So I warned you all that I was heading to a 3-day literacy conference and I would be back with awesome things! I was really excited to hear/see/experience Katie Wood Ray. After reading her books, I knew she'd have great things to share. I was creepy and asked for a photo, and she obliged! The best part is that the first person accidentally took a video of us instead of a photo, so this is actually round 2 of our photo sesh, and I brought on a different photographer who could use the iPhone (hence, the poor quality)!
So what did I learn from the writing guru? Well, a lot of things. First, I guess I had never realized how primary she was in her writings. Her focus was on K-2, but she had wonderful ideas. My takeaway was that students don't have to be writing words just to make books. She showed a video of a Kindergarten teacher having students make books on their first, YES FIRST, day of school! Do any of you have them doing this? Her only requirement at this point is that there is writing and a picture on each page. Now some students don't know how to do their letters, so they use an Alphabet chart to just try scribbling something.
What I liked best about this was that it was telling students that things don't have to be spelled correctly, there doesn't have to be a main idea with details, a book doesn't have to be 32 pages, etc. It takes away those boundaries that scare kids off from writing. This allows them to be an author on day 1!
With this model, it also gives the power to the students, and sets HIGH expectations from the start. Love doing this for our 5 year olds. Just think what would happen if we all started doing things like this.
Wow! It's August, and I'm already behind...at least with Farley's Currently. I love her back to school must haves section at the end. Great idea! Right now, I am listening, living, and loving the Olympics, but I thought I'd try to share some other things too!
I always need a good pair of scissors for all of the laminate, paper, decorations, etc. that I am cutting at the beginning of the year. I have to say though, that with my new position I don't have a classroom to set up. This is a little bit sad for me. I always loved going in and setting up. It reenergized me for a new group, the new learning, and the greatness that would happen for the next 180 school days. Right now, I've been spending my day interviewing candidates for positions and calling references. Who knew it would take so long to call references! Btw. If you are ever applying for a position and list a reference from a school...DO NOT list the school's phone number. The teacher's aren't usually there during the summer when people are trying to get a hold of them. Cell or home phone numbers are great! Okay, off my soap box.
Join the Linky by heading over the Farley's awesome blog!!
Finally, I thought I'd share a little bit more about our conference. Kelly Gallagher was another presenter that I got to see for an entire day. I didn't know much about him before this, but he was really great. Extremely engaging with very insightful ideas when it comes to the amount of writing students should be doing and the amount of grading teachers should be doing.
Thoughts and Ideas from Kelly:
1. 3 Truths and a Lie Writing Activity
Do you play 3 truths and a lie at the beginning of the year? Kelly says to use this at the beginning and have them try to stump the teacher on a notecard. Collect the cards, highlight the one you think is the lie. The students think it's fun to stump the teacher. Then, when you pass them back, their truths become writing ideas! They pick one truth to write about in narrative form. What would you write as you model the activity for your students?
2. Teaching Tone
Write the phrase, "Hi. How are you?" on the board. Then have students think about all of the ways they would say this to various people. They can write it down, talk about it with their neighbors, etc.
To your grandma. "Hi mammaw. How are you today?" - my grandma is very formal
In an interview. "Hi Mr. Smith. How are you?"
To your best friend. "What up, dog?"
To the grocery store clerk.
To the principal.
To a friend if there aren't any adults around...beware! :)
3. Beginning of Year Writing Idea
Have students trace their hand on paper. Then write anything (school appropriate) that their hands have done or been. They can then pick one, two, or all to write about. For our "practice" hand, I wrote plant flowers, typing on my blog, petting my dogs, changing songs on my iPod while running, cleaning the house, etc. It's a great way to let kids share about some things they have done over the summer, but also get them thinking about writing ideas.
Well this post is getting long, and I could share forever and ever, so I'll do a little literacy conference potpourri in future posts!
Enjoy your Sunday... probably the last one or two before you have papers to look at, parents to call, etc. ENJOY IT!