Local author Leslie Bulion has done it again and will be sharing her newest book of poetry at the Durham Library during her book launch party! Come and meet Leslie, play critter games, decorate worm and snail cookies, get bacteria tattoos and even purchase a book and get it signed! Come join the fun on March 14 at 6:30pm.
"I just can't pick!" "Can we pick 2?" Every week we added a new book or 2 and every week my 1st and 2nd grade students fell in love with another book on our Mock Sibert nominee list.
Here's what we read:
Snow days and delays limited our nominees to only 9 choices, but we loved them. The titles came came the list author Melissa Stewart posted on her blog. Focusing on the Sibert Award (pronounced Sigh - bert) was a perfect fit with the nonfiction unit my students were experiencing in their classrooms. So not only were we able to read and enjoy these terrific books, but students were thinking critically about the authors' choices of nonfiction features too. One of the criteria that was new to my students was about backmatter. Backmatter are things like author's notes, resources, recipes and more.
So here are the results so far (I have 2 more classes to vote next week, so I'll update then):
First place: The World is not a Rectangle
Second place: Tied between Grand Canyon and The Youngest Marcher
Mrs. Lussier's pick - Grand Canyon
Each Wednesday morning I work with one of the 1st/2nd grade classes as part of an enrichment block. We have explored a variety of makerspace materials during our first rotation, built structures with only tongue depressors, binder clips and clothespins next, and started using Codestudio during our third rotation. For this rotation I wanted to do something hands on again. I remembered creating a binary bracelet when I was at ISTE at couple years ago and thought that it would be perfect! (I also have a large supply of perler beads from my daughter! Yes!)
I found the actual lesson from Thinkersmith's Traveling Circuits and tweaked it a little due to 45 minute time blocks. It was a lot of fun having kids think about exactly how computers communicate. We have done quite a lot of coding together, but I think this was the first time they really thought about what happens to make the code work. I don't have a computer to take apart right now, but they provide pictures.
After taking a quick peek at the inside, we moved on to the challenges of binary. It is a little bit of a stretch to think about how computers actually understand the keystrokes/mouse clicks, but overall we got the idea. The kids loved trying to figure out the letters in ASCII. I put a code on the chart paper and gave each student a decoder card. Some of the kids noticed that A-O started with the same pattern while P-Z do too.
After we did a few together and most students felt pretty comfortable, I showed them how they would create a bracelet using beads that represented their 2 initials. They used a strip of paper (provided in the lesson) to record the code for their initials and chose 2 colors for on / off. The perler beads worked great, but I did need to use thread, not a thicker string. We also had to try different ways to tie the beads on (we did have a few whole codes just fall off), but the kids were patient with me. Pictures will be coming soon!
If they finished, they could wear their bracelets home. If they needed more time, I put their materials into a baggie and either sent it home to complete or they will finish it during their next library class.
The best part was on Thursday morning, some students came down to the library to show me what they created at their afterschool program! They had shared with their teacher what we had done and she looked up binary codes, found beads, and helped them create even more! They came back Friday morning too! It was so exciting to see the kids take what we had done and extend it and teach others.
I shared the journal that I had created this summer when my daughter and I first found this book. We had a ton of fun decorating the cover with washi tape and modge podging over it. The Creative Journaling group will be making their own journals too, at our next meeting. But for today we gave out pages that will go into their new journals and let them create! Below are some images of what they accomplished.
The date above should be 11/18/17. : )
It was absolutely the best to get back into the library with my students this fall. Some I haven't even met yet, but I will tomorrow and I can't wait! We have had a lot of fun thinking about superheroes of all kinds and with the kindergarteners, exploring friendship. More on the kindergarteners in another post.
As we read, I stopped at a few chosen spots to have students make predictions, turn and talk, and share observations.
One that really stood out to me was that, "Manny's super power is his imagination!" Love it!
We ended with a discussion about how each of them have an invisible cape that will help them stand up too. I hope that is a lesson they remember all year long.
After a brain/movement break in which we circled up and shared our name and a movement, we moved on to getting library books! On the first day? You bet! Together we remembered important items as we began to check out books, such as how to take care of those books when they got them home. Book check out is one of my favorite times - I love watching kids find something great and get down to reading.
After a quick check in about how they did taking care of their books all week (and showing them some of my saddest cases - chewed by dogs, left out in the rain, and a juice spill), we jumped right back into super heroes. This time our book starred Marvelous Cornelius, a New Orleans hero during Hurricane Katrina. With so many hurricanes around the U.S. right now, it was a natural way to talk about them and ask questions that we will investigate this week.
There is so much that Marvelous Cornelius, by Phil Bildner, has to offer. It is a tremendous story, filled with the rhythm and language of New Orleans. We noted ways that Manny and Cornelius were similar and different. As always, students notice so many things!
Our next step is to record and post some stories for the kids affected by Hurricane Harvey and learn more about hurricanes. It's a busy start to the year, but important as we build our reading communities. Read because we love great stories and read to learn. Most of all, just read.
Posting this late, but these last two chapters had me marking all kinds of things!
