As part of my Directing and Supervising K-12 Reading course, we were given the task of using ILA's Standards for Reading Professionals, and creating a summary sheet you could give to a beginning teacher. The goal of the assignment was to not only show you understand the standards, but also that you would be able to help someone else create a literate environment. Below, you'll find my finished product.
The Scoop on Data
Each year, my district sets aside one day for professional development focused around data. As the building's instructional coach, I get to plan and facilitate the day's activities. Last year, I did the Amazing Data Race, and this year I wanted to involve even more collaboration and personalized learning opportunities! With the help of our district technology integration coordinator, The Scoop on Data was created! I developed tasks (see the Topping Choices below) that met my goals of providing choice and collaboration, while still meeting the district's expectation of discussing and analyzing data. In order for teachers to share the topping choices they made, I created a paper sundae, complete with colored pieces they glued on their "Looking for Data?...I've Got the Scoop" poster.
Everyone I talked to enjoyed our Data Day activities, and had at least one takeaway that they would use in their classroom on Monday. My favorite activities included having everyone complete either a math or ELA road map, as well as the data celebration at the end of the morning where every teacher shared a data set of their choosing.
I am already brainstorming next year's Data Day activities, and can't wait to see how our staff uses this year's Data Day experience to impact student learning between now and May. If you would like any of the resources I used during The Scoop on Data, or have questions, please let me know!
Photos of the Day's Events
This week's assignment for my Supervising and Directing K-12 Reading Programs course focused on chapter 13 of Best Practices of Literacy Leaders. For this assignment, I was asked to use the checklists provided on pages 255-256 and take each of the categories and create a checklist that a teacher could use for a reference for themselves as they plan, prepare and present lessons. Below, you will find the checklist I created.
Over the past year and a half, I've been working with several teachers in my building to incorporate S.T.E.M. into their instruction. I don't want S.T.E.M. to be an event or separate entity, but instead used to support student thinking within the core content areas. I've worked share my vision and build the capacity of the students and teachers I support. In December, my principal asked "I wonder what it would take to get you and the Lt. Governor in the same room to talk about S.T.E.M.?" Our Lt. Governor, is a big supporter of S.T.E.M. education in our state, and I knew if we could get her to visit with me about our S.T.E.M. journey and vision, our students and teachers would benefit! As I left the principal's office, I was excited about the prospect of a visit, but was realistic in recognizing there would be a lot of hoops to jump through to make such a visit occur. To my surprise, two weeks later I learned that my principal did a lot of work and thanks to a connection with a state representative, not only would the Lt. Governor be visiting our building, but also the Governor! Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear this news!
Fast forward to the present, and I can honestly say today was an amazing! We welcomed the Governor, Lt. Governor, and a State Representative into our building to share our S.T.E.M. journey and vision for the future. In addition to my principal sharing our school's story, I had the opportunity to share why I believe S.T.E.M. needs to be included in our instruction. We also gave the Governor, Lt. Governor, and State Representative a tour of the building, and while visiting classrooms, they interacted with students participating in S.T.E.M. activities. The thirty minute visit flew by, but before leaving, the Lt. Governor shared with our students that they shouldn't let S.T.E.M. ideas and thinking end when they walk out the school doors, but that they should "take it home."
Now that the visit is over, I look forward to continuing to support teachers as they work to incorporate S.T.E.M. into their classrooms. I also plan to continue sharing lessons, including S.T.E.M. activities, that I model in classrooms. I am passionate about S.T.E.M., and after hearing how impressed the Governor and Lt. Governor were about my leadership and vision, I look forward to the future and the path my building and myself are on!
What would do you do when a group of students score proficient on an ELA pretest covering the following Iowa Core standards?
(W.4.3) Students understand that an author reflects on his/her life by writing a narrative to convey a real or imagined experience or event.
(RL.4.2) Students understand that details that develop the theme of a story, drama, or poem lead to a better understanding of other perspectives and cultures.
