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!


  1. Hi, Laura!
    I love reading your thoughts, they help me grow and clarify my reading.
    Once you get in the grove of making charts with the kids you will never make one alone again! I find the kids have all the just right words that I couldn't come up with!

    I often create our collaborative charts in EducCreations while projected on the white board. As we share our thinking I write, illustrate and record our voices. Then, students are able to access the chart on their iPads too! The charts and the thinking behind them can also be shared with the families.
    Hope this makes sense, it's 1130 PM!

  2. Laura as always your thinking resonates with me! I am interested in the digital ideas you are formulating... I see they are brewing! I was thinking that students could use gDrawings to create their own bookmarks or charts because not only would they be processing their thinking by creating a tool, they would be learning more about digital tools at the same time!

    Padlet would be a great place then for them to share their tools... You have me thinking now...

  3. I love the idea of sharing these generated with students charts on a Padlet - that's something to practice with over the summer.

  4. I'm really appreciating the digital suggestions. Next year we will be going 1:1 and students will often be reading/writing in rooms other than the one in which they were taught a lesson. Ways to capture charts and thinking and make them portable will be important.
    I've been thinking particularly about the demonstration notebooks- This will help me, as a teacher, to make my charts portable so that I can confer with students anywhere. Students also need support as they travel, so why not have them create their own demonstration 'pages' for skills they need to reference?
    A few years ago I read "Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook" by Aimee Buckner. Aimee shares how she teaches students to have a second starting point in the back of their notebook. It is here that students keep notes from lessons, strategies, exemplars, etc. I have found this helpful. I'm thinking that a way to make the notebook more personal would be to have students create their own demonstration pages in the back of the notebook. It can be portable and specific to that particular students' needs. In addition, students will benefit from the learning involved as they create these pages.