Let me just begin by saying that Vinton shares such fascinating reflections about what readers are really doing. I really appreciate being able to see into her mind.
I'm intrigued by a new idea - Framing vs. Scaffolding. "Thinking Frames" are from Project Zero's David Perkins Vinton writes. They help "guide the process of thought, supporting, organizing, and catalyzing". I have never learned about them before like I had with scaffolding. It is interesting that I am seeing over and over again this summer about how we have over-scaffolded students, so that the scaffold is the thing being taught, not the way of reading or thinking (p. 182).
Framing "breaks down complex thinking into manageable pieces without ever losing sight of the whole" and "invites students to engage in the actual thinking work that's behind what we often teach as skills" (p. 182).
I really am interested in this idea - getting at the thinking, rather than the end product. Isn't that what we purport to want from our students? But if we never give them the opportunity to actually think, what then?
I also am reading a great deal about "extraction" versus "transaction". I think many times we are asking students to extract - which again indicates a correct answer or end product. There are many types of questions that when framed just a bit differently, can bring the reader in and make them more inquisitive.
What's the main idea? (extraction) versus What do you think the writer wants you to understand? (transaction) - What a difference!
On page 186 Vinton talks about "reacting to the facts, rather than responding". Reacting invites students to bring their feelings. I was excited about this because for a few years now, I've been using a chart called Fact/React with my library students which helps them annotate and think about the nonfiction they are reading. I found it on Twitter (I wish I could find the tweet!) but it has been really interesting to watch kids. Rather than just writing down facts, it asks them to show their thinking. To me, it helps take away that regurgitation of information.
Chapter 10 discusses Independent Reading and conferences. I loved the slight shift Vinton suggests for beginning a conference - instead of asking about the book, make it about the reader. For example, Are you wondering about anything? or Have you noticed any patterns or things that are repeated? It's not about what they are reading, but how they are making meaning, which is really what we are teaching isn't it?
I also loved the quote on p. 208 about engagement from Charlotte Danielson - Here's the beginning: "Student engagement is not the same as . . . "time on task."
This work is hard. Really hard. And I have a lot to learn, but I am excited and energized to use these ideas with my students. I will have to make tweaks to use them in the library, but I love that challenge!
Thanks to all the #cyberPD folks for another amazing book group this summer!
I could write so much about these chapters - I'm literally filling a notebook with all my thoughts and ideas and stars and exclamation points. Here goes:
Patterns - very much reminded me of what Beers & Probst write about in Notice & Note with their sign-posts. Vinton writes about how "writers convey meaning through patterns that change and break". That's how you can find spots to think and perhaps revise or add to previous thinking. I love how reading is like a process - I find that often. I reread certain books over and over and each time find something new that I haven't noticed before. She speaks about the END being the final time to revise and how it might show us what the writer intended.
Patterns are also found in many other areas, such as math and science, reminding me again how important it is for students to learn how to learn. So much can be applied to many different areas. Patterns are universal.
Going along with this, I loved how she connected reading and math through the idea of Rich tasks (p. 127).
These are so important especially because they provide multiple paths for students to work. There is not one way of thinking!
In this chapter, Vinton also makes me think more about the language we use - maybe, could and might are all very vague - so that students must continue to think rather than just wait for confirmation by the teacher.
On to nonfiction!!! I was so excited to see this coming up because of what we do in the library with inquiry and evaluation of information.
I appreciated so much the focus on expository nonfiction - that is a genre that is difficult to work with and sometime I feel like I am only taking the text at face value. I loved how Vinton provides a way for us to be thinking about the facts "how they are related, what they might imply and how a phenomenon, process, or event works or happens" (p. 139).
There is a shift from just knowing to UNDERSTANDING.
Loved this: "aboutitis" from David Perkins (see p. 141 & 2) - this seems like just the knowing part, without the understanding.
P. 144 - The goal is understanding, not just collecting facts! I'm really going to be thinking about this and how to share this with teachers.
P. 155 Vinton does some comparing of CCSS purpose with a Problem-based process. In her opinion, CCSS is very product, answer getting, comprehension question focused as opposed to process, thinking and explaining, and understanding focused. I'm interested to see what other folks think about this.
Toward the end of the chapter, time is spent in thinking about the teacher as a learner in the class too. It is again a move away from "I know everything" to "we are in this together and we all get confused" types of mentalities.
Lastly, the takeaway about how confusion is actually really important. I have read/heard about how learning happens when 2 things almost rub against one another and so you really have to think. It can be painful sometimes, but far more rewarding in the end!
Continued to be fascinated by the ideas in this book!
Here is the post for week 2 - I posted directly to the group because I was away at the HOT Schools Summer Institute for some amazing STEAM learning!
Week 2 - chapters 5 & 6
Hello all - I am going to keep it short and post from here this week because I'm at an arts integration conference! Some amazing learning this summer!
Thoughts for chapters 5 & 6 - I'm going to be mixing a bunch of things together because as I read this book and Disrupting Thinking AND attend this conference where we had (among others) Alan November talking with us, and my work with NGSS standards, a couple of things keep standing out.
