Literacy Links – Volume 73 (Last for 2019-2020 year)

book list, Harry Potter, Just for fun, literacy links, poetry, professional resources, summer, writing
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Dear teaching,

From the moment
I wrote on Mrs. Francescutti’s chalkboard during student teaching

and gave fourth graders
word search advice
in an evergreen Lake Forest Park classroom,

I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all–

From my creativity and money

To my loneliness and energy.

As a twenty-something

deeply in love with you,
I never saw the endless standards,
stacks of papers to grade,
or hours of lost sleep.
I only saw students

at the beginnings of their journeys.

And so I learned.

I read books cover to cover
and observed countless classrooms,
growing my pedagogy with
each page,

each visit.

You demanded everything.

I gave you my heart

because you yielded so much more.

I taught through the fatigue and hurt

Not because problem-solving called me
But because YOU called me.
I do everything for YOU.
Because that’s what you do
when someone makes you feel as

alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave me my be-the-change-you-wish-to-see dream,

and I’ll always love you for it.

But this year’s crisis challenged me to my core.

These past three months I gave you more than I actually have.
I think my heart can take the pounding.
I think my mind can handle the grind.
But I’m so, so tired and so, so worried.

And that is going to have to be OK.

It’s so unlike me, but I’m ready for this year to end.

Let’s savor every moment we have left together —
The good and the hard.
We’ve given each other

All that we have.

And we both know, no matter what the summer and fall bring…

I’ll always be the teacher
Wearing the silly costumes,
Surrounded by books,
With a clipboard, pen, and notebook nearby
Happily reading and writing

Page after page after page.

Love you always,

Ms. Vigna

(my copycat poem of “Dear Basketball” by Kobe Bryant)

Here is the LAST official roundup of literacy links for the 2019-2020 year if you’re looking for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:


Literacy Links – Volume 70

creating, literacy links, online learning, professional resources, reading, summer, writing

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Summer reading is a passion of mine. I’ve developed a summer reading launch unit for teachers to use in the past, so I adapted it for quaranteaching. The goal of the units, one for primary and another for intermediate, is to set up students for success for summer reading: figuring out their best reading routines, sharing book talks, and setting a summer reading goal. There are lots of accompanying resources: an info session video and accompanying presentation for families, book lists from trusted sources, and a collection of themed, digital Bitmoji libaries curated by Center teachers! I want summer 2020 reading to be our most successful ever!

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


Literacy Links – Volume 69

book list, literacy links, online learning, poetry, summer, writing

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Last week, I hosted a PD for my staff on creating Bitmoji digital libraries that you can access HERE. Before showing them how to build their Bitmoji digital libraries, I sprinkled in some PD on classroom libraries, how to curate a collection, and digital book platforms. Together with the how-to portion of the session, I don’t think I’ve ever talked THAT much during a PD! Afterwards, I reflected on how I could’ve avoided yapping for so long: HOW do you show people how to do something tech-y without telling them everything?! Regardless, it has been SO fun seeing everyone’s creations they’ve shared with me! I’m collecting them all for some summer reading fun at Center School. Stay tuned!!

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

Literacy Links – Volume 68

book clubs, creating, online learning, professional resources, reading, writing

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This week, the second grade team at my school asked for online book club info, so I rounded up my go-to resources in my free version of Padlet (I maxed out my Padlets, and I refuse to pay $8 per month right now): videos of book clubs in action for students to analyze and infer, some organizational tools, accountable talk stems, Learning Progressions from the Units of Study, discussion prompts, and my favorite assessment tools. The only grade-level specific tool is the Learning Progressions: I find them SO helpful in providing a focus for a reading unit. Choose 3-5 different topics from the Learning Progressions and your minilessons will have more focus and potency. It’s definitely a work in progress, so check later for more resources!

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

Literacy Links – Volume 67

book list, literacy links, online learning, professional resources, writing

Bitmoji Virtual Library - Caring for the Earth

Two weeks ago, I shared my first iteration of a virtual library. Since then, I’ve seen lots of other versions pop up online so I expanded my repertoire and created my first Bitmoji virtual library. I couldn’t love it more! The collection’s focus is Caring for the Earth. All you or your students and families need to do is click on the image above, and then click on a book cover you want to read. You will be led to a read aloud or read along of the book! So fun, right? I learned all sorts of tricks to make this virtual library: how to make my first Bitmoji (I know, 4 years too late!), how to find images without background (Tip: Include “transparent” in the search box!), and how to remove backgrounds (Tip: Go to!). This teacher’s tutorial was SO helpful. Maybe I’ll run a fun PD for teachers where we create a BUNCH of virtual libraries covering all sorts of topics. We could promote them for summer reading! Now my juices are flowing!!!

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

Writing Clinic #6: Shared and Interactive Writing

professional resources, writing

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My sixth Writing Clinic’s focus was shared and interactive writing, and if you are an LPS employee, you can access it HERE. This is the second Writing Clinic to occur during quarantine, so it’s another online, on-demand PD that I pre-recorded. I confess that I’m disappointed to not have the live discussions, but giving teachers ANOTHER Zoom meeting to attend doesn’t feel right. So the flexibility of a pre-recorded, on-demand format won! Take a look at the general outline of the workshop below, and happy writing!

Book Talk

I love choosing books to share with teachers and students, and for my past THREE PD sessions, I’ve looked to poetry. My selection this time was Dictionary for a Better World, which is also available on Epic. What a gorgeous, useful book for the world!


