Day Two…

Source: Day Two…


What in the world is a word hoard?

A word hoard is a term guest author Megan Frazer Blakemore derived from –  Beowulf.  It’s a wTeachers Write Couldriter’s lexicon. Today’s challenge was to create word hoards that your characters might create.

So in this exercise participants keep lists of words in a notebook as a resource – this allows writers to flex voice because you are thinking about the specific vocabulary to describe the character, or words the character would use as a description of self.  This work also engages envisionment – which happily is a powerful comprehension skill that conflates to what we want readers to do – step into your characters shoes -where will your writing & reading take you.

The exercise is asking us to take a current work in progress, take three or four of your characters and create Word Hoards for them. I don’t have that right now – but I’m going to try it anyway:

Zoe – (age 9) curious, bossy, insecure, tender, precocious, awkward, funny, insightful, well read, timid, loud & sometimes silly

Zelda – (Yorkipoo puppy 1 yr. old) playful, nurturing, obedient, energetic,  bouncy, quiet, valedictorian of dogs

Max – (age 9) calm, empathetic,  poised, analytic, comfortable, lover of puns, coordinated, clear headed, good natured, honest

Interesting exercise because I could see how to do this with children, have them collect words in their notebooks – drawn out of read aloud lessons, guided reading, partnership work – it’d be a fantastic Independent Reading response too.  Then use them to develop their characters.  Interesting way to go about it – I’ve never done this before but I can see how this works.  Just by doing this a story is unfolding in my head – love this never would have thought of it – very original.

Teachers Write! Day One

So if we want our students to write and to love writing we have to walk the walk. Today is day one of learning how to take the first step in a public way. I am participating in a fantastic opportunity being hosted by author Kate Messner. To learn more visit her page: Teachers Write!


Today’s prompt is: You Come, Too:

Summer on Long Island, driving down the road…  I love this one pressing the volume louder: “Um boom ba bay. Um boom ba bay. Ba ba boom ba be be.” The sun is drifting aimlessly through the canopy of green leaves that shade the quiet suburban street. “Pressure!” Manicured lawns are dispatched with with taste and efficiency – pleasing but wholly expected. A world view that is crafted by a legacy of the Greatest Generation and post World War cohorts will do that to you – work hard – work hard – family – live up to expectations you’re standing on their shoulders they worked hard to get you here don’t lose it.   “Pushing down on me. Pushing down on you. No man ask for under pressure!”  I can’t believe he didn’t show for our meeting, Man, interviewing people is draining – can sense their vulnerability, and admire their courage.  Putting it all out there taking that step taking that risk. Really what am I? Lucky some of this is also just lucky. .  “Ohh I like this part,””Why love love love love love…”  Singing a along now “Can’t we give ourselves one more chance? Why can’t give love that one more chance?”   Swiftly taking the turn, onto the winding road leading  h o m e… passing the mailman he’s walking slowly checking his letters a gentile reminder of the world I grew up in, singing again “Cause love’s such an old fashioned word. And love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves this is the last dance. This is our last dance. This is ourselves under pressure.” snap snap snap… Pulling into the driveway turning off the car, stepping out into the warmth and sighs.

Reading in the Company of Others Matters

Generosity springs from. Summer Reading Institute!

To Read To Write To Be

The second day of TCRWP’s Summer Reading Institute pushed me to the work I realized I needed to do on day one: raise the level of my reading. In my small group session with Kathleen Tolan we were put into book groups. My group of grade 3-5 teachers are reading Edward’s Eyes by Patricia MacLachlan. The session is aiming to teach teachers how to  teach students in small groups, and to do this Kathleen has put us in our student’s  desks.

Our first evening’s homework was to read the first third of the book and come to group with a part that we wanted to read aloud. We decided  to read with a lens for character and symbolism

Next day, back in class, we sat, facing each other. Kathleen urged us to move in close. We looked at each other. Slowly we edged to talk.  Our thoughts were clearly restrained. No one was bursting with thoughts. Man!…

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#TCRWP Day One: Reading Institute

Anyone who has ever gone to the Summer Reading Institute can relate to this

Resource - Full

It was a Sunday and 5:03 am.

Just like a kid getting ready for an adventure, I couldn’t sleep any longer.  What to do?

The registration doors don’t open until 7:30.  That would be 147 minutes of “me” time. My choice. My decision.

How do I decide? These are my “turn the page choices” but I have others on my Kindle that I can also choose from.


Here are just a few snapshots from Sunday, June 29, 2014.

New York City

Teachers College

The July 2014 Reading Institute began today with registration at 7:30 and then Lucy Calkins’ kickoff keynote.  Who are we?  The 1300 of us represent 41 countries and 46 states as Teachers, professors, editors, authors, superintendents, and coaches.  Lucy quickly had us reading two coming of age works, a poem and a song, before she began to talk about how to lift the level of our teaching.

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Noticing What There Is to Be Noticed: A Tribute to Maxine Greene

If you don’t know Maxine Greene you should she is worth getting to know.

To Make a Prairie

Bike Sign Post © 2014 D.A. Wagner,

In the flurry of getting ready to leave for Spain, the release from the grip of news cycles while away and the catch-up game of coming home to scores of voice messages and emails, I missed the fact that Maxine Greene, champion of the imagination and the arts in education, died last month at the age of 93. My dear friend Mary Ehrenworth introduced me to her when we were writing The Power of Grammar together, and strangely enough I found myself thinking of her while I was away. Knowing now that she’d died, it’s tempting to wonder if some energy was released by her parting that I felt a whole ocean away. But then I was only aware of my desire to follow her injunction to “notice what there is  to be noticed” and to live in a state of what she called…

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Fountas & Pinnell Core Values Articulating a Shared Vision of Literacy Education

Fountas & Pinnell provoke thinking as they challenge teachers to hold fast to what is important for reading instruction.  If you have not heard of #F&PCoreValues I urge you to join in the discussion.  Here they are for you to consider.

Schools are Places Where:

  1. Students think, talk, read, and write about relevant content and ideas to achieve a high level of competence and develop as global citizens.

  2. Students are members of a cohesive literate community that sustains their literacy growth and success.

  3. Students engage in authentic inquiry that challenges their thinking and expands their intellectual curiosity.

  4. Students have a strong sense of agency that propels their independent learning and builds their capacity for self-regulation.

  5. Students have extensive opportunities to read, write, and talk about a wide variety of texts in a range of genres and disciplines.

  6. Students have frequent opportunities for choice independent reading to build mileage, stamina, and interest as readers.

  7. Teachers systematically assess the impact of instruction on student learning and use data to improve literacy performance.

  8. Teachers know the specific reading, writing, and language behaviors of each of their students and use their knowledge to make expert teaching decisions.

  9. Educators work as a team to take collective responsibility for high achievement of the widely diverse population of students in their schools.

  10. Educators engage in and value their own continuous professional learning and support the learning of colleagues.  

“A child is not a letter or a number. They are a person who will grow up and inherit the world. Who do we want them to be? What do we want the world to look like? We must fight to protect the space of childhood, the person before the number, the curious inquisitive creative learner, the community member, the little guy shooting spider-man web hands at you when you are lining up at recess.” Kristi Mraz

I think we can all agree with this. Childhood is sacred, and we are it’s guardians.  Let us teach, let students learn and grow.