Blogging the Day: October 17
Opening Moment: https://youtu.be/dkHqPFbxmOU
Lorry started the day with her presentation: Teaching Writing Through Literature. She started by having the class read Alice Walker's Feminist Prose: In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens and highlight or underline an important passage. She called a small group into a circle to model what she would do in her classroom. Each "student" read aloud their passage, and then afterwards everyone went back and explained why they chose it. This was known as "The Quiet Circle of Voices." Then, the group revisited the passage to look at the author's element of style using the writer's toolbox. Finally, there was a discussion about how the meaning of the piece was enhanced by style.
Margi presented next: Writing About Informational Text. Not only did we learn all kinds of fun facts about owls, but we learned to be mindful about choosing nonfiction texts to read with our students. Margi discussed ways to help students picture images while reading, how to help them navigate material on the page, how to take notes and find key information, and she gave us time to practice all of these strategies. We categorized; we acted; we made predictions; and we learned how to have fun with informational texts in the classroom.
Kerstin and Kelli presented about Writing Across the Curriculum. They showed a video where they interviewed their staff about their prior experiences with writing, and then they reviewed common grading strategies as well as writing strategies to use in every classroom. Erin and Stephen shared an introduction to the Lucy Calkins' Writing Program that they plan to present at their school this year.
Mary presented about the importance of mindfulness in the classroom. Her research did not have the results that she'd hoped it would, but this could have been because of emojis. She talked about the procedure of mindfulness in her classroom: quiet chime, gentle neck rolls, and other relaxation techniques were used before writing time. She explained that hesitant students started to look forward to this time in her classroom, which was validation enough to continue the practice in her classroom and to promote it for others.
Kate presented about pre-writing exercises for the college essays and whether or not this helped students. Unfortunately, she missed many classes with her group and by the time they returned to her, they had already completed the essay. Her results were inconclusive, but she explained that she wants to continue pre-writing exercises and also to communicate with teachers about what they are doing for college essay prep in their own classrooms.
Closing Moment: Kahlil Gibran's "On Teaching"