Tag Archives: Simone Fraser

#SOL18: Mirrors and Windows


In kindergarten I read books about Dick, Jane, Sally, Puff, and Spot.  They lived in a town with houses, sidewalks, and fenced yards. They seemed to have fun and play a lot. The girls and Mother always wore dresses and the older characters had the longer dresses.  As for the guys, the Dad always wore long pants and the boys wore shorts and long sleeve shirts or sweaters. It wasn’t my neighborhood (a farm) or the way we dressed (church clothes, school clothes, play clothes).  I didn’t know if the stories were real or pretend.

I was reading before I went to kindergarten so I’m not sure of the impact of the environment depicted in Dick and Jane books. I already loved books. And I dearly loved reading. School was fun, for the most part. But some of it was sheer drudgery.  The silly workbooks, the round-robin reading, and reading one story a week was so . . .

excruciatingly . . .

slow.

As well as dry, dull and desperately boring. We stopped all the time to answer questions about our reading. The pacing was synonymous with a turtle and at many times, so darned tedious.  But I loved books.  And I loved reading. I loved reading for the windows into other worlds . . . enchanted, far away worlds! I didn’t see myself, my family or my neighbors in any of the stories I read.

But what if I hadn’t loved reading?

A groundswell exists for an elementary curriculum that includes both mirrors and windows for ALL our students.

“All students deserve a curriculum which mirrors their own experience back to them, upon occasion — thus validating it in the public world of the school.” (Source)

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Are ALL of our students validated?

Last week at the #TCRWP June 2018 Writing Institute I was reading Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time to a group of third grade teachers.  We were analyzing the text for “techniques” of narrative text and this book by James Howe had many. It was a new book for many of the teachers in the group, but the part that stuck with me were the brilliant words from our leader Simone Fraser:

“Read Alouds in our classrooms need to be more inclusive. It is important that ALL students are represented in our Read Alouds. We need to make sure that we read from at least ALL the bands of text that students are reading.”  Simone Fraser

Brilliant!

Deep!

Broadening the definition of inclusivity.

This sounds so much like  ‘common sense’, but are teachers doing this?

First, qualitatively. I am not saying you would start at Level H and read through to Level O (remembering that levels are only Teacher Tools), but do you purposefully read texts from bands that represent the students seated on the floor in front of you and that allow the students to ‘see themselves reading texts’ in your classroom?

And then a second issue, do the students actually see themselves, their neighborhoods and their cultures in the books in your classrooms?  What of neighborhoods that are so homogeneous that they need to see even more diverse communities? How do you build libraries that expand the world?

As teachers decompress, plan and re-plan for those first days of school next year, I would challenge each and every one to consider how those first days of school (August or September) could be more inclusive.

Planning Considerations:

What if the opening community-building Read Alouds were mirrors of the reading students did in previous years?

What if the opening community-building Read Alouds included one from each band of text – matching the students in front of the teacher?

What if the opening community-building Read Alouds were mirrors of the students and their cultures?

What if the opening community-building Read Alouds were fun, inspirational and then lovingly placed in a basket labeled “Our Favorite Books to Re-Read”?

Why Re-Read?

To feel welcomed.

To feel accepted.

To revisit old friends.

To build community.

To demonstrate the value of re-reading!

To remember the excitement of that “first read”!

How do you welcome EVERY child to your reading community?

How could Read Alouds, that correspond to your students’ previous reading, build empathy and respect as well as empower and engage your students?   

How could those beginning of the year Read Alouds strengthen and build upon student successes, positive attitudes and reading habits? 

How are you including both mirrors and windows in your classroom book collection?

Isn’t this the “Engagement, Excellence and Equity that should be quaranteed for ALL students?




And as you are planning, remember these words from Lin Manuel’s tweet . . .

“You’re gonna make mistakes.

You’re gonna fail.

You’re gonna get back up.

You’re gonna break hearts.

You’re gonna change minds.

You’re gonna make noise.

You’re gonna make music.

You’re gonna be late, let’s GO”  @Lin_Manuel




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

#TCRWP: Fantastic Four


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Fantastic Four Fireballs

Fantastic learning continues and today’s countdown of learning is from Thursday at the June TCRWP Writing Institute.

FOUR: 

From Simone Fraser’s session, there are at least three different ways to teach grammar.

