Tag Archives: Literacy Essentials

#SOL19: Quality Matters


I reread this quote.

“Students who are placed with highly effective teachers for three years in a row significantly outperform average students. A student who has an outstanding teacher for just one year will remain ahead of their peers for the next few years.” (Source) Alex Freedman

And then I took a deep breath.

Calm.  It’s an article about math!”  But I’ve heard this from Nell Duke and Linda Darling-Hammond.  It’s not a new statistic.

It’s scary when it seems to be the opposite of what happens in many school building across the country every day!

Why does it matter?

In my family, it’s the grandkids and the great nieces and great nephews that I’m “fretting” about.  What will their educational future bring? Three good teachers in a row?  Three mediocre teachers?  Three poor teachers? Or some combination?

Where is the sense of urgency?

Valinda Kimmel’s post yesterday was so spot on.  Here’s the link.  Go read it. We will wait for you!  “WHEN RTI SEEMS LACKING AND WHAT WE CAN DO”  There is no time to waste.  Every single year matters. Every single day matters.  Every single hour matters.  Every single minute matters.  Every single second in every school building matters!

What do literacy teachers need?

Kimberly Moran’s post yesterday, was no April Fool’s joke.  There is no one way to teach a child to read. “The Science of Literacy Is Not a Thing, So Can We Please Stop Saying That It Is?” Every child brings their own little section of the world with them to school.  No one methodology works for all students, and it’s so strange that some people believe that they now have the “perfect” answer for ALL students. And I have some swamp land for sale . . . I can assemble a group of four educators with a total of over 150 years of teaching students to read that have the knowledge, experience and expertise to explain why teaching reading depends on the student.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What is our role as a teacher?

Regie Routman says it BEST! (But I’m borrowing Dr. Mary C Howard’s words about Regie’s book . . . )

“In Literacy Essentials, Regie asks us to move from teacher-as-technician dutifully following scripts, programs, and rigid data to teacher as thinker responsibly keeping children at the center of all we do. (p 3-4) (Source) Literacy Lenses

Teacher as THINKER!

What thinking will you be doing today? 

How will you keep children at the center of all you do?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png


All resources above are available through Twitter.  Remember you choose who to follow and who your trusted resources are.

2018: In the Rear View Mirror


What a year!

What does the data say?

Looking back is something of a habit as the New Year dawns.  Here were my reflective posts from 2017,  2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.  It was fun to see where the emphasis has changed over time.

My Top 5 Most Viewed Blog Posts of all time are:

5. How do we know students are making progress in writing? (2014)

4.  Generative Writing as a Formative Assessment (2015)

3.  Lexile Level is NOT Text Complexity (2013)

                 2. Close Reading in Kindergarten? Is it possible? (2013)

1. #TCRWP and a Teacher’s Toolkit for Writing (2014)

Data analysis is interesting.  Four of the five posts were in my top 5 all time last year.  #2 this year is a new addition to the top 5. It leapfrogged to #2 by passing up three previous “all time” posts.

I continue to wonder if my OLD writing is more popular than my newer writing with two posts from 2013 in the top 5. “Or does the popularity mean that these posts are STILL topics/issues that present day literacy teachers are struggling with?”  Maybe these are topics that I need to review during the course of the year. They are definitely already on my March Slicer “To Write About” list.

My Top 8 Posts (by the number of readers) out of the 109 posts that were written in 2018 were:

8. #SOL18: Lit Essentials – Regie Routman’s Literacy Essentials with an entire section dealing with Equity!

7. #TCRWP: 3 Tips – Patterns of Power (Jeff Anderson), Mentor Texts with Simone Frazier and Heart Maps with Georgia Heard

6. #SOL18:  Reading Research  – Is all reading research equal?

5. Bloom’s and Thinking – Reconceptualizing Bloom’s Taxonomy

4. #SOL18: March 25 – Updated Reprise of #3 above “Lexile Level is NOT Text     Complexity (2013)

3. #NCTE18:  Digging Deeper #1 – Kass Minor, Colleen Cruz & Cornelius Minor

2. #SOL18:  March 15 – Barriers to Learning, Allington’s Six T’s, Student           Progress

1.#SOL18:  March 11 – Increasing Writing Volume

And this – Reading Research from the end of October and both a November post about NCTE and a December post can make it into the “Most Read in 2018” list within 4 – 8 weeks of the end of the year.  So Interesting!

What patterns do you see? 

Which topics did you find most compelling? 

What work do you review annually or over even longer time frames?




PROCESS:

Reflection

Analysis

Planning

Re-Reflecting

Wrapping up Curious with a Focus on being Joyful for this first chance to CELEBRATE!

