I had the opportunity to attend Dublin Literacy Conference. I look forward to this conference once school starts in August. I tweeted this past Saturday it is like Christmas morning in February. I presented with Mary Lee at A Year of Reading on Celebrating Poetry Friday. I was so excited to present with her because of her leadership and love for poetry that is why my class celebrates poetry every Friday.
I have a thousand ideas (honestly that many) percolating in my brain. I was immersed with amazing conversations, compelling presentations that made me want to shift several ideas in my class, and finally the chance to meet authors in person that I have admired. There will be several blogs posts upcoming, but I wanted to start with thinking about research.
As I listened to Ralph Fletcher speak in our opening keynote, I had several light bulb moments that I needed to lift my spirit and begin to jumpstart my thinking about 3rd trimester research writing differently. The first light bulb was in the way he presented-he modeled for teachers the importance of using mentor text in our classrooms. He used student letters, work samples, picture books, pictures, research and several personal connections. I sat there and realized those components are the foundation for any strong lesson in a classroom.
Next he discussed how “Good Non Fiction writing draws from all different genres.” As I begin to focus on my students’ research projects. My definition of projects shifted to include choices. He shared a mentor article written in question/answer format that was a mixture of fiction/nonfiction. Next he suggested having students write NF poetry. I leapfrogged that idea to have students publish a poetry book about their research topic. Finally through conversations with Mary Lee and Sarah, we discussed the idea of Pair It books: fiction/non fiction. I am excited about my new toolbox for research choices.
For the afternoon, Louise Borden spoke about her Journey Back to Dublin through pictures. I listened and soaked in all of her visual presentation but one thread was woven throughout her talk. The idea that research is a journey for a story, which connected my thoughts from the morning. As this point, I was bursting with ideas as she shared how she worked for several years on one of her new books: His Name was Raoul Wallenburg. She traveled to different countries, found several primary sources, interviewed and researched until she finally had her story to share with us. I loved the connections she made as an author that now I can share with my students. Ralph Fletcher reminded us that “students are authors in their world” that is the message that I plan on weaving throughout my 3rd trimester research.