Tag Archives: #wrrdchat

#SOL15: Literacy Superheroes


Halloween Celebrations are over.  November, still warm and toasty, is here.

Did you see a few superheroes?

I spent some time this last week with a few of my superheroes.

teacher

Real life superheroes.  Authors who inspire!  Authors who dare to challenge my thinking. Authors who want a better world for our students.  And authors who understand that in order for students to really be life-long learners, the teachers have to step back and trust that inquiry is one avenue that unites students and teachers in real-world learning.

Who is one of my super heroes?

vicki vinton

Vicki Vinton, co-author of What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making, is definitely one.  Have you read her book?  If you haven’t read it,

WHY NOT?

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Additional evidence of my esteem would be in these blog posts:  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Those nine posts share thoughts from the last year that include Vicki, other rock star literacy educators and many other bloggers as well. It has been an amazing year of learning and I’ve been blessed to have many opportunities to learn along side students, teachers, literacy rock stars and superheroes!

This book was eagerly awaited as Vicki wrote about it on her blog here and here.

The book is a celebration of the 13 belief statements and the 68 study group members who went to Italy in October of 2012 to study the preschools in the town of Reggio Emilia. And as the authors say, “We hope these essays inspire you to move beyond discussion and into action.”

Essay One is “Centering the Child” by Sir Ken Robinson.

Essay Two is “How Reggio Ruined Me for Anything Less than Inquiry-Driven Learning by Vicki Vinton.

Essay Four is “Engagement: A Hub of Human Development by Peter Hohnston and Gay Ivey.

Essay Five is “With an Air of Expectancy” by Katherine Bomer.

Essay Six is “What Price Beauty?  A Call for Aesthetic Education” by co-editor Ellin Oliver Keene.

Essay Eight is “The Journey of a Single Hour: Exploring the Rich Promise of an Immediate Release of Responsibility by Katie Wood Ray.

Essays I have yet to read include those by: Deborah Meier, Matt Glover, Kathy Collins and Thomas Newkirk.

Backstories and Essays you can access:

Sir Ken Robinson – “Centering the Child Part 2

The Story of the Front Cover and Frontispiece

Jeremy Greensmith – “On Teaching the Scaffold

Alfie Kohn – “To Change What We Do, Consider What We Believe” [This essay is adapted from the Foreword to The Teacher You Want to Be, edited by Matt Glover and Ellin Oliver Keene (Heinemann, 2015)]

Heidi Mills – “On Beliefs that Matter

What will my actions be?

I’m still mulling that over.  The last few weeks have really caused me to think about my beliefs. How do others know what I value?  They can see it here in my blog posts as well as on Twitter.  “I loved the alignment of beliefs and practices – as in, ‘If we say we believe this, we must therefore do that . . .'”(Vicki Vinton, p. 20)  Crosschecking, constantly!  Do my beliefs match my actions?

Which essay is your favorite?  

With whom are you sharing the essays?

*I think 2015 is the year of the great books . . . new Mindset, Reading Nonfiction (Notice and Note) . . . my TBR stack is NOT getting any shorter!

slice

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

Know and Wonder Charts and Patterns


slice

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

Through Twitter and many Twitter friends, I have come to value charts.  If you aren’t familiar with @chartchums, you need to check out their blog here or their book Smarter Charts here.

Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton have introduced us to Know and Wonder Charts in their magnificent text, What Readers Really Do:  Teaching the Process of Making Meaning.

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There is a Twitter Chat, tonight, April 22, 2014 from 8:30 – 9:30 EST (#WRRDchat) where many of these ideas including “implementation” will be discussed.  Our chat leaders include:  Allison Jackson (@azajacks), Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) and Ryan Scala (@rscalateach).  Additional resources include these previous posts: “The Process of Meaning Making,”  “Beyond CCSS: Know and Wonder Charts” (July 2013), and our group facebook page where last year’s chats are archived.

 

What have I learned since last summer?  
Students must do the work!

Teachers cannot wait until their comprehension instruction is perfect. Students need to be “doing” the work of constructing meaning. There is a huge difference between students who “don’t understand YET” and students who don’t know what they are doing.

Here is some of our work from third grade last month.  Our book was Fifty Cents and a Dream:  Young Booker T Washington.

