Tag Archives: Lucy Calkins

#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:

art of writing calkins.jpg

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


 

digilit

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:

agency.jpg

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!

agency-two

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?

 

#TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 1


It’s majestic even when under construction (yes, still) when the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project keynote begins at  Riverside Church.

There was a “comfortable-ness” in the air in both the words and in Lucy’s delivery as she spoke of TCRWP days past, present and future.

lucy

We’ve come from 48 countries and 43 states.  Leaders of state-wide reform, scores of principals and literacy coaches. And teachers by the hundreds.”

We heard that the teaching of writing matters.   Lucy said she was blown away by the sheer miracle of our presence.  The teacher’s job is not to teach information but to teach how to access – writing is the best tool that we have for that work –  doing something with that information at our fingertips!  Writing comes from within us.

On day one of registration for this institute, 8,000 applied.

Writing Matters!

We, the 1600 seated in Riverside Church, heard stories of Donald Murray, Donald Graves, riding on the Patagonia interspersed with quotes and excerpts of writing.

Lucy 2

And then, “Artistry in the Teaching of Writing”.  Lucy spoke of teachers who know the Writing Units of Study forward and backwards and who can quote the bends  – and the work therein.  These same teachers, however, aren’t all writers and therefore don’t have the deep understanding of “the heart of writing”.

 

Lucy 3

Writing has been written about, talked about and studied at great length!  More time needs to be spent on the envisioning because our students will only be able to meet our expectations.  Our expectations will truly be their ceiling of learning.

Lucy spent time talking about these three stages of the writing process:

” * Rehearse

   * Draft

    * Revise and Edit”

The stories were many.  Sometimes Lucy raced through quotes and parts.  And yet at other times she lingered.

Takeaways:

  1. Revision is not just prettying up the page, adding detail, a new beginning or ending. It’s all about growing insights or realizations! LC
  2. Units of Study:  “I don’t know if they really highlight the depth that I know is necessary for rehearsal and revision.  After you write a draft (in a WHOOSH), cycle back to rehearsal.  That’s the cycle of life in the process.  Is that the push in the UoS?” LC
  3. “If you need to rethink your teaching, how does that make you feel? To embrace the writing life and outgrow yourself over time – there’s more I could have done, you want to have a glad feeling of possibility of a place to outgrow yourself to.” LC
  4. “How can we see beyond our best work?  If you embrace revision, if you embrace writerly life, you will need to learn from your writing!  Grow an image of what is essential!” LC
  5. “If you want to support a person’s growth, treat them as if they are already the person you want them to be.” LC

Which idea do you want to consider to ponder?

Session 1. “Ratchet Up the Level of Your Students’ Writing by Teaching Them Revision: Tapping into the Power of Mentor Texts and Checklists (K-2)”  

Celena Larkey

Revision needs to happen A LOT across the day.  One place to add revision and allow practice at the primary grades is during Shared Writing.  With the teacher holding the pen and children dictating the possibilities, students can have A LOT of practice that increases their understanding!

literacy components

How do we revise?  Revision comes after every step of the writing process.  It may look different as in “Revise in the air – rehearsal all the time!!! EVERY part of workshop even in K, 1, 2. Get idea, revise, plan, revise. . . Revision is NOT one special day on the unit plan calendar! It’s every day!” CL

revision Celena

We had adult writer’s workshop in this session.  More to come on that in later days.  So nice to see and hear writing conferences as well.  Second time to write on the first morning of #TCRWP June 2016 Writing Institute!

Celena talked about turning points in memoirs.  “One little event, one little action that sets you up for change. Sketch those moments.   Rehearse. Revise in the air. Tell the story in the air! Talk to and/with a partner about those moments. Iron out that turning point.  It won’t sound like a story YET!  It won’t sound like writing YET!  It won’t sound like a memoir yet!”

