Thank you #TWTBlog Authors for this series last week, “Assessment Strengthens Writers”. Last night’s Twitter Chat was simply amazing and if you weren’t there, you can check out the storified version here.
The questions that vaulted us into the twittersphere were:
But this morning, I’m stuck on “How do I use assessment to strengthen my own writing?”
And every one of those questions MATTER!
- What assessment tools and strategies do I use?
- How do I deep track of my progress on assessments?
- How do I use on-demand writing to inform my progress?
- How do I collaborate with colleagues on my assessments?
- How do I communicate my growth to myself?
- How do I see my growth in writing over time?
- Where does self-assessment fit into the life of a writing teacher?
Much has been written about the need for writing teachers to write. October 20 was #WhyIWrite.
What has been written about the need for writing teachers to self-assess and to work collaboratively with others in order to grow their own skills? Today this space is dedicated to thinking about how best to continue to “Walk the Talk” and to grow and strengthen my own writing.
If one of my claims is that . . .”My writing improves as my volume of writing grows.”
How will I measure that?
How DO I measure that?
I have some work to do in order to answer these questions.
How will you “Strengthen Your Writing”?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
#TWTBlog had these questions for their #Twitter Chat about “Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts”. Were you there? Which questions/answers really helped you grow in your thinking about mentor texts?
This chat was a culmination of a week long series about Mentor Texts and in case you missed it, here are the links:
“Tuesday, May 3: Reading Like a Writer, Step-By-Step by Elizabeth Moore (that’s me!)
Wednesday, May 4: Student-Written Mentor Texts by Deb Frazier
Thursday, May 5: How to Choose and Mine Mentor Texts for Craft Moves by Stacey Shubitz
Friday, May 6: Digital Mentor Texts for Blogs by Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski
Saturday, May 7: Create Your Own Text by Dana Murphy
So why on earth am I writing about Mentor Texts again?
Well, there are whole books about Mentor Texts that include ten of my favorites below and Stacey Shubitz’s Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts that will ship from Stenhouse in June of 2016! (You can preview it here.) And I was just lucky enough, with my friend, Melanie Meehan, to win a FREE copy last night as a participant in the chat!
So, if I have 10 of these 11 books (soon to be 11 of 11) about Mentor Texts, why am I writing about them again?
I know that it’s a total shock to some of my readers, but I must admit that I am a bibliophile. There are very few books that I’ve met that are NOT my immediate friends (except for the fantasy, scifi, vampire type books that I often just AVOID)!
Collecting samples of mentor texts has been helpful in my study of the craft of writing. Each of these books leads me to other authors, books, and even publishers that allow me to deepen my knowledge of author’s craft. I’ve been a writer, off and on, for decades. But during that writing time, I have NOT always studied writing. Instead I was playing at writing and sometimes only “practicing” writing. I trusted the authors above to choose texts that would surely be magical mentors for either myself or my students.
Recently my study of writing has been more reflective and my goal has been to define the elements that work (as well as WHY) and YET sometimes I STILL totally miss the mark! The books above provided a safety net because I did NOT trust my own judgement of mentor texts. I knew there was no “magic list” and YET I still thought there was often something magical about these books that FAMOUS AUTHORS had placed on their lists of Mentor Texts. Reading through their choices was like Intro to Mentor Texts 101. I could see what they chose and why and try to imitate that.
What did I learn from tonight’s chat?
The chat was just like “Field of Dreams” . . . “Build it and they will come!”
Stars on the Twitter Red Carpet #TWTBlog included:
- Ralph Fletcher
- Lynne Dorfman
- Rose Cappelli
- Ruth Culham
- Kim Yaris
- Jan Miller Burkins
- Lisa Eickholdt
- Shana Frazin
- Cornelius Minor
- Emily Butler Smith
- Dr. Mary Howard
- Tara Smith
- Catherine Flynn
- Melanie Meehan
- Jessie Miller
- Leigh Anne Eck
- Lisa Keeler
- Margaret Simon
- TWT Team – Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, and Stacey
The storified chat is available here.
But here are a couple of my favorite tweets that I am still thinking about in response to Q5) “Why are teacher-written mentor texts important? How do you use them?” . . .
and this all important one from Dana on Q1 about reading mentor texts:
The conversations last night were rich. I will be reviewing the storify as I know I missed some. And like any great texts, some tweets will need to be revisited!
Who are your writing mentors?
What are your favorite mentor texts?
How would we know?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thank you for this weekly forum!
What is Professional Development?
Are those groans that I’m hearing? Does professional development bring a bit of a frown to your face or a sinking feeling in your stomach?
I’ve had the privilege of engaging in powerful professional development (PD) over the course of the last two weeks. I’m going to cite four specific examples of PD that have been powerful for me and then explain the critical attributes that contributed to my learning!
