Tag Archives: Margaret Simon

#WhyIWrite


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Why I write:

To think

To reveal

To process

To deepen my understanding

To check my understanding

To analyze my thinking

To share my learning

To wonder

To share

To be a model for teachers and students and

To experience the JOY of a community . . .

Those are some of the reasons I write.

(And as soon as I hit “publish” I will think of at least 10 other “better”reasons that I wish I had thought of during the three days that I worked on this draft!)




Planning

Drafting

Revising

Conferencing

Revising

Publishing

Do these steps look familiar?

But do they match your current reality in your writing?

Do they match your current reality in your writing instruction?

I’ve been spying on my writing for over a year . . . literally in search of patterns that I could identify in my own writing.  Trying to decide on that next big goal for myself – ambitious or “doable”? . . . lofty or practical?

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as finding a pattern, setting up some demos and “off you go” because writing is complicated.

Steps are added or revised . . .

If I have to stop and research.

If I have to completely scrap my draft because it is really so pathetic.

If I have to continue my “search for a topic”.

If I have to . . .

So here are some resources,

Quite literally, some food for thought!

Because all of these relate to just one simple standard in writing and yet this standard (and its intent) are often overlooked in a search for a priority or a way to reduce/simplify the writing standards!

“CCR. W.5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.”

A previous blog post that connected to this standard is in the 2014 archives here!


Planning

Planning – Where does an idea come from?  – my blog post

Celebrate Celebrating – a blog post from Julieanne Harmatz (grade 5)

Learn by Writing – Lynne Dorfman’s blog post

Helping Students Plan their Writing – a blog post by Melanie Meehan

Using Technology for a Kindergartner’s Writing Process – a blog post by Melanie Meehan


Writing Goals

Introducing a Hierarchy of Writing Goals – a blog post by Jennifer Serravallo

Goal Setting – my blog post


Drafting:  Beginnings  (somewhere – trying more than just one beginning – trying a new approach

21 of the Best Opening Lines in Children’s Books

The Beginning – my blog post

Strong Leads – Jennifer Wagner (2nd grade)

Drafting – Endings

Behind the Books:  The Perfect Ending – blog post by Melissa Stewart

The Ending – my blog post

Drafting – Telling a Story Bit by Bit

Celebrating Story – blog post by Julieanne Harmatz

Drafting – Organization, Elaboration, and Craft

Elaboration Strategies for Information Writing Dig- Two Writing Teachers

Text Structures – blog post by Melissa Stewart

Specific Examples of the Power of Three – Stacey Shubitz

First Graders Get Crafty – Dana Murphy

DigiLit Sunday:  Craft – blog post by Margaret Simon


Revising

Revising as part of the Process – blog post by Melanie Meehan

No Monkeys, No Chocolate: 10 year Revision Timeline – blog post by Melissa Stewart


Editing as a part of publication

Your Turn Lesson:  The Colon – A blog post by Diane and Lynne

Editing Sticks – my blog post

Editing – my blog post

  • Editing stations for upper grades – Shana Frazin informed
  • Daily light editing – Shanna Schwartz informed

Revising or Editing? – my blog post

Fun tool – Eye Finger Puppets (Amazon or craft stores) – Make editing time special and reminds the reader and the writer to pay close attention to the work!

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Reading Units of Study Mini-Lessons

MiniLessons are strong invitations to learning! (TCRWP_

Reading and Planning MiniLessons – Rachel Tassler

A Short and Sweet MiniLesson Format – Two Writing Teachers

How to Plan a MiniLesson from Scratch – Two Writing Teachers

There are More Ways than One to Plan a MiniLesson – Two Writing Teachers

How to Read a Unit of Study – Two Writing Teachers


Fundamentals of Writing Workshop – Two Writing Teachers Blog Series August 2017

 

Share Time in Writing Workshop – Lynne Dorfman’s blog

Choice in Writing Workshop – blog post by Tara Smith

(Almost) Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Partnerships I Learned in Kindergarten  – blog post by Shana Frazin


Why I Write – Stenhouse Blog

Writing is Not a Linear Process    


Banned Books – NCTE – 2017



Mentor Texts – Books that would be nice to have as Resources

Craft Moves:  Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts – Stacey Shubitz (Stenhouse)

Writers are Readers:  Flipping Reading Instruction into Writing Opportunities – Lester Laminack   (Heinemann)

Mentor Texts:  Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature  (2nd etition)- Dorfman & Cappelli (Stenhouse)

Learning from Classmates:  Using Student Writing as Mentor Texts –  Lisa Eicholdt  (Heinemann)

What;s Your Plan? 

What are you going to do NEXT?






Today’s best draft, (Kelly Gallager)

this post,

This post I wrote to organize!