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Here is page 2 – the first text:

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After reading this page, students discussed with a partner both what they knew and what they were still wondering about.  So the picture below is what the first whole-class “Know / Wonder” chart looked like.  A lot of conversation centered around the word “longed” which JD so aptly told us “did not mean long like 2 feet long.” That discussion led to the inference (with evidence) that Booker “wanted to read.”

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As we read on through page 3 we were thinking about:

  • Were any of our questions answered?
  • Were any patterns beginning to emerge?

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Our question of “Why is Booker NOT reading?” was answered on this page.

Now our chart began to get messy as we used it to demonstrate how we were “making meaning” as our first question was answered with a bit of color coding for our question in the “Wonder” and our answer in the “Know.”

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One of our goals was to see how the character developed over time in this text.  How did the author reveal information about Booker? As students worked with partners, they crafted their own post – it descriptions (rewritten here –  😦 poor photography skills).  How could these descriptions show a progression of  “drafting understanding” that could be used to dig deeper into the author’s words?

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These first two were pretty similar and were easy for the students to think about as “evidence-based” descriptions with picture two adding the inference “be a reader.”  Picture 3, below, demonstrated students who continued on through the text in search of “MORE” ideas and evidence.  They wanted to know “WHY” reading was so important to Booker and they did not stop until they had drafted their theory.

 

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Because we have also worked with formative assessment and checklists, we tried another view of the same post-its in a chart with labels and descriptors so students could begin to “self-assess” their own work.  This was the FIRST draft – an additional step was later added between the “two stars” and “three stars.”

Character Dev. Booker

 

 

After discussion, students could perform some self – assessment to determine where they were at in their understanding.  This self-assessment allowed most students to answer the question:  “What would they need to do to ‘move the level of understanding in their post-it response?'”

But, we had to take a deep breath and stop and rethink here.  The ultimate goal is NOT to get the “top star” rating. We wanted to include some self-assessment so students could focus on the learning targets, but we wanted to be crystal clear in our ultimate goal.  This sent us back into the book to re-read to check what the text REALLY said instead of what we “thought” it said!

The focus for instruction moved to “patterns.”  Students begin to look for “patterns.”  This is the stage where the students were “reading forward and thinking backward” as they” tracked patterns to see how the patterns were  connecting developing, or changing.”  The “What we Know” changed to “ALL” about the pattern – What is the pattern?  How is the pattern changing?  and the “Wonders” shifted to – Why? What could the author be showing us?

This was hard.  It was tempting to set the students up with more modeling or even more scaffolding.  However, will more “teacher work” REALLY  increase the likelihood of “independence” for the students as they construct “meaning making?”

 

What do you think?  How do you help students  draft their understandings?  And how do you stay focused on the real goal?

The Process of Meaning Making


During July 2013 we read and chatted about this book for several weeks in the Twitterverse and created a facebook page here that includes several of the storified chats.  We are currently prepping for a reprise chat, Tuesday, April 22 from 8:30 – 9:30 EST.  Questions for the chat are on this google doc. Our hashtag is #WRRDchat .  Follow @azajacks @rscalateach @jarhartz  who have been an integral part of this adventure for the last year.

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Why is this book so important?

It is important because the authors, Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton, illuminate the process of meaning making for teachers and then provide clear, explicit examples from work with students at a variety of levels.  Too often, teachers feel pressured to “test” the students into comprehension and to search for that “one” correct interpretation.  In this life-changing text, Barnhouse and Vinton remind us that the readers truly must be the ones who are “making meaning.”

Check out the free samples on line:

Other sources of information:

Vicki Vinton’s blog “To Make a Prairie  http://tomakeaprairie.wordpress.com/

 

and a previous post of mine from last July:  CCSS and Beyond:  Know and Wonder Charts https://franmcveigh.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/ccss-and-beyond-know-and-wonder-charts/

 

Join us Tuesday night, April 22, 2014, as we share our learning, continue to ask questions and expand our learning community!

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What is your favorite quote?

Sunshine Award for Blogging!


Three Sunshine Award nominations later and a return to my laptop have finally induced me to respond. Thank you, friends!  In order my first nomination was from Jamie Fath and is included here in her blog “On My Mind.”  Then over Christmas, I was nominated by Vicki Vinton in her blog To Make a Prairie” and today I received my nomination from Julieanne Harmatz in her blog “To Read To Write To Be.”

