other perspectives from colleagues and coworkers.
Here are just a few samples from my work with understanding this book! These are some excerpts from my writing about my reading!
A. Word Splash from Chapter 1
Write a paragraph that uses five or more of the words listed below and is related to teaching reading.
- transformative – not used
- risk – not used
- Independence (used 11)
“Reading well requires students to put many processes to work simultaneously in an effort to understand whatever material he/she is learning from. Factors that play into success in reading are enhanced when the student is allowed choice and is trusted to spend time reading materials of his choice. Independence in reading takes effort and energy as a reader is empowered to construct his own meaning of texts. Too difficult text may be frustrating and may cause the student to be too dependent on teacher scaffolds. Motivation to continue to read may come from the synergy of the right text at the right time with the right amount of practice!”
B. Quotes to Ponder – Chapter 1 (Respond both before reading and after reading)
“To grow and develop as readers, children need instruction that mirrors the ‘end’ goal–readers with smoothly operating, balanced reading processes who feel empowered and motivated to take charge of their reading lives.” (p.24)
Before Reading: Readers need to read in order to grow and develop as readers. Answering a barrage of questions as before, during , and after reading does not make them better readers. The right amount of instruction matched with the right texts will build independent readers who can and do read.
“Knowing a student’s reading level, however, does not tell us anything about how that student reads … .” p.24
Before Reading: Reading level only tells you approximately what level text the student was last successful on. That letter or number doesn’t tell anything about the reader and what they CAN do!
After Reading: I am so fascinated by the fact that these two sentences followed each other in the text. All 3 cueing systems need to be firing simultaneously (like all pistons in an engine) in order to efficient, effective reading. Instruction can’t be parsed out and over-focused on any one element! (quote 2) All three readers had same letter but different issues. The level is only one piece of the data puzzle. It’s not the end game.
“Each instructional context, from read-aloud through independent reading, makes a unique contribution to students’ growth in proficiency and agency.” (p.27)
Before Reading: The student is a product of all instructional contexts so each, ind. Reading – read-aloud, are important to his/her development. Those contexts help build the “want to read” motivation so that students are successful later!
“Teaching across the gradual release of responsibility with an emphasis on reading process–versus an emphasis on reading level–will change the way you teach reading forever.” (p.27)
Before Reading: Reading level is limiting – reading processes open up the universe to the student! Process will help focus on what the student is capable of and will provide the information needed to keep the student moving forward. Reading is not about a certain % to pass a leveled book test.
After Reading: Fascinating, again, that these two sentences were also back to back in the text. Balance in reading processes requires a balance in instructional contexts that creates the internal motivation to read/learn . . that want to read. And when you focus on reading process (within GRR), your teaching will be changed forever!!!
Subtle shift to “What can you try?”
C. Poem – Chapter 5 (Independent Reading)
Choose from these words to create a poem.
Which words would you choose?
What would your poem look like?
What would be your evidence of learning?
Choice in what I read
Choice in when I read
Choice in where I read
Choice in ideas I explore
Choice in whether I want to or need to reread
Choice in community in which I share
A habit, deeply ingrained in my readerly life
My responsibility to monitor
Building on my strengths, my passions, my pleasure in learning
Growing as a reader
Joyful . . .
Of those three activities, which would you consider:
A: Word Splash
B. Quotes to Ponder
How do you work on your learning?
Twitter, Voxer, Google Docs, Blog Posts = Evidence of my learning
Low Tech would be paper, pencil, markers, notes . . .
What’s your evidence of learning / thinking?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. The hardest step is the first step of your learning journey!
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?
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”!
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?
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:
And during the panel for The Teacher You Want to Be, Vicki Vinton also said,
What does this mean in writing?
Paula also tweeted out this learning from Jeff Anderson (@writeguyjeff) about the role of grammar in writing.
Is the intent to have students do the work?
Are students doing the thinking?
Dan Feigelsen is crystal clear in his intent.
Pernille Ripp asks this question:
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!
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?
What do you notice as a reader?
What do you DO with / or make of what you noticed?
Because the intent is reading deeply, thoughtfully, and authentically!
What are your beliefs?
What is your intent?
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.
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!
