The Marvels, and a Reflection of Myself as a Reader

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I wanted The Marvels the second I heard @MrSchuReads talk about it.  I think he had an early copy of it, because I went to Amazon right away and tried to buy it.  No luck.  A few months later, it popped back into my head again, so I ordered it.  And it came.  It was beautiful, with gold embossed pages too!  That day, I say in the entryway to my house and read as many of the 400 pages of pure images for about half an hour before it became completely necessary to give my kids a bath.  Brian Selznick has created his own genre that combines visual literacy with text.

I call it awesome.

I brought the book to school, showed it to some teachers, and then it sat on my shelf.  Waiting.  Waiting for life to calm down so that I could enjoy it fully.

A few weeks ago, I found my niece's copy of The One and Only Ivan, and I got incredibly excited.  Abby is old enough to read books that I enjoy!  The literacy coach in me couldn't help but go home and order her Crenshaw and The Marvels for Christmas.  Crenshaw, because she loved Ivan, and The Marvels because I love it.  Even though I hadn't read it... yet.

Then, finally, an ice storm hit Chicago.  We are on winter break, and winter arrived in the form of sleet and ice and rain.  There was no chance that I would head outside today.  It was finally time to read The Marvels.  Now that my niece has a copy of the book, what if she wants to talk about it?  I felt driven to read it.  Plus, we are reading with a Husky paw over break and tagging the pictures with #HiawathaReads.  It seemed perfect.

So, this mom hid in her bedroom, covered in blankets and with a cup of hot cocoa, and read it from front to back.  672 pages or so in one day.  There was a stop for lunch when my husband made us spaghetti, and a stop for a performance of the Nutcracker by my kids.  At some point I also had to take some pictures of a LEGO creation for my son, because he wants to be in their magazine.  And, there were sections of the book where my kids played around me as I continued to turn the pages.  I was going to read this book.

And I did.  And it is glorious.  (So was my cocoa.)

I would love to tell you about the book, but I won't.  Amazon calls it a narrative puzzle of pictures and prose.  I think it is something that needs to just be read.  But, if you read it, I'd love to talk to you about it.  In case you wanted a sneak peek, here is a Vine made by Mr. Schu with a little preview:

The one thing I will mention is how much I love the message it sends about the impact books can have on us.  I found this section of text early on, which was perfect since I was in a snowstorm of my own a few days after Christmas:

The character regularly got lost inside stories, quoting excerpts of famous books and carrying texts with him like his prized possessions.  He spent a lot of time "lost inside stories" and on this wintery day it was easy to say that I did the same thing.  Later in the text it quoted Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and said:

You will not regret the time you spend reading this book, in a land of Marvels.

However, the reason for this post is not for a book review.  It is for a reflection of myself as a READER.  The reader that hid from her family so that she could continue reading to find out what was going to happen next.  (My husband was home, but still...  This mom tries to be present with her kids.)  But, I HAD to keep reading.  I kept doing what good readers do, and had questions and predictions in my head and I just HAD to find out what came next.

When is the last time your students read like that in class?

The truth is, they usually don't.  They usually read books that they enjoy, but stop and start and sometimes stop and never restart.  So what makes the difference?

I think that the more we put ourselves into the role of readers ourselves, the more we can figure out the answer to that question.

I never once stopped to name a trait of any of the Marvels.  Nor did I track his change over time, or compare them to characters in other novels.  RL3
I never came up with a big theme in the book, and found key details to support that theme.  RL2
I did stop and snap pictures of some favorite quotes alone the way, so I was on my way to analyzing the craft of the book.  But, that would be a stretch.  RL 4 and 5
I wished I could compare it to Hugo, but I left that in my office at school.  No RL 9 today.

I guess my point is this:
While I did not specifically do any standards work today, I could certainly do any of those standards if I was put into a conversation with someone about The Marvels.  I might have to refer back to the text, or think about it a little before I respond, but I can do it.  Since I have been taught those strategies already, I can apply them to any book I read.  But, that doesn't mean that every book I read needs to be picked apart and reduced to standards work to prove that I read.  Trust me, I read that book.  My kids are relieved that I finished, in fact.  :)

Sometimes, readers need to read for the enjoyment of it.