ImageThe Rules:

  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
    • Share 11 random facts about yourself.

    • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

    • List 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!

    • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

My random facts:

  1. I was born on Father’s Day and my dad always said that I was his best gift EVER!
  2. I love the holiday tradition that my son began which is to eat pie/dessert at 10 on Thanksgiving or Christmas with dinner following at 2 pm.  “That way you always have room for dessert!”
  3. I seldom have “birthday cake” and usually have gooseberry pie to celebrate my birthday.
  4. I  have taught or facilitated graduate classes as an adjunct instructor for the past twenty six years.
  5. I have participated in summer workshops or classes every summer but one for the past twenty eight years.
  6. One of my favorite songs is “Pomp and Circumstance” and I have worn a cap and gown five times.
  7. I really LOVE to read and wish I could think of a marketable book to write in order to be a published author.
  8. Of my nominators, I have only met Jamie face-to-face.  I know Vicki and Julianne through their blogs and tweets and our #wrrdchat last summer.
  9. My goal is to respond to at least one blog every day in order to encourage others to continue writing.
  10. I love my job because I really am often paid to “talk!”
  11. I love technology when it does exactly what I want it to do!

Because I had three different nominations, I am going to change the rules and answer 4 questions from each of my nominators!

Questions from Jamie: 

3. What’s your favorite ‘get to know someone new” question? I love “Two truths and a lie” because it requires close listening and a bit of creativity!
6. Now, what’s your dream job? I would love to be president of my own teacher education college in order to provide an education that would truly prepare teachers for their future jobs.
9. What’s your favorite thing to cook? My daughter-in-law’s corn dip that goes in the crock pot! – Simple and YUMMM!
10. Android or iOS?  Android

Questions from Vicki:

  1. What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island? Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
  2. What did you learn from your mother? That reading a good book was more important than cooking or cleaning and a lot more fun as well.
  3. Where do you find joy in your classroom or work? When teachers or students excitedly share “what worked!”
  4. What do you do to recharge? Attend high school or collegiate football games or wrestling meets, read my Twitter chat stream and chat with friends!

Questions from Julieanne:

2. Who was your hero growing up? My grandmother on my mother’s side who was a teacher, had 10 children, 56 grandchildren and always knew all of our names and birthdates!

5. What motivated you to start blogging? In order to talk with teachers about writing, it was important that I spend time writing as well!

9. What technology has made your life better? Skype – being able to visit with my son overseas and his lovely wife in Kentucky are fun  because of skype!

10. Why teaching? In third grade I wrote the traditional “When I Grow Up” paper in which I said I would be a teacher or a nun.  Too many raps on the knuckles with a ruler knocked out the nun.  I have been teaching in some format for 30++ years!

Bloggers:

Kathy Perret            @kathyperret      Learning is Growing

Shannon Clark        @shannonclark7  i run read teach 

Dea Conrad-Curry  @doctordea         Partner in Education

Melanie Holtsman    @Holtsman       Once Upon a Teacher

Jenny Maehara       @jennymae         Raising Voices

Rusha Sams           @RushaSams       Oh the Places We See . . . 

Amy                         @directoramy     Reflections on Leadership and Learning

Steve Peterson                                      Inside the Dog

Ryan Scala              @rscalateach       Tapping into Words

Tara Smith               @tara_smith5    A Teaching Life

11 Questions for the Bloggers:

1.  What is your most treasured piece of writing?
2. What author would you like to personally chat with (time travel is acceptable!)
3. What would members of your family say that you are somewhat obsessive about?
4. What book should never have been made into a movie?
5. What are the defining qualities of a “good book” in your own opinion?
6. What is your favorite sport and why?
7. In your life, is the glass typically “half full” or “half empty?”
8. What life accomplishment are you most proud of? And why?
9. What one word would your best friend use to describe you?
10. What is your favorite comfort food?
11.  What outdoor temperature range would be your ideal year round temperatures?

Reflecting on 2013


After a very, very family-filled holiday break and ten days without using my laptop, it’s back to “thinking” about professional development for the next two work days.  But I would be remiss in moving straight to the list of upcoming events, if I did not slow down and consider the data from last year.

