Monday, June 27, 2016

Today’s hosts:  Kim & Darren

Opening Moment
We started our morning with two short videos/commercials about Michael Jordan and his successes and failures.  These videos can be used in all aspects of life, but are related to writing because we always see the final product (the success), but rarely get to see the revisions (failures) when we read published books and articles. We talked about how important it is to write in front of our students, so they can see all of the hard work that goes into writing and how it isn’t “perfect” from the start.  It’s just like we don’t see the background and hard work and failures Michael Jordan went through to get to be the legend he is today.  

Maybe It’s My Fault...

Teach Me Tech
This was a quick hit on teaching us a great technology resource from The Teaching Channel, which is known for it’s videos.  The particular video we watched today was about a Twitter style exit slip to assess students at the end of class, which you can watch again here.  Students chose one of three questions and answered it in 140 characters or less.  You can even download any handouts as a pdf.  Another nifty trick Patricia showed us, called Bookmarklet, was that you can schedule an email to get an article or video you want to look at on another date.  For example, if you want to remember to watch a particular video on February 5th because it will go along with a unit that you will be teaching, you can schedule to have the video emailed to you a week or two in advance to remind you to watch it.  There will be another TMT tomorrow (Tuesday), and Jane will give us another TMT on Thursday.

Learning Autobiographies
Susan started with hers.  She used the idea of a quilt to explain how the patches of her learning and life throughout the years turned her into the “quilt” she is today.  Very touching autobiography from Susan.  Thanks for sharing that touching story with us, Susan!

Bobby was up next.  He talked about how Sister Clemens made reading fun.  A great quote from his autobiography, “My students are gifted teachers.”  Last, he shared his T-shirts that represent various times in his life.  The t-shirt Grandma found at the beach…. :) Thanks for sharing your story with us, Bobby!

Last for the morning part was Courtney.  The box.  She shared how she grew to live being "inside the box" and made us laugh in her very animated presentation of her life in the box. Thank you for sharing your very engaging story!

Paths Introduction
Summer is a time to focus on ourselves as writers.  Fall is a time to focus on ourselves as teachers.  We need to start thinking about developing a workshop or doing teacher action research which we will present in the fall on the last three sessions.  All of this information is on the blog under “Helpful Resources.”

-Commit to continuous professional learning
-Understand the role of teachers teaching teachers
-Articulate what they believe
-Demonstrate what they know
-Are ready to become consultants and deliver PD

-Description of context (what brought this workshop about)
-Explanation of rationale behind practice supported by research (5 peer reviewed articles that support your path)
-Student samples/exemplars, handouts/reproducibles
-Blended delivery (a little talking, a little doing)
-Time for discussion/questions

Teacher Action Research
It’s a presentation that you share what you learned from your research and what you’re doing with that research.  This is shorter than the workshop model.  You can even start this from day one in your classroom with your students!
- A professional growth opportunity with student learning at the center
-A chance to focus on a desired area of growth (Something you want to improve in your classroom)
-An opportunity to reflect on work already underway
-A natural, instinctive part of teaching
-As simple or complex as you make it

TAR or ART Presentation
-What was your research question?
-What data did you collect?
-What outside research did you do?
-What came from your analysis of the data?
-How has the work improved student learning?

“Each path leads a Fellow to the SMWP Teacher Consultant Network”

Wednesday we will have lunch with our mentor.  This will give us a time to start to talk through some of our ideas around Teacher Action Research or the Workshop model.  Make sure to bring a lunch that day! :)


Kim’s Learning Autobiography

Kim shared her story of being a lifelong dancer, and lifelong learner. From being a seagull (not a whale), to showing others how to dance and so finding a love of teaching, she shared the importance of this particular passion in her life. Thanks for sharing Kim!

Shawne’s Learning Autobiography

Shawne’s LA was written in a variety of styles, and covering many different interests and experiences from her life. From early days and a life threatening accident, to her varied and fascinating hobbies (such as bee-keeping!), to one current focus of her learning and work (racial justice), she gave us an eclectic portrait of herself as a learner. Thanks for sharing Shawne!

Revision Workshop
w/ special guests Anne and Yarmouth High students Isabella, Wells, and George

We all shared our thoughts on what we think when we are told we need to revise.

Anne and her students shared the power of revising with others in a workshop model. In a workshop you bring your writing to a trusted group of peers, with an open mind. When we revise with others, we all benefit.

Anne asked us to consider the end of a book, in the author's note or acknowledgements. Think of all the people the author tells you about that helped them along the way. It takes many eyes to create those polished final pieces. We must teach our students to collaborate.

Other tips about revision in the workshop model: 

  1. When it’s raw, still too personal, etc., don't share it yet. When it’s ready, it deserves revision.
  2. Let a group of trusted peers react to it and guide you. Classroom must be a safe place, feedback should start with what’s engaging about the piece (positive). Practice, discuss, model how to give feedback in a way that is helpful.
  3. Separate the writer from the writing. The writer should not talk, everyone else references them as “the writer”. Writing is personal, and this can help protect feelings.
  4. Positive revision questions (where are you most engaged, what’s the engine?) vs. constructive questions (Where do you get confused, where do you have to work to pay attention?) [Don’t ask the writer, the revision group puzzles it out] “What are you saying here?”

Honor your work: REVISE.

We all received a packet with great revision prompts. From here we broke into our reading groups to revise together, try some of the workshop model that had been shared with us, and continue to write.

The closing moment was an audio clip from Annie Dillard's The Writing Life, focusing on our use of time. It cannot be linked directly as it's an audiobook, but a cursory Google search turned up this article that breaks down the section of the book: How We Spend Our Days...

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