Best Book I Have Not Read

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

Upcoming Teachers College Reading Institute June 30, 2010

I’m trying  to make my brain think of things I need to remember to pack /tidbits I’m glad I know for the upcoming TCRWP Reading Institute next week. I’m attending with two teachers-both of whom have not attended before. One is a second grade teacher and one is a fourth grade teacher.

Here are some tips I shared with them:

Pack a little umbrella-trying to find one in a store when it is raining is no fun
Plan on LOTS of walking. Columbia is spread out and it won’t be unusual for the keynote to be at one end of the campus and then the small group session to be six blocks away. Also lots of four+ story buildings with stairs.
They do give us a tote/bag with needed binder/books, etc. the first moring. It is a nice size and has a pocket for a water bottle-which we will want to carry with us.
Many times I would buy a bagel/sandwich or something like that when I bought my coffee in the morning before the keynote-then carry it with me to eat for “lunch”–Even though there is a lunch break, it isn’t terribly long to have bathroom break, get to next session site, and try to stop sweating –some days I would sit outside in the campus quad, eat whatever I’d picked up, call the kids, and watch the interesting things going on.
There is an AMAZING farmer’s market outside the keynote hall, but I dont’ remember which day.
 
Bring a notebook and pens for your own notes. I filled an entire five subject spiral last summer.
I’ve been told I might want to bring Amber Brown is not a Crayon, Because of Winn Dixie, and Tangerine along for one of my sessions which focuses on assessment. I was also encouraged to do an assessment using Skylark ahead of time.
In the advanced section, we will all be receiving Lucy’s new Guidebook from the newly published Reading Units of Study. I’m expecting my two colleagues to receive The Art of Teaching Reading.
 

Reason to Click My Heels Together! April 29, 2010

What event could bring  Franki from A Year of ReadingKaren from Talkworthy, Karen from Literate LivesKatie from Creative Literacy , Stella from My World-Mi Mundo, myself and others under one room tomorrow?

Could it be a sale at Cover to Cover?

The announcement of the Newbery?

NCTE?

OCTELA?

Good Guesses but wrong.

We will all be in one room to hear and watch Samantha Bennett , author of That Workshop Book: New Systems and Structures for Classrooms That Read, Write and Think, work in Katie’s second grade class and Karen’s fifth grade class. I am very exciting to have colleagues from three different grade levels that will be attending tomorrow, as well as a student teacher from the building. What a great professional development opportunity that would not be possible without the hard work of the volunteers for The Literacy Connection, including my friend and guru, Carol.

While we won’t all fit in Karen’s and Katie’s classrooms, the rest of us get to watch over close-circuit television, with debriefing sessions in-between.


 

School Visit–Reading & Writing Workshop November 6, 2009

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Oct 09 School Visit
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I find a school visit to be one of the most powerful professional development tool October 17, 2009

We are taking the following books to Public School 41 when we go for our school visit next Friday. A small thank you token to the teachers, administrators, and staff…We are going to take 6 copies of each so teachers whose classrooms we visit feel appreciated.

Jackie robinsonTesting the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson & Kadir Nelson

Old Bear by Kevin Henkes only in dreams

Only in Dreams: A Bedtime Story by Paul Frank

old bear

We are also taking along copies of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Interesting Items About their school:

  • There is a School District Parent Coordinator whose job is to facilitate communication at the front-line between parents, teachers, and staff
  • There is an Extended Day option for students who need extra instructional support in a small group setting that can be mandated or voluntary from 8:00-8:50 Monday-Thursday
  • Reading Recovery is a reading intervention program used with First Graders
  • 2 times a month there are Family Mornings-families are then invited to stay after drop-off to observe literacy and math
  • Cluster classes are part of regular classroom instruction throughout the school year and include: Science, Physical Education, Art, Music, Computer, Theater and Movement.
  • Choice is an additional double period cluster class chosen by the students in 4th & 5th Grade. Past offerings have included Expression Art, Computer, Violin, Physical Education, Chess, Art, Science, Math Enrichment, Music and Chorus.
  • There are two part-time literacy staff developers  and one full-time math staff developer assigned to the building. In addition they have a TCRWP Staff Developer who comes in and leads classroom lab sites in reading and writing as well as study groups
  • Collaborative Team Teaching Class (CTT) -Their CTT class is a model for the entire New York City school system. At PS41 each grade has one CTT class, which has one full time general education teacher and one full time special education teacher.
    • In the CTT classes, the ratio is approximately 60% general education students and 40% special education students. Our inclusion classes provide the same curriculum as our other classes, with the added benefit of a higher staffing ratio and a great deal of support.
    • The Committee for Special Education (CSE) places the children who are on the special education side of the CTT class. The school administration places the children on the general education side of the CTT class. Children on the general education side are “model” students — they must model excellent behavioral and learning habits — and cannot be receiving any special services themselves to be in a CTT class.
 

16th Annual July Institute on Teaching Reading at TCRWP June 16, 2009

Here’s the highlights of yesterday’s mail–

Section Assignment: 4B

8:00 Registration Lerner Hall (on Columbia University’s Main Campus)

9:00 Keynote

10:00-11:50 Grades 3-8 Large Group-Lucy Calkins

11:50 Lunch

12:50-2:50 Small Group-leader Tiffany Nealy

2:55 Closings

We’ll receive ‘The Trail Guide’ (There was one of these for the Reunion Weekend-VERY HELPFUL to get yourself around) at registration, need name tag for all .

We’ll also receive a copy of The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy Calkins, which we can turn in with a voucher for a different professional book if we already have it. I think it is one of the best books out there, and was rereading parts this morning. I’ll probably see what the other choices are, but probably keep it to use as a door prize for one of the back to school teacher meetings. If you are a K-8 teacher and you have not read the book, get yourself a used copy off Amazon for $24.00 (instead of $47 at the college bookstore) and start reading this summer! You’ll be so glad you did. 

For July’s Institute, I am driving from Ohio with my friend (the one whose very kind parents put me up for the last Institute) and her three young children. It should be a 11 1/2 hour drive, but seeing how it is a holiday weekend, that is probably  a low guess. I’m counting on children’s “Are we there yet questions?” not bothering me as much when they aren’t my own children (crossing my fingers!) Then the next day we’ll see how good my memory is from spring when I got myself from her parents house to Columbia everyday by train, subway and cab. Once there, I will stay in campus housing, which should bring back some fun memories! Seeing how summer is just starting this week for me, it seems a long way away. In reality, it is 19 days away. My husband is in denial and keeps asking, “When are you going to be gone?” and is sure the house will sell, we’ll have to move, and the world will spin out of orbit during the week I am gone. I guess I should take that as a compliment.

 

Primary Units of Study-Lucy Calkins January 26, 2009

I’ve had an ongoing book study of Primary Units of Study by Lucy Calkins at the elementary school with kindergarten, first, and half the second grade. One of their building goals to have writing instruction happening in their K-3 classrooms everyday for at least 30 minutes. This past Monday the group had the opportunity to spend half a day with Literacy Guru (my name for her, not her own) Carol. Carol is a retired Language Arts Coordinator from a suburban district and Literacy Consultant. She is also one of the most positive people you can ever hope to meet and has an amazing way of bringing you around to her way of thinking while feeling great about yourself!

The week was going to continue with the opportunity for Carol to model a Writing lesson in a classroom with other teachers watching and then time to discuss what they observed. With the lovely Ohio weather and temperatures, we didn’t get as far as we planned, but will continue the following week.

The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey is being used as the mentor text for the writing lessons. For those who are familiar with Units of Study for Primary Writers. This is a modified lesson from Launching where the little booklets are introduced (I think Lesson 11).

Click to play The Paperboy
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Subjects Matter Book Walk November 14, 2008

Our middle school staff is beginning a book study of Subjects Matter by Daniels and Zemelman. I created this powerpoint to walk them through some of the highlights of the book. Feel free to use it would be helpful to you.

Subjects Matter Book Walk

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