#cyberpd Week 1 DIY Literacy

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Many thanks to Cathy Mere, Laura Komos, and Michelle Nero for this amazing community of learners!

#cyberpd- DIY Literacy- Week 1- Chapters 1-bonus

This is one of those examples of the right book at the right time. Last school year was my first using the TCRWP Units of Study and I LOVED them! One thing I am always trying to improve is my conferring, so although I sort of used a conferring notebook I set myself a goal of setting this up more completely in the summer. I am a vagabond this summer- travelling to New York, upstate New York, Boston, Arkansas, Boston, Michigan, and Boston, so I am trying to travel light. I knew I would need some professional books to help me on my quest and DIY Literacy was on my list to buy, so it was perfect that this is our choice this year. I spent a week ar Teachers College for the June Writing Institute and small group work was one of the major themes, not surprisingly this book was referenced often and I bought my copy to get started. If you have not watched the videos that Kate and Maggie made for the book watch them! The friendly coaching you read in the books is evident on screen too.

Chapter 1 Reflection: I really like the emphasis that these tools allow us as teachers to “extend our reach”. The reminders that the students will not refer to the tools if we don’t is a good one for me. I (like many teachers) have a problem with limited wall space, so I am trying to think creatively about how to keep charts readily accessible. As a person who is not neat or artistic, I am rarely proud of how my charts look. I know I need to get over this (and get better at creating charts that do the job).

Chapter 2 Reflection: I liked the explicit definitions included here for each of the different tool types and the steps for the teacher for creating them. The micro-progressions and bookmarks are newest to me and I can definitely see how these will help my students, but I wish I had a way to ensure that the students hold on to their bookmarks. Maybe having them be tools they created will make it more likely that they will not lose them. I like to share the research behind what we do, so telling the students that people who  write down and share their goals with others have a 33% higher success rate is good to know.

Bonus Chapter Reflection: This chapter spoke to my biggest need. I do not have the confidence that I know how to find and write strategies for teaching tools. I would like to create the bulk of my conferring notebook (what they call the demonstration notebook) before school starts. I have decided that I will create one for each genre (knowing that there will be some overlap in strategies). Specifically breaking it down into “THE WHAT” and “THE HOW” is a good way for me to think about this. Knowing that other times students may just need “THE HOW” was a good way for me to see the difference in the tools.

I have decided that due to the bulk of what I aim to create I really can not do the making until I am back in KL. What I am doing to help make this a less onerous task is collecting examples. I am taking pictures of anything I see in my reading that I think I can use/adapt. I will arrive back home 10 days before teachers report, so I will dedicate time to the notebook creation then. I would love to have a way to collect more examples in an organized way that will make my 10 days at the end of the month really productive. The charts, micro-progressions, and bookmarks require student input, so those will be works in progress throughout the year. I actually have saved my charts from last year- not to reuse, but to remind me of what I did. I need to take pictures of them all and put them in organized digital folders so that I can throw out the actual paper. I know I will continue to add to and refine my conferring notebooks throughout the year(s), but I hope to have a solid core of them all before our teacher work days. DIY Literacy has been a great book for me to get my brain in gear. I have lots more summer reading to do to push me along.



6 thoughts on “#cyberpd Week 1 DIY Literacy

  1. weberhe

    Hi Erika! I want to encourage you to “get over” your artistic ability (or the lack you feel!) One thing I’ve picked up from my “research” on sketchnoting is that it is the creation of ideas and not art. If you and your students develop that mindset, it is easier to get over the negative feelings! I think I view the process more meaningful than the product created.

    I like your idea of collecting samples! I’m comfortable with the “how” to create tools, but the “what” not so much!

  2. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione)

    I don’t have a lot of wall space either so keeping the charts accessible is a challenge for me as well. I also teach groups of students in grades 1-5 so I have different charts for different grades. My charts are usually created on construction paper – the 18 X 24 size. I also sometimes take the charts and make a mini-version that I can photocopy for students to paste in their notebooks. It’s also a challenge to find a way to have students manage their bookmarks. I’m hoping that students will outgrow their bookmarks and as they know longer need them they can be recycled so there isn’t so much they physically have to hold on to.

  3. Tara Smith

    Yes! The idea is NOT to create picture perfect learning tools ahead of time, but practice thinking out our reading and writing insights so that we can work WITH our kids when the time comes.

    1. Deb Frazier

      Hi Erika,
      YES, YES, YES, create the charts with your kids and let the discussion and creation be the learning. The product is simply a reminder of the conversation and learning that created the chart. I often find the students have THE best language for the charts!

  4. Rachel Tassler

    What some of my colleagues have done is take pictures of key anchor charts and put them right into their digital pacing guides or lesson/unit plans. I agree at students need to co-create them with you every year, but having a reference from which to work from is so helpful (another tool!)

  5. jarhartz

    I think you are wise to save some of the creation for when you are with students. Working to get samples and practice doing “some” of the work you anticipate will get you ready to utilize the tool as your students need it. It’s a challenge, but an exciting one!


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