I was thinking these thoughts, because I think sometimes as a literacy coach people think that I will be happy if the Common Core standards are always front and center, and that the kids are showing their ability to do them.  BUT...  I think that first and foremost we need to have kids who consider themselves READERS.  Kids who know the standards today, and USE them as they grow into adult readers.  The standards make students think critically, and those critical thoughts will help them living in the world, both in books and in the actual world.  But, if learning the standards means reading is always a chore, will they actually continue to read on their own?

I was debating this post, and then I jumped into a #learnLAP Twitter chat and this tweet by @Kevreaddenn made me think, "YES!!!"

BALANCE.  We need to teach them how to read deeply, but also how to love reading deeply.

If you are looking for a book to enjoy, I do suggest The Marvels.  :)
It's glorious.

If you want to let your kids love reading and escape into the world of a book, let them do just that.  Let them just read sometimes.  

Readers Read

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

     There are so many, many things I took away from my conference with Donalyn Miller on Monday.  The 6 sketch notes below (made with the Paper 53 app) show her wisdom, and some of my reflections on it.


    When you walk away with a lot of new and inspiring things, sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself what the BIGGEST take away was.  So, I spent the drive home thinking about it, and then the drive to work today thinking about it, and then it hit me.  

Readers read.
Teachers are readers.
We need to read, too.

     OK, I already knew that.  But, did I LIVE it?

     It sounds simple.  Read.  But, it isn't that easy in the day to day world of the classroom.   It is so easy for the Lead Reader (aka the Teacher) to not read, but rather to support readers.  But, it's those read alouds, and those conversations with students in groups around a book that we have *actually* read, that makes us readers too.  It's the books we read personally for fun, and the books we read to learn, that remind us what real readers actually do.  And, it's the love of reading that we bring to the classrooms where we teach.

     Teachers need to read, and love reading.

     They need to see us as readers, blessing titles for the class.

     They need us to really KNOW books, so that we can match books to OUR readers.

     We need to read.

     I came to this realization, of course, watching Donalyn talk about all the books that mentioned yesterday.  For every lesson she could possibly teach, she can name a book to teach it with.  Honestly, that is a strength of mine as well.  But, when Donalyn starting talking about sets of texts, with true knowledge of the craft and author's purpose of each, I knew that I needed to get better.  And I now have an Amazon cart FULL of books waiting for me to explore.

     So, here's the challenge.  In my pursuit of elaborating upon my list of great texts, let's build it together.  Hiawatha, let's unite in the sharing of books and text that we love!!!  If you read a book to your class, or if you as a reader finish a book, or if a student recommends a book to you, tweet about it using #HiawathaReads.  You can include the focus strategy you used, or just simply share a great title worth sharing.  Either way, let's use Twitter for the targeted purpose of growing our list of books we love.

     Here's an example!

      The best part?  You could see that tweet and walk down the hall and ask Lori Horne to borrow the book!  Or, if someone reads a book and tweets about it, you could invite them to your class to do a quick book talk!  Or, you could invite them in to be a guest reader!   Can you just imagine the possibilities that #HiawathaReads could bring?

     My goal, this year and last, has been to read the books our Hiawatha students read.  Perhaps I need to expand that goal to finding new books to share as well.  Let's read books that we love, and model for our students the joy that literacy can bring!

#HiawathaReads    #HiawathaPride

 ***If you are not from Hiawatha, please share titles with us too!!!

If you are interested in reading more about Donalyn Miller and her book Reading in the Wild, check out this post here.  It will take you to our district blog book study.

I am a Wild Reader!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

     My district is doing a blog book study on Donalyn Miller's book, Reading in the Wild, this month. We have many talented writers getting together to share the knowledge of one of my favorite literacy gurus, Donalyn.  Many of our staff saw her this October at IRC, and we were inspired.  Thanks, +Kristin Richey, for organizing us together in this blog study for #D100bloggerPD!

