Tag Archives: professional development

#SOL16: #NCTE16 Friday Takeaways


Bookended by our Thursday and Friday evening dinners . . .

are over 16 pages of notes, hundreds of storified tweets, pictures galore and thousands of words.  Words Matter.  Words matter whether spoken or written.  Words in the heart matter as well. As a #TCRWP aficionado stunned by the passing of Deputy Director Kathleen Tolan this weekend, I celebrate my learning about small group reading instruction last summer with Kathleen even though I still yearn for more.  That gritty, passionate, talented, brilliant and sometimes “pushy” Deputy Director would want us to carry on . . . Make the students in front of you YOUR PRIORITY! FOCUS on students!

FRIDAY at #NCTE16

The Heinemann Breakfast on Friday honoring the Legacy of Don Graves was a star-studded celebration.  I felt like the red carpet was rolled out to recognize the literacy superstars in the room who all had stories to tell that encouraged us to roll up our sleeves, pay attention to students and get to work.  From Penny Kittle’s, “When Don asked me to do something, I did it!” to her credo “NCTE is a place to settle your soul” we were entranced!  Katherine Bomer reminded us that “Writing to discover what we care about is brave and that writing is a way a student’s voice comes into power and reminds us that we are all human.”  Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O’Dell shared that their “mentor text drop box – a way to organize and access mentor text – represents the generosity of Don Graves.” This breakfast was a family breakfast that reminded us of who we are and where we are going together. ( Heinemann Podcast Link)

Charts as Tools for Conversation, Advocacy and Action (Martinelli, Schwartz, & Luick)

The focus of this presentation was on the purpose of charts, ownership and environment, reflection and action.  The two words that I heard over and over were “purposeful planning”!  This is embodied in sketching out the steps to check clarity, the vocabulary used, and the ability of the chart to act as the teleprompter for the teacher.  Of course, a crystal clear teaching point helps!

One caution was to make sure that students’ voices were included in discovering learning together . . .students could contribute definitions, examples, and even make their own tools to use.  Tools that begin in the minds of teachers become ideas that can eventually be handed over to the students. (Isn’t that what transfer is REALLY all about?) I’ve heard many, many, many TCRWP staff members say that when we introduce a tool, coach and provide support for a tool, we MUST have a plan for the tool to go away. Graphics in a chart are really meant to be replaced by pictures or names of your own students. Or even better, by students who make their own charts because they know the purpose and that’s good for teachers, students, and LEARNING!

Vocabulary Matters!  – Valerie Geschwind, Shana Frazin, Katy Wischow and Char Shylock

How do students ever learn enough words to improve their vocabulary?  How do students become invested in their OWN learning?  Who’s really doing the work in vocabulary learning?

Step 1.  Listen carefully.

Step 2.  Wait.  

Too often when students say things that are untrue or unbiased, teachers jump in. Instead of the teacher teaching 24/7, maybe students should teach us so that they have the skills that they need for the rest of their lives!  

Step 3.  Think.   What do we know ( or What do we think we know) about …”

Step 4.  Audition what you know.  Try it on.  Is this idea never true? Sometimes true? Always true?  (or True for me? True for us? True for you?)  Set up a place or way for students to go do this!!!

Step 5. Revise and rename.  What assumptions changed?

Step 6. Spread the word.

This presentation included opportunities for us to think about shifting our beliefs, taking note of vocabulary words, increasing our word curiosity and consciousness and “settling our souls in teacher church”.  Shana Frazin told us that “English is her superpower and Hebrew is her kryptonite.”  If  we think of a word in another language, how does that add to our repertoire? How does working with “categories” help students access MORE words.  And then Katy  illuminated some FUN, JOYOUS ways to find a few minutes to incorporate vocabulary work. . . in a closure – share, in a mid-class tip, in spare 5 minutes before the bell rings or even a simple conversation like . . .

“Wow guys,  you are doing such fascinating work with characters… let’s talk about…. which would you rather be, character A or character B and why?”

Some activities take time:

  1. Sentence game
  2. Grid game  – person and question
  3. Play with words –  Beck’s Bringing Words to Life  (Would you rather?  How much would you like to ?  Which is more important to ? When/ how should you?)
  4. Word sorts – content words for open or closed sorts
  5. Other work – paintings or artwork.

