Saturday, December 6, 2014

Celebrate this Week! 12.06.14

It's always good to end the week on a positive note.  Sometimes we concentrate on the negatives.  We have a choice.  Choose positive.  Choose to celebrate.  I will be joining Ruth Ayres and her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week.  Check out all the other celebrations HERE

Oh my, it's been so many weeks since I've really blogged.  NCTE, Thanksgiving, and holiday rush.  I had to let something go and writing it was.

I need to take some time to write about my NCTE experience.  It was amazing.  This is an event that will be on my calendar from now on.  I will try to write about it and convey it in words, but it really is a must be there experience.

The Learning

I was lucky to attend some amazing sessions.  Some highlights...

Revising the Story: Reluctant Readers Overcoming Shame
What a way to start the conference.  Nerdy presenters:  Justin Styles, Kara DiBartolo, and Melissa Guerrette and Nerdy authors:  Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Liesl Shurtliff.  
Each speaker talked about the book shaming that happens to readers.
If you have not had a chance to listen to Lynda Mullaly Hunt speak, let me tell you, she speaks how she writes.  It's all from the heart.  She spoke about her early experiences in school, and it just gripped you.  Some quotes from Lynda that really meant something to me:
"It wasn't that I didn't try hard I just didn't make any progress."
"Writing is about having something to say."
In regards to teaching:  "You have the power to change lives."

I've heard Liesl Shurtliff speak several times, and she always gives me something to think about.  Today's thought was, "give kids validation".

Justin, Kara and Melissa each took a turn talking about their experiences and talked about ways books and reading have changed readers' lives.

Justin talked about Reading Passports that I'm interested in trying.  I like making reading visible and I think we have students who are ready to move past our current reading log.

The Nerdy Book Club
You know you're always in for a treat when you're with your fellow Nerdies.  It was such a great presentation - listening to authors and nerdies talk about book love and reading lives.  One of the presenters was Jonathan Auxier, author of The Night Gardener.  I really enjoyed hearing the backstory of this amazing book.  I can't wait to tell students when we meet to discuss the book at our Mock Newbery Club meeting!

(if you look closely, that's Lynda Mullaly Hunt in the background!)

Text-Dependent Questions Drive Close Reading Instruction
Close reading and text-dependent questioning is such a "hot topic" right now.  I enjoyed listening to Nancy Frey talk about this subject - she highlighted some key points and reinforced others that I've been trying.
"Annotation is not highlighting - it's thinking with a pencil."
"Annotation slows down the reader in order to deepen understanding."

I liked this slide about annotating:

Methods of Teaching Writing with Lucy Calkins
Many quick gems in this one:
* After 1 conference, quick move around the room to give quick feedback (positive feedback, gestures) before starting the next conference.
* Use small group instruction for writing (same as reading).  Put groups together based on need.
* Teach the writer, not the writing.  Try not to make a suggestion about what they can change in their piece, but something more general that they can transfer to other writing.

Engage and Inspire Readers by Providing Personal Choice
Presenters:  Kathy Collins, Matt Glover, and Dan Feigelson
This presentation meant the most to me and what I would like to be doing.  I've recently found Kathy Collins' work and what she does for the primary reader.  Feigelson has a new professional book out that I highly highly recommend:  Reading Projects Reimagined: Student-Driven Conferences to Deepen Critical Thinking.  By meeting with students and helping them develop their own reading "project/assignment" to help them deepen their thinking, Feigelson outlines how students can independently read and track their thinking in meaningful ways.  I'm so excited to have found this resource.  Check out these slides that give you a very brief idea of the learning in this amazing session:

Some Dan Feigelson gems:
* "We are so quick to explain.  We need to ask.  Hold off on leaping in with your own agenda."
* "Ask a child to 'say more about that' at least three times and you'll uncover layers of thinking."
* "Help students name what they are thinking about, it gives them a tool to use in the next book."

Kathy Collins talked about a reading life.  I loved her idea of shelfies - going beyond taking a picture of a reading pile - look at what it tells you about the reader?  What does the reader think after seeing their picture?

Thinking Intensive Learning:  Close Reading is Strategic Reading
Presenters:  Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis
I have followed the work of Harvey and Goudvis for years.  To hear them speak was amazing!  Some learning:
* Whoever is doing the reading, has to process it.
* Inferring is so important in a close read - it's what the text isn't saying.
* If a student comes to a word that is hyphenated and they can't read it, write the entire word on a post it.
* Teach pronouns!
* Teach students the difference between a simple vs. complex problem, so when they read about multiple problems, they can identify the difference!

Close Reading and the Little Ones
Presenters: Chris Lehman, Kate Roberts and Kristi Mraz
I'm not going to lie, I got a little star struck seeing Chris Lehman in person!

They talked about following an order, just like the older kids when they read with a specific lens and look for patterns.  Students should:

1. POINT to the part of the text/illustration they want to talk about.
2.  SAY "I see...."  "and....."
3.  THINK "I wonder...."
4.  ADD "This goes with...."  Talk about the big idea here.

Pow! How Graphic Novels Can Bring a Spark to Your Classroom
Presenters:  John Schumacher, Kevin Sherry, Jenni Holm, Matt Holm, Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, Gareth Hinds

While Nerdies understand the importance of graphic novels and readers and writers, so many don't.  This was an amazing panel that came together to show the importance of graphic novels.
They shared a very important resource that I hope many people will use:

Reading and Writing:  Tools for Learning, Thinking and Problem Solving
This was a roundtable presentation where we were able to learn from two professional leaders.  I first learned from Tim Rasinski, then Jennifer Serravallo.  I was really excited to learn from Jennifer Serravallo since we are using her Small Groups Reading book as a book study at school right now.  She showed how to get students to think deeper and track their understanding while reading.  This goes along with her assessment resource available through Scholastic.  Since we just purchased the 3rd grade version, it was perfect to ask her questions and get further understanding of it!

Well, if you made it all the way through the learning part with me, I hope you got a couple of tidbits that you can take away and use.  I'm still processing it!

But writing about NCTE isn't anywhere near done.  But I need to get things done, so I'll be sure to continue this conversation later in the week.  I can't write about NCTE without talking about:

Nerdy Friends



Happy weekend to all!


  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing all of this. I had to read it through twice and am still overwhelmed. So much learning. I can imagine you must have slept very well!

  2. I think I might have to return to this Michele, & you say you aren't even done! Love "* "We are so quick to explain. We need to ask. Hold off on leaping in with your own agenda." Exactly right, so true, love it! Thank you!

  3. Michelle, great sharing from your sessions. I love the slides that you shared from your session, Engage and Inspire Readers by Providing Personal Choice. This is the second post that has mentioned the book, Reading Projects Reimagined heading over to Amazon to put it on my wish list.