We can choose to be “Word Wizards” as we travel through life.
At NCTE2018 I learned about “zines” and actually created one. We were in a hotel lobby – about 10 of us celebrating the fact that we were gathered together in Houston. Such gatherings seem like faint memories now when they were at least annual gatherings in the past.
From the larger group, to our small group, I again learned the power of whole group and small group structures. Day learning with thousands. Night learning in a small group. A group already defined. Basically a #g2great group.
Where do they come from?
Sharing with friends
As we explored
Thank You, Margaret Simon, for reminding us that we truly are “more than one way” when we gather together!
When you attend a conference, how do you share your learning?
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March.
Check out the writers and readers here.
#SOL18: March 26 A March March
Not the first
Probably not the last
But a march for the books
Created by students
Enacted by students
Led by students
Encompassing the world
And demanding change.
What about the “Naysayers”?
They should have stayed in school March 14.
They walked OUT for 17 minutes of silence to honor the 17 dead.
They should “walk up” and make friends with the disenfranchised.
Respect for their peers, who are alone, should occur every day.
They should arm the teachers.
Teachers already provide instruction and in many cases, act as:
social workers, nurses, truant officers, coaches, curriculum writers,
test monitors, behavior management specialists,
cooks, transportation provider, time manager, hall monitor,
and every other role legislated/mandated in your state.
They should have spent the money from the march on education and services for the mentally ill.
When the President signed the Executive Order that allowed
easier access to guns for the mentally ill?
When Congress has reduced the funding for mentally ill individuals,
the students should supplant it with their funding?
The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were organized, articulate, and such exemplar products of our public schools.
Speaking (and publicly puking from fear) from the heart to explain that this has become the “new normal” with active shooter drills, in between test prep, and wondering about college acceptance letters, prom and graduation. Those events their 14 classmates cannot participate in because they are dead. Those seventeen lives lost in six minutes and twenty seconds.
They are fighting for their lives.
They are fighting for the lives of all the children that come after them.
They are fighting for the lives of ALL folks lost to gun violence.
They deserve to be heard.
They deserve our respect.
They deserve our praise.
They deserve our support.
They are our future.
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily forum each March. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
And special thanks to Margaret Simon for the helpful advice on this post. Check out her post, “Marching”, here. Other slices can be found here, here and here.
Why I write:
To deepen my understanding
To check my understanding
To analyze my thinking
To share my learning
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!)
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 – 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
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 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!
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
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 I wrote to organize!
Check out Margaret Simon’s blog “Reflection on the Teche” for additional #DigiLitSunday posts here!
A favorite quote of mine is this:
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!
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
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
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.
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
(Still practicing on “selfies”)
#DigiLitSunday: The 3 P’s
It’s DigiLitSunday. Head over to Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche for additional posts on this topic.
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!)
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.
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?
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!)
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
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.”
And oh, the comments . . . But one in particular!
I’ll be at the #DigiLitSunday chat tonight to capture more wisdom from Katherine Bomer.
Head over to Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche for more #DigiLit posts.
#DigiLit Sunday: Curves
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?
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