Tag Archives: “Slicers”

#SOL16: Capital E = Essay


There’s a glow, a rainbow, a light spirit still leaking from my pores and so much fun and learning from #NCTE16 yet to be shared! My top two sessions from the three days are a toss-up.

Poetry?     Essay?      Which will change the world?

At #NCTE16 it was readily apparent that BOTH writing forms are capable of reporting on AND changing the world.  You can read more about poetry in last week’s  “NCTE16:  Incredible Learning” here.

A focus on writing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING will of course have the power to potentially change the world because the pen is mightier than the sword.  The constant focus on assessments and screeners that produce fast yet aliterate readers has created a new tension in schools. What’s the solution for this new breed of readers who do not choose to read and who do not fall in love with the written word? Are they an unconscionable byproduct of too much focus on reading “outcomes/products” (ie, something that can be counted as in words read per minute) and too little focus on the thinking, the joy, and the love of words that result from daily writing in schools – daily writing of their own choice?  How can we regain JOY and LEARNING?  Poetry and Essay tied for first place at #NCTE in bringing JOY to my world and in igniting a quest for more learning.

The Transformative Power of Essay

This panel on Sunday was amazing (and had many noteworthy literacy celebs attending as well).  And NO moans or groans because of the word “essay”.

Essay bomer.jpg

From R to Left:  Katherine Bomer, Allyson Smith,  Corinne Arens and Matthew Harper

Story after story.

Straight from the students.

Student writing examples . . .

pages and pages and pages of writing from individual students!

Students conferencing with teachers in videos.

Students sharing what essay means to them.

Students sharing how their lives have changed.

Teachers sharing how their lives have changed.

An administrator sharing how the district has changed.

Summer week long writing institutes in the district.

Building trust.

Building communities.

Teachers doing the “writing work” expected of students.

The audience laughed.

The audience cried.

The audience applauded vociferously.

Transforming our thoughts, perhaps our future actions . . .

Essay with a capital “E”.

(NO five paragraph essays anywhere!)

Thank you, new friends from Blue Springs, MO!

What evidence of transformation?

Tweet 1:

beth-bomer

Tweet 2:

julieanne-michelle-bomer

Did you catch the date?  9-15-16

Not waiting for “routines” but beginning the year boldly with essay writing to allow student voice to “spill yourself onto the page”.

And a final piece of evidence . . . Margaret Simon’s post today found here.

The Transformative Power of Essay

Have you read The Journey is Everything?

bomer the journey is everything    Read it. Try writing an essay and then let’s talk!

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. 

Looking for more information?

Previous posts:

#DigiLitSunday:  The Journey is Everything!#DigiLitSunday:  The Journey is Everything!

Literacy Superheroes (I counted FIVE of these essayists + Katherine in the room!)

Photo Essay (another public  essay!)

A Favor – My essay (with a comment from Katherine Bomer – another fangirl moment)

And the common denominator for both poetry and Essay was Katherine Bomer!

No wonder they tied!

#SOL16: JOY


joy

My #OneLittleWord for 2016 has been JOY and this past weekend at #NCTE16 was packed with joy every minute of every day. Surrounded by professionals that I know, admire, and constantly learn with, it was quite easy to forget the policies, problems, and politics that have rocked the U.S. landscape lately.

See how many “Slicers” you recognize at the Saturday dinner.

(Bonus:  How many of the blogs can you name?)

Slicer Satu.JPG

“Slicer” dinner at Amalfi’s Pizza Saturday

JOY

The JOY began with a #G2Great meetup Thursday night at Max’s Coal Pizza.  This group chats online on Thursday evenings with Mary Howard, Amy Brenneman, and Jenn Hayhurst as co-moderators.

g2great-thursd

Thursday night #G2Great meetup at Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria

Do you know which 4 are in both groups?

Can you name the states represented?

joy gift pic

And of course another night of conversation and JOY.

friday-night

Friday night at Legal Seafood 

joyful

On Sunday we actually found time to visit before leaving Atlanta!

sunday

Julieanne, Tara, Margaret and me!

One of the highlights of my travels was my great roommate, Dani Graham Burtsfield, from Kalispell, MT. Thanks so much for all your great work as our “historian”!

dani

Joy with some of the audience members for the poetry session are found here!

poetry.jpg

At poetry with Mary Lee, Julieanne and myself – just missing Steve!

And even MORE JOY with some of the presenters!

Have you checked in on your “One Little Word” lately?

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. 

#DigiLitSunday: #WhyIWrite


#why i write.jpg

Why do I write?

I started a list

The verbs wrote themselves . . .

To define

To think

To create

To share

To craft

To dream

To plan a course of action

To question

To examine

To reflect

Current reality . . . 