Top 10 posts on my blog (by number of readers):

1. Close Reading in Kindergarten? Is it Possible?
2. Close Reading: “The Ultimate Goal”
3. Common Core: Are you allowed to make “connections” in a close reading?
4. Readers’ Notebooks: Assessing, Goal-Setting, and Planning Instruction
5. How do I choose text for Close Reading?
6. Close Reading Informational Text? Absolutely!
7. Lexile Level Is NOT Text Complexity CCSS.R.10
8. Fitting the Puzzle Pieces of Close Reading Together
9. TCRWP: Performance Assessments in Reading
10. CCSS and Writing: The Path to Accelerating Achievement

In rereading those entries, I found that eight of the ten were posted in late June – September with only #3 and #5 before that time frame.  Interesting for me to note that all of the top 10 were about reading and writing and not necessarily about “resources” which was my original thought for this blog!

Book chats on twitter or in blogs during 2013:

  • Units of Study in Writing (Lucy Calkins and friends – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project) #tcrwp
  • Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts – and Life! (Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts) #filwclosereading
  • What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making (Vicki Vinton and Dorothy Barnhouse) #wrrdchat
  • Notice and Note (Kylene Beers and Robert Probst) #NNN
  • Teach Like a Pirate (Dave Burgess) #educoach
  • Visible Learning for Teachers:  Maximizing Learning (John Hattie) #educoach
  • Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach for Dramatically Improving Instruction (Jim Knight) #educoach

My Twitter Video from 2013 (Have you tried this at #visify? https://www.vizify.com/twitter-video):

https://www.vizify.com/fran-mcveigh/twitter-video?s=twitter&u=504984&f=1414&t=share_follow_me_video

Goals for 2014?

Still pondering where my focus will be!  As a teacher/learner I found that 2013 was a year of growth in deeper understanding of reading and writing and the reciprocal nature of both. Continuing to write and “practice” author’s craft while I listen more to the learners (students and teachers) will also remain on my radar!  Stay tuned for more specific 2014 goals!

Welcome, 2014!

What are your goals?

In Love with “Close Reading”


Our Twitter chat celebrating Falling in Love with Close Reading on November 11, 2013 was fabulous, and I must thank co-moderators Allison Jackson and Laura Komos (@azajacks @laurakomos) for their question development, organization, tweeting in advance, and storifying the chat afterwords.  Of course, Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts (@ichrislehman  @teachkate) brought a crowd to the chat with their participation.  My sincerest thanks to ALL participants and readers because deep understanding is necessary in order to ensure that ALL of our students can read, do read and YES, love to read!

The last few months have been a personal quest for knowledge about close reading.  I read Tim Shanahan’s blog regularly (although I don’t always agree) and I began with his model for close reading with his “three step process” outlined here. However, I felt this process was stiff, clunky, and was confusing to students who began to say, “Do we really have to read this three times?  Just give me all the questions now!”

I had to admit that process was not working in my own reading.  Sometimes two reads were sufficient while at other times, it seemed like 10 reads was just beginning to scrape the surface for the “right meaning.”

I loved Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey’s view of close reading in  Text Complexity, Raising Rigor in Reading when they shared that close reading should come in texts of varying lengths and was not a daily diet requirement as referenced here.  And then the signposts from Notice and Note (Kylene Beers and Bob Probst) were next to receive my scrutiny as a book chat and facebook page sprang up!  The language of the signposts made so much sense to students and teachers across the country, and one more entry point into “close reading” was revealed!

In June/July 2013, I attended both the Writing Institute and the Reading Institute at Teachers College in New York City. I learned what I had feared – that I really had not yet understood the impact and the grade level standards for the Common Core State Standards (and, yes, I was a “hick from the sticks”).  The demonstrations at #tcrwp convinced me that I had not yet begun to grasp the possibilities for depth and scope in “close reading.”  Each demonstration was different as the definition of text broadened.  Mary Ehrenworth  brilliantly provided a “mini-PD format” for Close Reading, for use in our own buildings, that included a poem and two song videos.  Kate Roberts passionately used video and text to illustrate the necessity of close reading for point of view in nonfiction text and I was captivated.  When the pending publication of Falling in Love with Close Reading was announced at the June Writing Institute, I immediately pre-ordered it.

