Tag Archives: TCRWP

#DigiLitSunday: “Possible Sentences


Join Margaret Simon at “Reflections on the Teche” for additional #DigiLit Sunday reading here.

digilit

Kylene Beers and Bob Probst are both speakers that I can listen to time and time again I’ve seen them at ILA, NCTE, and Kylene more than once at #TCRWP.  One strategy that I participated in that has stuck with me is “Possible Sentences”.  As a workshop participant, it went as Melanie Swider of “Two Reflective Teachers” described here although the session I attended was on a different date.

today

How can students more “authentically” USE vocabulary words and do more of the vocabulary “heavy lifting” in understanding and owning the words?

Possible Sentence Basic Process:

The teacher chooses vocabulary words.

The students, doing the work, predict and use the words in sentences.

*Then as a class, all the sentences are compiled and then questions are generated for each sentence.

Students read.

Students return to their sentences and questions to revise them based on the understanding of the topic after reading.

How could we start using “Possible Sentences” in Book Clubs or in Content Area classes and add in some meaningful, very purposeful, use of technology?

Here’s what I proposed for our first learning practice:

You can go to the actual documents through the links below and save your eyesight:

Google Drawing Student Task Card link

Google Drawing Teacher Card linklink

Tools:  NewsELA article, Wordcounter.com, Google Drawings cards, Google Docs – Response

Are you using “Possible Sentences”?

Have you added a technology component to increase student collaboration?

What tools did / would you use?

#DigiLitSunday: The 3 P’s


digilit-button

It’s DigiLitSunday.  Head over to Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche for additional posts on this topic.

digilit-10-23-16-three-ps

Saturday was the 91st #SaturdayReunion at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  A FREE day of professionald development as a gift to thousands of teachers and administrators.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t there.  My fall schedule has been challenging.  But I am going to borrow from Tweets from the day to illustrate my thinking about the 3 P’s.

Why is “Patience” important?

As teachers it is important that students “do the work” and often that means that teachers need to step back, close their mouths, and listen to students as they share what they can and cannot do.  These were some tweets that spoke to me about patience in order to slow down, let the students work, and not solve all the problems of the world in one day! (Yes, there is a need for urgency but solutions aren’t required every day!)

patiencepatience-twopatience-threepatience-fourpatience-fivepatience-sixpatience-seven

Why is “Practice” important?

My favorite quote for this fall has been one from Brooke Geller about our students being “over taught and under practiced”.  I believe that this means that we need to make sure again, that students are doing the work and that we make sure that they practice the “work” multiple times.  Sometimes that practice can come in discussion prior to writing and other times that practice will require trying out five or six different introductions to a piece.  Are you familiar with this video? Austin’s Butterfly from Expeditionary Learning Students do get the value of practice after seeing this video. (Even if they would rather NOT practice that many times!)

These tweets spoke to me about practice.

practicepractice-twopractice-three

practice-six

And what about those regular practices of teachers?  How we allocate time is a reflection of our values.  Are we facilitators?  Are we leaders? What is our role?

practice-fourpractice-five

Why is “Persistence”important?

If I had attended, I would have been in the front row for Katy Wischow’s opening keynote, “The Intersection of Passion and Expertise: Fangirling Over Alexander Hamilton”.  I watched “Hamilton’s America” on PBS Friday night and was again awed by the magnificence of the show, the historical implications, and the access to documents that led to the authenticity of this Broadway musical.

Why this keynote?  Because I believe that  “passion” is the KEY resource for teachers when we have to be “PERSISTENT” as we work with striving adolescents who do not want to be lured into literacy lives.  These students are resistant to reading and writing even when choice is offered.  “It’s boring.”  “I can’t do it.” “Why do I have to do this?”  All of these statements are now even coming out of the mouths of our babes – our second and third graders. Students who don’t know the passion and joy that comes from learning.  Students who don’t know the power that comes from learning.  Students who don’t know that the focus of learning is finding and following a passion of the heart. We can and must do better at igniting and fueling that passion in our students.

Persistence by building Passion for Learning in Students:

(Thank you, Mike Ochs, for the tweets!)

katy-onekatie-two

katie-three

katie-four

katy-five

If students are passionate about their learning, won’t your job as a teacher be done?

Thanks to all the tweets on Twitter that allowed me to curate these tweets from afar. Thanks to Lucy Calkins and Colleagues at #TCRWP for the learning that generated the tweets so I could both RT and collect them from 1101 miles away in Iowa! Without a digital world, this learning wouldn’t have been possible!

How do patience, practice, and persistence fit into your life?

#DigiLitSunday: Agency


 

digilit

The link up to other #DigiLit Sunday posts can be found at Margaret Simon’s Reflections On the Teche. Please check out what other bloggers are writing about today!