Vocabulary work that has student learning and ownership as the goal WILL stick with students.  Vocabulary work that has “correct answers on the quiz” as an end goal . . . NOT so much!

The Power of Low Stakes Writing with Ralph Fletcher 

Fun

Laughter

Advice from students

“Use top shelf adjectives and verbs”

Metaphorically

Like a big balloon…

Real choice

Audience (beyond the teacher)

A sense of fun and adventure

Teachers  who value

Invention, originality and voice

So what happened to the big beautiful balloon?

Student Choice increases energy and excitement to make the balloon soar.

Test prep brings the balloon back to the ground.

There is a battle between freedom and discipline

But teachers do have choice and must be

BRAVE to bring choice back with any of these . . . (and also low-stakes)

  • Free Choice Fridays
  • The Writer’s Notebook
  • Class Writer’s notebook- Students inspired by what others write
  • Classroom blogs
  • Slice of Life Challenge
  • Open Cycles – where students chose the topic and genre
  • Need writing green belts – tap into the writing Ss are doing
  • FERAL writing
  • Study Driven Writing (Source  Katie Wood Ray)

Recklessly wonderful writing.

Students choose to work on writing because

The ideas of writing give them energy.

Multiple Layers of Literacy Learning – 

(Amy Brennan, Dani Burtsfield, Jill DeRosa, Kim Gosselin, Jennifer Hayhurst, Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson, Marissa Moss, Stefani Nolde, Erica Picarole, David Schultz, and Kari Yates)

What do you think of when you hear professional development?  Who is it for?  This session included conversations about learning for teachers, parents, and students. Learning, fun, and choice are necessary ingredients for multi-dimensional opportunities for all to grow! Summer school included learning for teachers and the students!

Advocating for Revision in Reading: Meaning Making as a Journey, Not a Destination  – Ellin Keene, Matt Glover, Dan Feigelson and Kathy Collins

Students who are reading and writing A LOT know a lot.  Ellin had an example of a six year old who understood the use of metaphor.  Students who read and write have the tools to share their thinking at deeper levels than we may have considered.  How do we help them revise their thinking?  Sometimes it means the adult must close his/her mouth in order for the student to take the lead!  Students need to learn to be comprehension decision makers! Students have to be flexible thinkers and not seekers of “right” answers.  Building a “Reader’s Identity” is a desired outcome, not a letter of a level! What are the characteristics of a reader that you admire?  That’s a different question than those that are typically part of a story inquisition! Product and process do matter so

“Privilege all texts”

” Our attention shows what we value!”

“Show reading identities.”

“Elevate the book.”

“Elevate the readers of the book.”

Dear Reader, Are you still here with me?

At this point we were off to the #HeinemannPub reception for the #TCRWP Reading Units of Study Libraries, the #StenhousePub reception for authors, and then dinner with #G2Great Voxer cousins!  Many miles of words and ideas heard, considered and studied!

So what caught your attention on this overview of Friday’s learning at #NCTE16?  

When were you nodding your head and saying, “YES”!

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. 

And a “Paul Harvey – the Rest of the Story” video here . . . How Friday ended!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 8 – Increasing Learning


word-focus-300x300

Today’s story is the final installment in this week’s recounting of a focused professional development opportunity that our literacy team developed and delivered that included Quality Instructional Practices, ELA Iowa Core Standards and Assessment for Learning.  To recap, the first post began with much Anticipation on Day 5.

anticipation

And then based on learning with Dave Burgess, Teach Like a Pirate, I shared the Instructional Strategies Bracket on Day 6 that Dyan Sundermeyer created and used to refocus attention on common strategies in a building.

bracket

On Day 7 I shared the work that we did around Quality Instructional Practices based on scenarios in Chapter 1 of Dr. Mary Howard’s Book.

Good to Great Teaching cover

So for those of you that live and breathe in the world of professional development or coaching, here are a few more details to whet your appetite.

Modeled Grade 5 Scenario 

The scenario you read about yesterday was used on our second day with leadership teams.  The thinking behind the grade 5 scenario was modeled after everyone had a chance to read and reflect (gradual release of responsibility) Then participants had a choice – scenarios from first grade, third grade or even title 1.  Their task was to read the initial scenario and record the “Great, Good and Bad”, reflect on some questions, read the follow-up teaching scenario and consider the deliberate changes made by the teacher to move more actions to “Great”. At that point the teachers and administrators found a partner in the room and talked about the scenario and their understanding of the teaching sequence, student learning, and teacher changes.  (Each scenario was color coded so it was easy to find a partner with the same color pages.)

