Literacy is important. It’s been a part of my life for years. Teaching, modeling, teaching, modeling, demonstrating! And yesterday was no different,
I was a learner in the audience. A learner.
Here’s just a window into the learning:
If you are on twitter, you may know where I was and who I was with for my learning fun. but if you were not online, think about these quotes.
What surprises you?
What is worth talking about?
What would you say to a thought partner?
What would you write?
Instruction needs to change. Students need to be engaged. That doesn’t mean teachers need to do “a song and a dance” every day. But teachers do need to think about the needs of their students. And how students’ needs and teachers’ needs can both be met in better ways. Responsive teaching is hard. It means that the data from today drives the instruction for tomorrow. That data comes from a variety of sources: conferences, book talks, flipgrid responses, book check ins, student goals, teacher goals, the questions students ask, the questions students do NOT ask, student writing, and teacher writing.
It’s not a unit per quarter. It’s not a whole class novel per quarter. It’s not low level responses. It’s not fake reading. It’s not giving up accountability. It’s not about abdicating responsibility for learning.
It’s also not easy.
Teachers are change agents
Teachers change the world.
What was the message?
Here is a quick glimpse . . .
Who were these masterminds of change?
In West Des Moines, Iowa
About 340 of us . . .
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Literacy Lenses: Link
Resourceful – Planning
Travis Crowder Review
Do you love to plan?
Do you hate to plan?
Planning can take many forms. Planning to write in the form of creating an outline and then following it point by point . . . just the thought of it, makes me nauseous. In the vernacular of “slicers”, then am I a “pantser” meaning I plan by the seat of my pants . . . in the moment? Actually not. I’m somewhere in between.
It all depends . . .
What’s your process for planning in your personal life?
It’s time for a weekend get away or a family vacation. Do you investigate possibilities on line via “The Google”? When and where do you plan? As you are packing? Or in advance so you can make sure that everything fits? That might necessitate packing that “carry on” bag in advance to make sure everything fits. That might mean “lists” depending on the length of the stay. That might mean a careful assessment of “technology needs” in order to be prepared.
What’s your process for planning in your work life?
As the school year winds down are you preserving those notes? More of “x”. Less of “y”. Scrap a, b, and c. How do you make those decisions? That might mean lists of “If . . . , then . . .”, T charts of pros and cons that precede the inner debate, or even basic boxes and bullets.
Lists of lists???
Again, it all depends . . .
If you are a secondary teacher (grades 6-12), then you need to immediately order this book and join one of the many book studies that are planned for this summer. (Note that I did not say, if you are a secondary ELA teacher, because I believe there is merit in the principles and ideas in this book for social studies teachers, instructional coaches, principals, and curriculum directors.)
The hashtag for this book is #180Days. But I want to draw your attention to the subtitle: “Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents.”
And in case you missed it, the full title is 180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents.
Let’s face it.
A “How to” book with QUEST, ENGAGE, and EMPOWER in the title.
There are probably days when you scratch your head and wonder, “WHY? Why am I doing this to myself?” Other days in moments of honestly, your first period class really sucked, second period was better, and third period rocked. WHY?
That opportunity to practice.
That opportunity to tweak the lesson.
A different beginning.
A different ending.
That opportunity to re-vision the lesson.
Some teachers have the opportunity to adjust and discuss situations as they occur with collaborative teaching partners. But in this book you have the collective wisdom of Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle as they share how they planned, the basis for their decisions, their varied class periods (each day, Kelly and every other day – block schedule, Penny) as they taught and collaborated across the country, NH and CA.
Not sure if this is the book for you? Resources that may help you decide are:
And if that’s not enough, please join the #G2Great Twitter Chat this Thursday night.
Added – Literacy Lenses post about 180 Days #G2Great Chat 5.20.18
Do you “engage and empower” your adolescents on a regular basis?
Do you worry about being responsive to life and also “fitting it all in”?
This book will show you how to make better decisions about your students – based on the needs of your students – so that you can and do ENGAGE and EMPOWER them!
