Literacy Links – Volume 46

book list, graphic novels, literacy links, nonfiction, professional resources, reading

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At last October’s Saturday Reunion at Teachers College, Janet Steinberg, TCRWP’s data queen, talked about embedding academic language in our everyday discussions, instructions, and conversations with students. Academic language is Tier 2 words that students often encounter in directions, lectures, and other places of sophisticated talk. Instead of saying, “What is the theme in our read aloud?” try “Determine the theme in this selection.” By lifting the level of discourse, students would already be familiar with these words before encountering high-stakes situations and, more significantly, be more likely to use these Tier 2 words in their own output. I changed the topic of my Alphaboxes outside the Reading Lounge to showcase some of these words; stop by to see them up close. What other academic language would you add?

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Writing Clinic #1: Conferring and Small Groups

literacy, professional resources, test prep, writing

Once a month, LPS teachers have a “teacher-led” staff meeting. Teachers must be in the building from 3 to 4 working on anything of their choice. After going to the Saturday Reunion at Teachers College and Literacy for All, I was desperate to share all of the new ideas I’d learned. I’d been considering lots of different sharing options, and I realized I could offer it during these teacher-led Monday afternoons! So on Sunday morning, after getting permission from my principal, I started brainstorming my first Writing Clinics. The first task was to brainstorm the sessions and create an advertisement to share with staff. Thanks to Mr. Shu, I used Canva, and the graphic design was a piece of cake! 

In general, I use the Workshop Model to plan my PD, so I created my agenda on conferring/small group work using the same workshop components that I use with students: book talk, minilesson, work, and share.

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Book Talk and Minilesson

After a quick book talk on Carl Anderson’s, A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Conferences, I launched my minilesson. I decided a flow chart would be the simplest way to break down the conferring process.

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For each part of the Conferring Cycle, I asked myself, “Is there a meaningful tool that could support teachers’ work with this step?” Although I considered possibilities for each step, I decided to focus on the latter half of the Conferring Cycle because I thought they’d have the most impact on students and teachers. So I created a tool for the following steps of the Conferring Cycle: Assess, Craft a Teaching Point, and Create a Tool. By the end of the minilesson, I’d taped all of the possible tools teachers could make to the board as models of what they could create during the WORK portion of the WORKshop.

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Work Options

Here’s a close-up of all of the tools that teachers had the chance to make at the first Writing Clinic along with how to use each one:

IMG_4342 2“Assess” Tool: Formative Assessment using Checklists from the Units of Study

How the Assess Tool, Formative Assessment Using Checklists from the Units of Study, Works: Teachers cut up an illustrated checklist from the online resources for the Units of Study on Heinemann for the unit’s genre of writing and paste the criteria on the left hand side of an opened file folder. The three white blank labels at the top are for different categories: ✓+, ✓, ✓- or Meeting, Progressing, Emerging or Yes!, Starting To, Not Yet. The green sticky notes are for writing students’ names according to the level of the work they’re sharing during conferences. Tip: Laminate!

IMG_4341 2“Craft a Teaching Point” Tool: What/How/Why Planning Template

How the Craft a Teaching Point Tool, What/How/Why Planning Template Works: I’ve noticed that many of the anchor charts from the TCRWP Units of Study lay out rigorous goals of what students should do, but they don’t tell HOW to do it or WHY it should be done. The same goes for the teaching point, so I created this scaffold to get teachers in the habit of planning the what, how, and why of the lesson, whether it’s for the whole class or small group. Of course, like all good scaffolds, this tool would become obsolete once the teacher develops this frame of mind for lesson planning. Tip: Laminate!

 

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Create a Tool” Tool: Checklist Sorting Mat (inside)

Screen Shot 2019-11-05 at 2.16.17 PMCreate a Tool” Tool: Checklist Sorting Mat (front)

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Create a Tool” Tool: Checklist Sorting Mat (back)

How the Create a Tool, Checklist Sorting Mat Works: This tool, again, uses the checklists. This is a tool that encourages student self-reflection. They take strips of the checklist and decide if they are showing evidence of that work or not. Anything that lands on the “Not Yet” side turn into writing goals and can even be stored in a handy pocket in the student’s writer’s notebook. Tip: Laminate!

Every teacher left with a tool to use with students or to plan with right away.

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After the Clinic, I decided to display all of the materials in the teachers’ workroom so that all teachers had access to the information and materials in case they wanted to DIY the tools.

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There’s also a Google Classroom for this work; email me if you want to join.

I can’t wait to hear how the tools work in teachers’ classrooms!