Deepened Understanding of the Iowa Core ELA Standards

Our PD work continued with looking at two specific ELA standards through the K-5 range and considering these questions. How do they build on the previous grade level learning? What do they require of teachers?  What do they require of students?

  • Anchor Standard RL.3:  Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
  • Anchor Standard RL.7:  Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Close Reading of the Scenarios

Participants ended the “Standards Learning” portion with an application piece.  Here was their task:

standards in MTSS

The teachers and administrators reread the scenario through the lens of “which standards” and then checked for grade level standards on those color coded documents.  Possible answers for grade 5 include: RL.5.10, W.5.10 and SL.5.1.

Assessment for Learning – Learning Targets

Time was going to be an issue so our plan was to just begin with Learning Targets and provide an opportunity for our participants to work on those before we meet again.  I’m going to stay with the “plan” as time did necessitate some shifting. We had some learning around the big definition of “Assessment for Learning” including Learning Targets and the fact that “clear goals” is .75 Effect Size (Hattie). Clear learning goals are absolutely essential for learning and assessment but we did not go into the difference between “goals” and “targets” at this time.  Here is how the scenarios were used for the third time (close reading).

learning tasks

And the finale learning activity for the session involved watching a video of classroom instruction and in a triad looking for 1) “Great, Good and Bad; 2)Iowa Core ELA Standards and 3) Learning Targets. Can you identify the iterative nature of our work?

How do you have teachers grapple with the HOW – Quality Instruction and the  WHAT – ELA Core Standards simultaneously?

How important is our design of GREAT work?

How do you model GREAT work in your PD?

Professional Development – Always a work in progress . . . Our state model

Iowa PD Model

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 7 Quality Instructional Practices


five

The story of Thursday’s professional development session continues here. Yesterday you saw a fun activity with Instructional Strategies Brackets. Today’s post provides a window into “quality” of instruction!

Quality Instructional Practices

  • How do teachers improve?
  • How do they know what to improve?
  • How can teachers be given an opportunity to rethink, reflect, and revise with support?

I have a solution for you . . .but as the author of this wonderful work warns . . .”This is not for the faint of heart!”

QUALITY?

What is it?  How do we recognize it?

One way:  Look for great, good and bad instruction as defined by Mary Howard in her book Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters. Chapter 1 is available free when you click on the sample tab HERE!

Good to Great Teaching cover

We used the window into classrooms where teachers guide us through a process of evaluating, adjusting, and elevating their teaching.  This grade 5 example of an initial teaching sequence (from the free chapter one) began our conversation.

one

two

Teacher leadership teams time read the scenario, recorded some examples in columns for “Great, Good, and Bad” and then discussed their thinking with colleagues. Conversations were rich with text examples often cited (close reading!).

We then looked at “What did this teacher define as “Great, Good and Bad” in her initial teaching sequence?”  (You will note that we have flipped the form as we want everyone to reread the GREAT column many times.)  The teacher columns looked like this and we made sure to note that the learning includes the conversations about the instruction and not an evaluation.

three

Teacher Reflection

Because the teacher in this scenario was going to use the lesson with another group of students, she wanted to improve it and she had the good fortune to be discussing her lesson with Mary Howard.  After reflection the teacher decided to change several things to make her instruction more effective that included:

  1. “Teach vocabulary at a different time.

  2. Check in at mid-point with small groups

  3. Make an interactive anchor chart.

  4. Add sentence starters to thinking and anchor charts

  5. Teach a whole group Mini-Lesson to teach the “form” to everyone and free up more group time

  6. Use a National Geographic magazine for students at lower level to access same work

  7. Record 3-5 details at end of day for reminders the next day”

Follow-Up Teaching Sequence

There is an “after” narrative in the chapter that we asked our folks to read and then discuss what changed for the students and the learning.  Here is the teacher’s view of the follow-up instruction.

four

Please note that this activity was not about “putting the right descriptor in the right column” as the learning focused on “how do you define and describe great” and what changes were implemented in order to improve instruction? As well as, “How do you planfully work to increase the quality of instruction every day in your classroom?”

Focus questions:  How are you using the time instructional time that you have?  How are you increasing the GREAT Quality Instructional Practices in your classroom?

