Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Girl Who Hated Books

We are exploring genre tomorrow. We are going to do an interactive read aloud – reading passages from a variety of texts, and having kids respond. This video goes really well a digital text that stresses the importance of understanding genre and is enjoyable at the same time.


Tenets for Formative Assessment

Tenets for Formative Assessment

1. Analyze the real work of children to plan meaningful instruction
2. Drives instruction doesn’t halt instruction – match the assessment to the task
3. Quick turn around an authentic assessment that is useful towards real work

What constitutes formative assessment? Post-its; transcribe partnership talk; observational checklists (engagement); reading/writing notebooks – and so much more.

Using formative assessment to climb the Staircase of Complexity – this is rigor. Follow the standards to drive what is being collected so once a level of performance is achieved students can continue to grow. Goal setting is the secret.

SOLC: My Day at the Teachers College Saturday Reunion, 2014 Edition

Reading to the Core


This morning, I left my house at 6:30 and drove to Teachers College at Columbia University for their spring Reading and Writing Project Saturday Reunion. I spent the day with thousands of dedicated teachers soaking up the wisdom of the amazing presenters. Because I am now quite tired, here is my day in pictures.

Diane Ravitch delivering the opening keynote. Diane Ravitch delivering the opening keynote.

Diane Ravitch’s keynote was a call to arms. Lucy Calkins, in her introduction, described Ravitch as “the single most important defender of public education” and “our hero, inspiring all of us to speak out and tell the truth.

Anna Gratz Cockerille sharing strategies to help children improve their informational writing. Fellow Slicer Anna Gratz Cockerille sharing strategies to help children improve their informational writing.

Cynthia Satterlee had great advice for helping kids craft personal opinion essays. Cynthia Satterlee had great advice for helping kids craft personal opinion essays.

Stephanie Harvey shared her wisdom about nonfiction. Stephanie Harvey reminding teachers that “there’s a difference between thinking and knowledge. We have to teach kids to think so they can acquire and use knowledge.”

Kathleen Tolan describing how to "take an ordinary idea about a character and make it extraordinary." Kathleen…

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No One is Coming to Help – We’re On Our Own People

This is sort of my personal analogy about the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). We’ve got to figure this out. So don’t be ridiculous because we know what rigor is – it’s as easy as taking your first step. A great book to read to help you get more acquainted with our new standards is Calkins/Ehernworth/Leman Pathways to the Common Core & there is a course on Heinemann’s Digital Campus – which you can try for free – Trial Course: Harnessing the Common Core Standards to Achieve Higher Levels of Reading and Writing

A Miracle on Long Island?

This is my district…

Diane Ravitch's blog

Kevin J. Glynn, a teacher who founded Lace to the Top (those ever-present green laces and green bracelets that are meant to remind us that children are more than a test score)*, sends an exciting report from his school district on Long Island. The powers that be have abolished test prep!

Kevin writes:

The message to teachers changed today in the South Country School District, and tomorrow the actions will follow.  To the joy of students and their parents, there will be no test prep, at all, in any form.  In its place will be collaboration, imagination, inspiration, and love for the students in all third grade classes.  This is news because yesterday, the message to teachers was the same as in most other districts- prepare students with rigorous test prep.

South Country follows Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study.  This amazing, differentiated reading and writing program allows students to apply strategies within their independent…

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