Takeaways: 

  1. Revision is not a checklist. CL
  2. Revision occurs during and after each and every step of the writing process. CL
  3. As a writer, it is important to know HOW you define revision.  How do you revise?  Is it easy?  Is it difficult? CL
  4. If your story is “my kids don’t like to revise or my kids don’t want to revise”, you have to change that story line as Don Graves said, “If writing is 100%, revision is 85%.” Your expectations as Lucy said do matter!  CL
  5. In the beginning, you will want to see evidence of physical re-writing (flaps, post-its, revision pen), because those first revisions will develop volume, stamina, and risk-taking. Habits and behaviors will come from your philosophy of writing! CL

How have these takeaways and notes added to your K-2 writing knowledge base?  

What do you want to remember?

Session 2:  “Power Tools, Methods and Strategies:  Access and Support for English Language Learners and Kids with IEPs in the Writing Workshop (4-8)”

Colleen Cruz

When working with “Striving readers”, Colleen had us consider:  personality, expertise, strengths, needs – not just problem areas!  This positive, asset-building approach reminded us of the many things that a target student (one with an IEP, labeled EL, or both) could be viewed “as more than one way.”  In order to teach students who are struggling, we must know them!

Colleen challenged us to observe students in many ways (and this is in her wonderful book, The Unstoppable Writing Teacher).  Storytelling circles on the first day of school.  Ask students to bring an object that the student can tell a story off of!   English learning students can tell story in dominant language and then tell in English or with a partner as a scaffold.  And then consider collecting knowledge in these areas:

  • Social conversations
  • Whole-class conversation
  • Small-froup conversation
  • Pen grip
  • Feet placement
  • Closeness of face to paper (vision)
  • Legibility and size of writing
  • Pressure on pen
  • Eyes during workshop (on charts, on own work, on classmates’ work, wndering)
  • Posture
  • Patterns of geting started in writing
  • Patterns in topics
  • Patterns in strategies
  • Subject area of strength
  • Subject areas of struggle
  • When experiencing success . . .
  • When experiencing frustration . . .
  • Areas of expertise
  • Spelling
  • Grammar

Take Aways:

  1. Telling stories about students changes us from thinking about them as case studies to more personalized humans. CC
  2. Observation data is important so take at least once a month to truly observe – “First Friday of the month – take time to watch your class.What is it that this child does?” CC
  3. Only give feedback on one thing!!!  Make it be a BIG Ticket Thought where other things can be “tucked underneath!” CC
  4. When reviewing a student on demand piece, name what students are doing – helps with teaching purpose – without jargon and buzz words.  Keep your language simple. CC
  5. Go to understood.org – Look up a disability.  How can this add to your repertoire? CC

What themes are you beginning to see emerge from across the day?

Closing session:  “The TCRWP’s Latest and Best Thinking about Efficient, Powerful Small Group Work that Accelerates Students’ Progress in Dramatic Ways”

Amanda Hartman

Small groups might be for:

Demonstration

Explain/Example

Inquiry

Shared Writing & / or Interactive

Word Study

Don’t wait.

Use small groups NOW!

PLAN for three small group sessions in a row – And not the same sequence/type each time.  Not all students will need all three sessions! But some will when your goal is building independence and seeing evidence of transfer.  Students will be sitting there.  You need to have that specific learning target (AND YES, only one) that will move the writing across all kinds, all pieces.

What matters?

  • Crystal clear goals
  • MOSTLY the kids (Pacing)
  • NOT brand-new
  • Practice – Repetitive – Transfer
  • Scaffolding
  • Feedback
  • Create a series – use a mini-chart

What tools are you giving students?

