As many of you know, this has been a driving summer . . .
Florida, Florida, Florida, Florida (it’s a long way from the top to the bottom)
and back plus
Not commuter miles but trips that included LONG days.
So think about this driving analogy.
My trip to Sioux City today.
When to stop / break / gas?
Can I beat the GPS arrival time?
By Des Moines, I had gained three minutes according to the GPS.
And then semi-trucks passing semi-trucks going uphill . . . slowed both lanes down.
And then there was road construction with one lane of traffic and a reduced speed limit of 55 mph.
Results (but I REALLY wanted this to be Synthesis)
Exploring alternate routes.
Considering overall rates of travel and the amount of travel in both lanes.
Learning new vocabulary
- Rest Stop – Parking Only
- Rest Stop – Modern
- Rest Stop with Internet Access (including symbols for phone, Vending Machines and Camper Dump Stations
So the short part of this is that I arrived one minute before my GPS said and my route, although with some adjustments, was successfully completed.
What if ? ? ?
A. What if I had to record notes
Before the trip?
During the trip?
After the trip?
B. I had to record the skills I had mastered
Processes? (Hat tip to Kathryn Hoffman-Thompson for that idea after a Voxer #G2Great conversation)
Have you made the inference about where this is headed? . . .
Hint – Reread Choices A and B
And Oh, My Goodness!
I forgot the Planning that happened prior to the trip including checking for my registration, insurance card, and having the car serviced (oil change & tire rotation) prior to the trip as well as googling the distance from point A and B so I could begin to draft the specifics.
All of these little details matter when driving a motor vehicle. There are big details that have life or death consequences like safely managing a vehicle, keeping it in the right lane, accelerating and decelerating with traffic flow, smooth lane changes WITH a turn signal, safe distances between vehicles, and paying attention to merging lanes, road signs, and . . .
I’m lucky because I’ve been driving for over four decades and I had a refresher when my son would point out driving errors while he was in a driver’s education course. Your driving experience may include more total miles or more city miles than me. That’s a “number” or data-based comparison. But what about “quality”?
In my opinion it all boils down to “my confidence in my driving abilities” because I have experienced a wide variety of situations that have contributed to the automaticity of my driving habits and patterns that also allow me to be responsive and THINK when I must make “in the second/minute” adjustments.
I very deliberately chose this comparison because this “automaticity” is what we want for our students in reading.
How much time does this take?
How will we measure this success?
WHEN will a reader be successful?
And what does this mean for TEACHERS, the adults in the classroom?
They must be equally prepared, confident, and ready for challenges.
That is why I am in several book clubs this summer. Probably too many. But I am pushing my own Planning, Questioning, Reflecting and Synthesizing especially as I work through professional books.
I wrote about the beginning of #CyberPD and Vicki Vinton’s Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading here. This thinking fits with a Facebook and Twitter study of Disrupting Thinking by authors Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. Margaret Simon wrote about both of those today here. As discussed at the last #G2Great chat with Linda Rief, Reading is about the meaning that the reader understands as a result of his/her transaction with the text. Reading is NOT extracting factoids.
Without spending a great deal more words, I believe that when students can and do
on their own (P,Q,R,S) in real authentic work (not just school work), they WILL BE Skilled, Competent, Strategic, Confident, and Experienced Readers!
What do you do daily to help students “transact” with text in the form of stories, books, poetry, nonfiction, art works, video, and audio?
How will you know when students have reached automaticity?
How will you know your students are skilled, competent, strategic, confident and experienced readers?
#DigiLitSunday: More posts from Margaret Simon and Reflections on the Teche.
Atlanta . . .
The home of a fabulous Civil Rights Museum
The home of Martin Luther King Junior
The home of thousands of teachers this weekend
Spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday together
Feeding their souls
Fueling their passions
Collecting their energy
Forging a future
In this fabulous #NCTE16 family!
I am so humbled to rub elbows among so many talented readers and writers who are so willing to chat, to dig into answering those clarifying questions and to help out in so many ways. And who in their lives have chosen “kind”.
Thanks for Voxer cousin Erica, the MARTA directions were perfect. Wowza! What an easy way to travel from the airport to the hotel. Thanks to the #G2Great dinner organizers – such a treat to meet up together before the sessions began. Looking up and down the table at all the JOY (my #OLW) amidst the hugs and conversations, there was a moment when I wanted to hit the pause button. Just a few short seconds to admire my companions and the many paths that brought us together from across the country. Together we are better. We bring our knowledge, our skills and our hearts together to improve literacy in our communities.
We are activists.
We are here.
We are learning together.
We are reading together.
We are turning and talking.
We are growing together.
And the rich conversations continue long after the sessions as we naturally have t0 share our learning with each other.
Friday was the first full day of #NCTE16 and it was a long day. It was a joyful day from the first navigation of the convention space to the Donald Graves Legacy Breakfast. Thanks to Heinemann for such a wonderful gathering. In the same space on stage: Tom Newkirk, Penny Kittle, Georgia Heard, Katherine Bomer, Smokey Daniels, Cornelius Minor, Allison Marchette, Rebekah ODell and Kim Parker.