     I have the task of writing about chapter 3, which is 40 pages of awesome.  Since I can't be Donalyn Miller, I tried to synthesize her ideas to fit into this not so teeny tiny blog post.  :)  If you have missed any posts in our book study so far, here is a ThingLink to all of them.  Just click on the black circles on everyone's Blog Buttons above.

Chapter 3: Wild Readers Share Books and Reading with Other Readers

     Our purpose, as teachers and as readers, is to enrich our lives through reading and writing.  In order to do that, we need to build a classroom community that is a family united in our reading.  We need to laugh together.  We need to cry together.  We need to create a place where connections are made with people from the books we read.

Donalyn Miller's response to Jeff Wilhelm's question is:

I want my students to see themselves as readers and writers.  I want them to know how much I believe in them.  I want my students to feel they have something to contribute to the world.  Working each and every day of the school year to build a classroom community that values and supports every member serves my bottom line goals.

     The truth is, having a single classroom with those goals will not make a child a life long reader.  It takes longer than a year, and requires parents and teachers who model reading, defend reading, and allow choice in reading materials for their children.  

Build a Reading Community

     We need to have students reading, both at home AND at school.  How can we develop this?  She claims (and I agree) that sending home book orders and celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday is not enough.  We need to send messages about reading to the students and the parents.  Some ideas?
  • Put read recommendations and home reading tips in parent communications.
  • Put a weekly book recommendation in your email signature.
  • Have teachers model reading by posting "I am currently reading...." outside your door.
  • Share book recommendations during morning announcements.
  • Have your librarian create quarterly book lists of the top new books.
  • Support families who don't have books at home.
  • Loan classroom books to students.
  • Increase access to books, especially over the summer.

At the school level, "scrutinize every component of the school day to determine if your procedures, policies, and systems support or hinder students' reading." 

     When I was reading that, I immediately had two thoughts.  One was as a teacher, and one was as a parent.   

     My teacher thought was: REMIND.  Our staff communicates with parents constantly using Remind.  I quickly looked through all the reminds from our staff on my phone, and found very few messages that promote the joy or reading in general.  I got a pretty clear idea of what was going on in math, and a lot about day to day reminders, but very little shared the literacy life of our classrooms, and they all have strong literacy going on.  Share your read alouds!  Send favorite lines!  Tell them what your mini lesson was!  Share your anchor charts!  Recommend books, for both parents and students to read!  Share the joy of literacy, as well as the typical announcements that we share using Remind and Schoology.

     As a parent, I thought of my son's first grade teacher.  At Open House, the literacy coach in me immediately noticed her library.  I even snapped a few pictures, because Leah the parent always has her camera.  As the year has started, I have enjoyed finding books from that library in my son's bag EVERY DAY.  Books about their current unit, whether it's a Mo Willems author study, or a Kevin Henkes study, or a unit about bears.  Their year long theme has them traveling the world, and his library books are also about countries and geography.  Mrs. Hartmann has given children ACCESS to books, and allows them to choose books that matter to them.  

     Donalyn Miller also talked about homework, and how often the homework our students are asked to do actually prevents them from READING.  Doing an S.E. Hinton crossword puzzle with never be as valuable as reading the actual text of The Outsiders.  Stay Gold, Ponyboy.  Right?!?!?

     Look at my son's homework for Thanksgiving Break!  Stamina build.  :)  We only got to 6 minutes, because my daughter didn't quite get family stamina build, but the whole family read books independently together.  Now, that made my lit coach heart smile.  I can't wait to practice today!!!  :)

Buy books.  :)

 Online Reading Communities

     Join one, or ten.  There are tons.  Follow the blogs above.   Follow Nerdy Book Club.  Use Goodreads.  Join a Facebook group, or a Twitter chat (like #D100chat on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, and #titletalk on the last Sunday of the month at 8pm).  Increase your literacy capacity by expanding your PLN.  