And today’s topic:

agency.jpg

What does agency mean to me?

It means choice.  Yesterday I chose #TheEdCollabGathering created by Chris Lehman (definition one below) and I made sure that I acted on that agency (definition two) by attending sessions live all day.  Barely pausing for conversation, my brain on fire, I moved from one session to the next, each one carefully chosen as a tapestry of confirmation.

Topics I needed to revisit.  Topics I needed to dig deeply into again.  Topics I needed for inspiration and affirmation seven weeks into this new year.  Welcoming learning with friends.  Welcoming new friends in the Twitterverse.  Welcoming a day of JOYFUL learning from my home on a Saturday. (Agenda for #TheEdCollabGathering here.)  The sessions were free.  The sessions will remain free and accessible.  The sessions can be accessed at your leisure. The.sessions.are.well.worth.your.time!  TRUST ME!  Check them out!

agency-two

Evidence of Agency for me yesterday?

  1. That I could choose the free sessions to attend from the comfort of my home.
  2. Attending the sessions, tweeting out and having conversations with fellow attendees, presenters, and colleagues from around the world  . . .                                   and then Blogging about my attendance and learning today!

Interesting?

Yes

Life Shattering?

No . . . er . . . I don’t know YET!

Affirming?

Yes

Inspiring?

Yes

New?

Kind of . . .

I have been working with Webb’s Depth of Knowledge lately. Those four levels that in some circles have replaced Bloom’s Taxonomy.  I don’t think either one is exclusionary and in fact believe that there are some positives in each. Both invite thinking in order to move up the levels.

These Depth of Knowledge levels are available about writing at this Edutopia resource.

Level 1 (Recall) requires the student to write or recite simple facts.  This writing or recitation does not include complex synthesis or analysis but is restricted to basic ideas.  The students are engaged in listing ideas or words as in a brainstorming activity prior to written composition, are engaged in a simple spelling or vocabulary assessment or are asked to write simple sentences. Students are expected to write and speak using Standard English conventions.  This includes using appropriate grammar, punctuation, capitalization and spelling.

Level 2 (Basic Application of Concepts & Skills) tasks require some mental processing.  At this level students are engaged in tasks such as first draft writing for a limited number of purposes and audiences.  At Level 2 students are beginning to connect ideas using a simple organizational structure.  For example, students may be engaged in note-taking, outlining or simple summaries.  Text may be limited to one paragraph. Students demonstrate a basic understanding and appropriate use of such reference materials as a dictionary, thesaurus, or web site.

Level 3 (Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning) tasks require higher-level mental processing.  Students are engaged in developing compositions that include multiple paragraphs.  These compositions may include complex sentence structure and may demonstrate some synthesis and analysis.  Students show awareness of their audience and purpose through focus, organization and the use of appropriate compositional elements.  The use of appropriate compositional elements includes such things as addressing chronological order in a narrative or including supporting facts and details in an informational report.  At this stage students are engaged in editing and revising to improve the quality of the composition.

Level 4 (Extended Thinking & Complex Reasoning) tasks may incorporate a multi-paragraph composition that demonstrates synthesis and analysis of complex ideas or themes.  Such tasks will require extended time and effort with evidence of a deep awareness of purpose and audience.  For example, informational papers include hypotheses and supporting evidence.  Students are expected to create compositions that demonstrate a distinct voice and that stimulate the reader or listener to consider new perspectives on the addressed ideas and themes.

As I reflect on my agency and my learning today, I am confident that most of my Tweets fall into the Level 1 category.  I often try to capture exact words – the very essence of the speaker’s thoughts – and that is totally recall.  No doubt. Level 1.  And yet sometimes, I’m pulling in background knowledge or shortening the exact quotes when there are long hashtags and I must cut down the number of symbols.  Is that always Level 1?  Probably not. Is it sometimes Level 2?  Perhaps yes.

And what of this blog post?  Where would it rate?  Ideas from the day are flowing through my brain.  Some pictures are already uploaded. Others are paused.  Too few?  Too many? Which serve the meaning and the understanding of the reader?  Which are examples of MY thinking?

 Right now I think that I am approaching or possibly just peering over the ledge of DOK 3.  Your thoughts?

As I consider all the meaning embedded in Level 4 (Extended Thinking and Complex Reasoning), I believe this is where Katherine Bomer’s thinking lies when she said,

“Capital E, Essay equals thinking!”

