Tag Archives: The Teacher You Want to Be

#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!

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#Digilit Sunday: Intent


This weekend the Twitter stream provided many insights about Literacy, Literacy Instruction, and “Intent”.  A powerhouse line up was present at the New England Reading Association conference (#NERA2016) in Portland, Maine. You can see the speakers and topics here. This post celebrates the Twitterverse that allowed me to curate these ideas from afar.

What is reading?

what is reading glover and collins NERA 2016

At #NERA2016 Saturday, Matt Glover and Kathy Collins proposed this expansive definition.  Many questions immediately came to mind.

Who does the work of reading?

What is the intent of reading?

What does this require of a teacher?

This quote from @chrisclinewcps says so much about some of the characteristics of “INTENT”!

intent one Chris Cline chrisclinewcps

At the opening session of #NERA2016, Ralph Fletcher fired an early shot across the bow with this slide.  Think about these three questions as you read the content on his slide.

What was his intent?  

What is the message for teachers?  

What is the message for students?

intent nera 2016 more choice ralph fletcher

As a reader, what was Ralph Fletcher’s message?

How important is choice?

Is choice just for students?

Is choice also for teachers?

And that connected to Paula’s tweet:

intent four vicki vinton beliefs

And during the panel for The Teacher You Want to Be, Vicki Vinton also said,

intent three vicki vinton kids CAN do it!

What does this mean in writing?

Paula also tweeted out this learning from Jeff Anderson (@writeguyjeff) about the role of grammar in writing.

intent nera 2016 write guy jeff

Is the intent to have students do the work?  

Are students doing the thinking?

intent nera2016  dan feigelson

Dan Feigelsen is crystal clear in his intent.

Are you?

Pernille Ripp asks this question:

intent pernille rip

Her May blog post here addressed specific steps to create writing communities.

How do your students know the intent of your writing instruction?

Empowering students to do the work is the basis of Jan and Kim’s book. If you have not yet checked out this book, you need to do so!

work

According to the #NERA2016 program, Vicki Vinton’s session was

Vicki Vinton: Beyond Book Choice: What Student-Center Reading Instruction Can Look Like

According to the educator John Holt, “Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” And in this interactive session, Vicki Vinton will share ways of ensuring that the activity of students and their thinking—versus curriculum and standards—are at the center of your reading instruction, whether you’re working with a whole class, a small group or one-on-one conference. You’ll see how to become a creator of learning opportunities, rather than a teacher of strategies and skills, which in turn will help students become powerful and insightful meaning makers, thinkers and readers.

The intent of “student-centered reading instruction” is for learning to be at the center of student work. How do you work towards this every day?

intent five vicki vinton student-centered reading

What do you notice as a reader?

What do you DO with / or make of what you noticed?

intent vicki vinton thinking opportunities for Ss and Ts

Because the intent is reading deeply, thoughtfully, and authentically!

intent vicki vinton and meeting the standards

What are your beliefs?

What is your intent?

digilit

Check out other thoughts about “intent” on #DigiLit Sunday with Margaret Simon here.

And special thanks to all who tweeted from #NERA2016 and especially to their Twitter Ambassadors:  @LitCoachLady, @literacydocent and @guerrette79.

 

#SOL15: Literacy Superheroes


Halloween Celebrations are over.  November, still warm and toasty, is here.

Did you see a few superheroes?

I spent some time this last week with a few of my superheroes.

teacher

Real life superheroes.  Authors who inspire!  Authors who dare to challenge my thinking. Authors who want a better world for our students.  And authors who understand that in order for students to really be life-long learners, the teachers have to step back and trust that inquiry is one avenue that unites students and teachers in real-world learning.

Who is one of my super heroes?

vicki vinton

Vicki Vinton, co-author of What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making, is definitely one.  Have you read her book?  If you haven’t read it,

WHY NOT?

wrrd

Additional evidence of my esteem would be in these blog posts:  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Those nine posts share thoughts from the last year that include Vicki, other rock star literacy educators and many other bloggers as well. It has been an amazing year of learning and I’ve been blessed to have many opportunities to learn along side students, teachers, literacy rock stars and superheroes!

This book was eagerly awaited as Vicki wrote about it on her blog here and here.

The book is a celebration of the 13 belief statements and the 68 study group members who went to Italy in October of 2012 to study the preschools in the town of Reggio Emilia. And as the authors say, “We hope these essays inspire you to move beyond discussion and into action.”

Essay One is “Centering the Child” by Sir Ken Robinson.

Essay Two is “How Reggio Ruined Me for Anything Less than Inquiry-Driven Learning by Vicki Vinton.

Essay Four is “Engagement: A Hub of Human Development by Peter Hohnston and Gay Ivey.

Essay Five is “With an Air of Expectancy” by Katherine Bomer.

Essay Six is “What Price Beauty?  A Call for Aesthetic Education” by co-editor Ellin Oliver Keene.

Essay Eight is “The Journey of a Single Hour: Exploring the Rich Promise of an Immediate Release of Responsibility by Katie Wood Ray.

Essays I have yet to read include those by: Deborah Meier, Matt Glover, Kathy Collins and Thomas Newkirk.

Backstories and Essays you can access:

Sir Ken Robinson – “Centering the Child Part 2

The Story of the Front Cover and Frontispiece

Jeremy Greensmith – “On Teaching the Scaffold

Alfie Kohn – “To Change What We Do, Consider What We Believe” [This essay is adapted from the Foreword to The Teacher You Want to Be, edited by Matt Glover and Ellin Oliver Keene (Heinemann, 2015)]

Heidi Mills – “On Beliefs that Matter

What will my actions be?

I’m still mulling that over.  The last few weeks have really caused me to think about my beliefs. How do others know what I value?  They can see it here in my blog posts as well as on Twitter.  “I loved the alignment of beliefs and practices – as in, ‘If we say we believe this, we must therefore do that . . .'”(Vicki Vinton, p. 20)  Crosschecking, constantly!  Do my beliefs match my actions?

Which essay is your favorite?  

With whom are you sharing the essays?

*I think 2015 is the year of the great books . . . new Mindset, Reading Nonfiction (Notice and Note) . . . my TBR stack is NOT getting any shorter!

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. 

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.

doctorsam7

Seeking Ways to Grow Proficient, Motivated, Lifelong Readers & Writers

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers

Present Perfect

adventures in multiple tenses

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, Strategies and Tools

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