Lucy greeted us – 1,300 strong from 41 countries and 43 states on a Sunday so we can end on Thursday and be home for July 4th. She reminded us how teaching today is different. Information is accessible to kids today as easily as air. So now our job is not to give them info but to help them construct meaning to such questions as “What will we do about the death of honey bees, bats, and the middle class.”
Lucy suggested: Three Ways to Lift the Level of Teaching
1. Work on your reading (and your teaching of reading)
To get better, I must resolve to get better – 10,000 hours of deliberate practice so perfect practice will make for perfect reading. Then we practiced with Lucy.
We read To a Daughter Leaving Home by Linda Pastan. http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/075.html
We thought about what kind of mother? What kind of daughter? What is the poem really about?
We reread it closely for vocabulary, structure and point of view.
Then we compared it to the song, Leaving on A Jet Plane
This work she had me do is the work I want – need – to teach my students to do. I need to decide how to make this shift to lead my students to read closely and deeply!!
2. Own Your Content
I need to feel at home with MY reading skills. I need to live differently as a reader because I am envisioning, predicting, synthesizing, etc. Lucy shared how buying her mother a present for her birthday involved predicting. Listening to JK Rowling speak at her niece’s graduation from Harvard was listening to how that author lives using her imagination and her reading skills.
I plan to watch and listen as Lucy did that day!
Then Lucy recalled a story of when she forgot she was to attend a potluck so quickly brought napkins to the party, not a casserole. She reminded us that coming to book club is like coming to a pot luck. We need to come prepared and not be the one embarrassed only showing up with napkins.
3. Teach in a Community of Practice
Our student can’t just have one good year with one good teacher teacing RW. They need many years! We must get together and figure out as a community what to say YES to and what to say NO to. What will be the practices we take up? and what will we not? We must have priorities, name them and name what we will NOT do. We can make this work when we pull together and teach in a shared community!
She ended by reminded the large crowd that this INSTITUTE is a BIG potluck!!
SMALL GROUP with MARY EHRENSWORTH – Book Clubs
Mary gave such great classroom management tips! She modeled getting us organized by using phrases like “I admire you for getting into clubs of 4 each and helping each other. She reminded me of how kids need to know what they are to do and receive clear feedback. Instead of saying “Good Job” , “It was about a 6. Next time….”
I am in a nonfiction book club reading about Rainforests.
And an adult book club read Goldfinch.
SMALL GROUP with KATHLEEN TOLAN – Social Studies Centers
Kathleen shared WHY using centers in SS works – lots of talk helps kids hold onto the content.
She shared this video clip of kids in centers:
I am blown away by the WAY the kids talk. When asked how to get kids to do that, she simply stated, LET THEM TALK!!
She suggested a way to start a unit in SS is with a drumroll activity – it could be a song, a dance, a piece of art work from the time period. Then we did a WRITE AROUND.
Without talkingm she placed an image in front of 3 of us and we were to write around that image what we thougtht and saw. Then we rotated and rotated again. Then we got back with a group to revisit what we were all thinking and TALK about it. BRILLIANT STRATEGY!!!
CLOSING: 10 Books that Spark Great Grand Conversations
1. Each Kindness by J. Woodson
2. The Man Who Walked between the Towers
3. The One and Only Ivan and Home of the Brave by same author
5. Flora and Ulysses
6. The Split History NF series
7. What Was the Gold Rush – a NF series
8. You Wouldn’t Want to____ NF series
9. Vera William’s Amber Was Brave, Essie was Smart poetry book
10. My Man Blue by Nikki Grimes poetry book
11. Every Living Thing
12. Fly Away Home
13. Angry Aztecs – Incredible Histories (also on YouTube)
14. Poems to Love by Heart collected by Caroline Kennedy
15. Dead End by Gantos
She also recommended Pixar short movies found on You Tube, songs, and video game trailers like Epic Mickey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-MnhFSHTxU