Become a Lead Reader

     In order to read books with kids, you need to read them yourself.  You can't recommend books if you don't read them.  You can't connect to kids about books if you don't read books yourself.  Read.
Last year, 4 teacher and my principal got together to read Out of My Mind together, as students in a book club.  Read with OTHERS.  Just read.

Community Conversations

      She starts this section talking about limiting reading choices.  She basically says that she agrees with teachers and parents being "mindful of the content of reading material" that our kids read.  But, that we walk a "fine line" if we limit of book because of our own discomfort with topics.  She said that we all must decide what books we allow in our classrooms based on "our book knowledge, our experiences with students and parents, and our school culture."  We need to know our kids.  We also need to be respectful of their self created reading communities.  

     I also have to add that we need to be respectful of genres that we ourselves do not particularly enjoy.  If we want to celebrate reading and allow children to read what matters to them, they might choose a graphic novel.  That genre did not exist for my generation, and it is a hard sell sometimes to teachers. But, I keep buying them for my lit coach office and I can't keep them on my shelves.  Kids who read are readers, even if the genre isn't our first choice.

Books that Build Communities

     This post was getting long, so I almost didn't include these titles.  But, how do I not share books recommended by The Book Whisperer herself?

Communities that Write could read...
  • Ask Me, by Antje Damm
  • BookSpeak! Poems about Books by Laura Purdie Salas
  • Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson
Communities that Value all Members could read...
  • Hound Dog True by Linda Urban
  • Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Communities that Have Fun could read...
  • Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
  • I Want my Hat Back by Jon Klassen
  • The Wonder Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Communities that Care about the World could read...
  • A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham
  • Fourteen Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy
  • Laundry Day by Maurie J. Manning

Sharing our Reading

Reading Graffiti, with book titles, or opening lines, or favorite quotes.  Independent reads, or read aloud, or anything in between.  I LOVE this idea of making their reading a little more visible to others.

Book Commercials are another great way to share our reading with others.  This one is especially popular in my 1:1 district  Our teachers use iMovie, Tellagami, and a lot of other apps to create book commercials.  We just have to work on sharing them with others in a meaningful way, since the ones described in Reading in the Wild are described as quick and in person, recommending a book to the class.  Many of our book commercials end up just sitting on their device.  What is the point of a commercial that is never viewed by others?  At least put them on a shared Padlet wall.

Reading Doors!  Across her building, ALL the classrooms create reading doors.  They showcase the books, magazines, web pages, newspapers and journals they like to read.  They reveal the doors at Meet the Teacher Night.  Then, she turns the door over to her students.  Genius idea.

My 5 Word Take-Away

     I am not known for my brevity, but this post may break the record for my longest blog post.  I really tried to shorten it and synthesize ideas, but I just had to try and share all the inspiration from Chapter 3, and that was my task in this #D100bloggerPD book study.  So...  let me sum up the chapter (for me) in five words.


     On November 30th our Blog Book Study will continue with +Marilyn McManus and a Vignette called "Conferring: What's the Point?"  I'm excited to read her take on it, since that was the topic of one of the first PDs Marilyn and I did together for the district!  Here is a link to her blog.

     For those of you in Chicago, I am extremely excited to say that I am going to see Donalyn Miller LIVE in person again in a few weeks!  Monday, December 7th is going to be an inspirational day.  :)  Join us #D100bloggerPD friends!

New to Twitter Chats?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Here is a post from +Michelle Brezek on how to use TweetDeck during our first #d100chat!!!  It starts in less than 30 minutes!!!

For those of you who are joining us tonight, but have never done a Twitter chat before, here is an even more scaled back tutorial.  I love TweetDeck, but if that is too much, start with searching for the #D100chat hashtag.

There are just a few rules.

RULE #1 
With every tweet you send during the chat, add the #D100chat hashtag.

7:30  Login to Twitter, and search for #D100chat.  After you hit search, make sure you hit LIVE tweets.  Otherwise, only the most current will come up.

