Saturday, November 18, 2017

Celebrating a Writing Superhero!

#celebratelu this week too, join in over at Ruth's blog

I'm now afforded new amounts of time.  So, I am joyfully writing on a Saturday!

At this blog, I intend to share new learning and leading.  My celebration relates to Ruth and the superhero's response to questions regarding how to reach struggling writers who just don't care.  I'm learning...

Another coach posed the question, "How do we reach students who just don't care?"

I immediately thought of seeking help from Ruth-she's one of my writing Super Heroes!  Cue the trumpets!

I really had no idea that Ruth has just launched her new book, Enticing Hard to Reach Writers.

Thankfully, Ruth quickly responded and offered recommendations from a few of the chapters to help us as we work diligently to reach and teach all writers.

From Chapter 5-think about how behaviors mask needs!  You'll need markers, a jar and masking tape for this one.

From Chapter 1-the importance of understanding how brains work (neuroplasticity-The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.)

From pages 79-80 a chart which outlines moves to make with hard to reach writers.  As I perused the list, I zeroed in on ways to simplify conferring (Chapter 18) for students who are having a difficult time talking about their writing or writing process, "Increase students' energy for writing by asking open-ended questions while conferring"  and  "Name strengths students have as writers."  Consideration for this advice assumes writing and conferring happen daily-a must.

I hope you'll consider reading this book...

So I must thank my writing superhero and celebrate her help.
What a Writing Superhero looks like.
By Natalie

I appreciate Ruth's tenacity and capacity to see this work through to publishing in the name of helping so many more teachers of writers and writers themselves to grow through life's challenges and CELEBRATE!

By the way, Ruth didn't ask me do write this, I just knew I had to!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Problem Solve and Pause

Thanks to Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche for encouraging us to share what we are thinking around the topic of Problem Solving for this Digilit Sunday!  I am happy to be heading into Summer with another school year in the rear view mirror.

I was thinking about the idea of problem solving and contemplating what it really looks like to be a problem solver when in full blown reading mode.  I wanted to share how the process of listening to a reader without taking snap corrective action to tell the right words actually helps them grow as the problem solving decision-maker.
We Eat Dinner in the Bathtub

I sat back watching, listening and deciding not to be pushy or pokey as Natalie read the story, "We Eat Dinner in the Bathtub" by  .  She read and cross-checked the pictures, slowed down and figured things out when they didn't make sense.  She was afforded the opportunity of a pause at the point of error before someone jumped in to correct.  I am grateful for the pause--because it's helping her make sense of what she's read and problem solve on her own to fix it when it didn't look right, sound right or make sense.

Rather than tell her the word, she was prompted to go back and try again.  This encouraged her to do more work and figure out the part that didn't make sense and didn't add to the story in a meaningful way.  She problem-solved for meaning on her own.  As teachers and parents, we should encourage students to do this more often rather than just tell them the answer.  Volley through the thought process sending it back to their side of the court, helping them learn how to get it done.

Although Natalie is just a beginning reader, I clearly see how pausing and prompting for problem solving will help her to develop future skills as the books she reads become increasingly complex.  How do you encourage readers to work through problems?  How do you provide scaffolding without rescuing?

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Celebrating Donuts and Decking

Today, I'm I reflect on my professional development opportunity day with teachers in my building! 

All the stars were aligned.

Our date for the session was rescheduled for yesterday.

I heard testimonials about trying out Pear Deck from other educators and coaches in our district.  It's an interactive presentation tool that allows for audience participation and sharing results in realtime as participants answer/respond.  I kept thinking, 'try it out' 'take a chance' 'be brave'. 

So on the way to work, I picked up Krispy Kreme glazed donuts for our day.  The donuts were still warm and my car smelled like a donut shop.  Something about the smell of warm donuts just makes brings on a smile.  Thank goodness my children were so willing to get ready early enough so I could run an early morning errand.  I also heard the song, "Brave", on the radio...a subliminal reminder.

The donuts and Peardeck were a hit. 

Marching in the learner line showed others that being willing to take risks helps us grow.  It helps our students see that too.  I look forward to more opportunities to become more proficient in using Pear Deck and learning with the teacher teams at the Schu!