Tag Archives: Practice

#SOL19: Words Count


“I’m done.  I read from the green to the red and back. I’m done,” echoed from Joey’s corner.  Abbie, with her back to Joey, kept reading.

Screenshot 2019-10-21 at 8.43.19 PM

Demonstration Reading Mat

Joey pulled out the slip and a pencil. He started counting. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”

Screenshot 2019-10-21 at 8.13.01 PM.png

He wrote a “10” under Monday in both blanks because he had read 10 books twice. Abbie was still reading. Joey started going through his stack. He knew he needed to choose partner reading books. He picked up several books. He read two from the first page to the end and put both of them in a pile to read with Abbie.

As Abbie picked up her recording slip, she recorded “10”, “10” and quickly chose her last two books for her partner reading books. (Noted: Efficient use of time) Abbie and Joey turned side by side, chorally read all four books and both recorded 4 books under Partner on the recording slip.

DATA:

Abbie read 24 “E level books” ranging from 100-125 words.

  • Total words read = 2400 – 3000.

Joey also recorded 24 books but actually read 26 ranging from 100-125 words.

  • Total words read = 2600 – 3250.

Reading Volume: Why is it important?  

Gladwell’s research found experts put in approximately 10,000 hours of practice in order to be experts. What expertise do our students when they graduate from high school?  Working with some “round numbers” let’s consider the total number of hours a student spends in school.

6 hours each day x 180 days each year x 13 years (K-12)  =  14,040 total hours

Understanding that some instructional time will be lost. Lunch. Recess. Early outs. Late starts. Fire drills. Tornado drills. Active shooter drills. Assemblies. Field trips. I’m sure you can add to the list of what interrupts instructional time.

10,000 hours = experts so student expertise at graduation must be in “being students” as they haven’t had 10,000 hours to be readers, writers, listeners, talkers, thinkers, AND mathematicians, social scientists, scientists and fine arts experts.

Why does it matter?

Consider first graders Abbie and Joey in late September. Their books are primarily a Level E in order to concentrate practice with fairly predictable text to build accuracy, fluency and automaticity as well as confidence and independence.

Joey is in an intervention group where he chooses 5 of the books and often practices a shared reading from his classroom. 6 more books = a range of 600 – 650 more words.  Total today from 32 books = 3200 – 3900 words.

Is the difference in words read an inequity?

Before your eyes glaze over . . . Over the course of the week, the potential discrepancy will widen; the range for Abbie may be 12,000-15,000 words read in a week while Joey may read 16,000-19,500 words. Is it “fair” or “equitable” that Joey may read about another day’s worth of words during the week.

Here’s what you need to know about Joey:  No one at home reads in English. Joey is deliberately scheduled for extra practice at school to maintain a high reading volume.

Our first draft question:  What is the range in daily reading volume (books/words read) that builds successful habits, joy, competence and confidence in fall of first grade?

How do you check in on reading volume?

How do you make decisions about who needs practice?


Additional Resources:

  • Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The Story of Success. Little, Brown and Company.
  • McVeigh, F. (2013). Volume of Reading: How much is enough?  link
  • Robb, L. Volume in reading still matters!  edublog.scholastic.comScreenshot 2019-10-22 at 4.44.39 AMScreenshot 2019-10-22 at 4.45.04 AM



Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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Addendum:  The reading conferences with this student will address this practice reading because of Regie Routman’s words, “deliberate practice without effective teaching and coaching doesn’t guarantee growth.”

Routman, R. (2018). Literacy Essentials: Engagement, Excellence, and Equity for ALL Learners. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

#SOL18: Why Practice?


It was a simple comment.

It brought me to a complete stop.

“We practice to build proficiency.”

Is that the goal?

Proficiency?

If we build or meet proficiency, what does that mean?

Screenshot 2018-06-12 at 5.27.30 AM

Retrieved from dictionary.com

In education, there seem to be points in time when proficiency has become a form of a new longer, four-letter word.  It causes a pain in my stomach.  It brings up visions of charts where students are color coded green, yellow or red that result in assignments to specific interventions.

Proficiency, in education,  now often implies an ability to meet an arbitrary cut point.

A “Yes”,  I made it or a “No”, not yet?

Once?

Twice?

Three times and that’s good?

What does proficiency look like in football?

One example

These descriptors come to mind:

Self- assessment

Goal-setting

Beginning with the end in mind

Time

Repetition

 EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Why do readers need to read (practice) every day?

