Monday, July 10, 2017

Dynamic Teaching #cyberPD

Thanks to Cathy Mere and Michelle Nero  for hosting our conversations as we learn from Vicki Vinton‘s latest book Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading. 

I’m always searching for the answer. I know after teaching 29 years I won’t find the answer; however, I will learn nuggets to help me shift and continue to grow in my practice.  But I really want answers, I was on a mission.  Speed reading for the practical applications.

Encouragement Nuggets
“I am going to ask them to do something readers always do….keep track of what they’re learning or figuring out what they’re curious about.”  P. 92

“I’m hoping students will feel the thrill of finding answers to their questions….” P. 95

“Jot down their thoughts about the low-stakes prompts that I crafted.”  P. 100

Thinking Deeper Nuggets
I am desperately thinking about read aloud for the upcoming year. I often go back to one of my favorite books: Who’s Doing the WorkAfter reflecting, reading blogs and having discussions, I believe I am doing most of the work with read aloud.  I thought I was modeling how readers show their thinking, by discussing and writing my thoughts on chart paper. Recently I have become more aware that I am doing most the talking and writing.  Isn’t there a fine line between modeling and scaffolding? While reading this book, that line is getting blurrier for me.

How do we build the “thrill” in our students? Isn’t that internal within our students?  My goal for each mini lesson is to have an opportunity for my learners to have an opening in which they can become stronger in their knowledge. Last year, I focused on having windows especially with my classroom library for all my readers. A personal goal is that my readers will find a thrill within a picture book. I have been involved in mixed conversations (even sometimes a debate) when discussing internal motivation “thrill” for learning.  I often become quiet and listen trying to grab a nugget that will help me with this idea of creating a thrill for learning.  I am curious - have you noticed a shift in your learners?

I appreciate the conversations and the twitter feed that supports #cyberPD. It's satisfying to know that when I place my thinking on my blog that where will be an active conversation.  I am excited to leave comments for other bloggers and continue to learn side by side with you. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dynamic Teaching #cyberPD

Thanks to Cathy Mere and Michelle Nero  for hosting our conversations as we learn from Vicki Vinton‘s latest book Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading. 

I have to admit I was slow to jump into the book.  I wanted to take Vicki's advice and jump right into Section Two of the book - What things look like in action.  I had to start and restart several times; however, each time I found another nugget that encouraged me and especially made me think deeper.

Encouragement Nuggets:

  • ..."often results in teachers crossing the boundaries between scaffolding and rescuing..." p. xviii
  • "When we focus on pieces or scaffolds too much, we rob students of fully experiencing that power and gift." p. 10
  • "making students stay within the four corners of a text gives them a sterile and narrow view of reading" p. 17
  • "when the goal of teaching is for students to engage in more complex thinking, planning is focused on readers and they need to engage in that thinking." p. 23
  • "repurpose the components to meet those more complex means." p. 24

Thinking Deeper Nuggets:

  • I am thinking deeper about how I scaffold my lessons. My desire is for all 28 students to have an entry point. Last year's learners' skills were tremendously varied.  When I presented a new concept, I thought about my learners and I knew if I had an opening at a lower level for a few students most other students were "bored" and if I entered at a "higher" level I automatically lost some of my learners.  I still don't have the answer and would appreciate any comments to help me with my thinking.
  • Repurpose the components of workshop was powerful for me.  I am always thinking about time and this summer I've already had conversations about how to use my read aloud and reading logs differently.  Thanks to Mary Lee who helped me with a little dock therapy. My biggest shift for next year is that I am not going to think in 1/3 (reading, writing, word study) I am going to think a whole.  I am shifting to from 3 spirals to one spiral (Language Arts).  In the real world I don't compartmentalize the three so I am not going to ask my students to do that either. 
I appreciate the conversations and the twitter feed that supports #cyberPD. It's satisfying to know that when I place my thinking on my blog that where will be an active conversation.  I am excited to leave comments for other bloggers and continue to learn side by side with you. 

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Celebrate Reading

June has slid away and July has crept in. This week I celebrate reading and the gift of time.  The month of June was perfect for me.  Filled with my favorite activities: reading, gardening, visiting, and of course more reading. I also have more time for Saturday celebration blog posts.Thanks Ruth for encouraging us to celebrate and connect with my Saturday friends from near and far. 

My summer office with a view.
  • Visiting my favorite Ostrander Library weekly and talking to my friends.  Walking in and hearing, "You have several titles on the shelf today."  Discussing which ones that I reserved through Search Ohio that I think the Delaware Libraries should consider purchasing.  I celebrate amazing conversations about books and the opportunity to influence the purchase of new titles. 
  • Gift of time to read blogs and tweets. The Newberry Buzz started this week with Elizabeth posting at Fuse 8.  It's like an early Christmas present to see if I am on target or way off the mark.  This year I have done pretty well with my picks so far, and of course there were a few new titles that I wasn't aware of YET.
  • Gift of time to discuss books with friends that visit, through twitter, facebook and our BE google list that Bill, Margaret and Ben keep going all summer with new titles and front runners for Newberry.
  • I celebrate last year's class and their class gift which were gift cards, so I could purchase my new books for next year's class.  Every year I have a student ask me about the "new books," and I explain how it's important to pay it forward. Explaining that last year's readers are already supporting this year's readers. A full circle moment connecting the end of one year and start of a new year. 
  • Visiting my favorite bookstore, Fundamentals and discussing books with my friend Tami. It's always a fun day when she gives me an ARC  and this week I got Wishtree by Katherine Applegate.  I am excited to share that the Scholastic Summer Road Trip will be coming to her store in Delaware, Ohio.  That will truly be a celebration for everyone!!!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer Celebrations

Three weeks into summer, and I am loving every moment of it. The season of summer is not my favorite. I am not a hot weather type of gal. But with the warmer temperatures, I have several favorite activities and at the top of my list is gardening. 

