Tuesday, July 9, 2019

{pen pals} #sol19

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 
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Lisa sent me a message at the beginning of summer wondering if my girls would be interested in a summer pen pal with her daughter.

"Yes!!" They shouted. And they waited for the first letter to arrive.

It arrived one late afternoon as I was making dinner. They ripped open the envelope and read the note together with pure excitement. I have the image of them huddled together reading it aloud. I wish I grabbed my phone to capture a picture.

Within minutes, they each grabbed a notecard and a pen. Standing at the counter, they began responding.

Of course, the teacher in me wanted to walk them through the process of responding to the letter and asking new questions. Yet, they were busy writing while I finished up dinner.

"Dinner is ready, guys! Let's eat!"

"Done! I finished my letter."

"Me too! I even filled out the envelope!"

And, so, the letters were sent as is -- I let go and allowed the girls to own this new pen pal experience. We headed to the post office the next day to purchase international stamps.

Because how cool is it to have a pen pal that lives in Canada! The girls (and I) can't wait for the next letter!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

{Welcome to Writing Workshop} #cyberPD Reflection Week 1




I'm reading and reflecting on Welcome to Writing Workshop with a different lens than most teachers. As a reading specialist, I am not fully implementing writing workshop. However, I can support teachers with implementation, brainstorm ideas through the challenges, and support reading and writing in my role knowing the full experience of the workshop model.






My Thoughts and Reflections for Week 1: Chapter 1-4

"It's our belief that every student can write -- 
even the ones who have stopped believing in themselves as writers." 
(Shubitz & Dorfmann, p.1)

Takeaways

  • I work with students who have not yet developed the belief that they are readers and writers. So to hear from the authors they too belief ALL students are writers reminds me of the power of YET.
  • I need to remember this definition when talking about workshop: "The structure of writing workshop is simple: it is student centered and based on the belief that students become successful writers when they write frequently, for extended periods of time, and on topics of their choice." (p.2) Yes. It's really this simple. This should be our focus. 
  • I smiled when reading on page 3 (already!), Stacey and Lynne are explicitly telling us that we need to write too ... for so many reasons!
  • The emphasis on the third teacher -- our environment and learning space -- is critical to student success (p.5) And there is an entire chapter dedicated to the "write" environment with photographs! (Chapter 2)
  • This: "A great mentor text does more than show us qualities of good writing. It provokes something in us -- memory, passion, a desire to write, to take our turn." Tom Newkirk (p.11)
  • The chart on p.18 is a clear indicator as to where a teacher of writing workshop is: Traditional vs Workshop.
  • The launch at the beginning of the year is essential. Six weeks of building a community, setting expectations, learning routines. Model, model, model. Practice, practice, practice. 


Aha!

  • The focus in writing workshop is entirely on the writer ... not to improve the piece of writing they are working on today. (p.6)
  • Yes, we want students to write. And write a lot. But that's not our goal. The goal is to help our students know themselves as writers. (p.8 and 26)
  • So much time is focused on the writing process as being linear ... and it really isn't! The writing process is different for every writer. (p.13)


Question for you ...

  • The power of sharing is crucial ... but time seems to slip away and this critical component of writing workshop is skipped. How can we be sure this sharing time occurs? (p.16)

"Children want to write. 
They want to write the first day they attend school. 
This is no accident. Before they went to school they marked up 
walls, pavements, newspapers with crayons, chalk, pens, or pencils 
... anything that made a mark. The child's marks say, 'I am.'" 
(D. Graves, quoted by Shubitz & Dorfmann, p.42)

________________________________________________________________

Visit our NEW #cyberPD MeWe Community to join in the conversations!

If you have any questions, please contact:
Cathy Mere on her blog or on Twitter (@CathyMere )
Michelle Nero by leaving a comment below or on Twitter (@litlearningzone)

Stay connected via Twitter (#cyberPD), our #cyberPD MeWe Community page, and
a compilation of resources on our #cyberPD 2019 :: Writing Workshop Pinterest Page.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

{more} #sol19

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 
_____________________________________________________


Summer is here. And I'm loving it. Even though I keep saying that being a full time mom and working through the to-do lists is more exhausting than going to school every day!

In summer, there's ...

More 
slow mornings
reading time
baking yummy goodness
dinner creations

More 
spontaneous moments
hanging out with friends
hiking, swimming, biking
it's past bedtime nights

More 
'yes, let's do it' days
summertime adventures
special memories captured
time to just live in this moment

I will continue to soak up this summer life and enjoy the mores ...



What do you enjoy MORE of in the summertime?

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

{the last days} #sol19

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 
_____________________________________________________


The last days of school are for ...

reminders to exercise their reading brains
making a reading plan of who? what? where? when? and why?
filling their arms with new books to read at home
and a notebook and pen to write story after story

The last days of school are for ...

small moments of connecting with each child
noticing and telling of why they matter to me and this world
sharing and caring as much as they need with hugs in between
pouring all that I can into their hearts and minds

The last days of school are for ...

not knowing for many of my students
if these are the last days of school until next year ...
or if their families quietly move on to a new school
and if these are our last days together.

