“Be ready at 1,” Sherry said as we left the evening of playing cards.
So I call about 10 minutes out. But it’s 11:50.
“Are you about ready?”
I hear a litany of tasks and to do’s and my sister sounds surprised.
I was thinking . . . “Be there at 1. At the destination!
Sherry says, “We can get started if you get . . .”
“But it was supposed to be a surprise!”
I sneakily grab the document. Scan. Upload. Share.
“So where are we going?”
“Jess wondered why I didn’t ask where we were going. But I told her I did.”
I just shook my head.
Packing up. Paying attention to road closures due to flooding creeks and raging rivers.
Talking. Driving. Talking. Following the GPS. And yet there was just one turn.
“I could tell you the directions if you let me know WHERE we were going,” as my elder sister tried again to figure out the surprise.
All the Marek girls. And just in time. The paperwork was done. With keys in hand it was time to pick up the new wheels and celebrate a birthday!
Was your last planned surprise really a surprise? This one was!
A big surprise that she was ready EARLY!
And a Happy Birthday!
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Dipping into the facebook group here
@HeinemannPub resources here
and original blog posts at “To Make a Prairie” here.
It’s a delicate dance similar to a waltz.
Think: “How does this fit into my current beliefs?”
Write down questions, changes, fleeting thoughts . . .
To be absorbed into the mental stream of consciousness
A new belief
Test it out
And with reading, writing, thinking, and more practice . . . It’s time to begin sharing!
This week marks the beginning of #cyberPD for the summer of 2017. Check out the hashtag and the blogs and hold onto your brains as the pace is quick, the thinking is challenging, and you will question your own beliefs about reading! Be prepared for the provocative nature of this book, the discussion, and the debate!
Here’s the challenge from Ellin Oliver Keene in the Foreword:
Why were Chapters 1-4 challenging?
Because I didn’t begin with them. I began with Chapter 5.
Check the text.
Vicki gave readers to start with either part 1: background, values and changes or part 2: problems and practices. Of course, I began with Part 2. It’s my favorite. But in order to sustain changes, I know that I have to understand the “why” in order to stay the course and continue to “steer the ship”. (page xix)
Values and Beliefs:
Reading is meaning.
Meaning is constructed by the reader.
Use inquiry or a problem-based approach. What I do 1:1 with striving readers.
Inquiry or problem-based approach with all – that’s new!
Students doing the work.
Ditch assigned patterns of close reading. (AMEN!)
Creative thinking. Hit the brakes! Do I really get the difference?
Real meaning of read closely and deeply. (YES!)
Teaching vs. learning (including over scaffolding and too much priming the pump)
I’m still learning about problem-solving. I understand the basic principles. As I read this summer, I’m keeping track of what I do when I get stuck, tangled up in the words or tangled up in the ideas. How do I work through the “stuck” and the “tangles”. I need to continue to practice on my own reading.
Same for creative thinking and critical thinking. Such a delicious thought that they are not the same. I’ve had
years decades of imitating, patterning, and coasting in the shadows. Am I really creative? Too early to tell.
What do you value in reading?
What will you read that will be provocative this summer?
Do you dare break out of your complacency?
Want to join #CyberPD?
Join the Google+ Community https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/107711243109928665922
Follow #cyberPD on Twitter
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
In Real Life:
“Gramma, sit here.”
“H’mm. It’s a long way down to the floor.”
I sit. I can guess the activity by reading the clues in the area.
I don’t know for sure the plan but does it matter?
Doesn’t the world revolve around my grandson?
How do I wait, without talking/leading, to see what “our play” is going to be?
In My Professional Life:
Book studies have popped up everywhere. Which ones should I join? Which ones are quite intriguing? Which ones should I avoid?
My professional “shelfie” looks like this: (+Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst)
How do I determine what groups to participate in?
For example, I know of three different groups reading and responding to Disruptive Thinking. Do I just jump in? It’s summer after all and I do have more “time” to spend on reading and writing. Do I develop criteria? What could/should that look like?
Last week’s #G2Great chat was with Patty Vitale-Reilly (@pattyvreilly) about her book, Engaging Every Learner: Classroom Principles, Strategies, and Tools. You can read Chapter 6 of her book from Heinemann here, check out the storify here, or even read my blog post about the chat here.
Where do I think problems with “being an engaged learner” might arise? Where should I begin? Right now I believe I need to pay attention to actions 1, 3, 5 and 6 below as I develop my plans to participate in book studies this summer.
- Consider the three dimensions of engagement
- Cultivate engagement in the classroom
- Establish routines to cultivate high engagement
- Use assessments to build engagement!