Tweet worthy quotations.
Watching a master at work on a video.
Writing our own credos.
And then we were off.
Every session has close to 50 choices. Hard choices for learners. Who do I REALLY need to hear? Who will affirm my beliefs? Who will push me to new understandings?
Learning from Ralph Fletcher, Ellie Keene, Kathy Collins, Matt Glover, Marjorie Martinelli, Shanna Schwartz, Alecia Luick, Shana Frazin, Katy Wischow, Val Geschwind, the amazing #G2Great crew (Erica, Amy, Jenn, Jill, Dani, Kari, Kathryn) and the many gracious Heinemann and Stenhouse authors filled my brain, my heart and my soul.
One of my favorite sessions was “Low Stakes Writing” with Ralph Fletcher. If we want joyful student writers, Ralph proposes that we must add some green belt writing for our students. The metaphor that he used to describe writing energy was the hot air balloon and he challenged us to think of when the balloon would rise – when writing workshop is going merrily along and when the balloon would sink back to earth – with the addition of test prep work and mandatory writing tasks that literally suck the JOY out of writing. As teachers, parents, administrators, we do need to be aware of our own limitations but we also need to stretch ourselves as readers, writers and thinkers. We must be the models of the writing that we want our students to do. The concept of “feral writing’ is fascinating. A feral animal – one who was once domesticated who has now returned to the wild. Writing that students choose to do on their own time. The creation of new genres of writing that arise from choice as students do find their writing voice. How can we honor those voices?
No pictures here in this blog post. My computer is taking a break so I’m composing this on my iPad mini. It’s not my favorite device. It’s challenging as I type in the dark out of kindness to my roommate at zero dark thirty.
Day Two begins at 8 am and goes until 5:30 pm.
Decisions about sessions.
Decisions about when to visit the exhibit hall.
And what about those favorite authors and those friends from twittter who we have not yet connected with?
Much more joy and learning ahead!
How will you spend your Saturday?
Join Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche for additional #DigiLitSunday posts here
Mentors . . .
I’ve had a few . . .
Where do I begin
To tell the story
Of how mentors have been my guide?
Mentors . . .
Mentors . . .
Teachers. . .
Authors . . .
Speakers . . .
Bloggers . . .
Technology wizards . . .
Mentors . . .
All with a digital presence
How do you connect with your mentors?
Those lengthy conversations as we learned, laughed and studied together. Asking questions, checking for understanding, and seeking new information . . . on our learning quests!
Online Book Study Groups
What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton – It was a Twitter book study with Ryan, Allison, Julieanne, Sandy and many more included a grand finale with Vicki Vinton.
Good to Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters by Dr. Mary Howard – This continues to be a weekly chat #G2Great on Thursday evenings at 8:30 EST.
Who’s Doing the Work? How to Say Less So Readers Van Do More by Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris – This book study involved a combination of GoogleDocs and weekly Voxer responses.
A Mindset for Learning: Teaching the Traits of Joyful, Independent Growth! by Christine Hertz and Kristi Mraz – Book study and Twitter Chat
The Journey is Everything: Teaching Essays that Students Want to Write for People who Want to Read Them by Katherine Bomer – A book study that resulted in several “essay slices” that included GoogleDocs and a twitter chat.
The Book Love Foundation Podcast Summer Study Session with Penny Kittle – a Facebook group with video, readings, and responses each week.
Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts by Stacey Shubitz – This book study involved a combination of Facebook responses and conversations with authors of the mentor texts from Stacey’s book.
Professional Development Facilitators who serve as mentors
- Lester Laminack
- Nell Duke
- Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan
- Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris
- Vicki Vinton
- Jennifer Serravallo
- Melissa Stewart
- Linda Hoyt
- Seymour Simon
- Dana Johansen and Sonja Cherry-Paul
- Lucy Calkins
- Chris Lehman
- Kate Roberts
- Maggie Roberts
- Cornelius Minor
- Colleen Cruz
- Mary Ehrenworth
- Kathleen Tolan
- Amanda Hartman
- Celina Larkey
- Katie Clements
- Shana Frazin
- Katy Wischow
- Brook Geller
- Liz Dunford Franco
- Brianna Parlitsis
- Meghan Hargrave
- Kristi Mraz
- Marjorie Martinelli
Many may be a part of the Two Writing Teachers “Slicer” group or this “DigiLitSunday group or just may be bloggers who I have learned from:
- Vicki Vinton
- Two Writing Teachers – Current bloggers Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey (as well as Tara and Anna)
- Mary, Amy and Jenn at Literacy Lenses
- Mary Lee
- Leigh Anne
- Shana and Katy
- Clare and Tammy
- Burkins and Yaris
- Katie and Kristin
Authors of Books about Mentor Texts
(If you need last names for those authors of books about mentor texts, you can check them out in this post!)
So I’m apologizing to those literacy mentors who I left out in error – one of the disadvantages of making lists – but the point of my post is that these mentors, many of whom are in MORE than one list are all people that I know in the digital world as well as the physical world.
