Sunday, June 24, 2012

All Write!!! 2012

This year I was fortunate to attend the Seventh Annual All Write!!! Summer Institute thanks to Ruth Ayres and Stacey Shubitz at Two Writing Teachers and their March 2012 Slice of Life Challenge.

One thing that I took away from all sessions I attended is that I need to show my students that I am a reader and writer outside of the classroom.

Ruth Ayres (Twitter @ruth_ayres)
Ruth was the keynote speaker.  Her title was, "Mandates, standards, and evaluations. Can teachers still change the world?"
  • She asked us, "what is our mission as an educator?"
  • Ruth Ayres reminded us that our story indeed does matter.
  • There is a new song out by Barry Lane called, More Than a Number.  The words were written Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at the The Poem Farm.  The song went perfectly with Ruth Aryes' keynote.  
April Pulley Sayre
I love April Pully Sayre's nonfiction picture books and they have always been a great addition in my classroom.  She was a wonderful speaker and very entertaining.  I love being able to share with my students pieces about an author (that you can't read on-line) when I read aloud one of their books and look forward to sharing the bits and pieces she shared during her session.

  • I did learn about a great blog that various nonfiction authors co.ntribute to called, I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids).  This will be a great resource for me and my students next year.    
Franki Sibberson (Twitter @frankisibberson)
This is the first time I have been fortunate enough to hear Franki Sibberson speak in person.  I feel like I have learned lots from her by following her on Twitter prior to her presentation.  
  • The most important thing I learned from Franki is that when my students blog, they need to be doing so with a purpose and that I need to take plenty of time to model and set up the purpose.  I have had my students blog for the last two years.  Last year, I even had parents in for a blogging night.  I haven't felt like the blogs were very good either year.  I kind of felt a "duh", or maybe it was an "ah hah" moment.  I spend time model and give purpose to most of the writing students do, why wouldn't I do it for blogging?  Over the next month, I will be taking the time to plan out some mini-lessons using real blogs and then being sure to give purpose before blogging.
  • One neat idea that Franki shared was to have students write a paper blog post and have student practice writing comments for the post on sticky notes.  If you click on presentation above and go to slide #40, you can see an excellent picture.
Ralph Fletcher
I was fortunate to have Ralph Fletcher visit our school this past year.  He also conducted some PD after school.  Below are ideas he gave for using mentor text in the classroom.
1. Read books you love.
2. Take advantage of "micro-texts" that can be read in one sitting.
3. (Somehow I missed this one-sorry.  Probably because I was checking what others were saying on Twitter about different sessions.)
4. Try not to interrupt the first reading of a book.
5. Leave time for natural response.
6. Reread for Craft (he cautioned about over doing this).

Patrick Allen 
Last summer I was part of a #cyberPD book group that read and blogged about Patrick Allen's book, Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop.  I spent lots of time last school year working on my reading conferences and was excited to learn more form him.

  • Teach what I do as a reader (this really goes for writing too).
  • Be sure to use the language that readers use.
  • Write about books that have changed our lives and have kids do the same.  
  • "We need to teach kids to memorize great lines."
Donalyn Miller (Twitter @donalynbooks)
I think every teacher should read Donlyn Miller's book, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child.  She has a wealth of knowledge to share about getting kids to read and getting them to enjoy reading.
  • Donalyn Miller quoted a study from the University of Oxford (2011), "Reading books is the only out-of-school activity for 16-year-olds that is linked to getting a managerial or professional job in later life." --This is so powerful.
  • She asked us to think of an avid reader and list some characteristics of that reader.  She encouraged us to teach children these kinds of things.
  • I loved her idea of having kids carry books everywhere in school.  Think of the extra reading time they would have if they read during all the down time we have in school.
While the above is just a sample of what I took away from the All Write Conference, I know my students will benefit from my knowledge and learning for years to come.

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