Saturday, July 23, 2016

Meeting Students Where They Are: DIY Literacy Ch 5-6 #cyberPD

It's the final week of #cyberPD.  Our community is reading DIY Literacy by Maggie Roberts and Kate Roberts.  This week we're discussing the final chapters:  chapter 5 & 6.  These two chapters helped me to solidify my thinking around using these tools to "tailor teaching (p. 71)" and to effectively shape the tools we use with students.

In both my time in the classroom in large learning communities and then in supporting readers reading intervention, I continually worked to differentiate for learners.  No two learners are ever the same, and as Kate and Maggie remind us this can be challenging to balance in classrooms.  Using tools like charts, demonstration notebooks, micro-progressions, and bookmarks help to not only make learning more concrete for students but also allow for greater differentiation and personalization.  These tools help to develop "a sustainable practice that meets kids' needs (p. 72).  Working to meet the variety of needs in a classroom takes thoughtful practice.  The authors help us to see how tools can not only support students who need help, but they can also extend learning for students who need more push.  

These chapters reminded us to:
  • Look for signs tools are working:  use, struggle, shifts, growth, engagement
  • Look for signs tools can be removed:  automaticity, awareness
  • Build effective tools:  co-create; use popular culture, metaphor, kid language, space, color, branding
  • Be intentional about location

Thinking About Tools to Support Learning
I created this visual representation of key points from the reading.


In Closing
I can't thank the #cyberPD community enough for all they have shared during this event.  I'll be weeks browsing through the posts and will return throughout the year for the many ideas that have been shared.   



My Past Posts
Becoming Strategic Chapters 3-4
DIY Literacy Tools Chapters 1-2








Friday, July 15, 2016

Becoming Strategic: DIY Literacy #cyberPD Ch 3-4

We've all been there.   That moment when we feel like our teaching just isn't working for our students.  Such was the moment when Evan looked at me as he was reading his new book, pointed to the word, and said, "What's that word?  I don't remember."  As a reading support teacher, it isn't uncommon to realize that I need to adjust my teaching.  I equate phrases like "I don't remember" to "I need to sound it out" (another phrase I never say, but somehow pops into student response).  Those are the lines that make me pause and take the deepest of breaths.  These are both important phrases because as Katie & Maggie remind us in DIY Literacy, it really means students don't know what to do and that I need to find a way to support their next steps.

Becoming Strategic and Developing Automaticity
In chapters 3-4 there is much talk about remembering and rigor.  I often find when students "don't remember" something it is more likely they don't have the strategies to work through what I'm asking them to do.  When students don't appear to be working at the edge of their learning, I often find I need to help show them what is next.  Both remembering and vigorous work come from understanding, strategic action, and authentic learning opportunities.

These two chapters show us how to use micro progressions (as well as charts, demonstration notebooks and bookmarks) to make teaching more explicit and help students discover the next steps in their learning.  Katie and Maggie remind us (p. 62), "We encounter trouble when we teach too much to hold onto, too much to remember."  They share the way tools can help students prioritize, choose essential skills, and be accountable for new learning.  As we read we are reminded that adjusting our language, working together, differentiating instruction, making goals explicit, and providing authentic learning opportunities can help students work toward independence.  Through these opportunities we can say to students, I "hope that you will fold some of [these] lessons into your reading forever, that some of these strategies will become a part of you (p. 58)."  It's the side by side time with our community, in daily conferring, in small groups, that help us to listen and adjust our teaching.

DIY Literacy
I've been trying to think through how this might look for our students in communities of inquiry.  I used Lucid Charts to try to show the way tools might fit into a cycle of learning.  (It's a work in progress, but I think it begins to show the way tools might fit into a unit of study and support student learning.)


This post is part of the #cyberPD book talk taking place this July.  Stop by the community to read more reflections of participants.  




Dear Pinterest, Stop Promoting

I've tried to resist writing this post for months, but I just have to put my fingers to the keyboard to talk about Pinterest.  I've been using Pinterest for years.  I replaced my Diigo account with Pinterest as I loved how visual it was.  Those boards were so easy to utilize.  It was also much easier to collaborate, see the sites my friends were finding, and work socially.

