Tag Archives: #OLW

#SOL18: Process? Product?


“I don’t know what to write.”

Is that a struggle with the process?

I don’t have a beginning point, a topic, an idea, or even a glimmer of a slice growing in my brain.

I don’t have an outline.

I don’t have a plan (other than to publish a blog post).

I don’t have a graphic organizer to fill in the blanks.

Is that a struggle with the product?

I know I need to produce a blog post,

but I had no idea percolating in my brain as I fell asleep.

No inspiration emerges from my sleep-heavy brain

as I peruse  at least a dozen slices this morning.

And where, oh where, is my idea file?

You know, that list of, “ideas and topics” to write about!

Or my heart map?

The one with pretty colors and fancy word art,

that writing notebook,

Out in my work bag, in my car, in the freezing cold.

And I, snug in the house, barefoot, sipping my coffee.

“No words appear on the page (or screen). “

Is that a struggle with the process?

Just write.

Anything.

Rearrange and fix it later.

Begin something.

The clock is ticking.

Rewrite the prompt.

Repeat the quote.

Reread last week’s post.

And still, no words appear on the page (or screen).

Is that a struggle with the product?

Am I really still stuck on “What should I write?”

Or is it fear that what I write will be unworthy?

My words will remain unread.

My thoughts will not be validated by comments.

Inside, my brain is cluttered with ideas, words, phrases,

but, YET, no clear starting point emerges.

What word should be first?

“My grammar and the conventions of language are atrocious.”

Is that a struggle with the process?

Should I not have words on the page before I worry about spelling, subject/verb agreement, and writing a post with the same verb tense?

After all, wordpress will give me red underlines when it doesn’t like my draft, my first revision, my second go, or my “Oh, silly Word press, Now are you happy?

Is that a struggle with the product?

As soon as a red line appears under a word, do I respond and immediately fix it?

Or do I let my fingers remain ever moving across the keyboard

in an attempt to quickly capture some words, any words,

because after all, in my mind . . .

I’ve missed my personal deadline to post my blog.

Lack of 

Ideas,

Production,

Grammar  and the Conventions of Language

Is an intervention in order? 

Do I need a writing intervention? 

I’m dying here.  I don’t know what to write.  My mind is fuzzy. More coffee please.

What do you notice when a student is sitting quietly and not producing “writing”?  What do you name? 

How do you use your own writing (process or product) to gently nudge the writer onward?  

Just curious . . .

Is it black or white?  Process or Product?

Or are there shades of gray?  Shades of both?




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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#SOL17: Brave


“Bravery is not always a roar; sometimes it’s the quiet strength that we possess when we need it most.” ~@OnStageKimberly

Are you brave?

It may depend on how you define brave.

I eagerly anticipated “Brave” in 2017 because my word had found me in mid-December.   I tried it out quietly, drafted some ideas, rechecked my understanding, watched this video of Kimberly Davis and finally announced it here.  I embraced, Brave, and changed the wallpaper on my blog.

I checked in often.

Here

Here

Here  and

Here in this post today.

Little did I know how BRAVE was going to test me in 2017.

Test me personally.  Test me professionally.

Test me mentally. Test me spiritually.

And it was a roller coaster because there were days that went by in a fog and days where time stood still . . . and minutes became months.  And then there were the days that seemed to barely last one hour.   What a strange construct time can be . . .

Pulled.Stretched.Elongated.

Shortened.Retracted.Truncated.

Screenshot 2017-12-11 at 9.18.46 PM

And as the calendar pages have turned, I’ve embraced:

“courageous,

valiant,

 intrepid,

heroic,

 bold,

fearless,

gallant,

daring,

plucky, and

audacious.”

(Courtesy of Dictionary.com here)

Amid gnashing of teeth, crying, whimpering, screaming, and yelling . . .

I did not always go quietly into the night.

But as each night faded into daylight,

I welcomed the chance to begin each day anew.

And NOW, I celebrate!

We don’t have to be perfect!

Screenshot 2017-12-11 at 9.08.18 PM.png

Watch for more wisdom from this source (Released January 16, 2018):

Screenshot 2017-12-11 at 6.30.39 PM

Available January 16, 2018

 

What will my 2018 #OLW be?

Screenshot 2017-12-11 at 5.30.14 PM.png

How are you preparing for your 2018 #OLW?




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

#SOL17: Hero


brave-word-art

It was time to check up on my #OLW, but then I saw a cousin’s post and I was off on a tangent.  In search of history.  In search of a different meaning of “BRAVE”.  In search of a definition of HERO that I can uphold and believe in.

Can you name this iconic photo? 