 

#SOL18: Access & Equity


Labor Day weekend has come and gone.  All schools are in session.  Some have been for a week or so. Others have over a month in.  It’s that time of transitions.  No more “wearing white”. Getting out the college football colors and fall clothes.  Trying to prep fo hot weather in un-airconditioned buildings.

I remember kindergarten in a country school.  It was less than four miles from our house.  Easy access. A true neighborhood school.  The old “be careful what you wish for” as it was a small building and classes were combined.  I loved that I was allowed to read.  I hated that we wasted our time on silly worksheets and coloring pages and so much Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff. Their lives didn’t match our rural farm lives.

And then first grade was in town.  In an addition to the school.  First grade with other first grade classes.  First grade where I could only read books off the first grade shelf in the library.  First grade where I read all the books by the end of the first quarter.  First grade where my teacher tore up my page with a red sun, a purple sky and green flowers.  That wasn’t her picture.  First grade where it didn’t matter what I needed or wanted to learn.  First grade where I was going to conform.  First grade where I was sick. A lot. first grade where I can still remember the number of tiles on the bathroom walls, the floor, and even the ceiling.

First grade when I hated school.

Hated the Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff stories that I already read the year before. They were awful the first time.  They were an even bigger waste of time the second time around.  I didn’t excel at coloring inside the lines.  I wanted the task to be done.  I wanted to be able to read, write and draw.  Creativity was not prized. My pictures never made the wall. I know exactly how Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik felt when her teacher gave her an F for her free verse poem and this poem by Robert Gianni was praised.

He likes to eat and drink a lot.
When I put water in his dish,
He laps it up just like a fish.”  *(Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry)

Which school better met my needs?

The rural, neighborhood school. In the name of equity it was closed.  In terms of access, my access to a quality education was lessened.

What matters?

Access and Equity matter.  All students need access to quality education.  Equity is huge.  The books that I was mining this holiday weekend are here.  There are many others I could have consulted, but these were at the top of my stack!Screenshot 2018-09-02 at 10.00.33 AM

What’s our goal?

If it truly is to “grow readers and writers” – students who want to read, who do read, and who love to read – kids need access to books.  That’s an equity issue whether the school doesn’t even have books – due to their zip code!  Or because the students have a new teacher and of course there is NO classroom library set up magically waiting for new teachers!

And then time to read glorious books. Self-selected books.  Books that match their interests!  Books that make sense to them!

Literacy for ALL . . . What does that mean?

Reading

Writing

Speaking

Listening

THINKING!!!

Communicating as a priority.  Classrooms not existing as rooms of silence!

Books that reflect the composition of the classroom and the communities around the world.  No more “Boy Books” or “Girl Books”!  Has you thinking been challenged?

A focus on learning NOT assessing.

The real tangible goal.  Are ALL students progressing?  Are all students learning self-assessment?  Are students developing their own goals and agency?  Are students transferring their literacy work to other content areas?  What are your students telling you?  Do they love learning?  Are they curious?

Here are a few of the quotes I’m still holding onto . . .

Screenshot 2018-09-03 at 5.36.36 PM.png

Screenshot 2018-09-03 at 5.26.17 PM.png

Screenshot 2018-09-03 at 5.29.38 PM.png

Screenshot 2018-09-03 at 5.28.23 PM

Screenshot 2018-09-03 at 5.28.04 PM

Screenshot 2018-09-03 at 5.31.02 PM.png

How did you grow your knowledge and skills this summer? 

What are you still wondering about? 

What questions do your need answered?   

What quotes would you add?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                              slice of life 2016

 

#SOL18: North Star


Screenshot 2018-01-29 at 8.06.27 PM

That big star?  Always in the North?

Shining brightly

Easier to see out in the country

Away from “city” lights

Easily 100 carats bright

A stationary beacon.

It was a lab extra credit.  We took turns looking through a telescope.  But we really liked the view from the quilt on the ground.  The sky sprinkled with twinkling lights was mesmerizing.  And the “city slickers” slowed down to observe just a bit of nature.  I didn’t want to be there.  The ground was hard.  It was late.  A book was surely calling my name.

Read me. Read me.

But the uncertainty of whether I needed the extra credit made me linger.  I knew my lab partner probably needed my points as well.  That night – a peaceful view, a bit of learning and the company of friends and classmates.

I knew this.  I didn’t have to be there.  But it was Easy. No challenge  No stress.  Just time, a different location, and an opportunity for an out of the ordinary instructional experience.

Screenshot 2018-01-29 at 8.05.40 PM.png

There’s something magical about the North Star. I’m not sure if it’s the “constancy”, the fact that it doesn’t move, or just the symbol that guides us that sparks my curiosity (#OLW18).

