Wednesday, July 20, 2016

{DIY Literacy: Part 3} #cyberPD




This summer a really BIG! group of educators are reading and learning together online.  I am participating and 
co-hosting this year's sixth annual #cyberPD event with my online colleagues Cathy Mere and Laura Komos



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New this summer! 
Weekly Twitter chats about the scheduled reading.  The next chat is 
Thursday, July 21st @ 9 AM CST/10 AM EST using the #cyberPD hashtag.


Our final Twitter Chat is scheduled for
WEDNESDAY, JULY 27th at 8 PM est/7 PM cst
Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts 
will be joining in the #cyberPD chat!  

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My Thoughts and Reflections

Chapter Five: Just for You: Tailoring Teaching to Meet Students' Needs

"Not only can tools give students something tangible to hold onto as they navigate their way through the curriculum, but they also give kids personalized learning footholds to find their next step along the way." (Roberts and Roberts, p.73)

Take Away: All the tools help students "get" what they need (differentiation) to move forward in learning. The tools create independence and choice when students are reflective about their practices and decisions.  We can empower students through choice and creating their own learning plans.

Think About/Share:  I adore the language in the classroom vignettes that Kate and Maggie share:
"I couldn't help but notice ..."
"...push yourself as writers today." 
"You are all ready for the next level of work today."
"You are ready for this work."
"I am going to work really hard to teach you the lessons that I think will help you most. But I have to admit something to you: sometimes I will miss the mark ... so we will have to have a plan for how you will be able to read deeply even when the teaching that day didn't work for you."   
I like the idea of the "If/Then" chart shared on p.79.  However, I'm not sure yet how I would use it in my resource/intervention classroom. Still pondering this.  (I posed it as a question for our Thursday Twitter chat ... perhaps you will share an idea!)

Try it:  Love, love, love the idea of tabbing the demonstration notebook with students' names! (p.76) Simple, but brilliant! Those are my favorite kind of nuggets!

On the other hand, there are deeper nuggets that keep hitting me in the head to try!  There it is again .... Evernote. I have collected numerous pins about Evernote and I think the most I have so far is an account, but what's my username/password?!?  I need to REALLY attempt using this digital tool for taking notes, photos, and recordings.  Will this be the year?  (Again, I asked for a personalized micro progression from Cathy -- an Evernote connoisseur -- to help get me started!)

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Chapter Six: Nut and Bolts: Tips for Making Teaching Tools Effective and Engaging

"What's most important is that teaching tools are creations with your students, flaws and all." (Roberts and Roberts, p.104)

Take Away: This chapter was full of ideas and philosophies that I value in my teaching and classroom: engaging and motivating students in various ways, the environment is the third teacher, creating and recreating teaching charts and tools, using smaller chart paper for a smaller classroom (white construction paper), and so on.  Key take away was the very last sentence of this chapter and the quote above: "What's most important is that teaching tools are creations with your students, flaws and all." Just do it and use it!

Think About/Share:  Wow! What a fabulous list of professional texts that Kate and Maggie shared in the appendix.  I was highlighting and marking titles I own and other titles I need to get my hands on!  Thanks for this helpful collection!

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

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Join in the #cyberPD conversations this month!
  • Grab your copy of DIY Literacy and read!
  • Write a weekly blog post or share your thoughts in the Google Community.
The #cyberPD July Schedule of Events

Week of July 3rd: Chapters 1-2 and the Bonus Chapter
Week of July 10th: Chapters 3-4
Week of July 17th: Chapters 5-6
Our final Twitter Chat is scheduled 
for the evening of
WEDNESDAY, JULY 27th at 8 PM est/7 PM cst
Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts 
will be joining in the #cyberPD chat!  


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

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Friday, July 15, 2016

{DIY Literacy: Part 2} #cyberPD




This summer a really BIG! group of educators are reading and learning together online.  I am participating and 
co-hosting this year's sixth annual #cyberPD event with my online colleagues Cathy Mere and Laura Komos




*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

New this summer! 
Weekly Twitter chats about the reading.  The next chat is 
Thursday, July 21st @ 9 AM CST/10 AM EST using the #cyberPD hashtag.