 

  • Writing in the air
  • Lead in phrases or sentence starters
  • Refer back to a tool (shouldn’t be a NEW one when working on practice)

Take Aways:

  1. Use of Strategies to attain goals 80-85% of small group is practice. NOT NEW GOALS! AH
  2. A small group session of 10 minutes will have two minutes of teacher talk and eight minutes of student practice so that the teacher can check in with each student three times! AH
  3. If Ss struggle, how long do you wait? Who do you help? Help students who need quick nudge so that you then have 3 of 4 students working and can really spend more time with the one stuck student. AH
  4. Be prepared. What are my coaching moves? What are my scaffolds?   Demonstration, lean directions, teaching tool?  AH
  5. “How do I set up for two or three small group sessions in a row? How do I help Ss incorporate and use the strategies with more automaticity and independence?” AH

For me  . . .

I have homework tasks yet to do, but writing this post helped me think about what I HEARD today.

Where/ how/ when will I use this information?  

How is my learning helping me revise my thinking?  

Which comes first – the learning, the revision of thinking, or the openness to new thinking?

slice of life 2016

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 Writing: Day 1


Today begins with registration

Photo ID and email from TCRWP

Required for entrance

Lucy Calkins

Keynote at Riverside Church

“Artistry in the Teaching of Writing”

Session I

Celena Larkey

“Ratchet Up the Level of Your Students’ Writing by Teaching Them Revision: Tapping into the Power of Mentor Texts and Checklists (K-2)”

Lunch

Rebecca Cronin

Social Media Butterfly Cafe

Networking for Bloggers

Session 2

Colleen Cruz

Power Tools, Methods and Strategies:  Access and Support for English Language Learners and Kids with IEPs in the Writing Workshop (4-8)

Closing Workshops

To be forced to choose from:

Amanda Hartman

Christine Holley

Lauren Kolbeck

Lindsay Mann

Rachel Rothman

Dani Sturtz

Brianna Friedman-Parlitis

Kathleen Tolan

Eric Hand

Jennifer Keen-Thompson

Carl Anderson

Colleen Cruz

Katy Wischow

teachers college

Just knowing that later this week

Keynotes will include . . .

Ralph Fletcher

Jack Gantos

Pam Munoz Ryan (Echo)

This week

Living a writerly life!

What’s on your “learning schedule” on this fine, fine Monday in June?

#SOL16: Anticipation


“My bags are packed,

I’m ready to go.

I’m standing here outside my door”;

SCREEEECH! (needle on record player scratches the vinyl record)

BECAUSE my phone says, “3 days until my trip to New York City”.

What a bummer!

Does this look like a summer rerun?

On Friday, I’m off to my fourth #TCRWP June Writing Institute and the #June Reading Institute and I am ready to go.

I’ve checked my list at least three times . . .

1 trip to the bank

2 packed carry on bags

3 pairs of black shoes

4 notebooks to separate the week long sessions

5 colors of Pilot erasable highlighters

6 colors of Flair markers

7 th series of flights to #TCRWP ( 4 Institutes and 3 Saturday Reunions)

8 the midpoint day of this round of travel

9 th trip to NYC in my lifetime

10 google docs already created and labeled for each day of note-taking

11 electrical devices and power cords

12 hours to grade graduate work

13 chapters to read and I can finish three professional books before I go

14 days of learner – ready apparel to plan for

15 days of fun, learning, and hanging out with some Twitter, Voxer, blogging, reading and writing friends!!!

Priceless ~

Necessary learning in order to grow as a professional . . .

countdown.jpg

I will

survive

In fact, I will flourish because this is my FIRST agenda for learning!

writing sections.JPG

reading sections.JPG

Rock Star Facilitators Celena, Colleen, Amanda, and Kathleen!

And also . . .

“Fun Home” on Broadway,

Dinner with friends,

Twitter Book Club Chats,

Google Book Club Chats,

Conversations on Voxer

because Iowans in NYC are always on the go . . .

and Iowans at #TCRWP soak up every minute of learning!

Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Thinking . . .

and oh, so JOYFUL (#OLW) to have this opportunity to grow, learn, live and laugh!

How will you grow this summer?

How will you increase your knowledge and skills in order to be a “better you” next year?

