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.
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.
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.
- transformative – not used
- risk – not used
- 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.
Which words would you choose?
What would your poem look like?
What would be your evidence of learning?
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 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 . . .
Of those three activities, which would you consider:
A: Word Splash
B. Quotes to Ponder
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?
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!
Two blog posts this week caught my eye and lingered in my brain. They were Jessica Lifshitz’s “A Different Kind of PD (AKA Thank You Kate Roberts and Chris Lehman)” linked here and Lisa Saldivar’s “Assigning vs. Teaching” here. Jessica is a 5th grade teacher in Chicago and Lisa is an Elementary ELA Coordinator in Los Angeles.
How do I know Jessica and Lisa? I follow them on Twitter and they participated in online chats last week.
How did I find out about their blogs? The links were both tweeted out on Twitter.
Have I ever met them? No, not YET!
Stop for a second.
What was the content of the last Professional Development session where you left energized, inspired and ready to move forward with implementing the learning?
Energy, enthusiasm and excitement were present in both their posts. The three presenters referenced above, Kate Roberts, Chris Lehman (Falling in Love with Close Reading), and Cornelius Minor, are awe-inspiring and passionate about increasing literacy learning for students without drudgery. They are also FUN to listen to in a PD setting! You can hear Cornelius Minor in a podcast here. If you haven’t yet seen them in person, you need to add them to your “must do” list!
Focus: What is professional learning?
I shared this model back in September because the work of Joyce and Showers is embedded in the thinking and development of this model that has “Student learning – at the center of school improvement and staff development”! (Research-based, YES! and a model of how good things can be!)
You can read more about the model here and also about CCSS.Writing Anchors 1-3 here for content of a two hour PD session with absolutely 0 power point slides but a lot of talk and “studying of texts”. Teachers had the opportunity to read new/revisit familiar texts to deepen their understanding of writing techniques and build a common language, K-5, across argument, informational and narrative texts.
Where can you find joyful and inspiring PD on your own?
There are many quality sources of PD. I encourage you to leisurely explore the following resources until you find one that you cannot live without! Additional details are listed for: blogs, twitter hash tags, twitter book chats, twitter blog chats, scheduled Twitter chats, and face-to-face presentations.
Reading a steady diet of blogs can inform your work. Leaving comments on the blogs can also lead to conversations and even other blogs you might want or need to follow!
Must read literacy blogs include:
- Vicki Vinton’s blog “To Make a Prairie” – Of interest to you might be this specific post “Learning vs Training – The Power of Real Professional Development“
- Melanie Meehan’s blog – one of the two authors of “Two Reflective Teachers” and this post “Exploring a Fabulous Mentor Text”
- Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan’s blog, “Teachers for Teachers”, where they describe themselves as “… staff developers who are still teachers at heart. We believe that effective professional development includes side by side teaching; discussions of current research; analysis of student work; and mutual trust and respect.” A post that may be of interest is “Applying Some ‘Brain Rules’ to Professional Development“
- Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris’s blog, “Burkins & Yaris Think Tank for 21st Century Literacy” and a favorite post, “The Power of Job-Embedded Coaching” that contains additional references to the work of Joyce and Showers
- Two Writing Teachers (and that will also lead you to the amazing blogs written by the SIX authors!)
- and many great teacher blogs like Julieanne’s “To Read, To Write, To Be“; Mary Lee’s “A Year of Reading“; Steve’s “Inside the Dog“; Christina’s “The Teacher Triathlete“.
2. Twitter hashtags
Twitter hashtags begin with the “#” sign and can be real or made up. Some hashtags exist for a long time (not saying forever because who REALLY knows what “forever” means in the “TwitterVerse”) or they can be hashtags created for a specific event (and possibly linger after through posts/discussions).
Examples for meetings / conferences:
#NatRRConf – National Reading Recovery Conference
#WSRA15 – Wisconsin Reading Association 2015 Conference
#NCTE14 – National Council of Teachers of English 2014 Conference
Examples of enduring hashtags (may want to have a dedicated column in Tweetdeck or Tweetchums):
#tcrwp – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
#wonderchat – Wonder Chat
#tlap – Teach Like a Pirate
3. Twitter Book Chats
Twitter Book Chats are on line discussions of books (often with questions posted in advance in a google document) where readers and lurkers meet to answer questions and grow their own knowledge. Powerful twitter book chats often include the authors responding to the questions as well!
#filwclosereading – Falling in Love with Close Reading (book and presentations by @teachkate and @ichrislehman linked above)
#wrrdchat – What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton
#NNNchat – Notice and Note @kylenebeers and @bobprobst
#wildreading – Donalyn Books
#booklove – Penny Kittle
#G2Great – Good to Great @DrMaryHoward
4. Twitter Blog Chats
Twitter Blog Chats are often used to introduce an upcoming series of blog posts or to even wrap up a series of blog posts where the readers can interact with the blog authors.
#TWTBlog – Aim Higher: Outgrow old goals and set new ones with the chat archive here
#T4Tchat – sponsored by Teachers for Teachers with the last chat storified here – Mid-Year Assessments Got You Down?
5. Scheduled Twitter Chats
#tcrwp – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (Wed. 7:30 pm EST)
#educoach – Educational Coaches (Wed. 9:00 pm CST)
#titletalk – Promote reading and book titles that engage students (Last Sunday of each month from 8-9 pm EST)
#iaedchat – Iowa Educators (Sundays 8 am and 8 pm CST)
Many content areas and grade levels host their own chats – check out this list! (36 chats on the list last night between 5:30 and 10:00 pm!)
6. Face to Face Presentations
Face to Face Presentations are often jazzed up to include a hashtag so participants can follow along or a back channel like “Today’s Meet” where participants can be posting favorite quotes or questions in real time while the session is taking place. Today’s Meet is often used when there are multiple presenters so the non-presenter is monitoring the channel to feed to other partners/panel members or to address /build purposeful connections for all parts of the presentation.
Which of these 6 have you used to find your own joyful and inspiring professional development?
What about your peers? Where do they find joyful and inspiring PD?
(If you didn’t answer these questions in three seconds or less, click on a link above and find something you are interested in . . . NOW!!!)
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 share our work.