A student or adult is agentive and completing that “extended thinking and complex reasoning” when totally engaged in a task of their own choice.  When writing, it may be an essay, a poem, or some great work of literature.  But it’s something the student knows and knows well due to their passionate study.  It may be a study of their own thinking and problem solving as suggested by Burkins and Yaris in Who’s Doing the Work?  when the students are actually working harder than the teachers as they problem solve and persevere in forging their own learning paths when “given the time to do so”.

burkins-and-yaris-nine-mental-process-s-can-use-by-self-takes-time

Jan’s metaphor of shopping was played out in this chart and compared to choosing a just right book.  Students choosing their own books . . . not being handed books by the teacher brings up a question:  “Who SHOULD be choosing the books?”

burkins-and-yaris-eleven-book-process

Tara Smith tweeted out that “agency = knowing how to make choices.” How often do our students struggle with making decisions?  When should they be “practicing” quality decision-making skills? Is that not a skill that should be part of the daily routines during the school day?

Consider how engagement and accessibility play into these four elements.  Jan actually framed and labeled them for the viewers. But at any point there could be a mismatch.  Clare and Tammy would also point out that the mismatches are opportunities for learning and even ownership of their learning. A celebration of learning.  Every data point can also bring hope, joy and agentive power to the students.

clare-and-tammy-assess-two

And what if students were publishing regularly for real audiences?  #TWT authors and bloggers, Beth Moore, Deb Frazier and Dana Murphy literally hit the game-winning touchdown with their sharing and feedback strategies! (It was a Saturday after all-so there was some collegiate football in the background.)  Deb suggested feedback to young writers  on day one, Dana said it could be ‘fancy like “Wow and Wonder”,  “Glow and Grow”, or like “slicers” -1. feel, 2 notice, 3. connection’ and Beth Moore said that someday a student writer  might tell friends about how special their teacher made them feel as a writer. Honoring students and their writing work doesn’t cost a lot of time or money.  Celebrating student learning should be an every day constant.

After all this is “their” learning!   Fewer behavior management systems might be needed if there was more emphasis on “student choice” and so much less emphasis on “compliance” and “silly tasks” but those are both topics for another day!

The intersection of agency, choice, engagement and learning seems to be a good fit for students who are “doing the work” and not passively watching others engaged in the work.  Even kindergarten students want to share their thinking . . . not their fault that sometimes their symbols and/ or work needs translation for our adult brains to make better sense (Clare and Tammy’s story about Zachary) .

But what if the entry point for all students was simply choice?

What if the responsibility and accountability lies with students?

Lucy Calkins reminded us this summer that “To teach well, we do not need more techniques and strategies as much as we need a vision of what is essential.”

What if agency is essential?  How does that change instruction and assessment?

(Did I make it to Level 4 -Extended Thinking and Complex Reasoning? You be the judge!)

#DigiLitSunday: The Journey is Everything


journey is everything chat with katherine bomer.JPG

Tonight’s the night.  Get your fingers ready to dance across the keyboard in conversations with Katherine Bomer.  If you haven’t read the book, come join the chat. If you have read the book, come join the chat.  If you love to write, come join the chat!

The Journey is Everything

Somewhere back in April or May several of us online began discussing an option for a book study.  Several ideas were tossed out. Some of us were already in the midst of one book and said “SURE!” because “What’s one more book?”

And so a book study began online with GoogleDocs.  The pace varied with our lives. Reading. Writing. Teaching. Working.  And then it became real when we were so hooked into the book.

It was scary when I actually tweeted out about a travel incident and then added “Food for an Essay Soon” or something like that.  It was a done deal. In writing. I would blog about the incident. And it would be an essay.

What on earth was I thinking?

Emboldened with knowledge.

Empowered with learning.

Ready to give it a go.

I sent it to friends.

Is it an essay?

And they said,  “Yes.”

Rereading,

Revisions,

Push Publish.

A Favor

And oh, the comments . . . But one in particular!

bomer

I’ll be at the #DigiLitSunday chat tonight to capture more wisdom from Katherine Bomer.

Will you?

digilit

Head over to Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche for more #DigiLit posts.

Storify from the chat can be found here.

#DigiLit Sunday: Planning Process


digilit

Margaret Simon has invited us to blog about planning for the new school year today for DigiLit Sunday. You can read more posts here at Reflections on the Teche.

Planning has been on my mind lately and actually has been my blog topic the last two posts here and here.

Where to begin?

With my #OLW – JOYFUL!

What’s my end goal? (Backward Design)

Joyful Learning for all!

How will I achieve my end goal?

Careful appraisal of my current status,

Develop a plan to integrate my learning from this summer,

Plan, plan, plan

Short term targets and

Long range goals!
foundation

Foundation:

Bricks = Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening

Mortar = Mindset, “YET”, Brave, JOYFUL

Filling the inside with all that I know . . .