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#DigiLitSunday: Relationships


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Check out Margaret Simon’s blog “Reflection on the Teche” for additional #DigiLitSunday posts here!

A favorite quote of mine is this:

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Relationships are critical for teachers and students.  Relationships are critical for increased learning.  Relationships are critical for grounding students in a community of learners working together.

But are relationships enough?  Are they the end goal?

Learning classrooms with teachers and students working in tandem to curate, innovate, and create require a great deal of trust and autonomy.  That trust and autonomy is not created in a vacuum.  It is also not created without a great deal of  hard work. The relationships are important, yes; but they are not the end point.

Learning that beats the odds and exceeds the possibilities requires a community of committed learners, choice, and trust. A teacher will be the director or facilitator of the learners and the community, but should not always be “at the helm” directing every single minute.

How important is community?

Communities are important because they allow people to bond together through common interactions, experiences, and work to meet a common goal.  A community can be physically together in a classroom or even together on a Twitter or Voxer chat.  The goal of a community is to bring people together to achieve that common goal.  Valued relationships keep communities together.  Perhaps some communities outlive their usefulness but the value of shared experiences helps them deeply understand each other.  That community can also come from books.  Books that show “me”.  Books that show “people like me”.  Books that show people “who are NOT like me”.  Books that help me understand people “who are NOT like me”.

How important is choice?

Name the last three things that were JOYOUS for you?  Were they required?  Did they include elements of choice?  You can read about the benefits of “Choice” from many of the #BowTieBoys blog posts referenced in Jason Augustowski’s blog.  Jason writes about the fact that education is one of the few fields of work where the customers are NOT routinely consulted about and given input into their work.  Why not?  Why are students assigned mindless task after task instead of being given respectful choices about how to share their learning?  Where can choice be included?  Providing choices to the students where only two “pieces” are read by everyone in the class.  The rest of the books, stories, articles, songs, or videos are student-selected from a list curated TOGETHER in the classroom community.

How important is trust?

Trust is a two way street that is so dependent on relationships.  It may well be that I will trust you solely on the basis of our relationship.  However, in times of stress or confusion that relationship may falter if respect for the individual or his/her beliefs becomes an issue.  Will the trust hold?  In the presence of community and choice, trust will be maintained.  In the absence of trust the community will slowly wither away.  Without choice the trust vine will begin to shrivel up as well.  How is trust maintained?  Within a community the possibilities of positive interactions and sincere communication allow trust to flourish and doubt to die off. Trust that students will do the work that they need to in order to provide evidence of their learning.  Trust that students will build upon choice learning within their community to extend trust to others outside their own circles.

Relationships between teachers and students are critical for learning environments but relationships alone cannot be expected to maintain sole responsibility for the benefits that will come from a well-developed culture of community, choice, and trust. Teachers benefit. Students benefit. The research shows that relationships are critical. Please provide time to nourish learning by building strong communities with choice and trust!

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Do we REALLY want students to be critical thinkers?  

Then how are we encouraging “critical thinking” every day in our classrooms?  

How are we REALLY encouraging independent thinkers and workers?

#NCTE16: Incredible Learning


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When learning is in the very air that you breathe, it’s totally exhilarating. And that’s just a small piece of #NCTE16!

Session G12: Writing for a Better World:  Poetry Responses to World Events

I laughed.

I cried.

I read.

I wrote.

I learned.

This session should have been live streamed for educators around the world. Poetry is such an important part of the “meaning making” that we must construct of our daily lives.

if poetry is not a typical part of your repertoire, why not? Humor can add fun. Serious topics can add empathy. And above all, poetry can add truth to your life.

Check out this storify that introduces the folks at this session. In no way does it capture the essence of the conversations. That richness lies in the poetry of their talk.

Storify

Poetry – Do you need to add some to your life?

Do you need to add some to your teaching life?

 


Additional Poetry links from/about NCTE poetry presentations:

Poetry is Truth – Irene Latham

Risking Writing – Heidi and Mary Lee Hahn

Kate Messner – Collaborative Poetry Writing 

From our view together again at #NCTE

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(Still practicing on “selfies”)

#DigiLitSunday: The 3 P’s


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It’s DigiLitSunday.  Head over to Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche for additional posts on this topic.

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Saturday was the 91st #SaturdayReunion at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  A FREE day of professionald development as a gift to thousands of teachers and administrators.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t there.  My fall schedule has been challenging.  But I am going to borrow from Tweets from the day to illustrate my thinking about the 3 P’s.

Why is “Patience” important?

As teachers it is important that students “do the work” and often that means that teachers need to step back, close their mouths, and listen to students as they share what they can and cannot do.  These were some tweets that spoke to me about patience in order to slow down, let the students work, and not solve all the problems of the world in one day! (Yes, there is a need for urgency but solutions aren’t required every day!)

