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:
- Sentence game
- Grid game – person and question
- 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?)
- Word sorts – content words for open or closed sorts
- 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
Advice from students
“Use top shelf adjectives and verbs”
Like a big balloon…
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”!
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!
And so it begins . . . this week I am attending the #TCRWP June Reading Institute and it’s off to an amazing start! This is what my brain felt like about 2 pm on Monday . . . with an hour and a half YET to go.
Just plug that CAT 6 cable directly into my brain and let me power on all the assistance I can. It’s going to be an exhilarating experience!
Lucy Calkins Keynote
Why do we read? How does reading benefit us as a community? How does the community benefit when we are readers? These questions weren’t posed by Lucy but so many questions ran through my mind today during her “Call to Action.”
“We come from 38 countries and 41 states . . . 1300 of you to learn about teaching reading . . . to learn about yourselves . . . to learn from each other . . . From places in the heart . . .To say no . . . To say yes”
TCRWP isn’t just an event. It’s not about attending for a week, soaking up knowledge, returning home, and regurgitating that knowledge to a welcome (or unwelcome) audience. TCRWP is about the community – face to face this week – on Facebook and Twitter in the future and even on blogs like this between institutes and Saturday reunions. If you take risks, are vulnerable this week, you will never be the same reader or teacher of reading in the future. You will grow. You will stretch. You will fly. Empathy is built day by day. We can and we must learn and understand by thinking ourselves into other’s places.
- How will you support your reading community?
- Maybe we need a new educational story. To reach, to dream, to grow strong . . What do you need in order to grow yourself?
- How can you grow your own version of #TCRWP? Your own nest?
- There’s important work to be done. It will be hard work. We as educators are asked to outgrow our own work. How will you outgrow your own work?
- It’s not just about naming the strategies, but inducting kids into the identities and values of READERS! How will you create a safe community for your readers?
Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)
Explanation and Demonstration.
“Powerful Whole Class Instruction for K-2 Students
- Clarity and Concise Language
- Engaging and Engaged
- Assess and Give Feedback
- Links and Skills (Strategies) to Independent and Partner/Club Work
- Opportunities for Oral Language Development “
Read and Study Mini-lesson individually. (1st grade, lesson 10 – Readers learn new words as they read.) Mini-lesson Practice with Partners. Mini-lesson planning table group. Mini-lesson Delivery. Debrief. Discuss Goals. Video of Mini-lesson. Discussion of how that was the same and how that was different. Mini-lesson Delivery. Discussion of Goals.
. . . and in all that “What were we studying in the Mini-lesson?”
Pacing – Vitality, Having students think alongside us, Student talk/listen/feedback
- Whole class teaching – staying focused is critical! Don’t let student responses lead you down the rabbit hole!
- Knowing the Teaching Point is critical. Forward, backward, what comes next? What came before? What it looks and sounds like when a reader REALLY does this.
- Focus on one Teaching Point. Not a “Never ending Teaching Point”
- Growing students means lots of practice. That lesson won’t have teacher demonstration but will instead have tons of student practice – PLAN.FOR.IT.
- Study lessons together. Discuss the work together. Build your own community to support your learning about the teaching of reading!
Beyond Guided Reading: Expanding Your Repertoire of Small Group Work in Nonfiction (3-8)
“Small group work is hard. Our goal this week is to open up our repertoire about different methodologies to deliver small group instruction.”
What is your vision of small group work? I’m most familiar with guided reading groups but also like literature circles and book club work.
What’s preventing small group work?
Management – What are the rest of the kids doing?
Fear – I’m not good at it! (not enough practice)
Results – It doesn’t really work for my kids. Or took 40 minutes to “drag that group through the lesson.” There’s no time to do that every day!
Today, I saw, heard and was a part of . . .
- Demonstration Small Group
- Read Aloud Small Group
We watched Kathleen in action and then “copycatted that exact same lesson” into our small groups with two different members as the teacher (not me, not me!)
Remember that brain on fire at the top of this blog . . . this was the first time I’d ever seen a Read Aloud Small Group. So new. So much to absorb and process. My mind was swirling. . . Where would this happen? When? With which students? Why?