  1. Demonstration 
  2. Inquiry
  3. Interludes and Extravaganzas

As teachers, we need to reflect:

Who is doing the work?

Who is doing the most talking?

Do we always use the same group size?  Or do we vary whole group, small group, partners, 1:1?

Do students really have enough “work” to really understand?

When do students become more independent?

Which method leads to the best transfer?

If you are only using one method, which one would you add to your repertoire?

THREE:

From Marie Mounteer and our Interactive Writing session,

When making choices, we always want to go back to purpose.

When making choices, we always want to go back to purpose.

When making choices, we always want to go back to purpose.

The WHY? is critical.

TWO:

Marjorie Martinelli’s message in her choice session was exactly what I needed to hear.  When we consider any practices in our writing workshop, we need to consider these three lenses:

  • Remind
  • Refresh
  • Reflect

We were looking specifically at writing centers, routines and rituals, and anchor charts, but these three bulleted ideas can frame our discussions about classroom environments, all parts of the writing workshop, writing process and even genre work.  Reminding ourselves of the WHY or purpose behind our work is always a great beginning to review our goals and purposes in order to keep our eye on how all students can have increased access, agency and independence in writing.

ONE:

Katharine Bomer knocked it way out of Cowin Auditorium with her keynote titled, “With an Air of Expectancy:  Teaching Writing with Belief, Hope, and Respect”.

Expectancy:

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Expectation:

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Which one is more inviting?  Which one is more inclusive?

They aren’t the same.  Just as learning and achievement are not the same.

But this is my favorite and what every teacher needs to remember:

““Let us become ambitious about believing kids and lifting them up… let us see their knowledge, their experience, their languages as gifts. All kids.”




What are you remembering? 

What are your big ideas? 

What will you DO as a result of your learning?

What’s the key word connecting today’s “Fantastic Four Fireballs”?

#TCRWP: 3 Tips


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Day 3 Countdown . . .

Tip #3. 

Working with Jeff Anderson’s Patterns of Power this week in Marie Mounteer’s section has been a special treat in a section where our focus has been on Interactive Writing,

The steps for a lesson.

When to use.

Work with Conventions. Spelling. Capitalization.

Work with Grammar.

Beginning with the standards.

Using student writing to determine needs.

Formative assessment at its best.

Analyzing student writing to plan for one small group of three students with different needs.

Lifting the level of work for all.

It all began with this:

Screenshot 2018-06-21 at 6.25.37 AM

Everything you will need for planning is in Jeff Anderson’s book.  Sample sentences from fabulous literature that you will be reading to your students.  The only exception would be an actual sentence from the reading students are doing in your classroom.

Everything

is

in

Jeff 

Anderson’s

book.

Don’t consult other sources like TpT!

Use the research-based work from Jeff Anderson! (never a rip off) as you work and plan with a partner – Priceless!

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Tip #2 

Simone Fraser and Toolkits

What do you include?

  • Mentor Texts 
  • Checklists from Writing Pathways
  • Progressions from Writing Pathways
  • Tools to do big work (micro-progressions! Also see Kate and Maggie and DIY Literacy – link)
  • Anchor Chart – Anchor Charts for the whole unit as well as charts from previous years

How do you organize?

So many possibilities. By units or within bends.

“I organize by the stages of the writing process.” 

Working collaboratively to create tools and share . . .

Tip #1

Do.not.ever.pass.on.an.opportunity.to.hear.Georgia.Heard.  What an inspiring keynote!!!

Her writerly life will inspire you as she details her process and shares the final product.

Her student examples will bring you to tears.

Gaspar’s Heart Map with a single wavy line down the middle to represent the line at the Mexican border.  He wrote a poem off of that map about his Mexican heart and American heart with alternating lines written in English and Spanish.  Awe-inspiring.

Heart maps are a powerful tool for writers and writing.  No one has ever said, ‘I have heart map block.’ Many students have said (prior to heart mapping), ‘I don’t know what to write about.’ Small moments can change us.  My writing teacher who wrote ‘add more details’ was really saying,  ‘pay attention and gather ideas for your writing.'”

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What are you learning this week? 

How are you filling and fueling your brain? 

How are you filling and fueling your writing heart?

 

 

 

 

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