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My Thoughts and Reflections

Chapter Three: Remember This: Helping Students Recall Teaching
"I'm not there yet. I'm having trouble holding on." (Roberts and Roberts, p.51)

Take Away: Maggie and Kate remind me (again) that a student's day is jam packed with information, expectations, celebrations, confrontations, and holding onto all this "stuff" at their age is well, hard! Then I think about my developing readers who have another layer to the day when they are moving from their classroom to intervention, perhaps with different rules, expectations, routines, and learning! Difficult for any student, more difficult for developing students!  This is why so often students revert back to what may come easy and comfortable.  Our job is it help make it stick -- at least what's most essential.

Think About/Share: I was amazed when I read the research from Benedict Carey (How We Learn, 2015): " ... forgetting information is a vital part of the learning process, an integral way that our brains decide over time which new information to hold onto" (p. 39).  This explains so much about me! But I never envisioned that forgetting information was a part of the learning process!

Try it: Again, Kate and Maggie make the DIY Literacy doable because of the step-by-step directions, teacher models (Thanks, Leigh Anne!!) and vignettes.  I am a chart maker and I love that charts become "living documents" that we can add, change, edit as we learn more together.  I work in a smaller space with small groups of students, so I do not have lots of wall space to work with.  I appreciate the quick tip for going digital (p.50-1) and housing photographs of the charts electronically for my classes to reference as needed.  Also, during the #cyberPD chat, Julie Balen shared this great post with me about creating a blog to house classroom charts. So thankful when ideas are shared in our community!
I am most excited about the trying out the bookmarks -- "Having students make bookmarks--personalized lists of things that will help them to remember past teaching--will allow your class to decide which lessons, which tips and strategies and ideas, the most want to remember" (p.45). The ownership and thought going into creating the bookmarks are what will help make new learning stick.

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Chapter Four: You Can Do It: Motivating Students to Work Hard

"Creating an educational climate that elevates the level of thinking, discussion, 
and performance is ideal when raising the next generation." 
(Roberts and Roberts, p.54)

Take Away: Rigor. Mindset. Grit. Perseverance. All are important and I believe have a place in schools. But these words are tossed about in the educational field. We need to more thinking about each topic and truly understand the education values and also the detrimental results.  We need to determine where each student is and move them forward along the learning continuum with support, guidance, love, pushing them when they need to be pushed and provide an extra hand when they need it. It's a fine line to walk, but we must be determined to walk it ... with our colleagues by our side.  We can do this hard work ... because it's for those students who make us smile each day!

Think About/Share:  We create a chart together at the beginning of the year that stays up all year (because we refer to it!) describing our purpose for small group: We are readers, writers, and thinkers.  This year an animated first grade friend insisted that we are AWESOME readers, writers, and thinkers, so this was added! One of the most important conversations we have is around making "no excuses." I have high expectations and want my students to have high expectations as well.  We might have to add this year: "We do hard." (I thought I had a photo ...)

I appreciated the research shared from Daniel Pink (Drive, 2009): "Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement" (p.55).  In this case, as I was reading, I thought about my own two daughters.  I am one that let's them explore and create and say "yes" more to allow them time for creativity, exploration, and imagination.  School these days say more "no."  We need to revert back to letting kids be kids -- because they are the ones that come with so many questions and possibilities!

Try it: I like the idea of "far observation" from Allington. Just observing without interaction from me.  Also, I can't wait to try a micro progression to increase motivation and engagement! I love the a language of teachers as coaches and coaching students' thinking and to higher-level work because in the end, coaching is differentiation - providing students just what they need, when they need it.

Goal for our students is 
independence 
AND 
lifting the level of students' performance 
WITH 
"Power Moves"


Thanks to Brian for that new phrase: Power Moves!



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

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Join in the #cyberPD conversations this month!
  • Grab your copy of DIY Literacy and read!
  • Write a weekly blog post or share your thoughts in the Google Community.
The #cyberPD July Schedule of Events

Week of July 3rd: Chapters 1-2 and the Bonus Chapter
Week of July 10th: Chapters 3-4
Week of July 17th: Chapters 5-6 


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

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

{anniversary} #sol16


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



Today is just another day. A Tuesday.

But it's also a birthday of our wedding day -
my best explanation to my girls about our anniversary.

"Well, can we come to your anniversary?"

