Positive Peer Pressure!

As I scrolled through my twitter feed this morning, I read this:


I feel like a superstar after spending because teacher Tammy Stoker bravely presented with me at the VSRA conference on Thursday.

I feel like a superstar after listening to an inspiring Keynote and a second session presentation by Jen Serravallo. She helped me remember how reading is so many skills and how as teachers, we can assess and prioritize what skill to strengthen next, using a her hierarchy chart:


Plus, at a later session in the day about using technology in the classroom, Jen sat down right next to me!! We supported each other as the presenter nudged us to share our thinking about a book using two technologies: chatterpix and flipgrid. I love how Jen spent time being a participant in the conference as well as a presenter! She models being a life-long learner well.

I feel like a superstar after the session presentation by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels . This was my first time hearing him speak and I loved his positivity and sense of humor. He also generously shares his presentations here. He got me to closely read Social Studies and Science images and participate in a discussion. He used simple guiding questions:
What do you notice?
What do you want to talk about?
If you could talk to person in image, what might you ask?
What might you hear or smell if you were in the image?
Describe….  Use an SAT word!
Can you suggest a title?
And he reminded us:  “When images are vividly attached, learning happens.”

I feel like a superstar after my Saturday morning Teacher Research Club meeting. Sitting from 7:30-9:30am on a Saturday at a Starbucks and sharing our research question and the data we are collecting, I left feeling energized. My colleagues care so much about learning that their inquiry is pushing me in a positive way to work even harder with my students. Love POSITIVE PEER PRESSURE!!

Who makes YOU feel like a superstar?
Where do YOU go to feel the power of positive peer pressure?

I believe in Proficient Reader Research

I heard Jen Serravallo speak yesterday at the 2018 VSRA conference and she shared a slide to show the conference audience what she believes in. I realized it is what I strongly believe in, too. So I sent out this tweet this morning:


Back in 2002, I read Mosaic of Thought by Ellin Keene (Heinemann, 1997) for the first time and it changed me. It taught me to spy on myself as a reader and notice all that I do. For the first time through this lens, I realized I did lots of things well, then a 39-year old reader.

For the first time, I celebrated that I read words and visualize the images created by the words in my mind. I celebrated that at the end of a paragraph, I have wonderings. I celebrated that I could understand the words more clearly using all my own background knowledge.

And I stopped focusing on or being embarrassed for all I didn’t do well as a reader. Like seeing a new, multi-syllabic word and mispronouncing it at first. Like not sounding fluent on my first read-aloud of a text. I still fight anxiety when I read-aloud due to the forced participation and bad memories associated with round-robin reading in elementary school.  I still need to work hard to overcome my negative feelings related to poetry due to the many poems I didn’t “get” in 11th grade AP English class.

Attending the 2018 Virginia State Reading Association Conference helped me to realize that believing in Proficient Reader Research is a thing, as opposed to focusing on what isn’t being done as a reader, a deficient model.  Being a Proficient Reader is my mindset as a reading teacher. I notice ALL that my 6th grade readers do. And as Jen recommends, I start there, with what readers do and then coach them to do the next thing on the learning progression related to the skill.

Thank you, Ellin and Jen for helping me renew what I believe in at the 2018 VSRA Conference!

What do YOU believe in?