Where was it taken? 

When? 

What is the significance?

iwo jima iconic

The photographer won the Pulitzer prize for this picture in 1945.  It was later found on a three cent stamp and also used for war bond sales.

Iwo Jima

1945

Marines

Worthy of some recognition although it was “Before My Time”.

The statistics are alarming . . . the number of Americans killed.  The number of Japanese who died.  The miles and miles of tunnels.  An island.  The ferociousness of battle.

iwo jima map

The flag, raised twice, was displayed at Mount Suribachi and seemed to herald an easy victory for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marines.  But pictures and stories abound.

iwo ima pic

I’m not sure what a “tractor” was.  Many different vehicles are present in pictures and in books.

iwo jima book https...www.erichammelbooks.com.books.b_marinesOnIwoJima-v2.php.two

The post that sent me on a history search for a day was my uncle’s picture here posted by his daughter. A tractor commander.  Multiple battles.  A corporal.

don ruth

“. . .  outstanding qualities of initiative and courage  . . . under heavy enemy mortar and artillery fire.  . . . cool and calm under enemy fire, and his courageous conduct was at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States naval service.”

My uncle 

awarded a bronze star 

a HERO!

 

And in our present day, any person who raises their right hand and says,

“I, _________, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the  Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; . . .

as they enter into the armed services

is a HERO!




Who are your heroes?

Who did you celebrate on Veteran’s Day? 

What stories of bravery are you collecting?




slice of life

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

#TCRWP: Day 3 Reading Institute 2015


Oh, Happy Day!

joyful

My #OLW (One Little Word) is Focus!

And Focus was my goal today!

So I’m cutting straight to the chase and starting with my second session!

I literally only have two pages of handwritten notes from this session because . . .

We were working every minute!

(That could mean that I have a whole ton of photos, but remember “Focus” – no time to get side-tracked!)

word-focus-300x300

Katie – Loving Complex Informational Texts

How can we accelerate students up through the levels of Nonfiction?

Today we studied the reading progressions in the new Units of Study in Reading that had their “birthday” on Tuesday of this week.  Katie modeled looking across two grade levels of the “Main Idea” study that has been our anchor this week, and then we were turned loose to choose our own progressions to review.  This was eye-opening, scary and yet, exhilarating work with collaborative opportunities to deepen our understanding as we read and discussed the content.

Our world of learning was then rocked by the three tools that Katie shared:

  1. Writing about Reading – Demonstration text written by the teacher
  2. Checklists for students constructed by the teacher
  3. Reading Toolkit pages

Then we could choose to create either Tool 1, 2, or 3.  My partner and I chose Tool 2. Checklist as we felt that would really be “beginning with the end in mind” if we constructed the checklist and then went back to write the demo text.  Here are our first drafts for our Analytical area:

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 9.59.36 PM

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 9.59.58 PM

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.00.27 PM

The chunk of “progressions” that this was based on is also included here:

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.13.58 PM

This is work for just one of the progressions for Informational Text with checklists drafted for students in grades 2-4.  The progressions include student expectations for 16 areas.  These grew out of ten years of work in classrooms where students were collecting post-its across a wide span of grade levels but the work did not increase in sophistication as it continued up through the grades.

Do teachers understand this work?  

Where does this fit into your current understanding of teaching reading?

Just a bit more about the Learning Progressions you see pictured above (3 strands = literal, interpretive, analytic)

  • Lays out growth over one year
  • Based on grade-level expectations
  • Written in first person, with student friendly language
  • Includes both external behaviors and outcomes and internal processes
  • Lays out 1 possible pathway for growth
  • Designed for student self-assessment (included in MWI and Shares)

Is this work that your students are already doing?

How would your propose to set up a course of study for your students to learn how to do this work with informational text?

And then we moved on to Performance Assessments. We completed the task as students where we were asked to respond in writing with multiple main ideas.  In our group, we seemed to either have a topic sentence that was a “series” or two distinctly different paragraphs dealing with separate main ideas.  “Real students” did neither so it is helpful to have our own ideas in mind but also be prepared for students to do something totally different.

Performance Assessments:

  • Eliminated skills already in Running Records
  • Included skills that are valued on state standardized tests
  • 4 main skills for each unit of study (Others are addressed but only four are assessed at the beginning and end of the unit)
  • Can be completed in one class period
  • Text used is designed for grade level readers
  • Not to assess reading level but skill level thinking so a teacher could read them to a group of students

How could these performance assessments inform the reader?

How could these performance assessments inform the teacher?

Switching gears from upper grades to FIRST grade!