I started making dinner of chicken kabobs and rice
and the girls set the table together as a team.

I continued working in the kitchen.

The girls disappeared into the living room
working quietly on a secret project.

"I wish we were having cake."

I overheard their conversation.
Perhaps the birthday reference triggered that thought.

And so, lucky year 13, celebrated at home.

We had the best dates ever, our girls
and they came with sweet gifts.

Look at us with rosy, round cheeks!
(And I love the th13 ... close right? 13th)

P. loves to write, write, write! She also loves to draw family pictures without her sister ...

M. loves her Mommy!
She used purple for my favorite color and the face and rainbow pop out!


Monday, July 11, 2016

{DIY Literacy: Part 1} #cyberPD

This summer a really BIG! group of educators are reading and learning together online.  I am participating and co-hosting this year's sixth annual #cyberPD event with my online colleagues Cathy Mere and Laura Komos. This summer we are reading DIY Literacy: Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor, and Independence by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts.



New this summer! 
Weekly Twitter chats about the reading.  The next chat is Thursday, July 14th 
@ 9 AM CST/10 AM EST using the #cyberPD hashtag.

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DIY Literacy: Teaching Tools for 
Differentiation, Rigor, and Independence 

by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts 



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My Thoughts and Reflections

Chapter One: Extending Our Reach

"True learning happens when students get the instruction that fits their needs, have the agency and motivation to work hard, and remember and recycle what they learn." (Roberts and Roberts, p.2)

Take Away: Wow. Kate and Maggie continually reminded me that even as an interventionist and reading specialist for elementary students, the ultimate goal of our readers and writers is independence.  It's my role not only to help create readers and writers who also love reading and writing, but to help readers and writers actually be independent readers and writers -- yes, needing me less and less!

Think About/Share: My focus when planning for intervention: "Are the teaching tools I offer my kids really helping them to grow?" (p.2)  This was a big a-ha moment for me as I was thinking about all the words I use and talking I do when teaching skills and strategies. I need to rethink the tools I use to make my teaching clear: to build the muscles to exercise and transfer the learning and hard work to the students engaged in the reading and writing.  

Try it: After my evaluation this year, one of my goals is to incorporate more student self-reflections and self-monitoring.  John Hattie's research aligned with the powerful teaching tools that Kate and Maggie suggest will allow my students more opportunities to monitor their learning and self-reflect. I'm ready to get started!

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Chapter Two: An Introduction to Teaching Tools

"Creating a variety of teaching tools to help students navigate their learning allows opportunities for choice and autonomy, putting the decision making into their hands." (Roberts and Roberts, p.12)

Take Away: With each tool that was introduced, I was more and more excited about trying! I love the ideas of the teaching charts, but using a simpler format.  I thought I was most excited about the demonstration notebook: "Watch me ..." And then, there was the suggestion to try out micro-progressions.  Yes! Students need this -- and I do too -- breaking down expectations. Oh, and then the culminating independent action plan bookmark.  Love. It. Student created and student friendly!

I also appreciate all the "voices" Kate and Maggie mentioned throughout the book providing research and additional resources from Kristi Mraz and Majorie Martinelli to John Hattie to Lucy Calkins to Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis to Jennifer Serravallo to Meenoo Rami ... the list goes on weaving best practice and quality teaching, confirming what I believe and also deepening my thinking about being the best me I can be in my classroom to help my readers and writers be the best they can be.

Think About/Share:  Each tool provides readers and writers the opportunity to work towards independence.  I already create and use teaching charts, but I need to move beyond the pre-made, Pinterest pretty charts. (You know what I'm talking about ...)  I KNOW it's essential to the learning process to create the charts with students. I appreciate the step-by-step process Kate and Maggie share in creating the charts, and I need to go back to the basics of chart creating -- and create more with students!

Try it: Kate and Maggie end the chapter with this: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" (Laozi).  And this is where I am at -- a little overwhelmed with all the possibilities, and excited to try it all -- but one step at a time!  Plus, how can we go wrong?  Kate and Maggie walk us through each tool.  DIY works when you have tools and resources (like you all) to be successful.

I am determined to test out the demonstration notebook.  It's difficult not being with students right now! I created a quick list of ideas,  but I'm struggling with lesson ideas and would love to brainstorm with my colleague more possibilities.  I guess my first step is to go out a buy a notebook!