 

slice of life 2016

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

 

 

#SOL16: March Challenge Day 21 – Books


puzzled

So, yeah!

I have this problem.

This one teeny-tiny little problem.

I like books.

I like books a lot.

I have had summer jobs for over 10 20 30 years just to pay for my book habit.

In fact, I would not be stepping out on a limb here if I said,

“I LOVE BOOKS.”

So when I heard that TCRWP was going to develop lists of books for classroom libraries,

one side of me said,

“YAY, now I will know what the top of the line BEST books are!”

while the more frugal side of me said,

“Darn, I’ll need another job because this is really going to hurt my book budget!”

90th Saturday FREE Reunion – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

trumpet circle

So here is what I think I heard in Session 4.  Get the Latest Scoop on Books and on the To-Die-For-Classroom Library Project

Lucy Calkins, Shana Frazin, Norah Mallaney. Molly Picardi and Heather Michael were all gathered in 136 Thompson to explain progress with the #TCRWP Classroom Library Project. (If you have not heard about the classroom project, you can read about it here on the TCRWP website. Read it now and then come back!)

Goals / Process:

  • Develop a state of the art classroom library that students will want to and will be able to read.
  • Make sure every word of every book is read so no surprise language exists anywhere.
  • Represent the diverse culture we see in our current world.

Lists were solicited from teachers and other TCRWP literacy aficionados.   However, approximately  50% of the books on the lists were picture books. The review team has searched for chapter books, when appropriate by level, to increase the volume of print as well as continued to monitor a balance of fiction and nonfiction.  Book levels were also a concern as Lucy said, “Levels need to be accurate. We want the right books in kids’ hands; books they can and do read!”

Here are pictures of book covers of some of the books recommended for the libraries of students in grades 3 – 5.

And then for students in grades K 2:

  • Rigby’s Where does Food Come From?
  • Hammerray – Mrs. Wishy Washy

The group shared some of the things they had learned before a quick guided tour of the book review work.

  • Titles for book bins do matter so the labels will be preprinted.
  • Curating a collection of books that will sustain students’ interest is hard.
  • High-low books are not all equal for middle school readers and finding age-appropriate and conceptually appropriate leveled books for MS students is tough.

Lucy reiterated that these would NOT just be your favorite books and few picture books would be included in classroom libraries.  Why? Because 4 student chapter books could be bought for the price of one picture book. The few that are included will be in the brief “Read Aloud” section of the shelf!

What books do you know?

What books look interesting to you?



Process:

I ordered (10 books) and saved copies of those book covers during the session (to my “blog pictures” folder on my desktop).  Ten was my limit! I read through my notes on Sunday and pulled the pictures of the remaining book covers and spent time perusing Hameray and other book publisher sites.  A.lot.of.time! (Remember I said I had a book problem. Did you really think I could click without stopping to read?  I had to look up Joy Cowley and then I was interested in her woodworking and then back to just how many Mrs. Wishy Washy books are there?  Wonder  .  .  .  I created the opening, defined my categories, added the tags and then pasted in my notes from my Word Document.  I did have to reload all the pictures into WordPress, but I had put the names into my doc so it went quickly.


slice of life 2016

Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!

 

 

 

 

 

#SOL16: March Challenge Day 20 – #TCRWP


nyc skyline

So what does the NYC skyline mean to me?  

It’s home to the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. And for two weeks each of the last three summers, it has been home to incredible learning documented on this blog.  Learning that has stretched me as a literate being, a reader and writer who learns alongside teachers and students.  Yesterday was a beautiful learning day as it was my third Saturday Reunion at TCRWP.  A day where attendees could hear Andrew Solomon, Lucy Calkins, Stephanie Harvey, Jennifer Serravallo, Carl Anderson,  Kathy Collins, Kathleen Tolan, Colleen Cruz, Amanda Hartman, and a whole host of other amazing TC Staff Developers.  ( Your assignment:  As you read this post, think about what you believe I value based on what I share in this post.)

