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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Schedule Revealed for the Upcoming #D100bloggerPD Book Study on Hacking Engagement: 50 Tips & Tools to Engage Teachers and Learners Daily!

The #D100bloggerPD book study schedule for James Alan Sturtevant's Hacking Engagement: 50 Tips & Tools to Engage Teachers and Learners Daily is ready for reveal, so mark your calendars! Some gals in my school district have banned together and are excited to get things underway. The kickoff for the book study starts Thursday, October 19, 2017 right here on Literacy Loving Gals. 

Each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the duration of October through the start of November, a #D100bloggerPD crew member will post a reflection on their chosen hacks from the book. The book study culminates on Reading and Owl of the Above Thursday, November 9, 2017, which is the 2nd anniversary of #D100bloggerPD!

Feel free to join in on the book study by hopping from blog to blog reflecting within the comments section. I will be linking the crew's posts down below, so once the book study has been completed, all links to the study will be in one place for easy access. To view the Table of Contents taken from Hacking Engagement, peek below.
Happy Reading!
Literacy Loving Gals
Hacks 1-5

See Jane Blog
Hacks 6-10

iShift
Hacks 11-15

Tales of an iCoach
Hacks 16-20

Grammar Mamma 
Hacks 21-25

Responsive Literacy
Hacks 26-30

iLearn
Hacks 31-35

Ms. Frizzle RL
Hacks 36-40

The Bazz Blog
Hacks 41-45

Reading and Owl of the Above
Hacks 46-50



Friday, July 7, 2017

Tips, Tweets & Advice from Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst, Authors of Disrupting Thinking





It's been a while since my last post, but I am back. With the school year's end, there are more minutes in my day for relaxation, reflection on the year's journey, and READING (my favorite)! If you haven't read Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst, I glowingly recommend you do. 

I know...I know. I'm repeatedly recommending professional books to anyone and everyone. However, this book is now on the top of my resource pile for ALL teachers. It has genuinely disrupted and elevated my thinking, as well as caused me to further reflect on my practices as a Reading Specialist and soon-to-be Literacy Coach. 

The questioning techniques shared in the book place classroom discussions into the hands of students. Who wouldn't want a more student-centered approach to literacy? If you desire looking at teaching practices through an alternate lens and aspire to evolve your perspective on students' reading, writing and speaking habits, grab and devour your own copy! 

I love everything these authors have written. I'm quite confident you won't be disappointed. Listening to them speak a handful of times was very enlightening. They are funny, too! Below is a picture from the 2016 Illinois Reading Conference. My good friend Leah was with me in the picture. She's just as much of a die-hard fan of these two as I am! :)
Moving on. We all know there has been a shift in education since the introduction of the Common Core State Standards. The standards return the focus within the four corners of the text and away from personal connections. However, Beers and Probst view reading as a transformational experience and believe REAL reading encourages readers to be responsive, reflective and responsible. 
The authors put a strong emphasis on readers having the opportunity to respond with how they feel about a text. Try asking students, How did this reading change who you are? Have YOU ever asked your students that question? Here's my answer to that exact question (the rest of the questions and my responses are at the end of this post):
Like I said, this book has completely disrupted my thinking in a transformational way. I'm thrilled to have my thinking challenged. That's one way to grow as an educator and as a human being. Right? Before we jump into the tips, take a peek at Kylene's tweet regarding 9 research-based reasons for why reading is so important taken from p. 134 in the book.
Okay, bring on the quick tips, tweets and advice from Kylene Beers and Robert Probst:
  • Pay attention to who’s doing the talking. Teach more by talking less.
  • Value change in the classroom for both teachers and students.
  • There is value in approaching reading as a transaction.
  • Encourage and allow students to reread texts that interest them.

  • Read from the book, the head, the heart.
  • Give kids choice to empower them as readers.

  • Allow students to read the same book, but be leery of reading the book the same way.
  • Discuss books with students they haven’t read and offer strategies on the best way to do this.
  • Both teachers and parents are encouraged to talk with students about what they don’t understand.
  • Understand what non-fiction means and teach students to assess the quality of non-fiction texts.





