Tuesday, July 5, 2016

#cyberpd Week 1 DIY Literacy

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I preordered the book this spring and promptly read the whole thing the day I received it. Then came the weekly videos and I found myself rereading certain sections to deepen my understanding. Maggie and Kate did such a fantastic job rolling out this book. It was so powerful to see the tools (visual), hear them explained (clarity), and see them repeated (practiced) throughout the weeks. This is exactly how to make things "stick", see pages 7-8 numbers 1-3. 

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Chapter 1: One of the hardest things, I think, teachers grapple with is to take ownership when our students are not engaged. "When our kids aren't engaged, or learning, or growing, there  is something they are not getting from us that they need," (p. 2).  We have to find the right tool that tackles the problems of memory, rigor and differentiation. So many times I hear teachers say, "Did that teacher teach them anything last year?" or "I just taught them that last week!" I think the key term here is "taught". We can teach them all kinds of things, but if it is not rigorous enough, at their level or in a way to "stick", they will not learn. We can get too focused on the "hamster wheel" of breadth, and lose our center on depth.

Chapter 2: It seems too simple that they include only 4 teaching tools in this book, but they are so powerful and this chapter does a great job of explaining why you would use each one, touching on the three problems students face in memory, rigor and differentiation. I have tons of experience with charts and bookmarks, but the demonstration notebook and micro-progression tools were knew to me. I still am wrapping my head around the demonstration notebook and still will, as I don't have a class of my own (I am a reading specialist and instructional coach). I LOVE the micro-progression and it can be a quick tool for formative assessment and self-reporting of progress by the students.

Bonus:Page 32 really spelled it out for me by putting together The What + The How + The Why. I anticipate using this with teachers as we work together to define strategies and how to put them into clear, concise language for students. We have to know WHY this is important.

I have a very strong group of educators I am tickled to call my PLC. Through this network, I encounter many new professional and middle grade texts to read and then share with fellow educators (& students) I work with. I met with a group of teachers from my school last week do begin our book study on The Reading Strategies book. With it, I brought along 3 other books I am currently studying based on information I have gotten from fellow educators. The majority of these recommendations were from my Twitter PLC. If you are not on Twitter, stop reading this and go now to sign up and begin your new professional development journey :)


  1. I agree with you! Micro-progressions seem like a great tool for assessment too. Anything that allows a student to "self-assess" is a win in my book!
    And Twitter as a PLC! Absolutely! What a fantastic way to maintain and grow networks with other passionate educators!

  2. As a Literacy Specialist also, I was intrigued too, by demonstration notebooks and micro progressions. You are so fortunate to have such a strong network to learn with. It's great to have a group of "sidekicks"!

  3. I really connected with your thinking. The what the how and the why are key for learning that sticks. I also look forward to sharing with the PLC teams I work with as a coach. The tools K & M shared will definitely help in being prescriptive teachers of reading and writing. Also watching their videos is helpful too.

  4. You capture the balance & dynamic of teaching vs learning in this post clearly and vividly. Reminds me to remember to pair two questions together: What did I teach today? And what did me (and my students) learn? Thank you for your reflections. -Maggie Beattie Roberts

    1. I appreciate your feedback and all the work you and Kate put into the book!