Determining Priorities Based on Data . . .

and then continuing to collaboratively increase my knowledge with my colleagues who blog, tweet and vox about literacy, learning, passion, joy, leadership and fun for students!

Sounds simple?  “The proof will be in the pudding . . . 

I will be planning on monthly check ins with my plan.

Approximately 200 days to fruition.

How will you know if your plan is working?

I’m borrowing this MLK quote from a PD session led by Justin (@jdolci). . .

mlk

 

#SOL16: Who’s Doing the Work


The quality of professional development texts for 2016 has been amazing.  One book that I continue to return to time and again to deepen my understanding is this one by Jan Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris.

work

Twitter chats, Voxer discussions and Google docs have been the electronic formats that we’ve used for our conversations.  You can review the storified chats by clicking on the links to these Literacy Lenses posts:  Read Alouds, Shared Reading, and Guided Reading,and Independent Reading.  You can also see connections and learning about/from this book in my previous posts here, here, and here. Some of you may have been fortunate to be a part of this group that presented at the #ILA16 Institute “Who’s Doing the Work? last Friday or been in the audience to see the presentation.

wdtw ila16

For those of you who don’t participate in Twitter chats, Voxer discussions or Google doc conversations book studies,

YOU HAVE MISSED SO MUCH LEARNING!

I’m not saying that you have to do all three of those but if you are a teacher of reading or writing, you must be doing some reading and writing in the summer. Learning is both efficient and effective when it includes collaborative study with peers.  I still have to do the work and wrestle with my own understanding, but then I also appreciate hearing other perspectives from colleagues and coworkers.

 Here are just a few samples from my work with understanding this book!  These are some excerpts from my writing about my reading!

A. Word Splash from Chapter 1  

Write a paragraph that uses five or more of the words listed below and is related to teaching reading.

  • scaffold
  • empowered
  • energy
  • transformative – not used
  • love
  • process
  • motivation
  • risk – not used
  • learn
  • effort
  • choice
  • trust
  • Independence    (used 11)

“Reading well requires students to put many processes to work simultaneously in an effort to understand whatever material he/she is learning from.  Factors that play into success in reading are enhanced when the student is allowed choice and is trusted to spend time reading materials of his choice.  Independence in reading takes effort and energy as a reader is empowered to construct his own meaning of texts.  Too difficult text may be frustrating and may cause the student to be too dependent on teacher scaffolds.  Motivation to continue to read may come from the synergy of the right text at the right time with the right amount of practice!”

 

B. Quotes to Ponder – Chapter 1 (Respond both before reading and after reading)

“To grow and develop as readers, children need instruction that mirrors the ‘end’ goal–readers with smoothly operating, balanced reading processes who feel empowered and motivated to take charge of their reading lives.”  (p.24)

Before Reading:  Readers need to read in order to grow and develop as readers.  Answering a barrage of questions as before, during , and after reading does not make them better readers.  The right amount of instruction matched with the right texts will build independent readers who can and do read.

“Knowing a student’s reading level, however, does not tell us anything about how that student reads … .”  p.24

Before Reading:  Reading level only tells you approximately what level text the student was last successful on.  That letter or number doesn’t tell anything about the reader and what they CAN do!

After Reading:  I am so fascinated by the fact that these two sentences followed each other in the text.   All 3 cueing systems need to be firing simultaneously (like all pistons in an engine) in order to efficient, effective reading.  Instruction can’t be parsed out and over-focused on any one element! (quote 2) All three readers had same letter but different issues.  The level is only one piece of the data puzzle.  It’s not the end game.

“Each instructional context, from read-aloud through independent reading, makes a unique contribution to students’ growth in proficiency and agency.” (p.27)

Before Reading:  The student is a product of all instructional contexts so each, ind. Reading – read-aloud, are important to his/her development.  Those contexts help build the “want to read” motivation so that students are successful later!

“Teaching across the gradual release of responsibility with an emphasis on reading process–versus an emphasis on reading level–will change the way you teach reading forever.” (p.27)

Before Reading:  Reading level is limiting – reading processes open up the universe to the student! Process will help focus on what the student is capable of and will provide the information needed to keep the student moving forward.  Reading is not about a certain % to pass a leveled book test.

After Reading:  Fascinating, again, that these two sentences were also back to back in the text.  Balance in reading processes requires a balance in instructional contexts that creates the internal motivation to read/learn . . that want to read.  And when you focus on reading process (within GRR), your teaching will be changed forever!!!

Subtle shift to “What can you try?”