Get your copy here --> Summer Reading Plans

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Announcing the 2019 #cyberPD Book!

Announcing the 2019 #cyberPD Book!



Check out our NEW #cyberPD MeWe Community to learn more!

We can't wait for YOU to join in the conversations!
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It's that time of year again! Cathy and I have finally selected our #cyberPD book for our summer learning. It's never an easy decision. 

Conversations go back and forth. 
Ideas fly. 
Standards are high. 
Book stacks full of possibilities are higher. 
And then ... it happens. 
The just right book emerges from the stacks.

The book selection is important, but what makes this PD event truly successful are the amazing teachers and educators across the globe that support each other through the learning process.


YOU make #cyberPD a success! 
Thank YOU for joining us ... whether this is your very first year, or your 9th year, or somewhere in between, we are thrilled YOU are joining in! 


_________________________________________________


This summer, our #cyberPD title we will be reading is ...



Happy reading ... and writing!
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Here's how #cyberPD works:


TODAY ... Order the book and start reading!

THE FIRST THREE WEEKS of JULY ... Participants read and discuss a section of the book by sharing thoughts each week around specific chapters. We have seen so many creative ways of sharing from a blog post, to visual sketch notes, to videos, to a brief post on our MeWe Community page ... it's really up to you!


**We encourage you to respond/comment on at least 3 other participants reflections.  This is where the deeper learning happens!**


THE FOURTH WEEK of JULY ... A final Twitter chat to share highlights of our learning!






_________________________________________________


If you have any questions, please contact:

Cathy Mere on her blog or on Twitter (@CathyMere )
Michelle Nero by leaving a comment below or on Twitter (@litlearningzone)

Stay connected via Twitter (#cyberPD), our #cyberPD MeWe Community page, and
a compilation of resources on our #cyberPD 2019 :: Writing Workshop Pinterest Page.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

{a walk} #sol19

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 
_____________________________________________________


Rescuing a dog comes with many responsibilities, like lots of walks.

Every day Harley and I walk about the neighborhood at least two times a day. One walk occurs after the girls get on the bus in the morning. I make my way around the outside of neighborhood completing the one-mile stretch. It's usually a quiet walk as most are off to school or work. Sometimes I think about my day and ponder life or pray. Other times I intently observe the neighborhood, houses, plants, front doors, and so on looking for ideas and projects.

In the evening, I head out again. I may have a kid or two join me for conversation. Sometimes I listen to a podcast. I step out the door deciding what route I'm going to take. Usually, we meet lots of friendly faces and other dogs. Those are always exciting moments. Just yesterday, I met another Mom taking her Opal for a walk. We have passed each other a couple times, but I made the point of having a conversation. I learned in a few short, quick minutes her name, about her family, where she lives, and Opal's story.

I like to walk at a brisk pace for the exercise. Keep on moving.

Harley, on the other hand, likes to take her time and stop to smell the roses ... all of them. Individually. And all the blades of grass too. She likes to sneak a stick or a wood chip to chew on. Harley has learned to turn her head away from me when chewing ... as if I can't hear her crunching. And at least once on every walk, she gives me the puppy dog eyes asking me to stop so she can lean in on me for some pets and love.

I never thought a dog would change my life. And all the extra walks together? Worth it.


Harley Quinn ~ Rescued Dec. 2017

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

{Starting Again} #sol19

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 
_____________________________________________________


I can't believe it's been almost a year without writing a slice of life or even a blog post.
After years of writing. Nine years. 626 published blog posts. Most slice of life stories.

To be exact.

I know that my habit of writing slipped away.
I chose to ignore the blog, the calls for slices, the messages from far away friends.

I let it go.

It's hard really to say why. I'm sure it's a combination of home and school.
And to be honest, my heart wasn't in it.

However, my heart has been empty too.

I have missed capturing my stories about life.
I've missed you, your stories, your connections, your support.

But I haven't missed my personal pressure to write ... and to write well.

Yet, I think I'm ready to ignite my passion for writing again.
At least I'm going to make the effort. And it starts with the first day.

Here's to starting again. 


Monday, May 13, 2019

Join us! #cyberPD 2019

It's the 9th Annual #cyberPD Summer Event!



Check out our NEW #cyberPD MeWe Group to learn more!
We can't wait for YOU to join in the conversations!
________________________________________________________________

I can't believe it's that time of year already. Where do the days, weeks, months go? I'm ready to slow things down for summer and enjoy a few great books. Ok, who am I kidding? A LOT of great books.

The one book always at the top of my list is the professional development book selected for #cyberPD. This book is treasured and shared by many educators across the globe as we come together to learn, to share, to grow, to know better, and to be better in all that we do.