What is your guiding star?

One of mine is my insatiable need to continue learning… and reading …and writing … I’m currently stuck on E’s

Engagement

Effectiveness

Equity

Embarrassment

and these quotes from our #G2Great chats:

My current North Stars – my source of direction comes from:

Screenshot 2018-01-06 at 5.45.30 PMScreenshot 2018-01-29 at 9.07.46 PM.png

What is your North Star?

Where does it come from?

What sustains it?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: #LitEssentials


What is essential in literacy instruction? 

How do you know? 

Is this something you were taught? 

Or is this something you have learned?

As you can see, “curious”, my #OLW is already in play for 2018.  It sits on my shoulder daily encouraging me to wonder about new and old issues.  So let’s take up “essential”.

What does essential mean?

“1.  absolutely necessary; indispensable:

Discipline is essential in an army.
2.  pertaining to or constituting the essence of a thing.
3. noting or containing an essence of a plant, drug, etc.

4. being such by its very nature or in the highest sense; natural; spontaneous:

essential happiness.”  Dictionary.com
Without a doubt, Regie Routman is using all these definitions in her use of “essentials” in her newest book . . .
And the words that I want to emphasize, from the definitions, are:
“indispensable,
essence,
natural,
spontaneous,
happiness”
This book is not about following a script or a recipe for success.  This book is about empowering teachers and leaders as thinkers.

Why this book? 

Because Regie is first of all a teacher.  Working with students is her passion and she wants to help you regain, regrow and re-empower your expert teaching voice.  . . .”you – one caring and knowledgeable teacher – can make an enduring difference in a child’s life.” (Routman, Stenhouse, p. 3)

What additional information is available?

@Stenhousepub tweet:

“”…without that culture of joy and celebration of strengths…we are never going to get our students where they need to be and where they want to be.” @regieroutman talks about her new book, Literacy Essentials:”

Video LInk”

Stenhouse

What makes this book so appealing?

  1. The format of the book.

The three big “units” are Engagement, Excellence, and Equity.

You CAN begin with any of those sections.  They are very well cross-referenced so that you can dip into the pieces that you need!

       2.  The format in the chapters.

There’s a conversation with Regie with facts, questions, and anecdotes that illustrate the point.  Then there is a detailed “Take Action” section. This is repeated multiple times in each chapter which has endnotes for a closing.  A single teacher could choose actions to make changes in their classroom.  A group of teachers could choose actions to make changes in their building or district.  The possibilities for thinking teachers are endless.

         3. The teacher in the book.

Calm, practical, thoughtful and thought-provoking conversations.  Not a bunch of “mumbo jumbo” from publishers, test-writers, or those who have not been in classrooms recently or perhaps . . . EVER!  Real solutions that will NOT add hours to your day.  Real solutions that you can advocate for.  Real solutions that will bring joy back into your life!

Not yet convinced?

Join the #G2Great chat Thursday, January 11th.  Be a part of the conversation or listen in – whichever role is most comfortable for you.   Listen in to hear the essence of the text, the indispensable actions, the natural, spontaneous actions that can bring JOY back into your teaching life. Then consider your next steps!

Screenshot 2018-01-06 at 5.50.53 PM.png

Why does this matter to me?

I remember meeting Regie at a Regis Literacy Institute in the late 1980’s or early 90″s.  She was the first real live, up close and personal “edu-hero” that I ever met.  She was so kind, so thoughtful and so willing to talk to me even though her coffee was growing cold in the cafe and I was totally interrupting. She’s a teacher.  She’s a leader.  She’s a reader. She’s a writer.  Regie’s amazing!

What professional reading do you have planned for 2018? 

What books are you “curious” about? 

Where will you begin?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016
Curriculum Coffee

A Written Shot of Espresso

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.

doctorsam7

Seeking Ways to Grow Proficient, Motivated, Lifelong Readers & Writers

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers

Present Perfect

adventures in multiple tenses

Leadership Connection

from Great Prairie AEA

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

The oft bemused (or quite simply amused) musings of Krista Marx -- a self-professed HOPE pursuing Pollyanna

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together

arjeha

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson

adventuresinstaffdevelopment

All Things Literacy! Brianna Parlitsis

TWO WRITING TEACHERS

A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

elsie tries writing

"The problem with people is they forget that that most of the time it's the small things that count." (Said by Finch in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. These are my small things that count.

I Haven't Learned That Yet

This blog serves to document my path of learning and teaching.

Simply Inspired Teaching

A blog by Kari Yates

Reflections on Leadership and Learning

Sharing my learning experiences

AnnaGCockerille Literacy

The Generative Power of Language: Building Literacy Skills One Word at a Time