Literacy Links – Volume 45

creating, literacy links, writing

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Last week, I hosted my first Writing Clinic. Its focus was conferring, which I believe is the heart of Writers’ Workshop (looks like the blog, Two Writing Teachers, agrees with me in the latest post, “Conferring Notes: The Key to Unit Planning”). Entire grade level teams attended the first clinic, and everyone left with a tool to support their conferring. Some even realized the tools could be transferred to other content areas as well! That’s what I call high leverage tool action! After the clinic, I displayed all of the materials and supplies in the teachers’ workroom in case they missed it and wanted to DIY the tools. Can’t wait for the next session on November 25th!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 44

book list, literacy links, professional resources, technology

 

Inspired by all the amazing PD I’ve done recently at Teachers College and Literacy for All, I’m hosting Writing Clinics on all of Center’s teacher-led staff meetings. Each session will have a different focus, and no registration required. The first session is this coming Monday, and I can’t wait!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 43

book list, literacy links, reading, technology

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Last weekend, I took the train to Manhattan to go to Teachers College’s biannual Saturday Reunion with one other teacher from Center. This is a day of FREE PD for teachers and well worth the crack of dawn wake-up and travel. At one of the sessions, a staff developer shared that the anchor chart sticky notes are NOW AVAILABLE as a single page. Since teachers have been taking screen shots or adjusting printer settings to print four-six to a page, this news received an enthusiastic response from the teachers in the audience. I can’t wait to share it with Center teachers!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 42

Just for fun, literacy links, writing

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I’m devoting a lot of my thinking and attention to writing this year. How can I support students’ independence in writing? How can I encourage their transfer of skills from one unit to the next? How can I improve their awareness of themselves as writers? Reflection is a tool that I turn to again and again in my writing instruction. I want students to think “I’m here. This is where I need to be. This is how I will get there.” If they can navigate that metacognitive process independently, then I have no doubt that they will improve as writers.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 41

book list, creating, literacy links

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I get a book budget every year, and I alternate between updating teachers’ classroom libraries (with their input about what their students want!) and the school’s book room. Last year was a book room update. I focused on buying #ownvoices and #weneeddiversebooks titles. The books all arrived by the end of June, so I spent a good part of my summer volunteering my time to level and label all of the new books. I decided to put them in special bins for each level so that teachers would realize new options were available!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 40

creating, Harry Potter, professional resources, writing

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I have been obsessed with Dr. Rudine Bishop Sims’s quote about books as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors ever since I first heard it. So true. So powerful. When I saw Grant Snider’s print inspired by the quote, I knew I had to get it. After the reading specialist at my school transformed a long hallway into a magical, Disney-like space, I jumped into transforming some of the new, diverse texts I’d gotten for the book room into my own hallway display. It’s hard to have a favorite metaphor from the display, but I love this last part:

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I overheard some students saying that “Books are music!” I hope they submit it for the display!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 39

book list, professional resources

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I love Open House! When I was a classroom teacher, I documented “A Day in the Life of a Student in Ms. Vigna’s Class” with pictures, student work, and resources. Since I don’t have a classroom anymore (sniff, sniff!), I’m preparing the Connector, the underground tunnel connecting the two wings of our school, to be a land of literacy resources. The first addition to the hallway is a “Books are mirrors, windows, and doors” display inspired by Dr. Rudine Bishop Sims and graphic artist Grant Snider. If you’re a Center School family member, PLEASE visit me in the Connector. I’d LOVE to talk with your about supporting your cardinal’s reading and writing!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 38

book list, literacy links

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Back to school is one of my favorite times of the school year! As a coach, I schedule read alouds in every classroom to introduce myself to students and enjoy a great book together. Whenever I work with teachers, I always find a resource to share with them that supports the work I’m doing. For my first round of read alouds at Center, I shared the teacher’s grade level section about interactive read aloud from Fountas and Pinnell’s Literacy Continuum. During my second year, I shared Lester Laminack’s “Read Aloud Often and Well” from NCTE. This year, I decided to go with creating my own little cheat sheet about one of my favorite literacy practices: #classroombookaday. #classroombookaday is an initiative started by a teacher librarian in Wisconsin, Jillian Heise, to read aloud a picture book every single day for pleasure. No required curriculum connections, no higher order thinking questions preplanned, just a simple read aloud. My cheat sheet briefly describes the practice and provides resources to explore. I’m hoping it piques the interest of some teachers. Imagine if every teacher at Center did their own #classroombookaday!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment: