Disclaimer: The ideas in this blog are not novel. They are not original. They are appropriately “sourced” where credit can be applied. What is new / different / novel is perhaps the thinking that connects the ideas. Research-based.ideas! Student-centered.ideas! Many folks KNOW this. But do the teaching practices match the teacher beliefs?
Students need to read more in order to be better readers. Volume matters. (Richard Allington)
How can students read more?
A. Donalyn Miller – 40 book challenge
B. Book logs that keep track of books read. Compare lists over time.
C. Book lists kept by students that rate the books (scale of 1-5) and list genre.
D. Independent reading during class time followed up with time to talk about what was read.
Which ones of these have you tried and abandoned?
Did they work for awhile but then student interest seemed to wane and it seemed like students were “cheating” and recording books that they really hadn’t read? Or perhaps books that students began to read but when the going got tough, the books were abandoned?
Did you REALLY understand the goal / purpose behind that undertaking? Did you read the book behind the practice pushed into the classroom? Participate in a book study? Or did you find the pages on Pinterest or TPT and “try it” as a pilot with a high degree of skepticism.
If you went to the link above for Donalyn Miller’s 40 book challenge and read and even digested that post, you read these two paragraphs.
“The 40 Book Challenge isn’t an assignment you can simply add to outdated, ineffective teaching practices. The Book Challenge rests on the foundation of a classroom reading community built on research-based practices for engaging children with reading. Assigning a 40 Book Challenge as a way to generate grades or push children into reading in order to compete with their classmates corrupts everything I have written and said about reading. The 40 Book Challenge is meant to expand students’ reading lives, not limit or define it.
The 40 Book Challenge is a personal challenge for each student, not a contest or competition between students or classes. In every competition or contest there are winners and losers. Why would we communicate to our students that they are reading losers? For some students, reading 40 books is an impossible leap from where they start as readers, and for others, it’s not a challenge at all.”
This is just a small piece of Donalyn’s 40 book challenge. Reading one blog, one tweet, or attending one hour long session at a conference is not enough for deep learning. But it is enough to whet your appetite. Your appetite for life-long learning as well as your yearning for a solution that makes sense to you, your students, and your community will grow. Your appetite may lead to a mini action research cycle as you implement a research-based strategy in your classroom.
A week ago a friend of mine asked on Twitter: “Does anyone have a genre chart they can share to encourage strong readers’ growth?” And Dayna had several results immediately.
Steve shared this:
and Julieanne shared this:
I immediately drooled over both and wondered about combining them and adding
- Quarter 1 Goal ________________
- Quarter 2 Goal ________________
- Quarter 3 Goal ________________
- Quarter 4 Goal ________________
and then Steve added that his students also do this quarterly in google slides:
Why is this important?
Dayna Wells (@daywells) a principal in California asked the question. Two 5th grade teachers replied. Steve Peterson (@inside the dog) from Iowa and Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) from California. Teachers collaborating online to share their practices. (And of course commercial #107 for WHY you really should have a professional Twitter account! ) Because if you followed them on Twitter, you would also know that they all three blog as well and you would have access to additional resources about / from each of them! (Commercial #108 for Twitter)
Relevance? What do you measure?
Matt Renwick (@ReadByExample), a public school administrator in Wisconsin, believes that “volume” is not enough for reading goals in his January 1, 2017 post “I didn’t meet my reading goal (and is that okay?)”. Goodreads said, “Better luck in 2017.” But his reading was rich. And look at all the qualities that Goodreads did include in their report as compiled by Kendra Grant:
If you go back to answer choices A, B, C, and D above, how do those match up with the goodreads list. I think 5 of the 7 data points are easily covered. Do you NEED 5 data points? Maybe. Maybe not. Do you need ALL 7 data points? Maybe. Maybe not. It all depends upon the ultimate goal of your independent reading.
Who our students are?
Who our students might become as readers?
What’s the ultimate goal?
Is the purpose for a reading goal . . . to hold a student accountable for what they read? Or provide proof that they read and understood and (gasp) remembered a boatload of details to answer a quiz?
Or is the purpose of the reading goal to provide an opportunity to NURTURE a love for reading? And to encourage / nudge EVERY student to become an avid reader? See “Let’s Not Kill the Love of Reading” by Dr. Tony Sinanis (@TonySinanis).
Is the purpose to make sure that the teacher is helping all students to “BECOME a reader” (Thank you, Dr. Mary Howard – @DrMaryHoward) ?
What data do you need?
The data needs to match your ultimate goal AND the needs of the students. Are you thinking, “OK, I can keep doing what I have been doing?”
2. “Students do not need:
Programs / contests that provide extrinsic reward
Packets of activities”
Why are they missing?
Section 2 of the table of contents is included so you can see the practices that support increased student achievement.
“SECTION 2: WHY NOT? WHAT WORKS?
Why Independent Reading Matters and the Best Practices to Support It, Barbara Moss
- Does Independent Reading Influence Student Achievement?
- If We Know Independent Reading Is Effective, Why Don’t We Do It?
- A New Reason for Independent Reading: The Common Core State Standards
- What Practices Are Critical for Effective Independent Reading?
- Why Independent Reading Matters Most for Striving Readers and English Learners
- The Last Word: An Overview of Independent Reading Implementation by Teachers
Need more evidence? Check out “Three Keys to Creating Successful Reading Experiences” by Pernille Ripp (1/4/2017) and “Revisiting My One Classroom Non-Negotiable” by Christina Nosek.
YOU MUST . . .
- stop wasting students’ time,
- stop assigning “activities” in the name of accountability,
- make sure that anything you
askrequire students to do is that which YOU are willing to do as well in your own independent reading life.
DO YOU . . .
- keep a log?
- set goals?
- reflect on your goals?
- meet your goals?
- discuss how you feel about your reading?
- review the text complexity of your own reading?
Do your personal practices match your instructional practices?
You MUST utilize some “lens” or filter to sort out resources.
These are NOT all equal. A single number is NOT a goal!
How does your goal match your purpose? What are you REALLY measuring?
Process Goal for this Post:
Combine tweets; google docs, drawings, and slides; blog posts, books and Voxer conversations for a blog post with at least eight links for the reader to peruse and consider as they reflect upon whether their current teaching practices SUPPORT increased student reading! (And thanks to Dayna, Steve, Julieanne, Mary, Christina, Matt, Tony, Donalyn, Debbie and Barbara for the wonderful way that their work supports each other!)
Kylene Beers facebook post about lifetime readers!
What thoughts run through your mind when you hear the word “poetry”?
Like to read it?
Hate to write it?
Those thoughts are probably directly connected to your previous experiences. If you remember “being required” to write in iambic pentameter for example, you might not be on the “love” side. If you believed that free verse or the way poetry “looked” was as important as what it said like Anastasia Krupnik, poetry may not have been your favorite writing unit. (Creativity week excerpt from Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik here) Encountering a real-life Mrs. Westvessel may have harmed the poetry writer in you. But don’t despair! You can still read, write and enjoy poetry and yes, even change your attitude about poetry!
April is National Poetry month. I hope that poetry is embedded into your English Language Arts work every month of the year because poetry is included in CCSS.Reading Anchor 10. April might just be that month to “Celebrate” the joy of poetry and turn to poetry writing as another way for students to share specific work with language, rhyme and rhythm.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has a whole month of celebration going on that includes song at Poetry Farm here. Continue to scroll down the left hand side of her blog for the vast resources available including the Poetry Friday links.
Mary Lee Hahn at Poetrepository is another great source of poetry ideas for teachers and students. Her April Po-emotions series is quite fun!
Steve Peterson also is posting poems here at Inside the Dog.
One of my favorite posts from Reading At the Core is this one featuring Walt Whitman.
Who are some of your favorite poets?
What poetry anthologies do you recommend?
Are you celebrating Poetry Month?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.
During a weekend of exhilarating conversations and sessions at #NCTE14, someone mentioned the word “Framily” based on our personal and professional relationships.
So what does this really mean?
So what does this look like?
On Friday, it looked like this after our presentation . . .
and we also had to capture this sign that was posted saying our session was full!
The conversation continued and our “Framily” grew at Aloft . . .
Saturday evening our “Slicer Dinner” also provided more conversation and a larger group of “Framily”.
And the fun continued out on the beach at National Harbor.
Do you know the story of this art work?
How many “Slicers” can you name in these pictures?
How did your “Framily” grow as a result of #NCTE14?
All good things must end. But must they really?
What if we added another day to NCTE?
What if we wrote another chapter?
What was the story of NCTE14?
Everyone at NCTE14 was the author of their own story: where they came from, why they came, what they wanted to learn, and what they learned. Each person was able to write his/her own story to share (or not) upon return to classrooms, colleges, and family across the country.
What story will I share?
Members of NCTE are dedicated teachers who spent an entire weekend soaking up knowledge from their peers. They laughed (a la Lester Laminack), they cried (Marian Wright Edelman) and rejoiced as stories boldly claimed learning paths for the children of this great nation. Our students are our hope and our future. We must nurture them and encourage them ALL to grow.
A theme of inquiry filled the hearts and souls of participants. Everyone was seeking knowledge and affirmation and yet also questioning that we are on the path of learning – that right path for our students.
Our panel presentation
Vicki Vinton asked what if teachers explored their curiosity?
I (Fran) asked what if Know and Wonder charts were used with text to explore understanding (and not text dependent interrogations)?
Julieanne asked what if students were asked how read alouds helped them in their independent reading?
Steve asked what if students search for theme and bigger ideas in informational texts?
Mary Lee asked what if students blogged to increase community?
Have you asked “What If?” lately?
How are you embracing your curiosity?
What a day!
