Tag Archives: Sally Donnelly

#SOL16: March Challenge Day 23 – DIY Toolkits


My learning from the 90th TCRWP Saturday Reunion continues . . .

Session 2:  DIY Toolkits for Reading Workshop Teachers!!! with Kate Roberts

Please check out what fellow slicers said about this session:

  • Tara Smith’s blog post on #dothework is here.
  • Sally Donnelly’s notes on this session are here.  Scroll down to “Kate”.
  • And my own notes – Session 3 here from NCTE 15 with Kate, Maggie and Mike

The book will be available in APRIL and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival!

Do it yourself

So I’m deviating from the norm here as I’m not going to recapture all the information from the session (see the links above).  Instead I want you to think about what I heard as the spirit and the intent behind this session, at the TCRWP’s 90th Saturday Reunion.

Kate began with laughter. The whole point of the book that she and Maggie have written is to “make our teaching go better!  Make it easier!  ‘I said it!’”  After 17 years of teaching “every single year it feels like our jobs get harder!”  “We want to raise the bar because our students will rise to the challenge.”

“It has never been easy to teach WELL!”

There is an art to being a good teacher and teaching well.  Now more than ever, all students need good teachers.  How do we do that?  How do we teach the content and meet the individual needs of our students that seem to be a never ending task every year. You have to “Do The Work.”  But you don’t have to do it alone!

The tools in Kate and Maggie’s book will help us. How?

“Tools extend our reach and help us tackle big problems!!!”

For students, the tools put the work in their hands.  They provide prompts so students can and do “Do the work”.

But more importantly, for teachers these tools will also serve as “mentor tools” so that we can create the “just right” tools that our students need.

Will there be a tool for every student? Every situation?

Only if the book is 1,000+ pages long and has perpetual updating.  But what this book will do is provide a framework and enough models that you will be comfortable with adapting and / or one day creating your own tools!  Kate even suggested that groups of teachers should get together to create tools!

This was the second time that I watched Kate create a tool in less than 5 minutes for a topic drawn from the audience. Let me repeat. . . a topic from the audience . . . create a tool based on a request from the audience . . .The sheer recollection of that tool-making takes my breath away.  Kate’s ability to have a conversation with a packed room of teachers and administrators and simultaneously create a tool – a demonstration notebook page – is awe-inspiring.  Here’s what that page looked like as it was developed.

Summarizing

Step one: Draft text

one

Step 2:  Add Title – Cloud like color around it

four.jpg

 

Step 3:  One strategy

five

Step 4: Second strategy

six

Step 5: Post-its  = space for student practice =Final page

three

VOILA!

The goal for the page:

  1. Match the purpose (Increase your confidence in being able to make your own page)
  2. Make in 4 minutes or less
  3. Be visible
  4. Kids should see text as quickly as possible  (My interpretation – not after 30 minute lecture!)

How would a page like this help you, the teacher?

How would a page like this help your students?


 

Process/Goals:

The goal of this post was not to simply recount the workshop content.  I gave the reader two links for additional information and the book that will be released in April. I really wanted to focus on the “WHY”! And then share just how quickly Kate created the demonstration notebook page.  In order to meet those goals, I reread my notes, Tara’s post, Sally’s post and crossed off the “how – to” details for everything but those 4-5 minutes of creation. Truth:  Today it took me longer to locate the pictures that I wanted to use than it did to write the blog post.


 

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge posts are DAILY!

#SOL16: March Challenge Day 19 NYC


Riverside_Church

I’m in New York City!  (Can you see that look of awe in my eyes?)  Soon I will be sitting in Riverside Church . . . eagerly anticipating this gift of a day!

Saturday is the 90th Saturday Reunion at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia! About 5000 of my #TCRWP friends (new, current, and not YET met)!

Learning, laughing and listening into conversations with some of the brightest minds in literacy!

Before That

Before that, I was eating Chinese takeout and enjoying brilliant conversation.

Before that, I was completing “homework” in the form of responding to a survey and suggested changes.

Before that, I was out for a fresh slice of pie, a walk, a visit to the dog park, fresh air and exercise in New York City.

Before that, I was in Everett Lounge, Zankel Hall, completing a spot of work, recharging electrical devices, and gearing up for the weekend!