My minilesson definitely ignored one of my biggest rules of teaching because I *assumed* that teachers were familiar with shared and interactive writing. I very briefly described what shared and interactive writing were, and instead spent most of my fifteen-minute minilesson discussing WHY and HOW TO do it.

Tinker Time

The options for teachers’ tinker time were:

  • creating a shared/interactive writing toolkit
  • brainstorming shared/interactive writing opportunities
  • reading professional resources


After doing some work, teachers have the opportunity to share on my Writing Clinics Padlet.

There’s just one more Writing Clinic this year, and it will be more of a reflection and conversation about next steps with writing. Can’t wait!

Literacy Links – Volume 65

book list, literacy links, online learning, professional resources, science, writing

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.11.34 AMSince we’re officially continuing remote learning for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, my new goal is to begin each forthcoming Literacy Links post with a remote learning instructional resource. I’ll make a video lesson and include all of the necessary resources to share with students. WOO HOO! This week’s lesson is for science: How to Make a Scientific Illustration. It comes with a video lesson, anchor chart, and virtual classroom library. I was so inspired by Clare Landrigan’s Virtual Classroom Library idea that I created a virtual bin around the theme “Think Like a Scientist”.

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

Literacy Links – Volume 63

language study, literacy links, writing

My colleagues recorded a video message for our school community over the past two weeks. Normally, I love these types of assignments because I can be my creative self, but honestly, I wasn’t in the right head space to make anything fun. So my first submission was a photo of my hands holding the earrings I’ve been making. One of the organizing teachers contacted me about the lack of my face showing, and I let her know how I’d been feeling. When the deadline got extended, I was able to find some of my favorite Harry Potter characters to help me film a message for the students at my school. Turn on the light, indeed.

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

PD – “History in the Making” Journals

professional resources, writing

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As a coach, I’ve struggled with finding my role in remote learning. Normally, I support teachers, but with the unfamiliar expectations and pressures teachers are facing right now, would my support be overwhelming? This article from Gravity Goldberg helped me reflect on the ways I could best contribute to my school community. One of the ways I could help most was by continuing my professional development.

After doing several Zooms with TCRWP staff, I decided that one of my major contributions would be to continue offering PD to my staff. Lucy Calkins talked about having students AND teachers do big, important work during this time, not busy work. Provide some purpose. This PD isn’t compulsory, but it is flexible. Teachers can decide if and when to do the PD. On-demand PD allows for choice and availability during this unpredictable time.

The question became: What will I teach? I’ve been posting on my social media accounts about kids keeping journals during this historic crisis, and I recently realized that ADULTS could benefit from keeping a journal right now, too: for our mental health and for ideas to use with students. So I created a PD opportunity for any interested staff: “‘History in the Making’ Journals”. It’s a flipped PD, which means teachers will explore the resources I’ve gathered and tinker with their journals on their own. Then we’ll share our experiences (NOT our journals) in a Zoom on Wednesday, April 1 at 3:15. Piktochart came to my rescue again by providing an easy-to-use infographic template for my workshop:

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Here’s the breakdown of the PD:


To build teachers’ background knowledge, I shared an article from the LA Times, “Journaling the coronavirus pandemic”. I copied the article to a Google Doc so that my colleagues could track their thinking with comments. I love doing this for a couple reasons. First, making others’ thinking visible is fascinating and helpful. I usually learn as much from my peers’ comments than I do from the text! Second, it models a task that teachers could replicate with their students.


I gathered resources for the minilesson in a Padlet: more background info, examples of journals, prompts/sentence starters, and minilessons. Basically anything that could inspire journal work. I especially love the journal examples, most of which I took from the LA Times article. A graphic journal? I’d never considered it. Writing a note in my phone? Pretty handy. These resources could also be used with students. Seeing all of the options gave me all sorts of ideas.

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Tinker Time

Tinker time is what I call the middle section of the workshop when writers and readers get the bulk of time to practice the skill or strategy taught in the minilesson independently. For teachers’ tinker time in this workshop, they’re going to work on their journals. They might tinker with a different structure each day until they find a “just right” fit for them, or they might do something different every day based on what they want to express. As teachers work through this process, I hope that they have some moments of genius about how they could adapt this work with students or supports students might need.


I scheduled a Zoom for Wednesday, April 1st at 3:15 for anyone to attend, whether they did journal work or not. Since journals are intimate and private, we won’t be sharing journal pages. Instead, we’ll share our experiences with the process and reflect on ways to do this work with students. I’m really looking forward to the conversation.

I’ve started brainstorming other on-demand PD ideas to lead during quarantine. Do you have any requests? Let me know!

Literacy Links – Volume 61

grammar/conventions, literacy links, online learning, poetry, professional resources, writing

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What does a literacy coach do in quarantine? Reformat PD for teachers so they can access them on-demand and remotely! The first remote learning PD I developed was Writing Clinic #5: Demo Pieces. I decided to gather all of the Writing Clinics on a Padlet in case teachers had time to explore previous Writing Clinics. My latest quarantine PD is “History in the Making” Journals. It’s a flipped PD, which means teachers will explore the resources I’ve gathered and tinker with their journals on their own. Then we’ll share our experiences (NOT journals) in a Zoom on Wednesday, April 1 at 3:15. I’m really excited about continuing to offer PD online. 🙂

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