Our vegetable garden has ebbed and flowed over the years. We have had way too big and way too small as Goldilocks would say.  Choosing plants and the right quantity has been a challenge too. I love to share our produce with neighbors which makes weeding the gardening palatable. My celebration this year is dividing the garden into fourths and choosing a wider variety of plants. 

Flower gardening is my passion and a little secret is I'm on a mission to raise beautiful flowers cheaply.  Sounds crazy but I have switched almost all of our flower beds to perennials which I purchase at the end of a season usually 75% off and plant a dead bush waiting for it to burst open in the spring.  This year I have planted more seeds because I am anxiously waiting for a wider variety of cut flowers. 

Finally I celebrate my passion for reading! I am a reader and summer is my time for preparing for Newberry Club 2018.  I saw this photo "I love my library." that Peter Reynolds created, and I ordered one for my classroom. Perfect opener to conversations in the fall.  My two favorite books of the summer: Train I Ride and Lucky Broken Girl
Reserve them now at your local library. 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to summer and your finding time to enjoy your favorite hobbies. I am sad I'm missing Allwrite this weekend and I am thankful for all the tweets to help me stay connected. Congrats to Ruth for an amazing conference.  I'm happy to link up with my Saturday celebration friends. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Slice of Life: Staying Connected NOT on Vacation

There is something special about leaving right when school is out and starting summer vacation with a trip to the beach for sun, fun and relaxation.  We started this habit three years ago and this year we traveled to Destin, Florida. The white sands and beautiful  warm Gulf of Mexico was a perfect combination. I wrote several Slices sitting in my chair as I dug my toes into the sand and breathed in the view.

I seek peace and quiet.  My ocean view, book and an icy cold beverage is a perfect combination for me.  I am a quiet observer of others as I take a break from my book to walk the beach with my husband.  This summer I was saddened as I noticed a trend that I have been seeing with several families.The trend happens on the the beach and when we were out to eat. The lack of family conversations. More and more adults and their children were on their iPhones or iPads even watching movies while they were at the beach or eating dinner.  I am so thankful we raised our children during a time when being connected wasn't "the thing."  I wanted to give young children 4 crayons to color on the menu or play Tic Tac Toe with their father because that is what we use to do when we went out to eat. I wanted to walk over to a family of five all on their devices and say,  "This is precious time that you will never get back with your children. Talk to them before sports and school take over again."  It's saddens me how our world has become so connected that we are not even connecting with the ones we are sitting with on the beach or dinner. I am guilty of being on my phone and posting photos to facebook too. But I chose to leave my phone in the car when we were eating. I know it's a challenge for families to stay connected through conversations; however my dream would be vacations iPhones are off limits for moms, dads and children.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Celebrating: Summer and #cyberPD

Summer has arrived officially two days ago. Call me crazy but the first celebration is gearing up for summer learning which involves #cyberPD which is my favorite event of the summer.  Gathering together virtually through blogs and twitter is a perfect combination.  I have kept my professional reading pile small this year.  Seems like I never make it through all the books that I purchase. I am a hands on reader I like to write in my books, highlight, sticky note it, collect all the important vocabulary basically devour it.  Another celebration is once we start "talking" about the book then I go back and reread for a different point of view or better yet for points that I missed the first time I read the book.  I am excited for the announcement on June 3.  Hopefully the book is already in my TBR pile. 

I am excited to celebrating summer and  my virtual summer learning.  Thanks Ruth for encouraging me share my celebrations

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Celebrating: Last Week of School

We just completed our last full week of school. Celebrations were abundant this week as we started to close out our fifth grade year together. The highlight for me was taking down all the book covers from the books we read this year.  As one of the students took them down and matched them with the books, there was a constant buzz in the classroom.  Conversations including “I remember” “That was my favorite” “I heard that story before, but I loved hearing it again” 

Thanks H. for always helping me and making strong decisions. 
I celebrate books!  A core value of my teaching is that I will read with my students everyday.  Posting the covers on the wall for my readers to refer to all year helps create a culture of readers.  I believe picture books need to be read K-12. The power of picture books open windows for all students. Allowing every student to see themselves in the books I have read this year is another core value for me. 

I celebrate summer reading!  Starting next Friday, I will be sitting on our new screen porch and starting to explore my TBR pile.  Life is going to quiet down, and I’m ready for summer. Honestly I am more than ready for summer.  Plus there will be more time for blogging, reflecting and savoring my time with #virtualPLN.  Oh did I mention gardening, walking, traveling and spending time with my family.

Every Saturday morning, I always read something that helps me breath deeper and reminds me of the importance of having a virtual community of learners. Thank you Ruth for encouraging us to celebrate every week.