Monday, February 11, 2013

Learning From Some of the Best


Tuesday Slice of Life is hosted by Two WritingTeachers, Stacey and Ruth every single Tuesday.  Join us, and find out about the March Challenge—coming soon!  

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            So, where do I begin telling about the CCIRA (Colorado Chapter of the International Reading Association) annual conference?  Shall I begin when I arose at 4am so I could get to the hotel and find a parking place instead of riding a shuttle?  Or when I registered and found the coffee shop because I then had a luxurious hour to sit, read and wait for the first session?          
             Furthermore, there is the challenge of sifting through so much information in order to choose what I think you would like to hear-inspiration or the nitty-gritty details?  I choose…


The inspiration:

Tony Stead—“You don’t fatten your sheep by weighing them.” (too much testing, not enough direct teaching)

Ralph Fletcher—“A writer’s notebook is where someone stands in front of a mirror and tries something.”  (good and safe for exploration)

“Writers are people who write interesting stories from their ordinary lives.”

Margo Southall—“Today I will __________ so that I can ________________.  I’ll know I’ve got it when _____________________________.  (empowering student self-reflection)

Lucy Calkins—“Do not tell the students, ‘write an essay’, then comment.” (no teaching)

             An analogy for choosing different kinds of innovations that one might do only superficially:  “Do not move the deck chairs around on the Titanic.”

            “Look only for a system (one’s own) that gives one continuous improvement.”

Carol Ann Tomlinson—“Differentiation is a series of common sense decisions made by teachers with their students.”  “It is adjusting teaching to help each student arrive at the destination, and when possible, move beyond it.”  She likes “learning experience” instead of “lesson”.

Gordon KormanEvery book for each student should be a “page turner”.  Find that book!

Kelly Gallagher—“There’s a big difference between ASSIGNING writing and TEACHING writing.”  Referred often to a recent study titled “Writing Next” which, after combining a number of different research projects, reported and discussed eleven key elements of adolescent writing instruction.  Kelly said most apply for all ages. 

Convinced of and referenced Gladwell’s Outliers, the 10,000 hour rule: “Experts are made, not born.”  And by Peter Elbow:  “Good writing emerges from a lot of bad writing.”  Gallagher says “Young writers need a lot of ‘stupid’ writing.” 

I liked the terms that Gallagher used, like students say the writing is ‘one and done’ (first draft).  He emphasized modeling.  “I go, you go.” which means the teacher writes first!  And for quick writes, he uses the term “sneezes”.  And sometimes students work hard on a variety of “sneezes”.

There is much talk about mentor texts, time to practice, and direct teaching—from everyone!  There were little tips and big tips.  Next time, I’ll share some of those with links to books.

             Great learning, and fun to be with others who are interested in good teaching, too.

35 comments:

  1. Thanks for the inspiration, Linda! I tried to pick a favorite, but I can't. I love all the quotes.

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    1. Thanks Tabatha. I took so many notes & it was hard to sift for what I thought might be the best.

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  2. I need to copy and print some of these great quotes. Loved the one about weighing sheep. I also, like Gordan, believe we need to match the book to the child, but unfortunately it's not always possible. But when a student gets the perfect book, that page turner, a reader is born.
    Sounds like a great conference. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Margaret. Glad you like the quote. It makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

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  3. Keep sharing. Your sifting provided food for thought. I look forward to reading what you write once you have had to time reflect little more. I would interested to hear more about your thoughts on helping young writers.

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    1. I will do my best to share what some of these presenters said, Terje. I have most from Kelly Gallagher because I was in two sessions with him. I'd love to have a whole workshop, but since I can't, I bought two more of his books! (I've read Deeper Reading & loved it). thanks!

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  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed your coffee and all the fabulous teachers/writers. Thank you for the inspiration and the quotes. I loved the Tony Stead quote and am sending it along to some of the powers that 'be' around here. xo

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    1. Thanks-it is quite appropriate isn't it? I am in awe of presenters; they seem so at ease. I hope I can get to the All-Write conference to see Ruth and Stacey-how great that would be!