I had to take a deep breath. And then another one. The engagement of the students in the Read Aloud Small Group was intense. No student could hide. Everyone had to do the work – in order to contribute to the learning. What a way to know exactly what kids are thinking and to “get them unstuck” and moving!
- On any given skill I could be the top, middle, or bottom. The goal of small groups is to grow and move ALL readers – not just the “struggling readers”.
- TC – Kathleen – said that they have been studying small group work for the last year and a half. It’s okay that I don’t know this!
- Increase your accountability for small groups with a public, visible schedule. That will push you as the teacher as well as the students.
- Teachers over plan small group work. The small group work should be a continuation of the mini-lesson. It’s not about going out and finding new, wonderful text to use. It’s about more practice – more student practice and way less “teacher talk”.
- Feedback is hard. It is about tone. It is about the length of the message. It’s also about giving and receiving feedback. So very complicated!
What new skill/strategy are you practicing?
Have you found / created a safe community to practice?
How does what you are learning from your own learning impact your planning for instruction for your students?
This is my story of learning.
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Writing makes us all more human!
#TWTBlog had these questions for their #Twitter Chat about “Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts”. Were you there? Which questions/answers really helped you grow in your thinking about mentor texts?
This chat was a culmination of a week long series about Mentor Texts and in case you missed it, here are the links:
“Tuesday, May 3: Reading Like a Writer, Step-By-Step by Elizabeth Moore (that’s me!)
Wednesday, May 4: Student-Written Mentor Texts by Deb Frazier
Thursday, May 5: How to Choose and Mine Mentor Texts for Craft Moves by Stacey Shubitz
Friday, May 6: Digital Mentor Texts for Blogs by Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski
Saturday, May 7: Create Your Own Text by Dana Murphy
So why on earth am I writing about Mentor Texts again?
Well, there are whole books about Mentor Texts that include ten of my favorites below and Stacey Shubitz’s Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts that will ship from Stenhouse in June of 2016! (You can preview it here.) And I was just lucky enough, with my friend, Melanie Meehan, to win a FREE copy last night as a participant in the chat!
So, if I have 10 of these 11 books (soon to be 11 of 11) about Mentor Texts, why am I writing about them again?
I know that it’s a total shock to some of my readers, but I must admit that I am a bibliophile. There are very few books that I’ve met that are NOT my immediate friends (except for the fantasy, scifi, vampire type books that I often just AVOID)!
Collecting samples of mentor texts has been helpful in my study of the craft of writing. Each of these books leads me to other authors, books, and even publishers that allow me to deepen my knowledge of author’s craft. I’ve been a writer, off and on, for decades. But during that writing time, I have NOT always studied writing. Instead I was playing at writing and sometimes only “practicing” writing. I trusted the authors above to choose texts that would surely be magical mentors for either myself or my students.
Recently my study of writing has been more reflective and my goal has been to define the elements that work (as well as WHY) and YET sometimes I STILL totally miss the mark! The books above provided a safety net because I did NOT trust my own judgement of mentor texts. I knew there was no “magic list” and YET I still thought there was often something magical about these books that FAMOUS AUTHORS had placed on their lists of Mentor Texts. Reading through their choices was like Intro to Mentor Texts 101. I could see what they chose and why and try to imitate that.
What did I learn from tonight’s chat?
The chat was just like “Field of Dreams” . . . “Build it and they will come!”
Stars on the Twitter Red Carpet #TWTBlog included:
- Ralph Fletcher
- Lynne Dorfman
- Rose Cappelli
- Ruth Culham
- Kim Yaris
- Jan Miller Burkins
- Lisa Eickholdt
- Shana Frazin
- Cornelius Minor
- Emily Butler Smith
- Dr. Mary Howard
- Tara Smith
- Catherine Flynn
- Melanie Meehan
- Jessie Miller
- Leigh Anne Eck
- Lisa Keeler
- Margaret Simon
- TWT Team – Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, and Stacey
The storified chat is available here.