And then September arrived and Chris and Kate began the Close Reading Blog-a-thon where Chris unveiled this definition which again stretched my understanding:

“Close reading is when a reader independently stops at moments in a text (or media or life) to reread and observe the choices an author has made. He or she reflects on those observations to reach for new understandings that can color the way the rest of the book is read (or song heard or life lived) and thought about.”   Sept. 2, 2013

My learning journey continued as I read brilliant posts that added to the collective blog-a-thon and my understanding and I did sigh in relief a couple of times when I discovered that I was not “way off base” in my thinking.  What was so monumental?  That one word – “independently” was a showstopper!  Up until that point, I had wrestled with how to move to deeper understanding with wisdom from Vicki Vinton and my mates at #WRRDchat (What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton).  The simplicity of “Know / Wonder” charts and looking for patterns has stayed with me as I work with students and teachers to build independence in understanding what readers and writers really do.

And then the book arrived.  From Donalyn Miller’s first words about The Velveteen Rabbit in the Foreword to the closing pages of the Resources, this book is dedicated to “falling in love.” It is not just about “reading at school” but is truly a ritual for reading life.

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I immediately began to tweet out some of my favorite quotes as I quickly discovered that the three part ritual described by Kate in June was at the heart of the entire book.  Close Reading is not about interrogating students with text dependent questions although it is about the “Five Corners of Text.”  That ritual is simply and elegantly:

      1. Read through lenses
      2. Use lenses to find patterns
      3. Use the patterns to develop a new understanding of the text

In love with the book, twitter conversations began.  @laurakomos proposed a chat and we were asking the authors to set a date to chat with their readers. Documents were created and blog posts announced the chat.

Our Twitter Chat was a fun hour + with laughs (jinxed comments), gnashing of teeth (at some policies) and a whole lot of love, passion, respect and celebration of the close reading rituals that Chris and Kate propose in Falling in Love with Close Reading – Lessons for Analyzing Texts –  and Life.  You can check out the archive here.

Nurturing this love of close reading is going to be important if it really is going to be built on student independence.  Teachers will need to consider and balance:  types of texts read by the teacher, types of texts read by the students, complexity of student thinking, complexity of texts students are reading independently, balancing genres, balancing levels of challenge and length of texts.  Careful thought and planning will be required in order to meet this goal from the book:

“Equally, move freely between analyzing texts, media and life.”  (p. 124)  The dream is for student independence and where you lead (especially by modeling), the students will follow for the rest of their lives!

Thanks, Chris and Kate, for such powerful learning and for sharing your ritual with your readers so students may grow in independence as they close read their minutes, hours, days, and lives!

How are you close reading your life?  
How are you nurturing “independence” in student close reading?  
How will you know that students are independently close reading their lives?  
Let’s continue the conversation!

Fitting the Puzzle Pieces of Close Reading Together


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   (Photo: 123RF    #21054105)

The Blog-A-Thon for Close Reading hosted by Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts has resulted in thoughtful conversations around two words in CCSS Reading Anchor Standard #1.  We are all eagerly awaiting elaboration from Chris and Kate’s book ‘Falling in Love With Close Readingthat will add to our knowledge  Blog posts have discussed close reading as a noun, a verb and with very specific cautions about being very careful to not destroy “the love of reading.”

So, a quick review that close reading is:

  • Not every story
  • Not dragging a two page story out to a week’s worth of lessons
  • Not 999 text dependent questions
  • Not the teacher scaffolding the work all the time
  • Not the students being ‘assigned’ text to read and reread and reread
  • Not a scripted procedure
  • Not surface learning
  • Not limited by the four corners of the page
  • Not worksheets
  • Not independent reading
  • Not scripted lesson plans
  • Not just a “school activity “
  • Not isolated work with the CCSS reading standards one at a time
  • Not always rereading three times
  • Not . . .

In the first post for the Blog-A-Thon, Chris told us last week that:

“Close reading is when a reader independently stops at moments in a text (or media or life) to reread and observe the choices an author has made. He or she reflects on those observations to reach for new understandings that can color the way the rest of the book is read (or song heard or life lived) and thought about.”

Which words or phrases caused you to stop, pause, or reread as you read that definition?

Or (gasp!), did you tell yourself that you had already read that definition last week so you just kinda, sorta glossed over it?  Did you notice any “patterns?”

