Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Slice of Life

I am excited to join Two Writing Teacher for Tuesday Slice of Life writing community.  

I continue to celebrate my One Little Word: choice.  I've been slowing down the past two weeks which is pretty ironic since it is summer. I put the breaks on my summer PD and made a difficult choice and chose not to attend Nerdcamp. I chose to stay home and reflect on my learning from Allwrite. There were so many great ideas that I want to implement this year.  Thinking about this slice allowed me the time to lift the highlights.

  • Kelly Gallagher reminded us to frame the problem. The importance of reading and writing intertwined is the key to students' success. My favorite quote, "Make sure you are the best writer in your own classroom." 
  • Ruth Ayres: "Everyone has a story."  "Just because things get hard. Doesn't mean hard has to win." and finally "Quit trying to get it right, celebrate imperfection."
  • Kristin Ziemke: I loved how she discussed active literacy and how it is multi-layered not only with different types of technology, notebooks, and books, but also the instructional practices. Finally she shared how she captures her students smart thinking through photographs by having students airdrop them to her. 
  • Chris Tovani shared how she implements thinking sheets.  I love this idea because it felt different than a "worksheet."  She reinforced how workshop allows time for students to read and write. Time for both is crucial for students' learning.
  • Stephanie Harvey spoke about thinking intensively all day. I listened carefully when she spoke on how the tougher the text requires readers to use a wider variety of strategies in addition allows for the teacher to observe the breakdown for further mini lessons. 
As I read back through my notes, I am excited about the new opportunities that I have this school year.  I will be self-contained for the first time in 15 years.  I moved classrooms to have a bigger space. Sarah and I will be welcoming two new team members which will be exciting as we implement Common Core Math and Language Arts.  We want to create time for conversations, and I am sure I will be sharing the key points from above.  

Summer has been about slowing down and realizing that making choices that extend beyond school help me to find joy and celebration.  We are leaving for vacation at the end of the week and excited to spend more quality time together in a peaceful cabin in TN with some amazing friends.


  1. I know what you mean about taking the time to think about what you learned t Allwrite, Maria. I felt the same way about Boothbay. We are lucky in that there are so many wonderful PD opportunities, and NerdCamp sounds like a blast, but sometimes it's information overload. We need time to process all that learning and figure out how it will look in our own classrooms. Loved all you said above, though, and hope you'll share more!
    PS. Don't forget to link your slice at the TWT post!

  2. It sounds like you have much to take away from All Write. I know I sometimes get caught up in the rush to do more and more and forget to take time to reflect and absorb. When I don't take that step, I don't have as much success in making what I've learned part of my life. I suspect that's true for our students as well. They need time to let things sink in before rushing to the next standard.

  3. Thank you for sharing your notes!
    Have a wonderful time at the cabin!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and reading. We just arrived home and I was excited to find a few comments. Have a wonderful week.

  4. Good for you Maria! Sometimes we have to take a break and slow down. Have a wonderful vacation. I hope it gives you more opportunities to slow down and reflect on both your professional and personal life. :)

  5. Thanks Julie, just arrived home and have to admit school did not cross my mind once. Excited to continue my OLW and choice.