But here are a couple of my favorite tweets that I am still thinking about in response to Q5) “Why are teacher-written mentor texts important? How do you use them?” . . .
and this all important one from Dana on Q1 about reading mentor texts:
The conversations last night were rich. I will be reviewing the storify as I know I missed some. And like any great texts, some tweets will need to be revisited!
Who are your writing mentors?
What are your favorite mentor texts?
How would we know?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thank you for this weekly forum!
I have this problem.
This one teeny-tiny little problem.
I like books.
I like books a lot.
I have had summer jobs for over
10 20 30 years just to pay for my book habit.
In fact, I would not be stepping out on a limb here if I said,
“I LOVE BOOKS.”
So when I heard that TCRWP was going to develop lists of books for classroom libraries,
one side of me said,
“YAY, now I will know what the top of the line BEST books are!”
while the more frugal side of me said,
“Darn, I’ll need another job because this is really going to hurt my book budget!”
90th Saturday FREE Reunion – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
So here is what I think I heard in Session 4. Get the Latest Scoop on Books and on the To-Die-For-Classroom Library Project
Lucy Calkins, Shana Frazin, Norah Mallaney. Molly Picardi and Heather Michael were all gathered in 136 Thompson to explain progress with the #TCRWP Classroom Library Project. (If you have not heard about the classroom project, you can read about it here on the TCRWP website. Read it now and then come back!)
Goals / Process:
- Develop a state of the art classroom library that students will want to and will be able to read.
- Make sure every word of every book is read so no surprise language exists anywhere.
- Represent the diverse culture we see in our current world.
Lists were solicited from teachers and other TCRWP literacy aficionados. However, approximately 50% of the books on the lists were picture books. The review team has searched for chapter books, when appropriate by level, to increase the volume of print as well as continued to monitor a balance of fiction and nonfiction. Book levels were also a concern as Lucy said, “Levels need to be accurate. We want the right books in kids’ hands; books they can and do read!”
Here are pictures of book covers of some of the books recommended for the libraries of students in grades 3 – 5.
And then for students in grades K 2:
- Rigby’s Where does Food Come From?
- Hammerray – Mrs. Wishy Washy
The group shared some of the things they had learned before a quick guided tour of the book review work.
- Titles for book bins do matter so the labels will be preprinted.
- Curating a collection of books that will sustain students’ interest is hard.
- High-low books are not all equal for middle school readers and finding age-appropriate and conceptually appropriate leveled books for MS students is tough.
Lucy reiterated that these would NOT just be your favorite books and few picture books would be included in classroom libraries. Why? Because 4 student chapter books could be bought for the price of one picture book. The few that are included will be in the brief “Read Aloud” section of the shelf!
What books do you know?
What books look interesting to you?
I ordered (10 books) and saved copies of those book covers during the session (to my “blog pictures” folder on my desktop). Ten was my limit! I read through my notes on Sunday and pulled the pictures of the remaining book covers and spent time perusing Hameray and other book publisher sites. A.lot.of.time! (Remember I said I had a book problem. Did you really think I could click without stopping to read? I had to look up Joy Cowley and then I was interested in her woodworking and then back to just how many Mrs. Wishy Washy books are there? Wonder . . . I created the opening, defined my categories, added the tags and then pasted in my notes from my Word Document. I did have to reload all the pictures into WordPress, but I had put the names into my doc so it went quickly.
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!
I’m a newbie.
Still figuring this out . . .
This “grandma” thing . . .
It’s the little things,
With the so many possibilities!
Our list of recent celebrations:
5 months old
rolling over independently
reading (and eating books)
Mama’s red hair
that baby smell
those gorgeous red cheeks
the chunky, squishy muscles
the first trip to a pumpkin patch
the first tooth!
Although the miles separate us, I have pictures galore that celebrate every bit of cuteness and every single accomplishment!
How and what do we celebrate in our classrooms?
Our favorite authors?
A read aloud by the author? (with Julieanne)
A new accomplishment?
Drafting a new piece?
Reflecting on our work?
