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Showing posts from July, 2016

DIY Literacy Chapters 5 & 6

This is the last in a series of blog posts for the #CyberPD16 book study on DIY Literacy, Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor and Independence by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts. This post will address chapters 5 & 6. You can read my previous posts here and here.

Chapter 5 is all about differentiation. Kate and Maggie ask, "How can you make sure your teaching matches your kids" (p. 71) so that your relationships with students are not compromised? In other words, how can we sustain high-level teaching practices that generate vitality for us and for our students? To me, these are powerful questions since teachers' energy level in the classroom is often derailed due to a myriad other demands out of a teachers' sphere of control.
In order to provide some perspective on this issue, Kate and Maggie make an analogy between the scaffolding provided by yoga instructors and the role classroom teachers can play to address students' individual needs. The aut…


It's July 19th.
In a month's time, I'll be running around frantically trying to get ready for the first day of school.
We start August 23rd with students.
I am enjoying my summer. It's going to be hard to get back into a teaching routine. 
Here are some of the things I'm going to have to give up sooner than I'd like:
Quiet mornings. Not that I don't have quiet mornings when I'm working, but summer mornings are quieter and seem to last longer. They're not rushed and they are peaceful.
Late nights watching movies. All kinds of movies. By myself. With my husband. With my son. I have watched so many movies this summer. I will miss my movie nights.
Reading until my heart's content. I have been reading a lot! Professional books. Middle grades books. Novels. Blogs. I will miss not being able to steal an hour here and there to just read. What a luxury!
Writing and writing and more writing.
Spending time with family. Not only have I had a lot of quality time with…

DIY Literacy, Chapters 3 & 4

In their recently published book, DIY Literacy, Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts
guide teachers in the development and practice of four literacy tools that they claim will help students recall and apply the lessons we've taught in the classroom -repertoire and process charts, demonstration notebooks, micro-progressionsandbookmarks. In particular, they pose the following questions: "How can I help students remember and use what I have already taught?" (chapter 3), and “How can I support rigor [read: “vigor”] in my classroom?” (chapter 4).Maggie and Kate offer the four previously mentioned tools as potential responses to this question. 
We’ve all had teaching moments when we felt confident that we'd done a good job, yet students were not able to demonstrate what they’d learned, at least not without extensive support and coaching from us. Sometimes students don't even remember the lesson! Although we hope these instances are not a regular occurrence, they may h…

I Loved My Friend

This afternoon I had dinner with a teacher friend and her husband.
She finished her contract this year and is heading back to the U.S.

I feel like I've been down this path before.

I have lived in many places and it's always the same.
Friendships are made.
People come and
then they go.
Or, I go.

And, the cycle starts all over again.                                                      

Although having friends scattered all over the globe
sounds exotic and makes for potential vacation spots,
it can be hard to make friends
and then to say goodbye.
Some of us do this gracefully and others not so much.

Because while it's possible you'll see each other again, soon,
it's also possible you may not.
It might be a long time before you do.

But, now we have Facebook.

Staying in touch with friends who are far away, via their Facebook posts,
feels like we're still in each others' lives.

That makes it easier to say goodbye                    
or not,���������������������…

DIY Literacy #CyberPD Book Study - Chapters One, Two and the Bonus Chapter

I have a confession to make: I almost didn't buy this book.

I kept thinking that it's just about making charts, so what is the big deal? However, since many people I know and respect were talking about it, I caved in (after making several other book purchases) and decided to buy it. I'm glad I did because DIY Literacy is not just about making charts, although that is part of it. DIY Literacy is about teachers and kids co-creating tools that demystify and facilitate learning.

Maggie Beattie Roberts and Kate Roberts carefully crafted book provides teachers with a variety of practical tools to take control of their teaching. And, in theory, these tools will allow students to be more self-directed in their learning.

As I was reading, I felt a tinge of recognition, and

Mosaic of Thought by Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmerman came to mind immediately! Although they were written years apart both books discuss the importance of knowing ourselves as readers in order to become bet…

A Celebration

This past June marked my 30th year
as an educator.                                                                                

It seems like a milestone.

It is a milestone.
It's a moment to celebrate.

Yet, part of me feels like I should hide this fact.
And, instead, say I have about 20 years in education, rather than 30.
Because 30 feels like a long time.
It is a long time.
It's as long as I've known
and loved my husband.
Another celebration.

But, somehow,
it doesn't feel like a long time.

It feels as if I still have a lot to learn.
It feels as if I still have a lot to teach.
Because I am always in the process
of becoming the educator I want to be,
every year is an adventure.                                                                                                           source:

As a means of celebrating, I've listed some of my biggest takeaways from the last three(!) decades. In …