  • You can’t improve competence unless you start with confidence.
Discover any new insights? If you are on Twitter, my all-time favorite platform for impromptu professional development, you can track down some outstanding content. 
Check out the hashtags #readDTchat and #DisruptiveThinking for details, guidance, enlightenment and differing perspectives on the book.

I am actually participating in a slow chat within the hashtag #readDTchat. New questions about the book's content will be posted each week. Participants have the full week to answer the questions, unlike the format of a quick-paced 30-60 minute chat. Below are the questions and my responses (A1: is above) to week one, if you're interested. 
Questions on Canva created by @MargaretGSimon on Twitter





One last mention: There will also be a #G2Great chat moderated by Dr. Mary Howard alongside Kylene Beers and Robert Probst regarding their book on Thursday, July 20th. Check it out! 

Happy transforming! 


THANKS FOR THE SHOUT OUT, KYLENE! 

Monday, June 5, 2017

"Preventing Misguided Reading: New Strategies for Guided Reading Teachers" by Burkins & Croft

Reflection, reflection, reflection. I have grown a great deal as a professional educator over the past 21 years, first as a classroom teacher and now as a Reading Specialist. I've taken risks, made mistakes, failed, as well as succeeded, through trial-and-error attempts within my instruction. After diving into the book, Who's Doing the Work? How to Say Less So Your Readers Can Do More by Burkins and Yaris last summer, I became better enlightened in effective practices for the next generation of guided reading instruction. That book truly altered my perception of what quality guided reading instruction should look like. I wrote a post dedicated to Who's Doing the Work?, so if you're interested in reading it, click HERE.
When I heard Burkins, the co-author of Who's Doing the Work?, had co-authored another book dedicated to guided reading, I quickly logged into Amazon and purchased Preventing Misguided Reading: New Strategies for Guided Reading TeachersFor this post, I simply want to highlight some of the authors' thoughts, but as you can see from the Table of Contents below, the book is jammed packed with worthwhile content. There are 6 chapters, each clarifying a misunderstanding about guided reading. The chapters are then broken down into 27 strategies that further support teachers with their guided reading practices. 
When I first started teaching, Fountas and Pinnell were my foundation for teaching reading. Over the years, I've added to my professional reading shelf, but the *yellowing copy* of my first guided reading book still remains. Fountas and Pinnell introduced guided reading back in the 1990's, but somehow, what they intended for teachers has transformed into something quite different. 
However, Burkins and Croft aim to clear up this unintended transformation and the confusion surrounding guided reading. This book helps empower teachers to refine their instruction and helps students become proficient readers. Below are quotes taken from their book. 
  • Education is littered with the remains of educational trends lost in translation. Often, the reality is that we compromise fidelity of their implementation (p.xv).
  • In many cases, guided reading has become prescriptive and regimented, even though guided reading lessons should be responsive to the needs of particular groups of readers, because sound reading instruction is all about knowing how individual students interact with text (p.xvii).
  • ...Fountas and Pinnell (1996) explain that 'the purpose of guided reading is to enable children to use and develop strategies "on the run" (p.xvii).'
  • In terms of guided reading, we believe there is merit in adjusting some of our practices for the sake of preserving an instructional model that focuses on reading processes rather than discrete reading skills (p. xix). 
  • Educators tend to use the  terms 'guided reading' and 'small-group reading' interchangeably. Small-group reading instruction, however, is often not guided reading. Small- group reading instruction may also be shared reading, word work practice, read-aloud, and so forth (p.xxi).
  • Guided reading is not really about levels, benchmark texts, or offering the right prompts to students when they struggle with words. Rather, guided reading is, for us, about supporting students as they develop strategic approaches to meaning making (p.xxi).
  • Students' processes will vary across texts, so a student may demonstrate a balanced reading process in one text and a print dependence in a more difficult text (p.7).
  • Our destination is reading independence (p.11).
  • ...if we teach students to let the text support them, we foster more independence in students. In order to do this, we can teach students to rely on the text rather than on the teacher for scaffolding (p.12).