Why do writers need to write (practice) every day?

To meet external goals?

To meet personal goals?

Is there a sense of urgency?

Is there a sense of joy?

A feeling of accomplishment?

Has it become drudgery?

What is the real goal?

Do readers and writers EVER stop practicing?  Should they?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

 

 

 

#SOL16: The Ending


This was the story.

See this post from this morning to learn how the story developed as I practiced multiple opening leads. When I hit publish it looked like this:

“How weird that the wind has completely stopped,” I thought.  I raced for the house and safety as I whistled for Mya to join me. Barking enthusiastically, she quickly passed me.  Were we playing her favorite game of “Chase”?

Just before arriving home, the weather report confirmed that fifty mile per hour winds were in our county. The sudden absence of wind caused goosebumps and a drum began to pound in my head. The sky was greenish-gray and the clouds were quickly rolling by. Some clouds seemed to be attempting to touch the ground.

“Tornado? Straight-line winds?” I wondered.  At the very least, it looked like trouble was headed our way!  In comparison with other states, Iowa ranks 6th in tornado occurrences with an average of 37 tornadoes each year. The old-timers in our area tell tales of houses being lifted off the foundation or, my favorite, the trailer that was reduced to rubble except for the toilet that remained, isolated and alone, like a throne.  Oddly enough, the toilet paper was ready and waiting on the roll and still in the holder.

My house, my fortress of foot thick walls, was the perfect refuge.  Branches fell in the timber. Trees danced as the wind began to swirl and twirl. Mya cowered under my chair anxious for my calming touch.

What seemed like forever in the world of slow-motion-what-if-and-disaster-is-looming thinking was less than five minutes as the sky lightened, the wind slowed yet again and the storm passed us by.  A near miss?  A typical summer storm . . . could be rain, could be hail, could be wind!

 

How should this short, short story end?

The story begged for a revised ending, so here are some possiblities:

  1. “It was no longer a dark and stormy night.”

2.”Mom, you are never going to believe how close that storm was. I could feel it in the air one minute and then suddenly it was gone.”

3. Have you ever thought you were in the middle of a tornado that ended up as a near miss?

4. Storms are tricky.  One minute this way. Another minute this way.  Clouds and wind and trees all moving so quickly that they enveloped me in a frenzy of motion.

5. I stepped out the front door looking for a glimmer of sunlight in the sky.  I was searching for just a hint of blue somewhere on the horizon to let me know that the weather had truly passed by.

6. Tornados typically last from a few seconds to about ten minutes.  Some appear to last longer but they are believed to be a series of tornados strung together rather than a single incident.

7. Bathtub: Best place to seek shelter in the middle of a tornado, mostly because after you’re covered with debris, you can quickly wash off and come out looking great.

8. Not a branch was on the ground in front of the house but as I turned the corner I could see that every square inch of the back yard was covered with leaves and branches, green and brown, small and big to give the appearance of real treebark camouflage covering the grass.

Revision and ending for today:

(new paragraph – before the last one)

We had taken refuge in the bathroom – a room with no windows where the back wall was dug into the clay bank and was not going anywhere.  I sat on the floor with Mya as she trembled.  She didn’t make a sound but I was sure that she was able to hear a whole different layer of sound that was not accessible to my ears.  “Mya, would you like to hear a story?”  I began to read out loud to her from my Kindle.  Nothing like a good story to calm my nerves. We were fortunate that I wasn’t worried enough to crawl into the tub for shelter where I could be both safe and clean!

What seemed like forever in the world of slow-motion-what-if-and-disaster-is-looming thinking was less than five minutes as the sky lightened, the wind slowed yet again and the storm passed us by.  Storms typically range from a few seconds to about ten minutes. This would not have been the shortest storm on record.  But it also wasn’t the longest.  Each fearful second had seemed like a minute. Was it a near miss?  Or was it just a typical summer storm?  . . . sometimes rain? sometimes hail?  sometimes wind?  The storm disappeared almost as quickly as it had formed.  We left the bathroom, looked outside, and decided that it was safe enough to venture out. I was barely able to open the door before Mya raced past me  out into the evening. I stepped out the front door looking for a glimmer of sunlight in the sky.  I was searching for just a hint of blue somewhere on the horizon to let me know that the weather had truly passed by.

How and when do you “rehearse” and “practice” the skills that you ask your students to use in their writing?

What does your evidence look like?

slice of life

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

Process:

Did you name the endings?