C. Poem – Chapter 5 (Independent Reading)

Choose from these words to create a poem.

skill independent encounter conferences
learning difficult agentive struggles
automaticity quiet responsibility community
apply strategy differences evolved
solve pleasure assessment books
observe benefits selecting zone
transfer problems passions guidance
strengths exchange reading titles
support individual opportunities energy
habit performing levels just-right
glitches ideas stamina choice

Which words would you choose?

What would your poem look like?  

What would be your evidence of learning?

Here’s mine.

Independent Reading

Choice.

Choice in what I read

Choice in when I read

Choice in where I read

Choice in ideas I explore

Choice in whether I want to or need to reread

Choice.

Choice in community in which I share

A habit, deeply ingrained in my readerly life

My responsibility to monitor

Building on my strengths, my passions, my pleasure in learning

Growing as a reader

Joyful . . .

Choice.

Of those three activities, which would you consider:

A:  Word Splash

B. Quotes to Ponder

C. Poem

And WHY?

How do you work on your learning?

Twitter, Voxer, Google Docs, Blog Posts = Evidence of my learning

Low Tech would be paper, pencil, markers, notes . . .

What’s your evidence of learning / thinking?

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.  The hardest step is the first step of your learning journey!

 

 

 

#TCRWP Travel


travel

3:47 am landing in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday.

Before that,

we had drinks and snacks served on the nonstop Delta flight.

Before that,

we actually departed LaGuardia.

Before that,

Our captain, with flying hours left, arrived from Canada and was released from his previous plane.

Before that,

we had libations comped courtesy of the captain.

Before that,

we wondered if a captain could be found or if we would be required to deplane.

Before that,

we watched as passengers in the first bus returned because the catering truck left without filling water, ice, and the necessities for flight.

Before that,

we entered a bus to head to our plane scheduled for a non-stop flight to Des Moines.

Before that,

the long awaited announcement that our flight was ready to board.

Before that,

the announcements of restricting the number of flights in NYC airspace.

Before that,

the announcement that the FAA closed the airport due to lightning strikes within 3 miles of the runaways.

Before that,

resettling at a new gate without electrical plug ins.

Before that,

the announcement that our flight would now be leaving from Gate D12.

Before that,

I began writing my blog post for Saturday.

Before that,

As flights resumed, I was finally able to find a seat in a “re-charge” area.

Before that,

I considered myself lucky to have a seat in the terminal packed with folks like me ~ eager to travel ~ but grounded when the FAA closed the airport runways due to a tornado warning.

Before that,

I was recording reading notes and sobbing while reading.

Before that,

I sat and devoured . . .  What a great pairing!  Thanks, Justin, Susie and Sally for recommending such great choices!

 

 

Before that,

I was at the #TCRWP Closing for the 2016 June Reading Institute!  Surrounded by friends and so many folks who LOVE reading!

Before that,

I was at the #TCRWP 2016 June Writing Institute!

 

Screenshot 2016-07-03 08.15.20

 

Eventful travels home from #TCRWP June Reading Institute?  

Still in NYC? 

Safe travels for all learners!   And especially for those soon heading to ILA16 in Boston!

 

#TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 4


Writing about Day 4,

Anticipating how Day 5 will go,

Downloaded Nine, Ten.

Opened Nine, Ten.

Everyone will mention the same thing, and if they don’t, when you ask them, they will remember. It was a perfect day.”

Rush, Rush, Rush.

Pack, Toss, Go.

Downloaded Raymie Nightingale.

Opened Raymie Nightingale.

“There were three of them, three girls.”

Revise, Plan, Revise – Finish that homework.

Worry just a bit about the weight of the carry on suitcase.

Tweet about need for book 3 for flight.

Boarding pass screenshot saved in gallery.

Repack day/work bag.

What do I REALLY need for today?

Checking to see if there’s a long-lost “un-read” book on my kindle.

Procrastinating

Something about writing Day 4 post that seems too rushed . . .

Not ready for Day 5

It’s too soon . . .

The beginning of the end!

Enough!  What about Day 4?

Amanda Hartman

Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini-lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)

We brainstormed a list of all the things that could go wrong in shared reading and then came up with some solutions.  What fabulous work for a grade level PLC or vertical PLC?  How many different ways can we solve those recurring issues?   If we don’t have the solution, we can reach out and pose the question on Twitter or check into the topics of the weekly #TCRWP Twitter Chats!

Pace . . . speeding up our instruction, and adding a bit more enthusiasm and excitement did help meet the “Engaging and Engaged” criteria.  It’s not about being a “mini-Amanda”(which would be amazing!),  but it is about considering exactly which behaviors contribute to the success of a lesson.  So many ways to check in on students – thumbs up, turn and talk, act out, share outs – without slowing down to wait for 100% of the students!