Here are the titles we have read over the last eight summers:



Here's how #cyberPD Works:

NOW ... The time to share your PD book stack!

JUNE 1st ... The much anticipated #cyberPD book will be announced! This allows everyone time to purchase the book and begin reading and pondering how you will share your reflections.

JULY ... During the month of July, the selected PD book is discussed across three weeks. Participants read and discuss a section of the book by sharing your thoughts each week around specific chapters. We have seen so many creative ways of sharing from a blog post, to visual sketch notes, to videos, to a brief post on our MeWe Group page ... it's really up to you!

**We encourage you to respond/comment on at least 3 other participants reflections.  This is where the deeper learning happens!**

LAST WEEK OF JULY ... A final Twitter chat to share highlights of our learning!

________________________________________________________________

Your Next Steps to Join In:
1.  Join the #cyberPD MeWe Group. 
2. Share a photo, image, or list of your PD book stack that you hope to tackle this summer on Twitter using #cyberPD or share in the new #cyberPD MeWe Group using #shareyourstack. 
3. One PD book will be selected for our #cyberPD conversation and announced on JUNE 1st! Fingers crossed it is in your book stack ... if not, order it ASAP!

If you have any questions, please contact:
Cathy Mere on her blog or on Twitter (@CathyMere )
Michelle Nero by leaving a comment below or on Twitter (@litlearningzone)

Stay connected and find out more specific details via Twitter (#cyberPD) and our #cyberPD MeWe Group page.
________________________________________________________________

Monday, July 23, 2018

{Being The Change} Part 3 #cyberPD


It's the 8th Annual 
#cyberPD Summer Event!
Join in our #cyberPD Google+ Community to participate! We want YOU to join in the conversations!

This July we are reading and learning together around the new title 
from Sara Ahmed 



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My Thoughts and Reflections for Week 3: Chapter 5 & 6

"You have to be able to see the humanity in others before you can activate your empathy by self-identifying and making connections." 
(Ahmed, p.103)

Takeaways: 
  • Sara shares two more lessons that will provide a great depth on reflection and conversation, both geared towards upper grades.
    • Our Universe of Obligation: Naming people and groups that we feel responsibility for, those that you will be an upstander for, and how this circle may include others in certain situations. 
      • My circle was pretty tight, but I also know that it would expand and grow to include others in various situations. But I have to consider, as Sara suggests: "Are you actively living a life where [you] are proximate to people and experiences outside [your] own identity circle?" (p.112)
    • Intent versus impact: Thinking about what we say and how we say it (intent) and also considering how others receive it (impact)
      • Funny. I have these two words written down on a sticky note in my classroom. Someone shared a tweet about intent vs. impact in regards to teaching. We may have the best of intentions, but we need to also consider the impact on the choices we make. More to consider ...
      • I love the focus Sara puts on active listening: "The most important things to consider here are your partner's thoughts and opinions. Remember in difficult conversations, we want to listen to understand, not just listen to respond. You and your partner may not agree. The best thing that can happen is that you learn a new way of looking at something that you didn't consider before" (p.122)
  • Sara's last chapter, Facing Crisis Together, has me reading and rereading, highlighting and agreeing, wondering and contemplating. This is heavy, hard, heart work. But it needs to be done: We are all change agents needing to cautiously consider:  
    • Understand that everyone's identity is at stake
    • Get proximate to the human story
    • Be an authentic listener
    • Get out of your echo chamber
    • Measure the inclusiveness of your community
    • Commit to a learning stance
    • Shine a spotlight on the upstanders
    • Be proactive with your privilege



Thank you, Sara, for leading us through this work!

"There is no magic formula for making the world a better place. It happens in the moments we break our silent complicity, embrace discomfort, and have 
candid conversations about what stands in the way. As educators, 
you and I are tasked with giving kids opportunities to show compassion, 
to be upstanders, and to realize the impact they have in society. 
It's an awe-inspiring responsibility, but it's something that you and I
--people who believe in kids--are uniquely qualified to undertake." 
(Ahmed, p.103)

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As always, thank you for taking the time to read and sharing your voice!

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    Join us for a #cyberPD Twitter chat!



    Join in the #cyberPD conversations this month!
    • Grab your copy of Being the Change and start reading!
    • Make #cyberPD work for you and your schedule this summer! It's a no-stress, no worries, join when you can kind of book study!  
    • Reflect and write:  a blog post or share your thoughts in the Google Community.
    • Participate in the conversations. This is where the magic of #cyberPD happens!  
      • Visit the Google+ Community and participant blogs.
      • Comment on at least  3 participants reflections during the week.  
      • Continue to share on Twitter as well using the #cyberPD hashtag! 
    Additional Resources:


      Questions, comments, or concerns about #cyberPD?  

      Contact Cathy Mere or Michelle Nero  ______________________________________________________________


      Read.  Reflect.  Share.  Respond to others.  Then repeat.

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