Inherent in this definition is the belief that the reader will read like an author while observing the author’s choices within text, media or life.  That means that the reader will probably “know and wonder” (Barnhouse & Vinton, What Readers Really Do) or “notice and note” (Beers & Probst, Notice and Note:  Strategies for Close Reading) as he/she traces patterns from the text.  Pattern tracing may evolve through the use of post-its, reading notebook entries or even on chart paper or interactive white boards.  Student reflection on the meaning of the pattern would seem to be essential for “new understandings” to be constructed!

What routine(s) should be used?

The routine that the reader uses will be based on teacher instruction explicitly designed for independent application by the reader.  The instructional format may include conversations about the “stance” or lens that the student is using to view the text:  text evidence, word choice, structure, or figurative language.  But it could also involve the lens of “character development and change over time.” (CCSS Reading Anchor #3 – Scroll down to the chart about “lonely characters and then go back to read the blog for the chart context.“)  In the search for a theme (CCSS Reading Anchor #2), the lens could be the signpost “Again and Again” (Beers & Probst) or  “Searching for Meaning”in Dea Conrad-Curry’s post.

Desired outcome =  students independently and capably engaged in close reading of text, media and life 

The path for instruction may be varied but it has to include authentic reading experiences.  At times instruction may be inquiry with the teacher carefully observing students and the patterns they discover in their reading.  At other points a more direct instructional framework may be Fisher and Frey’s  gradual release of responsibility that includes:  productive group work, guided instruction, focus lesson (including modeling), and independent work until the ultimate goal of close reading and “constructing new understanding” is TOTALLY dependent on the text and the student!

So how do we get to our final destination?

Observe the current status of our students.  Provide explicit instruction that will “nudge” students to reach new understanding.  Continue to “construct” meaning – not just identify it.  Use the phrase, “Tell me more” instead of a barrage of questions.  Sometimes the learning path will be whole class, small group or 1:1, but the journey needs to begin now.  It’s 2013 and we can improve instruction and student learning as we work and learn together with a sense of urgency that will propel student thinking beyond current levels!

We read forward and think backward, making within-text connections to notice patterns” (Barnhouse & Vinton, p.113) as we “trust student talk around texts to support our thinking goals” (p. 122).  Reading, observing, talking, thinking about text, media, and life will help construct meaning and fit the puzzle pieces together!

It’s complicated!  It’s messy! And close reading is definitely a big puzzle with no ONE right way to accomplish it!

http://christopherlehman.wordpress.com/oddsends/we-are-closely-reading-close-reading/

Planning to Meet CCSS Grade Level Literacy Standards


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Do any of those questions sound familiar?

I spent this week with some fabulous teachers working on the Iowa Core Writing Standards.  Did we work on all of them?  No!  Did we talk about all of them?  Not by number!  But we did spend a lot of time talking about what good writing should look like, how writing will be assessed in the future, and the whole reciprocal nature of reading and writing.

So what’s my best advice for planning those “first writing lessons for the new year?”

Here is my thinking based on what I learned at Teachers College Reading and Writing Institutes this summer:

  1. At least 50 % of reading workshop time (or more) has to be spent on students reading books of their choice every day (CCR Anchor Reading 1 and 10).
  2. At least 50 % of writing workshop time (or more) has to be spent on students writing every day. (That writing has to be aligned to one of the first three CCR Anchor Writing Standards, Argument, Explanatory, or Narrative and 10).

(To summarize 1 and 2 above, every day the student will be working on a minimum of 2 reading and 2 writing anchor standards.)

If I have planned my instructional sequences well, I will have also managed to “bundle in” some Speaking and Listening and Language Anchor Standards or some Foundational grades K-5 standards to support the gradual release of responsibility.

How will I decide which ones go together?  One of my new tools is this graphic, A Periodic Table of the Common Core Standards,  from Burkins and Yaris.  During planning, this table will remind me of the wide range of standards available and I will choose the standards that best meet the needs of my students as I also consider what I have learned about “letting the students guide my instruction” from Vicki Vinton and our #wrrdchat as we studied the book, What Readers Really Do.

How will I know if I have been successful?

  • I will check the amount of time students spend reading and writing every day and shorten the “teacher talk” time to ensure that students are getting as much time possible for reading and writing.
  • I will listen to students in reading and writing conferences to hear what they are saying about reading and writing.
  • I will talk to students about my own reading and writing histories.
  • I will model reading and writing with and for my students.
  • And I will ask my Twitter mates for help, encouragement and assistance when things run amuck as they are prone to do!