WHY does it matter?
How will you be planning for next year?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
“Because you know I’m all about the books,
‘Bout the books, everywhere
I’m all ’bout books, in the bookroom, and classroom
I’m all ’bout books, in the bookroom, and classroom
I’m all ’bout reading, ’bout the books,Because you know I’m all about reading,
‘Bout the books, Read Alouds too
I’m all ’bout independent reading, ’bout book sets.
I’m all ’bout book clubs, ’bout, partners too
I’m all ’bout the books (books)I’m all ’bout learning, all about growing,
I’m all ’bout poetry, all about the series,
I’m all about adventure, and mystery
We gon’ read fantasy, historical fiction, and nonfiction too.We know that books save lives
We know they make you feel
We know they take you places
We know they open up the worldWe know they are a must
We know that readers have to read
Do you have a bookroom?
What is the purpose of your bookroom?
There is no “ONE” right way to set up a bookroom. Tammy and Clare suggest that you can use a closet, a room, a portion of the school library for a bookroom or “book annex”. The initial step is to inventory your books and the forms that are available from the Heinemann Publishing online resources.
Do all students have enough books to read (volume) to both grow and be inspired to be a life-long reader?
Students need daily access to more books than they can read so they can have choice. If students are to be reading independently for 30 minutes each day, they need choices from a “limitless pool” of books. That’s the purpose of the bookroom. Choice involves considering a redesign or redeployment of current book inventories. Considering how to meet multiple instructional needs may require changes: some books in six packs for guided reading/small group instruction, some books as singles for independent reading and some books in 2s/3s for book clubs. All.without.purchasing.more.books.at.this.time!
Live dangerously. Check out your bookroom. Are there some books that are starting to collect dust because they haven’t been read recently?
If those are six packs of books in zip-lock baggies, Tammy and Clare suggest that you may want to consider having them redistributed as singles for independent reading. This is especially true for the beginning levels where students will need a high volume of books to read daily. To Consider: Maybe not all of the books need to be in sets of six in the bookroom. Is that a novel thought?
What are some other possibilities?
What are the key topics that your students are interested in? If it’s animals and you are a kindergarten teacher, you may want some A and B books in a basket labeled “Animals”. The label will NOT say A/B This may even be a basket with a mixture of fiction and nonfiction books (my thinking). If your first grade students like animals, you may need an E/F basket of animal books or an I/J basket of animal books. Again, the label will be the topic. The labels might be topics, authors, or general like “Laugh Out Loud”. Think of how easy it might be to “use” these books in your classroom if the books are already organized into baskets of approximately 20 books that you would be ready to check out and go!
What books do you need more of in your classroom? Books for independent reading? Books for book clubs? Books for small group instruction? Your classroom needs and student interests can help you figure out additional ways to organize books that may include your science and social studies curricula support as well. Sharing and redistributing books will keep the dust off and provide more reading for more students! What if you were able to reorganize your bookroom with a variety of combinations of books in order to enhance the readerly lives of your students?
If students are going to read a lot and become readers who love to read, they need access to books. A lot of books. Single books for independent reading are needed in many classrooms because “rereading” the guided reading books are boring after awhile as are the Xeroxed books at the low levels, and perhaps FEWER books are needed for guided reading, especially after Level K. (Moving to “strategy groups” for instruction allows the teacher to use the same mini-lesson for all students and provide practice in a text that shows they fully understand the strategy.) Practice, practice, practice in texts allows the student to build confidence and a skilled teacher can also consider how to close the gap for striving students. That means fewer books will really need to be stored in groups of six. Instead, baskets of books could be set up in the bookroom so teachers are able to rotate baskets to provide “new” titles for classroom libraries without depleting the school library. Independent student reading books can be refreshed and reinvigorated for immediate access in the classroom. (And it books are reassigned, perhaps the school book budget can now include some “new” purchases as new titles are published!)
Check out this April 29, 2018 Facebook Live session with Tammy and Clare here.
What ideas about bookrooms have intrigued you?
