Friday, July 15, 2016

#cyberPD 2016 - DIY Literacy Part 2

As I begin writing this, I cannot help but thank our incredible community for nurturing this event and helping it grow into ways we never thought possible! Cathy, Michelle and I are so impressed with how everyone is jumping in, trying new ideas, and supporting the work of each person. Our weekly conversations and comments on our Google community have certainly brought us to new understandings as well. 

My Thoughts on Chapters 3 and 4...

Creating an educational climate that elevates the level of thinking, discussion, 
and performance is ideal when raising the next generation. (p. 54)

As I began reading chapters 3 and 4, I started thinking about how repertoire charts are the teaching tools I am probably most comfortable with. Most comfortable... and yet, I still haven't utilized them consistently with my 4th graders. While reading more, I continued to think about how those charts around the room really do support the work of my readers and writers. I'm excited to also try out the other tools as other means of scaffolding, supporting, and stretching our learning. 

On page 42, Kate and Maggie list a few ideas for keeping a chart "alive" for students. While fairly common sense, these really stuck with me. I also really appreciated their advice for narrowing the focus and assessing whether the tools worked. The bookmarks will be an incredibly powerful tool for students as far as agency, independence and "stickiness" are concerned. They tie in well with goal-setting and keeping kids accountable for their own progress, too.

The focus on what rigor really means was incredibly helpful. Not only does it link to difficulty, but it also has a lot to do with motivation and kids' desire to work harder. I love the quote I listed earlier for this reason. Isn't that our ultimate goal? It ties in so well with another fabulous professional read I'm loving, which is Upstanders by Sara Ahmed and Harvey Daniels. We want our kids to want to learn and make a difference in this world.  

The Conversation Continues...

Credit to Rachel Harder for creating this!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

#cyberPD 2016 - DIY Literacy Part 1

Let's get this party started! Cathy Mere, Michelle Nero, and I are delighted to be celebrating the 6th annual #cyberPD event with all of you. As you probably already know, we'll be focusing on just a few chapters each week and culminating our event by the end of the month. While you are certainly welcome to comment on people's individual blog posts, we would also highly encourage you to hop over to join in the conversation on our Google Community and on Twitter.

If you are new to the event, Cathy has written a super helpful post about the basics of #cyberPD. We encourage imagination, too! If there is a way you're thinking about participating, feel free to give it a whirl!

My Thoughts on Chapters 1, 2, and Bonus...

DIY Literacy was a wonderful companion for a cabin in the woods and by the shores of Stockade Lake (both in Custer State Park in South Dakota.) Both places gave me plenty of time to really dig in deep and wrap my head around what Katie and Maggie were teaching us through their new book.

"We crave these results as we teach, and yet often we get trapped in the hamster wheel of breadth - of being sure we have gotten to everything - rather than centering our work on depth." (p. 3)

I will admit that I've fallen victim to the hamster wheel. Especially as I've been learning the ins and outs of 4th grade, I've felt myself spinning in circles as I try to "cover" everything that is expected of me. I took a step back last summer during our #cyberPD event around Digital Reading (and again when I read this quote) to think about how I can address this and not feel the pull of that hamster wheel. Focus on what Maggie and Kate suggest throughout the book (memory. rigor, and differentiation,) Add these to Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass's authenticity, intentionality, and connectedness... WOW! That packs quite a punch.   

Another trap I've fallen into lately is creating very few anchor charts for (or with) my students, opting for pre-made or digital versions instead. As soon as I saw page 4, I knew that would have to change. Kate and Maggie explain the four different types of teaching tools (repertoire or process charts, demonstration notebooks, micro-progressions of skills, bookmarks), and I could immediately see how these will fit into our classroom. They go on to describe how these tools both influence learning and make it stick. Makes perfect sense! I also appreciated the step-by-step descriptions in chapter 2 - I'm totally the kind of learner who is grateful for those!

Being that I am in a 1:1 Chromebook school district, my students have information at their fingertips at all times (including at home, too.) While I do want more of our co-created anchor charts visible around the classroom, I think I'd also like to continue to provide them digitally as well. We use Haiku LMS, so it would be logical to take pictures of our charts and include them online. I'm also a huge, huge fan of Padlet, which could also work beautifully for this purpose.

What really struck me in the bonus chapter is how intuitive Kate and Maggie were to their readers' needs. As I was reading chapter 2, I did start to think, "Wait - do I have enough information to come up with these charts on my own?!" I finished the chapter, and then BOOM! Our authors were right there to set my mind at ease, offer more helpful hints, and provide resources for us. I love that the book is written like a conversation between the reader and Kate & Maggie. It's the perfect blend of new knowledge, affirming what we already do, and an enjoyable conversation!!

The conversation continues...
Thanks to Rachel Harder for creating this for us!

We've all learned that the real power of our yearly event lies in the conversations and connections we make surrounding the book we're reading. Heading over to our Google Community will help you add your voice to the dialogue! I'm looking forward to hearing what you all have to say!