I am most intrigued by the micro-progressions, but also fear the difficulty of the task!  (More great work to do as a team!) Yet, I also know this is when I learn the most -- when I'm stretched beyond my own thinking and beliefs.  So, I will tackle the idea of understanding micro-progressions first!



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*Bonus Chapter: How Do I Find (and Write) Strategies for Teaching Tools?

"What does this child need right now?" (Roberts and Roberts, p.25)

Take Away: I shared this quote via Twitter when I read this from Meenoo Rami -- I agree with it all and it speaks of our #cyberPD community!
"an accomplished teacher must be connected.  If we expect our students to be active, responsible and independent digital and global citizens we need to be models for them.  If we are striving to create a system where the role of the teacher is no longer the lone expert in the room but a co-learner, we need to model that for our students, as well" (Meenoo Rami, p.26)

Think About/Share:  Sometimes I get caught up in the day-to-day, that I fail to respond to what the students need right then and there.  I will continue to take anecdotal notes, but I need to then respond with a teaching tool to move my readers and writers forward from where they stand. That's when I reach out to my colleagues, my PLN, and my resource books to create a teaching tool that will help my readers and writers towards independence.

Try it: As I said, I'm ready to test the waters of DIY Literacy! Time for students .... hmmmm, I wonder if my six year olds want to "play school" with me.  :)  

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

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Join in the #cyberPD conversations this month!
  • Grab your copy of DIY Literacy and read!
  • Write a weekly blog post or share your thoughts in the Google Community.
The #cyberPD July Schedule of Events

Week of July 3rd: Chapters 1-2 and the Bonus Chapter
Week of July 10th: Chapters 3-4
Week of July 17th: Chapters 5-6
Week of July 24th: Final Twitter Chat

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

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

{the lake} #sol16


Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 
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We moved into our new home six weeks ago.  It still feels like we are on vacation.  The extra space and bathrooms and newness of it all.  Our main living space is free of boxes and everything has a place. Of course, the "Honey Project To Do List" will grow as we settle in.  But for now, we enjoy it, not worrying about the flowery wall paper or hanging brass chandelier.   As our "forever home," we'll have time to make changes and update.

For now, we enjoy the newness of the neighborhood.  We moved a couple blocks away from a neighborhood lake.  When we agreed to purchase this home, I promised the girls that our goal was to walk at least one time around the lake every day this summer.  It was initially proposed to enjoy this new landscape and stop by the park half-way around the lake.  Now it's essential to head out every day to get me moving! (It was a stressful year ...)

I originally thought the girls would ride their bikes or scooters, and I'd walk along following behind.  But they have taken to walking beside me. We talk as we make our way around the lake.  We notice.  We wonder.  We ask questions. We ponder. 

Today, P. suggested that we write a book together.  I agreed, but questioned what we would write about in our book.

"Actually, we will write TWO books together.  I want to write a book like "Some Birds" and you can pick an idea for the other book," P. responded matter-of-factly.

Me?  I just smiled.  I love this time together, just me and the girls, walking around our lake.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

{my so-called life} #sol16


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

I've been away for too long. I have missed this community.  This group of writers. This close-knit supporters who are always here through the highs and lows of life.

I stepped away from blogging for a brief, but all-too-quick month to collect beautiful moments like...

1.  Celebrate the girls' sixth birthday.
2.  Pack up our house and move to the next town over to "our new" house.
3.  Unpack box by box creating some order of living.
4.  Transition the girls into a new school for the last month of school.
5.  Pray for many friends going through big transitions.
6.  Prepare for our #cyberPD announcement. (Please join us!)
7.  Host a party with eleven of the girls' friends.
8.  Continue unpacking boxes, reorganizing, moving things around.
9.  Host my mom as she played "Grandma School" with the girls.
10. Finish up our kindergarten year and my school year.
11.  Walk around the lake in our new neighborhood.
12.  Start this so-needed summer break ...

Each a story to tell in my so-called life.  It's amazing how much can happen in a month, but last month I did not have the time, energy, or words to share.  But I can't wait to jump back into writing on Tuesdays and read what is happening in your little corner of the world!