Takeaways:

  1. Teaching students how to self-evaluate  is so important ~ Even on Day One in kindergarten!
  2. Lean teaching – less teacher talk and more student talk and work is critical – I already know it!
  3. Shared Reading – Use a story telling voice; not a point to every word boring voice!
  4. Not every Read Aloud book has a book introduction.  Don’t kill your Read Alouds. Know your purpose!
  5. Do you know Houndsley and Catina?  Such great characters with so many problems!

 

Kathleen Tolan

Beyond Guided Reading: Expanding Your Repertoire of Small Group Work in Nonfiction (3-8)

Today we saw some different options for note taking for small groups.  The key is to record the information that is vital for continuing on.  Did you check in on Joey? Ok? Not?  Quick notes – no complete sentences needed – that will keep the groups and you moving forward.

We also presented our series of three lessons and had some superb coaching that led to our revision assignment for tomorrow!  YAY, Revision!  Fixing and making stronger YET leaner! What a challenge. Not more words  . . . but more precise words! Clarity in the Teaching Point and Link!

But the amazing part was watching Kathleen, quite masterfully, run three different groups in the room at the same time in 12 minutes.  Simply amazing.  All three groups were working on different goals.  All three groups had some group and individual time with the teacher.  It did NOT seem rushed.  But yet there was a sense of urgency and a need to get busy and accomplish the work!

Takeaways:

  1. Written Teaching Points keep you focused!
  2. Try 2 simultaneous groups.  Assign locations and then get all students working on reading first!
  3. Know what your end goal is!
  4. Have your tools and texts organized with extras handy!
  5. Give it a go!  Nothing ventured; nothing gained!

Choice Session

Katie Clements

The Intersection of Guided Reading, Strategy Lessons and Book Clubs

Key Principles of Small Group Work:

  1. Kids do the heavy lifting.
  2. Small group work is flexible.
  3. Small group work is assessment – based. 
  4. Small group work is for EVERYONE. (so is independent work)
  5. Small group work empowers kids.  (set goals, work with partners, or lead own group)
  6. Small group work builds skills over time. (cannot master in 10 min.  – or expect transfer)

I loved creating this chart  (putting Katie’s info into the boxes) to compare the three types of small group instruction that we typically see in classrooms.  How are they alike?  How are they different?

Guided Reading Strategy Lessons Book Clubs
Who? Kids reading at or close to same reading level Kids who need help with the same skill, goal, or reading habit

Not level dependent

Kids who read at or near the same reading level
What? Teacher – selected texts

Slightly above independent reading level

Usually kids’ independent reading books Kids have limited choice over the books

Multiple copies of the same title

Why? Move kids up levels Help kids strengthen reading skills, goals, habits

Support transference

Deepen engagement

Deepen reading, writing, talk about books

Provide authentic reading experiences

How it goes? Book introduction

Kids read/teacher coaches responsively

Ends with conversation and a teaching point

Begins with a teaching point and brief teach

Kids try to do the work with teacher coaching

Ends with a link

Kids develop agendas for reading, thinking, jotting

Teachers coach in to support skill work and talk

Takeaways:

  1. Book clubs provide so much student choice and need to be used more frequently.
  2. Book introductions can definitely go more than one way – so helpful to SEE two different ones for the same book.
  3. Scaffold student work – figurative language can be found on this page that I have pre-posted for you. (Student finds word -Teacher has narrowed down to this page, and this one, and this one! – So smart!)
  4. All students reading before teacher starts coaching tends to lead to lean coaching. (Not answering task questions)
  5.  Think as you read.  When do you wish for a tool? Something to help you through a tricky part?  That’s what students need!

How important is community to adult readers?  To our novice readers?  

How do teachers practice enough to be “skilled” at their teaching/coaching craft?

 

 

#TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 2


The joy of Advanced Sessions is that you choose the topics you are interested in and then hope and pray that you get your first choice. I’m in my first choice sessions and they are exactly what I need for myself and for the teachers/buildings I work with.

However, my learning curve has been straight up this week.  And that intensity and upward knowledge increase has caused some mental confusion and had me thinking deeply about what I know, what I think I know and what I actually can DO myself!  Perfect learning . . . sometimes painful learning.

Amanda Hartman

What are the methods that we can use to teach our mini-lessons?

  • Demonstration
  • Guided Practice
  • Inquiry

And what details are most important?  It depends upon the purpose!  Inquiry can be the most engaging for the Teacher and also provide high engagement for students.  Guided practice works best when students need the practice and aren’t learning a “new – new” skill.