Then came Pinterest promotion!  This morning, of my first 10 pins suggested by others, 6 are either promoted or picked for me.  As a scroll through Pinterest, my feed it is filled with pins Pinterest is sure I want to see, but here's the thing:  I don't.  As a teacher who uses Pinterest to keep track of thoughtful articles, digital writing mentors, and ways to improve my practice, I don't want to see Teachers Pay Teachers posts, free forms and worksheets, or other educational make and take ideas Pinterest is sure I want.  I don't want to see the posts Pinterest apparently thinks I want to see.  Instead, I want to see the pins my friends are selecting.

Since Pinterest has made this change, I spend very little time looking at my feed.  I find it frustrating to sort through the promotions to find what I am looking for when I visit.  Now I just use it to pin.  If it wasn't so perfectly organized and visual I probably would have left long ago.

Dear Pinterest, please stop promoting in my feed.  Let me enjoy your site for what it was meant to be, a social bookmarking site.  If you really need to promote - which I get that you need income to keep your site going - I'd like a way to move between tabs that take the promotion and picked pins out of my way.  This would allow me to see what I want to see.  Facebook places advertising on the side, Instagram puts one image in the first few pictures of your feed, Twitter adds one tweet to the top of your page.  I can live with all of these.  I've tried to get used to Pinterest's promoted pins, but it really has taken the interaction away from this site.  

I'm hoping at some point this post makes it to the decision makers and creators of Pinterest.  I'd love to hear your comments....and if you have a bookmarking site that's visual I'd love to hear more about it.  I may need to pack my pins and go.




Sunday, July 10, 2016

It's Almost Time for Our Annual Picture Book Event: Picture Book 10 for 10

This summer is flying by fast.  How did we get to July so quickly?  Before we know it will be August....and August means it's time once again for our annual Picture Book 10 for 10 event (#pb10for10).  Since 2010, Mandy Robek and I have been taking the time in August to discuss the "must have" books for our classroom libraries.  The best part about it:  so many people join us to share their favorites!  Educators, librarians, parents, and picture book lovers from around the globe will be sharing their favorite ten picture books.  The Picture Book 10 for 10 Community now hosts over three hundred members.

Some people feel the start of the school year as soon as Target puts out their school supplies.  Some people know it's time to go back when the calendar turns to August.  For me, nothing says let's get back to school like #pb10for10.  Of course, I can't wait to see everyone's selections.  Many participants have already been talking about their lists, and I look forward to seeing their favorites or the interesting themes they've chosen to share this year.  It's going to be great!  Tell your friends and get ready to join the fun.

If you're new to the event, we're glad you will be joining us.

Here's how you can participate:
  1. Grab a Badge (just copy the URL address of the one above or take a screenshot)
  2. Join the #pb10for10 Google Community
  3. Choose Your Favorites:  All you need to do is choose ten picture books you cannot live without for whatever reason.  In the first days of this event, everyone shared their ten very favorite titles.  This still works.  You will notice, however, that many past participants choose some type of theme to determine their selections.  We'll leave this up to you.
  4. Narrow Your List to Ten:  It isn't easy, is it?  We've seen some crafty ways to get around that number.  
  5. Write Your August 10th Post:  Write a post about the ten books you cannot live without.  Share your post on August 10th and link it to the Picture Book 10 for 10 Community.  
  6. No Blog?  No Problem:  If you don't have a blog, this might be the perfect time to start one --- or there are a million digital ways to join (see post below).  Of course, now with the Google Community it is quite easy to just post your favorites directly into the community without a blog.  We will also be tweeting from the #pb10for10 hashtag.    
  7. Comment:  On August 10th (and maybe for a week --- there are a lot of posts) take some time to read posts from other participants.  Please comment on at least three. 
So...

Pull out your library cards, load up your Amazon accounts, or better yet - plan a trip to your local bookstore on August 11th because you're going to be unable to resist checking out (or purchasing) a few new picture books.  We hope to see you on the 10th!

A Few Historical and Informational Posts:

Saturday, July 9, 2016

DIY Literacy: #cyberPD Reflection Ch 1-2 +Bonus

It's time!  During the month of July the #cyberPD community is reading DIY Literacy:  Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor and Independence by Kate Roberts and Maggie Roberts.  This week we're looking at chapters 1-2 and the bonus chapter.  I've been lurking this week as participants have posted their reflections.  As usual, I'm amazed by the variety, the different ways to think about what we've learned, and the tools that have been created as participants think through the process.  If you have read DIY Literacy, are reading DIY Literacy, or plan to read DIY Literacy you should stop by the community to check out the reflections.  It's honestly quite inspiring.