Considering our small group work? (Kari’s Small groups: So much more than a level and a kidney table)
Tara’s slicing . . . Slice of Life year round with our students?
focused learning . . .Keep it Simple, Get it Right from Kate and Maggie’s “Indent”
the magic and the newness . . . The Back to School Honeymoon is Waning from Shana
and a true treasure from Vicki . . . celebrating The Beliefs Behind the Shoulds
There are many, many, many wonderful blog posts but each of the five above included celebrations of learning and teaching and the oh, so right work!
Have you stopped to celebrate lately?
Are you celebrating often?
How would we know?
And more importantly, what WILL you celebrate next?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
What is a Mentor Text?
Are all books mentor texts?
Should all books be in the pool of mentor texts?
1. All books that are read aloud to students are NOT, especially for this blog post, considered mentor texts. For this post, I am defining mentor text as that ONE, yes, ONE text that matches the writing genre that I am teaching and that is completly covered in post-its because it is my “Marked – Up Mentor Text”. Source: Celena Larkey, June 2015 TCRWP Writing Institute.
2. I am not choosing my most favorite book for my mentor text because I am going to read it OVER and OVER and OVER as we study and write. It has to be a high quality book, but that may not be the newest book. Instead, I am opting for the book that has clear instructional points that works for the writers.
3. I am considering the interests of my students. I am NOT choosing a mentor text because I LOVE it. Instead, I am choosing a book that has content that the students will relate to – be a part of their lives – to increase their own belief in their ability to “write just like this author in this book”.
* * * *
I am going to ask you to pause for a few minutes and go read Shana Frazin’s Blog post titled ‘“Have You Read . . .?” The Art of Recommending Books’
Please, GO read it now! Click on that blue link above. You can always come back by using the “back arrow”!
And did you subscribe to the blog so you can continue to read about talk and its power for literacy?
Shana’s post was about the qualities that you would discuss when choosing texts and how you might teach this to students.
I’ve been asked at least three times to post “lists” of books that we worked with at TCRWP this week. A list does follow. But here’s the “instructional piece” (and yes, I know you HATE when I do that!)!
- You need to know your students. They may not love a book you recommend and ever worse, may not love a book that I love.
- I work with teachers K- 12. Not all books will be appropriate for all grade levels.
- I may have left titles off the list because I already own those books. This list began as my “wish list” and is therefore my “wish to purchase” list!
- All of the trade books that came with the grade level Writing Units of Study. Here is the link at Heinemann to the K pack and you can find the others by grade level as well.
- Shana’s 10 Books of the Month for 2015-16 slideshare
- My Spring Robin – Rockwell
- Charley’s First Night – Hest
- Owl Moon – Yolen
- Kiss Good Night – Hess
- Short Cut – Crews
- Goal! – Javaherbin
- “Let’s Get a Pup!” said Kate. – Gordan
- Z is for Moose – Bingham/Zelinski
- One Green Apple – Bunting
- Salt in His Shoes – Deloris Jordan
- Lunch – Naomi Nye
- Yard Sale – Bunting
- Neighborhood Sharks – Roy
What book do you believe should also be on this list?
For a lovely recap of the June 2015 TCRWP Writing Institute, please read Tara Smith’s post here because she explains why the images and tweets matter. That intentionality grounded in the question “WHY?” has been a theme reiterated through all the sections, closing workshops and keynotes this week at Teachers College. In other words, if you don’t know “why” you are doing this or “why” you are asking the students to do “x” in workshop, you may need to consider the need for additional reading and / or writing on your own part.
Another source of information about the writing institute is always to follow @TCRWP and #TCRWP. You can review the thread for additional charts, photos, and tweets that share out learning from all the masters at TCRWP.
WHAT a week!
We began the week with wise words from Lucy Calkins at Riverside Church and we ended with a celebration that included both wisdom and humor from Sarah Weeks, powerful reading of personal writing from our peers, and closing comments again from Lucy Calkins. As educators, we must continue to be the voice for and of our students. We must also be the readers and writers that we expect our students to be. We must also be the public vision for literacy.
It will NOT be easy.
But when has life or teaching been about taking the “easy” route?