Before that, I was so excited to have my feet on the ground. Now it was time to hunt for a restroom and then off to ground transportation for a cab ride to 525 West 120th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Before that, It was looking out the plane window, seeing houses in rows like dominoes some in straight lines, but rows and rows of houses. Sometimes curved lines..and then turbulence ….crosswinds. Oh, stomach hold on! Color, shapes, diagonals. So many patterns from this bouncy house ride.

Before that, Reading, and then an announcement, “25 minutes out.” “Prepare cabin.” Descending. Time for ears to pop.

Before that, Coffee. Cruising at 37,000 feet and COFFEE! My first cup for the day! Starbucks coffee… Maybe five ounces in the cup. Inhaling the scent… 1 hour and 30 minutes of flight time left. Thinking about advantages of nonstop flight…. Time saved. Actually cheapest by the time I booked it!

Before that, Pushing back from the terminal. Lift off! Noticing how green the grass is from the air. Nature’s way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day yesterday.

Before that, Boarding the plane. Chatting about Vera Bradley patterns. Stuffing bag into overhead bin. Settling in and nesting with devices at the ready.

Before that, Listening to multiple messages about the flight. Before that, Messages, both email and Voxer about joke book possibilities.

Before that, Logging into Amazon and buying joke books.

“What do you call a pig in Ontario?”

“Canadian bacon”

“What do you call a dog in a beauty salon?”

“A sham-poodle”

Before that, checking into the world of Twitter and Voxer. Sending and receiving messages. Noting the number of people on devices. All but the two girls reading joke books from National Geographic!

Before that, checking the screen for my flight and proceeding to Terminal C, Gate 1 at the Des Moines International Airport.

Before that, picking up bags, phone and ID, and asking the gentleman in front of me if that’s his phone still in the bowl in front of war my bags were on the conveyer belt.

Before that, walking into terminal, proceeding to expedited screening with three in line not fifty plus in line extending back to escalator, set 2 bags on conveyor, put phone and ID into bowl, step through screening.

Before that, Driving to airport, getting ticket for long term parking, parking and taking picture of location. Attaching it to calendar for return home.

Before that, Loading the car.

Before that, Verifying that I have TSA pre-screening and checking to see that the driver’s license is valid.

Before that, shower, repack, organize power for phone and computer only.

Before that, The br-r-r-ing of the 5 am wake up call.

Before that, I checked the clock…4:43.

Before that, I checked the clock….3:37.

Before that, I was sound asleep and dreaming of my upcoming learning at Teachers College.


Process … I made notes throughout the day after checking my “Before That”post from last year inspired by Sally Donnelly. I typed this up last evening so it would be ready to go. Categories, tags, etc. Format looking so VERY funky – even on preview! No Text box to type inside of. Technology FAILED again this week!

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!

#SOL16: March Challenge Day 2 – Since Last March


How embarrassing!  I lost my post and it was NOT one that I had composed and saved anywhere but in wordpress.  Hmmm. . . thoughts for future work.

That post was based on Erin Baker’s “Since Last March” found here.

 

Since Last March

 

Since last March, I’ve been to Kentucky.

Kentucky for the birth of my grandson,

Kentucky for many holidays, 4th of July, Labor Day & Christmas,

Kentucky for the crawling, first tooth, and first steps (some via Skype).announcement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since  March, my “baby” turned twenty five.

Twenty-five and a first time dad,

Twenty-five and an expert with bottles and burping,

Twenty-five and changing those diapers.

celebrate balloons

 

Since last March, I’ve said good-bye.

Good-bye to doubts and questions,

Good-bye to agreeing to impossible tasks,

Good-bye to questionable practices,

Good-bye to activities that waste precious time better spent on reading and writing!

learning

 

Since last March, I’ve said hello.

hello to friends who I’ve met face to face,

hello to slicers and bloggers from #tcrwp, #ila15, #ncte15, #g2great ,

hello to books, read with friends and with kids!

2015-06-20 11.27.49

 

Hello, March.

It’s time to write!

#TCRWP 89th Saturday Reunion Closing and Recap


treasurecurmudgeon

Gold or Curmudgeon?

What is your mindset for a full day of professional development?