Search for #D100chat

Click LIVE to see all the tweets.  
You'll have to keep refreshing it as more tweets come in.

 7:31 Send out a tweet that gives us your name, position and school.  End the tweet with the #D100chat hashtag.

7:34  I will be posting the first question!  It will say:

Tweet back your response, with A1 at the beginning of the tweet (for Answer 1).  Don't forget to include #D100chat!

7:42 I will post question 2!  I will start it with Q2, so you respond with A2.  Don't forget to include #D100chat!!!

7:50 I will post question 3!  I will start it with Q3, so you respond with A3.  Don't forget to include #D100chat!!!

7:58 I will post Q4 about celebrations and shout outs.  This would be a great place to give a staff member a shout out, or use your school hashtag to brag.  Just don't forget to also include #D100chat too.

RULE #2 
Collaborate with others and have fun!

And that's it!

If you just want to lurk today, and not answer questions, please at least consider introducing yourself at the beginning so that we know you are there.

Here we go!!!

Trick or Treat?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

     This trick or treat is coming from the 3rd grade team at Hiawatha!

     Every year, Halloween comes, and so do the costumes and the parties and the boundless energy that seems to exude from the students.  Pumpkins and music and Halloween read alouds fill the classrooms in anticipation of the big day.  Oh, Halloween.  We either love it, or we hate it.  

     This year, our third grade team decided to let Charlotte's Web take over their Halloween festivities.  There is not a whole lot of Halloween in the book, except for the fact that the main character is a spider.  But, when that novel falls as your read aloud in the month of October, it only makes sense to make a big deal about it.  

     So, what did they do?


     For starters, they made the characters come alive by dressing as Charlotte, the web, Wilbur, and Fern on Halloween.  They even "recreated" the cover of the book in costume for a team picture.  :)

    The messages from the web were their classrooms decorations, both on windows and in costume.  

    They have also been using Charlotte's Web as their anchor text for developing character.  They are working on RL3.3, and have been developing strong character traits across the grade using Charlotte's Web as their example.  Before their party in 3ROWA, they had the kids write about an assigned character on giant writing paper.  Then, at the party, they were give a pumpkin to decorate as their character for their Character Pumpkin Patch!

Welcome to the Character Pumpkin Patch!

     Thanks to our third grade team ( +Anna Waszak +Christine Flowers +Kathy Ross Theresa Carrillo)  for bringing their love of literacy into fun activities for the students!  They will certainly never forget this book!  Thanks for modeling that reading can be FUN, and that when we read books that we enjoy, the possibilities are endless.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

     The real world is hard.  

     There, I said it.

     The truth is, I love teaching.  I have always been passionate about my job, and my students, and my school.   I am also passionate about my family, and my children, and their lives.  And, sometimes, because I am so passionate about so much, I tend to get emotional.  When passion fills you up to the brim, tears flow easy.  (At least they do for me.)  This week, I cried for the first time at a parent teacher conference for my own child, and the line between balance and passion and sheer exhaustion seemed to collide.  Embarrassment soon followed.  I am a teacher.  Teachers don't cry at conferences.  

     I think I just broke an unwritten rule.  

     As this week continued, I began to realize that perhaps rules are meant to be broken.  There is no one right way to do anything.  I went from room to room, coaching and teaching and meeting with people, and from some their passions spoke clear and loud.  Their excitement.  Their actions.  Their words.  They exuded passion.  And it re-energized me.  Their passions made me remember my own.

     Hiawatha once again inspired me.

     This #educoach post has the purpose of reminding us coaches to help the teachers we work with to find their passion, to develop it, and to ask them to share it with others.  

     For all educators, remember to bring YOU into your classroom.  Find ways for your voice to be heard.  We can't only teach things that we are passionate about, but we should put some of US into our teaching.  It makes a difference, for our own well being and on the impact we have on the kids.