  • In the simplicity of the daily read-aloud resides a powerful tool that defines and depicts the role of the reader and the act of reading (p.13).
  • We want students to understand from the very first day of shared reading that the act of reading is story driven, or, more simply, an act of discovering what the author is telling us (p.15).
  • The direct teaching of skills and strategies should largely occur outside of guided reading (p.16).
  • We believe that connecting instruction across modeled, shared, guided, and independent reading allows teachers to gradually shift to the students the responsibility for the literacy work (p.18).
  • ...scaffolding has evolved into helping, which we sometimes offer through extensive and specific prompting. We can instead engage read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading to systematically scaffold students as they learn how to help themselves (p.27-28).
  • Rethinking our guided reading structures within the gradual release of responsibility can give us more flexibility, more success, and less frustration (p.28).
  • ...we find ourselves working for "wonders", or digging for "treasures", when students are in texts that are too difficult for them. Their success rests on our support, or our effort, rather than their independence (p.31).
  • [Allington] further states that "many, many students are confronted daily by texts tat are too complex for optimal learning". In contrast, many educators believe that, in instructional-level texts, "the difficulty of the text and tasks needs to be beyond the level at which the student is already capable of independent functioning [Tyner] (.32)."
  • If guided reading is beyond student skill levels, how then can they take these skills into independence? (p.32).
  • Most important in terms of text selection, the guided reading book must be manageable for the readers (p.47).
  • By giving students texts they can manage, we nurture and solidify their abilities to integrate and consolidate various sources of information efficiently and practice the smoothly operating system that is the bedrock of learning to read (p.47).
  • The idea that readers move in precise ways through neatly defined stages and levels, and that they progress through these levels in systematic, chronological order, does not fit with what we have seen of beginning readers. In fact, Clay (1991) writes, "Fluctuations in performance, large leaps forward, movements backward in text difficulty to consolidate or recapitulate are movements to be expected under satisfactory conditions of instruction" (p.55).
  • Again, learning to read is less about level and more about the reading process (p.65).
  • We need to teach even our youngest students to think of reading as meaning making and to act on texts in sophisticated ways to access these meanings (p.70).
  • The more you support students' understanding of cross-checking through modeled and shared contexts, the more you are likely to see students cross-check in guided reading (p.85). 
  • We find the power of learning to administer running records (and IRIs) invaluable to informing instructional decisions... (p104).
For more information, I highly recommend reading the book. You can also take a peek at the resources below that accompany the information in Preventing Misguided Reading. Just click on the images to download your own copies of the resources! 
I hope you found the information in this post helpful. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

P.S. You can't go wrong when the author thanks you on Twitter for the post. See? This is why I love Jan Miller Burkins' so much. XO









Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Quick Peek: My RtI Reading Room

Hello, hello! If  you follow my other social media accounts, you may already know I'm participating in my school district's May Photo Challenge to pump up our new hashtag #D100pride on Twitter and Instagram. The challenge was created by my good friend, Michelle, from BigTime Literacy. She is a fantastic teacher and blogger in my district, so if you're looking to expand your PLN, give her a follow. You won't regret it. 

Anyway, I'm psyched to partake in this challenge because it will connect me with others district-wide and will help grow my PLN. Check out the hashtag, if you're interested in any of the topics in the image below. :)
Day 1: Classroom/Office. I won't be posting the full 31 days of the challenge on my blog, like I will on my Instagram and Twitter accounts, but, since many have asked to get a glimpse into my classroom, here it is! As you can see, I offer various flexible seating options for the students, as well as turn off all overhead lights in exchange for lamps. My students and I love the cozy feel it gives us when we are diving into good books and having great conversations together. They especially enjoy the trampoline in the back of the room placed under the sign: Jumping for Success.  
Happy Monday!
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