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August Institute: Writing Institute 2014-15 Day 3

August Institute: Writing Institute

Day 3 

        I'm here at Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project! Day 3- Ack, it's going so fast!

Writing to intensify reading Kate Roberts

Infographic pages
  • Complicates/ multiplies thinking
  • Engaging
  • Springboards for more thinking

Ladder of abstraction   You need both big ideas and details!

Another idea: Mind map: external/internal pressures, Top five quotes, problems, ideas, Top three things about ____, Two worst things about ______, Time line, Power line, ____ vs. ______

Ranking: When is the character most ____ or worst ___, best _____, happiest ____, saddest _____

Looking at my infographic.  How would I rank the themes according to importance?  The theme that is most important in The One and Only Ivan is love.  Ivan loves Stella and Ruby and does what he can for them.  The friendship between Bob and Ivan is rooted in love.  Even Mack, a controversial character, loves Ivan.  He took him into his home.  When I van became too large and unwieldy, he put him into a cage thinking that would be a good home for him.  Julia demonstrates her love when she helps Ivan get out of the cage.  The second most important theme is animal cruelty.  It's the cruelty Mack shows Ruby that spurs Stella and Ivan into action.  Mack seems to be a good man who has fallen on hard times.  The third theme is perseverance.  Ivan has to persevere to find some way to save Ruby.

Infograhics can inspire us to...
  1. Think in best and worsts, mosts and leasts (Ranking)
  2. Make comparisons
  3. Consider causes and effects
  4. Pay attention to change
  5. Find patterns
  6. See causes and effects (use arrows)
  7. Character relationships (within themselves and with each other)
  8. Symbolism 
  9. Author's craft

Looking at the bands of text complexity

  • K, L, M    The Basics: Nate the Great, Junie B. Jones  The characters have traits that are always the same.  Relationships and problems stay the same. 
  • N, O, P, Q     Change! Things tend to shift and you need to find the change.  Amber Brown. These are more dynamic-readers need to track the changes.
  • R, S, T    Complexity.  Bridge to Terabithia  Characters are complex.
  • U, V, W   Uncertainty.  Uncertain of traits or who they are.  Like Katniss from The Hunger games.  Students need to be reading like a detective.
  • X, Y, Z   Literary.  Packed with literary devices: syntax, vocabulary, allusions.

Students are reading in the band but they're not doing the work of the bandUse the characteristics of the text complexity bands to think of what the work should be. Have kids come up with ways to track thinking.

Setting up a chart to track thinking
Three column chart:
Moments with Rosaura and Mother||| How they feel in this moment towards each other|||What this shows about their relationship

Charts to track thinking help because it sets a purpose for reading.

A two column chart:
Evidence||| My Thinking

Great tools to help thinking and discussion:

Narrative Writer's Use Techniques such as ...

Narrative Writers Aim Towards Goals such as...

Can use as bingo sheets or discussion starters or cut them up!

The Stolen Party
Modeled by Kate.  What is my job as an author's craft detective?  How many moves can I identify in this first paragraph?

  • foreshadowing
  • dialogue
  • inner thinking
  • symolism (monkey)
Next paragraph, on our own.  We saw:
  • dialogue
  • multiple points of view
  • emotions
  • tone
  • inner thinking
  • revealing action
  • reader knows more than the character
Things we could use to create tools for writing about reading:

  1. Student Facing Continuum: Character Traits
  2. Post-its>> range of skills and/or levels of thinking
  3. Post-it codes>>What are the codes>>where would they go>>jot off of it
  4. Entries with thought prompts
  5. Infographics
  6. Charts
  7. Craft entries off the grids pictured above

Conferring to move kids and generate curriculum       Carl Anderson

All-About writing/conferring

  • What do you want to say here?
  • Which parts get that across?
  • Get rid of things that don't relate to that big idea.

  • Details are the particulars or specifics of a piece of writing
  • Writers write with a range of genre-specific details
  • Specificity is an important dimension of leaning
  • A sentence has at least one detail, a compound sentence has at least two details
STD's- snapshots (descriptions of characters, actions or setting), thought shots (what the character is thinking), dialogue (explicit and inner)

Look for patterns in their writing when you confer

What's the f word? Facts: informational, descriptive, action

When choosing a Mentor text, think of your kids needs first.  Scan/take a picture and put into your Dropbox.  Then you always have access on your iPad. Teaching at your fingertips.  Choose texts at their level and meet their needs.

  • Conventions include spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • All writers make careless errors
  • Some of the errors children make are signs of their growth as writer as they write sentences of growing complexity
There are patterns of development (in structure, development and conventions) in students writing as they develop in complexity.  Know your students.

Know your checklists!
Structure- Overall, Lead, Transitions, Ending, Organization
Development- Elaboration, Description
Conventions- Spelling, Punctuation

Tertiary questions- are questions that are much more specific once you have done the research.  Could be about the writing process, the checklist areas, the 6 traits etc.

Feedback- compliment first.  What is this child doing as a writer? The key is not to be random, try to compliment something you want to build on with your teaching point.

The cycle of writing about reading       Audra Robb

Exploring Writing about Reading

  • Track thinking
  • Push thinking
  • Think and notice small details, Think and interpret towards big universal themes  (Think about the ladder of abstraction)
Using two column chart to track themes in a story and its development:

Evidence||| My Thinking

The Sacred by Stephen Dunn
Track your thinking- Students don't want to talk about something as private as a sacred place.  By definition, a sacred place is a place for reflection and being alone.  The car is a symbol, not only for being a private, sacred place but also for being a place that can take you away.

Charles Fishman  Good recipe for ways to track thinking

  • Always searching for the little stories that would be worth telling (Detail)
  • The big story
  • The "good stuff"
Exploratory writing
There needs to be places for both types of writing
-for the self (notebook, blog etc.)
-with a group (posters, charts, Edmodo groups, collaborative Google docs)

Explanatory Writing/ Argument writing
-Towards an audience
-Needs Mentor texts
-Needs explicit teaching regarding craft

Teachers can use book reviews and movie reviews as examples of lit essays.

Think about using poetry to respond to literature

Great Explorations    Kate Roberts

There's Bo!  Adorable

Planning, reading, and you have expectations.  Expectations are not always met...  hight expectations don't have to be taken away, maybe just modified.

"Teaching is so much harder and so much more wonderful than you could have every expected."
Holding on too tightly to your expectations, it sucks the joy out.  You wind up feeling badly: anger, self-pity etc.

Some education expectations currently sucking the joy: using data all the time, challenging lit all the time, assessments all the time.

"I earned that 65 but it wasn't who I was." Grades/data don't make us who we are.

Sometimes the data is so broad that it's almost meaningless.  Looking at the assessments...sometimes, it's not the kids- it's the assessment.

Great analogy: sunset data doesn't catch what a sunset is.

Keeping our expectations humble

  • Know what our expectations are good for-and what they are not
  • Keep the kids at the center of all things.
When you teach with love, humor and compassion, kids remember you!
Teaching literary essays with love, humor and compassion
Finding the theme: First, find something engaging to the kids
Using "Let it go" sung by Idina Menzel
What phrases go with the theme: You should "Let it go"

  • couldn't keep it in
  • now they know
  • let it go
  • Turn away and slam the door
  • I don't care what they are going to say
  • The cold never bothered me anyway
Now we have some text evidence but how do we transform that into a deeper understanding?
Let's group!  What ideas go together?  Do they have a similar feeling /mood /tone?
Some other themes?  

  • Lonely
  • Explodes
  • Angry
Idea for discussion: What happens when you don't let it go?

Make a decision and have fun!!!  It's a choice.

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