 

In two days, we have been reading, writing and teaching mini-lessons.  Some lessons we have read four times under Amanda’s directions.  We have, more than have half of us, taught our own mini-lesson to another table group in the room.  Our prep time has been minimal.  That’s been a good thing – we can’t obsess over perfection.

But we can quickly review our work through the lenses of Powerful Whole Group Instruction:

  1. Clarity and Concise Language
  2. Engaging and Engaged
  3. Assess and Give Feedback
  4. Links and Skills (Strategies) to Independent and Partner/Club Work
  5.  Opportunities for Oral Language Development

In two days, our teaching points are more explicit.  Our coaching is more specific.  On the spot feedback keeps us on track. Our mini-lessons are improving because of our partner work and our large group work!

Takeaways:

  1. A mini-lesson does not need to be fully scripted but it is helpful to have a plan that includes anticipating approximations.
  2. Why do my students need this lesson?  When I can list multiple reasons both the connections and the links are stronger.
  3. ONE, ONE, ONE teaching point.  Keep it simple silly!  ONE!
  4. What coaching can you plan for?
  5. Practice, practice, practice.  I loved that Molly’s lesson was like 5,000 times better than mine – such a great demonstration!   I need to see, hear, and teach MORE lessons!

 

 

Kathleen Tolan 

Kathleen began today with a story about playing cards in her family and then compared it to our small group work.

“Down and dirty”

Serious.

Take a risk.

Get in the game.

Do it!

Great words of advice for me!

We spent time on pacing.  Small groups often become bogged down when it’s about the teacher (which it isn’t)!  Teachers feel compelled to impart great wisdom and sometimes forget to listen and follow the lead of the students.  Again in this session, I had the privilege of coaching a demonstration lesson in a small group after four minutes of planning with a wonderful partner.  More than 4 minutes wouldn’t have made it better; I needed to teach it!  I envy friends who do teach more than one class in a day because, with practice, the lesson/coaching improves each time.  But sometimes you do just have to jump in and do it!

Kathleen challenged us to work smarter. If we meet in a grade level group or vertical groups with all the Units and a copier, we can create resources that will help us be prepared for small groups.

Example:

Perspective  – Where and what does this look like in first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade?  Copy the charts, any prompts onto resource pages.  Add a text to practice – Voila!

Practice turning a chart into a cheat sheet for students.  How would this look?

Study a mini-lesson on vocabulary.  How does this go in all the other grades?  Copy those charts – shrink them down so charts from three or four grades can be on the same page.

Practice, practice, practice.  You will be better at “responding to students” by responding to students.

Takeaways:

  1. Practice teaching in a small group is like going to weekly Toastmasters meetings.  Frequent practice will increase your confidence.
  2.  There is no ONE right method for small group instruction. Focus on what your students need.  Follow up with partner work and a second or third group meeting on the same content to ensure more practice.
  3. Sometimes we notice something else and go off a tangent.  Use the cheat sheet / resources to stay focused.
  4. Check your prompts. Are they transferable?  Or are they too specific?  (borrow them from the progressions)
  5. Practice time means the students are doing the work. Set the conditions. Let them work!  They, too, must do the work in order to become better, stronger, and more confident readers.

Mary Ehrenworth – What Readers Need

May began by asking us several questions to have us think about what defines our strongest readers. Then she said to consider that, “Potential avid readers are EVERYWHERE.  Think of those who could become AVID readers. Not just the readers who are already reading at the highest levels in our classrooms.  It’s all about expectations.  Some kids are just waiting to be recognized.  What if we don’t see them?

Alligton’s “What Readers Need” supports this work by providing the conditions:

  1. Access to books they find fascinating 
  1. Protected time to read
  1. Expert instruction.

 

And then thinking about the structures that will help more readers be extraordinary readers:

  • Choose books more purposefully
  • Series, series, series
  • Strong reader partnerships and club
  • Start informal social clubs around reading

Takeaways:

  1. 400 million kids read 4,000 pages in the Harry Potter series. Those students may have worked on their synthesis skills – How did Harry Potter change?  How did others’ perceptions of him change? Have you studied a series?
  2. We need to study our classroom libraries.  If my 5th grade library looks almost identical to the fourth grade collections there may not be many choices for students.
  3. We need MUST teach students how to find books everywhere so that they can always be reading because extraordinary readers DON’T just read for 30 minutes each day in class.
  4. Our classrooms need to be where our students flourish!  They can’t flourish in spite of us – after our assigned readings, after a book that takes 3-4 weeks to read as a whole class novel . . .
  5. Of the three conditions, which one do you need to work on?   Access to books they find fascinating? Protected time to read?  Expert instruction?   When will you start?