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  5. What a rich experience you must have had in the company of all these gurus. I can't wait to read more of what you learned, Linda...I'm signing up for the summer institutes at TC and can't wait to see Lucy there as well!

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    1. She talked so fast, was so enthusiastic in everything she said-amazing. I know you have a great time at those institutes! Thanks Tara.

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  6. Hmm... I commented from school earlier, but it must not have stuck. I wonder why? You have some of my favorite voices in education here. It must have been a great conference. Thank you for sharing these gems.

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    1. There were others of note there too, just not enough time to sign up for them too. It was a great time.

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  7. Through these quotes, you opened a window and let us glance at the conference! I have no doubt that it was so rewarding. I love the quote “Young writers need a lot of ‘stupid’ writing"...and think we could probably leave off the adjective 'young.' ! Also really love the quote by Carol Ann Tomlinson - “Differentiation is a series of common sense decisions made by teachers with their students.” Thanks for sharing, Linda!

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    1. Carol Ann Tomlinson is someone I don't know very well, but I enjoyed her presentation very much, & wonder if I shouldn't have bought her book too. Maybe for the summer? Thanks Maureen!

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  8. Wow, what inspiring and thought-provoking tidbits! You are so lucky, Linda! I'm glad you had a great time! I can't wait to hear more!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer. It was a wonderful few days!

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  9. Hi, Linda. I am with Kelly Gallagher! When I visit schools, teachers seem surprised at the writing that happens and students willingness to revise. But I spend an entire class period teaching the elementary schoolers how take their poetry drafts and add line breaks. It makes a huge difference -- a small task they can do, but that needs to be taught step by step. And what a difference in their poems. With line breaks, they can breathe.

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    1. Oh, I agree so wholeheartedly, we need to let them write, then teach them all the possible ways to make it better. I taught a lot of years doing so much writing, & my students responded with excitement because they could begin to tell when it was very, very good! Glad to hear your side of it too, Laura. What a mentor you would be for them.

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    2. One of the gifts of being a visiting poet is no grades -- just feedback: things that are working and suggestions for revision. It makes for braver writers.

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    3. We don't have grades at my school, and as you say, a blessing for revision. The students just work for the learning!

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  10. This was a great way to give us all a little bit of inspiration for sure. So glad you got this opportunity.

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    1. Thanks Betsy. Wouldn't it be fun to have been some of us there?

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  11. I love quotes-thanks for sharing some good ones. It's nice to get a glimpse into your conference and even better to see what you took away as important enough to share with all of us. And those presenters! I'm jealous!

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    1. I hope I'll be able to talk more another time, but this beginning seemed important & inspirational.

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  12. That post-conference feeling is so sweet! It is overwhelming to sift through the layers of information and inspiration, but I am so glad you found a way to share with us. You sure saw some heavy hitters!

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    1. Oh Christy, wish you & Tara & Deb could sit down with me for an evening chat. It was amazing. Did you see that Penny Kittle would be at All-Write?

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    2. I am certainly thinking about it! It does sound wonderful! Will you come?

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  13. It sounds like it was quite a conference! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to more pieces.

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    1. Thanks Elsie, like your sweet candy, this was 'ear' candy.

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  14. Wow Linda~
    There is much to think about here! Thanks for sharing some of the great treats you heard

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    1. You're welcome Amy. Much to think about from the conference!

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  15. Thanks for the quotes... we got the benefit of the conference, too!

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    1. You're welcome-much to contemplate, even in those few words. I'm hoping to share more as I can.

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  16. I think Gladwell's quote may have come from Eriksson's research on deliberate practice (which I always cite whenever I'm invited to speak at gifted conferences). I haven't read Outliers yet but I have a copy waiting in my shelf to be read. This sounds like a fabulous conference, Linda, and I'm so glad you shared snippets of what you learned about it in this fashion. So nice! And Gordon Korman, huh! Carol Ann Tomlinson! During the NAGC conference, I particularly enjoyed Bob Seney's session on reading, did he speak in this conference? I think he must be somewhere in Colorado too, if I'm not mistaken. :)

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Having a conversation is a good thing!