Tag Archives: Sarah Weeks

#SOL20: Keynote speeches

Screenshot 2020-07-07 at 8.06.39 AM




What are some characteristics that you expect from a keynote speech?

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of seeing/hearing five different keynotes as a part of the TCRWP June 2020 Reading Institute. Each had its own distinct features due to the knowledge base and presentation styles of Lucy Calkins, Katy Wischow, Sonja Cherry-Paul, Michael Rae-Grant and Sarah Weeks as you can see in the keynote titles below.


  • An Opening
  • You Never Read Alone: Community, Identity, and The Power of Talk
  • Radical Teaching: Reading Workshop as a Powerful Space for Transformation and Liberation
  • I Know, Therefore I Am: Why Nonfiction Reading Is About So Much More Than Extracting Information from Texts
  • A Few Choice Words

Some common themes I found:  Communities of learners and stories draw us together in these turbulent times.  The texts of our lives ARE our lives:  Are we living them? We are the sum of our experiences so we need to make sure they reflect our lives. If not you, then who?  Readers are never alone!

But the surprising commonality for the five keynotes was the deep emotional connections:  the tears, the laughter, and the joy of learning in a community. And yes, even through Zoom/electronic devices, the stories were that powerful.

If you would like to learn more about “keynotes” here is a great source from the business world.  Link  Tips 1, 3, 7, and 10 are my favorites. Especially 10. Always 10.

What will be your keynote for the 2020 school year?

How will you focus on priorities? 

What are your expectations from a keynote?

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

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

CCSS and Writing: The Path to Accelerating Achievement

2013-06-24 09.32.102013-06-25 12.46.332013-06-23 15.24.13   2013-06-23 15.06.40

The staff at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project are in the middle of their second week of writing institutes for the summer of 2013.  Just six weeks ago I was at the first institute in New York City immersed in a wonderful world of writing authors and experts:  Lucy Calkins, Sarah Weeks, Tony Wagner,  Billy Collins, Patricia MacLachlan, Colleen Cruz, Mary Ehrenworth, Maggie Roberts, Kate Roberts (and the Twitter friends that I met in person including @jennymae and @azajacks).

Lucy Calkins kicked off the keynote and then led the beginning grade 3-8 sessions every single day.  It was one of the most fabulous professional development experiences of my life (even though I was sure I was in the wrong place the first day because writing a narrative WAS HARD!)  The chance to learn from, be challenged to improve, and to ask questions on a daily basis  was literally a slice of heaven.   We did not hear everyone’s story but in a community of 1300 learners from 52 nations and 42 states, there were many stories to be told!

I have many favorite quotes from Lucy Calkins that I will be regularly reviewing to see if I am on course, but her opening  keynote was literally a call to action!

1) “Don’t waffle!”

In order to achieve something, one must “go for it!” Stay the course.  There are many pressures on teachers and public schools, but now more than ever the adults at school need to be doing the right things for the right reasons.  Kids need writing every day, not a little workshop time here and there during the week.  Writing has to be on the schedule daily for students to grow their writing skills!

2) “Work with deliberateness towards crystal clear goals.”

Begin with student writing and then identify goals as next steps.  Research on achievement shows that students who are most successful are those who get feedback and work on getting better.  Deliberate practice with concrete goals will set the learning curve.  Look at Hattie’s research on goals for more information about the effect size of having clear, purposeful goals.

3) “Bring writing to scale.”  

Change is hard so you will need a support group.  Find those communities that will support you because the people who make life-altering changes usually have a support group.  If necessary, be a bottom feeder and move forward because students can and will assume identities as writers with our help.  Use the Common Core to create a sense of urgency to provide writing workshop time so students can develop the writing process with integrity. Remember that three of the reading standards support “writing” in addition to the 10 writing standards that all students are working towards.  Literacy time probably needs to be half reading and half writing and extend across other subject areas in the day as well.  If students are writing every day, their work will be visibly better in three weeks so we have a moral imperative to provide both the environment and the instruction to make that happen in our classrooms.

And my closing  Lucy Calkins gems for today:

“Remember that we are not teaching kids to DO something.  We are teaching them to BE something!”

“What is the Bill of Rights you give to all writers at your school?  What is the promise you give the kids about writing?”

What are your favorite Lucy Calkins quotes?
Steph Scrap Quilts

"Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads..."


A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

Tim's Teaching Thoughts

Ideas and Reflections on Teaching

Hands Down, Speak Out

Listening and Talking Across Literacy and Math

Teachers | Books | Readers

Thirty-One Educators Connecting Students and Books

Dr. Carla Michelle Brown * Speaker * author * Educator

We have the perfect words. Write when you need them. www.carlambrown.com

Curriculum Coffee

A Written Shot of Espresso

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.


Seeking Ways to Grow Proficient, Motivated, Lifelong Readers & Writers

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers

Present Perfect

adventures in multiple tenses

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

The oft bemused (or quite simply amused) musings of Krista Marx -- a self-professed HOPE pursuing Pollyanna

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together


Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson