Tag Archives: Lucy Calkins

August #TCRWP Reading: Day 1


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Monday arrives with rain and yet the fire in my brain flames on . . .

Lucy Calkins keynote . . .

Laughter with Natalie Louis . . .

Learning with Kelly Boland Hohne

Illumination with Cornelius Minor

Such was the Monday in my life!

Today’s post is a recap of information from Cornelius Minor from his closing session: “Using Digital Tools to Offer Access to Students with IEPs”

Access for all Kids – Why is Access Important?  (AKA “Research to Weaponize”) 

  •        UdL – more inclusive
  •        On heels of Civil Rights
  •        Architects – ADA compliant – door width, door knob  (designed from inception)
  •        Knowledge of the three networks that access the brain:
    • Recognition (input – see, hear, perceive);
    • Strategic (executive functioning); and
    • Attitude (and feelings about teacher and learning)

 

Here is a chart I developed to organize some of the information shared by Cornelius.

                                                             What is the main thing?  
Skills Instruction
Vocabulary

Alfred Tatum – Teaching Reading to Adolescent Black Boys  (Chicago) (EL)
Start with verbs – most common  (not ameliorate)  to speak, to move, to think

Build on strengths!

Synonyms:  Ponder, saunter, exclaim – derivatives of most common words.

Camera  saunter A , B photographer

Video ponder B, A videographer

Develop criteria together.

Make pic for word wall – Use students in the class

Social – Doing and Talking

Fluency

The sound of my voice when I am reading text I care about.  (have to like my audience as well as my text)

Teen ink  is a source

“The day I met you was a bad hair day”

Need texts that are worthy of practice.

“Going to play Simon says. You are going to read the poem like I do!”

3 different emotions:

  1. “You just ate the last Dorito” and I wanted it
  2. “Cutest baby” – change voice to match your meaning
  3. Accused, but didn’t throw paper ball!

   Annotate text for emotion

Specific Chrome Tools

  • Announcify
  • Read and Write for google
  • Ginger – grammar checker
  • Google dictionary – define and save
  • Text compactor – summary
Have 3 or 4 that are extremely effective.

More is NOT better.

Can also change readability

Effort

Behavior mirror

Transfer – Use contexts that are familiar – Audio / Video – Students use daily!

Do what the leader does!  SELL it!

Effort lives in our methodology.

What was something tried and true?  

What was new?  

What will you do next?




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

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August #TCRWP Writing Institute Day 2


Impossible that two days have literally buzzed past in the lightning round of learning.  Time . . . that enemy of teachers everywhere.

What have I learned?  

The learning curve is high.  

There is always more to learn.  

My blog posts this summer are going to be a bit different than previous years.  “Different how?” you might ask.  “Well, more of a focus on application and less focus on ‘reporting’!”

I am completely blown away by the new “Up the Ladder” units available from Heinemann that look like this because I haven’t just read them or watched the videos. I’ve actually “mucked around” with them and tried out some new work as well as experienced the sequence in the Information book in Shana Frazin’s session.

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Link for additional information from Heinemann

For the record, there is one set of 3 books available that could be used for students in grades 3-8. (And yes, the cover says 3-6 so keep reading please!)  In my five years of attendance at #TCRWP, I have had the great privilege of learning from six of the seven listed authors.

(Any errors in this post will be re-posted in another color with accompanying tweets or highly visible corrections. Unfortunately it would be the fault of the operator of this Chromebook, NOT the technology itself.)

August Writing Institute attendees received a copy of the Information “Up the Ladder” spiral bound book.  All participants have had an opportunity to review  the hard copy.

What follows is an opportunity for you to learn more about WHY these units were written, the responses to the “Aha’s” that have been built into these units. the special features that are included, and how you might consider using these units.

Why did the folks at Teachers College write these units?

 

  • To give students who had never had writing workshop an opportunity to “grow into” this work.  For example, fifth graders  new to writing workshop were struggling with writing an argument-based essay when they had not written essays before.

 

 

  • To support teachers who have not done writing workshop before.  Using the unit in professional development would provide common language for teachers unfamiliar with writing workshop and the Units of Study in Writing.  A new to the district third grade teacher could learn a bit about paper choices and “Small Moments” from the learning opportunities in primary grades.

 

  • So students who are struggling writers  who have had difficulty accessing writing  can accelerate their writing.  This can include English Learners or students with IEPs when provided with explicit instruction.

What has been built into these units?