What books could maybe be read more often if some changes were made in your current book collections?
Are you using your books in the most productive ways for students?
Heinemann has graciously donated a copy of It’s All About the Books for each stop on the blog tour. To enter, comment below and either post a picture of some part of your classroom library or your bookroom with the link in a comment or write about your thinking or your questions about bookrooms. At the end of the week (Friday after 8 pm), a random winner will be chosen to receive a copy of this fabulous new book!
This picture of a slide from Peter Johnston’s keynote on Saturday at #CCIRA18 has had
118 likes, and
some pushback . . .
John Guthrie’s research here
Pernille Ripp also spoke to this issue at #CCIRA18
Kate Roberts book will be out this month.
Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle’s book will be out in April. I’m not finding the preview of the cover now, but it has “180 Days” in the title and at #NCTE17, they shared their structure that includes one whole class book per semester.
What is a healthy reading diet? How would one build a “Healthier Reading Diet”?
Check out Travis Crowder’s work with Donalyn Miller’s resources here.
What is the end goal?
Students who can read?
Students who do read?
Students who have choice and voice in what they read?
Or students who pass a test and never pick up a book again?
What books should students read?
How many books should the whole class read together each year?
Does this speak to student engagement?
Does this speak to excellence in literacy?
Does this speak to equity?
What is your interpretation?
What are your expectations?
This summer is a FEAST of professional development for me. I had the great fortune of being accepted for two weeks of learning at TCRWP for Writing and Reading Institutes. (You can check out my public learning log under the “Recent Posts” at the right.) Next weekend I will be in St. Louis for ILA.
How are you preparing for your learning?
What information do you need to KNOW before you look at specific sessions?
Do you look for specific PEOPLE?
Do you look for specific TOPICS?
Here’s the link to the 16 page preview guide pictured above.
I used the search tool to create a DRAFT LIST of those I know that I MUST see.
Chris Lehman – Sunday, Writing from Sources is more than. . .”The Text Says”
Jennifer Serravello – Sunday, Accountability, Agency, and Increased Achievement in Independent Reading
Nell Duke – Saturday, A Project-Based Place
Lester Laminack, Linda Rief, and Kate Messner – Saturday, The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Text to Teach the Craft of Writing
Penny Kittle and Donalyn Miller – Sunday, Complex, Rigorous and Social: Fostering Readerly Lives
and then added in others previously marked in the program:
Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan – They are authors of the book Assessment in Perspective: Focusing on the Reader Behind the Numbers.
Dana Johansen and Sonja Cherry-Paul – Preconference Institute – Friday, Reading with Rigor: Interpreting Complex Text Using Annotation and Close Reading Strategies
Kim Yaris and Jan Burkins – They are the authors of Reading Wellness. Check out a bit of their work here.
Kylene Beers and Bob Probst – Notice and Note and Nonfiction version to be out in October.
Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey – Many, many ELA texts involving Gradual Release of Responsibility
Other faves that I hope to see at ILA15 include: Vicki Vinton and Dorothy Barnhouse – What Readers Really Do; Dr. Mary Howard – Good to Great; and ANY and ALL TCRWP folks!
Any Two Writing Teacher Slicers? – please say hello in person!
Any #G2Great chatters?
Any #TCRWP afficionados?
I’m ready to rename ILA15 as “Gateway to the STARS!” as I look at this line up of literacy greats. What great learning opportunities and I’m still at the pre-planning stage. (Maybe I will find Hermione’s secret so that I can be in at least two locations at the same time!)
Who would you add to this list?
(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!) Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge: Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna and Beth. More Slice of Life posts can be found at Two Writing Teachers .
I LOVE to read. I LOVE reading. I typically READ just about anything. Reading is my preferred activity over cooking, cleaning, or crafting. I could be considered a voracious reader by some. I read quickly when I am reading for fun. I will read almost anything but I do not like vampires, fantasy or science fiction very much. When I find an author that I like, I devour ALL their texts. When I find something I really like, I may reread it. There are times during the year when my reading life seems to suffer. While writing blog posts every day, I do have less reading time. Is it “okay” that my reading seems to have an ebb and flow? How much should I be reading? What should I be reading?