(RL.4.3) Students understand details in a story or drama develop characters, settings, or events and lead to a better understanding of other perspectives and cultures.
(RF.4.4) Students understand fluent readers learn to recognize words quickly and accurately as a way of obtaining meaning from what is read.
As an Instructional Coach, this scenario is very familiar to me, and was the challenge our fourth grade teacher asked for my assistance in solving. After looking at the standards, we decided to give students the task of creating a stop motion video of a readers theater script that they wrote based on a fairy tale or folk tale. Below, you will see the finished product. I'd say the students did a wonderful job, and I could see using this activity again.
Last week I had the opportunity to model a close reading lesson in our fifth grade classroom. The classroom teacher asked me to do this so her student teacher would be able to incorporate close reading instruction into the ELA block. The fifth grade teacher asked me to use the passage "I Will Fight No More Forever" which she found in 24 Nonfiction Passages for Test Prep: Grades 4-5. Below you will see my lesson plan, a PDF of my slides, as well as a video excerpt of my lesson.
Note: I used my Swivl for this lesson and forgot to turn on the auto tilt! I promise there are 20 fifth graders in the classroom, unfortunately you just can't see them!
Close Reading Lesson Plan:
Last year my #oneword was "fearless," and I challenged myself to step up as a leader, be willing to take risks, and not let anything hold me back. I presented at several conferences, including the International Literacy Association's annual conference, volunteered to serve as am ILA committee member, and board member and Vice President of the Iowa Reading Association, had several publications released, applied to and was accepted to two graduate programs, one for the Reading Specialist endorsement and the other for PK-12 Principal -Supervisor of Special Education. I've worked with amazing educators and have learned so much during collaboration times, professional development sessions, social media, local and state workshops, and the book studies and trainings I've attended to add to my Instructional Coaching toolbox.
This year, I want to continue the journey I'm on, and do more writing, speaking, and sharing. This is why my #oneword for 2016 is "Voice." I want to make sure that I share my voice, my thoughts, opinions, ideas, and experiences.
I also want to continue to encourage others to share their voice as well. What's your #oneword, and how do you plan to share what you're doing in your classroom, school, district, or professionally?
Here's to an exciting 2016 full of educational experiences and growth!
Image created using PosterMyWall.com
"Standards and mandates will come and go, but we have to be effective literacy teachers in spite of them." -Regie Routman Read, Write, Lead.
The above quote is from a fantastic book, which happened to be the core text for one of my Reading Specialist courses, Supervision and Staff Development, this semester. For a while I had been thinking that reading instruction, at least in my experience, had become too skill focused. This quote, and the book as a whole, reaffirmed my thinking and helped me to feel comfortable sharing my thoughts with colleagues and classmates. Rather than promoting a passion for literacy, I believe we are spending too much time focusing in on and teaching these skills. I want students to have a love for reading, and this love is cultivated by providing students time to read texts of their choice, teachers providing book talks and modeling reading, and providing instruction tailored to students' needs. Yes, students need to be able to identify the main idea of a passage, compare or contrast two texts, make inferences, and use story structure to write engaging pieces; however, I believe we need to look at the amount of time we're spending teaching these skills and make sure there's a balance.
I'm always on Twitter and recently I saw a photo of a school hallway with signs next to the doors sharing what the teacher was reading. I've been leading and supporting several reading initiatives in my building this year, I knew this was something I had to add! Within the hour I had created a sign for every staff member including cooks, custodians, school resource officers, associates and secretary. These signs were sent to our district's print shop to be made and laminated. As I handed out the signs, I stressed the importance of letting students see the staff members as readers and that I wanted them to join in as we celebrate and promote literacy in our building. It's been a week since I delivered the signs, and I love walking through the halls and see these signs outside the doors!
Let me know if you're interested in using our template for your staff. I've had several teachers tweet and email me already, and I'm happy to share!