A day of learning.

A day of choices (pages and pages in the printed trail guide and/or scrolling for hours in the new app).

A gift of a day.

But this gift was not without a price.

If Lucy Calkins’ closing keynote did not move you to action, please keep reading.  You missed the point!

Why are we here?

In Lucy’s own words, “We come here to feel less weird.”

We came to be a part of the tradition and the rituals of a process of continually learning.  We are a community of learners who have gold membership.  We are the traditions and habits of our lives.  Sometimes we stand out in our own schools and communities because we are not seen as conformists, we always want more for our students, or we really don’t want to be told by a textbook how to teach, so we quietly (sometimes) do our own little teaching in our own little corner away from the prying eyes of other less supportive communities.

But that’s not enough!

Spring is the time of new beginnings.  Lucy shared some characteristics of leaders: dominance, steadiness, influence, and compliance. We need to think about how we build leaders in our classrooms because leading only for the sake of compliance seems short-sighted at best.

What are the goals of our classrooms?

We want our students to be joyfully literate might be one answer.

So that means the teacher would set up the classroom so that students would have choices in their daily reading and writing work that would allow them to strengthen their own skills and knowledge as well as their own love of reading.  Simply stated.  Not so simply created.  This relies heavily on a deep understanding of the values, traditions, rituals and habits that are going to be the load-bearing walls of the classroom and sustain everyone in times of trouble. Everyone’s learning curve will be off the charts.

Everyone?

Teachers College Reading and Writing Project staff model this belief when 80 of them study together every Thursday and commit themselves to teaching and using that learning.  What a supportive community!

“No, we can’t come to your school on Thursday.”

“No, we can’t schedule on top of Thursday learning.”

Totally music to my ears.  Learning and growing together as a community to move forward. Choice matters.  We need to create these communities of respectful learning.  Some of us will seek out friends from across the country to continue to study and learn with, but we the adults, MUST do the work that we are asking students to do.

WHY?

Literacy instruction is not about telling someone else HOW to do it.  It’s about the demonstrations and modeling that are steeped in the values, traditions and rituals of the classroom that support growth for all learners.  It’s hard to demonstrate when you’ve not done the work yourself.  You can’t anticipate the troubles.  You can’t anticipate the successes.  Your toolbox is empty if you haven’t done the work yourself.

Where can you start?

You can begin a habit of writing! Lucy shared with us that the action of writing about our experience helps us live a more wide-awake life!  We pay more attention to what is going on around us!  Make it a habit – and research says that five times of “doing” followed by “writing” can make it a habit.

Where will I start?

Another fact shared by Lucy was that the average person gets two minutes per year of positive feedback.  I’m gong to make it a habit, by the end of this year, to make sure that I give positive valuable feedback!  I’m long on the “will to get started” and short on the details, but I will have travel time to think about “how to implement.” I want to build that tradition or habit of being someone who provides positive feedback! (Currently, I’m not likely to say “That’s really pathetic” ALL the time; but I’m also not always as wide awake about small approximations as I should be.)

Why does this matter?

Habits constitute 40% of our lives on a daily basis.  I want 40% of my life to be devoted to more positive and joyful actions!  I want to help build MORE leaders! Our world is in dire need of great and empathetic leaders.

Are you a leader?

How do you lead?

“What tradition will you build in your classroom?”


 

Process:

With fellow “Slicers” yesterday, I discussed beginning two different posts and seeing how they went.  My first actions were to scan all 19 pages of my notes – making sure that the titles for each session were firmly embedded (then goodbye paper copy) and then I just thought about over all themes for the day.  I clearly heard that “we have to do the work” all day long in every session.  Then I decided that my first work would be retelling the story of Lucy’s closing keynote in many of her words and some of mine. Friends – 5 more sessions to talk about YET to come!)

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!

 

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