Through Twitter, Voxer, #TCRWP, ILA and NCTE, my horizons have expanded exponentially. Now my mentors come from many, many states across this country. All delightful folks that I have had the priviledge of learning with and beside . . . Mentors and Friends!
How do we know the impact that your mentors have had?
These pictures reflect my most recent thinking with some of my mentors! Can you name them?
If you’ve studied the background in my blog, you have seen that my #OneLittleWord “Joy” has been with me for quite awhile.
Where is that joy?
Yesterday, I was cocooned in joyful.
Joyful was in Voxer Posts.
Joyful was in Facebook Posts.
Joyful was in tweets.
There are days when the Alpha and Omega of joyful seems to reside in social media. Sadly that means that the Joyful is not easily visible in some of my work days. Sometimes the day to day trivia is wearing – mentally and physically. It’s hard to summon laughter and truly celebrate “JOY”! But yesterday JOY surrounded me everywhere.
Joy is here in these videos . . .
What is your hope? via #ParkwaySchools (3:14)
Who will be in your classroom this year? via Four O’Clock Faculty (2:04)
If you feel like you need a new life via Power of Positivity (0:51)
Are you planning a “Global Welcome Back to School” this year?
Or what about “Making Joy a Reading Standard”?
How will you spread JOY this year?
How will you be Joyful?
What will it look like?
What will it sound like?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
What is your #OLW? Are you serving it well?
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!
New York City
This rural Iowa dweller says thanks for all the opportunities:
for face to face meet ups with friends from Twitter, Twitter chats, and Voxer,
to be able to chat excitedly with fellow Slicers, bloggers and authors,
to dine in all sorts of fabulous places,
and in such great company.
Attending the musical “Fun Home”in the Round was magical.
Ahh, the bookstores
Jazz at Smoke
So much to see and do
While in NYC
For #TCRWP’s Writing Institute
Because the learning does NOT stop when the sessions end!
The conversations, the questions, the talk about “What are you reading?” and “What are you writing?” continues into the night!
A glorious week long adventure!
Thanks to you, my friends
And Lucy and ALL at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.
And what about the learning on Day 4?
I begin, again, at the end,
the eloquence of Pam Nunoz Ryan
who brought us to tears with her harmonica rendition of “America the Beautiful”.
Thanks to Fiona Liddell and Twitter for this picture.
What an eloquent author and so nice to hear the backstory, see the grids of characters and plot, as well as the research that went into Echo – a MUST READ book for your #TBR (To Be Read) list.
- Find your passion.
- Thank those who help you find your passion.
- Writing a novel is hard but rewarding work.
- Stories matter, stories matter, stories matter!
- Rereading stories is important!
Have you read Echo?
Please reserve it at your local public library NOW!
Choice Workshop – Colleen Cruz
Editing Does Matter: Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary in a Writing Workshop
To think about when teaching Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary:
Teach into developmental level so it will stick. What do they know? What are they trying to approximate? We looked at a student piece of work. What can this student do?
- Curriculum and standards What should we teach?
What do my standards say that the students need to learn by the end of the year?
Just as revision is not taught only once in the writing process; editing is taught more than once in writing process. First time – teach in editing (comma in clause) in order to lessen the cognitive load for the students. Then the second time teach comma in clause during revision. And for the third time, the student can focus on the comma when generating ideas in his/her notebook. The repetition will be helpful for students!
Each time we revisit the skill, our methods may vary – or not! The typical methods are:
b. Apprenticeship – Mentor author – Example
c. Inquiry- let’s see what we find in the world and then find patterns (bio, /er/ was/were)
The tools can either be Teacher created or Student created. For grammar it may be a series of books to cover the variations in journalism grammar, grammar for fiction writer, or grammar for academic writing. It may be fun grammar books, vocabulary picture books, mentor texts, or student examples. Or it may be editing pens, gel pens, or other irresistible editing tools. Quite literally, physical tools like Mini editing checklists with 2 or 3 things they are checking for! Whatever they are into! Students can make their own reminder sheets! Work with grammar, spelling and vocabulary should be in the spirit of FUN and Exploration. NO RULES for number of spaces after a period. Talk about conventional understandings. How do people expect it to go?
- Perfection in writing is not the goal for 9 year old students. The New York Times allows four errors per page with page writers and paid copyeditors. No published piece of writing in the world has ever been 100% perfect.
- If you are writing with passion and focusing on content, writing will slip when you are“letting it rip”. Errors are a good sign because they indicate risk-taking.
- Post “not perfect” student work on the hallway bulletin board. Make a huge label and Celebrate – “Check out our capital letters and end punctuation. We’ve been working hard on them and ALMOST have them!”
- Kids fall into automatic, manual, wrong – if kids aren’t automatic, it does not mean they are lazy , not trying, or don’t care. It just means they haven’t mastered that skill YET.
- Conventions, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary work should be FUN and PLAYFUL!
How does your instruction in Spelling, Grammar and Vocabulary match up?
What’s one change that you would consider?