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{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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  1. Michelle,
    You point out the most important point… the goal is student independence. The tools overall should be geared towards helping students work towards that ultimate goal. like many of us, reflecting on the tools we are offering kids is key. I know that sometimes I get excited about a tool I’ve created because it turns out looking so great… but is it really effective? That is a question we will all need to get in mind as we start to explore tool building this summer.
    I love that you have a goal to incorporate more student self-reflection and monitoring. I joked with my students that I had them “grade themselves” often because I had so many students (I can get away with that with my gifted learners!) but the reality is that when students are encouraged to take time to critically review their own work, particularly with tools like micro progressions, they gain so much and start to set their own goals for improvement.
    Your visual of understanding micro progressions helped solidify things for me. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" (Laozi).
    Thank you for this reminder.
    I start thinking about all that needs to be done and it is overwhelming.


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