Matt de La Pena – Keynote

To have an autographed and stickered book;  yes, it is worth having more than one copy of this book.  Especially now.  Matt closed his speech Tuesday to the rapt attention of hundreds of teachers, administrators and even authors in Cowan Auditorium, by reading this book to us.

last stop

Matt inspired us with his story and his humility. He talked about his beginnings in National City (even asking who was from that area) and sharing that his Mexican-American heritage is not reflected in books.  Matt connected his growing up with two completely different sets of families was like “code switching” and also the impetus for this book.

mexican whiteboy

His ticket out of his neighborhood was basketball.  His message of needing more books that reflect our students’ culture is critical.  But his story of hope and aspiration is also important.  I, too, know what it was like to be the first graduate from a four year university in my family.  Education is powerful and sometimes we get there through totally unexpected paths.

What book did Matt read 12 times during his public school career? (If it’s good, why not reread rather than starting a new book?)

The House on Mango Street

What book did he read in two days while on a basketball out of town trip,  upon invitation by a college instructor, before he graduated?

The Color Purple

More on his books and his background can be found on his website here. While autographing my copy of Market Street, Matt mentioned that he was headed to Iowa for appearances in Ames and Cedar Rapids so I was especially pleased to read about a previous trip (2014) to Cedar Falls, Iowa here.  If you have not yet read his Newbery acceptance speech, it is here.

Takeaways:

  1. “Teachers and authors don’t often immediately see the results of their work.  Patience  . . . you will!”
  2. “Books do not include the diversity that reflects our kids!” Help kids find themselves in books!
  3. “You need to consider the possibilities in your self-definition.”  Don’t let your background limit you.
  4. “Some of the best books you will read will start out uncomfortable!”  Readers need to know this!
  5. “Books make me feel emotional.”  Books need to connect.  Books can be a lifesaver.  Find the books that connect.

What book(s) have been the inspiration or possibilities for you?  

How do you help students find those books/stories?  

How do you continue to “outgrow yourself” as a reader, thinker, or writer?

 

 

 

 

#TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 1


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.

Exploding head

08 May 2001 — Exploding head — Image by © John Lund/CORBIS

WHY?

Information Overload!

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.

Takeaway Questions:

  1. How will you support your reading community?
  2. Maybe we need a new educational story.  To reach, to dream, to grow strong . . What do you need in order to grow yourself?
  3. How can you grow your own version of #TCRWP?  Your own nest?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?

 

Amanda Hartman

Rev Up Your Teaching Muscles to Make Your Whole Group Instruction as Potent as Possible (Mini lessons, Shared Reading, Read Aloud) (K-2)

Funny.

Fast-paced.

Articulate.

Explanation and Demonstration.

Powerful Whole Class Instruction for K-2 Students

  1. Clarity and Concise Language
  2. Engaging and Engaged
  3. Assess and Give Feedback
  4. Links and Skills (Strategies) to Independent and Partner/Club Work
  5.  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?

Teaching Point

Pacing – Vitality, Having students think alongside us, Student talk/listen/feedback

Assessment

Feedback

Takeaways:

  1. Whole class teaching – staying focused is critical! Don’t let student responses lead you down the rabbit hole!
  2. 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.
  3. Focus on one Teaching Point. Not a “Never ending Teaching Point”
  4. Growing students means lots of practice.  That lesson won’t have teacher demonstration but will instead have tons of student practice – PLAN.FOR.IT.
  5. Study lessons together. Discuss the work together.  Build your own community to support your learning about the teaching of reading!

Kathleen Tolan

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 . . .

  1.  Demonstration Small Group
  2. 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!

Takeaways:

  1.  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”.
  2. 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!
  3. Increase your accountability for small groups with a public, visible schedule.  That will push you as the teacher as well as the students.
  4. 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”.
  5. 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?

slice of life 2016

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!

 

 

Leadership Connection

from Great Prairie AEA

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

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

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together

arjeha

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

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas and Resources

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson

adventuresinstaffdevelopment

All Things Literacy! Brianna Parlitsis

TWO WRITING TEACHERS

A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

elsie tries writing

"The problem with people is they forget that that most of the time it's the small things that count." (Said by Finch in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. These are my small things that count.

I Haven't Learned That Yet

This blog serves to document my path of learning and teaching.

Simply Inspired Teaching

A blog by Kari Yates

Reflections on Leadership and Learning

Sharing my learning experiences

AnnaGCockerille Literacy

The Generative Power of Language: Building Literacy Skills One Word at a Time

Reading to the Core

Just another WordPress.com site

Karen Gluskin

My Teaching Experiences and Qualifications

To Read To Write To Be

Thoughts on learning and teaching

Books and Bytes

Exploring the best of literature and edtech for the middle grades.