Monday, January 27, 2014

Two Writing Teachers: Writing About Reading Blog Series

Two Writing Teachers:  Writing About Reading Blog Series

Our Instructional Coach just sent me this link this morning, and I liked it so much I wanted to share it immediately!  Although today is just the first day in the series, I plan to follow this blog throughout the week to glean as many great ideas as possible.

I have never used the "Lifting a Line" strategy, but I love it!  I see huge potential for using that with my students during their current Sci Fi / Fantasy unit.  My kids are reading five different books right now:  Savvy, Among the Hidden, Uglies, Fablehaven, and The Maze Runner.  Prior to using these books, I have reread and annotated my own copies, marking vocabulary words and signposts, and underlining key points in the story.  I have also written my own thoughts in the margins of the novels, which would make it very easy for me to pick out a key sentence or two for this strategy.  It would be a great prelude to their Lit Circle discussions or Blogs as well.

The Character Webs made me a little bit dizzy.  (That must be my left-brained, concrete-sequential side objecting to that!)  However, I do want to try the Visual Note-taking strategy.  My friend Judi (whose blog I wrote about in my previous post), has also blogged about that strategy, and it seems to be highly effective with students of all abilities and learning styles.

I look forward to seeing what else these Two Writing Teachers have to share later this week!

Sharing a new favorite blog: TBD Teacher

(Note:  This was originally supposed to be my November Blog.  My apologies!)

In reconnecting with former colleagues via Facebook, I discovered that an eighth grade LA teacher that I really admire has a public blog:  TBD Teacher.  Judi is an INCREDIBLE teacher - beloved by students and parents alike.  Over Winter Break, I read her post about her resolutions to be more organized.  I can ALWAYS use more strategies for organization - particularly when I feel like I am constantly multi-tasking.  Although I no longer pile papers (at least as much as I used to), I feel like I am "piling" things digitally.  I need a plan!

Based on Judi's recommendation in her blog, I immediately bought The Together Teacher by Maia Heyck-Merlin.  Of course, by the time it arrived, we were back at school, and I have yet to open it.  However, based on Judi's post, I was already able to incorporate some of the author's ideas.  I now have my own Trapper Keeper - just like my students - that contains most of what I use on a daily basis.  I have tabs for schedules, calendars, grades for each class, school information, etc.  Yes, this is all online.  However, I am just old-fashioned enough that sometimes it is faster for me to open the binder than it is for me to log-in and access that information.  Besides, I don't always have my computer with me, and the iPhone screen seems incredibly small when I am looking up grades!

I love that my friend Judi updates her blog consistently, and she is always willing to share her best ideas with the world.  She is a true inspiration!