The talented and amazing Kim Yaris (@kimyaris of @burkinsandyaris) took us on a whirlwind tour of books and classrooms for fifty minutes of FREE learning via Chris Lehman’s (@ichrislehman) Education Collaborative free online PD all day Saturday, September 19th.
Did you miss it?
Here’s a brief glimpse of some of the characteristics that Kim showcased!
So much to think about as you make sure that you have a supportive learning community in your classroom/building!
It’s not too late to follow along live (or later). Here is the agenda for #TheEdCollabGathering!
Learning on a Saturday!
Are you familiar with Jan and Kim’s book, Reading Wellness? Their blog?
What learning treasures did I find on a Sunday in St. Louis at #ILA15?
1. “I Hate Reading: Strategies Transforming Negative Self-Perceptions into Confidence
I find Justin’s work with #contraliteracy to be fascinating.
The sources are common. These “unintended negative effects” surround students, especially at the middle school age who are already both hyper-sensitive and hyper-critical of themselves and any “perceived’ slights.
How do we move beyond the many faces of shame?
1. Build Relationships with our readers. Admit, Acknowledge and Absolve them of past practices.
2. Use Self-Perception Scales to help students understand their own perceptions.
3. Have students tell their reading histories. Listen for the patterns.
4. Plan quality instruction
Be passionate about your invitation to ALL students to reading and writing
Remove all competition from reading
Provide access to print – print that students beg to read
Define what students can control – when and where can they find minutes to read?
Provide a reading mentor not a reading dictator (x number of pages, only this text, etc.)
One strategy that Justin has found to be successful for his readers is 30 Books in 30 Days Read Alouds. This promotes intimacy, relationships with characters, and connections with life as students practice strategies, form opinions, discover new interests and allows some above grade level reading.
Take Away: Independent and Autonomous Readers are Needed
2. Literacy Changed Their Lives: Teaching Reading as Writing with Picture Biographies
Jan Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris
Because I love their book, Reading Wellness, this session was an automatic choice as soon as I saw the #ILA15 program! From the opening, “What are you on about?” to our ending dance, this session was absolutely FUN learning!
Which character in the picture is most like you?
There is a relationship between posture and success and creating positive change is important. This can be done through: 3 Gratitudes, Journaling, Exercise, Meditation, or Random Acts of Kindness. How do we define happiness? Have you seen this TED talk? The Happy Secret to Better Work with Shawn Achor
The whole concept of “Lean in, Lean Out” was explored with some adult pictures as well as student pictures. More information in their book, Reading Wellness: Lessons in Independence and Proficiency. As we moved on, Jan modeled the thinking from a Heart, Head, Hands, and Feet lesson using Ken Robinson’s The Element.
The real learning came when we partnered, read a picture biography and created a “Heart, Head, Hands, and Feet” drawing for our book. What a fun way to REALLY provide hope, inspiration and the power of positive thinking for career choices for students. There truly are actions that students can begin to take NOW to more fully explore possible careers.
Take Away: Biographies need to be carefully chosen to include childhood actions and balance of the four elements (alignment, balance, sustainability, and joy) is critical.
Just go to www.burkinsandyaris.com to see more information about “HHHF” lessons! It will be time well spent!
3. Writing From Sources is More Than “…the Text Says”: Support Thoughtful, Engaging Writing about Texts
Encouraging students to move beyond BORING information writing is a passion of mine so this session was also on my must attend list and then the fact that it was “CHRIS LEHMAN” presenting meant that I had high expectations that were completely MET! (Note: This session was so full that Penny Kittle was even sitting on the floor in the front! Amazing!)
I first met Chris Lehman at a 50 minute closing workshop during a Teachers College summer institute so I know just how much compelling information he can pack into an hour. And WOW! What a lesson in “passionate” reading, writing, viewing, speaking, and listening!
Chris’s basic premise was: What happens if we switch from this argumentative stance in writing
to a more invitational stance?
This invitational stance can still be persuasive and/or meet the requirements of claim, evidence, etc of the grade level standards in CCSS.W.1. The writing from this stance will be much more interesting while providing compelling information for the reader.