Celena Larkey – Toolkit for Narrative Writing K-2
Possible statements for a checklist for Fairy Tales:
- I tried to bring my character to life by using names, details, talking, actions, and inner thinking.
- I used show not tell to add details.
- I gave my character a quest or adventure.
- i gave my character a problem to solve or overcome.
- i used elements of magic in my story.
- I chose strong words that would help the reader picture my sotry.
- I have elements of three in my story.
And then we worked with Exemplar Texts. We created our own for our toolkit and we talked about the perameters of student Exemplar texts that may not be error-free but would also be great additions to our toolkit.
Kindergarten: 3-4 page story with 3-4 lines of print on each page.
First Grade: 5-6 page story with 8-10 lines of print on each page.
Second Grade: 5-6 page story with 10-12 lines of print on each page.
Which takes me full circle back to questions from Monday:
Are our students writing enough? What does the daily writing volume look like?
Shana Frazin – Using the Best, New Children’s Literature as Mentor Texts: Support Sky High Writing (3-8)
I continue to go back to this picture.
Many folks are adept at small group work and already understand the connection, teach, coach, and link process. But if one returns to the title, the word “ARCHITECTURE” is a deliberate choice. We, in Iowa, love it as we are most known, movie-wise, for “Build it and they will come” in reference to “Field of Dreams”. But architecture conveys that deliberate, planned work that sustains and even lifts up students so they can do the neccessary work. I love that this framework does not say the number of minutes that should be spent; yet I fear the number of minutes spent in group work is not the best use of time for students.
Any ten minutes of group work could be ruled productive if students leave writing or better yet, have even already begun the writing demonstrated in the group work. Group work is not all about the teacher talking during the entire session either. Group work is not about the scheculed 30 minutes time on the lesson plan.
Why does it matter?
The time that a teacher uses for “talking” takes away from student writing time.
The time that a teacher uses for “management” takes aways from student writing time.
The time that a teacher does not use for “writing” takes away from student writing time.
Small group time could be a waste of time if it does not lead to additional writing volume by the students.
Students will not achieve “sky-high” writing without writing TONS!
I believe that “writerly” teachers know and understand this. I believe that “writerly’ teachers need to continue to model the many iterations that could show how group work is a short, focused work time for students!
After a week of narrative K-2 toolkits and 3-8 Mentor Texts for “Sky-High” Writing, what are your big Ahas? And your continuing questions?
Developing a Narrative Writing Toolkit (K-2) Celena Larkey
Goal: Writing drafts using all we know about powerful narrative.
- Read through the examples in my notebook.
- Mark one to explore again.
- Reread that one.
- Box out a line or phrase to use.
Begin with that phrase or line. Close my notebook and then draft. (YES, close the notebook, begin with that small moment and draft AGAIN!) Focusing on this idea of revision will keep students from “recopying when they are in the revision step” of the writing process. Students CANNOT copy when the notebook is closed.
While Writing – Tell a little, draft a little (rinse and repeat) . . . and then find a spot to stop and reread your own writing. Ask yourself, “Am I including conflicting emotions (happy and yet bittersweet moment) that fit my plan for writing?” (If check while writing, development of both flows more evenly.) IF yes, continue on; IF not, go back and add in to your writing NOW.
TIPS FOR DRAFTS:
- Write on one side of the paper.
- Write on every other line.
- Use colored drafting paper (Very visible – feels important and very special!).
Tips for Narrative Endings (Choose one):
- End it quickly (most narratives last two pages too long)
- End it with a strong emotion
- Leave the reader wondering
- Set the reader up for a surprise ending
- Circular ending – weave back to the first line of the story
Stop / Pause / Think
What are you going to do differently in writing workshop?
How will you know if it’s working?
Using the Best, New Children’s Literature as Mentor Texts: Support Sky High Writing (3-8) Shana Frazin
Today’s Big Learning Points centered around Crafting Teaching Points and Mini-Lesson Tips
Crafting Teaching Points
Further Development and Planning
Consider the question that precedes the prompt that was listed in the chart above:
- What – What is the skill, habit or quality of good writing? “Today I want to teach you that . . .”
- How – What is the step by step process? – “We can do this by . . .”