Session 1

Liz Franco – UNIT 3:  Readers Have Big Jobs to Do:  Fluency, Phonics, and Comprehension 

As you can tell by the title, this unit focuses on the foundational skills.  It is targeted for readers in H – I – J band and specifically designed to build the skills and practice for students that will help them be successful as they encounter more difficult text.  We explored books in this range and found that the texts are more complex.

  • Past tense  – many irregular words
  • Figurative language – comparisons
  • Multi-syllabic – 3 syllable words
  • More complex sentences
  • Multiple phrases in the same sentence
  • More often than not – sentences are getting longer so line breaks are sometimes a scaffold but this leaves at K, L, M
  • More dialogue
  • Dialogue tags are varying
  • Fluency – read with expression to match the tags

Then we looked at running records from students to determine what we should teach.  What were the miscues?  What strategies might we try?

  • Rereading to self – correct
  • Cross checking
  • Check to see if it’s a snap word
  • Try the vowel sound another way
  • Use tools in the room (vowel chart)

And then we talked about the “HOW” for providing instruction . . . Possibilities for working with vowels:

Strategy Lessons – sounds vowels make – Readers have to be flexible – try it 2 ways

Small group shared reading

Small group word study with the vowel charts (Making/)breaking words AND THEN may make into small group interactive writing – compose something) or a Vowel sound hunt from books in their baggie

Key Point:  We aren’t convening a guided reading group of “H” students because we are going to give them “i” books.  Instead we ask:

What kind of H reader?

What supports tap into next steps?

Possible Tools:

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 5.43.20 AM

So, each student is provided with the instruction they need, not just marching through the levels . . .

“PLEASE, SAY MORE!”

“A student is ready for “I”, but he/she tends to karate chop words and not think about whole of text.  I will have more previewing work in my introduction.” LF

“A student is ready for “I”, but he/she tended to struggle with multi-syllabic words and not look through the words, I will put more VISUAL supports into my introduction.”  LF

“I am strategically planning who is being grouped together.  It’s not about the ‘letter’.’  LF

What small group?

What do the students need?

And how you are teaching?

So after Day 3 of this Learning Journey at the Teachers College Reading Institute, what are you thinking?

Focus: #TCRWP, Books, and Professional Reading


NYC

It’s real!

I’m in NYC!

So excited to be back, with friends, literally from around the country, to learn, live and celebrate writing this week! (Can you guess my favorite punctuation?)

The Saturday before #TCRWP Writing Institute found several “slicers” meeting up at Bank Street Bookstore.  Our goal, Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) and I, was to meet Sally Donnelly (@SallyDonnelly1), a fellow slicer up from the Washington, DC area.  We had met Sally, oh so briefly at the March Saturday reunion, and were interested in longer conversations.  We all found ourselves purchasing Cynthia Lord’s A Handful of Stars that had been highly recommended by fellow traveler Allison Jackson (@azajacks). (sidenote:  What’s up with the @?  Those are twitter names to follow.  If you aren’t following these three, why not?  Oh, not on Twitter; well, why not?  You should be!)

a handful of stars

Amazing book.  A dog balancing a blueberry on his nose should “hook” you right into this book!  Bank Street Bookstore was also the site of an amazng toddler read aloud with parents, toddlers and accompanying strollers filling the aisles.  And that’s all I have to say about that topic because of another book that I purchased that I will be gifting soon. (Hint – book is by Jimmy Fallon; yes topic connected to the new addition to my family.)

We adjourned to the Silver Moon Bakery and cafe for some coffee and much, much, much conversation.  Sally is returning to a third grade classroom after years as a reading specialist.  We had advice about techonolgy, blogging, professional books (Good to Great: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters by Mary Howard) and fellow bloggers for additional advice.

Good to Great Teaching cover

My one little word is “Focus” so I am thinking about my own professional reading for this summer.  This book and my all time favorite What Readers Really Do are my re-reads for this summer along with Colleen Cruz’s, The Unstoppable Writing Teacher,  and Jennifer Serravello’s, The Reading Strategies Book,  as my two new books.  Only four – but rich, savory texts that will feed my soul and brain for the year to come.

what readers

the unstoppable writing teacher

the reading strategies  book

What professional reading will you FOCUS on this summer?

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 29 – 88th Saturday Reunion #TCRWP


It’s the little things that make life wonderful!