- #TCRWP 90th Saturday Reunion
- #TWT Blog Series on Professional Development
- #G2Great Twitter Chat on Thoughtful Decision-Making
What made these four instances powerful learning experiences?
All of these examples were freely chosen by me. I chose to travel to the #TCRWP 90th Saturday reunion. Once there, I had approximately 150 sessions to choose from – a veritable buffet of choices that was incredibly difficult. (You can read about those sessions here, here, here, here and here.) The #TWT Blog Series could be read in order or as I had time to savor the content. The #G2Great Twitter Chat involved choices about which questions I responded to as well as conversations that were extended. And #TheEdCollabGathering on Saturday offered multiple sessions in four different time frames so I could choose the sessions of greatest interest.
There was no cost for any of these PD offerings. Of course, the #TCRWP 90th Saturday reunion involved travel to New York City – but the PD was a gift from Lucy Calkins and colleagues just as #TheEdCollabGathering was a gift. I attended the Saturday reunions from my living room for several years before live attendance! The #TWT blog series and the #G2Great Chat were free – only required my time! Free is a nice selling point for my frugal mind!
Learning Collaboratively with Others
Whether it was a turn and talk with Tara or Erica, or tweets to attendees or those at home, or even reading and collecting blog posts from others, #TCRWP is ALWAYS about learning collaboratively with others. We kept talking over lunch at the end of the day – not yet ready to end the day. Twitter chats are also always about learning with others. Retweeting, or finding “frame-worthy” tweets, is all about rejoicing in the language precision of friends’ 140 characters that just must be repeated verbatim. And a blog post series allowed me to respond to the #TWT authors and their posts directly or on twitter.
Available 24/7 to Revisit
The learning continues after each of the events above. My notes, multiple blog posts and conversations on Twitter or Voxer are available 24/7 to revisit #TCRWP’s 90th Saturday Reunion. I can continue to revisit the #TWT PD Series and send links to friends for conversations. I can review the #G2Great twitter chat in a column of my Tweetdeck as well as read Amy’s wonderful analysis blog post here. And all of the Hangouts on Air by #TheEdCollabGathering are available for viewing . . . anytime . . . anywhere.
Passionate and Inspiring Presenters
Not only were each of the presenters above passionate and inspiring, but they were also knowledgable and skilled at “pushing” for action. It was never enough to learn because the learning wasn’t the terminal point – that was reserved for the plan for “How are you going to use this?” Masterful, experience, and models of reflective practices . . . EACH.AND.EVERY.ONE!
So a tough question . . .
If those are characteristics that I value in my quest for PD that fuels my heart, soul and mind, how does that match up with PD that I provide?
Learning Collaboratively with Others?
Available 24/7 to Revisit?
Passionate and Inspiring?
Choices are built into the task that teachers are asked to complete. They have to “do” something but they have choices. Free? Yes! Learning collaboratively with other? Yes, with pair-share and productive group work. Available 24/7 to revisit? Yes, thanks to google docs and slides there is always some artifact to leave behind. Passionate? Yes! Inspiring? I hope so!
If nothing else, naming these characteristics that I value will push me to make sure they are included in future PD sessions!
What characteristics do you value in PD?
Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thank you for this weekly forum!
Finding new formats (yesterday’s “Since Last March” with a thank you to Erin Baker) brings me to today’s revival of “Currently”. You can see last year’s post during the March Slicer Challenger of “Currently” here.
Perusing early morning slices with an eye to delaying the drafted post.
Responding to late night “slicers” who posted long after I closed out my computer.
Searching TweetDeck for “last minute inspiration”.
Listening to Voxer in order to glean updates from “the cousins”.
Checking in on my graduate students on Moodle to see if any questions are posted.
Jotting plans for that next big trip.
Reflecting on my #OLW (One Little Word) Joy – How will it be a part of my day?
Plotting that description of expenses for #tcrwp and #ncte15 and unpaid time at #ila15.
Reading just one more chapter.
Sending JUST one more email response before I forget.
Considering my list of “to dos” for the day.
Anticipating the learning online today with peers from across the state.
Sipping just one more cup of coffee.
Playing “yo-yo” with Mya who wants out, then in, and then back out AGAIN.
Pushing the button on my post that says “Publish”!
What are you doing, currently?
Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.
During a weekend of exhilarating conversations and sessions at #NCTE14, someone mentioned the word “Framily” based on our personal and professional relationships.
So what does this really mean?
So what does this look like?
On Friday, it looked like this after our presentation . . .
and we also had to capture this sign that was posted saying our session was full!
The conversation continued and our “Framily” grew at Aloft . . .
Saturday evening our “Slicer Dinner” also provided more conversation and a larger group of “Framily”.
And the fun continued out on the beach at National Harbor.
Do you know the story of this art work?
How many “Slicers” can you name in these pictures?
How did your “Framily” grow as a result of #NCTE14?