Oct. 19 – TCRWP Saturday Reunion

I use my blog as a place to process all I hear when I attend workshops and institues. Here are some of my take-aways and photos from Saturday, October 19, 2019 (10-19-19). If you search TCRWP on this blog, you can find other times I blogged as I visited to my “happy place” – the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project!

97th TCRWP Reunion Saturday
I purposefully dressed in my teal, white and blue polka-dotted shirt and headed to Riverside Church. Because I was awake before the sun, I enjoyed this view from my train window as I headed into Manhattan. (Special thanks to my daughter who resides now in Newark, NJ and who housed a collegue and I on Friday night!).


Keynote – Peter Reynolds, author of The Dot and many more books!
He share the backstory of how “Vashti” became the main character’s name in The Dot after meeting a 7-yr old gypsie girl who sold him a flower in a coffee shop as he was sketching out the story one day. He read aloud The Dot and The Word Collector. He suggested that every school should have a “Creativity Department” along with having a supportive Athletic Department. He shared his current work with an Online Publishing Subscrption called Get Published.


I now want to plan a road trip to his Blue Bunny Bookstore outside of Boston! His bookstore sells books and art materials. “I want my customers to be inspired to make their own books.” He ended by showing his Favorite Book – a white covered blank book. “It could be anything. Every day we get another page. We get to write it!”

Jonathan and Book Clubs
I left his hour workshop, committed to getting my students into pairs to talk, talk, talk about books in book clubs! A few of his suggestions included:
* Start with partnerships right away, make it a habit and get pairs talking!!
* Also get partners to know each other – interview each other / share how books are mirrors/windows / read the same book or swap books
* Talk Mats can help / partners bring thinking to share at the end of workshop / set partners up to have debates
* Give more practice during Interactive Rread-alouds and have 2 partnerships sit together to be a Book Club

Shana and Reading Graphic Novels
At the end of her workshop hour, I felt ready to read-aloud graphic novels to my students, something I have not felt confident doing ever. But with Shana’s modeling, I’m ready now!

First she suggested reading/viewing two things to better understand the importance of the medium of the graphic novel: Nerdy Book Club article and Tedtalk by Gene Luen Yang.

Before reading to us, she taught us how to read this medium using this chart:


She reminded us that readers of graphic novels have 2 jobs – read the words and read the images.She emphasized that the “gutter” is where the reader needs to stop, infer and fill in what occurs between panels. “The gutter is tapping us on the shoulder, asking What happened here?”

Then she opened Comic Squad Recess and read to us the short story, The Rainy Day Monitor.She planned it out ensuring we were working on the skills of a NOPQ readers. for example determining the problems: Which trouble is bigger? Rainy day or Becca? img_6271.jpg

She had on display these books:


And ended by showing us a wordless graphic novel called Here I Am. She said it is such a complex book that she levels it as an RST book, despite having no words.

I vow to model and have partners practice the following:
read the words – read the images – read the gutters!

Liz and Up the Ladder: Fiction
I received the Upper the Ladder book days before and asked Liz to sign my copy. She was genuinely honored that I asked!

Then she walked us through all the cool things that come with this resource. It is meant for grade 3 and up and especially for kids who need to strengthen their reading foundations to be ready for grade-level units. LOADS of online resources come with this. Plus 2 read-alouds. Plus videos to watch of each session. I’m looking forward to trying these lessons!

Shana and Closing Keynote
She weaved a touching story about moving her dad into assisted livingand related it to building strong classroom libraries. Some tips: sort by publishing date and weed out books. Sort by cultures portrayed. Sort by race/gender of protagonists. It’s time for EXTREME MAKE-OVER CLASSROOM LIBRARY EDITION!

Thank you, TCRWP! Another Saturday worth traveling in order to learn from you.


One thought on “Oct. 19 – TCRWP Saturday Reunion

  1. I missed you Sally! One of my daughters plays soccer at the college level, and she had a big game, so… thanks for sharing some of the learning–it’s such a special day, and I was sad to miss Shana.


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