#1: There must be a shift from looking for answers to thinking. Critical thinking which helps students self-assess. And not teacher directed, overly scaffolding thinking, but thinking of their own. I am also really finding the focus on changing the power arrangement within the classroom important. Another aspect of this is asking if anyone figured out something a different way or came to a different conclusion. I am finding this crucial in my conversations about the arts as well as science.
#2: Make thinking visible - this has also been a theme throughout this conference - really listening as the teacher names what they have heard. It has been powerful as a participant in different sessions this week. We've talked a lot about using it as evidence of learning.
#3: Positional statements/or evaluative - I am going to pay much closer attention to these types of statements.
#4: Loved the idea of highlighting words that the students DO know. Simple, but powerful.
Thanks again to all for your thoughts!
There were so many things to think about as I read this first section of Dynamic Thinking for Deeper Reading! I am also reading Disrupting Thinking (Beers & Probst) at the same time for the slow twitter chat #readDTchat, so my mind is really exploding! I am a PreK - 4 library media specialist in central Connecticut and I am passionate about providing the best reading experiences for my students and supporting the teachers in my schools too. I am going to focus on a few of the ideas that surprised me or made me wonder and that I felt are important, especially in the library.
1) Over-scaffolding - are we getting to the point where this is happening and where teachers are doing much more work than the kids?
2) I was intrigued by the idea that there is too much "skillification" going on. I think that like everything else, there must be a balance. My district began using the Calkins units of study for reading last year and I am curious to find out what the teachers think about that balance.
3) Problem-based approach to reading - interesting to think about that it is the move from extracting to transacting (from both this book & Disrupting Thinking)
4) As a librarian, I thrive on readers bringing themselves to texts - I find it impossible to separate myself. It seems like that would be telling readers that their experience simply doesn't matter. Not a great way to grow readers.
5) Do we get lost in the teaching of the skill or strategy and forget that the goal is really to understand the text?
6) Again - high degrees of scaffolding means that students aren't thinking.
7) I love the importance of the change or revision as new information is encountered. I think this is an area that I can really focus on in the library through inquiry. Very excited to explore this in the coming school year.
8) There's been a lot of talk about creativity - thinking about applying it to reading was new to me. Seems almost opposite of what they Common Core is focusing on, but I'll have to learn a little more about this.
9) Surprised by the notion that text dependent means teacher dependent.
10) Loved the thoughts about critical thinking and creativity - they very much follow the Guided Inquiry Design model and what I am learning about in terms of science with the NGSS. Very similar processes - universals.
11) Loved the flip of the words - close reading vs. reading closely. This seems like a very subtle shift, but I think it is huge.
12) The process of reading being circular - see #10.
13) Brain research - so fascinating. I see this with my own kids - if they are bored or frustrated with something, the stress and anxiety come to the surface and it makes it difficult to learn.
14) DEEP!!! - I really thought about deeper learning in terms of my library classes. It is so difficult to see students 45 min. per week (if I'm lucky) and to really have deep learning. What can I do to improve the learning for my students?
15) Ahhh - choice! As a librarian, choice is imperative. This spring my students and I participated in the #readingwithoutwalls challenge from author Gene Luen Yang, our National Ambassador for Young People's Literature this year. Even within this challenge there is choice. While I understand the need for all students to work with the same text at times, it seems to me that shorter pieces can be used and then move on to where students have choice.
16) Dylan Wiliam's work has been very influential on me and I was glad to see him referenced in chapter 4. I love the idea of impactful feedback that occurs just in time, not at the end of something. By then, it is almost meaningless, especially because usually, that feedback won't be used in any way. It's just there.
17) Teacher as learner! That's what we each are doing and I do show my students the learning I do over the summer. Vinton writes about how important it is to model how to BE, not just how to do. Give up that control!
Throughout these chapters, the peek into classrooms and conferences with students has been a great way to ground the learning we are doing. I especially loved the mud in the tea example - you just never know what they will be thinking!
I am so excited to be reading these titles this summer and to be attending the 24th Annual HOT School Summer Institute: The HOT Approach Makes STEM Sizzle! Book group #1 is a slow twitter chat about the book Disrupting Thinking by Beers & Probst, using the hashtag #ReadDTchat. Questions are posted each week as we read and explore this book. Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading by Vicki Vinton is the professional book chat hosted by #cyberPD, a Google + community. Each week we will read, post and then comment on one another's posts. This is my 3rd year participating and the learning and community is awesome! Read the next post for my response to the introduction and chapters 1-4.
Mrs. Lussier is a Library Media Specialist at Brewster and John Lyman Elementary Schools in Durham & Middlefield, CT. I am passionate about getting kids reading (ok, everyone!), using technology and having FUN!
The Nonfiction Detectives
A Year of Reading
Great Kid Books
Free Technology for Teachers
The Styling Librarian
The Book Whisperer
The Busy Librarian
Barrow Library Media Center
Watch. Connect. Read.
Kid Lit Frenzy
The Daring Librarian
Librarian in Cute Shoes
Read Write Reflect
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