Staff Developer and one of the authors, Alicia Luick shared these “Ahas” in a closing workshop on Monday, Day 1, of the August 2017 Writing Institute.

The “Up the Ladder” units provide additional support because:

  1. The writing process matters.
  2.  Organization must be specifically “taught” (and no, completing a graphic organizer is NOT teaching! – my emphasis)
  3. Teaching into Revision and Student Set Goals is critical.
  4.  Writing volume matters.  The use of writing booklets pumped up the volume exponentially for students in grades 3-8!

What are some special features that a teacher will find in the “Up the Ladder” Units?

 

  • In each session “Teacher Goals and then Student Goals” are side-by-side.
  • QR Code with video models exist for each session. An author models the lesson (minus students) in 6 -10 minutes.
  • Language is clear, concise and easy to follow  with a 6 page maximum length.
  • The end of every unit has ENL’s – English Language Learner suggestions
  • (and added by this author – The post its for the charts are included.)

 

How might teachers use this new resource?  Some Possibilities Include .  . . 

There are several options.  For a district that is new to the Writing Units of Study for grades 3-8, teachers may decide to start the year with all three “Up the Ladder” units before cycling back to grade level units.

Another option might be for a new third grade teacher (for example), to teach the “Up the Ladder” Narrative and then the grade three narrative.  The instructional cycle might continue with “Up the Ladder” Information and then grade 3 information and “Up the Ladder” Opinion and then grade 3 Opinion.

A third option might be more of a “Choose Your Own Adventure”.  A teacher might decide to use the data from the class “pre-on-demands” to determine WHICH (if any) units or bends to teach based on information gathered directly from the students at the beginning of the year.

Are there other possibilities?

YES!  

Most definitely!  

However, a few words of caution.

“Danger, Will Robinson!”

Go back and reread the section about WHY Teachers College (AKA Lucy and Colleagues) wrote these units.

High Expectations lead to High Results.  

Students don’t hit targets that they have never seen.  Simply slowing down the writing instruction so that all students are progressing at a “slower pace” because the units are “too hard” in a district that has been using the Writing Units of Study for multiple years is NOT a viable goal nor the purpose of this resource.  Providing additional support for students or teachers who need INSTRUCTION  or PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT is appropriate.

This week there is a great series at Two Writing Teachers about “Writing Workshop Fundamentals“.  Check out your beliefs and knowledge there!

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Thank you #TCRWP, Shana, and Alicia!  So helpful for students and teachers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#SOL17: #TCRWP Writing – New Friends – Day 1


It began with a DM:

Coaching institute or writing institute?

And of course, there was no easy answer.

It depends!

Knowledge, background, willingness and ability to THINK

and apply.

Such a pleasure to meet that coach this week at the #TCRWP August Writing Institute and to sit in the front row together,

listening to Lucy Calkins together,

tweeting together,

nourishing our social media connections and

our face to face interactions.

NOT on Twitter?  

Then you are missing out on PD opportunities from your home like:

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And I don’t say that lightly!  What a great morning!  More in another post! (Shana Frazin)

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What was your story of Monday?  What did you read or write?

I know 140 characters doesn’t cut it for some folks.  Being concise is an art.  But check out this blog post by my friend Sally Donnelly who I also met via Twitter and TWT for a beautiful summary of Lucy’s keynote with some staggeringly wonderful organization!  I just have a glorious collection of stories!

Keynote – “Fun with Reading and Writing Blog”

Homework caused this post to be quick and light.  More later!




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

AND YES, My Craft Moves is now autographed by the Author!  Thanks, Stacey!

#SOL17 – #DigiLitSunday – Innovation


innovation 3.19.17 digilit Sunday

Link to #DigiLitSunday posts at Margaret Simon’s blog.

Innovation

Not merely regurgitation

Not just analyzing

But moving on to . . . dare I risk it?  . . . innovation?

By reassembling ideas

Through some thoughtful reflection

Should I attempt it?

If you read my found poem yesterday here, you know that I did not attend the 92nd Saturday Reunion sponsored by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  But I did follow along in the TwitterVerse and even collected my re-tweets here in storify.  There are about 150 Tweets there if you want to see some of the quotes, ideas, and Tweets that caught my attention.

In the interest of accuracy, this is NOT my first reporting on LEARNING when I was NOT at the conference.

