Monday, March 31, 2014

Before the next "Currently" ...

I didn't get the chance to share this last weekend because .. well, I was just so knocked out from all the fun I had!

Because I am in the Northeast and teach in Jersey, I am a H U G E  Lucy Calkins' fan.  I picked up her book Pathways to Common Core in 2012 when I was finishing my student teaching.  I didn't really know who exactly Lucy Calkins was, but the book title really intrigued me.  I finally read it this past summer and done so much research in educating myself to be a better teacher that I am Calkins' biggest fan!  I know that I blogged in an earlier post about her Units of Study and the trouble I was having with that.  But as I continue to research and grow as a teacher, I find that I like her work and will continue to utilize it because I esteem her as making very big contributions to the education field.  (I will post about my adventures in teaching fairy tale adaptations at a later date .. LOVE IT!).  For now, my goal is to transfer from the graduate school I am currently attending to go study at Teacher's College at Columbia University.  I would L O V E to study under Lucy, her work, and her colleagues.

Needlesstosay,  in October of this year, I went to my *first* Teacher's College Saturday Reunion.  I was still a newbie to all this blogging and instagraming and let's-take-pictures-to-share-with-the-education-community that I forgot to take picture, plus I was so focused on getting through the day with a colleague.  Then last weekend, I went again to the 86th Teacher's College Saturday Reunion.  What a blast!  I am super MEGA excited for the Units of Study in Reading to come out in Spring 2015.

First, my friends and I attended Lucy's two sessions: one about reading, the other about reading-writing connections.  Excellent!

Then, we went to Stephanie Harvey's workshop on Information Text.  Excellent!

And I must say, she is quite comical too!  If you do not have her book Strategies that Work, then you are really missing out.  

We also attended a session on Author's Craft.  It was between Author's Craft and another Lucy session, but this time on writing.  We were in such a pickle because our students need work in author's craft, but we as teachers need help in teaching writing!  I'm pretty sure we're not the only ones who feel incompetent to teacher writing. :(  (Sidenote: follow educators on Twitter.  It was there that I realized - the same struggles my students have during writing, they need to see me struggle as a writer too.  I need to model for them as I write  in  front  of  them  that "no, writing is no picnic, but it's the most amazing accomplishment")
Anyways, we attended the author's craft session which was helpful.  It reinforced for me to help students pay attention to the vocabulary that author's use in their language.  For example, "Why did the author write that the character's ears were 'glued' to the radio rather than just saying that the character was 'listening' to the radio?"  I have to say, it sounds fun and it is becoming more fun to teach this because then students turn key this information into their w r i t i n g.  They are now the author doing this for a reader.  I *love* watching them switch hats from reader to writer.  They become so mature, and ... happy.  Does that make sense?  

Though the school year may be winding down, I still look forward to implementing in the classroom the things that I learn at the workshops.  One of the biggest things I have been working on with my students is metacognition, which I will have to post about at another point this week.  But with metacognition comes post-its!  #postits #God'sgifttoteachers

Seriously, how awesome are these ?!?!? I found them at walmart.  #gogetthem

I know that with the amount of post its we teachers use in our one classroom alone, we could probably cover the whole USofA with the post its we use.  But there is honestly no better classroom necessity than a pencil, some colored pencils, and post its!  I thought these post its specifically would be an excellent addition to reader's workshop because students can read and jot their thoughts on this post it about 5-10 minutes before share time.  It helps too because then students aren't so concerned about their overwhelming composition notebook reader's journal that they have to respond in with their writing.  Rather, students collect all of their thoughts on post its.  As those post its add up during the week, they can then do some writing at the end of the week.  Their post its become larger thoughts for them to write off of and break down their thinking/reasoning after accumulating their theories and thinking.  (I know I'm being redundant, but I want to make sure I'm thorough).  Plus, with the metacognittion/think/speech bubble outline of the post it, it is a visual reminder of what this post it is for exactly... What are you thinking as you're reading?


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