(alpha order) Action, description, dialogue, humor, interesting fact, quotation, question, and unusual image.

And how did I REALLY end my story?  With a combination of actions that resulted from drafting the possible endings!

Did you notice that some of the other “possible endings” did make it into my short, short story? Accident?  Design?  You be the judge.

Both the first version and the revised second draft are available in a google doc here.

And for more information about tornados, check out this link.

#SOL16: The Beginning


  1. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . “

2. “It was a dark and stormy night . . .”

3. “Look at that sky!” exclaimed Joey.  “It’s such a greenish sky with the weirdest shaped clouds!”

4. Have you ever noticed that Iowa skies take on a greenish cast when the impending storm includes tornado-like winds?

5. It was an eerie calm.  The wind had stopped.  The sky was greenish and the clouds were quickly rolling by. Some clouds seemed to be attempting to touch the ground.

6. I raced for the house and safety as I whistled for Mya to join me. Barking enthusiastically, she quickly passed me.  Were we playing her favorite game of “Chase”?

7. In comparison with other states, Iowa ranks 6th in tornado occurrences with an average of 37 tornadoes each year.

8. Vehicles in a violent tornado (EF4+) can resemble crushed soda cans, almost unrecognizable to the owner, should they ever find be lucky enough to find it.

9. The walls were gone but the toilet remained, isolated and alone, like a throne.  Even the toilet paper was still on the roll and in the holder, waiting to be used.

What was I “practicing”?

When did you “know” the skill I was demonstrating?

“How weird that the wind has completely stopped,” I thought.  I raced for the house and safety as I whistled for Mya to join me. Barking enthusiastically, she quickly passed me.  Were we playing her favorite game of “Chase”?

Just before arriving home, the weather report confirmed that fifty mile per hour winds were in our county. The sudden absence of wind caused goosebumps and a drum began to pound in my head. The sky was greenish-gray and the clouds were quickly rolling by. Some clouds seemed to be attempting to touch the ground.

“Tornado? Straight-line winds?” I wondered.  At the very least, it looked like trouble was headed our way!  In comparison with other states, Iowa ranks 6th in tornado occurrences with an average of 37 tornadoes each year. The old-timers in our area tell tales of houses being lifted off the foundation or, my favorite, the trailer that was reduced to rubble except for the toilet that remained, isolated and alone, like a throne.  Oddly enough, the toilet paper was ready and waiting on the roll and still in the holder.

My house, my fortress of foot thick walls, was the perfect refuge.  Branches fell in the timber. Trees danced as the wind began to swirl and twirl. Mya cowered under my chair anxious for my calming touch.

What seemed like forever in the world of slow-motion-what-if-and-disaster-is-looming thinking was less than five minutes as the sky lightened, the wind slowed yet again and the storm passed us by.  A near miss?  A typical summer storm . . . could be rain, could be hail, could be wind!

How and when do you “rehearse” and “practice” the skills that you ask your students to use in their writing?

What does your evidence look like?

slice of life

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

Process:

For more information about opening lines from children’s books, see this source.

Did you name the leads?

(alpha order) Action, description, dialogue, humor, interesting fact, quotation (2), question, and unusual image.

And how did I REALLY begin my story?  With a combination of a “thought” (not included in the 9 possibilities above) and actions!

Did you notice that some of the other “possible beginnings” did make it into my short, short story? Accident?  Design?  You be the judge.

Extra Practice

                                             A Storm (not a tornado)
Dialogue: “Faster, Mya, let’s beat the rain!” I shouted.
Sound Effect: “Booommmmmmm. Booooooooooooooommmmm” rumbled the thunder.
Ask a question: Have you ever tried to “race” a thunderstorm?
Action Lead: I unsnapped my seat belt, opened the door, and quickly climbed out of the car with my computer bag in my hand.
Snapshot of a small moment: A flash lit up the sky and suddently a rumble like an approaching train began. It only lasted a few seconds but I was already racing for the house.
Flashback: I have only been caught in a thunderstorm once, but it was so memorable that I now race to get inside a building instead of outside during thunder and lightning.

#DigiLitSunday: The 3 P’s


digilit-button

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

digilit-10-23-16-three-ps

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!)

patiencepatience-twopatience-threepatience-fourpatience-fivepatience-sixpatience-seven

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.

practicepractice-twopractice-three

practice-six

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?

practice-fourpractice-five

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!)

katy-onekatie-two

katie-three

katie-four

katy-five

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?

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