Professional Learning: My Right and My Responsibility
#NCTE has fueled my learning for the last five years. I found folks that stirred my learning heart and soul. Hearing those words straight from the authors who wrote them was transformational. Their passion and excitement extends long past a panel, a roundtable, or a presentation.
And yes, it comes with a cost. The cost of attending a national conference. #NCTE asks attendees about the source of the expenses in their conference surveys. The likelihood of a school paying for every expense incurred may make the cost prohibitive but there are many of us who attend on a regular basis (five consecutive years) who are quite “picky” about our sessions because we are there for the learning and attend on our own dime..
After hearing Tom Newkirk at my first #NCTE conference loudly proclaim that a hamburger graphic organizer was an insult not only to a paragraph but a bigger insult to a hamburger, I have read his books, been in a twitter chat with him, and watched for authors that mention his name. He is Ellin Keene’s editor and Ellin has so many words of praise for him. This year at #NCTE it was truly a pleasure to listen to: 4 Battles Literacy Educators have to Fight
- Economy – Curriculum as Hoarding (add, add , add & nothing is deleted)
- Louise Rosenblatt – Model of Reading – Literacy as Transaction
- The battle for writing. Writing should not be colonized by reading. 795,000 fanfiction pieces about Harry Potter
- Battle for choice- Carnegie – “public library” Teachers will need to make it free!
Since returning home, I have reread his essay in this collection.
I have also read these two books since #NCTE18.
And I am returning to some sections of these two books for more work with Responsive Teaching because I know that teachers have to “say less so readers can do more”!
I now have some reading and writing plans to consider that involve my own thinking and application. Some will appear in my own professional development, some may show up in this blog, and much will continue in future conversations with friends as well as Twitter thinking.
For those who did attend #NCTE18, how will you extend your learning?
Here are some possibilities:
- Read a book by an author you heard.
- Listen to a podcast by an author you heard.
- Participate in a Twitter chat by an author you heard.
- Write a blog post or two about your learning.
An investment of time is required for any of the four items listed. You can borrow the book on interlibrary loan at no cost or check and see if a friend has it in their professional library. Check online. A free chapter may be available on the publisher’s website. Additional follow up ideas may come from the publisher’s website or a facebook page for the “group”.
So if attending a national conference is “on your list”, start planning now. How can you begin “saving” for that dream?
- Read the twitter stream from #NCTE18.
- Read some blogs from #NCTE18.
- Plan for a roommate NOW.
- Make a plan to re-allocate some personal discretionary funds so you can attend.
Where will you begin?
What is your plan?
A second look at a Saturday session because I’m still trying to define “Responsive Teaching” and I saw it masterfully executed in this session. And I am still in awe. And so thankful that these readers, writers, and educators are in my life.
|Responsive Teaching: The Courage to Follow the Children
Presenters: Kim Yaris, Jan Miller Burkins, Dani Burtsfield, Christina Nosek, and Kari Yates
Jan began with having us close our eyes to “Think about a teacher who loved you into being” and then having us share that story with a partner. It’s often easy to remember those who did NOT love you into being but responsiveness begins with the heart . . . Don’t rush to “check it off.” Skill and expertise has to come behind.
What’s the focus if you view student work through the lens of “Love”?
What’s the focus if you view student work through the lens of “Expertise”?
This was the student work we viewed.
Not just judging and reacting, but thinking in terms of what the student “can do”!
- Phonological awareness
- Most of the alphabet and how to write it
- Knows how words work
- Knows onset
- Knows rime
- Knows rhyme
- Understands what is socially appropriate communication!
Kim also read “Daisy” from Who’s Doing the Work and we considered what we knew about Daisy as a person and as a reader. It was extremely helpful to have a partner to add more ideas. (My immediate thought that went into my notes: And what if PLCs operated more with this type of data?)
|Being responsive is about seeing students, understanding and responding based on the love and expertise of the teacher.|
Students doing the work. Teachers stepping back and admiring student work first before responding.
To Know and Nurture a Reader
Conferring is a path to responsive teaching, raising and following the voice of one student at a time.
Using Four Quadrants – so visually appealing and helpful . . .
There are many questions that fit into each of those boxes and those are available in Christina’s and Kari’s book.
If a conference begins with:
What’s going on?
What is my response? It may vary . . .
“I wonder, I jot a note or
I wonder, I affirm, I jot a note or
I wonder, I affirm, I remind, I jot a note or
I wonder, affirm, extend, remind, take note”
And then those basic responses in a visual format. . .
What if they are coded by thought bubbles for “wonderings” or talk bubbles for “affirmations” and boxes for the notes/glueing reminders?
This format could be my conferencing format.
I might have 4 of these boxes on a page.
Depending on our conference content, a box might hold different colored ink entrees or dates as I record the content from the conference in this format.
Thinking about the application of THIS work. How does it make sense?
And what a treat. Dani had examples of work in all four quadrants for a kindergarten student. Here’s an example of one kindergarten student’s “Healthy Habits” . . .
As I listened to Dani’s examples from a kindergarten level, I thought of Christina’s fifth graders. I wondered if they could complete a reflection about themselves as a reader. Christina said, “Just wait” and then she shared a fifth grade student page from which I am only sharing the book choice portion.
Have teachers done this work?
Where do teachers stand in these four quadrants?
How aware are they?
How would this move teacher confidence and competence in coaching readers forward?
My Take Aways:
- Responsive teaching – you will know it when you see it. It’s hard to describe but pure magic when you see it in action. Today: Being responsive is about seeing students, understanding and responding based on the love and expertise of the teacher. Conferring is a path to responsive teaching, raising and following the voice of one student at a time.
- “Step back so your students can step forward.” Jan and Kim
- “Don’t wait for perfection. Start now.” Christina and Kari
Jan Burkins: @janmillburk Kim Yaris: @kimyaris
Twitter @ChristinaNosek @kari_yates
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!
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?
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”!
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?
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:
And during the panel for The Teacher You Want to Be, Vicki Vinton also said,
What does this mean in writing?
Paula also tweeted out this learning from Jeff Anderson (@writeguyjeff) about the role of grammar in writing.
Is the intent to have students do the work?
Are students doing the thinking?
Dan Feigelsen is crystal clear in his intent.
Pernille Ripp asks this question:
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!
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?
What do you notice as a reader?
What do you DO with / or make of what you noticed?
Because the intent is reading deeply, thoughtfully, and authentically!
What are your beliefs?
What is your intent?
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.