My Previous Learning Via Twitter instead of In Real Life

Teachers need to have many layers of skills and knowledge.  They need to be EXPERTS with their content skills and strategies (Knowledge Base – the what), pedagogy (how to teach in an interesting and engaging way), design (why and how certain aspects of environment, technology, and instruction overlap) and in student development (to understand the faces/bodies in front of them each day). Which of those gets precedence on any given day?

IT DEPENDS!

As a teacher, it’s important for you to know and understand the skills, strategies of the standards and curricula as well as your goals for your grade level so the learning targets are crystal clear.  Communication skills must be honed so that students clearly understand the purposes of today’s work and the connections that build every day to meet those end goals.  However all of these are totally influenced by teacher beliefs and expectations.  The teacher has to believe that ALL students can learn and learn at high levels.  And what is it that they must learn?

Learning and school CANNOT be about preparation for the next grade. Grade levels assigned by century old arbitrary calendar years are not working for students.  The goal in every classroom must be to prepare the students to be productive and independent citizens of the world.  So that means no more points taken off for papers turned in a day late (where does that REALLY happen in the real world?), and that students need more VOICE and CHOICE in the work that is done in classrooms on a regular basis. And they also need to be risk takers, entrepreneurs, brave, empathetic,  and . . .

“Wow, Fran, I was at #TCRWP and I didn’t hear any of that?”

My Take Aways from #TCRWP by Twitter:

  1.  What do you value?  How do we know?                                                                                      Set clear expectations for your students. Share your expectations for the students with them and then share what they can expect from the teacher. Here is one example from a reading teacher.  Source:  photo and tweet by Jane Losinger

    portfolio expectations                                                                               Why does this matter?  

    This is NOT the same as My Job/Your Job.  These statements share/show what you, the teacher value as a promise to the students. When I see these statements in your classroom or on your class website, I know how you will make decisions about time, resources, and even daily instruction. I can also make predictions about what I think your classroom will look like based on what you say you value!  Bonus:  This maters because of this Hattie result:

t-s-relationships

2.  Be excited, passionate, enthusiastic EVERY minute of EVERY day!

Who knows when or which connection will work for a student?  If it’s boring for you, it may also be boring for your students.  You don’t have to be an entertainer and an expert at “song and dance routines”.  But you do need to be reflective and consider your impact on your students.  Ask yourself, “Would I REALLY want to be a student in this class?”  Source:  Keynote Address – Tweet by Mike Ochs

      “Come to work every day like it’s your first day”—Drew Dudley

Why does this matter?

The first day of a new job is filled with excitement and wonder.  Share that wonder ALL the time with your students! The students deserve your very best every minute.  There really is no time in the schedule for “do overs” so make every minute count the first time. But also focus on how each student can be a future leader.  Leaders are kind. Leaders are caring. Leaders are compassionate. Teach for long-term transfer.  Know your class well so you can make wise, well-informed decisions that fuel your students’ passions and excitement.

3.  Make the learning work visible and therefore attainable for students.  

Make sure that you have a depth of knowledge about your content so that you truly understand what students need to do for the next increment of learning.  That deep understanding is your own scaffold that you can later remove when students are successful.  Tools that can help students reach for the sky and all those lofty expectations are critical. Source:  Katie Clements tweet

@missalissanyc shares an awesome progression to help Grade 3 mystery readers lift the level of their prediction work.#tcrwp”

progression for gr 3 mystery reader predictions missalissanyc.jpg

Why does this matter?

Students need to have clear learning targets in order to meet them.  They can’t be secrets. They can’t be moving targets.  Clear. Attainable. Clearly defined for self assessment because then students can figure out exactly how to improve their work in order to meet the criteria. Predictions seem like a fairly easy skill but they don’t occur in isolation and need a cycle of predicting, reading/watching/viewing, considering the degree to which the prediction was met, re-predicting (rinse and repeat) with those elements based on both explicit text references and implicit or inferred responses to the text! And to top it off a student needs to be predicting while collecting evidence to help grow other theories.  Reading is COMPLICATED and does not happen one individual skill at a time!

And this bonus from Hattie:

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4. Readers and Writers must be thinkers.

In your adult life are you really expected to be a “fact regurgitator”? Or are you expected to be a problem solver? A creative thinker?  Source:  Tweets from Mary Ehrenworth’s presentation.

“We are not looking for your first thinking, we are looking for your best thinking.”
Create reading notebook pages that open up thinking and develop thinking not tell what you already know.”

Why does this matter?

