Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Join Our Blog Bookchat

"Conferring" Book Blog Chat

Working your way through your professional reading stack?  Wishing you could chat with someone about all you are reading and thinking? Join us for a blog book chat about Patrick Allen's book, Conferring:  The Keystone of Reader's Workshop.

Recently a cyber-conversation between Jill Fisch (Summer Reading), Laura K (Summer Reflection and PD), and me (What Are You Learning?) spun wildly out of control into a plan for action.  As we realized we had a few common books in our professional reading piles we decided we would learn so much more if we could talk together about the book as we read.  We thought we'd learn even more if we could get more educators to join us.  

We decided to try a blog bookchat - a cyper-chat of sorts.  Recently I had hoped to participate in a professional reading party started at PreK pages (you might want to check out "Literacy Beginnings Party").  I thought it was a terrific idea, and a similar plan might work for us.  We wrestled with how best to share our thinking and have a conversation.  Here's the plan (and we are hoping you'll join the conversation):  

July 6th:
Part I:  What Brings About a Good Conference, Anyway?
Hosted here at Reflect and Refine

July 13th:
Part II:  What Are the Essential Components of Conferring?
Hosted by Jill Fisch at Primary Passion 

July 20th:
Part III.  What Emerges from Our Reading Conferences?
Hosted by Laura K at Camp Read-A-Lot

July 21st:  
Join us for the final conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberPD.  

Read Jill's post 
Read Laura's post

How to Participate:
On your blog:  As you read each section of the book, write a post to reflect on your reading.  Then link the post on the event date to the hosting blog in the comments section.  Your link will then be moved into the hosting post.  

In the comments:  No blog -- no worries -- you can join the conversation by commenting on the host blog.

Twitter:  Comments along the way, applicable links, and other information can be tweeted with the hasthag #cyberPD.

To Purchase the Book:
Conferring:  The Keystone to Reader's Workshop  Click the "preview online" button to read sample
at Stenhouse (an eReader version is available here as well)
at Amazon (a Kindle version is available here)

So grab a comfy seat, your favorite cool drink, and your book.  Then join us for this learning adventure.  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What Are You Learning?

Yep, it's summer.  The time to catch up on professional learning.  This week Gail, @poulingail, asked what we were doing for our summer professional development (#summerPD).

It was then that I realized I had my online learning planned for the summer, but had not really thought much about my professional reading.

Without hesitation I knew I wanted to:
But what about professional reading?  Usually there's a stack of books waiting for me to read, but I hadn't really formed a plan.  What has happened?  I knew I wanted to reread Patrick Allen's, Conferring, but what other books should I read?  I put the question out to my colleagues on Twitter and got this response from @Komos72

I thought this picture was I made my list.  

Summer Professional Reading Rereads
Conferring, Patrick Allen
Choice Words, Peter Johnston
Summer Professional New Reads

The Castle in the Classroom, Rana Bhattacharyya
First Grade Readers, Stephanie Parson
Engaging the Eye Generation, Johanna Riddle

Creating Lifelong Readers Through Independent Reading, Moss and Young
Already Ready, Ray and Glover

Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics,  Van de Walle and  Lovin

Please comment to tell what are you reading and learning this summer.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You're Finally Here!

You're finally here.  Thanks for stopping to read my post about a new book by Canadian author, Melanie Watt.  This was among my purchases as I wandered the shelves of Cover-to-Cover after our recent bloggers' breakfast.   This year my students found Watt's characters, Scaredy Squirrel and Chester, irresistible so I had to pick up this newest book by one of our favorite authors for our classroom shelves.

I am certain this will be one of those read-alouds students will not be able to resist.  In You're Finally Here, rabbit is glad his reader has finally decided to join him, but wonders what took so long.  He begins being a bit grumpy about the fact that it took so long for the reader to come to the pages of his story.  Then he decides it might be better if he were a bit more celebratory about the arrival.

The changes in font size, use of speech bubbles, and double page spreads, in which rabbit explains how keeping him waiting has made him feel, are all worth a peek inside this new picture book.

A Word About "Levels"
The teacher in my can't resist a little soapbox sidebar about levels.  When I stopped by KidsCanPress, I couldn't help but notice that the book is listed with a grade level of 2, a Fountas & Pinnell level K, and a Reading Recovery level of 18.  Once I got over my sadness that levels are so quickly placed on books for young readers, I thought about all the PK-1 classrooms that might think, "This book is too challenging for my young readers."  I thought about all the parents who might say after looking at the font (without really reading, noting the vocabulary, and thinking about the story), "This book is too easy for my child."

The format of the book could be a bit tricky for emergent readers.  Not only do they need to know to move left to right, top to bottom, but they will need to understand how to navigate the pages with four picture/text boxes on a page.  However, that being said, I believe after a few times of hearing this story in read-aloud it is one a variety of young readers will be able to revisit and reread.  To me the opportunity to be able to reread this book after a few times hearing the story will help develop vocabulary, word recognition, and book handling skills of emergent readers.  I have a feeling this book will be one of those in which students are highly engaged while reading.  It is a must for my shelves.  Thanks to Melanie Watt for writing about another character my students are sure to enjoy --- no matter where they are in their reading journey.