Little things can seem like insurmountable objects . . .

like navigating the NYC subway system to arrive at Teachers College EARLY!  I was actually more successful than navigating through my “home” deer country!

like organizing for a day run on an hourly schedule with 50 minute sesions (10 minutes to sprint to the next location) and NO time in the schedule for lunch (encouraged to pack and yes, you may eat in the sessions – ignore the signs that say no food!)

like finding your way among 4,000 friends engaged in learning on a Saturday at Teachers College

like worries about the wi-fi (had some overloads and would kick you off – How many total devices would 4,000 strong have?  REALLY?)

and the ability to have a back up plan – First choice closed because you actually stopped to use the restroom?  What were you thinking?

Other slicers who have posted about yesterday include:

Tara 

Julieanne 

Dayna

Sally 

Catherine

and of course the many Tweets that emanated from the halls of the Teachers College campus.  Right this minute, this tweet says it all:

@ReadingTeachNC: We cried with @PatriciaPolacco, we laughed with @KyleneBeers, and we reminded ourselves why we love what we do! #TCRWP

What a day!
What a glorious day!
What a glorious day filled with laughter, love and learning!

(Notice how I worked on my elaboration there!)

Instead of an “All About Everything Post” the remainder of this post is dedicated to my #OLW “Focus” and will just focus on one key take away from the sessions I attended. (I promise – I will write more about what I learned.  Some of it has to percolate!)

word-focus-300x300

Patricia Polacco – Keynote Opening (Row 5)

“Teachers are my heroes.  You devote your lives to the minds and hearts of others.  What a wonderful calling”

Carl Anderson – Mentor Texts

We take the perfect text and we have to pull the curtain away.   We need to love the mentor text.  You wouldn’t marry someone you didn’t love.  You are going to live with this mentor text day in and out.  You have to know it inside and out.  Work with a colleague to analyze the text.  Make sure that kids will be moved by the mentor text (Not just one that you LOVE)!

Kylene Beers – Nonfiction Sign Posts

kylene's picture -signposts

This is the picture that Kylene took from the speaker’s podium to show what the audience was doing as she displayed the slide listing the nonfiction signposts.  By the way, the book will be out in October and we all had to promise to buy it!  The nonfiction signposts are not ALWAYS found in each nonfiction piece of material because of the very nature of nonfiction.  (more on that in another post) Here are the signposts in the order of frequency and importance:

Extreme and absolute language

Like this examples

Experts and Amateurs Words

Stats and Numbers

Contrasts and Contradictions

Again and Again

Cornelius Minor – Struggling Students

Cornelius began with an analogy about teaching skateboarding where one will fall the first 5-8 times.  So he has to give you 20 opportunities to practice.  “My job as a teacher is NOT mastery. Nothing will cultivate practice. Teaching sets you up for practice. Repeated practice sets you up for mastery.  Engagement – how do I keep you moving! Multiple and intellectual energy to get some learning going!  My job is ‘Teaching light and Practice heavy!'”

The brilliance of that philosophy!

Kylene Beers – Closing (Front Row)

Literacy is about power and privilege.

Choice, relevancy, volume. Wantability is more important than readability. @KyleneBeers#tcrwp” Can’t be said/heard enough.

Slicer meet up at the Kitchenette! – So much fun to visit, share, decompress!

My head and my heart are both full from the learning.  Much more to see and do while in NYC so “adieu” for now!

slice

Check out the writers, readers and teachers who are “slicing” here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 18 – #OLW


March

March Madness?

Where are my teams playing?

What is the schedule?

I’m in a small midwestern state – Iowa. Our most recent claim to fame is the home of this season’s “Bachelor”. But, if you want impressive,  all three of our State Regents’ schools are going to the NCAA tournament.  ALL THREE!  One plays in Louisville (where I just was) and two head to Seattle.  AND THEN the women from two colleges also play.  That’s five teams for NCAA tournament madness!

Aye, here’s the rub. . . I don’t really like basketball.  I wanted to play basketball in high school but we didn’t have a girls team.  Finally, our relentless work to add girls basketball paid off during our senior year.  However, we were destined to have a JV team only.  No seniors could participate as they “built” a team for the next year.  So no, not basketball. .  .  Not that orange pumpkin-pushing sport. Not my favorite sport.

And yet, I will watch any collegiate sports as I know how hard students and athletes as well as the “student athletes” work!  I will cheer for all five teams.  I also appreciate the venue that sports teams provide for musicians to really OWN the field or court.  But I will also have to

word-focus-300x300

Life is full!  Life does not revolve around sports!  AHHH, life also does not solely revolve around sports.  But what a year to enjoy! Time to focus on some of the great athletic teams in our state!

hawkeyes  uni  isu

Go, Iowa!

Facts about Iowa teams and the NCAA Tourney

What teams will YOU be supporting?

Do you have your bracket ready?

slice of life

Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

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