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.
Kelly Gallagher October 14, 2008
This is not Kelly Gallagher’s finest photo but I had to include it. Once again the Literacy Connection of Columbus has offered a wonderful opportunity to teachers in Central Ohio. For $50 I was able to attend a presentation by Kelly Gallagher on Saturday from 8:30-2:30. He really touched on all of us books, but started with a keynote on Teaching Adolescent Writers. I took copious notes and was once again impressed with him-as a teacher, a presenter, and someone who is passionate and dedicated to literacy. He is a practicing teacher in Anaheim, California. I am planning on adding to this post with highlights from the notes I took as time allows this week.
Spelling Strategies and Patterns September 28, 2008
I picked up this book at the Lakota Literacy VIEW conference this summer, but have just recently had the opportunity to read through it. I have to say this is one spelling book that I really like and does not overwhelm me. I think it would be a nice complement to the Lucy Calkins’ writing Units of Study our intermediate teachers are using.
Two years ago our district had a year-long Literacy Committee that teachers from each building were able to apply to be a part. We started with research reading, developed district literacy belief statements and went through to materials review and adoption. Our kindergarten through third grades are using the Reading Streets series, including the spelling component. Fourth and Fifth grade received components including Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study for writing and Comprehension Toolkit for grades 3-6. Last year was the first year of use of the new materials.
Spelling was an area that we decided to evaluate separately and now I guess it is time to take a look. Kindergarten through third have put enough work into using Reading Streets that they are not willing to look at a different program and I don’t blame them. Middle and High School are trucking along, since it is a smaller issue for them. It is the fourth through sixth grade where we need to take a look at options and find something the building can agree on. A teacher from each grade went to the new Rebecca Sitton’s spelling training last year, and while there are really good parts, all felt it was too overwhelming and that they would rather put the energy and time into developing a solid writing program.
If anyone uses a program for spelling that the LOVE, please leave a comment. Actual teacher thoughts on materials are so much more helpful than what the publisher wil tell you!
I think I’ll enlist a few teachers to see what they think about working this new spelling program into what we already do at the intermediate level. While spelling is important for this age group, it can’t be at the expense of precious reading and writing minutes!
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).
Writing Inservice continued September 4, 2008
Early Release Meeting
The goal of this early release meeting is to determine the *** Classroom teachers’ definition of writing at the elementary level and to identify strengths and weaknesses within the Reading Streets program. My role as Curriculum Coordinator will help to provide support for staff in this area over the Early Release meetings this year. Specifically, I focused our discussion on writing-our own and the students.
1. pick up snack and water
2. select journal, folder, and pen (pretty new things along with snacks are good for starting teachers off feeling happy!)
3. staff divided in cross-grade level tables (check chart for table assignment)
4. small group definition of writing (large group share)
5. strengths and weaknesses of current writing program (large group share)
6. My Life in Seven Stories-If you could choose only 7 stories that define/reflect who you are and your life, what would a list of those stories be?
7. Write one of your stories
8. Discuss 6 + 1 Traits and how we will revisit our own stories to focus on one of the traits or a revision strategy each session
9. Voluntary interest groups sign-ups for different book studies (Daily Five and Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Primary Writing)
10. Door Prizes
Book Study groups:
Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades
great resource and very readable-like having a conversation with a friend. They also have a free and subscription website.