Other Links of Interest:
A glogster of Melanie Watts
Check out Scaredy Squirrel on YouTube

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thanks Twitter #FF Post

This week I led a session with Deb Frazier talking about professional development available on the internet.  During this time I was reminded again how much Twitter has helped me to grow professionally.  The community of learners on Twitter always pushes my thinking, has helped me envision new possibilities, and has helped move my classroom beyond our four walls that surround us each day.

For my new friends interested in Twitter, here are a few people to consider following as you build your learning community.  To my Twitter colleagues, thanks once again for making learning a part of my day - EVERY DAY!  (Note:  I am sure I have forgotten some amazing people here so keep an eye on the comments.  I will likely have to add as they come across my feed over the next day or two.  If I have forgotten you, my apologies.  Feel free to leave a comment with your name or the name of other educators I should be sure to follow.)

For the most part, these are educators living near me and teaching in local districts. I'm fortunate to be able to, not only follow these people on Twitter, but see them regularly. They are a smart group, and continually inspire me. You won't want to miss @frankisibberson@KatieDicesare@MaryLeeHahn@Jreaderwriter, @karenszymuziak, @karenterlecky, @mandyrobek @stellavillalba@ssibberson@ProsserBill@frazierde@michelleosu@lizbrary@carcarr819 @kavecr@mariacaplin@billygiacomelli@wjmere@juliekeefer and @tonykeefer.

Smart Educators to Follow:
These are educators that constantly share what is happening in their classrooms and in education in their area. They tweet valuable resources, ask great questions, and thoughtfully respond to conversations on Twitter: @gret @Grade1 @paulawhite @whatedsaid @4thGrdTeach @DoeMiSo @KathyPerret @ccampbel14 @4thGrdTeach @dlpd17 @kassiaowedekind @tenteacher @vickyloras @Saskateach @tcash @soingirl @nancyteaches @aliharper20 @kristenmarie123 @mgraffin @ohionicole

Literacy Tweeps:
These colleagues are smart literacy resources. They tweet about books and all things literacy. They not only demonstrate leadership in literacy, but keep me thinking and growing as a literacy educator: @lorilovesbook @the1stdaughter @alybee930 @mentortexts @bluskyz @asharuiz @ReadingCountess @PaulWHankins @literacydocent @linkstoliteracy @gregpincus @acorgill @KateMessner @JensBookPage @readingteachsu @hickstro @MrSchuReads @jmalphy @ColoReader @ChocolateAir @amylvpoemfarm @CBethM

These authors and illustrators are keep me posted on the latest:  
Early Childhood Tweeps:
As a first grade teacher, these early literacy colleagues always remind me the importance of preserving the child in my learners. They have great suggestions for working with young learners:@LiteracyCounts @maggiecary @teachmama @poulingail @Teach_Preschool @playactivities @JenDobson27@sxwiley @LAMHRainbow @hechternacht @Matt_Gomez @Mr_Fines

Links to Great Resources:
These people not only filter great tweets and pass them along in the Twitterstream, but they locate smart information on the internet and share it regularly. These colleagues are important for locating resources that will help improve our classroom practice. @kevcreutz @joycevalenza @ghewgley @elizbtheastman @soltauheller @rmbyrne @lizbdavi@cybraryman1 @djainslie @GaryBrannigan @Struggle2Learn @MissCheska @pragmaticmom

Great Conversations:

Always Ready to Help:
It seems every time I put out a call for help, these are some of the first to respond. You should add these "first responders" to your list: @cyndiejacobs @nsharoff @m_yam @weemooseus

English Language Learners:
If you have English Language Learners in your classroom, you'll want to follow @MultiLingLiving @KarenNemethEdM @judiehaynes @PreKlanguages

These Tweeps Keep Me Thinking:

Tech Tweeps
Here are a few technology tweeps to get started with:

Public Education Advocates
With the recent push to place funding into charter schools, and take funding from public schools, I felt it was time to advocate for public schools and the children they serve.  For this reason, I started @PublicEd4Kids which is a new account created to advocate for public schools and children.  Here are a few public education advocates I recommend following:  @ForTrueEdReform @nancyflanagan @TeacherSabrina @RachelAnneLevy @juliecavanagh15 @KenMLibby @leoniehaimson @TeacherReality @SOSMarch @susanoha @starsoflove, and with reservation @DianeRavitch (Though she seems to be a key figure in getting education out of this mess, I cannot move beyond the fact that in some ways she got us INTO this mess.  Though I'm trying to keep an open mind...and she does share quite a bit of relevant information.)

Some Ohio tweeps who keep me up-to-date on legislative issues:  @plunderbund @Notgvn @Elishico @real_large

The Movers and Shakers:
These people are "must haves" for your Twitter list. Odds are you already follow them, but I'm going to talk about them anyway. These are the people who seem to have their pulse on the internet. I'm pretty sure they don't sleep. They share great links and seem to be developing a professional online community that is amazing: @ShellTerrell @tomwhitby @teachingwthsoul @web20classroom @ktenkely @tonnet @courosa @gcouros.