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Why is “Practice” important?

My favorite quote for this fall has been one from Brooke Geller about our students being “over taught and under practiced”.  I believe that this means that we need to make sure again, that students are doing the work and that we make sure that they practice the “work” multiple times.  Sometimes that practice can come in discussion prior to writing and other times that practice will require trying out five or six different introductions to a piece.  Are you familiar with this video? Austin’s Butterfly from Expeditionary Learning Students do get the value of practice after seeing this video. (Even if they would rather NOT practice that many times!)

These tweets spoke to me about practice.

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And what about those regular practices of teachers?  How we allocate time is a reflection of our values.  Are we facilitators?  Are we leaders? What is our role?

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Why is “Persistence”important?

If I had attended, I would have been in the front row for Katy Wischow’s opening keynote, “The Intersection of Passion and Expertise: Fangirling Over Alexander Hamilton”.  I watched “Hamilton’s America” on PBS Friday night and was again awed by the magnificence of the show, the historical implications, and the access to documents that led to the authenticity of this Broadway musical.

Why this keynote?  Because I believe that  “passion” is the KEY resource for teachers when we have to be “PERSISTENT” as we work with striving adolescents who do not want to be lured into literacy lives.  These students are resistant to reading and writing even when choice is offered.  “It’s boring.”  “I can’t do it.” “Why do I have to do this?”  All of these statements are now even coming out of the mouths of our babes – our second and third graders. Students who don’t know the passion and joy that comes from learning.  Students who don’t know the power that comes from learning.  Students who don’t know that the focus of learning is finding and following a passion of the heart. We can and must do better at igniting and fueling that passion in our students.

Persistence by building Passion for Learning in Students:

(Thank you, Mike Ochs, for the tweets!)

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If students are passionate about their learning, won’t your job as a teacher be done?

Thanks to all the tweets on Twitter that allowed me to curate these tweets from afar. Thanks to Lucy Calkins and Colleagues at #TCRWP for the learning that generated the tweets so I could both RT and collect them from 1101 miles away in Iowa! Without a digital world, this learning wouldn’t have been possible!

How do patience, practice, and persistence fit into your life?

#DigiLitSunday: The Journey is Everything


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Tonight’s the night.  Get your fingers ready to dance across the keyboard in conversations with Katherine Bomer.  If you haven’t read the book, come join the chat. If you have read the book, come join the chat.  If you love to write, come join the chat!

The Journey is Everything

Somewhere back in April or May several of us online began discussing an option for a book study.  Several ideas were tossed out. Some of us were already in the midst of one book and said “SURE!” because “What’s one more book?”

And so a book study began online with GoogleDocs.  The pace varied with our lives. Reading. Writing. Teaching. Working.  And then it became real when we were so hooked into the book.

It was scary when I actually tweeted out about a travel incident and then added “Food for an Essay Soon” or something like that.  It was a done deal. In writing. I would blog about the incident. And it would be an essay.

What on earth was I thinking?

Emboldened with knowledge.

Empowered with learning.

Ready to give it a go.

I sent it to friends.

Is it an essay?

And they said,  “Yes.”

Rereading,

Revisions,

Push Publish.

A Favor

And oh, the comments . . . But one in particular!

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I’ll be at the #DigiLitSunday chat tonight to capture more wisdom from Katherine Bomer.

Will you?

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Head over to Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche for more #DigiLit posts.

Storify from the chat can be found here.

#DigiLit Sunday: Curves


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Today, Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche proposed changing perspective and thinking about “Curves” as they occur in nature and that the curves of roses can even remind us of our communities of friends, co-workers and co-writers in her post here.

And then Tara wrote this post titled, “Digilit Sunday:  Curving towards social justice through song” and I was really stuck in thinking about how “curves” applies to my life.

And then an old quote came to mind:

“The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” Archimedes

But should you live your life in a straight line?

““Straight lines go too quickly to appreciate the pleasures of thejourney. They rush straight to their target and then die in thevery moment of their triumph without having thought, loved,suffered or enjoyed themselves.” Rene Crevel

Do you know this book?

The-Straight-Line-Wonder

It’s a favorite of mine that unfortunately is sitting on an office shelf.  but here’s why it fits in this post.

“To jump in humps” . . .

“Twirl in whirls” . . . 

“Creep in heaps” . . .

“Point his joints” . . . 

Just as the world needs all kinds of people, it also needs more than straight lines.

” It’s about being able to be different without being punished for it. Has the world changed since then? I doubt it, sadly. We are still made uncomfortable by those who refuse to live within our prescribed ‘straight’ lines.” Mem Fox

When must one’s life deal with “curves”?

When must one stand for personal beliefs?

When must one deviate from the straight line?

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