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

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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 
lifting the level of students' performance 
"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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  1. You give me two big take aways here: having high expectations and letting kids be kids. When we encourage our students to explore and discover and we have expectations for doing this, it is amazing what they can do and come up with. I am a fan of open ended tasks and questions because I find children think of things that amaze and surprise me. When we give our students permission to be autonomous and set an expectation to be persistent, great things happen in our learning communities.

  2. Thanks for your post. It made me try to put it all together in a way that will stick with me. So, here it goes. "Power moves" and "far observation" must be done intentionally if we are to have an impact on our students' learning. The tools offered in this book will allow us to be intentional by selecting the most appropriate tool to teach a particular "power move" that will help our students learn better. Observation, far and near, will bye an important aspect of this work.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.