Thinking in life is not optional.  The twenty first century is leaving the adults in the dust and we REALLY have no clue what jobs will be available for our kiddos when they graduate from school and move into the work force.  We need to stop pretending that we have any real ideas and instead support students to make choices now.  Students need a lot of practice in making decisions and being successful as well as making decisions and FAILING.  That really is part of life.  How we respond in the face of adversity is a true sign of our character.  Let’s support students to be more cognizant of their own need to self-advocate for time, resources, and choices to increase their own learning NOW!

5. Circling back around to values – How are you going to put them into action?

What is your plan?  Where will you start?  What will you do?  “Talk is cheap.” Time is precious! How do you make your actions match your “Professed Values”? Source:  Mr. Minor tweeted by Julie Jee

vision to action.jpg

Why does it matter?

Without specific actions, what will change?  Keep it simple and doable.  Don’t make it another form to be filled out and submitted to the accountability committee for leadership committee for change.  Make it a focus for face to face conversations.  Build a plan with someone else to increase your own accountability!

Ultimately . . .

I am ending with my thoughts after reading many of the quotes from Lucy Calkin’s closing.  I’ve been there. Inspired. Mesmerized. Prepped for action. Ready to conquer the world.  Ready to slay dragons after a day at a Saturday Reunion. And yet I can also imagine the tears shed for our beloved friend, Kathleen Tolan.

Choose something.

Something you believe in.

Support it.  

Work for change.  

The Democracy in your classroom and in the world still needs your voice and the voice of your students who will inhabit this earth for many years to come!

Where will you begin?

Values?

Actions?

How will we know you are using your gift of learning?

gift


Innovation = My application of doing new things as a result of what I thought/believed I heard today in my #tcrwp Twitter Feed.

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

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early morning slicer

#SOLSC17: Planning


I search my computer.

My starting point.

What do I already have?

Think.

Take a walk.

Come back and dig in.

A PLAN!

What does this connect to?

Who are my go to authors?

The most accurate sources?

So many tabs open that I can only see a letter on each.

What to keep?

What to file?

What to read?

Which books do I put on my stack?

And the big question:

What to use?

I’m working on my PD for Monday.

What’s my plan? 

What’s my process?

Be not dismayed!

I have books.

I have professional books.

I have shelves and shelves and shelves of books!

books-first

But sometimes my book is on my desk at the office . . .

And sometimes someone has borrowed my book and is reading it!

Have you seen my secret weapon?

This was new to me just last month.  It’s the Heinemann Digital Library and it’s already been a lifesaver.  Understand this. I greatly admire the many authors that can narrow down their “5 Most Influential Book Lists”. I really, really do!  However, I struggle to narrow down my “Top 5 Books for Fluency” or “My Top 5 Books for Conferring” or My Top 5 Books for Small Group Instruction”. (Is it too many books or too many favorites?)

What’s the Heinemann Digital Library?

It’s an annual subscription resource for unlimited and searchable access to books, articles, videos and even courses to learn more about reading, writing, assessment, early childhood, math, school improvement, and many more topics.

Why am I so fascinated with the Heinemann Digital Library?

Well, I am often known to have TWO copies of my well-used, beloved professional books.  One is marked up with questions, comments, “!”, “*”, and other annotations.  Pages will be dog-eared.  Some may be tabbed.  And yes, there will be sticky notes but those notes don’t remain sticky for long if I’m constantly peeling them off to peer at the words underneath.  Access to the digital library now means that I can access the resource from my computer which is so handy when quite frankly, I don’t really remember where the book is right now.

How have I used this resource?

Here’s one example.  I needed to add more information to my knowledge base and find some specifics for increasing student engagement during writing workshop.  I have several resources on my stack on my desk:

Writing Pathways by Lucy Calkins

The Unstoppable Writing Teacher by Colleen Cruz (also in the Digital Library)

The Writing Strategies Book:  Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers by Jennifer Serravallo

But I now also have these books, articles and a video courtesy of the Heinemann Digital Library.

students-onestudents-twostudents-three

students-four

One video, two articles, and three books . . . plus the resources that I already have.  I’m pretty confident that I have a wide range of professional resources from recognized literacy researchers, experts and teachers.  I have my resources and I’m now ready to work!

How does this connect to classroom work?

This is also the work that I would expect high school students to complete independently (after providing the groundwork in elementary) for the following ELA College and Career Ready Anchor Standards.

Reading:

“CCRA.R.1  Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCRA.R.2 Determine central odeas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCRA.R.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.”
“CCRA.W.2  Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCRA.W.4  Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCRA.W.5  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCRA.W.6  Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
CCRA.W.7  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCRA.W.8  Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
CCRA.W.9  Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CCRA.W.10  Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.”