- When / Where – Students may be doing this but not at the right time so you may use “Writers usually do this when . . .”
- Trouble – What is the predictable trouble that I envision for my class? ”Remember . . .” or “One thing to pay attention to . . .” “When I do this . . .”
- Why – What is the purpose for this mini-lesson? – “This matters because . . .”
It’s summer time and it’s time to re-examine your mini-lessons. How effective are they? How do you know? Consider the use of a “Demonstration Sandwich”!
Quick mini lesson tips
Engage …in the work!
Connect – this year, previous years, life
Name the TP
Demonstration Sandwich (Before the demo“you need to watch me do …”(bread), demo – really do it (meat/protein), and then “Did you notice how I . . .?”(bread))
Set-Up – How students will practice the skill from instruction
Monitor and Coach – “A teacher on her feet is worth a hundred teachers in their seats.” @drmaryhoward
Assignment, Repertoire, Managed Choice – The three most important words are “Off you go!” It’s the practice that students need. Remember “under – practiced” from last year!
Stop / Pause / Think
How does this match up to your teaching points?
How does this match up to your mini-lessons?
What might you consider doing differently?
Raising the Level of Literary Essays by Raising the Level of Interpretation (6-8) Katy Wischow @kw625
I had a hard time choosing a closing workshop as there were several that I REALLY needed to attend. But last week during a class, we really struggled with defining a thesis so I thought this might be a good place to grow my knowledge. GUESS what? Literary Essays and Raising the Level of Interpretation does NOT have to be BORING!!! So helpful to have some easy and energizing ways to get middle school students (and their teachers) INTO the work.
To a Daughter Leaving Home
When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
for your life, screaming
the hair flapping
behind you like a
Has the trajectory for literary essay flattened at grade 6 or 7?
Are kids phoning in their essays? (on autopilot?)
Do you get a 10 page retell of Harry Potter?
Then you will need strong reading work in order to get strong writing work. “Three big problems kids tend to have with literary interpretation…That drastically impact their literary essay work
- Kids have nothing to say about the text.
- Kids have cliches to say about the text.
- Kids don’t have enough to say about the text.”
Use a common text that is accessible for the students. All of our work was done with the above poem. Here are some possible solutions for those three big problems:
1. If nothing to say:
- take away the requirement for paragraph responses
- show students other visual representations – let them “choose” another way to show understanding
- use a write – around focusing on a quote or picture that represents the poem
- dramatize with frozen scene – act it out
2. Kids have clichés to say about the text
- create metaphors from pictures the teacher has collected from google images
- use pictures to create new images
- lift a line and connect the line to your big idea
3. Kids don’t have enough to say about the text
- Choose cards from the writing craft techniques
- Choose goals cards
- Use the language from the cards to annotate the text
- Explain how the author used a technique to support a goal
Stop / Pause / Think
What fun, easy, and effective way will you use to raise the level of literary essays?
Thank you for reading #TCRWP: Day 3 Writing Institute 2015!
You might have seen my line up of events on Friday . . .
Keynote – Lucy Calkins
Advanced K-2 Session – Celena Larkey
Advanced 3-8 Session – Shana Frazin
Closing Workshop Choice (toss -up as two were to be repeated Monday and Tuesday) – Maggie B. Roberts
I was expecting
And my expectations were exceeded!
This picture is how my head felt at 4:00 pm when I was thinking about my learning for the day.
The fire was fully ablaze by the time Lucy finished her keynote in the glorious Riverside Church. Her stories, examples, and carefully chosen videos all told us that we must “have faith. Faith that the student has something to say and faith that the student has the language to ‘say it'”. (You can check the #TCRWP hashtag for additional “Lucy-isms” often identified as “LC”, “Lucy C” or “Lucy Calkins” .)
It continued to flame on all day long. For this post, I am focusing on my upper grades Advanced Section
Using the Best, New Children’s Literature as Mentor Texts:
Support Sky High Writing (3-8) with Shana Frazin to count as a very public “self-assignment”.
