Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Central Ohio’s Got Talent! August 28, 2010

How exciting! A first successful week of school is under our belts and we have a get-together planned for  Central Ohio KidLit bloggers at our favorite indy children’s bookstore. Not only that, but the event ties in with a great author visit and a trip to a favorite eatery.

How could it get better? It’s hard, but today news came through the KidLit blog pipe that  Julie Johnson of Raising Readers and Writers won NCTE’s Donald H. Graves Award for Excellence in Teaching Writing! How does one find out they have won the award? With a phone call from none other than Katie Wood Ray!

Holy Cow!  I can’t even imagine answering the phone and hearing that southern drawl?

I first met Julie when I was fortuatnte enough to attend The Literacy Connection’s Carl Anderson visit 2 Aprils ago. Participants got to see Julie in action with Carl and her students in her Hilliard, Ohio classroom. A KidLit friend introduced us, it turned out she also had started a blog AND had taught with my former co-teacher in another life in another district. Small World!

Julie happens to be one of “them” that I refer to in my guest post over at Two Writing Teachers. If she happened to read that article, she probably didn’t know she was a “them” for me. Julie is one of “them” because she made the time for writing in her life both through the Central Ohio Writing Project AND her own classroom. She had a writing club! Ah…

One of her first posts on her blog was about the writing community her principal and fellow teachers were forming. Wow! The dedication…I still can dream of that day…

Congratulations Julie! What a deserving winner. May you continue to be an inspiration for people not just in your school, classroom, and community, but even further with the audience of your blog.

 

NCTE 2009: What I’m looking forward to attending November 16, 2009

Filed under: authors,NCTE,professional development — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:16 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Decisions, Decisons! What a happy dilemma!
Franki over at A Year of Reading had a great suggestion of sharing what you are looking forward to attending at the upcoming NCTE. I do pay the extra $20 to get my program book ahead of time (and I do mean book! It’s over 380 pages) to pour over. It is really hard to decide as there are an average of 50+ sessions to pick from fourteen different times over 3 days!

The first thing I do in the program is find the Conference Planner (page 35-36) and mark off the block of time for the Books for Children Luncheon (Love It!) . I’m also planning on attending the Middle Level Mosaic Workshop, which is a double-block. Then I start by looking through the index for authors and my favorite professional authors who are attending and then look up their sessions.  I move on to friends from near and far who are presenting to see if their session will fit in the blocks I have left, and so on.

Here’s what I’ve narrowed it down to. I do realize this isn’t a very narrow list:

NCTE Author Strand-Adolescent Literacy: Moving from Principles to Practice

Going Public: How Sharing Your Teaching Beyond the Classroom Can Make You a Better Teacher (Literate Lives, Creative Literacy, A Year of Reading)

Poetry Party! Celebrate NCTE Poetry Award Recipient Lee Bennett Hopkins

Babymouse and Lunch Lady: Creating Graphic Novels for the Younger Set

Enlarge the Reading Circle-How to dramatically increase reading comprehension and engage reluctant readers

Reading Between the Lines of Nonfiction: Going Deeper into Informational Text Through Student Driven Discussions

Finding Your Voices Through Poetry: Young Children as Listeners, Readers, and Writers

Book Choice Matters: Teaching Young Learners How to Make Wise Independent Choices (Franki, Debbie Miller, Ann Marie Corgill, and Karen Szymusiak)

Laurie Halse Anderson at the ALAN breakfast

The Reading Zone’s presentation on Engaging Middle School Students Through Read Alouds

Virtual Book Studies

Literate Lives of Children: Topics and Trends in Elementary Education

Cafe in the Classroom: Helping Students Visualize Literacy Goals and Teachers Maximize Assessments to Guide Instruction

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Phenomenon: Jeff Kinney Talks about Drawing in Reluctant Readers

Twenty-Five Years of Literature Circles: From Book Clubs to Inquiry Circles

Reading Like Writers, Writing Like Readers: Teaching Students to Study the Craft of Writing (Carl Anderson!)

Katie Wood Ray: The Joys and CHallenges of Teaching the Youngest Writers

Effective Adolescent Literacy Instruction (Jim Burke, Alan Sitomer, Jeff Wilhelm)

Workshop:
Young Adult Literature in the 21st Century: NCTE-ALAN Two Day-Workshop

 

Professional Learning Focus: Reading and Writing. I Just Can’t Get Enough April 5, 2009

Having had the opportunity to hear Carl Anderson speak about conferring and assessing young writers yesterday just 2 weeks after attending a Lucy Calkins Literacy Institute, I am in professional learning and reflection rapture.

A blogging friend ran into me yesterday at the workshop and remarked, “You’re at everything”.

While I don’t attend “everything”, I would agree with her that I do attend everything that I possibly can that is professionally valuable.  I do draw the line and know that I can’t focus on everything. For instance, several years ago when I had first started using Lucy Calkins Units of Study, my principal got a little annoyed with me when I refused to attend a workshop on 6 + 1 Traits of Writing.  He could not understand why I would prefer (and insist) on going to a workshop about new literature at the Columbus Public Library when I had the opportunity to hear a presenter from Texas in my own school.