I am writing now

Because my fingers are tethered to my keyboard

And I can’t leave this post until I’ve recorded something

Worthy of pushing that “publish” button.

What do I write?

Serious or trivial?

Rich in details?

Or written totally between the lines?

Do the words tumble end over end

in their urgency to be revealed?

Or do they have to be coaxed out of hiding

while I patiently sip coffee as they emerge word by word on the scrren?

The pacing corresponds to the ideas,

some race across the blank screen begging for release,

some yet to simmer,

some seem half-baked,

some to be totally erased TODAY,

perhaps to emerge in a different format on another day.

YET

Today

The words are in gratitude for time with family

This weekend it was being entertained by the 17 month old grandson,

A charming, sweet boy

Attending his first collegiate football game

Complete with high fives, fist bumps, applause, and signaling touchdowns

And yet I wonder what he is thinking . . .

Today I write to share my thanks for the precious gift of time with family!

Why do you write?

What do you write?


Additional Reading

Other thoughts on #WhyIWrite here in a previous post complete with responses from MANY slicers!

Shaelynn Farnsworth’s post “Educators Sharing #WhyIWrite to Celebrate National Writing Day”

Kathleen Sokolowski’s post “Are You Ready for the National Day of Writing 2016?”

#SOL16: Footprints


 

footprints

Straight paths to learning this summer . . .

At TCRWP Writing and Reading Institutes

Bookstudies for “Who’s Doing the Work?” and “The Journey is Everything”

Blogging

Twitter chats

Voxer conversations

Reading

Writing

Thinking

Paths to Fun . . .

Time with my son, my daughter-in-law, and my grandson

That infectious laughter

That unquenchable love

That precious 14 month old that pushed the button on the phone to make the zoo animal reappear

Paths that endure . . .

My godparents celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary

Meeting “Slicers” face to face

Hearing stories from authors

Laughing and crying simultaneously

Our journey . . .

Friends continuing to learn together

Friends and colleagues collaborating across the miles . . .

Striving to improve

To meet previously unmet needs

To grow

To learn

To respect all

As a teacher, coach and colleague, how do I live these?

How do those around me know that these are important?

mindset stances mraz and hertz

Back to learning

Two days of Student-Centered Coaching

Prepping for Professional Development

Reviewing,

Considering Possibilities,

Studying where I have been . . .

Continuous Reflection

What footprints am I leaving?

How do I know?

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

What footprints will you be leaving this week?

(Thanks Kristi and Christine for the infographic from A Mindset for Learning:  Teaching the Traits of Joyful, Independent Growth!)

#TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 4


New York City

NYC

This rural Iowa dweller says thanks for all the opportunities:

for face to face meet ups with friends from Twitter, Twitter chats, and Voxer,

to be able to chat excitedly with fellow Slicers, bloggers and authors,

to dine in all sorts of fabulous places,

and in such great company.

Attending the musical “Fun Home”in the Round was magical.

Ahh, the bookstores

Jazz at Smoke

So much to see and do

While in NYC

For #TCRWP’s Writing Institute

Because the learning does NOT stop when the sessions end!

The conversations, the questions, the talk about “What are you reading?” and “What are you writing?” continues into the night!

A glorious week long adventure!

Thanks to you, my friends

And Lucy and ALL at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

 

And what about the learning on Day 4?

I begin, again, at the end,

the eloquence of Pam Nunoz Ryan

who brought us to tears with her harmonica rendition of “America the Beautiful”.

Thanks to  Fiona Liddell and Twitter for this picture.

pam

What an eloquent author and so nice to hear the backstory, see the grids of characters and plot, as well as the research that went into Echo – a MUST READ book for your #TBR (To Be Read) list.

Takeaways:

  1. Find your passion.
  2. Thank those who help you find your passion.
  3. Writing a novel is hard but rewarding work.
  4. Stories matter, stories matter, stories matter!
  5. Rereading stories is important!

Have you read Echo?

Please reserve it at your local public library NOW!

 

Choice Workshop – Colleen Cruz

Editing Does Matter:  Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary in a Writing Workshop

To think about when teaching Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary:

  1. Development

      Teach into developmental level so it will stick.  What do they know? What are they trying to approximate? We looked at a student piece of work.  What can this student do?

  1. Curriculum and standards                                                                                                              What should we teach?

    What do my standards say that the students need to learn by the end of the year?

  1. Process

           Just as revision is not taught only once in the writing process; editing is taught more than once in writing process.   First time – teach in editing (comma in clause) in order to lessen the cognitive load for the students.  Then the second time teach comma in clause during revision.  And for the third time, the student can focus on the comma when generating ideas in his/her notebook.  The repetition will be helpful for students!