- Use choice to build engagement
- Cultivate my own engagement
My decision is to see which of the aspects of “engagement” hook me into summer book groups and provide the incentive for me to continue participating. By planning to “problem solve” in advance, both when I get stuck when reading and when my participation wanes, I can gather additional information about both my problem solving and my engagement!
What are you going to learn / study this summer to move your literacy life forward?
When do I want/need/crave choice and creativity and what role will that play in my decisions/actions?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Additional #DigiLitSunday: Problem Solving posts with Margaret Simon and Reflections on the Teche.
So I had a week’s worth of thinking about this topic after Margaret Simon proposed it last week in a response to my blog here. But this quote really caused me to pause yesterday. “Critical thinking” is a buzz word; what does it really mean?
. . . “not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”
In the field of education and state standards, Iowa was the LAST state in 2008 to adopt state standards for all students in Iowa because of our much lauded “local control”. So when I look for “critical thinking” I rely on the 21st century standards that are in addition to the literacy standards that apply for all content areas.
“The reality of building capacity for the 21st century is that we do not know what the work of the future will be like (Darling-Hammond, 2007) or how technology will influence health and financial issues. The challenge is to prepare students to think critically, to engage in mental activity, or habits of mind, that “…use facts to plan, order, and work toward an end; seek meaning or explanations; are self-reflective; and use reason to question claims and make judgments…” (Noddings, 2008). It may be that our task is not only to prepare students to “fit into the future” but to shape it. “…If the complex questions of the future are to be determined… by human beings…making one choice rather than another, we should educate youths – all of them – to join in the conversation about those choices and to influence that future…” (Meier, 2008).”
This challenge continues to be hard work. “To think critically”, “to engage in mental activity” and “…use facts to plan, order, and work toward an end; seek meaning or explanations; are self-reflective; and use reason to question claims and make judgments…” Those quotes are hard to define, explain, teach and even harder to assess.
What does “critical thinking” look like in a classroom?
Well, the easiest answer is to go directly to Vicki Vinton’s post today. Yes, NOW! Stop. Go read it. Then come back. THAT post is all about critical thinking! Is that the work that your fifth graders are doing? Is that the work that your high school students are doing?
In the spirit of full disclosure,
that is work that I NEVER did even in college.
I seem to be saying that a lot lately. Maybe I went to the wrong school. Maybe I was educated in the wrong era. Maybe I was never “pushed” to go beyond the literal. Maybe I was not really paying attention. Maybe I never had to do any critical thinking in school. YEP, I was thinking, without a single clue of HOW to be thinking!
This might have been a school’s approach to “Critical Thinking” in the past. . .
or still in the present. You be the judge!
Has it been effective?
When problem solving is a part of the critical thinking conversation the water may be muddied as the two are not necessarily the same.
Nevertheless, critical thinking will be required of all our students in their lifetime. They need the best preparation for life possible and that DOES include learning to read and understand at deep levels as well as a call to action to solve problems and think of creative solutions. Critical thinking does require a variety of skills as shown in this graphic.
And unfortunately, we will continue to expect folks to use all of these critical thinking skills to process driving situations, TV commercials, and yes, printed text almost simultaneously. In order to be able to do this efficiently and effectively, our students will need a lot of practice.
How will you continue to define and study your own knowledge base of “critical thinking”?
When do you use “critical thinking” in your life?
How do you model, plan for, and provide time for critical thinking in your classroom?
I saw a three letter word.
Then a five letter word.
I shuffled the letters around.
I could use six letters.
Check out the point total.
A silent, mental, fist bump.
Then I tried just again to add in that final seventh letter.
Greedy. . .
I wanted the bonus from playing all the letters in one word.
It did not work.
Once more. . .
I quickly pulled out my six letters.
Pressed the send.
Pushed the button to say, “YES, I want to play this word.”
And then a scream of anguish.
I had played “enslave”
On the wrong “e”.
Not 48 points
A mere 18.
Attention to detail.
Real life importance of “word placement”.
A game I lost by 5.
And should have, could have, won by at least 30 points.
“Can I have a redo? Video instant replay? Do over?”
The difference between absolutely no “extra point tiles” or two “DW” tiles . . .
The difference between enslave for 18 points or 48 points.
One of my favorite pastimes – “Words with Friends”.
One of my most frustrating pastimes – “Words with Friends”.
Where do you learn your “Life Lessons”?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
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 is professional development?