And remember Chapter 1 of Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters is available free when you click on the sample tab HERE!

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.

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 6 Instructional Strategies Bracket


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.

Last week one of  my literacy team members had the opportunity to see and hear Dave Burgess, Teach Like a Pirate, with teachers in a district she serves.  Dyan shared this idea and then went on to use it yesterday in our professional development session. (“Novel idea, use the information gained from PD!”)

  • What strategies are in place in your building?
  • Have all teachers “revisited”  the strategies that may have been a part of previous training?
  • What would teachers say right now?
  • What would that discussion sound like in a faculty meeting?
  • What would be used as the “winning criteria”?
  • How rich would  these conversations be?

bracket

This bracket was begun with two ideas already included:  Think-Pair-Share and Question Answer Relationships (QAR).  Both of those have been included in work from the Iowa DE Academies in previous years.  You could easily give teachers one that was completely blank at this time of year when brackets are in play for state athletics and March Madness!

Dyan’s Challenge

What if the principal /  instructional leader in the building took the teachers’ strategies from the brackets and tallied or charted a status of the building based on the frequency of “seeing those strategies” in action in classrooms?  What if the principal reported his/her findings back to staff?  What if that data became a part of planning for future PD sessions?

Teachers using strategies could “partner up” and lead a short session for peers about the strategy and how they  use it. A quick review of the purpose, theory, and research could benefit all learners. Teachers could then have the opportunity to plan how they would use the strategy themselves.  Relevant PD led by  peers! Collaborative teacher leadership in action!

OR consider how you review strategies from previous year’s PD sessions.  Which strategies should teachers be using?  How can they be reviewed in a FUN and yet engaging, useful way as an example for classroom use!

Thanks, Dyan @dyansundermeyer, for not only sharing your learning but also for using your learning within our PD!

For additional ideas about content area use of brackets in math, literature, art, history, see Dave’s ideas here.

How could you use brackets to spark a debate or deepen content conversations?

#SOL15: Inspiring and Joyful Professional Development


joyful

Two blog posts this week caught my eye and lingered in my brain.  They were Jessica Lifshitz’s “A Different Kind of PD (AKA Thank You Kate Roberts and Chris Lehman)” linked here and Lisa Saldivar’s “Assigning vs. Teaching” here.  Jessica is a 5th grade teacher in Chicago and Lisa is an Elementary ELA Coordinator in Los Angeles.

How do I know Jessica and Lisa?  I follow them on Twitter and they participated in online chats last week.

How did I find out about their blogs?  The links were both tweeted out on Twitter.

Have I ever met them? No, not YET!

 Stop for a second.  

What was the content of the  last Professional Development session where you left energized, inspired and ready to move forward with implementing the learning?

Energy, enthusiasm and excitement were present in both their posts.   The three presenters referenced above, Kate Roberts, Chris Lehman (Falling in Love with Close Reading), and Cornelius Minor, are awe-inspiring and passionate about increasing literacy learning for students without drudgery.  They are also FUN to listen to in a PD setting!  You can hear Cornelius Minor in a podcast here.  If you haven’t yet seen them in person, you need to add them to your “must do” list!

joy

 

Focus:  What is professional learning?

I shared this model back in September because the work of Joyce and Showers is embedded in the thinking and development of this model that has “Student learning – at the center of school improvement and staff development”!  (Research-based, YES! and a model of how good things can be!)

Iowa PD Model

You can read more about the model here and also about CCSS.Writing Anchors 1-3 here for content of a two hour PD session with absolutely 0 power point slides but a lot of talk and “studying of texts”. Teachers had the opportunity to read new/revisit familiar texts to deepen their understanding of writing techniques and build a common language, K-5, across argument, informational and narrative texts.

 Where can you find joyful and inspiring PD on your own?

There are many quality sources of PD.  I encourage you to leisurely explore the following resources until you find one that you cannot live without!  Additional details are listed for:  blogs, twitter hash tags, twitter book chats, twitter blog chats, scheduled Twitter chats, and face-to-face presentations.

1. Blogs

blog

Reading a steady diet of blogs can inform your work.  Leaving comments on the blogs can also lead to conversations and even other blogs you might want or need to follow!