I would not presume to say that “working on the standards ONCE” would allow me to determine whether the standard has been met.  I would want a body of evidence but that’s a whole different series of blog topics!

If you plan professional development, what’s your process?

Where do you get your quality resources?


Additional Resources:

Heinemann Digital Library Link here

@HeinemanPub

@HeinemanPD

and, in the spirit of disclosure, Yes, this was written after conversations with Cathy Brophy at Heinemann after I purchased my own personal membership to the Heinemann Digital Library and tweeted about it.

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

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#DigiLitSunday: Craft


Check out the links to other DigiLit Sunday posts at Margaret Simon’s blog here.

Craft:  What is it?

A woodworker has many tools that may range from hand tools like chisels. planes and mallets to power tools like saws, drills, and presses that can aid the process of turning out finely crafted projects.

Is the craft in the “Doing” or is the craft in the “Final Product”?

In writing there are many sources of craft.  Some of my favorites are:

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Lucy Calkins,

Ralph Fletcher,

Lester Laminack, and

craft-moves

Stacey Shubitz to name just a few.

So many sources of craft information exist. Do I need craft information along the way as I draft or do I need the information as I revise and improve the clarity, anticipate a reader’s questions, and add additional information to make the work more interesting?  I believe that writers need both skills. The more that a writer knows and anticipates in the drafting process, perhaps the revision will become less burdensome.

What is a teacher to do?  Where should the teacher begin?

Many strategies and craft moves can be and are taught, but at some point the choices used by writers will come down to the individual authors.  Strategic use of those moves needs to fit within the piece of writing that the author has undertaken.  A wide repertoire of moves that fit into a grade level range of writing will come from mentor texts.  Those mentor texts are often published texts, teacher written texts or student written texts.  What a student will use will depend on the applicability to this piece.  Teaching students to “self-assess” and even to “self-reflect” on their use of craft will be important.  That’s one of the  reasons why I believe these items in a fifth grade opinion writing checklist that students can use are absolutely critical!

Development . Elaboration and Craft.jpg

Writers make many decisions as they draft and revise about their own writing.  Tools with visible examples that students can use when talking about their writing or matching to a checklist or a rubric will put the power of writing choices in the hands of students.

Have you equipped your students to be able to make their own decisions about writing craft?  What low-tech and digital tools have been helpful?

How do you make decisions about your own craft moves in your writing?

#DigiLitSunday: Agency


 

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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:

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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!

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Evidence of Agency for me yesterday?

  1. That I could choose the free sessions to attend from the comfort of my home.
  2. 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!

Interesting?

Yes

Life Shattering?

No . . . er . . . I don’t know YET!

Affirming?

Yes

Inspiring?

Yes

New?

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”.

burkins-and-yaris-nine-mental-process-s-can-use-by-self-takes-time

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?”

burkins-and-yaris-eleven-book-process

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.

clare-and-tammy-assess-two

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!)

#DigiLit Sunday: Digital Writing Craft


In June I wrote this post that showed some of the work that I was doing in Canva and in Google Drawings – both digital medium that I “had seen” but new to me on the creation side!  At that time it really felt like a new leap of faith . . . similar to sky-diving or jet packing but is now a regular part of my repertoire when I think of “ways” to display learning.

digilit

As I considered ideas for this post and waited and waited and waited on my slow computer, I was mentally rehearsing the title.  “Digital Writing Craft”and these questions surfaced.

What is “Digital Writing Craft”?

Why is “Digital Writing Craft” important?

Why now?

I’m going to begin with the end in mind . . . Why now?

Consider your goals for Digital Writing at the end of the year.  “Your expectations are your students’ ceiling” (Lucy Calkins) and you need to have a plan in mind if digital writing is going to be a goal for you or your students this year.  Your journey may meander a bit, but without clear end goals, the likelihood of meeting your end target will be slim! A bit of planning time now and during the course of your work will help keep your learning goals aligned with your final target.

What is “Digital Writing Craft”?

Digital Writing is ubiquitous and I believe it is probably most easily defined in the medium in which is is created. For example, what is the “craft” that needs to be considered if one is blogging?  What is the “craft” that needs to be considered if one is tweeting?  What is the “craft” that needs to be considered if one is voxing?  The medium helps define the “craft features” or “moves” that can be added.