Chris provided the opportunity for us to practice using this invitational stance with a topic of our own choice or the topic of Pluto that he introduced us to in the opening minutes of the session. The stance carried over into sources as well. “What is it like to have a conversation with a source when you feel something about the topic/text?” Do we provide that opportunity for students? The whole idea of “reading with someone in mind (to share the information with later) led to some LOUD partner practice in a jam-packed room. Curiosity. Passion. Interest. Not copying. Not plagiarizing.
And then some masterful thinking about the “source” of information.
- “Teach appositive phrases, which is what this is, to students.
- Study mentor texts that TEACH about sources
- Bring learning about sources into your teaching (who is NASA?)”
Chris modeled this by describing his friend Barb who taught him about Bitmoji. Knowing a bit more about the background of the source in the introduction changed the whole tone of the piece. Check this example out!
“In 1920, before Fitzgerald was Fitzgerald, before the Great Gatsby, before Paris, before Hollywood, before most English literature lessons of today, Mr. Fitzgerald was a struggling alcoholic writer from Minnesota.”
That was just one sentence but think of the context, tone, mood and information that was conveyed. Was this “copied” from a book?
If you need more ideas about research, you won’t go wrong with Chris’s book, Energize Research Reading and Writing: Fresh Strategies to Spark Interest, Develop Independence and Meet Key Common Core Standards, Grades 4-8 and you can read an excerpt here.
Take Away: Be passionate about learning and writing and move writing to an invitational stance that shows students how authors provide facts and information about sources without “copying”!
4. Metacognition: The Transformative Power of Reflective Thinking
Is “metacognition” just a buzz word?
The National Academy of Sciences in their report “How Students Learn” said that the key to effective learning, after 600 pages of research findings, was metacognition. John Hattie lists metacognitive strategies as 14th out of 138 influences on achievement and Marzano says that metacognition is the “mission control” of the thinking process. Metacognition is more than just a buzz word and in fact, is necessary for students to be reading writing, speaking, listening, and thinking at high levels.
With instruction and time for practice, students in even the primary grades can learn about metacognition and practice their thinking skills. It may look gimmicky at first, especially if the teacher dons a “thought bubble” to model and show their thinking to students. Talk, sketching, images, video, the use of complex text – all of these can be used to enhance thinking and reflection for our students.
Take Away: Students can use a silhouette of a head with a “brain-shaped” space to write their thinking to emphasize that it comes from the brain!
5. A Non-Freaked Out Approach to Literacy Instruction Across the Content Areas
4:45-5:45 (Still here learning!)
Are you a middle school or high school teacher? Do you work with middle school or high school teachers? Do you know Dave Stuart? His “Non-Freaked Out Approach to the Common Core?
This hour spent with Dave was an hour of pure gold and many, many ideas to consider about both the volume and the quality of literacy activities, reading, writing, speaking, and listening, across the day for students in middle schools and high schools.
Dave asked us to share our responses first with a partner, then with the group and /or on twitter to this question:
What, in one sentence, is your ultimate goal for students?
Dave also talked about getting past “argument’s baggage” because “…the goal is not victory but a good decision…in which a participant takes seriously and fairly the views different from his or her own.” (CCSS, Appendix A). Dave shared his “pop-up method” where he teaches or assesses 1-2 specific skills every time. So this time might be a claim and a paraphrase. Next time it might be adding on to someone else’s comment so that the skills for quality discussions/arguments/debates are specifically taught over time. His management tips:
1. No cross talk.
2. Teacher = coach
3. Every kid needs to speak.
4. “Great debaters can debate all sides.”
5. ” We all win with a great debate.”
6. Teach and assess 1-2 skills at a time.
7. Content and delivery.
I especially found his three types of writing to be helpful when thinking of ELA and Content Teachers. More conversation about the purpose of writing (to solidify or extend learning) could make this less “threatening” for content area teachers.
Provisional – DAILY – warm ups and exit tickets
Readable – WEEKLY – 1 paragraph compositions
Polished – monthly – longer essays
If you need more information about writing more and grading less go to mikeschmoker.com
TAKE AWAY: Debates and more writing can help build thinking and communication skills that will transfer to real-world success!
What “Treasures” did you find today?
What thinking / ideas do you want to carry forward into the next school year?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.