(Dr. Shanahan has already said that “there are no power standards in ELA” here so that is a non-issue.)  And yes, you do have to teach all the standards!

How will you know that you are meeting the CCSS Grade Level Literacy Standards?  What is your plan for this school year?

CCSS And Beyond: Know and Wonder Charts


How do we truly ensure high learning expectations for our readers?

After two weeks with friends on a twitter book chat #wrrdchat, discussing What Readers Really Do by Barnhouse and Vinton (@VickiVintonTMAP), I must confess that I do need to return to a classroom and work with students. The whole process of making meaning from written symbols is simple for some students, but oh, so confusing for others.

Confusion could come from the words – long or short – many words have multiple meanings and then only the surrounding words in the sentence or paragraph can truly help tease out the specific meaning.  Confusion could also arise from the lack of pictures as students move through the grades and the levels.  Or it could simply be that reading is HARD work!

My journey this summer has included #tcwrp Writing and Reading Institutes.  It has also included book studies for Notice and Note, Teach Like a Pirate and as previously noted, What Readers Really Do. I will admit, I have struggled this summer as I have heard and now BELIEVE that students must do the work of understanding. I cannot and dare not rush in and rescue them!  True understanding of text only comes from “grappling with it.”

So on with it!  Get to the point!

How do I use a “Know and Wonder Chart” to help students understand?

I will begin with the text Walk Two Moons brought to my attention by a Barbara O’Connor blog here.  Then I will build  a Know – Wonder Chart based on the “setup” to look for patterns.  Here is what my chart looked like in its first draft.

ImageIn the “setup” I have learned a lot about Sal in the first two pages of this book.  I know she is a country girl and her name is Sal.  Her dad is in the story as is “a lady” named “Margaret” with “wild red hair.”  I was wondering about the main character’s name each time I generated questions.

As the first two pages end, I am still wondering about:

  • when does this story take place (no clues yet in clothes or transportation),
  • what is the story? (hunch= life in the city with Margaret?) and
  • my biggest “wonder” is “Where is Sal’s mom?.

I am going to have to keep reading to find out more about the “setup” (who, what, where, when, etc.) but also to find out if any of my hunches “come true.  I will also be looking for patterns where the author tells me or sets me up to discover the meaning that is hidden in the words.

How will I assess this “Know and Wonder” work with students?

My formative quick check at mid-workshop interruption will be:   “Thumbs up if you have jotted down an idea from your reading. Point to head if you added to “wonder.” Tap finger on your shoulder if you have added to or found a new pattern.” (Some use of visual/gestures would give me a quick look at status of class.) Students could also add other ideas to “self-assess” in their book clubs if you are using them.

I am leaning towards a “star” system to begin with because I have literally seen high school students beg for a star before! The star would go in the Reader’s Notebook.  I love how #tcrwp folks use writing continua so I am also thinking about what that might look like but I want to be careful to make it be about quality factors and not just “things I can count.”

In the beginning, I believe that any student who adds to their chart in terms of “know, wonder, or arrows/comments for patterns” will earn a star.  It is the beginning of the book. The assessment will evolve!

The assessment process – When students do this thinking in jotted notes in their Reader’s Notebook, they will be meeting the standards of CCSS and exceeding them.  No bubble tests required!

How would you assess “Know and Wonder” charts?  What has worked for you?

Circling back to the beginning:

I have learned during this study of What Readers Really Do is that my reading is really from the “inside out!” Thank you @Teamhanrahan62  for that idea.  I have also learned that this work is hard and the reader must be trusted to do the work (@VickiVintonTMAP)!  (And I apologize in advance because I will not remember everyone from the chat in this post!)  From my #wrrdchat mate  @brettelockyer I have learned new vocabulary as well as the value of a conversation around a text for deeper learning.  Thank you for the mention of this book in NYC @azajacks and special thanks to @rscalateach for developing and implementing a book study plan!   Reading a blog from a voracious summer reader, @jarhartz, who wrote about “Yet”  –  and commented on an old post of mine yesterday, the idea of this post was born.  Thank you all, #wrrdchat mates, this study has been a wonderful summer learning opportunity!

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