     For teachers reading this, remember to keep your students' passions in your mind, too.  When our students are engaged and eager learners, that will spread to their classmates like wildfire.  Whether it be on coding, or LEGOs, or the Cubs, strong emotions can lead to great learning opportunities.


Know Thy Impact

Sunday, October 18, 2015

the ability to produce a desired or intended result: There is little information on the efficacy of this program.

ORIGIN early 16th cent.: from Latin efficacia

     I just spent 2 days at a conference with John Hattie on Visual Learning, and my take aways were many.  I intend on blogging about many of them, as the year continues, because their ideas will make our teaching better, and our learners more self directed.  But, I need to write a quick #educoach post today, so I'll start with thoughts about teacher efficacy.

     The impact we have as teachers is immense.  We affect our learners in many ways, some of which are visible the same day, and many that are not visible for years.  Christopher Lehman recently compared teaching to a mission to Mars.  The results of the mission would take years to be seen, but could be extraordinary.

     But, sometimes, the rocket ship crashes.

     As a coach and as a teacher, I have seen teachers feel trampled under the piles of new curriculum and the standards and the new initiatives that come along.  They adopt new programs and strategies, but sometimes don't see the big picture.  They start to lose themselves in the process.  This is not new.  In my 17 years an educator, I have seen many initiatives come and go (and even come back again).  As Ainsley Rose said today, sometimes teachers find themselves in a constant state of disequilibrium because they do not feel true to themselves.

     When teachers don't feel that they have efficacy, when they feel that they don't have an impact on their students, then all seems dark.  Lost in space, if you will.

      What is the answer then?  How can we find our way out of the darkness and see the stars in front of us?

      We need to be evaluators of our own impact.  We need to be the ones who look to our students, and see the difference that we make.  We need to determine what our ethical and moral base is, and we need to be true to that.  If we commit to a purpose, and not a plan, then we stay true to who we are, and our students benefit from our teaching even more.

     The truth is, the classrooms of today are very different from the classrooms that we attended ourselves.  The students we have in our classrooms need to be prepared differently, because the world that they will live in is far more connected than the past.  It is important that we stay true to the needs of our students, but also to the needs of ourselves as learners too.  We are also adapting to this new world of learning.  How can we be both a learner and a teacher at the same time?

     Know thy impact.  Know that the work you are doing is making a difference.

     Collaborate with others.  Don't think you are in this process alone.  You are not.

     Believe in the efficacy of teachers.  Know that you are preparing the future.

     But, perhaps my favorite of the day...

     Be an evaluator of your own impact.

     With all the changes out there, we cannot wait for people to come to us and tell us we are on the right path.  We have to look at our own instruction, and then look to the kids.   Are they learning because of us?  It is in those honest and private reflections where we will know what we need to reteach, or learn ourselves, or ask for support.  It is also where we will see our impact, and know that we matter.

     Here is a video by John Hattie to help with that reflection:

     Know thy impact.  :)  

Also, do your PLN a favor and follow these Visible Learning experts:

IRC Reflections

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

     Here are my reflections on Illinois Reading Council 2015!  

     This year, I used the Paper 53 app to take notes during the sessions.  A few years ago, the Cognitive Coaching instructor had us do a single page mind map at the end of the PD, in the same way that our Apple PD provider had us make a One Sheet.  I remembered this strategy, and how effective it is for me as a learner, this summer at a PD session with +Lucy Carrera and +Stacy Rammer.  The result?  Digital mind maps from IRC!

Day 1

     Our first session of the year was breakfast with Maria Walther and Jan Richardson.  We got to hear their fantastic literacy ideas about both whole group and small group instruction.  What a great start to our conference!  

     I have been waiting to see +Christopher Lehman at IRC since last fall at IRC 2014.  He was listed in the preview for this year, and I have had it on my calendar ever since.  Legos, bitmoji, references to great literature, and a mindset for #edujoy and collaboration.  He is one of my favorite eduheroes for many reasons, and he did not disappoint.  

An hour about writing from sources + an hour on primary close reading = 2 sessions in a row of inspiration. 