So the answer is . . . (drum roll)

“IT DEPENDS!”

The craft will be directly related to the presentation style/medium that is use.  Moving away from social medium examples to more traditional “print-based” writing, what “digital craft” is needed to create an infographic?  A travelogue in pictures?  A google document with pictures, hyperlinks and embedded video?

I believe that digital writing craft will need to be defined by the authors as they immerse themselves in a study of models of that medium and then determine the moves that they want to emulate.  Decisions will be many . . . How many pictures?  How much white space?  What is “reader” friendly? What kinds and sizes of fonts / headings / text boxes? are just the first ones that come to my mind.  I’m sure that you and your students can add many, many more!

Why is “Digital Writing Craft” important?

I believe “Digital Writing Craft” is where we really do have the opportunity AND the obligation to provide real audiences for our student writing.  I also believe that this is the writing of the future.  More and more print is prevalent every second of every day in the world.  Digital work is an evolving world that our students must be able to navigate and participate responsibly in for the rest of their lives!  It’s a “REAL LIFE SKILL”!

What “Digital Writing Craft” is in your repertoire?

How are you increasing your skills, knowledge and understanding of “Digital Writing Craft”?

What’s your next step?

Check out “DigiLit Sunday” posts here!

And yes, Margaret said “Crafting Digital Writing” but I could NOT figure out how to craft that “digital writing” that was yet undefined so my post may help someone “beginning” to craft digital writing!

 

 

#TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 1


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.

Exploding head

08 May 2001 — Exploding head — Image by © John Lund/CORBIS

WHY?

Information Overload!

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.

Takeaway Questions:

  1. How will you support your reading community?
  2. Maybe we need a new educational story.  To reach, to dream, to grow strong . . What do you need in order to grow yourself?
  3. How can you grow your own version of #TCRWP?  Your own nest?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?

 

Amanda Hartman

Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)

Funny.

Fast-paced.

Articulate.

Explanation and Demonstration.

Powerful Whole Class Instruction for K-2 Students

  1. Clarity and Concise Language
  2. Engaging and Engaged
  3. Assess and Give Feedback
  4. Links and Skills (Strategies) to Independent and Partner/Club Work
  5.  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?

Teaching Point

Pacing – Vitality, Having students think alongside us, Student talk/listen/feedback

Assessment

Feedback

Takeaways:

  1. Whole class teaching – staying focused is critical! Don’t let student responses lead you down the rabbit hole!
  2. 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.
  3. Focus on one Teaching Point. Not a “Never ending Teaching Point”
  4. Growing students means lots of practice.  That lesson won’t have teacher demonstration but will instead have tons of student practice – PLAN.FOR.IT.
  5. Study lessons together. Discuss the work together.  Build your own community to support your learning about the teaching of reading!

Kathleen Tolan

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 . . .

  1.  Demonstration Small Group
  2. 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!

Takeaways:

  1.  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”.
  2. 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!
  3. Increase your accountability for small groups with a public, visible schedule.  That will push you as the teacher as well as the students.
  4. 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”.
  5. 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?

slice of life 2016

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!

 

 

#TCRWP Reading Begins Today


On the schedule for today:

Registration

Keynote

Lucy Calkins @ Riverside Church

A Call to Action

AM  Advanced

Amanda Hartman

Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini-lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)

PM Advanced

Kathleen Tolan

Beyond Guided Reading: Expanding Your Repertoire of Small Group Work in Nonfiction (3-8)

Choice Session

???

So many great sessions to choose from with staff developers:

Kathleen Tolan

Cheryl Tyler

Kathy Collins

Jen DeSutter

Shanna Schwartz

Lindsay Barton

Brooke Geller

Jennifer Kean-Thompson

Natalie Louis

Pablo Wolfe

Audra Robb

Lucy Calkins

Shana Frazin

Katie Wears

Molly Picardi

Keynotes for the remainder of the week:

Matt De la Pena, Donalyn Miller, Freddy Hiebert, and Natalie Louis!

It’s Monday, June 27th!

So blessed to be learning for a second week at #tcrwp.

However, it’s 2:00 in the morning!

First-day excitement!

I can still sleep for hours and hours!

Anticipation!

Way toooooo early!

Post a blog!

Back to sleep!

Dreaming of life and learning in NYC!

NYC two

What will you be learning today?  

Will you be following the Booth Bay tweets?  #bblit16  

Or #ISTE16?  Or #NOTatISTE16?

What’s on your learning plan?

 

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