  1. Methods 

Each time we revisit the skill, our methods may vary – or not!  The typical methods are:

a. Demonstration

b. Apprenticeship – Mentor author – Example

c. Inquiry- let’s see what we find in the world and then find patterns (bio, /er/ was/were)

  1. Tools 

        The tools can either be Teacher created or Student created.  For grammar it may be a series of books to cover the variations in journalism grammar, grammar for fiction writer, or  grammar for academic writing.  It may be fun grammar books,  vocabulary picture books, mentor texts, or student examples.  Or it may be editing pens, gel pens, or other irresistible editing tools. Quite literally, physical tools like Mini editing checklists with 2 or 3 things they are checking for!  Whatever they are into!  Students can make their own reminder sheets!   Work with grammar, spelling and vocabulary should be in the spirit of FUN and Exploration.  NO RULES for number of spaces after a period.  Talk about conventional understandings.  How do people expect it to go?

Takeaways:

  1. Perfection in writing is not the goal for 9 year old students.  The New York Times allows four errors per page with page writers and paid copyeditors.  No published piece of writing in the world has ever been 100% perfect.
  2. If you are writing with passion and focusing on content, writing will slip  when you are“letting it rip”.  Errors are a good sign because they indicate risk-taking. 
  3. Post “not perfect” student work on the hallway bulletin board.  Make a huge label and Celebrate – “Check out our capital letters and end punctuation.  We’ve been working hard on them and ALMOST have them!”
  4. Kids fall into automatic, manual, wrong – if kids aren’t automatic, it does not mean they are lazy , not trying, or don’t care.  It just means they haven’t mastered that skill YET.
  5. Conventions, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary work should be FUN and PLAYFUL!

How does your instruction in Spelling, Grammar and Vocabulary match up?

What’s one change that you would consider?

 

 

 

 

 

#SOL15: THANKFUL!


thankful

As the leaves change colors and begin to fall from the trees,

As the frost decorates my windshield each morning,

As the debate to “turn on the heat” continues (but what if the temperature goes back up to 70?),

As the calendar pages narrow down,

I have a thankful heart!

My Top Ten!

thankful two

for my family far and near,

including the cutest 6 month old (yep, half a year) grandson in the world;

for my friends near and far,

whether face-to-face, on twitter, “slicers” or blog readers;

for our veterans both here and gone,

as well as the four generations of family who have served;

for the curiosity of children (and adults),

who dream, imagine, and create a better world;

for the teachers, administrators, and volunteer boards,

who generously give and give and give their time and hearts;

for the farmers who provide our food,

even though I sometimes resent sharing the roads mile after mile;

for the authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers,

who provide so many choices of materials to read/learn from;

for everyone who shares a minute, a laugh, a kind action,

that brightens up days and / or lives of strangers and those less fortunate;

for this great Earth, our melting pot of people,

the air, wind, water, resources, strength, and renewal:

And most of all, for this moment, this single point in time,

that allows me to share my thoughts and my gratitude!

What are you thankful for?

How will we know?

slice

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. 

#SOL15: Oh, The Friends You Meet When The Places You Go!


friends

What a pleasure to meet up face to face with friends during my learning journeys!

isabella2015-06-20 11.27.492015-06-21 19.23.35

Seymour and Fran at ILA 2015National Harbor beachSol dinner

ncteSlicers2014-11-21 17.17.05day 3 tcrwp

It’s summertime,

No time for flashy app,

No time for learning something new.

Time to chuckle,

Time to laugh,

Time to remember –

Our talk,

Our laughter,

Our fun.

Thank you,

Friends and Framily!

slice

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

#TCRWP: Sunday Learning in NYC


What did I learn on Sunday in New York City?

Retrieved from wikipedia

Retrieved from wikipedia

Who Knew?  This is a map that lists the neighborhoods in Manhattan (sorry, Brooklyn friends).  They are literally also divided into “uptown”, “midtown”, and “downtown”, as well as “east side” and “west side”.

Not this “farm girl” from Iowa!

What sparked this interest in the “make-up” of Manhattan?

The Tenement Museum

“We tell the stories of 97 Orchard Street. Built on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1863, this tenement apartment building was home to nearly 7000 working class immigrants.”

Do check out the linked museum title above because the “Education” tab includes lesson plans and primary sources that history aficionados will love.  The whole premise of learning about the “lives” of these families from the historical documents of the times as well as the personal stories is spellbinding!  Goosebumps!

The “sweatshop” tour was our goal and Janeen was an amazing tour guide.  She enabled us to time travel back to the 1890s to imagine what life what like in a 3 room 352 square foot apartment occupied by the Levine family – no running water, no electricity, privies in the back yard, . . .

When I hear the word “sweatshop” this is an example of the image that comes to my mind.