“My brain can’t handle any different information at this point. It is really hard work getting Units of Study up and running and I can’t afford any distractions from it if I am going to give it the attention it needs to be successful.”  I tried to explain to him.

I even went so far as encouraging him to cancel the speaker. After all, we were all supposed to be working within the parameters of Calkins Writing Workshop, and I truly believed that all the session with that Texan would do would get people excited about something that they really shouldn’t be doing that year and frustrated that they couldn’t go try out what they had just sat through a whole day session about. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. 

I also have learned that I have to go out and find what I am looking for in the area of professional development. Being a teacher in the community I live in, has so many positives, I can’t even begin to name them. Unfortunately on-site professional development is not one of them.

Bigger districts have had the opportunity to bring in renowned experts to talk and work with their teachers for years and years.

“What!? Ralph Fletcher was in your room teaching writing workshop!” I would drool hearing this year after year while talking to teaching friends at the Dublin Literacy Conference.

I, on the other hand, have had the opportunity to read their books and try things out with a couple of like-minded individuals.  Really good, but not in the same league. Rec league basketball instead of the NBAs.

Fortunately, it has gotten easier over the years with opportunities such as the fifth annual Lakota Literacy VIEW , The Literacy Connection, as well as the annual Dublin Literacy Conference, on-line resources such as Choice Literacy, blogs (see my sidebar for my favorites) such as Two Writing Teachers or Reading Zone and nings with like-minded teachers.  For now, I am still a learner and need to soak in everything I can in order to best help the teachers and students I work with. My excitement over the possibilities leaves me recharged and ready to learn more!

 

Conferring with Writers April 3, 2009

Filed under: writing conferences,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:11 pm
Tags: , , ,

Today was part 3 of 4 sessions studying conferring in the writing workshop with a focus on Carl Anderson’s book Assessing Writers. As part of the Literacy Connection, Carl is in Columbus today and tomorrow.  He led a writing workshop in a fifth grade classroom, complete with mini-lesson, student conferences, and share. There was time for debriefing between sessions. Tomorrow he will lead a workshop for teachers on the same topic. 

I learned a lot watching Carl in action and am looking forward to learning more tomorrow. I’m also hoping to pick up his newest book set Strategic Writing Conferences: Smart Conversations that Move Writers Forward. Stay tuned for another update this weekend.

 

Assessing Young Writers by Carl Anderson February 5, 2009

51mc6ahuwkl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_I just finished reading this 2005 book by Carl Anderson and it is great! I wish that I had read it the year it came out at the same time as I was first reading Units of Study by Lucy Calkins. It would have been so helpful to me as a classroom teacher and really has helped gel my thinking about writing workshop. 
I highly recommend you add this book to your professional reading list! 

 

This review at Amazon sums it up very well:

I wouldn’t be as good a teacher of writing without this book. No kidding. It provides the daily nitty-gritty practical solutions to common writing workshop problems, and has great ideas for conferring, unit planning, troubleshooting, and more. This is for the every day teacher and college folk alike. 

Some of the blacklines from this book are ESSENTIAL to my organization of workshop. I can’t imagine trying to do it without his advice and guidance. His book was the “Miracle Grow” to my Calkins kit experience. The piece I needed to REALLY pull it off and feel good about it. Heworked in the project with Ms. Calkins, so his ideas line right up with the ideas I already have in motion. I don’t work for anybody, but I heartfully encourage you to help yourself by getting this one (and I love his How’s It Going? too…)

 

Carl Anderson and Kelly Gallagher September 18, 2008

I just caught up with a friend who reminded me of the newsletter that came out last week for a group known as Literacy Connection. This is a great Central Ohio group that has been around a number of years and brings in two nationally known speakers a year. The cost of membership is only $10 to get their newsletters-what a bargain.

This year there are two presenters. First is Kelly Gallagher (smart and good looking!) from California whose focus is Adolescents. He has several great books out including Reading Reasons, Deeper Reading, and Teaching Adolesent Writers. I have had the opporunity to see him do a short presentation and it as not only fantastic, but also motivating and had ideas I could take back to my classroom.  The other speaker is Carl Anderson (Conferring Guy) from Columbia Teacher’s College. His speciality is conferencing with young writers. He has several books out including: How’s it Going and his newest one, Assessing Writers. I’ve also had the opportunity to see him present at Lakota Literacy Conference for the past two years. He is a Steve Carell look-alike (happens to be my favorite comedian, but that’s just a coincidence). Carl Anderson’s newer book (Assessing Writers) will be the focus of a year long book study with two sessions-one fall and one winter. Then in early spring you get to see him in action over live-circuit television conferring with first primary students and then intermediate aged students. The following day you come back and get to meet with/debrief what you saw in action.

Last year’s book study was Lester Laminack and if you ever get the opportunity to attend a workshop with Lester or see him in action, you should defintely do so! I have been fortunate enough to see him through Literacy Connection and also at Lakota Literacy View. More on Lester some other post.

If you live in the greater central Ohio region, you should check out the Literacy Connection for more information. It is very reasonably priced professional development that you can take for Ashland University credit (if you want).

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,319 other followers