I believe that I need to be familiar with authors and texts in the field of literacy. I have my favorite authors and this year they all deal with loving literacy: Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts, Donalyn Miller, Penny Kittle, Kylene Beers, Dorothy Barnhouse and Vickie Vinton, Jim Burke, Kelly Gallagher, and all the authors of the fabulous Units of Study in Writing from Teachers College. My reading of YA varies according to the favorites of students in the buildings where I work.
How does reading play out for our students? How much should they be reading?
In Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller challenges her middle school students to read 40 books per year. That is basically one book per week, including reading over holidays and school breaks. A student who has developed those “reading habits” is likely to be successful as they move through life. In Reading in the Wild, Donalyn is more specific about the “habits” that students need in order to be life-long readers. Those numbers seem to make sense because a student will “be in the story” and stay connected to the text in those time frames.
For our struggling Middle School and High School students in Second Chance for Reading, I have suggested teachers set 30 books per year as the goal for students. If teachers have expectations and are carefully monitoring student work, 30 books is ambitious for students who have been less than successful in reading for years. It’s doable, a stretch but yet highly possible if the habit of reading becomes a part of a daily routine.
But is that “good enough” for our children? How long to read a book?
I was following the Twitter stream from the Saturday reunion at Columbia’s Teachers College and several tweets caught my eye. Exactly what books should students be reading and for how long?
So taking Hatchet and spending a week and a half on it would fit with Donalyn Miller’s goal of 40 books per year. Is this happening? Are students allowed to read a book like Hatchet in a week and a half? I believe this also fits with the belief behind CCSS Reading Anchor #10: “Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently. Yet, it seems like I should be doing more in order to have teachers and students consider the “sheer volume” of what they are reading.
Are there books that should be “whole class” books in grades 3-6? If yes, what would be the characteristics of such a book? And how “many” of these would a child read during any given year?
I remember working on Language arts curriculum 20 years ago when teachers wanted certain books to be on a “protected list” so teachers in grade 3 would not use a book reserved for grade 4 because then it could not be used for prediction. But what is the real goal of a “class book”? If it truly is to have all students explore specific texts, will the class read at the same pace? Is it about the “activities” that accompany the book and its reading? What about a book club approach?
This tweet of a quote from Kelly Gallagher caught my eye:
So Kelly would agree with Donalyn Miller that students should not be spending forever on a class book. Dragging a novel out into 9 weeks’ worth of work turns it into a “9 week worksheet”! That belief has also been espoused by Richard Allington who has said that students need to read “more” in order to be better readers!
Are there some books that every fourth grade student should read? That would be a great source of conversation for a team of fourth grade teachers. What literature is that important and that interesting for the students? The same question would apply for informational text, poetry and drama. Those decisions can and should be made at a local level. The caution would be in “not allowing” a whole class text to be the only reading at the time and also not to be drug out as Gallagher’s quote reminds us.
How much should a student read every day?
The original source of this quote is not listed but think about this for a minute. To stay on the same level (maintenance), a student needs to read just right books for an hour each day and a common expectation in about 3/4 of a page per minute. So a quick check by a teacher 5 minutes into a silent sustained reading time would suggest that all students had read at least 3 pages. If a reading log/goal setting page includes the page started, a teacher could quickly move about the room conducting a visual scan. This would be data that could allow the teacher to form groups to discuss goals and purposes for reading.
The goal would not be public humiliation. I have used “bribes” for reading – pizzas, food, parties, etc. in order to encourage students to read more. Sometimes the food begins as the “reason/purpose” for reading until a student becomes “hooked” on reading and then begins to ask for books for gifts! Students do not need to take quizes to show their understanding of books. Carefully remove barriers or practices that are “counter-productive” to reading MORE! Consider how you can help your students be daily readers who will carry that habit over into the summer even when you, the teacher, are not around!