Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Slowing Down on the First Day


I have to admit for 29 years this photo would have put me over the edge. This moment today didn't scare me; however, today I was looking around our messy classroom and breathing deeply.  First day of school - first two hours - first mess of the year.  It's ok.

At our convocation yesterday, we were reminded about gratitude and the importance of remembering to be thankful.  

  • I am thankful for this mess.  
  • I am thankful that I had extra supplies for learners who did not have any supplies today.  
  • I am thankful I was able to "sneak" the supplies to my new learners. 
The importance of breathing deeply the first day and remembering that all 25 learners are a little nervous and excited. Not much different than their teacher.

One of my favorite activities is Pick a Card.  I created this game because there are always at least 15 things that need to be completed on the first day.  I never remember all of them, so I wrote every item on an index card. Example cards include:
  • bathroom policy
  • class jobs
  • unpacking supplies
  • labeling folders
  • recess rules
  • internet guidelines
You get the idea....I allow students to pull a card out of the OSU bucket and then explain the new routine. I then put the index card on the board which helps students when they forget. It's fun and allows everyone to be involved in completing the long list. of things Here's to an amazing first day where I remembered to be thankful and slow down. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dynamic Teaching #cyberPD

Here's what I appreciate about #cyberPD the month of July allows me to be integrated with an amazing group of educators learning along with them and having conversations to help me grow as a teacher. Thank you to Cathy Mere and Michelle Nero for hosting this summer.

Final Encouragement Nuggets
I love to read and a constant goal is that every child will have a book in their hands that they want to read in the first month of school. Learning about my students’ families, hobbies and favorite genres are the conversations that you would hear if you were a fly on the wall. I loved how Vicki mentions several strong pieces of literature in her book.  Most of the titles I knew and others that I will know soon when I check them out of the library.  I am still learning how to merge my time better in our literacy workshop. Looking at books as a reader and the craft of writing has really shifted my mini-lessons.  

Finally as I read the book in pieces and jumped around, I felt like my thinking did the same thing.  I found myself distracted and reflecting on what would this  new concept look like in my classroom? I typically write all over my professional books and sticky note the big take aways but in this book I did a lot more thinking in my head visualizing what could be?  It was a great opportunity for me to have as I know I will have readers this year who will have similar experience. They don't want to take notes or use stickies, and I will be able to connect with them. One of my favorite quotes that I will reference often this school year.  "Finally, if we're serious about helping students become independent readers who seek to understand their own agency, we have to be willing to release the responsibility to them before we're absolutely sure they can do it on their own." p. 159 

  


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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