My Response 
My response includes a few key points from the chapter and an attempt to work through the tools in thinking about supporting students in the study of structures for writing.


Like many participants I wanted to try some new digital tools during this virtual chat.  For this response, I chose Flowvella and then put the presentation into Explain Everything.  On a side note, I attempt to work through the charts/notebook/progression/bookmarks.  I would likely have charts/notebooks/progressions as digital and thought the chart and notebook page would help a student select a strategy which would then be written on a post-it for the student to try.    

More About July's #cyberPD Event
Participants post weekly reflections in the Google Community.
Our Book Talk Schedule:
  • Week of July 3rd: Ch 1&2 Bonus 
  • Week of July 10th: Ch 3&4 Week of 
  • July 17th: Ch 5&6
Our Twitter Chat Schedule
  • Thursday, July 7th at 10 AM EST:  Ch 1&2 Bonus
  • Thursday, July 14 at 10 AM EST:  Ch 3&4
  • Thursday, July 21 at 10 AM EST:  Ch 5&6
  • Final chat week of July 24th (time and date TBA)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Basics of #cyberPD

Today's the day!!!  Woot!  Woot!

I've had my book, DIY Literacy by Kate and Maggie Roberts, on reserve waiting for July's #cyberPD event.  If you are joining us here are a few things you might want to know.

1.  Follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberPD.

2.  Join the #cyberPD Google Community.

3.  Introduce yourself in the Google Community.

4.  Read the introductions.  You might find people you'd especially like to connect with in this event.

5.  Read each week's chapters.




6.  Post your reflection before the end of the week in the Google Community (post directly on Google, add a link to your blog reflection, or link other digital reflections, anything goes).

7.  We suggest that you comment on at least three posts in each week's conversation.  It's the strong digital citizenship of this group that makes this a great experience year after year.

8.  Make the event what you need it to be for your learning.

You might want also want to know:


  • You can join our collaborative Pinterest Board






  • You can join our weekly Twitter chats each Thursday morning at 9 a.m. CST/10 a.m. EST.



  • There will be a final Twitter chat.  (date & time to be announced later)


If you have any questions, Michelle Nero (@litlearningzone), Laura Komos (@LauraKomos), and I (@cathymere) are happy to help.

Welcome to the past participants who have helped to make this event one of the most amazing summer professional development experiences....and a big hello to all of the new people joining us this year.  We're so happy to have you.

Looking forward to the conversation.....

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

On Bad Writing

This morning as I got ready for our day with the Columbus Area Writing Project I was reminded of the hard work we ask students to do every day.  I've appreciated having time to write each day and know this is a habit I need to hold onto after we finish our days in the project.

Knowing the day goes better if I start with a plan before I arrive, I searched for what I wanted to write.  The conversation with myself wasn't going well.

"I've written everything I can think of in the last two weeks," I commiserated.

"How will I think of something?" I whined.

"How many more days do I left?" I wondered.

During the school year, I sit down most every Saturday morning to put words in a space.  Sometimes during the week I manage a few other writing moments, but Saturday is really my writing day.  As I move into summer my writing picks up a bit, but I still choose my moments.  If I am feeling it, I sit down.  If I'm not, I don't.  (I know the problem with this, but I might as well be honest.)

Today, however, I need something to write about.

One of the best things about going through the writing project is I'm being reminded of the hard work we ask students to do every day.

Every.

Day.

As I got ready, I thought about the pieces I had completed.  Having the time each day makes me write, but it isn't always easy.  I'm sure I have some writing which would have slipped past me without making it to a page if I hadn't been given the time to sit down.  However, I also have a lot of bad writing.  A LOT of bad writing.  In two weeks, I've written a piece or two that has some possibility.  I've managed a sentence or two that might make me pause, but mostly I have a lot of bad writing.

My experience has me thinking about the expectations we have of our students.  Are they realistic?  Do real writers produce nothing but writing that gets better each day?  I doubt it.  I'll bet authors have a lot of bad writing too.  Do we allow students the time for bad writing?  Do we expect every piece to be better than the last one or do we make room for the messiness?  So when the school year begins I'll be thinking a bit more about bad writing and its significance in mining the gems that could become powerful pieces of writing.