Sweatshop-1890

Sweatshop – 1890 from wikipedia

But the original sweatshops, before electricity and the “factory” model, existed in the tenement apartments where individuals would run their own business, hire workers, and work incredibly long hours in their own living quarters.  Here is a photo of a postcard purchased at the museum (no pictures allowed on the tour) of an example of a dress made in this apartment rented by the Rogarshevky family.

dress

Sewing the dress pictured above (sold for $15 retail) netted this business $0.25.  How many dresses would they need to complete during their six-day work week to make $10.00?  The virtual tour is linked here so you can see and hear this information yourself.

What do you know about the history of immigrants in your own family?  

Where did they come from?

Where did they live and work once they arrived in the US?

How did they have to adapt in order to survive?

What is the role of “oral histories”?

We ended our day at Isabella’s with a different bit of learning.  Fellow slicers, TWT bloggers, #tcrwp attendees gathered for fun and fellowship.

isabella

Vicki Vinton, Sandy Brumbaum, Julianne Harmatz, Allison Jackson, and Tara Smith and myself.  What a great beginning to our “TCRWP” learning week!

TCRWP Writing Institute begins today!

Where and what will you be learning this week?

#SOL15: Traveling!


images

“My bags are packed, I’m ready to go . . .

I’m standing here outside my door . . .”

passion

On Friday I will be off on another GRAND adventure!

TC

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?

slice

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!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 29 – 88th Saturday Reunion #TCRWP


It’s the little things that make life wonderful!

Little things can seem like insurmountable objects . . .

like navigating the NYC subway system to arrive at Teachers College EARLY!  I was actually more successful than navigating through my “home” deer country!

like organizing for a day run on an hourly schedule with 50 minute sesions (10 minutes to sprint to the next location) and NO time in the schedule for lunch (encouraged to pack and yes, you may eat in the sessions – ignore the signs that say no food!)

like finding your way among 4,000 friends engaged in learning on a Saturday at Teachers College

like worries about the wi-fi (had some overloads and would kick you off – How many total devices would 4,000 strong have?  REALLY?)

and the ability to have a back up plan – First choice closed because you actually stopped to use the restroom?  What were you thinking?

Other slicers who have posted about yesterday include:

Tara 

Julieanne 

Dayna

Sally 

Catherine

and of course the many Tweets that emanated from the halls of the Teachers College campus.  Right this minute, this tweet says it all:

@ReadingTeachNC: We cried with @PatriciaPolacco, we laughed with @KyleneBeers, and we reminded ourselves why we love what we do! #TCRWP

What a day!
What a glorious day!
What a glorious day filled with laughter, love and learning!

(Notice how I worked on my elaboration there!)

Instead of an “All About Everything Post” the remainder of this post is dedicated to my #OLW “Focus” and will just focus on one key take away from the sessions I attended. (I promise – I will write more about what I learned.  Some of it has to percolate!)

word-focus-300x300

Patricia Polacco – Keynote Opening (Row 5)

“Teachers are my heroes.  You devote your lives to the minds and hearts of others.  What a wonderful calling”

Carl Anderson – Mentor Texts

We take the perfect text and we have to pull the curtain away.   We need to love the mentor text.  You wouldn’t marry someone you didn’t love.  You are going to live with this mentor text day in and out.  You have to know it inside and out.  Work with a colleague to analyze the text.  Make sure that kids will be moved by the mentor text (Not just one that you LOVE)!

Kylene Beers – Nonfiction Sign Posts

kylene's picture -signposts

This is the picture that Kylene took from the speaker’s podium to show what the audience was doing as she displayed the slide listing the nonfiction signposts.  By the way, the book will be out in October and we all had to promise to buy it!  The nonfiction signposts are not ALWAYS found in each nonfiction piece of material because of the very nature of nonfiction.  (more on that in another post) Here are the signposts in the order of frequency and importance:

Extreme and absolute language

Like this examples

Experts and Amateurs Words

Stats and Numbers

Contrasts and Contradictions

Again and Again

Cornelius Minor – Struggling Students

Cornelius began with an analogy about teaching skateboarding where one will fall the first 5-8 times.  So he has to give you 20 opportunities to practice.  “My job as a teacher is NOT mastery. Nothing will cultivate practice. Teaching sets you up for practice. Repeated practice sets you up for mastery.  Engagement – how do I keep you moving! Multiple and intellectual energy to get some learning going!  My job is ‘Teaching light and Practice heavy!'”

The brilliance of that philosophy!

Kylene Beers – Closing (Front Row)

Literacy is about power and privilege.

Choice, relevancy, volume. Wantability is more important than readability. @KyleneBeers#tcrwp” Can’t be said/heard enough.

Slicer meet up at the Kitchenette! – So much fun to visit, share, decompress!

My head and my heart are both full from the learning.  Much more to see and do while in NYC so “adieu” for now!

slice

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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