Literacy Is…

IMG_7836Today I completed Day 2 of the TCRWP August Reading Institute and my professional library gained two more books.  I am so excited to finally get my hands on a copy of the TC Reading Pathways!  My homework assignment tonight is to read through it and I cannot wait to dig in.

Here are the highlights of my day:

FullSizeRenderI began my day by attending If You Feel Like You’ve Entered a Conversation that is Already Underway.  Here the instructor defined all the important vocabulary associated with Minilessons, Independent Reading Time, Environment, Curriculum, and Reading in the Company of Others.

I was happy when she defined the word Bend for me.  This word is found in both the reading and writing units of study.  Each unit usually contains 3 Bends that build upon each other.  In the 1st Bend students are given a lot of support, in the 2nd Bend the goal is to “do it again with greater independence,” and then in the 3rd Bend students are given the most choice and options.  Bends build reading and writing muscles to improve the quality of work.

IMG_7809Today in Interpretation Book Clubs we worked on interpretation through an interactive read aloud, had a discussion of balanced literacy, worked on making plot mountains to help us talk about our books, and discussed themes.  My key learning was the clarification that an issue is a problem that impacts more than one character (a word – courage).  A theme is what the author wants the reader to know, think, or feel about the issue (a sentence – There is more power inside us than we realize).

FullSizeRender 2      In Coming Backstage to Understand the Principles, Methods, and Progressions that Undergird the New K-5 Reading Series we reviewed what the units in grades 3-5 contain and watched videos of what student talk looks and sounds like in a workshop environment.  We then spent the rest of our time looking at minilessons.  We watched videos, discussed, and participated in minilessons from the new units of study.  My favorite part by far was watching the videos of the minilessons and seeing how they look and sound with students.  We were greatly encouraged to WRITE DOWN the teaching points of the minilesson and to not be afraid to read them during the lesson.

FullSizeRender 3After lunch I attended Maximizing Your Small Group Instruction.  Here 5 different structures for small group work (see picture) were presented.  The groups described were quick, purposeful, and fluid. I love the question she challenged us to ask students participating in an inquiry lesson “Now, what could you do to make _____ better?”

IMG_7824 In the final session we had the honor of listening to Kylene Beers present Shift Happens: Thinking About Literacy Demands.  There were SO many great points that she discussed but by far my favorite was: “What’s the best predictor of school success?”  Teacher? Nope.  Reading level?  Wrong.  Family income?  Sorry.  Volume of reading?  Yes, yes, yes!

FullSizeRender 2 My day ended with a workshop titled Twitter Is Your PD Friend.  Afterwards I took a walk through Columbia University.  The majestic library (pictured above) certainly symbolizes what Kylene Beers discussed…literacy is power and privilege.

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