     For lunch, we got to listen and watch Dave Burgess perform.  I have been following his energetic and passionate style of teaching on Twitter with the #tlap hashtag, and with Paul Solarz and #LearnLAP as well.  Check them both out and redefine yourself as a teacher.

     Back to Jan Richardson... 

     Our whole school is trying to follow her Guided Reading structure, so I had to hear her talk about the top 5 strategies to use.  She even gave us an extra strategy as a plus one!  She is one amazing educator.  

     For my next session, I couldn't take notes because I was actually presenting it with Jeremy Majeski.   We were presenting on using 1:1 tech, literacy, and assessment.  Thanks, +Jeremy Majeski, for giving me the push to present.  Now that it is over, I am grateful for the challenge.  We made quite the bitmoji pair.  :)

If you would like to see our presentation, here it is:

     Day 1 ended with a table full of blessings.  All the #bsd100 staff who attended the conference from Emerson, Pershing, Hiawatha, Irving, Komensky, and Heritage all got together and shared a meal with a shared spirit of collaboration and growth mindset.  Our extremely talented literacy coach at Komensky, +Felicia Frazier, made all my literacy dreams come true and invited +Christopher Lehman to join us.  I might have screamed in a restaurant when I found that out a day before...  After getting over the embarrassment of telling my #eduhero that he is indeed my #eduhero, I managed to eat my meal.  Thanks, Felicia.  I hope someday to be half the literacy coach that you are, but even more important half as thoughtful as you are.  

#grateful #thankful #blessed #inspired 


Day 2

     We started the day off with listening to Dav Pilkey talk about his experiences as a child with ADHD and dyslexia, and how he created his first books in a hallway because he got in trouble in class.  He shared parts of his newest book with us, this time in an auditorium filled with educators and  as a very successful author.  What a great story of triumph to remind us as educators that all our students are individuals.  Sadly, I was not able to take notes with Paper 53, because the auditorium was dark, but I did snap a picture.  

     Donalyn Miller.  The Book Whisper.  Oh. My. Goodness.  

     I love her.

     Penny Kittle is also a new #eduhero of mine.  I saw her for the first time at the online EdCollab Gathering a few weeks ago, and I have been thinking about her words ever since.  So, even though her session started while I was still at the breakfast with Donalyn Miller, I snuck into the second half of her session to get inspired.   And I did.  

     My goal of Day 2 was to go to sessions about writing, because I am actively trying to improve myself as a writing teacher and coach.  Georgia Heard knows her stuff.  I wrote fast and furious in that session.  I have a lot to learn, and she put me on that path.  

     This is where there should be a session with Tanny McGregor, but sadly we ended up leaving the conference before her 2 sessions in the afternoon.  SO sad.  But, I certainly couldn't get stranded in Peoria.  My family would have missed me.  So, instead I virtually attended +Michelle Brezek and +Colleen Noffsinger's session on PLNs on Twitter during the ride home.  They introduced the #mytimePD hashtag to the IRC world.  So, if you find yourself learning on your own time or in your own way, tweet about it with their hashtag. 


     So, here's a secret...  I'm a literacy guru fangirl.  

     After almost every session, for the last few years, the lit coaches and I (and sometimes I by myself) try to get a picture with the presenter.  It's a fun (yet apparently odd) way to say thank you to the presenters for their influence and time.  Here is the post from our first year at IRC as lit coaches, with some pretty awesome people.  Why not embrace our deep respect and admiration for those who make a difference on our teaching?

     Here are some #litguruselfies from IRC 2015.  These educators have all made an impact on my students and my professional self.  This year, I have a picture of my son's first grade teacher in the mix!  Thanks, Mrs. Hartmann, for being such a dedicated teacher.  It was such a surreal experience, sitting next to you while listening to Jan Richardson and Maria Walther, having such deep respect for them as educators, but at the same time being a thankful parent.

     IRC is such a special place.

I'll end with a little #hiawathapride.  Thanks for a great trip, ladies.