When the day is a FREE day at Teachers College with the most brilliant minds in the field of literacy, it’s so easy to look for the GOLD!  Lucy Calkins’ Closing was titled:  Straight Talk where do we go from here? and it was PURE GOLD!

As always, Lucy was passionate about her topic!

The future of our students is in our hands – the teachers.  What we believe about our students is what they will accomplish.  If we think, “oh, that’s too hard for them!”, it will be too hard.  Our expectations set the ceiling for students! We MUST dream impossible dreams.  We must work towards challenging goals.  If not, our students will continue to be stuck in their current reality.

 Is that what we really want? 

As a writer, I appreciated hearing that a younger Lucy writer was asked to try 25 different beginnings for a piece.  When we are challenged to do better, we can and do accomplish bigger and better things!

Takeaways:

Study student work.

Give ambitious feedback.

Teach, teach, teach – and yes, this is not the way we were taught.

Work collaboratively – find/make a group that can and does work together!

To review the learning, the chapters in my blog posts for #TCRWP 89th Saturday Reunion (in order):

NYC Bound . . . Anticipation
From Riverside to Riverside . . . The Learning Continues
Begin at the Beginning: #TCRWP 89th Saturday Reunion and Mo Willems
#TCRWP 89th Reunion: Mo Willem’s Keynote
#TCRWP 89th Saturday Reunion: Laughter and Learning Session #1
#TCRWP 89th Reunion: A Reprise
#89th TCRWP Saturday Reunion and a Bit of Grammar
#TCRWP 89th Saturday Reunion and FUN Vocabulary Learning!

Additional Posts about the 89th Saturday Reunion include:

Learning Never Ends with the Sessions; Learning Continues in the Conversations . . .

How and what are YOU learning?

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 31 – Before That


(Following the example of Sally Donnelly, a colleague and friend that I met face to face Saturday .  .  .  you can read her “Before That” here.)

Before That

I arrived home last night just before dark, without having encountered any deer, in my blue Hyundai rental without cruise control, eternally grateful that I was able to monitor my speed while excited about my weekend of learning.

Before that, I was thankful that I did not need the picture that I snapped of the fire extinguishers on the wall of the parking ramp near my car in order to remember where I left it after my mad dash to the airport on Friday following all day PD!

Before that, my US Airways jet landed in Des Moines in the midst of a balmy yet windy 75 degree afternooon. (I didn’t believe the pilot, I had to text a friend for verification. 75? Really?)

Before that, my US Airways jet finally departed the Washington DC airport after two hours of delay due to undisclosed maintenance.

Before that, we deplaned after 30 minutes of sitting on the tarmac.

Before that, we began boarding at the time listed on tickets for our departure.

Before that, we were shuttled to our departure terminal after the bus idled in our rectangular-painted location until the corresponding bus left Terminal 23 – our destination.

Before that, our shuttle flight landed in DC . . . exactly one hour late.

Before that, I was using the internet at LGA to stay caught up with email, slices, and organizing pictures captured over the weekend.

Before that, I was clearing check in and security literally in seconds due to TSA pre-check status and at my departure terminal in minutes.

Before that, I was on my way to the airport in a yellow cab, relishing the fact that 50% of the folks at Central Park were wearing shorts and the other 50% were bundled up from head to toe in winter coats.

Before that, I finished packing and added a few last minute thoughts to a document as I contemplated topics for my last March Challenge slice as well as beginning curious thoughts about what “traditional Tuesday” slicers would find for imaginative topics.  My current list of all the modes of transportation from the weekend in NYC (in reverse order):  taxi, walk, subway (loud guy), walk (“reading glasses”), subway, subway, walk, subway, walk, subway, bus, walk, walk, walk, walk, taxi, plane, walk, plane, walk, and rental car.

Before that, I had a hearty American breakfast at the Nice Matin, adjacent to the Lucerne Hotel, on the upper-west side of Manhattan because with a full day of travel, a solid breakfast to begin the day beats any and all airport food.

Before that, I read and responded to daily “slices” as well as posting my own and linking it at Two Writing Teachers.

Before that, I woke at 6:00 on my last morning in New York City (this trip to Teachers College Reading and Writing Project) in the fabulous Lucerne Hotel.

*  *  *  *  *

THANKS for reading my daily posts during March!

*   *   *   *   *

This is the last day of the March Daily Challenge. 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!

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