Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers


Slice of Life Tuesday: Week of Writing with Carl Anderson

This summer is flying! I cannot believe it’s been a week since the big wind storm that knocked out power to our home. It’s been two weeks since I attended the summer writing workshop with Carl Anderson, thanks to the lovely staff at Indiana Partnership for Young Writers. Lots of learning, lots of fun, and even a tornado warning. (Spending a 1/2 hour in the basement of a school can be quite enlightening.) Carl didn’t seem to mind. We got back to writing and conferring with our “video children” quickly.

Of course, I learned a great deal about writing and conferring with young writers. I realized, however, that much of the learning in my brain was “reflective learning” — I heard the information before, but I thought about the last school year and how I could have made writing workshop better. Now that the learning is back to the forefront of my thinking, I plan to use the knowledge in a different way in the fall. These are some of the tips Carl gave that I plan to use right away next school year:

1) Writing is a slow-to-grow activity. Take it slowly.

2) Conferences are just conversations. “How’s it going?” with a goal/purpose.

3) Use the consistent, predictable structure of the conference: research, decide, teach.

4) Most of the lessons you will teach deal with focus and detail. Worry about grammar in the editing stage.

5) Ask, “What is the writer saying?” and “How does the writer go about getting his/her point across?”

6) Bonus: You should look for skills and strategies to teach — NOT how to pass the test! (My favorite.)

That was just the first day. I plan to refocus and reflect more on writing workshop in the coming weeks, as I look forward to a great new year of teaching.

Now that the power is on, I have some vacationing to do! Have a great week!



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Slice of Life Tuesday: Reflections

anniversaryflowers050614I was just staring at the beautiful flowers my husband had delivered to my school today. Anniversary flowers are so beautiful! So sweet! I looked through the enormous wide-bowl, clear glass vase to check the water level and saw reflections of light everywhere. Then I was thinking about multiple meaning words (a focus of discussion in class) like “reflection.”

reflection (noun): the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound, without absorbing it.

reflection (noun): serious thought or consideration.  (Definitions provided by Google.)

Reflection of light — the tiny pictures along my dining room wall, on the table, through the glass. So intricate! So beautiful! I am enjoying my day, this weekday anniversary that might have otherwise been boring. (School night — I have to get to bed early, you see.) The reflections make me think I am dreaming.

Reflection — thinking. It seems I have used reflection quite a bit lately, thinking of how my life is going during the “middle ages” (notice I did NOT capitalize here — I don’t want anyone to think “Dark Ages” — Ha!), about how my students are doing during this “ISTEP testing week” (almost done!), and about how I need to set some new goals for the summer and beyond. Again, dreaming — of the past, present, and future.

I hope your day provides you with reflections of beauty and joy, as well! Have a great week.