What a day!
What a day!
I cannot even count the number of times that I heard, “Oh, Fran! I follow you on twitter!” Thanks, all, for helping me out! It’s truly a pleasure to “meet face to face” and sometimes I can manage to locate folks all by myself!
Obviously, I am not matching names and faces very well. Also not very quickly. I already tweeted out that I would be more successful (if you all enabled me) and posted your pictures daily so I could just match the clothes for the day with the pictures. Or a second option would be to have name tags with shorter strings so they would be in closer proximity to the faces of the wearer. Too often the name tags become hidden under layers of clothing.
What a fabulous first full day for the NCTE14 Conference!
The day started early with coffee and a fire alarm in the hotel (and yep, no teachers followed the directions and left the building) but it was ONLY a false alarm.
The sessions ended with our presentation at 4 pm. What a privilege to be on a panel chaired by Vicki Vinton with rock stars: Julieanne Harmatz (CA) and my two new friends Mary Lee Hahn and Steve Peterson (met them both face to face yesterday for the first time). Our session was full with 65 participants who laughed and cheered with us. What a fun time as we shared a variety of “What Ifs?” based on the “Know and Wonder” charts in What Readers Really Do by Vicki Vinton and Dorothy Barnhouse.
So for three of us it was a really big “first day” of many “first times”.
- First time to meet.
- First time to attend #NCTE14.
- First time to present at #NCTE14.
But yet our evening was reminiscent of earlier times. Remember this photo from summer #TCRWP Reading Institute? Six of seven were present again tonight!
Who were some of the new faces?
- Clare and Tammy
- Jan and Kim
- Mary Lee and husband AJ
- Mary E
The community of friends continues to grow and our lives are enriched by the stories shared by each new addition. What validation of the need to continue to meet face to face to share our learning and our lives!
- 7 – 8 First Timer’s Breakfast
- 8-9:15 General Session Marian Wright Edelman – “OUTSTANDING” Panel: Rudine Sims Bishop, Christopher Myers, Matt de la Pena, Mitali Perkins, Ruchsana Khan
- 9:30 – 10:45 A.06 “Revising the Story: Reluctant Readers Overcoming Shame” with Justin Stygles, Kara DiBartolo, Melissa Guerrette, and Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Lisel Shurtliff who both overcame predicted obstacles on their path as they became published authors. Shaming reluctant readers could result in students being bodily present but mentally absent.
- 11 – 12:15 B.16 “The Nerdy Book Club: Shaping Reading Identity through Community, Story and Choice” Great titles and recognition of authors and teachers!
- 12:30 – 1:45 C.13 “What the Common Core Forgot: Community, Collaboration, and Social Justice” with Harvey Daniels, Sara Ahmed, Nancy Steineke, and Steven Zemelman
- 2:30 – 3:45 D.05 “Developing Strong Literacy Practices in Content-Area Instruction to Support Reading and Writing Development and Deep Content Knowledge” with Amanda Hartman, Celena Larkey, Emily Butler Smith, and Anna Gratz Cockerille
- and of course our session from 4 – 5:15 under #teacherswonder E.09 It’s Not Just for the Kids: Stories of Waht Can Happen When Teachers Embrace Curiosity, Openness, Creativity, and Wonder in the Teaching of Reading.
The equivalence of seven sessions. No wonder I am exhausted!
Did you attend any of these sessions?
Where did you have “new learning”?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsey for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.
What does it mean to work collaboratively?
Dictionary.com defines collaboratively as:
How do you work collaboratively?
Do you use Google Docs? Google Hang Out? Zoom? Skype (some form of video conferencing) Telephone conferencing? Email back and forth? Texting? How does it work for you?
Do you focus more on the process or the product?
How do your students work collaboratively?
What devices do they use? How do they use them? Does their “quality of work” improve with collaboration? Does extra “talk” up front encourage deeper responses? Does rehearsal with a partner in a collaborative environment promote higher levels of engagement?
Is their focus more on the process or the product?
Planning for NCTE14
It was truly a pleasure to join a Google Hang Out on Sunday with fellow NCTE14 collaborators: Julieanne Harmatz, Steve Peterson, Mary Lee Hahn, and Vicki Vinton. Our conversations interwove both process and product as we shared our thinking about student work and what we wanted to share. The combination of visually seeing each other and talking through our ideas was exhilarating as we added to each other’s conversations and made connections across multiple texts.
No surprise to those that know me; I have a plan that I will begin later this week with some professional development. I hope to bring in a snapshot view of how the reading/understanding/thinking goes with both teachers and students. Because I am not in a classroom on a daily basis, I’ve been thinking about a progression of events for a bit and found what I believe to be the perfect material to use. And as always, the plan will be flexible so that learning is the priority so maybe process and product will take a back seat for awhile.
When do you collaborate? When do you literally have to share your thoughts with others? How often do you work collaboratively? What are your personal benefits from working collaboratively?