New Vocabulary and Processing:
“ouevre” – collection of works Eve Bunting (tackling tough topics) and using Yard Sale as our demo!
(New processing angle: Partner A – if name comes first in alphabet and Partner B – next alphabetically as it was possible to be in triads)
Reading Mentor Texts as Readers (3 types)
1. Classic Interactive Read Aloud
The teacher chooses text, places, action and the kind of action we want the students to DO in the text.
2. Shared Interactive Read Aloud
“So you guys know how usually I choose the place we will stop and the work we will do. If you think we should stop – ‘stop in the name of reading’ (hold up hand) and we will stop and you will tell us what to DO with that text.”
Advantages of Shared Interactive Read Aloud:
- As a tool it reveals to you when the students think it is worth stopping and sets the stage to work with secondary characters and their relationships!
- Students can use any prompt to “talk/discuss”.
- Students are listening differently for the “shared interactive read aloud”.
3. Read Aloud Roles
The teacher looks at data to determine what does particular reader, club, or partner need to work on (could be Turn and Talk) and the teacher assigns the role for multiple practices.
Process: The student receives a card with the role. Student focuses on the card as the teacher is reading.
(Data changes as do the needs of kids change, so read alouds should change across the year.)
Our group role card said: “Change – characters and their feelings, traits, lessons learned or not learned, setting, and tone” Our task was to talk about the part of change we could see in the text that had been read.
Delightful new learning . . . I was thinking about how and when to use these three types (and whether I would be able to explain the differences upon returning home) when the next sequence was introduced as
“Reading Mentor Texts Like a Writer”!
1. Classic interactive with mentor text
Our mentor texts was a teacher demonstration text, “Moving Thoughts”
and we were using ideas from a chart based on Ralph Fletcher’s thinking.
(Words are easier than subject so they are often a beginning level.)
2. Shared interactive with mentor text
“Stop in the name of reading like a writer” – Students choose places to stop and name writing craft.
(“You have read already read this once as reader. Now you are rereading as a writer, with a different lens.”)
3. Shared Interactive Read Aloud roles with mentor text
Again, specific assigned roles on cards for partners/tables to respond to.
Example: “Word or Phrase – What words or phrases did the author
use that… Surprised you? Puzzled you? Inspired you?”
Writing under the influence!
“For 5 min. – write under the influence of reading; What stories did ‘Reading Like an Author’ lead you to?”
After collecting my notes, discussing this at dinner, and then writing this blog post, I am wondering:
What data will I use to determine whether I am “Reading Like a Reader” or “Reading Like a Writer”?
Will I use the set of 3 “Reading Like a Reader” before the 3 “Reading Like a Writer” each time?
Will this be “Black and White”?
What other considerations should guide my thinking?
Obviously, I am still at the “new learning stage” but I love the whole concept of “Writing Under the Influence” as well as “Thank you for coming to class today!” I feel totally blessed, as an educator to be at Teachers College learning from and with so many talented teachers!
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
“My bags are packed, I’m ready to go . . .
I’m standing here outside my door . . .”
On Friday I will be off on another GRAND adventure!
My home for the next two weeks!
Writing Institute: June 22- 26, 2015
Advanced AM Section – Develop Toolkits to Support Narrative Writing (K-2) Celena Larkey
Advanced PM Section – Using the Best New Children’s Literature as Mentor Texts: Support Sky High Writing (3-8) Shana Frazin
Reading Institute: June 29 – July 3, 2015
Advanced AM Section – State of the Art Curriculum to Support First Grade Readers (1) Elizabeth Dunford Franco
Advanced PM Section – Embracing Complexity: Teaching Kids to Tackle and Love More Complex Nonfiction (3-6) Katie Clements
The week days will be packed with learning and collaborating with new and old friends. The week nights and weekends will be filled with visiting with friends (including “Slicers”), continued learning, bookstores, museums and shows – “The Book of Mormon” and the Tony award-winning “Best Revival” – “The King and I”. That’s just a brief preview of my June!
Where will you go and what will you be learning this summer?
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 to share our work. So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!
Looking forward to “seeing” fellow slicers: Tara, Julieanne and Catherine soon!