Today was very planned and yet random deviations from that plan led us to different experiences I wouldn’t have traded for anything. But before these random thoughts and ideas a little bit of what I (and only I) am calling #wwsdLC.
My school division is trying its hand at an EdCamp model for professional development. Lately I have been chasing this idea of teachers (myself primarily) crafting PD opportunities for themselves. My twitter PLN being my first inspiration and then wonderful conversations around PD I have in the hallways or breaks at meetings with coworkers and colleagues from across my school division. I am lucky to work in a division that invests in its teachers and I am so lucky and grateful for a school that supports its teachers passions and allows the opportunities to pursue our own professional growth. I know in talking to many teachers from across North America this is not the case, so I am grateful.
Tomorrow the teachers of my division are gathering for a PD/PLC day in the morning we have about 40 or so mini sessions around literacy with only topics set and a volunteer facilitator to help lead the conversation. These are not experts in their field just willing teachers wanting to help each other grow and I am super excited about it. In the afternoon we get to take those conversations and gather in PLC groups with teachers across the division and share in subject area groups. I am extremely excited about the steps we are taking to help teachers explore what interests them. Again I am just grateful. To my 10’s of readers keep an eye on twitter for the #wwsdLC if you want to share in the fun (it will probably only be me tweeting but…)
I am working in two sessions tomorrow leading the conversation on Reading Journals and Disrupting Thinking (if anyone comes, that is the thing about choice I might not have any and I need to be ok with that) I took in the kids journals today just to look at how things are going and some are becoming more self driven others (most) need some reminders to write something but we are getting to a more organic space which I am happy with. Here are a few examples
Just a mix of different methods of reflection. It makes my geeky heart warm. This discussion about their journals though led to a very interesting conversation.
I asked them about Reading Logs and how they were different than Journals (lots of reasons why). The kids recalled stories of “zippy books” and having to keep a log in a home reading journal of the “time read” or “books read” and even 6-7 years after their zippy book saga had ended they still had hard feelings (a few shouted out zippy books and groaned when I mentioned logs). This evolved into a conversation about Accelerated Reader and the ways it “killed their desire to read for fun” (their words not mine). I asked them how and things like, “no good books at the level I had to read” or “the points were unfair because good readers were punished because their books took too long to read, I could read 10 easy books for a few points each before finishing a harder longer book for less points total” or “the competition made reading terrible, kids compared levels” and finally “I lost recess a lot if I didn’t reach my goal” umm pardon? and they repeated it and others agreed…So I was at a loss and they were not even done. Then came Lexia, a program I have heard good things from adults about but yet to hear anything good from kids. The kicker for me was the disclosure that they were bored out of their minds doing it and only read a couple books last year because “all our time was spent on Lexia, we had to pass the tests and the questions were tricky so it took forever”. Needless to say I told them I prefer what we do. Free Choice Reading, Class Read Aloud or Shared Reads and Reflections. Choice and time to rediscover themselves as readers. Some do ask to go back to a worksheet based program some of the time because they liked how it was easy and they don’t have to think…sorry that won’t be selling me on worksheets for reading any time soon.
We wrote today, we read Chicken Big, we recorded FlipGrid book commercials and we talked about Refugee and reflected on the authors choices. I love that book but not all my kids do. They are not all fans of the historical or realistic fiction. Luckily it is not all our class time. They get to choose for themselves more and more as we go.
I am growing with them and it has been an awesome ride so far. Next step…Book clubs and Workshop model…All in due time.
Remember to keep an eye out for #wwsdLC on the twitter.