Must read literacy blogs include:

 

 2. Twitter hashtags

twitter-logo-bird

Twitter hashtags begin with the “#” sign and can be real or made up. Some hashtags exist for a long time (not saying forever because who REALLY  knows what “forever” means in the “TwitterVerse”) or they can be hashtags created for a specific event (and possibly linger after through posts/discussions).

Examples for meetings / conferences:

#NatRRConf  – National Reading Recovery Conference

#WSRA15  – Wisconsin Reading Association 2015 Conference

#NCTE14  – National Council of Teachers of English 2014 Conference

Examples of enduring hashtags (may want to have a dedicated column in Tweetdeck or Tweetchums):

#tcrwp – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

#wonderchat – Wonder Chat

#tlap – Teach Like a Pirate

3. Twitter Book Chats

Twitter Book Chats are on line discussions of books (often with questions posted in advance in a google document) where readers and lurkers meet to answer questions and grow their own knowledge.  Powerful twitter book chats often include the authors responding to the questions as well!

#filwclosereading – Falling in Love with Close Reading (book and presentations by @teachkate and @ichrislehman linked above)

#wrrdchat – What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton

#NNNchat – Notice and Note @kylenebeers and @bobprobst

#wildreading – Donalyn Books

#booklove – Penny Kittle

#G2Great – Good to Great  @DrMaryHoward

4. Twitter Blog Chats

Twitter Blog Chats are often used to introduce an upcoming series of blog posts or to even wrap up a series of blog posts where the readers can interact with the blog authors.

Examples:

#TWTBlog – Aim Higher:  Outgrow old goals  and set new ones with the chat archive here

#T4Tchat – sponsored by Teachers for Teachers with the last chat storified here – Mid-Year Assessments Got You Down?

5.  Scheduled Twitter Chats

#tcrwp – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project  (Wed. 7:30 pm EST)

#educoach –  Educational Coaches (Wed. 9:00 pm CST)

#titletalk –  Promote reading and book titles that engage students (Last Sunday of each month from 8-9 pm EST)

#iaedchat – Iowa Educators (Sundays 8 am and 8 pm CST)

Many content areas and grade levels host their own chats – check out this list! (36  chats on the list last night between 5:30 and 10:00 pm!)

6.  Face to Face Presentations

face to face

Face to Face Presentations are often jazzed up to include a hashtag so participants can follow along or a back channel like “Today’s Meet” where participants can be posting favorite quotes or questions in real time while the session is taking place.  Today’s Meet is often used when there are multiple presenters so the non-presenter is monitoring the channel to feed to other partners/panel members or to address /build purposeful connections for all parts of the presentation.

Which of these 6 have you used to find your own joyful and inspiring professional development?  

What about your peers?  Where do they find joyful and inspiring PD?

(If you didn’t answer these questions in three seconds or less, click on a link above and find something you are interested in . . . NOW!!!)

 

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work.

#SOL14: Pushing Ourselves


 

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.

 

As professionals, how do we show that we are learning and growing?  

Is it in our annual professional growth plan?

Is it a part of our daily work?

For those of us who are PD providers, how do we maintain that trust with teachers that is evidence that we are continually learning and growing?

How do I continually push myself?

My evidence would include:

  • over two years of blogging here at Resource-Full
    • daily participation in the March 2014 Slice of Life Story Challenge (My goals and my writing)
    • weekly participation in Slice of Life 14
  • regular participation in weekly #TCRWP chats
  • regular participation in the #Fallinginlovewithclosereading chats and blogs
  • infrequent participation in #ira, #noticeandnote, #ncte, and #educoach chats
  • daily responses to questions and concerns that arise from teaching situations

 

After a two day UbD training opportunity, my partner and I received the following comment from a teacher:  ““This was very beneficial. It was one of the best PD experiences that I have participated in. I can walk away saying that I learned a lot. This is the first time that I have actually been able to put the Iowa Core Standards into action!”   What a compliment for both of us! One reason that we both “pushed” for the UbD work was to literally help our teachers gain a deeper understanding of the Iowa Core as they aligned the desired results with the assessments and the learning plan!

Where did the question about learning, growing, and pushing ourselves come from?

A tweet last week . . .

“If we aren’t pushing ourselves everyday to be a better version of ourselves, how can we ask kids to do that for us?”

The author of that tweet was @venspired shown below!

venspired

How do you continually push yourself?  What does your evidence look like?

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