Does your answer include a focus on student needs to drive decision-making, and student learning as the basis on which professional development is planned, implemented and evaluated? If your answer also includes a focus on Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, please keep reading. Leadership is also an important principle of professional development, whether it be the instructional leadership of the principal or the teachers within the building. Simultaneity is another important principle to continue as no one action in school improvement occurs in a vacuum. Participative Decision Making would be a final principal for ongoing sustained professional development designed to improve student learning.
Do those principles sound familiar?
In Iowa, they form the chevron at the top of the Iowa Professional Development graphic pictured here.
What are the core beliefs in this model?
o All students can learn.
o The purpose of professional development is to increase student achievement.
o Professional development should be collective learning by all teachers and administrators with an emphasis on improving instruction.
The cycle of professional development includes many familiar steps:
- Collecting/Analyzing Student Data
- Goal Setting and Student Learning
- Selecting Content
- Designing a Process for Professional Development
- and a mini-cycle that includes Training/learning opportunities; Collaboration/implementation; and Ongoing Data Collection/formative assessment
Cycles – Training/Learning, Collaboration, Formative Assessment . . . . .
With a focus on tight alignment between curriculum, instruction, and assessment, this model parallels many Professional Learning Community cycles including the functions of data teams. The “name of the organizing framework” is not nearly as important as checking to ensure that all elements are present within any professional learning group! Leadership needs to focus on how and when collaborative time can be provided so teachers can work together. The training includes modelling and gradual release of responsibility as the participants take over the leadership role.
Additional ideas from the Iowa Professional Development Model include:
To be able to transfer new learning into the classroom, teachers need multiple opportunities to see demonstrations, plan together, work out problems, rehearse new lessons, develop materials, engage in peer coaching, and observe each other.
Often, learning opportunities need to be interspersed with classroom practice so that questions that arise from early implementation efforts can be responded to in a timely manner.
. . participants are provided with multiple demonstrations of the teaching strategies within the model . . .[and] multiple
opportunities to practice the teaching behaviors. . .
Professional development must be designed to be sustained over time. The initiative must be designed to last until implementation data indicate that the teachers are implementing accurately and frequently and student performance goals are met. (Joyce and Showers, 1983, 2002; NSDC, 2001; Odden, et al., 2002; Wallace, LeMahieu, and Bickel, 1990.) https://www.educateiowa.gov/sites/files/ed/documents/IPDM_Guide.pdf
What elements are part of your professional development?
How do you know when your professional development model is really effective?
How do you know when it is NOT effective?
What is the role of a teacher? Is it solely to be a teacher? A coach? Or both?
I believe that a responsive student-centered learning classroom requires the teacher to be part coach and part teacher in the role of lead learner in the classroom. That combination of roles is necessary for students to meet the requirements of the Common Core!
Where can I find evidence to support this?
1) Reading Recovery
When a child doesn’t know a word, the Reading Recovery teacher does NOT tell the student the word. She/he works with the student to figure out what the student knows and can try. The quote that I remember hearing when I observed a “behind the glass session” was something like: “A word told today is a word told tomorrow, is a word told the next day, and the next day!”
Why is this important? Telling doesn’t work because the student isn’t engaged in the cognitive work! (Saying the same thing over and over or louder and louder is often NOT effective!)
2) John Hattie – Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning
According to researcher John Hattie, the average effect size of feedback is 0.79. That is twice the average effect of all the school effects and is also in the top ten influences on student achievement so it is very important. However, Hattie’s synthesis of over 900 studies also pointed out that “not all feedback is equal.”
What does that mean? Effective coaches spend a lot of time “showing” how to do something and then getting out of the way to watch for application of the “something” that was taught. Classrooms with more coaching and work done by the students may be the best indicator of success for classrooms implementing the Common Core.
Where can you find out more?
Last week’s posts by @burkinsandyaris on their blog “Think Tank for 21st Century Literacy” bring a laser focus to those teacher roles. They were also the source of inspiration for this post. You can read all five yourself on their Friday Weekend Round Up posted December 8th. It included the different skills that a coach/teacher needs to employ for improved literacy for ALL students!
“Monday – The Coach and the Gradual Release of Responsibility (Part 1)
Tuesday – The Coach and the Gradual Release of Responsibility (Part 2): Coach as Demonstrator
Wednesday – The Coach and the Gradual Release of Responsibility (Part 3): Teacher as Spotter
Thursday – The Coach and the Gradual Release of Responsibility (Part 4): Coach as Consultant
Friday – Friday Favorite: Mindbending”
Check out all five posts. As you reflect, consider where your expertise lies . . .
Are you a Coach?
Are you a Demonstrator?
Are you a Spotter?
Are you a Consultant?
Let me know how you weave those roles together!